Players can sharpen skills with latest poker books

Aug 22, 2005 2:04 AM

World Series of Poker Champion Doyle Brunson’s Online Poker (183 pages, paperbound (with bonus CD) $14.95) and Charlie Shoten’s No-Limit Life (117 pages, paperbound, $19.95) are new arrivals in poker literature and both have value for those who are serious about improving their game.

Brunson, whose reputation as a player and author (Super System, Super System 2) was established in the 1970s and continues today, joins a new wave of authors advising the novice on what to expect in the world of online play, including more than two dozen poker strategies and identifying online "tells." In a dozen concise, but well-illustrated chapters he discusses the impact of televised poker and how online poker now ushers in a new era.

One chapter offers a list of places to play with information on where you may learn to play or discuss the game and the benefits of online learning.

Brunson, ever the teacher, recommends how to download software, fund your account, and how to get a taste by playing small money before advancing to bigger games.

The meatiest chapter focuses on the basic rules of play and procedures including how hold ”˜em, Omaha, seven-card-stud and other games are played, followed by an interesting discussion on the differences between online and live play.

Eight pages later, Brunson re-focuses with two dozen reasons why online poker is better (including the practice factor, more hands per hour, no tipping required, and smaller limits).

Brunson advises avoiding doing anything fancy in a game filled with weak players. "Online, you’ll find that opponents are treating poker a little (like) bingo, paying attention to their own hands mostly and paying attention to you only a little or not at all ... make obvious, strong decisions. Don’t try to be too fancy."

This book might be subtitled Concise Online Poker. Brunson writes to the point — short sentences, common sense, direct — with examples and a world of experience to draw from. The book is ideal for those motivated to try online poker and who have had questions about how to go about it properly.

Charlie Shoten is a positive thinker, an optimist, philosopher, and a solid no-limit player who has found peace within himself and has learned control, self-discipline and the power to focus during long poker sessions, especially those tournaments where many a player may "hit the wall" caused by mental and physical stamina.

Many a player has gone tilt or made a mental error because of fatigue. Many players have not yet learned how to deal with bad beats, losses, damage to an ego and self-esteem. They self-destruct for a variety of reasons.

Shoten has come to grips with the key factors. His book is not so much about what cards to play and why, but dealing with negativity, enhancing self-esteem, establishing "positive persona" at the tables, and learning how to avoid or bounce back from disasters.

This might be called a "mind-clearing" book as it is filled with advice about positive thinking and how to apply the principles at the card table. The book has soul and depth of character. It makes you look at yourself differently.