Adding to your Library

Tuesday, January 25th, 2005, 11:59 am

I’ve been reading Matthew Hilger’s book Internet Texas Hold’em for the last month or so, meaning to write a quick review of it for my dear readers. However, I am genetically incapable of writing “quick” anything, and as my review ballooned upwards of 2,000 words I realized I needed to shut up and not retype the whole book.

Because it’s a very good book, especially for the novice player who’s thinking of jumping into the online poker game and wants to be armed with more than just bad intentions. I liked how the book was set up, taking you through some basic poker concepts and then through the game of Hold’Em step by step. It’s well-written, direct and with important points highlighted for those of us whose minds tend to wonder when presented with lots of information.

Actually, what I liked best about the book was that at the end of each chapter there is a handy review that reiterates the main concepts in an easy to digest format. Poker books aren’t like novels–you don’t read it, put it down, and stare off into the sunset a changed man. They’re reference books, you keep going back to them again and again and AGAIN (especially the way I’ve been playing lately) and having a handy review like that is a good way to bring those important points to the fore again as well as prompt you to go back and re-read the whole chapter.

Another excellent feature is that, scattered throughout the book are little tabs that say “Internet Tip”. As this book is title “Internet” Hold’em you’d figure on information that differentiates it from books about B&M play, and I liked that Hilger scatters these nuggets of insight when appropriate and not just in a separate chapter. Although there IS a separate chapter just about Internet poker, which gives advice on site selection, table hopping, and multi-table play, all of which is important for the newby online player to think about. Alas, there are no supersecret tidbits like, “Everyone who picks the cowboy avatar at Party Poker is a maniac”, but if there had been I’d be a wee bit less likely to recommend it.

This book is targeted for beginners and for that group I think this book would be an excellent addition to your poker library. Hilger won $80K in the most recent World Series of Poker, getting knocked out by Greg Raymer…have to cue up my tapes and see the expression on his face when he got beat. That’s one thing Hilger (and every other poker book I’ve read) has neglected to put in their books–how not to puke on the table when you get booted from the WSOP.

If there was one thing I could change with this book (and, indeed, with all poker books) is that I wish it came with a spiral binding instead of the normal “perfected” binding. “Perfected”, is that the right publishing lingo? As I said, you go back to poker books for study and research over and over, and it’d be SO nice to be able to lie the thing flat on your desk as you read and make notes. But that’s just me.

Another thing I noticed–on the cover of “Internet Texas Hold’Em” you see a cartoon guy playing on the beach, and on his laptop you see he has a royal flush. That got me thinking, and I went to my bookshelf and pulled down Gary Carson’s book. That cover also shows a player with a royal flush. Hmm…got down Cloutier and McEvoy’s Pot-Limit and No-Limit book…royal flush on the cover. Did some more digging and books like “Poker for Dummies” and “The Idiot’s Guide to Poker” and “Winners’ Guide to Texas Hold’Em” ALL show players with royal flushes. Now, nothing wrong with a little positive association (buy this book and you’ll be up to your ARMPITS in royals!) but I daresay not one of these books tells you the proper way to play a royal flush! And I need to know, as someday maybe I’ll get one.

Be forewarned, Mean Gene is in a philosophical mood. I got that way thanks to playing Omaha/8 for the first time last night. Multiple long posts forthcoming, once I brush up on my Nietzsche and reacquaint myself with good ‘ol existentialism.

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One Response to “Adding to your Library”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Spiral binding? What a great idea! Too bad there is no way to take my copy of Super/System and do that.

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