Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Review: Ace on the River

I just finished (Aug 28th listening to Ace on the River, by Barry Greenstein. Read by the author.

This is a very interesting look into the life of a professional poker player. It is more a memoir than an "Advanced Poker Guide". It does include a lot of information on playing the larger game -- building a life while playing poker.

Thinks I liked:

  • Talking about the difference between tourney and cash game styles. Especially about how the cash game people look down on the tourney players, yet are jealous of the "respectability" afforded the tourney players.
  • The last section walks you throw several real tourney hands, and he walks you through how he played them, and what the optimal plays were. On the audio version, there are pauses to force you to think about the situation and make your own answer before he tells you his thoughts.
  • While tourney payouts are top heavy, so it's best to win. it is important to guard your chips more than a cash game, since there is no rebuy. This doesn't always mean cautious, tight play. Really it means evaluating where your stack is relative to the big blind -- and in a tourney the blinds are always moving up so they are a big chunk of the stacks. It may well be that you take a big chance when you're below 8 big blinds, because you've got to take it to stay alive.
  • Winning early hands gives chip power. Use your big stack "as a bludgeon" on your opponents
  • Conversly, realize the power of the short stack (more useful in a cash game). Easier to get odds to double you up. In a tourney, it's still nicer to have the big stack!
  • The emphasis on maintaining a life outside of the game.
With a forward to Doyle, how could you not be interested?

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