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Poker: The Real Deal Hardcover – Import, 21 Sep 2004
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About the Author
Phil Gordon is a world-class poker player and teacher with two World Poker Tour championships and seven final table appearances at the World Series of Poker. Since 2001 he has earned more than $3 million in tournament prize money. His bestselling previous works, Poker: The Real Deal, Phil Gordon's Little Green Book, and Phil Gordon's Little Blue Book, alongside his teaching and commentary on forty-two episodes of Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown, make Phil the preeminent poker teacher and writer in the world. Phil currently resides in Newport, Washington with his wife and two young sons.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The other reviews are spot on, this is an excellent starting point, for the following reasons:
1) It's extremely easy to read. It's well written, and it's peppered with interesting scenarios and anecdotes that keep it from getting boring. I breezed through it in a few days.
2) It's not jam packed with statistics, yet at the same time covers the basics. I'm sure in depth statistics are necessary for more advanced players, but for a beginner they can be overwhelming. The book does provide some very basic statistics, such as the calculation of "pot odds" in order to determine when to chase a drawing hand.
3) It covers a very wide range of topics, from a basic overview of the game, the types of equipment you need (incl brand names of cards and chips), how to host a home game, a description of casino cardrooms, how professional tourneys work, the world series, etc. It also of course has a number of chapters on how to play a game, such as how to think like a poker player, and a brief description of a number of different poker strategies and when they can be used.
4) Finally, it contains a number of references for additional reading. Like I said, this is an introductory book, and I plan to follow it up with additional reading.
I also purchased Slansky's "The Theory of Poker" and Caro's "Poker Tells", both also recommended by amazon reviews (and both recommended by Gordon in this book), and I'm very glad I started with this one.
One note though, this isn't a big issue but the majority of the book focuses on limit hold-em. Many (if not the majority) of the concepts are applicable to other poker games, but I think it's worth noting that the vast majority of the examples are limit Hold 'em and I don't believe that is mentioned anywhere on the book's cover.
In this book, Phil Gordon covers a really wide range of topics; yet players of all levels will relate to the material in some way. While the book is VERY light on strategy, poker enthusiasts will get hooked from page one.
A passage from the very first pages:
"This is a book about the poker lifestyle. [...] how the game works, the books worth reading, what to expect at a card-room, playing online, moving from low-limit to middle-limit to high-limit, entering and winning tournaments, and how to know you’re ready to turn pro."
This is the gist of the book, don't expect it to bring your game up to world-class level. It's not it's purpose!! The book is more of a light read, filled with anecdotes and the occasional sprinkling of strategy.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
"Poker: The Real Deal" is a well-rounded, very informative, easy-to-read and immensely entertaining book for the poker newbie. It covers a wide range of topics on poker, from the development of its variations throughout history, to the basics of strategy, to the lingo and customs needed to not look foolish at a casino or home game. This breadth of topics make it worth reading even if you're a moderately experienced player, but the true value is held for the novice.
Strategy is what most people will be looking for, and the strategy section is a definite strength, discussing the calculation of pot odds, the importance of position and the basics of valuing your hand strength vs. your read on that of others at the table. Does it cover strategy as in-depth as Sklansky and Malmuth's books or the classic "Super/System"? Of course not - that wouldn't be appropriate for the book's core audience. But the great thing about this book is that it contains very helpful passages from those books and points you to them if you'd like to get more information. Let's face it - most of us are just looking to keep up with our home games and occasional casino vacations, and this book works as a single-volume bookshelf that more than fits the needs of such a player. But again, if you envision yourself flipping the boss the bird and staking your claim as the next Greg Raymer, then "Poker: The Real Deal" will help you find all of the additional information necessary to start.
Online play is also covered, and while it's a good chapter, it's also (understandably) rather biased toward's Phil's affiliated website.
Many will buy or give this book based on Phil Gordon's recognition from Bravo's "Celebrity Poker Showdown", and that's fine. His personal anecdotes add a lot to the readability of the book. Finally, it's even a physically attractive book printed on quality paper, even if it is a screwy size (very tall and narrow, making it more difficult than usual to hold open at the very beginning and end). Do you really want to host your first home game and have someone spot that atrocious yellow-and-black "Dummies" book on your shelf? Of course not.
If you're among the many who recently discovered poker via TV or the Internet but are buffaloed by the numerous books on taking your game to the next level, then your search is over - this is THE one book for you.
Phil also sent me an autographed photo, personalized. I am impressed, he is the ambassador to poker that poker needs.