Tony Kendall's picks for World Book Day

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Tony 'Tikay' Kendall

Posted by Tony 'Tikay' Kendall 2nd March 2017

Poker Books – for better or worse

World Book Day is maybe not something that sets your pulses racing, but of all life's delicious secret treats, reading a good book must rank amongst the very best. 

Despite poker's mainstream history being relatively short, there is a rich and varied library of poker reading available to us all, and they are not expensive - you can buy a good book for the price of entry to a SNG or MTT. And a book is for life. I've assembled over 1,000 books in my lifetime, and they are my greatest material possession bar none.

So let's take a quick look at some of the poker offerings which you might find of interest.

Every Hand Revealed - Gus Hansen

This tells the story, hand by hand, of how Gus Hansen, the so-called "Great Dane" - oh how the poker media love corny nicknames - won the Aussie Millions in 2007 from a jumbo sized entry of 747 players.

Perfectly timed publication this, at the very height of the internet poker boom, and an interesting read, so many settled down with a coffee, a Danish, the Great Dane and enjoyed this.

It's not stood the test of time too well, though - poker strategy moves on at a fearfully fast pace -and we now know that Gus managed to lose staggering sums online - an 8 digit sum in fact.

So if you are looking for a winning strategy in 2017, don't bother, but it's a unique look at how one man beat a huge field in a poker major, and for that, it's worth reading I'd say.

Caro's Book of Poker Tells - Mike Caro

An odd inclusion this - it was published the best part of 20 years ago, and we all know that any advice given then is well out of date now. But is it?

It was Mr Caro who first coined, for poker, the dual mantras, "weak means strong" and "strong means weak". Still completely true today, that.

He has been much ridiculed by the modern generation, but that's bang out of order. Mike had a lot to do with the development of poker, certainly more than those who berate him. In fact he was the first to suggest that online poker could be viable, and look where that lead. 

Inevitably, he has a nickname - The Mad Genius - and if you have ever seen him, you'll know why - he does look a bit, shall we say, eccentric. Mad? The jury is out on that one. He is most definitely a genius.

Super System - Doyle Brunson

No review of poker reading would be complete without Super System, the Daddy of them all.

The author is credited as Doyle Brunson, aka Texas Dolly - there we go with the nicks again - but in fact it was written by a collection of greats from back in the day, including Mike Caro, Bobby Baldwin - he of Bobby's Room at Bellagio - Chip Reese and David Sklansky.

It was first published in 1979 - some 38 years ago, before many of you were born, and an updated version was released in 2004.

Can a 38 year old book on poker strategy still be relevant? Yes, most certainly. If you want to do well - or better - in poker, this is a must read.

If you were limited to reading just 2 poker books, this has to be one of them. It's super.

The Mental Game of Poker - Jared Tendlar and Barry Carter

Both co-authors have been guests of Sky Poker on their TV shows and at various live events, and I count Barry as a close personal friend, even though he is a Sheffield lad.  

"Tilt" is a huge problem for so many poker players, and prevents them from achieving results that reflect their ability. Tilt is a huge weakness and "leak," make no mistake.

This book - now one of the biggest selling poker books of all time will solve your mental problems, and tilt IS a mental problem.

I could name scores of players who suffered from tilt who were cured by this book, and have now gone on to reach their full potential.

Very strongly recommended, this one.

For Richer, for Poorer - Victoria Coren

Miss Coren, as she then was - Victoria Coren Mitchell now, after marrying comedian David Mitchell - has written an absolute purler here.

Victoria - Queen Victoria as I prefer to call her - is beautifully bred to write, her father, Alan Coren was as good as it gets in literary circles, and bother Giles is famous - often infamous - for his restaurant reviews and acerbic exchange of correspondence with his Editors. Actually, "acerbic" understates it, but that's a tale for another day. 

This book is just the best, and to top it off, did you ever see a better title for a poker book? We all fell in love with poker, and the relationship has always been up and down whilst utterly faithful to the bitter - or sweet - end.

As a poker player, ignoring gender, she was top class, the only one ever to win 2 EPT's. No EPT winner was more popular, ever.

These days Vicky looks after her beautiful young daughter, dotes on husband David, and presents TV shows such as Only Connect and Have I Got News For You. She is a class apart, and so is her book. If you only ever read one poker book, make sure it is this one.

If there were OSCAR Awards for poker books, this one would scoop "Best Book." No mistakes.


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