Looking for variety in poker books? Here are three different, yet each in its own way, fascinating books on the game for players who just can’t get enough as they learn or improve on their game.Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," is the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he has held since 1979. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry. Howard's website is www.gamblersbook.com They cover three totally different aspects of the game yet provide plenty of information of value.
The books are Poker Face--Mastering Body Language to Bluff, Read Tells and Win by Judi James (256 pages, paperbound, $14.95); Poker Unchecked by Russ Georgiev (286 pages, paperbound, $29.95) and Essential Poker edited by Graham Sharpe (157 pages, hard bound, $22.95).
Since the classic Mike Caro book on body language and tells at the poker table, (written 25 years ago), there have been a cluster of titles recently updating tells, alerting you to your own tells and those of your opponents. Now, Judi James, identified as a “top body-language guru and image consultant,” offers 16 chapters about lying, managing stress at the table, your own poker face, how to stare, behavior types and patterns and trash talk, among other areas. (One chapter discusses playing online.) Although not illustrated (it always helps to have photos or diagrams, I believe), the book is well-detailed in outlining what you or opponents might be doing to bluff or how you are accidentally giving away your strengths or weaknesses with blinks, breathing, hand or eye movement. This book can also be used to determine if a job applicant is lying or avoiding the full truth when asked a question. The handy, detailed seven-page index allows anyone to isolate specific concepts including how to sharpen your observational skills and what to watch for in the way your opponents dress. Well-priced it’s a valuable addition to any poker library.
I’ve never met or talked to Russ Georgiev, who calls him (on the book cover) “Poker’s Most Controversial World Class Player.” But he certainly has written a book that is stirring up much controversy. In 54 fast-moving sections, including a few titled Cheating 101 and 301 and To Cheat or Not to Cheat and Cheating…Marked Cards, the author covers a wide country of subjects. He has something to say or teach about no-limit and pot-limit play; how to win a major tournament; Omaha, Omaha split, low ball draw, pineapple, seven stud and women in poker. This definitely is not a dull book. Georgiev apparently hasn’t made many friends at the tables. Several customers of the Gamblers Book Shop, respected players, asked us not to carry the books. Apparently reverse marketing works. The more you tell people not to read or buy a book for one reason or another, the more people get curious as to why and they do buy. The author’s advice, personal experiences and the dark side of playing cash games and tournaments make this an interesting read. You may wish for more names and specific places, but they’re not always there. After this review, I’m pretty sure the author will surface for more human contact. We’ll see. The book may get you wondering, thinking, perhaps in the zone of “conspiracy theory.”
Essential Poker by Sharpe (a British writer employed by a major UK bookmaker) is a fine reference source for those who love the game and are fascinated by quotes, sayings, great lines and quotes from the famous, infamous, players, authors, wits and philosophers. It’s a fine quickie reference guide for future writers, wits, and those who enjoy getting the “nutshell” of an opinion about some aspect of the game. The book is in alphabetical order of topic from Ability to World Champion. It’s a fun, entertaining reference—like munching on cotton candy at a state fair or carnival, and would make a fine gift for someone who loves the game and what people have said about it throughout history.
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