Saturday, February 23, 2008

Reviewing books

I got an email from somebody asking me about Sklansky on Poker He asked if I'd read it.

I haven't read it. But I read Sklansky on Razz long ago in its original edition. I think it's the best Sklansky ever. Sklansky on Poker is a collection of short works of Sklansky and includes a reprint of Slansky on Razz

My correspondent has wondered about the book because he'd read a bad review of it on 2+2 by one of the resident idiot posters and suspected that meant it was probably a good book. From the review:
The section “Sklansky on Razz” is certainly the best material on that game in print, but it’s a game that’s rarely spread anymore. As for the other essays, they were even at the time of publication little more than Theory of Poker simplified and explained for beginners. The examples and many of the concepts are specific to fixed limit games, and some even more restricted to obsolete games like jacks-or-better five card draw.

Obsolete games?

I think the typical 2+2 sage is looking for a book that says a lot of "If A then do X". That kind of potential reader probably wouldn't like Sklansky on Razz.

It's been a very long time since I've read Sklansky on Razz (over 20 years) but there are a couple of key points the reader should take away from what I remember about the book.

One is the importance of never forgetting what they think you have, or what they think you might have. The other is that a draw is sometimes in better shape than a made hand, even heads up.

Those are poker concepts, not Razz concepts, although Razz is the perfect game to illustrate that. (KK)A45 might well be a much better hand than (23)A89 in a matchup with those two hands. That's a scary looking board for the made 9. Also (23)A44 actually is way ahead of (23)A89 although it's still drawing.

Important concepts made clear when you look at it from the viewpoint of razz.

Sklansky on Razz is pretty much basic stuff but it's important basic stuff. Stuff that's important to all poker players, not just Razz players.

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Blogger DMW said...

His website is called

He thinks, about the Grand Canyon: "One gets a sense, not only of its great physical proportions, but of the extraordinary expanse of time it embodies."

I can see a lot of thinking on his horizon, if he made it out of the canyon.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Gary Carson said...

Looks like he's up to the E's on his Word A Day calendar.

11:20 PM  

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