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David Sklansky – Poker Wizard


David Sklansky has made over $1,000,000 playing in poker tournaments over the last 28 years, so on average that is just around $38,000 a year at the poker tables, so it is far away from being a fortune. On the other hand he has written or co-written thirteen books on poker and gambling for which he has much more than that in royalties.


His books cover poker, blackjack and gambling in general and they have had an important impact on the games and their players. Possibly the most important of his poker books is the Theory of Poker.


The theorem deals with poker as a game involving decision-making using incomplete information. In such circumstances a correct decision will be the one that would have been made had the information been complete, for instance by seeing the hands of all the other players. He analyses the concept using the excepted value of any decision and that correct play always maximizes this.


Sklansky was born in New Jersey and although he attended the University of Pennsylvania for a while he left in order to concentrate on poker. He also studied to be an actuary and actually worked as one for a while, but he found poker more interesting and his actuarial career was short lived. In one of his poker books he wrote of his time as an actuary when he had discovered a more efficient way of doing his job of which his boss approved of but for which he was not rewarded. In poker, he said, if you were better than the rest you get immediate financial reward.