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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Two new poker books aimed at tough players and pigeons

11 April 2007

If you're a tough player and one who likes to pretend you're a dunce, two new books just arrived at Gambler's Book Shop that aim to help you perfect your skills at the poker tables and end up with the money. Like watching a colorful parade and you never know what's coming down the street next, the new books march into our lives with exciting new titles to help them stand out and sell.

Nick Grudzien and Geoff Herzog have a fresh one titled Winning in Tough Hold'em Games: Short-Handed and High Stakes Concepts and Theory for Limit Hold'em (347 pages, paperbound, $29.95), while "Anonymous" (he offers no first or last name) has written Play Poker Like a Pigeon And Take The Money Home (213 pages, paperbound, $14.95).

The Grudzien and Herzog work addresses low-limit games ($3-$6 and below); middle limits ($5-$10 and $20-$40); upper limits ($25-$50 to $100-$200) and sky-high limits ($150-$300 and up) so there's something for everyone here. The authors provide specific guidelines based on position to help you decide whether to play pre-flop. They recognize players sometimes remain undecided when to play because "circumstances change and decisions get more complex." Here they help the player become more disciplined via more than a dozen charts, including one reflecting potential strategy for opening-raising from positions three or fewer seats off the button (all non-blind positions at a six-handed table). They offer similar in-depth strategy charts for the steal situation. The book delivers a powerful package of material for the serious ploy-seeking, thinking-man player. It does so by covering vital areas such as re-stealing; limping; playing in the small blind and big blind; blind defense; playing heads-up post-flop; responding to check-raises on the flop and the turn; understanding why the "free card" play may have negative expectation in tight-aggressive games and making thin value bets. The section on semi-bluffing also addresses the heads-up, post flop situation; semi-bluffing a loose player and betting and raising for value with strong draws.

The book winds down with an army of hands to emphasize correct strategies involving big and small blind defense hands; quizzes and summaries to test what you've learned so far in big blind defense, pre and post-flop play. Small sections review table and seat selection; psychological and tilt control.

This work is indexed so a potential buyer can review the concepts covered quickly.

Play Poker like a Pigeon is certainly going to ruffle plenty of feathers. The author is from a veteran of the tables (at least 30 years of action). His work is clearly intended for the player who swims upstream many times when everyone else is floating along in the opposite direction. He offers moves, disguises, approaches and opinions contrary to what most accept -- about limit hold'em; about online poker; about tells; starting hands; who the great players are and when to play loose and aggressive.

The author is opinionated as heck, but he believes altering your style of play is key to winning -- and he explains why, with examples, shifty ideas and personal examples, "pigeon moves." Drawing from his own experiences, observations, the mistakes he's made and those he's seen others make, Anonymous takes us through three decades of play around the nation.

He enjoys limit play because he believes it "gives you the best chance of ducking the broke factor." He'll ramble, analyze, offer advice about table play and about life. To me it sounds like he's definitely been there. In this offbeat, easy reading, well-opinionated book, you'll pick up some gems, some semi-precious stones and maybe more than a little understanding of what to expect if you plan to turn pro and leave your job.

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