Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Egg Head Likes His Booky-Wook

Picked up a couple of books during the week, by the two Phils - Hellmuth and Gordon.

Hellmuth's book "Bad Beats and Lucky Draws" delivers what it says in the title (unlike his previous book), and therein lies the problem. People should be paying me to tell bad beat stories, not I them ! There is, as ever, a nugget or two buried deep within, but even if you can handle Hellmuth's style, it's a bit of a slog. He reminds me of the £20 player who keeps reraising with AJ, and the one time he actually catches someone with AT he nods sagely and says "ah yes, I put you on AT". They never say that when they're behind do they ? Going back to the book, there are some interesting analyses by other players, notably Gus Hansen and Ted Forrest, but several of these sound awfully familiar if you've read a few Card Players and that's a bit naughty to put recycled material in a book without saying so (as, for example, Roy Cooke does but he makes it clear up front which is fine). As a small plus though you might enjoy snippets about the likes of Koresh and Tony Chapman !

Gordon's "Poker : The Real Deal" is much better, it's quite funny and there is some stuff in there that I've rarely seen before, like how to put people on tilt. To give you an idea of the flavour, he starts off on the story of Nick the Greek vs Johnny Moss, but just as you're thinking "Oh God, not that 5-card stud hand again", he wraps it up because "no one likes bad beat stories". Quite so !

I say rarely, because John Fox covers such topics in the brilliant "Play Poker, Quit Work and Sleep Till Noon". Frankly I recommend flying to Vegas with the sole purpose of buying this book from the big gambling bookstore there. It's that good. My poker library probably numbers around 40-50 books by now but, apart from the odd titbit here and there, just about everything you need is in Fox as mentioned above, Sklansky's Theory of Poker and Larry Phillips' Zen and the Art of Poker (although there is a small amount of bollocks in the latter about luck). The rest are either specific to particular games * or have some small value from a "how would I play against someone who plays by this book" point of view, and as a parting shot while I'm here, "Big Deal" is surely the most over-rated poker book of all time - it's deadly dull and has no useful strategy content whatsoever.

* Fox is specific to draw poker but it's sooooo good that doesn't matter.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will look out for the Fox title.

I don't think Big Deal pretends to be a strategy book? For me it was just an infectious insight into living the dream when I started out - admitedly with a fair amount of filler poked in to fatten it up.
In fact, one of the few bits of strategy that he does mention include the butterflies as he started the 10k event (I think) and was praying to find junk so he could fold and relax a moment. All fine and dandy, but then he looked down and found ATs UTG and said that it was far too big a hand to put down! I bet the book would have been written a bit differently if he was inadvertently sat next to the Luton regular who popped him back with AJ.....

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must register one of these years...

Simon G.

10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see soembody else agrees with me about 'Big Deal'. Dull is the word - still can't understand why people rave about this book - have these people actually read it ALL.
I bought Fox on your recommendation - you mentioned it as 'the best poker book ever'. Wasn't too impressed with the little bit I read but I'll get back to it. 'King of a Small World' is still my favourite.
Andy, I'm waiting for your comments on Harrington's book. I've seen a few reviews so far and they all seem very positive.


11:21 AM  
Blogger Andy_Ward said...

King of a Small World - ok I'll check that out. Sounds a little different according to the Amazon reviews. Harrington's book is on my list. The funny thing about Harrington is that everyone says he's "under-rated" but, as Phillips points out, that's hardly possible now. NO ONE is good enough to reach the Big One final table two years running, in fields of 800 and 2500, without a shedload of luck. Which isn't to say he's not a top player - personally I've no idea having never played against him.

As for Fox, check out Section 3 (Behavioural Deductions) - if you don't like it, you don't like it, but I think it's awesome !


12:17 PM  

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