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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

'Poker 24/7' by Reuben -- 30 Years Of Legends, Characters, Games

1 February 2006


Stewart Reuben, an English author who penned "How Good Is Your Pot-Limit Hold'em" and "How Good is Your Pot-Limit Omaha," has produced an interesting, and what might become quite a controversial work, in "Poker 24/7 (35 Years As a Poker Pro)" (256 pages, hardbound, $24.95). He apparently likes to "walk the edge of controversy," which in this case means he hints at things people have done -- sometimes on the dark side. But he can be annoying because he doesn't quite get to actual "documentation" of any event he hints at.

On occasion, Reuben may suspect he's been cheated or that someone, a former financial backer of his, has abandoned him. But his conclusions end up fuzzy and unclear.

The book is not without merit. It contains excellent, isolated situations where he analyzes poker hands -- what went right and what went sadly wrong.

There are hundreds of players, gamblers and betting buddies (and not so buddy-types) in Reuben's book. A sampling of players he's either played against, has an opinion about or has heard about: Bobby Baldwin, Benny Binion, Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Bob Ciaffone, T.J. Cloutier, Eric Drache, Chris Ferguson, Dan Harrington, Phil Hellmuth, Howard Lederer, Mansour Matloubi, Chris Moneymaker, Johnny Moss, Puggy Pearson, Chip Reese, Mike Sexton, David Sklansky, Jack Straus and Stu Ungar.

There are individuals identified by unusual nicknames, many of them uncomplimentary, such as Little Sleaseball, Brian the Burglar, Crazy Charlie, Crazy Kid.

Reuben is British; many of his friends and acquaintances are too, so the book is bound to appeal to players from England, Ireland and the U.S.

In a way, the book fills an informational gap. Americans who have never played in the United Kingdom will get a better picture or "feel" for how the game is played there and get an idea of what led Reuben -- as well as other Brits who are ever-increasing on the tournament circuit -- to the lure of the green felt tables.

Understanding the mindset of international players could be of some benefit to online players and those who are just achieving some level of confidence in cash games and tournament play. Perhaps too, Reuben's fears, weaknesses, experiences, mistakes and the like will relate to those newcomers yet to win big; go on tilt and lose all and who will soon face some of the greats of the poker world.

I wish Reuben could have fact-checked the correct spelling of Jack Straus' name -- it is listed in the book as Strauss, an error authors and journalists made for more than 10 years until it was corrected in the mid-1980s forever by having Straus produce a driver's license to one and all at Binion's during the World Series of Poker. This blatant error has always been a pet peeve for this reader.

Overall, the book has value, although I'd rather seen it in paperbound at a lower price. But we all know poker players balk at no price when they want a book badly enough.

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