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Poker tips from pros

Dec 10, 2007 3:17 AM

Mike Caro (author of more than a dozen poker strategy books) and Alan Schoonmaker (who emphasizes how important the proper mental-psychological approach is to playing the game) each has something new to say for players seeking to improve at the tables. Caro’s Most Profitable Hold”˜em Advice — The Complete Missing Arsenal — (403 pages, paperbound, $24.95) and Your Best Poker Friend — Increase Your Mental Edge — (340 pages, paperbound, $15.95) have just arrived are well worth your attention.

Caro’s book is for players at all levels. He again takes the role of teacher/mentor to those who have questions, problems and need guidance. In 16 chapters, many packed with tables, charts, examples, advice in detail and on a personal level, he guides players through topics such as pre-flop concepts, hold”˜em starting hands and their rankings, post-flop situations strategies, bluffing, establishing table image, understanding psychology and the art of manipulation and why it’s important to treat the game as a business.

Drawing from personal experience, Caro even includes his own experiences at the table ”” the good and bad — and then moves into a vital area involving increasing profits and avoiding moves which damage bankrolls.

A master of explaining "tells" and their importance, Caro includes a new chapter (17 pages) on the subject including "natural" tells, "actor" tells and "talking tells" as well as how top create some of your own.

There is one small chapter on low-limit play and another on tournament action.

This is a book that tells you what to do””more so, it’s important to understand the why of it all””and Caro does it well. The player with a clear mind, with positive image of him or herself, will probably do better at the table than one who is out of control and guessing.

To Schoonmaker, who wrote the Psychology of Poker and Your Worst Poker Enemy previously, getting yourself ready to play serious poker is more than accumulating a bankroll and finding a game””it’s learning how to monitor yourself, being able to assess your opponents and going in clear-headed. Your Best Poker Friend contains four major sections. They include teaching players to gather information about yourself, opponents, your buy-ins, developing self-confidence, learning how to classify your opponents including isolating "idiots" and not only playing the rush (when the cards are running hot for you) but learning how to defend against it.

Schoonmaker is like a fencing master teaching you how to move against an aggressive or elusive opponent and avoid being hit by the point of his weapon.

One chapter titled Should You Play No-Limit Hold”˜em might help those truly decide if they’re ready for that big step up. He helps the reader and potential participant decide which games to choose, which seats are best and why, then follows with what he calls Your Poker Improvement Plan involving goal setting, monitoring your progress and whether or not you have the skills to play professionally.

Those seeking poker lessons will find web sites and e-mail addresses of eight individuals who offer such services and the book includes a handy list of books he recommends to beginners and more advanced players.

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