World Series of Poker Europe

Book Review: Treat Your Poker Like a Business - Dusty Schmidt

Dusty Schmidt

The problem with a great deal of poker strategy books out there is that they are written by world class players who, although they clearly have a fantastic grasp of poker strategy, often struggle to bridge the gap between the target audience (recreational and semi professional players) and the world elite which they occupy.

Step forward Dusty ‘Leatherass’ Schmidt, a player who by his own admission is perhaps not as naturally gifted as some of his high stakes advisories, but makes up for it with an incredible hard work ethic and commitment to volume.

His first offering into the poker literature world is Treat Your Poker Like a Business, a manuscript on how to apply a professional mindset into your game. This is by no means a pure strategy book but rather focuses on ways in which you can make improvements to your game away from the table. Rather than telling you the golden secrets on how to run over the table or make gut wrenching folds, he demonstrates how you can make solid incremental improvements to your poker, one by one.

Treat Your Poker Like a Business
Treat Your Poker Like a Business

As you would imagine, this is not a suitable title for a novice player. This is the ideal companion for winning recreational players and aspiring professionals to fine tune their game and iron out leaks. Despite the advanced target audience this is actually, deliberately, a very simple and short book. A lot of the advice is stuff you can apply immediately to your game, practical common sense advice that for some strange reason has been vastly overlooked by most of the poker literature already out there.

Things like tips on increasing your volume, removing distractions from your sessions, adapting your diet to remain focussed longer, picking the most profitable times of day to play, rakeback, software and record keeping. All of them tiny nuggets of advice that might add 1/10 of a big blind to your hourly rate, when used in conjunction with each other could add 1 or 2 big blinds an hour to your earnings without relatively little effort.

5 of the chapters are written by sports psychology expert Jared Tendler, whom Schmidt introduced to the poker world after Tendler cured him of his own tilt issues and helped him doubly his hourly rate. There is also, quite innovatively, a section from Schmidt’s own wife, which tackles how to properly balance your poker playing career with your family and social life.

Although I have said it’s not a strategy book, there is a strategy section. Rather than focussing on the massive pots, how to play aces and all the other things most poker strategy books concentrate on, once again Treat Your Poker Like a Business is much more straightforward and practical. All of the strategy in this book concentrates on the scenarios that come around every 10 minutes, rather than the massive pots that often play themselves. Rather than set over set cooler hands, the strategy section concentrates on common situation like being out of position with a small pair post flop facing a continuation bet and being in position with a open ended straight draw.

Dusty Schmidt
Dusty Schmidt

As a former professional golfer and after having worked in a family business, the book is immersed in analogies from the golf and business world, which add to the incredibly simple and easy to digest format of the book. There is nothing groundbreaking about any of the individual pieces of advice in this book, but as an ensemble it’s very hard to find another book out there that has so many practical and easy to absorb hints and tips that you can apply almost instantly to your game.

As Dusty tells us himself, it’s not a ‘cool’ book and a lot of players will sniff at the advice inside, but if you like money, don’t mind working hard for it and are perhaps a little disillusioned with most poker texts out there, Treat Your Poker Like a Business should be a welcome addition to your book shelf. It’s available at

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