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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Innovative Poker Tournament Book by Snyder a Valuable Tool

26 July 2006


Arnold Snyder, better known for books on blackjack (Blackbelt in Blackjack, The Big Book of Blackjack) has a solid follow up to his most recent text on poker (Internet Casinos & Poker Rooms), with The Poker Tournament Formula (366 pages, paperbound, $19.95). Timed to coincide with the granddaddy of all poker tournaments, the World Series of Poker, at the Rio Hotel (more than 8,000 hopefuls shooting for a gold bracelet and millions of dollars if they make the final table), Snyder's approach is innovative, unorthodox and contrarian to a degree, which fits right in with today's new generation of new generation players, many talented, others wannabees and each dreaming of hitting it big.

The book, published less than a month ago, contains 30 major sections, including focus on patience as a factor, depending on the pace of a particular tournament; how patience affects the skill level; and adjusting it all for online tournaments compared to live action.

He devotes a good portion of attention to what he calls "basic position strategy," then follows it with an analysis of the value of your cards in relation to position (early, middle and late); how to properly read the board; understanding the nuts; betting on the flop including flopping a monster); betting on the turn and on the river.

The book really gets into high gear in his discussion of card strategy, with a look at ins and outs; looking deeper into pot odds; implied odds and when pot odds don't matter.

One vital section examines player types-what he categorizes as ace masters; flush masters; show'n'tellers; wimps, oafs and how to put a player on a particular hand-something everyone would like to do if they could.

Mastering the complexities of chip strategy gets much needed attention from Snyder who emphasizes how vital it is to build your stack early and how to play if you're long or short on chips.

The question of rebuys is the focus of one section. Here, the concept of return on investment; a look at rebuy formats and how pot odds change during the rebuy period is discussed.

Snyder moves on to bluffing, when to act in early, middle and late position; when to act in a "steal-back" (the most successful blind position bluff he says) and finally, whether or not to show your cards after a successful bluff.

Although the industry hates to admit collusion occurs and too often neglects to catch it, players have worked with partners to benefit their bankrolls. Snyder explains how it works and what to watch for. In tournaments, the move is called "chip dumping," which is deliberately losing your stack to a partner or team member to fatten his bankroll so he'll have good shot at the biggest money.

Another vital area players often neglect to consider is how field size affects tournament speed. Snyder outlines why you should know how "fast" a tournament is and how to re-design your mode of play accordingly, whether it be a small buy-in, multiple rebuy, etc.

This is an excellent resource for beginners or the enthusiastic, advanced player who has a multitude of choices in tournaments. It is to be read carefully and would appeal clearly to those who enjoy a battle plan before charging headlong into any poker war (tournament) where

hundreds, even thousands may charge forward hopefully, but mindlessly, hoping to get lucky.

This book will make you think, to structure your attack like a business plan. Also, the book will force average or mediocre players into self-examination. It's not just skill, luck and money that get you to a final table. It's those "in-betweens" which Snyder reinforces with each chapter.

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