CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Related Links
Recent Articles
Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Chan's Poker Book Colorful, Instructional; Gullo's Hold 'Em Guide Perfect for Beginners

20 January 2005

Johnny Chan is considered to be one of the all-time great poker players. (He won the World Series of Poker No-Limit Hold em title in 1987 and 1988.) He has now satisfied his fans by joining the ranks of high-profile players with a book geared to beginners and experienced players who might one day challenge him.

Chan, nicknamed the Oriental Express, has co-authored Play Poker Like Johnny Chan with Mark Karowe (239 pages, paperbound, $29.95). The book is both biographical and instructional, printed on slick paper with examples of hands and flops in color. The wily Chan, who began gambling in Las Vegas at age 16 (he looked older), discovered poker four years later at the Golden Nugget and ran $2,500 into $30,000 (later blowing it all at a 21 table). When he moved to Las Vegas from Texas in 1979, it took him three years to perfect his game. After that there was no looking back.

He remembers what it was like being a rank beginner, paying his "dues" and learning from mistakes.

This book contains 14 chapters. The first four cover the basics like explaining hand rankings, general poker concepts (the importance of patience is emphasized) and what to expect the first time you enter a casino card room. This chapter should help the home player making that first big step. Chan and Karowe explain poker etiquette (dos and don'ts), such as what "string bets" are and how "cards speak" and why English is the only language allowed at the tables.

The fifth chapter begins with coverage of limit hold'em, followed by seven-card stud; seven card stud high low split, then Omaha and Omaha high low split. There is one chapter on no-limit hold'em (23 pages) and a small section on tournament play (five pages). His advice is good and there's logic to what he says about gaining valuable experience in smaller tournaments.

The book contains a 12-page section on Internet poker, and his views on bluffing and money management should guide the novice through dangerous straits. One section describes Chan's opinions of the great players like Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, the late Stu Ungar, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey and Gus Hansen. For some reason the authors got the spelling of Bob Stupak wrong; they have it as Stupack.

Chan has 25 color photos in the book also.

Overall, a good book outlining the fundamentals and some advanced concepts, with excellent analysis and illustrated examples of hands and flops, with an inside look at what Chan sacrificed in his early years to become a respected, feared, table legend.

Nick Gullo, a Las Vegas casino veteran, who knows the games and the industry, has produced a timely, easy-to-use Texas Hold 'em Study Guide (laminated 8x11-sized sheet, in color, two-sided) for the beginner or forgetful experienced player who needs a quick reference source for Hold 'em poker.

His guide quickly helps the novice know the hand rankings, starting hand information, lists 20 good starting hands, explains the importance of position, offers question to ponder as the action begins (things to watch for before and after the flop, on the turn and on the river).

The guide explains key terms like kicker, pot and implied odds, connectors, outs. There's a mini-chart on the odds of making hands after the flop, a quick list of the types of games you may encounter (loose, tight, passive, aggressive), some general advice about winning players' traits, what to do when losing. Overall, a nice collection of advice and guidelines for the greenhorn who needs quick advice at his or her fingertips.

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