Lance Bradley’s “The Pursuit of Poker Success” Presents Different Thoughts from Unheard Players
29 July 2018
PokerBrave (631 articles)

While it might not be as popular as it once was, reading someone’s guidelines for success in business, athletic endeavors or life in general through a book is a great way to learn. Picking up these useful tools as recounted by successes in that field is also popular in poker, but it has been a bit since there was a quality book in that area. Noted poker journalist Lance Bradley seems to have filled that niche with his book The Pursuit of Poker Success, an excellent tome that presents different thoughts and approaches from popular and some that aren’t normally tapped for their thoughts.

Bradley has been around the game for a bit, including a stint as Bluff Magazine’s editor in chief, and he’s been able to tap into his Rolodex to pull the 50 players that make up the book (it is subtitled “Learn from 50 of the World’s Best Poker Players”). While there are some big names in the book that have already promoted their theories (Phil Hellmuth, Jennifer Harman and Daniel Negreanu are three of the “top pros” that people may recognize in the 50 players in the book), Bradley gives a great deal of time to those players who previously may have not received a great deal of attention.

What is arguably the most impressive things about The Pursuit of Poker Success is the method that Bradley uses to get the players to tell their stories. Each player’s segment of the book is only about three or four pages in length, but Bradley is able to draw out of each player their full stories – how Fedor Holz knew, even before he went on the tremendous run in 2016, that he had to balance his poker and “regular life,” how Igor Kurganov went from wanting to make a little extra cash while in college to battling on High Roller stages around the world – and often get into great detail. Furthermore, Bradley’s writing approach bears mention as it is a method that isn’t often used.

Although it does appear to be a “question and answer” format that you might see for most interviews, Bradley puts a twist on the format. He presents his view of the “question” portion of the equation in a more conversational tone WITH THE READER, a different take than you will find with interviews. Bradley is talking to those reading the book, detailing out why he asked the question he did, before the subject’s reply is given. Through this approach, Bradley makes it more of a story instead of a straight up interview segment.

Through the players’ stories, you are going to learn more about each player, their personal life and their approach to the game of poker. One that I found particularly interesting was Adrian Mateos, who was the Global Poker Index Player of the Year in 2017 and already has a World Series of Poker Europe Championship Event (2013) and a European Poker Tour Grand Final championship (2014) under his belt before turning 24. In telling his story, Bradley demonstrates Mateos’ drive in the game quite well (especially his ability to counter his opponents in High Roller events who have utilized game theory solvers by understanding the solvers and developing a counter-move to them), but he also displays Mateos’ humility and willingness to continually learn about the game – even from those who might not have his talent – at the same time.

You can do this with pretty much every person that is profiled in Bradley’s book. These 50 individuals present an excellent guideline to approaching poker in today’s game, but they also present some excellent personal interest stories that will keep the reader entranced. There really isn’t something that you can compare it to, but its closest comparison might be the Michael Craig-edited Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide – Tournament Edition (give those involved with Full Tilt Poker credit for this excellent book). In that book, the top pros at Full Tilt Poker presented their viewpoints and approaches to tournament poker; Bradley’s subjects with The Pursuit of Poker Success do that also, but Bradley puts the human touch on the story that adds greatly to his book.

D&B Publishing are the ones to (continually) thank as they seem to be the only entity that is doing quality poker books anymore. They previously scored with Hellmuth’s Poker Brat, several books from Jonathan Little and Chris Moorman (both featured in Bradley’s book), even daring to try to teach readers the ins-and-outs of Omaha Hold’em. Lance Bradley’s The Pursuit of Poker Success is a worthy tome to carry on the tradition of outstanding D&B products and it should be on the poker library of anyone serious about the game.