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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

New Small Stakes Hold 'Em Book; Two New Trend Books Arrive at GBC

22 July 2004

Small Stakes Hold'em: Winning Big With Expert Play by Ed Miller, David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth (369 pages, paperbound, $24.95) arrived at Gambler's Book Shop and may be one of the hottest sellers of the past few years for beginning and intermediate-level players.

Two new arrivals for sports bettors are the 2004 Trend and Schedule Books. Publisged by Football Trends, the College Football version (106 pages, 8x11 paperbound, $32.95) and the NFL version (80 pages, 8x11 paperbound, $32.95) are easy to use for record-keeping, isolating streaks and finding trends in schedule order.

First the poker book.

Ed Miller, somewhat unknown (but not after this book), has collaboraed with the respected Sklansky and Malmuth, to fill a huge gap in poker literature with some super material for beginners all the way up to some say (this is from customer feedback at the Gamblers Book already) virtually middle-limit play.

Malmuth told this reviewer it's a book perfect for the $6 to $12 player -- but individuals are so enthusiastic about the new work, they believe it's good for even $20-40 players.

The authors are specific. "This is not a beginner's book....or a beginner's strategy book Š. This book picks up where the beginners' books leave off...we introduce some advanced concepts that you have likely never before considered. In fact, some of them have never before appeared in print."

The authors direct the player to play a tight, aggressive, attacking way. "We focus on attacking opponents who have weak hands more than defending ourselves when we have a weak hand."

The material in this book, the authors correctly emphasize are "valuable at all limits."

There are seven major sections to the book, including quizzes and questions and answers, which help underline and emphasize vital concepts.

Sections discuss Gambling Concepts such as pot- implied- and reverse-implied odds; pot equity and counting the pot. This is followed by Preflop Play, which includes when to play tight; a look at top pair hands; speculative hands and powerhouse hands; the power of domination; the value of position; the importance of being suited and cold-calling hands with mediocre hands.

Next the authors probe and analyze preflop hand categories including pocket pairs; suited and offsuited cards; tight and loose games. In the examination of postflop considerations, there are discussions on "outs" which may well be the price of the book itself.

Here the authors explore counting outs including partial outs; backdoor draws; redraws; relative position; finding hidden outs; evaluating the flop including made hands; top pair or an overpair; drawing hands; large vs. small pots; protecting your hand; raising for a free card and slowplaying.

The final major section focuses on River Play, which looks at betting for value when a "scare card" comes; when the pot is big; going for overcalls; when you do not want overcalls. Also, the book talks about building big pots before the flop; using "tells" to attack an opponent's weakness or using one cautiously in large pots.

Indexed and illustrated with many examples of hands tied to the text, the book is one of the best we've seen in years--fresh material abounds and Miller's fresh approach immediately establish him as an author and player to watch.

This book should rocket to the top 10 in "must-reads" as fast as any poker title ever solid at Gambler's Book Shop.

The College Football Trend & Schedule book is a simple, but power way to isolate past trends and decide whether you wish to incorporate them into your 2004 handicapping methodology.

Let's look at LSU for example. We can see they are one of 94 teams featured in this book, with their schedule and room to record wins, losses, spreads. There are five trends by date and two by situation listed. One key trend is that LSU is 17-3 vs. the spread in their first conference game and that they'll be at Auburn on Sept. 18 in a game to be played at night. Should at any time during the season, LSU be a favorite after it loses two straight games straight up, go against them, because they are 1-6 in past similar situations, the book tells us.

In the NFL version of the book, there are two pages devoted to each team. The Philadelphia Eagles for example are very strong in their first road game after their first home game, going 13-2 against the spread. This game occurs Sept. 26 at Detroit. Their are six against the spread trends for the Eagles and for those betting Totals, plus three called seasonal trends by situation. Sample: Play on Philadelphia as a dog the game after Philly loses a game straight up by 14 or more points. The Eagles are 16-2 against the line in that scenario. There are five pages of pre-season trends against the line ands for Totals wagering plus angles keyed to bye weeks, after Sunday and Monday games and after "first win" of season.

Overall, two excellent resources for who enter contests, like parlay cards or who are too busy to do serious handicapping and want a handy guide for picking a winner using the book as a key to past history, which might repeat in 2004.

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