You can learn a lot
from ‘other’ Phil

Oct 17, 2006 12:43 AM

In a poker world populated by limelight-seeking Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey and Phil Laak, Phil Gordon isn’t always the first-recognized name on the marquee.

Yet, he is one of the best and most personable poker players on the professional circuit. Not only is he an accomplished player with a blue-chip education, he strikes to teach the game through his books, videos and TV appearances the proper way, so players have a full understanding of how to make the most of their experiences.

Classy Phil Gordon, with his charm, wit and skill, is out with his Little Blue Book (he also penned the Little Green Book), which the public was waiting for because he knows the game as well as anyone. Too, he knows which way the game of poker, hold’em in particular is heading.

His valuable sections include Cash Games AND Tournament Play (he smartly addresses the different stages of play: Early, Middle, Late and Final Table); Sit and Gos; Satellites and Supersatellites. Nicely illustrated with many lessons, examples and analysis, it’s a balanced, smooth-reading textbook, some of which is based on his experience. This balance of common sense, strategies, ploys and an honest appraisal of what was going through his mind when he made his moves adds strength to this powerful, positive pack of lessons.

One unique approach is to " improve at poker is not by finding answers. It is by finding questions," says champion Chris Ferguson in the foreward. Gordon’s book does just that.College basketball is just around the corner, and poker remains number one in the hearts and minds of millions — so it’s a perfect 1-2 punch when two terrific books arrive at Gambler’s Book Shop the same week. The two hot titles are the 2006-07 edition of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook edited by Chris Dortch and staff (384 pages, 8x11 paperbound, $21.95) and Phil Gordon’s Little Blue Book (379 pages, hardbound, $21).

Hoopla over hoops!

The Blue Ribbon book remains the hottest seasonal hoops reference source for bettors, fans, coaches, players and sportscasters for more than two decades (originally compiled by Chris Wallace in the late 1970s). While it’s every handicapper’s dream, the book doesn’t have any pointspread histories or betting angles. It’s pure scouting and publishing of the strengths and weaknesses of college teams with predictions for the season along with information about who recruited best and who lost what key players.

Yet it’s even more. Fresher than most college basketball magazines, it contains inside stuff that’s based on interviews with coaches, and it provides a look at and a rating of front court, bench depth and the back court. You’ll be able to evaluate how good the backup center is if the starter is hurt or suspended and to see the level of experience the returnees bring to the lineup.

This is a book to be used best during the first 10 games of the season””before conference games begin. This is the time when line makers are weak or indecisive, and it’s the time the book is at its best.

Schedules are included (recognize they are always subject to change because of television’s whims and monetary offers) and scores for last year’s games are listed for the predicted Top 25 teams.

The book’s strength is getting to know players on an-almost personal level””meaning you’ll be able to get a feel for who’s a leader, a spark plug off the bench, and who may blossom later in the season. Statistics may not be everything.

Again, buy this one early. You’ll need a week or two to devour the material, to prepare your homework before the action begins among the hundreds of bettable teams (listed from Air Force to Youngstown State) and dozens of conferences. Remember too that selective note-taking is imperative. It’s a long "war" this college basketball betting, from November to March and the best way to win it is to have a plan that includes this annual.

These books and more are available at the Gambler’s Book Shop (Gambler’s Book Club) in Las Vegas. The store’s web site is www.gamblersbook.com; you can call toll free at 1-800-522-1777.