Thursday, July 31, 2003

Pauly's Poker Books

A glimpse at my poker library

I often get asked what poker books that I've read. Here are some books that you should start with:
Theory of Poker by David Sklansky
Small Stakes Hold'em by Ed Miller
Super System by Doyle Brunson
Hold'em Excellence by Lou Krieger
These are books that you should read if you are an advanced player:
Harrington on Hold'em by Dan Harrington
Super System 2 by Doyle Brunson
Tournament Poker for Advanced Players by David Sklansky

Here are some other poker books I've read:
More Hold'em Excellence by Lou Krieger
Play Poker Like the Pros by Phil Hellmuth
Winner's Guide to Texas Hold'em by Ken Warren
The Bad Ass Girl's Guide To Poker by Toby Lee Bochan
Here are some random non-poker strategy books that you should read:
Art of War by Sun Tzu
The Biggest Game in Town by Al Alvarez
Positively Fifth Street by James McManus
An Actor Prepares by Stanislavski
The Tao of Poker by Larry W. Phillips
Zen and the Art of Poker by Larry W. Phillips

Book of the Month

April 2005: Harrington on Hold'em

Pauly's Quickie Book Reviews

Positively Fifth Street by James McManus

In 2000, Harper's Magazine hired James McManus to write an article on the rise of female participants in the World Series of Poker, in addition to covering the highly publicized murder trial of Ted Binion. He used the advance from Harper's to enter a few satellites to the main event at the World Series of Poker. He won his way into the tournament and eventually placed fifth out of 512 participants. His share of the prize money was $247,760. He chronicled his time in Vegas for Harper’s and eventually parlayed that into a book, Positively Fifth Street: Murderers, Cheetahs, and Binion's World Series of Poker. McManus marvelously weaves the story of the Ted Binion murder trial in with his gripping account of playing in the most prestigious poker tournament against some of the best players in the world. McManus gives an accurate description of the underbelly of Las Vegas and high stakes poker. This is an interesting read for non-poker players, but they should beware that Positively Fifth Street is not a poker strategy book. At any rate, it's one of the best books ever written on poker.

Tournament Poker for Advanced Players by David Sklansky

David Skalansky wrote one of the best books on No Limit tournaments with Tournament Strategy for Advanced Players. It is assumed that the reader is familiar with some poker tournament experience and knows how to play no limit ring games. If you are a beginner player, you should read other books first. If you are serious about improving your tournament play, this book is for you. Skalansky explains "The Gap Concept," which is folding raiseable hands to a raise at a tight table and when to use it accordingly, especially in tournaments. He also discusses adjusting your style of play at different stages in the tournament and the differences between small stack play versus large stack play. He even has a section on making deals if you find yourself at the final table. Skalansky includes a section on hand quizzes with questions and answers by Mason Malmuth. Without a doubt, this is one of the best written books on tournament poker and will be a valuable addition to any poker library.

Play Poker Like the Pros by Phil Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth is one of the most successful tournament players in the world, with nine World Series of Poker bracelets in his collection. It was only a matter of time before he wrote a book. He shares his vast poker knowledge in Play Poker Like the Pros. He targets an audience of inexperienced players and spends the first part of his book discussing the basics of Texas Hold'em. He recommends only playing his "Top Ten Starting Hands." He also breaks down different playing styles into Phil's Animal Types; Eagle, Mouse, Elephant, Jackal, and Lion. He has chapters on Limit and No Limit, in addition to spending time on other games like Pot Limit Omaha, Omaha Hi/Low, Razz, Seven-card Stud, Seven-card Stud Hi/Low, and Pot Limit Hold'em. There are not too many books that cover Razz and it is a pleasure to see a player of Hellmuth's stature speak about one of the most stressful games in poker. His book is a good start for beginners and even intermediate players can pick up some helpful tips from one of the best players in the world.

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