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Zen and the Art of Poker

Timeless Secrets to Transform Your Game

Larry Phillips

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Strengths: Will help you stay off of tilt.
Weaknesses: Actual poker advice is very poor.
Year: 1999
Page Count: 192

Reviewed by Ozone on Feb. 10, 2005.

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Unknown player Larry Phillips blends the ancient secrets of Buddhism with modern day gambling into this 175 page book. Poker strategy is not the focus of Zen and the Art of Poker. The point of this book is to help you learn to control your emotions, avoid self-defeating strategy, and play within the rhythm of the game.

Poker Advice

There are two forms of advice in this book- poker strategy and emotional strategy. The value of the poker strategy in this book is nearly worthless. Phillips preaches folding, folding, and more folding. This tight/passive approach is certainly not the best method to win as many chips as possible, and I would not recommend following the poker strategy advice in this book. If you ever play against this man, don't expect him to bluff or draw on you. Made hands, and made hands only are all this man seems to understand.

The real value in this book is Phillips sharing his unique thoughts on the zen of poker. Every player in the world, on some level, has a problem with going on tilt. This book should probably be renamed "Guide To Staying Off Tilt". It rightly points out how winning at poker requires an inner discipline, then offers 100 "rules" about how to develop and maintain this discipline.


It is easy to fly through this book. Each of the 100 rules of poker starts with a Buddhist quote, followed by Phillips explaining how that quote can be applied to your poker game. Zen and the Art of Poker plugs along like a locomotive and has some value for all players, especially those prone to going on tilt.


Zen and the Art of Poker can be purchased at Amazon

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