PokerNews Book Review: A-Game Poker by Elliot Roe & Ryan Carter
In "A-Game Poker," Elliot Roe shares the poker performance system he created from a decade's worth of experience coaching many of the best players in the game. Whether you're an enthusiastic amateur or seasoned professional, A-Game Poker has something for anyone looking to be a long-term winner in the game.
About A-Game Poker
"Poker is a choice," it says in the preface of the book. The choice, at least according to Roe, is to treat poker as a professional sport or to treat it like any old normal game.
If you're in the former camp then a book like 'A-Game Poker' is right up your street. It attempts to give you a framework to construct your approach to poker around and to grow the required mindset towards being the best poker player you can be.
The book is split into four parts:
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The Fundamental Performance Question
Early on in 'A-Game Poker', Roe puts forward the Fundamental Performance Question: "What are the best players in the world doing to be successful that I am not?"
"What are the best players in the world doing to be successful that I am not?"
He brings this up off the back of a whistle-stop tour through poker history from Texas road gamblers like Doyle Brunson who pioneered aggression more than anything else and laid the foundation for poker strategy as we know it today, through the infancy of televised poker that inspired a generation and into the online poker boom and modern poker with solvers, poker-training sites and database software.
The question is used to ram home the point that answering this question, specifically in relation to poker, will close the distance between you and the top poker players in the world.
The Six Levers
To help answer this question, Roe introduces six levers that have a direct effect on your poker results:
By recognising which area you are failing at, and therefore which area is holding you back, you're able to locate where your efforts to improve should be focused and how that can help you towards answering the Fundamental Performance Question he posed earlier.
What Does it Take to Become an A-Game Player?
The most useful part of the book comes in Parts 3 and 4 where Roe not only focuses on what it takes to become an A-Game Player, but also what is holding you back.
Firstly, there are mental models on crating your vision and creating a schedule template that is right for you. Chapters on fuel and exercise teach you that there's work to be done away from the poker tables to fulfil your poker potential.
The book provides a pre-session protocol and a post-game audit that is broken down into bite-sized chunks for players to be able to do every time they play be it at the live or online tables.
The book doesn't shy away from aspects of poker that are well-known to stop a player from reaching their ability: downswings, tilt, lack of sleep and lack of motivation. Each is covered in turn, interspersed with Pro Case Studies that show real-life examples from some of the world's best and how they dealt with it.
Whether it's Jason Koon admitting to being "triggered" at online beats or strategy going out the window for Jon van Fleet when emotions got the better of him, it shows that even the best have weaknesses and it highlights the steps they took to work on these areas.
Pro Case Studies
One of the best parts, in our opinion, of 'A-Game Poker' is the professional case studies of a variety of poker players that Roe has worked with over the years. You'll hear first-hand from the likes of Fedor Holz, Phil Galfond (who wrote the foreword to the book), Alex Foxen and Matt Berkey.
All of the Pro Case Studies are worth a read, and you could fill a book with them alone, but Berkey's is perhaps the most interesting and a testament to the effort required for players to become high-level professionals.
"Success is simple, but not easy"
"The big picture takeaway for me is how important it is not to ignore the mental side of the game ... The actual act of showing up, executing and putting in volume is heavily rooted in how emotionally stable and mentally tenacious you are," Berkey says, adding "The best players in the world ... understand that constant growth is essential to maintain and increase their edge over the time."
We'll close by mentioning one final Pro Case Study from high-stakes MTT professional Benjamin "bencb789" Rolle who says "Success is simple, but not easy." In the same way, so is poker, but A-Game Poker certainly gives you the tools that will potentially put you on the path to poker success.
About the Author Elliot Roe
After enrolling in hypnotherapy school, Roe started working with poker clients in the early 201s, using the game as a foundation for developing mindset and performance coaching strategies.
According to Roe, "Poker is one of the most robust environments when it comes to mental performance," and says that his work, which has included the creation of the Primed Mind app, has helped many achieve success and learn how to implement a variety of tools to their game.
A-Game Poker is a No.1 Best seller on Amazon. Its a great buy for any poker player, or as a gift for someone you know who wants to improve: