In any event, they routinely have fairly big name guests on the Hardcore Poker Show, and occasionally I’ll hear a news item or something else on there I hadn’t heard elsewhere. Such was the case with this last episode (12/10/08), when the hosts discussed a new book by Cole “CTS” South, a Team Full Tilt member and one of the instructors over at CardRunners (a.k.a., the “official poker training service of Full Tilt”).
Looked into it a little further, and it appears the book is actually co-authored by South and Tri “SlowHabit” Nguyen. Like South, Nguyen is also a poker coach who similarly possesses some reputation as a successful online player of cash games.
Looking at the FAQs over on the book’s website, one learns it is an eBook, and those who purchase and download it will get a special file with DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection that makes it impossible to copy or print. The book is less than a hundred pages long, “there is barely any math in the book,” and (according to the authors) should prove especially helpful for 1/2 and 3/6 no-limit hold’em players. (I presume they are referring to online play.)
“We’re confident it will improve your game,” say the authors. “Right from the introduction, you will get an idea how this poker thing works.”
As I say, both Nguyen and South are apparently accomplished online players. As far as live play goes, Nguyen finished 103rd in this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event (his only tourney cash), while South has no cashes currently listed on his Hendon Mob page. Of course, since both are primarily cash game players those modest stats aren’t too meaningful here.
Oh, and the book doesn’t have a cover yet. They are currently conducting a contest (with a $500 prize) in which they are asking folks to submit cover art. The title of the book is Let There Be Range! (Erm, maybe they should have had a contest to pick a better title?)
Anyhow, why do I even mention the book at all? One reason. The price. Kind of stands out.
1,850 American dollars.
That’s right. This here book costs $1,850! Of course, if one is a bit unsure about committing that much to the book after only getting to see a couple of preview pages on the site, one can buy the first half of the book for just $850, then come back to get the rest for $1,100. (The authors “are confident you will come back for the 2nd half.”)
So, really, you might as well get the whole thing up front and save that hundy.
The bloated price perhaps recalls the 1978 publication of Doyle Brunson’s original Super/System, (originally titled How I Won a Million Dollars Playing Poker), which sported a hefty $100 price tag that meant only the most serious poker players would be bothering to commit to its purchase.
How does $100 today compare to $100 thirty years ago? Inflation rates suggest it would be equivalent to a little over $330 today. Now that would raise eyebrows, a book costing $330. Wouldn’t it? But $1,850? Whoa!
I suppose there are ways to argue that a poker book could be “worth” that much (or more) to a reader who is able to improve his or her game by reading it and then translating that education into financial gain at the tables. I have dozens of poker books on my shelves, and even though I’m just a small-timer I suppose I could point to one or two of them as having (perhaps) benefited me to the tune of that much or more.
But I still couldn’t see going back and paying that much for any single book. Couldn’t see paying 1/20th of that, actually.
That price tag kind of makes the book into some sort of magic talisman, thereby intriguing folks to the point of actually considering buying it. And it appears at least a few have. Here’s a thread on 2+2 that begins with Nguyen touting the book’s upcoming release, continues with conversations between posters and Nguyen about the book’s content, then eventually arrives at some reviews of the book by those who indeed bought it.
As one poster puts it, “this entire thread is like one big infomercial.” Of course, not everyone posting in the thread who bought the book believes it was worth the price.
Maybe that title -- Let There Be Range! -- is a jokey reference to the book’s cost? Perhaps the title is an abridgement, actually. Perhaps the full title is Let There Be (At Least a Few People Out There For Whom This Book Falls Into Their Price) Range! Of course, one only becomes privy to the full title by purchasing the book.
I sometimes get publishers to send me review copies of books for me to write about. Ya think they’ll send me one if I ask?