February 26, 2005

Clear and Present Whiner

I've had a lot of time for reading lately, so I'm back to tearing through books again. I recently finished Phil Hellmuth's "Bad Beats and Lucky Draws", and I have to say that for an author, Hellmuth makes a great poker player. Yes, it's a poor book, even compared to other poker books, but I'll tell you this much ... if I had to choose between being a successful author and one of the top 10-20 poker players in the world, poker pays a hell of a lot better.

It is hard to put my finger on why I didn't like this. I mean, sure, Hellmuth whines a lot about his bad beats, but he is also very critical of his own play when that's justified. So he's honest. It's not like he's this egotistical I-do-no-wrong jerk. But even self-critical whining is still whining, and it gets old after about 10 pages. He allows a few guest-stories in a later chapter, and those all have the same problem, pretty much. Most of his anecdotes are profoundly uninteresting, and I get the feeling reading this book that I was invited over to someone's house for a poker game and some overly earnest guy started trying to sell me some Amway products or something. Hellmuth is trying to sell himself instead of just talking about the game.

I also don't think he did a good job of reconstructing a lot of the hands. They were too hard to follow. He needed to use some set-apart graphics to show the hands, then go step-by-step. His style of describing things was a little too jerky. Compare to some of the other poker books I've given good reviews to, like Alvarez's, Brunson's ... hell, even McManus' book with all of its flaws, told a much clearer story when it came to individual hands, and that's always the best part of the poker book to me.

Posted by Observer at February 26, 2005 08:21 AM
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Good ol' Hellmuth. He's good tv.

Posted by: Polerand on February 27, 2005 01:59 PM