Book Review: Moorman: The Inside Story of the Most Successful Online Poker Player

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Chris Moorman is known online as Moorman1 and is one of the most accomplished online poker player of all time, having achieved lifetime online tournament winnings of $13m on PocketFives.  He’s been ranked the number one online poker player in the world 20 times and has finished in the top 3 in tournaments 805 times. He also now competes in live poker and has been ranked in the Global Poker Index Top 10 with over $4.4 million in winnings.

Born in Essex, Moorman was a master bridge player by age 14 and represented his country. He also excelled at pool, winning a national university championship.  Whilst studying economics at university he started playing online poker, becoming very successful.

The growing popularity for online poker has led to a big demand for information which can help players. Moorman’s book provides both information as well as some great tales – and it’s not his first either. In 2014 he published Moorman’s Book of Poker which saw him collaborate on 80 hands with Byron Jacobs – an average poker player. It was written as practical advice for online poker players.

His new book dives into the theory and gives some narrative behind games he’s been involved in, but it also has an autobiographical element where the reader gets an insight into what it’s like being a pro poker player and how Moorman got there.

Theory

Chris Moorman is an ambassador for 888Poker, so it’s no surprise that his book is of particular use to students of the game. The second half in particular goes into quite a bit of detail on poker theory. It’s fascinating to see how Moorman thinks, assimilates information, and makes decisions. There are over 60 hands that he analyses: giving the reader context and detail on the strategies he used.  The detail is excellent and the insight into how he thinks is very interesting. A fun way to read this section is to look at the hands he describes, decide how you would play them, give reasons, then look at Moorman’s analysis. This is a great way of accelerating your learning.

Other top poker players add depth by giving their opinions on the hands he played; there are cameos from Dominik Nitsche, Liv Boeree and Daniel Negreanu.

The section on tactics is fairly advanced and definitely aimed at the experienced player rather than the beginner. Although it is of use to anyone willing to spend the time assimilating the information, it certainly makes you realise the depth that top players approach the game with.

I found the book to be quite motivational. Moorman is clearly dedicated to his craft and reading about someone so meticulous and obsessed has a simple joy to it. To reach the top you need to work hard and also work on the right things. Moorman is very analytical and you get the impression he thinks a lot about what happens in his poker sessions. This is something relevant and interesting way beyond poker. There’s no doubt that certain parts of the book will definitely appeal to non-poker players.

Not All Work

Moorman is clearly the sort of guy who thinks about his place in the world. Yes, he loves poker but he also wants to go out, experience different things, and get fresh perspectives. The anecdotes in the book are fun. In one story he talks about returning from a period living in New Zealand and for his father’s birthday buying him into a poker tournament in Manchester. It’s a very nice insight into Moorman as a son. In another anecdote he travels from Cannes to Italy with $1m winnings stuffed into his hand luggage, giving you a real sense of his adventurous spirit. As you go through the book you can’t help but find yourself rooting for Moorman – very much a normal guy – albeit one who has had incredible success in the poker world.

Moorman is surprisingly open in the book and it is very touching. He’s incredibly frank about how he was bullied at school and the impact this had on his confidence. Then how his main priority when choosing a university was to be as far away from his school bullies as possible so the past didn’t “catch up with him”. Seeing the human being behind someone who is now an international star brings an almost reassuring element to the book.

Conclusion

This book is an honest and at times raw account of Moorman’s life growing up, and then in online poker. It’s a good read on a number of levels: as a human interest story you can’t help but care about Moorman and his story. It’s also very prescient, as his story is very much one of our time; were he born five years earlier it’s unlikely the same path would have been open. He really was an early adopter of online poker and became one of its biggest stars. As a theory book, to make you a better player it is a no-brainer: getting an insight into a player of Moorman’s calibre is absolutely priceless.

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Pop Culture BeastBook Review: Moorman: The Inside Story of the Most Successful Online Poker Player