These days Mike Sexton is best known as the voice of poker on broadcasts of the World Poker Tour. Before televised poker became popular, Sexton was still well known within poker circles as a professionalNick Christenson is widely regarded as one of the best gambling book reviewers publishing today. He is a contributor for Poker Player magazine, and has published in Full-Tilt and Gambling Times. He is also the editor of the very funny 'Casino Death Watch,' which chronicles the comings and goings of casinos in Las Vegas. He is an avid poker and blackjack player. Nick's website is www.jetcafe.org/~npc/ player and columnist for Card Player magazine. His book, World Poker Tour: Shuffle Up and Deal, is a combination of advice to aspiring poker players and his insights about the World Poker Tour.
The book begins by easing the reader into the game of No Limit Texas Hold'em, the game of choice on the World Poker Tour. The first five chapters provide general encouragement, an introduction to the game, some advice about how to approach playing poker, some advice on how to play certain situations, and tournament specific advice.
The poker advice in this book is plainly geared toward those who have watched the WPT on television but have not played extensively. This is a fairly gentle introduction to the game, there exist other far more comprehensive strategy guides. At the same time, if the reader hasn't been watching poker on TV, some of Sexton's discussions may lack context. World Poker Tour: Shuffle Up and Deal is aimed at a fairly narrowly defined audience. There are, though, quite a few people that fit this demographic.
The last half of the book discusses some key hands that have appeared in World Poker Tour events over the last few seasons, includes brief biographies of famous tournament players, and provides some advice on playing poker tournaments online and hosting a home poker tournament.
The key hands and bios are likely to interest casual fans of the WPT. As with his general poker advice, I believe Sexton's suggestions regarding online poker are good, although far from comprehensive. The chapter on home tournaments provides some reasonably good suggestions for those who want to practice among friends. The limited information the author provides regarding the legality of poker disturbs me a little, however. I believe Sexton leaves the impression that some home poker games are legal in jurisdictions where they may not be. Those who wish to host a poker game would be well advised to research it's legality themselves.
The book also includes a glossary, examples of common poker slang, a good list of recommended books, and more information on WPT events. An introductory DVD, hosted by well-known actor and poker aficionado, Lou Diamond Phillips, is also provided.
World Poker Tour: Shuffle Up and Deal is squarely aimed at those who are fans of the show but have little live poker experience themselves. The book is far from comprehensive, but those who inhabit its target audience are likely to enjoy reading it. Experienced poker players or those who have read extensively on poker won't find much here that they haven't heard before. For beginning players, though, this is a respectable but very gentle primer for the game they see on TV.
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