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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Winning Secrets of Poker; Adams' Novel Fine Reading

13 September 2006


Peter Thomas Fornatale, a very talented writer with a skill for interviewing the best in poker, has a new book on the game, while Brandon Adams adds a fresh view of the game in a novel. These are two worthy additions to your poker library, and here's a look at each work.

Fornatale, who penned a popular little book on the game titled The Poker Aficionado in 2005 (a marvelous gift at $14.95), again shows his talent in Winning Secrets of Poker: Interviews With the Game's Best Players (235 pages, hardbound, $24.95). Among those he interviewed (several are anonymous) are Ted Forrest, Jennifer Harman, Phil Hellmuth, Matt Lessinger, Matt Matros, Ed Miller, Dan Negreanu, John Phan and David Sklansky.

Although I often get tired of the question-answer format (I think it's better done in the DVD format), here Fornatale hits the jackpot; he's right on target, picking the brains of some of the best in the game, probing, asking for examples, rationale, explanations on most areas of poker. His questions highlight what made most of these big name players successful from the earliest days in their career, including how they learned from mistakes and moved to the level of world class champions. The book would have been a tad better with pictures of those interviewed, but that's a trivial error on the publisher's part. (Interestingly, the Daily Racing Form got this excellent book done.)

Topics covered include limit, no-limit play, online play, discussions of cheating and collusion, bluffing, books which influenced and proved invaluable to players, who the best players are and what makes them special. Players interviewed have won more than 20 World Series of Poker bracelets and won millions of dollars.

It's fast reading and packed with ideas and a sense of direction, making it an important book for every level player, especially those who dream of playing for big money against the best.

Brandon Adams, a young Boston player, has an eye and an ear for the game. His effort, titled Broke: A Poker Novel (91 pages, paperbound, $9.95), even got Phil Hellmuth's attention with this assessment: ³Excellent, entertaining, and extremely well writtenŠI couldn't stop reading.²

The novel follows three top young guns and their various addictions in their search for fame at the game. One is a 25-year-old math genius, another has an almost unexplainable ability to read opponents' hands from their body language and the third seems to border on self-destruction.

The novel takes place in Nevada, California and New Jersey, with detailed action, specific hands, a crisis here, a bad beat there, some highlights and some strategies. It's seemingly autobiographical to a degree, but Adams balances the action, the personalities and the table moves extremely well. In 91 pages, this baby moves like a rocket. Overall, well worth the money. This man understands the game.
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