Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Recommended Summer Reading: Poker Books and Sportsbetting Books

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

The Spring time is always a busy time for the publishing season. I finally dusted off a pile from last year and delved into some new titles. Here's some suggestions for summer reading om the beach, at the pool, or the summer home. And if you recently acquired a Kindle, here's a few items to add to your virtual library. So let's get to it...

For Richer, For Poorer by Vicky Coren

From last year's "To Read" pile, I finished Vicky Coren's For Richer, For Poorer: A Love Affair with Poker. She's a fantastic writer and an astute storyteller as she weaves her own personal story through the murky, yet hilarious world of the London poker scene (and eventually winning the EPT London). Incidentally, I'd love to hire Vicky to do the audio version of Lost Vegas. She has such a commanding, yet alluring voice that she can make my rubbish sound like Shakespeare!

Master Omaha 8 Poker by Lou Krieger and Mark Tenner

One of the first books I ever read about poker was written by Lou Krieger. I was an out-of-work writer at the time and couldn't afford to buy any poker books but I religiously hung out in the poker section of Barnes and Noble in Union Square and read every poker book they had in stock including a few of Lou's titles. I never expected at the time I'd move to Vegas to become a poker reporter, but as luck would have it, I met Lou during my first day on the job at the 2005 WSOP. He'd become a fan of my writing and eventually gave me a huge break when he hired me for a new poker magazine.

Anyway, I've always looked up to Lou as one of pillars in the poker writing community. He has a new book which he co-authored with Mark Tenner titled Mastering Omaha/8 Poker. Omaha 8 is my least favorite game of poker, but you know what? I read the entire book. For someone who doesn't play O8, the book was a good primer on the subject. It's also a testament to the writing skill of the authors because they were able to hold my attention in my least favorite game.

I was happy to see a chapter devoted PLO8. I'm a PLO junkie and friends often told me I was missing out on some juicy games because of my Omaha 8 bias. Maybe it's time to give it a whirl?

Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler and Barry Carter

The dynamic duo of Jared Tendler and Barry Carter created a book, Mental Game of Poker, that sheds insight on poker psychology. It's a topic that is not discussed very often, yet happens to be one of the most vital aspects of the game.

Here's a glimpse of what the book covers...
"Proven techniques to permanently fix problems such as tilt, handling variance, emotional control, confidence, fear, and motivation. With the games getting tougher, now is the time to take these problems head on."
I'm a tilt monkey and finished the book with the confidence knowing I can diminish tilting at the tables. I hope to apply it to Pai Gow as well!

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Although these aren't poker books, here's two books on sportsbetting that I finished reading and highly recommend...

Gaming the Game

The real title is called Gaming the Game: The Story Behind the NBA Betting Scandal and the Gambler Who Made It Happen. Written by Sean Griffin, the book follows around a professional gambler from the Philly burbs named The Sheep. He was a former bookie who became a money mover for the biggest sportsbettors in the world including Billy Walters. The Sheep also was the guy who first found out referee Tim Donaghy (and some other refs) manipulated outcomes of the NBA games because Donaghy was a degen gambler and had wagered on a specific side. The book detailed what happened next, the games that were fixed, and how they got caught by the FBI. Amazing story and makes me wonder how many refs in the NFL help manipulate those games as well?

Conquering Risk: Attacking Vegas and Wall Street

I found out about Conquering Risk: Attacking Vegas and Wall Street through a podcast on PreGame.com when Betting Dork interviewed the author, Elihu D. Feustel, who is a former consultant for offshore books like Pinnacle. And holy shitballs, I bought a copy before the podcast even ended. Conquering Risk is a must have for intermediate to advanced sportsbettors (and a few bookies who might read the Tao). Fesutel's books is sort of similar to the Mathematics of Poker, except Feustel broke down complex game theory terminology and formulas into a much easier to understand language. He wrote this book to help make sportsbettors sharper with their picks, and along the way he shared some thoughts on the Kelly Criterion and Poisson distributions.

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And here's a piece of fiction that I can't recommend more...

Same Difference

Shamus writes for free over at Hard-Boiled Poker so please support his efforts by buying his pulp novel Same Difference. And stop by his blog to tell him to hurry up and finish his second novel!

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Updates on Lost Vegas and Jack Tripper Stole My Dog

The French version of Lost Vegas was released last Friday and kicked off to rave reviews! More details here.

I've officially made it as a writer -- I got published in French -- one of the most prestigious honors a writer can achieve. I'm honored and pumped because French people buy more books than Americans. I'm hoping I will get invited to discuss Lost Vegas on one of those late night French TV talk shows where they smoke cigarettes and sip wine.

My first novel, Jack Tripper Stole My Dog, comes out this week. Follow @JackTripperBook on Twitter for special advanced info on the official release date. You can also visit Jack Tripper's Facebook page to get a peak at the cover.


  1. You should also check out "The Upgrade" which is by a guy who only lives in hotels. He just finished a stint in Vegas where he spent 30 nights in 30 different hotels. He's a writer for TechCrunch among other things.


  2. I have read the Coren and agree completely - a terrific book.

    Thanks for the recommendations.

  3. Thanks for the mention there, sir. And let me echo (again) the recommendation to pick up Coren's book -- impossible to read w/o grinning throughout.

  4. Do you experience an unconditional urge for poker game that keeps you glued to it for long? For me, the game of poker,especially Full Tilt, is the best gateway to get myself relaxed, challenged and excited to the rim all at once. The multi table tournament of Full tilt that is played by the best of the lot is surely an added attraction that has the magnetic power to keep me hooked to it anytime and anywhere.
    To be a pro in the game of poker, you need to be a true lover of the game. If you are also willing to know all about the poker game, read through some poker books such as Master Omaha 8 Poker,For Richer, For Poorer, Mental Game of Poker, Gaming the Game, Conquering Risk: Attacking Vegas and Wall Street etc that will help you get going.