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Poker cheats have ammo

Jun 24, 2008 7:01 PM

Book Reviews by Howard Schwartz | Arnold Snyder, more famous for his Blackbelt in Blackjack, has switched gears in recent years and now approaches poker tournaments in particular as a beatable, profit-making game.

His newest work, titled The Poker Tournament Formula 2: Advanced Strategies for Big Money Tournaments (485 pages, paper bound, $24.95) follows his successful first book on the subject, Poker Tournament Formula.

Another new important arrival on bookshelves is Alan Zola Kronzek’s 52 Ways to Cheat at Poker: How to Spot Them, Foil Them and Defend Yourself Against Them (192 pages, paperbound, $13).

Snyder’s approach to winning tournaments is to help the player "understand optimal playing strategies based on structure."

He focuses on specific techniques for bluffing, calling suspected bluffs, creating a table image and reading your opponents.

"Your aim is to bankrupt every player in the event," he writes. "You can throw the mathematics of poker out the window. It’s time to think about the mathematics of fear."

This book is not for beginners, and he does not offer many basics. Snyder is an admitted "contrarian." In a final section titled, For Hard Core Players Only, bankroll is examined, including how much is needed, followed by an in-depth look at satellites.

Kronzek is professional magician, writer and educator. His 52 Ways to Cheat at Poker is both a history of cheating and how to protect yourself, especially in those "friendly" or "social" games at the lodge, country club or home.

The book draws from more than two dozen other books and videos on the subject and in 52 chapters (or ways) he tells you how cheats work and what to watch for.

For the price and the depth of material offered, this could be one of the best books of the century on the subject.

The author says it’s vital to watch the dealer, cut the cards, begin every game with a new deck, change decks frequently, buy quality brands, count the cards from time to time and know who you’re playing with, among other rules.

Any item reviewed here is available from Gambler’s Book Shop (630 S. 11th St.), now in its 44th year. The store’s website is

Customers may order using MasterCard, VISA or Discover (no CODs please) or by phoning the store any day except Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time at 1-800-522-1777. Orders are usually shipped the next working day.