Then Tommy Angelo popped in with “I can tell you the best way to play two kings. Decide in advance that no matter what happens, you won’t go on tilt!” Insights like that are what drove the popularity of Angelo’s first book, Elements of Poker, a tome highly regarded for its fresh and practical perspectives.15:34
The Amazon blurb for Tommy Angelo’s Painless Poker suggests that it’s a coaching book that will be full of tips and tricks to avoid tilt, ‘win the war of words’ and ‘steadily improve any aspect of your game’. It won’t. For all it’s marketing, it just isn’t that kind of book.
What kind of book it is exactly, is not immediately clear even on having finished it. Is it a poker book? Well, yes but... as one character (yes, there are characters) says to Tommy (yes, he appears as one of those characters):
“What you’re talking about isn’t painless poker at all, it’s painless life. You’re just using poker to entice us into listening to your spiritual drivel.”
Is it a self-help book then? Also, yes. His solution to the issue of painful poker is mindfulness and it does contain a guide to meditation. Just not in one place, or in one order. Because it’s framed within this fictional narrative in which seven players find themselves beamed into a nice little card room with Tommy where he proceeds to give them a clinic in pain and meditation.
The nearest thing I can think of is Plato’s dialogues, or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. But with gambling instead of totalitarianism and choppers.
Pain & Gain
If there is a unifying idea in the book: pain (especially tilt) and the attempt to alleviate it.
It is also about Tommy. It is about Tommy a lot. We are given Tony’s poker autobiography, told in a frame narrative about a bad beat and a long depressed drive he took. The biographical stuff is interwoven with a fictional clinic which deals with the stuff you thought you paid your money for: poker pain, and his solution for it.
In the clinic seven tilted players are beamed in to tell their stories, have story arcs, and listen to Tommy talk about pain. Along the way Tommy instructs them on how to meditate and why to meditate, they also develop like real characters.
Despite the title, the clinic sections are not about quick fixes.
“You’re all way too screwed up for me to talk you out of your thinking problems in two days,” Tommy tells the players at one point. “If things do get better for you, it will be because of effort you put forth after we part ways.”
Cut Your Luvvies
Painless Poker is not a painless read. It is far too long and its tone becomes monotonous after about 300 pages of it. But it’s also a lot of fun – for the most part – and extremely well written for something in this genre. It inhabits an interest place formally, somewhere between fiction and self-help.
Then again, if you want to get your value from the book in knowledge, then perhaps it’s not worth the substantial cover price (£20 in hardback) since it’s content can just be boiled down to a basic introduction and defense of the secular use of meditation. Then again, if you’ve ever had an interest in mindfulness and want and starting text you may as well start here.
For the rest of you, I can only recommend it as a good read. I was entertained far more than I was edified.
|Born||August 25, 1958 (age 61)|
|Information accurate as of 27 September 2016.|
Tommy Angelo (born August 25, 1958) is an Oakland, California professional poker player, writer, and coach. Angelo was a career musician in the 1980s, performing rock and country on drums and piano. In 1990, he became a full-time professional poker player. Since then has since written 100 magazine articles, written and produced 18 poker training videos, and written and published three books on poker.
Angelo has written and self-published five books. Four of them are about poker. The fifth is about meditation.
On December 13, 2007, Tommy release his first book, Elements of Poker.
On May 1, 2011, Tommy released his second book, A Rubber Band Story and Other Poker Tales.
On March 14, 2017, Tommy released his third book, Painless Poker.
On October 23, 2018, Tommy released his fourth book, Waiting for Straighters
On February 11, 2019, Tommy released his fifth book, Dailyness: How to Sustain a Meditation Practice
Angelo has written articles for Poker Digest Magazine, PokerPages.com, Bluff Magazine, and PokerNews.com magazine.
Angelo was featured in the 2019 documentary film by Michael Bailey called For Love or Money: A Poker Documentary.
In 2019, Angelo partnered with Lee Jones to make YouTube videos for poker players. The series is called PokerSimple.
Since 2003, Angelo has offered one-on-on poker coaching called The T i l t l e s s Program. He has coached many top-flight poker players, including Jay Rosenkrantz, Phil Galfond, and David Benefield.
With Wayne Lively and Rob Cole, Angelo produced an eight-episode poker-coaching video series titled The Eightfold Path to Poker Enlightenment (EPTPE) that focuses on the role of psychology for professional poker players. The title of the series derives from one of the principal teachings of the Buddha, the Eightfold Path. EPTPE was released during the summer of 2009 at DeucesCracked.
In 2015, Tommy became a coach for the poker training site, Run It Once. His videos focus on mental game topics for professional poker players.
In 2018, Angelo began coaching low-stakes players on poker strategy.
Tommy plays drums, piano, guitar, and bass, and produces his own music, sometimes with a band called Just Another Band. In 1980, Tommy self-released the LP A Work of Aardvark under the name 'Tom Angelo'. In 2001, he released a six track CD album of poker-related songs entitled I'm Running Bad. Tommy is also related to Willie Angelo a famous artist out of Denver, Colorado.
Angelo has appeared as a guest on these podcasts: TwoPlusTwo Pokercast,DeucePlays podcast with Bart Hanson of DeucesCracked, Pokercast.com, HouseofCardsRadio.com, ruKusradio.com, and Badugi All-Stars, ThinkingPoker.net, RedChipPoker.com, Poker Live Podcast with Joey Ingram, KristyArnett.com, TexasHoldemRadio.com, PokerMindCoach.com with Elliot Roe, HighRollerRadio.net, and PokerNews.com.
- ^CNBC: Are you a ‘results-oriented’ investor? If so, you’re making a big mistake, says top poker thinker[verification needed]
- ^'Rubber Band Story'. Retrieved August 18, 2017.[verification needed]
- ^'Tommy Angelo Presents His New Book 'Painless Poker''. Retrieved August 18, 2017.[verification needed]
- ^results, search (October 23, 2018). Waiting for Straighters: A Preflop Experiment for No-Limit Holdem and Pot-Limit Omaha. Tommy Angelo.[verification needed]
- ^'Bluff Archives: Tommy Angelo'. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2010.[verification needed]
- ^'Articles by Tommy Angelo PokerNews'. www.pokernews.com. Retrieved April 21, 2017.[verification needed]
- ^'Tommy Angelo Q&A'. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2010.
- ^Q&A with Tommy Angelo
- ^'Tommy Angelo - Run It Once'. Runitonce.com.
- ^'Original Songs and Renderings from The Eightfold Path to Poker Enlightenment'. Retrieved May 31, 2010.
- ^'TwoPlusTwo PokerCast with guest Tommy Angelo'. Retrieved May 28, 2010.
- ^'DeucePlays Podcast with guest Tommy Angelo'. Retrieved May 28, 2010.
- ^'PokerCast.com'. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- ^'House of Cards Radio'. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- ^'ruKusradio.com'. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
- ^'Badugi All-Stars - Guest: Tommy Angelo (Part 1)'.
- ^'Badugi All-Stars - Guest: Tommy Angelo (Part 2)'.
- ^'Episode 192: More Tommy Angelo – Thinking Poker'. www.thinkingpoker.net. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^'Painless Poker with Tommy Angelo Red Chip Poker'. Red Chip Poker. April 17, 2017. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^joeingram1 (May 25, 2016), Guest Tommy Angelo : Poker Life Podcast, retrieved April 21, 2017
- ^'Drunk WTF Moment to Zen with Tommy Angelo – Kristy Arnett'. Kristy Arnett. October 5, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^'Wade Andrews Texas Holdem Radio March 2017'. Archived from the original on April 22, 2017.
- ^'Episode 59 – Tommy Angelo on Playing Painless Poker Poker Mind Coach'. www.pokermindcoach.com. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
- ^HighRollerRadioTV (March 27, 2017), Are You Playing Painless Poker? 'The Pain is Unique!' Tommy Angelo Q&A, retrieved April 21, 2017
- ^'PokerNews Podcast Episode 437: Painless Poker with Tommy Angelo'. Retrieved April 21, 2017.