Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Down from the Shelf: Poker Books from 2008

Shamus readingFor a while now I have been intending to organize the “Hard-Boiled Poker Bookstore” into something a bit more user-friendly (and maybe even mildly profitable). I have an Amazon Associates account and occasionally when I mention a book or some other item I will set up a link which, if one were to click through and purchase the item (or any item, actually), a few pennies land in my account over there.

Anyhow, our arrival here at year’s end has motivated me (somewhat) to get it in gear and start building the HBP Bookstore in earnest. Actually, this is all part of a grander plan I have in mind to move the entire operation -- the blog, the podcast, and other associated endeavors -- over to hardboiledpoker.com in the near future.

For now, though, while the store is being constructed, I’m going to use this post as a place-holder. What follows is a list of all of the poker-related books on my shelf that were published in 2008, each accompanied by a short bit of commentary.

Like I say, this post will be the temporary “bookstore” for a while until I get the real store completed. The full store will of course include books published prior to 2008. As I suggested yesterday, I had originally intended here to list all of the poker books on my shelf, but that would have meant writing up 50 or so more titles here (no shinola!). Sort of thing happens a lot around this time of the year -- unrealistic plans, that is.

So consider this post just the front part of the store, while work continues on the back half. Sorry about the noise. Please stay as long as you like. And do enjoy the complimentary coffee at the bottom of the post!
  • Cogert, Mitchell. Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves.

    'Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves' by Mitchell CogertHave only just skimmed this one, actually. Am more interested in Cogert’s razz book, which I have heard is a decent primer. (The Poker Grump wrote a two-part review of the razz book a while back, if yr curious: Part 1, Part 2)





  • Dunnett, Warwick. Poker Wizards: Wisdom from the World’s Top No-Limit Hold'em Players.

    Warwick Dunnett's 'Poker Wizards'A collection of short pieces by an impressive group of poker pros (Ferguson, Negreanu, Harrington, Luske, Liebert, Cloutier, Sexton, Judah), a “mentalist” (Marc Salem) who deals with tells, and Dunnett himself. Kind of interesting to read how these pros differently address similar questions/issues.



  • Hansen, Gus. Every Hand Revealed.

    Gus Hansen, 'Every Hand Revealed'I sincerely enjoyed this hand-by-hand account of Hansen’s 2007 Aussie Millions victory. Offers genuine insight into the Great Dane’s unorthodox style. Witty, too. I’m not the only one who likes Hansen's book, apparently, as it has been the best-selling poker book for most of the latter part of 2008 (per Pop Fifty).



  • Harrington, Dan and Bill Robertie. Harrington on Cash Games: How to Win at No-Limit Hold’em Money Games, Volume I.

    'Harrington on Cash Games, Vol. I' by Dan Harrington and Bill RobertieThis one currently sits right behind Hansen’s book at the top of the bestselling poker books list. As we all learned with the Harrington on Hold’em books, Harrington and Robertie do an especially good job of explaining difficult concepts in clear, understandable prose. Here the pair (perhaps predictably) advocate a tight-aggressive style in cash games, although they do touch on LAG play a bit, too, in the second volume. Volume 1 only takes us through flop play, making it hard to imagine someone picking up the first book only.

  • Harrington, Dan and Bill Robertie. Harrington on Cash Games: How to Win at No-Limit Hold’em Money Games, Volume II.

    'Harrington on Cash Games, Vol. II' by Dan Harrington and Bill RobertieTurn and river play, plus sections on tells, loose-aggressive play, dealing with weak games, bankroll issues, and an interesting interview with longtime cash-game pro and 1979 WSOP Main Event runner-up Bobby Hoff.





  • Holden, Anthony. Holden on Hold’em

    Anthony Holden's 'Holden on Hold'em'This one just came out. Haven’t seen it in bookstores here in the U.S., although I think it is readily available in Holden’s native U.K. Here the author of the justly-acclaimed Big Deal gets tapped to write a hold’em strategy guide. The strategy talk takes up about half of the book, then he tells some stories from the EPT and 2007 WSOP (which also incorporate some strategy advice). There’s also a neat analysis of the poker in the 2006 Bond film Casino Royale as well as some fun anecdotes about the history of hold’em.

  • Hwang, Jeff. Pot-Limit Omaha Poker: The Big Play Strategy.

    Jeff Hwang's 'Pot-Limit Omaha: The Big Play Strategy'I really like Hwang’s PLO book, although I have to admit I have only read the first half of it. (The second half deals with Omaha/8.) Hwang smartly explains how PLO is, in fact, primarily a post-flop game. I’ve been recommending this one more and more when folks ask me about PLO books.




