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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Brunson's 'Memorable' book; Livingston's 'Wit' both good reads

28 March 2007

How he remembers them I don't know, but the man is a legend, so why worry? My Most Memorable Hands by Doyle Brunson (161 pages, paperbound, $14.95) is colorful, historical and informative.

For those who enjoy reading short, witty quotes and philosophical says from throughout history and from players everywhere, will find hundreds of them in A.D. Livingston's Poker Wit & Wisdom (155 pages, paperbound, $12.95). These are two of the newer arrivals at Gambler's Book Shop.

Brunson, who has played millions of hands since he turned professional five decades ago, does have a great memory. Maybe that's why many people continue to play poker even after they reach retirement age. It keeps the mind sharp and the juices flowing. In this unique book, Brunson takes you from Texas to Las Vegas with stops in Alabama, Montana, as he faces Nick the Greek, Johnny Moss, Sarge Ferris, Chip Reese, Joe Bernstein and others.

It's like a general remembering his greatest battles -- and in this case, Brunson tells you what he did right or wrong, what his hand was, his opponents' hands and the flop, turn and river.

Along the way he explains how playing against amateurs can be a humbling experience at times; how his great classic Super System impacted generations of players; what the poker world was like 20, 30 years ago in Nevada and elsewhere.

This book is autobiographical in many ways. you can see within the soul and heart of a lion of a player as you move from hand to hand, which spans a half-century of play. His lessons of life; how he learned from his mistakes and how he developed almost uncanny powers of observations of other players' moves, quirks, habits are intermixed with his analysis, make this a powerful, well-priced book which should be read by any aspiring player.

A.D. Livingston (who also wrote Catching Poker Cheats and Poker Strategy: Proven Principles for Winning Play), has compiled an interesting collections of things people have said about poker, hold'em, cheating, bad beats, bluffing, sharks, luck versus skill, women plays and money management among other areas. This is a fine gift item, to help explain how the game has been popular for more than a century in this country and why it remains popular and has expanded internationally. The very simplicity of the game attracts players. Yet the ability to win in the long run, or to earn the right for big bucks at the final tournament table remains a puzzle for many.

This is a great time-saving resource for anyone writing a poker book or novel, for it provides little slices of philosophy and humor, mixed with advice, observation and intelligence, sometimes in a one-liner, summaries worth memorizing to help you cope with the ups and downs of the game. Some samples:

--Yeah. Well, sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand, is a famous line from Cool Hand Luke (Paul Newman).

--The game exemplifies the worst aspects of capitalism that have made our country so great (Walter Matthau)

--It has often been stated that to become a great first-rate poker player, you must be one part mathematician, one part economist and one part psychiatrist (Robert Scharff)

The book's cover is right on target, describing Livingston's work as ...a timely collection of pithy quotes and amusing anecdotes from the wags, rakes, scoundrels and philosophers of America's beloved card game.

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