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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

If Poker Tournaments Are Your Game, Here Are Some Books You Should Read Now

13 February 2004

The new All-American game when it comes to gambling is poker -- no doubt about it. If the hype is correct, millions of beginners and old pros have taken to the tournament campaign trail. They're playing satellite tournaments that allow the winner entry into a big-time tourney like the World Series of Poker or the World Poker Tour or they're playing the old-fashioned tournament structure online and in casinos. Poker tournament action is hot because unlike sports that take years to master, anyone with just a modicum of knowledge can challenge and beat the pros on any given day.

It seems everyone wants to be in on the action but few beginners know what to expect in a tournament compared to playing in a home game or in live action ring games.

So, as a "poker book librarian" I'll try to guide you to some of the best books available for those who want to play and play well. Look at each book as a potential investment--getting to the "final table" is quite an achievement--or getting paid as a top 10 finisher can be equally, no, more exciting if you're a "first-timer."

Books listed are not in any special rank or order:

TOURNAMENT POKER by Tom McEvoy (339 pages, paperbound, $29.95). Published originally in 1995, and updated in 2001, this work by the 1983 World Series of Poker winner discusses how to properly play in each of 11 different games including no-limit hold'em; limit hold 'em; pot-limit hold 'em; seven-card stud; seven-card split; seven-card razz; limit and pot-limit Omaha; Omaha split; deuce-to-seven draw and ace-to-five Lowball. McEvoy explains early, middle, and late round play; ante stealing; big stack, playing blinds properly; and playing in specialty tournaments (including those allowing rebuys).

TOURNAMENT POKER FOR ADVANCED PLAYERS by David Sklansky (245 pages, paperbound, $29.95). Originally published in 2002 this became a "must-read" title by all serious players because of Sklansky's status as an expert in poker theory. The book covers all the major tournament games, including limit and no-limit hold'em; razz (7-stud low); Omaha 8-or-better high-low split and seven stud. This book assumes the reader knows the basics so it doesn't spend much time on definition. Instead, it moves quickly to explain how tournaments work; how tournaments differ; understanding the prize structure; adjusting strategy because the stakes rise; observing short or large stacks; the all-in strategy; rebuy tournaments; folding aces; good tournament plays which might be debatable in a side game. The illustrated hand quizzes are vital to being an excellent, consistent player.

THE SECRET TO WINNING BIG IN TOURNAMENT POKER by Ken Buntjer (191 pages, paperbound, $49.95). Published in 1994 by one of the more successful tournament players on the circuit, this book focuses on only one tournament game‹ major limit hold'em, for those who buy in for anywhere from $100 to $5,000.Also, anyone planning to conduct a tournament will find 30 pages of material of rules; schedule of play; blinds and suggested prize structure. The book also helps the player recognize other opponents' types of personality; level of game knowledge and level of game experience. The book compares ring games to tournament play; discusses starting hands; chip level management; blind stealing and short table play. Does not analyze hands as McEvoy and Sklansky do in their books but should help novice gain confidence in playing tourneys for the first time.

CHAMPIONSHIP SATELLITE STRATEGY by Tom McEvoy and Brad Daugherty (202 pages, paperbound, $24.95). Published in 2003, this book helped accelerate the surge toward satellites as a means of gaining entry into major tournament as World Series of Poker winner Chris Moneymaker did that year, parlaying less than $100 into more than $2 million. The thrust here is in the direction of no-limit and limit hold'em tournaments and includes one-table satellites; super satellites and online satellites. The no-limit section examines how much to bet; how your style of play impacts your chances; when to play small pairs and connectors; slow playing‹and why it can become a lethal weapon; the delayed steal. A mandatory read for anyone who ever dreams of using a satellite tournament to advance to bigger and better things.

NO-LIMIT TEXAS HOLD'EM FOR NEW PLAYERS by Tom McEvoy and Brad Daugherty (208 pages, paperbound, $24.95). Published in 2004, this vital reference shows you the best way to play specific tournament hands before and after the flop. Special "bluffing scenarios" should help the beginner understand the art and science of the bluff. The book also discusses how to play online and on land no-limit cash games. Daugherty won the World Series of Poker in 1991 and imparts advice on making that crucial transition from limit to no-limit tournament play in hold'em.

If Poker Tournaments Are Your Game, Here Are Some Books You Should Read Now is republished from Online.CasinoCity.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
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