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2 for Poker learned quickly: 200 Poker Tells, The Middle Zone

July 31, 2014 3:00 AM by T. Dana Smith

Tired of reading long, involved poker books that cover every imaginable situation? Don’t have time for it? Have I got a deal for you!

Two Tiny-Tim sized books that deliver the goods have just hit the shelves to meet the needs of today’s “bizzy-bizzy” lifestyle.

The Middle Zone (54 4x6 pgs, $10), by Annie Duke and John Vorhaus, hits the bulls-eye square on with targeted tips designed to advance your game to the next level without bogging you down with tedious trivia.

In the second of their tandem projects – Decide to Play Great Poker came out last year – this dynamic duo of poker authors departs from the usual cover-everything poker-book style to focus on “Mastering the Most Difficult Hands in Hold’em Poker,” their subtitle.

Almost everybody knows how to play strong hands and fold weak hands, but few know how to profit from those murky middle monsters that don’t clearly indicate whether your hand is the best one or the worst.

The Middle Zone teaches you a reliable strategy for playing tricky hands and turning them into a hat trick of profit. Even better, you’ll learn how to avoid murky situations in hold’em by judiciously picking your spots before the flop muddies the waters.

The second 4x6 page-size book on today’s docket is 200 Poker Tells (82 little pgs, $19.99) by retired FBI special agent Joe Navarro, who authored the more extensive poker tells book, Read ‘Em and Reap (214 pgs, $18.99), a few years ago.

In his newest excursion into how to detect the motives and methods of your poker opponents, Navarro gives you thumbnails of tells that emanate from various body parts: head, eyes, lips, shoulders, hands, legs, and so on.

Did you know if an opponent narrows the spread of his elbows after looking at his hole cards or the flop, he usually has a weak hand? But if a player takes a drink while spreading his arms on the table to claim more territory, he’s usually feeling strong and confident? You’ll learn these and 198 more tells in this tiny yet tall book.

Remember the famous Bogart line, “Here’s looking at you, kid”? In Reading Poker Tells (226 pgs, $19.95), author Zachary Elwood suggests you look at everything, everybody, and every subtle gesture in every live game you play. Why? To better “tell” what they’re up to. He rounded up a cast of characters to pose for photos of poker players in action, so you can see real-life examples of the tells he describes, similar to Mike Caro’s seminal book (Caro’s Book of Tells) from the ‘90s.

Elwood’s clear language and expert organization make this book a strong entry in the field of visual tells, a topic many former online-only players need to master to succeed in today’s post I-net live poker games.

These and thousands of other books are available at Gambler’s Book Club and can be ordered at or by phone at 1-800-522-1777 or 702-382-7555 M-F 9-7 and Sat 10-6. Opened in 1964, GBC is located at 5473 S. Eastern between Tropicana and Russell, just a short drive from the Strip or the airport.

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