Poker Book Report: Getting Lucky by Richard Sparks
This Poker Book honestly tries to be interesting because throughout it’s pages, you get to follow the personal trials of a player trying to improve his game, all the while rubbing shoulders with, and interviewing some of the biggest names in poker today. The well know poker personalities like Greg Raymer, Daniel Negreneau, Erick Lindgren, Ted Forrest, and Chris Ferguson and many more, venture in and out of this professionally written dialogue.
Of course it has the literal qualities of a top notch English Major, with some milk-toast humor thrown in for good family reading. Poker players however, will surely find this is an unfortunate mix of boring characters, thrown into plots so stretched out that getting through some of the chapters is like drinking hot chocolate your grandmother laced with garlic. The idea of it seems alright, but you got to force yourself to finish it.
Put it this way, the main poker player – character – is Tom McEvoy Just hearing that name could eclipse the power of two strong sleeping pills. Oddly, Sparks actually seeks out McEvoy to teach him better poker, even though the last know tournament McEvoy won was sometime earlier this century. Worse yet, if you search this whole production, I challenge you to find anything remotely profound. “Patience” and “pay attention” keep coming up as some of those invaluable lessons McEvoy breathes into Sparks game. Gee, thanks. If I had patience like that, I too could wait another 50 years for another tournament win, and this time there might be more than 70 competitors in it.
Believe it or not, the better poker player in this book is played by Spark’s wife, Jenny who cleans up at an invitational for media actually covering a real poker event. The event, a Party Poker Cruise, may be the closest some of us get to a big tournament, including Sparks. In his wife’s case, the good bit of the real poker we get to enjoy has no stakes, but Sparks finds a way to stretch another chapter out of it.
Another chapter is devoted to copying the exact transcript of a chat log on Party Poker that Sparks had with a railbird. Sparks actually gives him $50 bucks so as to point out how good natured poker players can really be. Foolishly Sparks dares to embarrass himself by asking a Party Poker official to find this character under another game handle as, wow, big surprise, Sparks never hears from him again. I am sure the office at Party Poker had a laugh about that one at Spark’s expense.
I don’t know whether to give my copy away, or keep it as a reminder of how desperate I was at one time to seek out some new, wonderfully entertaining, poker writing, and found this instead.
Poker Calculator Report: Becoming Too Reliant on Software
I had an interesting conversation with a customer of my website last week that brought up some critical points about using poker calculators in your internet game. Through our exchanges I found that – let’s say George, was fascinated with calculating the precise mathematical answer for his every move. Let me tell you now, that as a proponent of using poker calculators, you should deem them as merely an assistant that frees up your mind allowing you to concentrate on your opponents.
George was right when he wrote to me and was able to distinguish differences between certain poker calculators and the calculations they make. For example, some use very complex mathematical computations, while others may use more general rounded figures, and still others take Sklansky’s group rating and EV factors into consideration. I even had a software firm contact me and ask me to push their poker calculator because it had a new, patent-protected combi-calc configuration that could give superior calculations.
I have had the pleasure and challenge of reviewing nearly all of the poker calculators available on the market today, and I can firmly inform you now, that the calculations served up in any one of them should rank quite low in your decision making process. Firstly, most of them calculate within fractions of each other, thus making this buying factor rather homogenous. Secondly, whether it’s 3 percentage points or 7, you just can’t confuse 63os with KK. All of the competitive products are going to give the same indications as to whether or not you should be playing your hand – at least mathematically, and therein lies the true value of your poker calculator. It allows your game to evolve around your competition, as well as solid odds play. One without the other is like sitting naked at the poker table. You might as well let it all show.
My friend George got so hung up in the numbers the game, it became his game. And that is a critical error that leads to strategic disadvantages that your opponents will simply nail you with by bluffing you out of pots. George debated with me about win odds, pot odds, EV, turn, and river odds, when I basically had to stop and remind him that at a certain point the numbers become inconsequential when the human game begins, and threading hairs here will do nothing for his game. George would probably be better off playing sudoku.
Holdem Indicator is a new poker calculator that actually helps in the odds and mind game as not only does it show win odds, pot odds, EV and Sklansky ratings, but it also tracks your opponents tendencies and applies a profile icon that you can use against them while playing a hand. There is a free offer for this product on my website and works with all major poker sites.