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Poker -- The Real Deal by Gordon; Five New Hoops Magazines Arrive

17 September 2004

If you've been watching cable TV's Celebrity Poker Showdown, you'll recognize the name Phil Gordon. Gordon, along with Jonathan Grotenstein, have produced a unique guide for the beginning and hopeful poker player who's curious about every aspect of the game -- home games, online play, card rooms and tournaments. The book, titled Poker: The Real Deal (284 pages, hardbound, $19.95), couldn't have come along at a better--as poker's popularity, live and on television, with the World Poker Tour and other tournaments attracting thousands of new players monthly, has yet to peak.

There are 12 chapters to this effort, beginning with a brief history of the game; the basics of Texas Hold 'em including what to look for in starting hands and why; percentages and probabilities and then into the home game. Here you'll get some tips on how to set up a game including who to invite; why chips are better than money; how much to play for; the one-hour rule.

Sprinkled throughout the book are excerpts from well-accepted books and classics, lending an interesting balance, with saying, advice, suggestions and a sort of flowing question-answer format, making for a well-balanced, easy-reading pattern.

The section keyed to online poker and what to expect from live cardroom action are excellent, since they are aimed at the nervous, anxious player. The material should help in its confidence-building approach. For some, the terms "capped pots" or "kill pots" and "straddle bets" could be confusing. The explanations are followed by some psychological ploys you might think of introducing yourself, like feigning drunkenness; being annoying; or helping others at the table to "go on tilt."

There are plenty of tidbits of value in this work. Many wonder what "middle-limit" play actually is and others may make the mistake of overvaluing the ace. Exactly what is "table texture"?

It's the ability to evaluate the cards on the table. Then there's the art of bluffing and the art of "tells" and that means avoiding giving yours away and developing a way of memorizing those of your opponents.

There's a discussion of table limits, bankroll, projecting an image, controlling the size of the pot and the all-important big money days all players dream about -- the often pressure-packed, energy-sapping tournaments.

There are eight pages of poker term -- jargon you might be unfamiliar with--if you're going to play, you've got to learn the language.

Overall this is a fine, introductory book covering much territory from a man who knows the games and the players.

For those who can't wait for basketball, here's a quick look at five new magazines which have just arrived:

Street & Smith's Pro Basketball ($6.99, 148 pages) has predictions, analysis, schedules (month by month and day by day for each team from November to April), rosters, last year's statistics, the 2004-05 TV schedule for pro games; where to call for tickets and their price range.

Sporting News Pro Basketball ($6.98, 120 pages) has predictions, analysis, schedule (month by month and day by day, last year's statistics, media information including the team web site, rosters plus a small section for fantasy leaguers.

Athlon Sports Pro Basketball ($5.99, 168 pages) has predictions, analysis, with schedules in a full page wide format showing you the entire season from left to right in chronological order. Rosters and last year's statistics, plus small fantasy section included.

Lindy's Pro Basketball ($6.99, 144 pages) has predictions, analysis, schedules (day by day for the entire NBA beginning with season openers Nov. 2 when there are three games). Rosters, last year's statistics included with small fantasy league section.

Athlon Sports College Basketball ($5.99, 192 pages) contains eight pages of schedules (all subject to change of course, because as they went to press several conferences had yet to even finalize their league schedules). The magazine lists a website for updates of schedules. Schedules are listed by conference, then teams within conferences. Predictions, rosters, fresh faces with last year's statistics along with projections on the All-America teams and who'll be in both the NCAA March Madness and NIT tourneys. Contains top 25 colleges in recruiting, top 100 freshmen, top high school seniors and juniors. Lists new coaches and who they replaced at what school; players to watch and coaches who are on the hot seat. Small section on key players who have transferred from one school to another.
Poker -- The Real Deal by Gordon; Five New Hoops Magazines Arrive is republished from Online.CasinoCity.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
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