David Sklansky

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David Sklansky
Sklansky at the World Series of Poker
Nickname(s) The Mathematician
Residence Reno, Nevada, U.S.
Born December 22, 1947 (1947-12-22) (age 69)
Teaneck, New Jersey, U.S.
World Series of Poker
Bracelet(s) 3
Money finish(es) 23
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
27th, 1988
World Poker Tour
Title(s) None
Final table(s) 1
Money finish(es) 3
Sklansky table

David Sklansky (born December 22, 1947)[1] is an American professional poker player and author.

Life and career[edit]

Sklansky was born and raised in Teaneck, New Jersey, where he graduated from Teaneck High School in 1966.[2] He attended the University of Pennsylvania, but dropped out before graduation. He returned to Teaneck and passed multiple Society of Actuaries exams by the time he was 20, and worked for an actuarial firm.[3]

Sklansky is generally considered[by whom?] a top authority on gambling. He has written many books on poker, blackjack, and general gambling.

Sklansky has won three World Series of Poker bracelets, two in 1982 ($800 Mixed Doubles, and $1,000 Draw Hi) and one in 1983 ($1000 Limit Omaha Hi). He also won the Poker By The Book invitational event on the 2004 World Poker Tour, outlasting Phil Hellmuth Jr, Mike Caro, T. J. Cloutier, and Mike Sexton, and then finally overcoming Doyle Brunson.[4]

Sklansky attended the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania for a year before leaving to become a professional gambler.[5] He briefly took on a job as an actuary before embarking into poker. While on the job he discovered a faster way to do some of the calculations and took that discovery to his boss. The boss told him he could go ahead and do it that way if he wanted but wouldn’t pass on the information to the other workers. "In other words, I knew something no one else knew, but I got no recognition for it," Sklansky is quoted as saying in Al Alvarez's The Biggest Game in Town. "In poker, if you're better than anyone else, you make immediate money. If there's something I know about the game that the other person doesn't, and if he's not willing to learn or can't understand, then I take his money."

As of 2015, his live tournament winnings exceed $1,350,000.[6]

Sklansky lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Sklansky has authored or co-authored 13 books on gambling theory and poker. His books are published by Two Plus Two Publishing. His book cover art often features hand guns. His 1976 book Hold'em Poker was the first book widely available on the subject.[7]

World Series of Poker Bracelets[edit]

Year Tournament Prize (US$)
1982 $1,000 Draw High $15,500
1982 $800 Mixed Doubles $8,800
1983 $1,000 Limit Omaha $25,500


  1. ^ [1] pokerolymp.de Interview, german
  2. ^ Staff. "David Sklansky", Current Biography Yearbook 2007, Volume 68. H. W. Wilson Co., 2007. Accessed August 31, 2011. "Sklansky attended Teaneck High School, graduating in 1966."
  3. ^ Schwarz, Marc. "He wrote the book on Hold 'em; Teaneck native a poker authority.", The Record (Bergen County), July 12, 2005.
  4. ^ WPT Poker by the Book synopsis Retrieved 11 September 2006.
  5. ^ Michael Konik Bets for Life Cigar Aficionado, May/June 1998. Retrieved 11 September 2006.
  6. ^ Hendon Mob tournament results
  7. ^ Colby, Ann (May 14, 2001). "Pythagoras, Pi and Poker". Los Angeles Times. Chris Ferguson is the new breed of player who uses math calculations, game theory and Internet resources to gain an edge over old-style, instinctive gamblers... "Hold 'Em Poker, written by Sklansky in 1976, was the first book on a type of poker that today dominates play in California card rooms..." 

External links[edit]