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Gaming Guru

 

More Negreanu wisdom, bio of gangster Nitti new reads

28 August 2008

Some new poker advice by a respected champion and a revealing biography of one of the most notorious mobsters ever are two new arrivals.

The two books, More Hold'em Wisdom for All Players (167 pages, paperbound, $14.95) by Daniel Negreanu, and Frank Nitti (The True Story of Chicago's Notorious Enforcer) by Ron Humble (399 pages, hardbound, $23.95), make for some interesting reading, depending on your interest area. Since there are more poker players than organized crime buffs, we'll look at the new Negreanu book first.

If you're a bit confused, don't be. His earlier book was Hold'em Wisdom for All Players, published earlier this year and well received by the poker populace. This new book, separated from the old by the use of the word "more," contains four major sections. And, as he did in his earlier work, he again presents 50 new concepts and strategies related to both cash games and tournament play.

The book begins with focus on Negreanu's most effective tournament strategies, then moves to the second half where it concentrates on identifying and playing against different type players and how to take advantage of position. The book then moves to advanced no limit hold'em with an eye on the "small-ball" approach. In a final section the text covers concepts such as playing garbage on the button; bluffing at paired flops; playing pocket kings; playing suited connectors; limping in with pocket aces; and explaining why pros hate playing the ace-queen.

Both beginners and hardcore pros will gain from this book. For the price, you're getting some of the best advice available from one of the most consistent and respected players in the world.

Nitti by Humble is more than just a biography. It's a reference and resource, packed with more than 80 pages of footnotes, indexes, chronology (dates specific events occurred) and notes including hundreds of resources. Many people might remember actor Bruce Gordon playing the Nitti role in the classic 1950s "The Untouchables" television series with Robert Stack as Eliot Ness. The bio shows more of Nitti than the series ever did.

How powerful was Nitti? How did he influence the rise of organized crime and Al Capone in the 1920s? What kind of man was he? The book answers many questions and leaves with others.

Nitti was born in 1886 in Italy. His father's surname was Nitto. He lived in New Jersey, later Brooklyn, finally Chicago, where he died in 1943. There is some question as to whether he killed himself or was assassinated. The book discusses many theories, leaving the reader to decide.

Nitti, perhaps, as the author says, "the most media glamorized gangster in history," began as a part-time barber and jewelry fence. How he rose to the top and gained power is told in great detail, along with what was happening in Chicago in the 1920s and beyond. Those interested in the history of illegal gambling operations (there were 900 of them in Chicago by 1941), will find a goldmine of information. From 1929 to 1950, the biggest was called The Big House, based in Indiana Harbor.

Humble details how handbooks operated, the rise of Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Moses Annenberg, Mickey Cohen and others, along with the Mob's connection to unions, drug sales and Hollywood.
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