Friday, August 29, 2014

Reviewing Zachary Elwood’s Verbal Poker Tells

I mentioned earlier this week how I’d been reading Zachary Elwood’s Verbal Poker Tells, the follow-up to his earlier Reading Poker Tells. I was able to finish it and wrote a review for Learn.PokerNews, posted today.

I had to mention in my review how the topic Zach chose could seem to be a “niche within a niche within a niche,” although as it turns out the book has a lot of value that goes beyond the narrow scope of verbal tells. I believe anyone reading the book will come away not just with added knowledge about how to decipher opponents’ table talk, but also further equipped to understand many commonly employed approaches to hold’em strategy.

Zach does a nice job in his explanations of all the different kinds of statements about hand strength, misdirections, defensive statements, attempts at manipulation, and other verbal patterns connecting the words players use to the strategies they are employing when playing a hand.

I especially enjoyed the many, many hands discussed in Verbal Poker Tells, including a lot from televised poker that I remembered seeing before. There’s a much greater emphasis on hand histories in this book than was the case with Zach’s earlier one, which makes sense as all of the direct quotes help provide concrete illustrations of the many varieties of tells he’s addressing.

He also does well (as he did in the first book) to distinguish how recreational players tend to exhibit these tells more readily and less subtly than is the case with more seasoned table talkers. And again he makes it clear with several disclaimers that recognizing tells is only a small part of live poker, with an understanding of fundamental strategy more important (and, of course, necessary to have before even being able to think about tells).

I admire Zach for the obvious commitment of time and energy to this new project, and for getting his book completed and now made available for readers. It’s quite an achievement.

Whenever I write a book review I have misgivings about what I wasn’t able to cover in the space of the review. Such is true again with this one, although I’m hoping to interview Zach next week and thus have a chance to add further to the discussion of how Verbal Poker Tells contributes to our understanding of both tells specifically and poker strategy more broadly. Stay tuned over at Learn.PokerNews for that.

Meanwhile, check out the review for more. And enjoy the weekend!

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