Andrew talks about his books

Andrew talks about his books

Andrew Brokos, the author of the Play Optimal Poker books, has been playing poker for a long time. He came up in the game during the mid-noughties, learning game theory the same way most of us did at the time, trial, error, online discussion boards, and MIT’s open courses.

Poker players now have another option, they have books from Andrew Brokos.

He tells me that he was one of those poker boom kids. The original Moneymaker boom is what used to be a common story. Right after I finished college, I became a pro.

While I was looking for a job, I was casually playing online poker, which was very small stakes. It became clear to me that I could make a lot more money doing this than at the jobs I was already employed in.

His first attempt at writing a book was a bit of a diversion. He didn’t expect it to become the cornerstone text it is now.

I have always been a literary-minded person. “I have always wanted to write a book.” I thought it would be enjoyable to do it. There are a lot of different kinds of content that I make. I wanted to think about what you can do in a book that you can not do in other formats. The first book was an intellectual project, just as much as anything else.

The success of the book financially has been moderate, according to the author, who explained that he hasn’t been able to quit playing and teaching poker.

Much of the tone in the Play Optimal Poker books may be due to his background as a coach and an educationalist.

Play Optimal Poker will give you what to expect

Michael Acevedo’s Modern Poker Theory and the two Play Optimal Poker books are just what a hold’em player needs to progress from a solid beginner to an advanced intermediate.

The first volume of Play Optimal Poker gives readers a crash course in the game theory. The outlines are sharper in Volume 2 with a greater focus on poker-specific strategies.

“In working on the first one, I exposed some things that I didn’t understand as well as I wanted to.” The things that I was interested to learn more about were investigated in the second Play Optimal Poker book. Putting those topics together in a way that was sufficiently rigorous to be in a book like that gave me the motivation to learn about all those topics.

By the end of both books, serious readers will have a surgeon’s tray of scalpels, bone saws, and retractors with which to start questioning more advanced strategic questions.

More than calling for an active reader would be what I would say. I think that the book tries to create an active reader. Many people who are better poker players than I am, but I think I have a better understanding of pedagogy.

That knowledge shines through.

Each chapter begins with a general knowledge test, asking the reader to think about the questions that will be addressed in the next chapter. The reader makes a guess at an answer, gets it wrong, and then Brokos explains what they should have done.

In a one-way format, this is a clever way to start a chapter, creating a back and forth between the reader and the author.

After he put forward the ideas of the chapter, there is another set of questions to drive home the ideas and to set the reader thinking about wider applications of the idea.

Who is the person that GTO is for?

GTO is best thought of as a way of thinking, rather than a way of playing, according to Brokos. What a lot of people mean when they say “Should I play GTO?” is “Should I do exactly what a solvers would do?”

You want to think of game theory as a way of approaching making decisions where you don’t know what the right play is. I believe the level is getting lower at which the game becomes more difficult to play.

If it is true that your opponent is deviating from what a solver would do, there are ways to exploit them. That is what a lot of the book is about, how do you find those exploits? It’s important to know what perfect play looks like in order to tell when it’s not being used. Sometimes the adjustment isn’t obvious, and game theory can help you.

It isn’t that solvers aren’t a part of how the book was approached. Some modern poker books are more involved in the material than the solver outputs are.

The practical application of the more theoretical sections of his books is being driven home by the use of solvers. What factors make one hand better for bluffing or calling than another are some of the things that come to mind.

This book is not an introduction to poker. It is an introduction to game theory for people who already have a background in poker strategy.

There are a lot of people who feel that game theory is just not for them.

I don’t think it’s a question of “I’m not a sophisticated enough player for game theory.” I believe anyone can benefit from learning a game theory.

What is the next thing for Andrew Brokos?

Although he has been thinking about a third Play Optimal Poker book, Brokos doesn’t have any concrete plans to start writing it until his motivation and his ideas coalesce into something that cries out to be book shaped.

The course for Solve For Why is currently being worked on. Some of the toy game chapters in Play Optimal Poker are expanded in it.

The more bite-sized Thinking Poker Daily is one of the projects that he continues to work on.

There are two collections of poker strategy essays called Essential Poker Concepts Volume 1 and 2, as well as the two volumes of Play Optimal Poker.


The author of the Play Optimal Poker books has been a pro for about a decade. He said that he enjoyed poker at college, then after he was looking for a job, he started playing online. “It became clear that I could make a lot more money doing this than at the jobs I wasn’t even getting callbacks for,” he said.