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Gaming Guru

 

Brunson's latest a revealing autobiography; 'Gold Sheet' logs easy reference

29 October 2009

Good poker biographies are rare, great ones even rarer. Doyle Brunson's autobiography is that rare exception -- brilliantly compiled and detailed, well-written and organized. It will forever be read as an honest record of an exceptional individual and a true pioneer of the game.

Titled The Godfather of Poker (384 pages, illustrated, hardbound, $26.95), this was a long time coming because of the amount of background, memories, research and fact-checking needed. (Mike Cochran is credited with much of the book as editor.) The recollections, the details of the people, the places and history he and Brunson recall so many years later are an exceptional feat. In a way, perhaps that's why Brunson is so revered, respected and considered an icon.

What's amazing, beyond Brunson's skills (he won the World Series of Poker twice), is his memory for detail, about colorful, classy, sometimes devious people, the hands he played, the circumstances he found himself in, his family and what he did to survive in the toughest and best of times. But this isn't just about Brunson. It includes his adventures in book publishing (Super/System, published in 1978, which became a landmark by which other poker books would forever be measured), how the game has changed, a look at the impact of television and online poker, this new generation of players, Mob guys, cheats, characters all have a place in Brunson's life and work.

Perhaps the most poignant sections involve his family -- life, death, proud achievements on a personal level. Brunson is a true survivor in more ways than one, and he's respected for not only what he achieved at the tables, but the way he overcame personal tragedies.

Brunson met them all -- the greats, the near greats, the shifty characters who drifted in and out of smoky poker rooms and played at the craps tables. Through his eyes and detailed memory, you'll meet Stu Ungar, Jack Straus, Shorty Jenkins, the Binion family, Chip Reese, Archie Karas, Jimmy Chagra, Titanic Thompson, Major Riddle Johnny Moss, Amarillo Slim Preston.

Brunson remember the many times he went bust as did other big-name players, along with the comebacks.

This is not exactly a "how-to-win" book -- it has life lessons in it worth heeding. Brunson is in some ways a brutally honest person who had to change his own style of play to adapt and survive.

If you love poker, respect Brunson and love a good read about the game and the people who play it and why, this book should be on your shelf. (It would make a hell of a movie.)

The Gold Sheet has conveniently compiled its annual Basketball Record (28 pages, 8x11, stapled, $10) for anyone seeking the scores, spreads and totals (for the pros only) for the 2008-09 season, and its arrival is just in time for the beginning of the new hoops season. From Air Force to Youngstown in the colleges, you can see winning and losing streaks, and if a team covered or not-- at home or on the road and on what date. For the pros, similar information is listed including the totals.
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com