  • Lynch, Eric, Jon Turner, and Jon Van Fleet. Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, Volume 1.

    Lynch, Fleet, and Van Styles' 'Winning Poker Tournaments, Vol. 1'Kind of follows the format of Hansen’s book, although (for the most part) the hands aren’t all from the same tourney. Turner and Lynch each take us through 50 hands, then Van Fleet covers 30 more, plus a 44-hand sequence from the bubble of a tournament. The trio then individually assess 20 hands given to them by Matthew Hilger, each offering his own view. Book is especially well written and organized -- like Hansen’s, the book is much more readable than one might guess from the format.

  • Moshman, Collin. Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em.

    Collin Moshman's 'Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'emI thought Moshman’s book had a lot to offer even to those of us who don’t specialize in HU games. No matter what game one plays, one ends up in heads-up situations quite frequently (indeed, almost every time one plays a hand, really). Thus, Moshman’s advice is worthwhile even to us, I think. Smart and well-written, too.



  • Negreanu, Daniel. Power Hold’em Strategy.

    Daniel Negreanu's 'Power Hold'em Strategy'This was the big one everyone was waiting for (following last year’s modest-and-therefore-disappointing Hold’em Wisdom for All Players). The book is apparently intended to be a Super/System for the new generation, bringing together a number of different authors -- Evelyn Ng, Todd Brunson, Erick Lindgren, Paul Wasicka, and David Williams -- along with Negreanu. Of course, all six focus on hold’em (a big difference from Super/System). Negreanu’s section on his “small ball” strategy is by far the best, although I also liked the others’ contributions, too. Only Todd Brunson’s disappointed, really, particularly since I liked his Stud/8 section in SS2.

  • Negreanu, Daniel. More Hold’em Wisdom for All Players.

    Daniel Negreanu's 'More Hold'em Wisdom for All Players'A sequel to last year’s teaser, offering 50 more tips regarding both cash and tourney play. This book is actually just a compilation of the poker columns Negreanu has been writing for the last few years, so all of the chapters are brief and -- despite the title -- aimed primarily at beginners (not “all players”).



  • Snyder, Arnold. The Poker Tournament Formula 2.

    Arnold Snyder's 'The Poker Tournament Formula 2'I am a big fan of Snyder’s follow-up to his earlier The Poker Tournament Formula (which I had also liked a lot). The first book had focused primarily on fast-structured tournaments, while this one dealt mostly with slower tourney strategy. I appreciate Snyder’s ideas about playing position and chips (as opposed to cards), and I also really admire his unwillingness to accept uncritically the “received wisdom” of previous authors. I have to admit my successes in those Run Good Challenge tourneys back in September were probably mostly due to my having read Snyder.

  • Walsh, Joseph. Gambler on the Loose.

    Joseph Walsh's 'Gambler on the Loose'Walsh wrote the script for the terrific 1974 Robert Altman film, California Split (which I reviewed here a while back). This is an autobiographical work that collects a lot of anecdotes and other “life lessons” dating from Walsh’s introduction to gambling as a teenager and carrying up through the 70s and his work on Split. Kind of haphazard and out there, and maybe not for all tastes. But very, very funny in places. Insightful, too (in my opinion.) See a full post on this one here.

  • Warren, Ken. Ken Warren Teaches Texas Hold’em 2.

    Ken Warren, 'Ken Warren Teaches Texas Hold'em 2'I’ve only skimmed this one, I’m afraid. (Didn’t read Warren’s first book, either.) Looks like most of the advice comes in the form of identifying various mistakes players frequently make. Seems like a run-of-the-mill strategy text, although near the end comes a lengthy Q&A (“Ken Warren Answers Your Questions”) that includes a few entertaining stories.


  • Wilson, Des. Ghosts at the Table: Riverboat Gamblers, Texas Rounders, Roadside Hucksters, and the Living Legends Who Made Poker What It Is Today.

    Des Wilson's 'Ghosts at the Table'A nifty collection of stories from the history of poker, divided into four “ages” or sections: the 19th century poker of the Old West and Mississippi riverboats; the mid-20th century version played by the Texas road gamblers “fadin’ the white line”; the growth of Vegas and the WSOP; and the post-“poker boom” era marked by the online game and televised poker. Definitely deserves a spot alongside Spanier, Alvarez, Holden, and McManus on the shelf.
  • Thanks for stopping by. Come again.

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    1 Comments:

    Blogger Mitchell said...

    Thanks for mentioning both of my books.

    I highly recommend Gus Hansen's book for no limit tournament poker players. It actually did an analysis of his play based on the book.

    1/05/2009 5:00 AM  

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