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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Fischman's Online Ace; Isaacs' I'm Not Bluffing New at GBC

5 July 2006


Chris Ferguson says Scott Fischman "is the perfect person to teach online poker, that he is a guy who, in fact, can train you for anything -- from your local home game to the world's richest events." Fischman's new book, Online Ace -- A World Series of Poker Champion's Guide to Mastering Internet Poker (224 pages, paperbound, $19.95) has arrived at Gambler's Book Shop and indeed it is a dandy piece of work for millions who are potential players and for those looking for ways to improve their games.

Along with Fischman's work are two books by Susie Isaacs, MS. Poker: I'm Not Bluffing -- Book One: True Tales from the Green Felt (256 pages, paperbound, $12.95) and the companion work, Book Two: MsPoker: I'm Not Bluffing -- How to Win, Place or Show in Poker Tournaments (152 pages, paperbound, $15.95). If purchased together, the two-volume set sells for $24.95.

In order of mention, Fischman, who Doyle Brunson considers one of the sharpest, most intelligent players of this generation, presents nine major areas of online play, including game selection and money management; basic strategy; Sit-n-Gos; Intermediate Strategy; Multi-Table tournaments; Multi-tabling; advanced concepts.

Along the way, Fischman introduces world-class players who have an impact on his game, via observation, facing these world-class gentlemen or by lessons learned from them. These include Carlos Mortensen, Mike Mizrachi Mark Seif and Tom Keller.

Fischman smartly presents questions or problems and answers them clearly, with examples, logic and in an easy-to-follow format. He admits to reading very little about poker or hold'em when he began playing. Much of what he learned was in actual play and through the Internet which he believes has "radically" changed the learning process. He may be right, and he adds, "A novice can become a seasoned veteran in a matter of weeks. The length of time it takes to become a great player can now be measured in months instead of years."

This book has little if anything in the way of odds, probabilities or theories. It's more about learning and improving.

"Contrary to popular belief, there is no 'right' way to play poker," Fischman says. "There is only the opportunity to develop a style that will work for you."

The book's focus is on shortcuts for improvement of play. He includes advice from some of his top online playing friends.

For those who hunger for material on sit-n-gos, the chapter is a 17-pager, and there's material for those who want to play seven-card stud and seven stud hi lo split; razz (seven-card stud for low only) and the new game called badugi (making the best possible low hand using four cards‹you must use one card from each suit and you cannot use pairs). Badugi gets four pages of attention from Fischman, but it's more than any other book has at this time.

Bound to be controversial, this book may be the "sleeper" of the year because he takes the contrarian viewpoint on many subjects‹a sure road to upsetting "the establishment" of writers and theorists.

The ageless Susie Isaacs has a bubbling personality and has earned -- and still earns -- plenty at the tables over the years. Now she has two books -- actually a two-volume set if you purchase both at the same time that combine her biography with her playing style with instruction for beating the pants off the competition in tournament action.

This is a lady who loves the game, the color, the pressure of big stakes poker‹of tournament play, the characters who are attracted to action and she presents it from a player-observer-writer standpoint. She simply loves the game.

Isaacs has experienced some lumps and bumps in life and survived. It's how she survived, the people she met and how she learned to find that edge which makes Book One interesting. Women will enjoy it more because it talks about how she's faced the best on the planet and because she shares it in a colorful, yet extremely personal way. This all includes her observations and opinions on problem gambling, childhood memories and the impact of family on her own life. By the time you finish this book you'll want to give Isaacs a big hug the next time you meet her away from the tables.

Book Two, which concentrates on getting the money, looks at tournament strategy in limit and no-limit Texas hold'em and in seven stud play.

This is a fine book for beginners who feel intimidated in a live game and want to get their feet wet. Isaacs offers the novice survival tips; advice on table etiquette‹what to expect and how to cope; and what those who dream of making professional poker a major part of their life can expect‹she pulls few punches.

Practice, perseverance, patience, psychology, practice are key points she hammers home, using examples, personal experience and observation.

What's a good pre-flop hand? When to stay; when to bluff; how to "read" the type of opponents you may face (she calls herself a "waiter"‹meaning playing with patience, compared to being a "rusher"‹the player with an itchy trigger finger on the chips)‹Isaacs covers it all with a simple, down-to-earth style of writing. No charts, tables, probabilities to wade through‹just facts, her advice and a sense of direction for those who need a sort of hurry-up confidence-builder in tournament play.

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