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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

New 'Kill' Book; Tannenbaum strategy excellent tutorials

15 November 2007

One of the surprise poker books of past years was one with an unusual title: Kill Phil, co-authored by Blair Rodman and Lee Nelson. Now comes the follow-up to the original 2005 work, Kill Everyone (Advanced Strategies for No-Limit Hold 'Em Poker Tournaments and Sit-n-Go's) by Lee Nelson, Tysen Streib and Kim Lee (348 pages, paperbound, $29.95). Hot on its heels is another poker work, Advanced Limit Hold'em Strategy (Techniques for Beating Tough Games) by Barry Tanenbaum (247 pages, paperbound, $24.95), which is also creating quite a stir as solid, breakthrough material.

As the back cover of Kill Everyone explains, "Unlike Kill Phil, which was 90% pre-flop strategy, Kill Everyone goes all the way. In the end, you'll know how to accumulate chips early, navigate through the middle stages, and perfect your play on the bubble and at the final table."

It's for anyone "serious about playing tournament poker, both live and online." Online cash game players will find material here too, written by 2007 World Series of Poker bracelet winner Mark Vos, geared for short-handed no-limit action. A major portion of the book examines specific strategies for different tournament types and some much needed material on heads-up play. One chapter, titled Prize Pools and Equities explores how the prize structure in a tournament affects your decisions with solid material on "bubble factors."

This book, with some heady, heavy stuff, contains many charts and tables, a minimum of heavy mathematics and a trainload of food for thought requiring slow reading, much note-taking and underlining and patience to absorb some of the most important poker advice you'll ever get.

Tanenbaum's Advanced Hold'em Strategy is packed with tips; questions, answers and challenging situations worth pondering. As he explains in his introduction, the book is divided into two main parts: concepts and stages. In concepts, it "deals with your overall approach." Highlighted are "the value of unpredictability, emphasizing that your private goals are to be unpredictable; to make your opponents predictability." Here he offers strategies in pre-flop action; the flop; the turn and the river.

In stages, he dissects and explains the difference between power hands, volume hands and "hybrid" hands (big suited cards and big pairs).

Tanenbaum, a gifted player, teacher and writer, puts the spotlight on something all poker players seek to achieve to return to after a bad beat—balance. "Overall balance is the most important aspect in playing in and beating tough games. You want your opponents to feel uncomfortable responding to your bets and raises and even to your checks."

Other areas Tanenbaum examines include how to exploit your position; attacking from out of position; and, overall, how to train yourself to recognize profitable situations and how to play them when they occur.

On the whole, this is a worthy addition to your growing poker library and a new tool to sharpen your skills at the tables.

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