Full Disclosure Derric and I were both CardRunners pros (he no
longer is). Beyond that, we don't have or ever had any sort of
financial dealings. He asked me if I would be willing to read and review
the book to which I agreed.
Fundamentally, poker is a game of decision making. It's also a game of uncertainty and variance. Quantum Poker,
a reference to the combination of uncertainty and probability inherent
to quantum mechanics, is Derric's attempt at illuminating the
fundamental mechanics behind poker and sharing that with the readers.
The books is broken down into a few basic sections:
1. Basic concepts and definitions. Here you will find the formula for
Fold Equity, discussions of bankroll management, and some basics of
board texture. Most players reading this book will be familiar with most
of these concepts, but it's always nice to hear how an experienced pro
discusses them in his or her own words.
2. The EV of bet sizing and Multi-Tabling. Everything about poker is a
function of your expected value. In this section Derric covers in detail
an example of how different bet sizing can impact your EV in a hand.
This is definitely something that most beginning and even intermediate
players don't think about enough - especially the EV of overbetting.
3. Enumeration and the Unified Theory of Poker. I think this is the crux
of QP. Derric proceeds to outline mathematically how to construct
optimal lines for different situations. The math in this section is
intimidating - even for someone with an extensive math background like
myself. Basically, it boils down to this:
Every time you have a decision to make, your decision will elicit a
certain reaction from your opponent with a corresponding probability.
So, for example, if you bet K J
on a certain flop, your opponent will call/fold/raise you with a
certain range and a certain probability. Each of those actions lead to
more choices for you. Essentially, you are part of a large decision
As he writes, "You should see the game of poker as a game of solving
equity calculations and be completely indifferent between what hands are
in someone's range, whether you win or lose, and who has taken your
money. As long as you are making the best decisions you can, with all
the information you have gathered, and all the math you can do or
estimate4, you are playing as perfectly as possible, and that is
perfection." (p. 125)
So basically, he presents the ideal of how one should think about
poker while admitting that such an ideal is impossible for us to
execute. Still - it's important to be aware of it and to continue
approaching it - even if it's with very small steps.
The next section of the book is a collection of thoughts on different
topics - like ambition, why and how you can make money off regs, ego,
leveling, blocker bets, etc. Basically - anything and everything poker
related that Derric wanted to get out on paper. These vignettes give
this section an Elements of Poker type feel. Short, easy to process, and very informative.
Finally, Derric closes out with a day of his play at the live tables as well as a few extra hand histories that he analyzed.
Derric has involved in poker for a long time. He has played high stakes
(3-6 --> 25/50) both live and online, both 6-max and Full Ring. He
has a long track record of playing solid winning poker. His most recent
results have been from live poker, given that he lives in San Diego and
can't play online:
This book is a glimpse into the mind of a long-term winning player and
that's critical. At times it's really dense (the math behind the
enumerations), but having access to 200+ pages of organized thoughts
from a player of Derric's caliber is invaluable and easily worth the
price of the book.
I would not recommend this as a starter book, but for anyone who is
winning at the small or mid stakes and wants to take his or her game to
the next level, this is a good follow-up book.
In terms of cons, I would have liked to see more examples with less math
once the math has been established. I would have also liked to see
Derric tailor some of the math to the more common problems intermediate
players face - like facing 3-bets or flop raises.
Cliff Notes: Not for beginners, but should easily pay for itself if you are looking to become more serious about the game, even if you don't get all or most of the math involved in the theory section.
You can order the book on Amazon for $50.