Moneymaker : Chris Moneymaker with Daniel Paisner
Most pundits believe that poker's incredible boost in popularity over the last few years comes largely from three sources: (1) The expansion of online poker, (2) the popularity of televised poker, and (3) the spectacular success story of Chris Moneymaker's win in the final event at the 2003 World Series of Poker. Amateur poker players all over the world have been inspired by Moneymaker's story, parlaying $40 into what at that time was the biggest tournament poker payday ever. Moneymaker recounts how this all came about in his self-titled book.
About the first third of the book cuts back and forth between background on Moneymaker, the events that lead to his arrival at the World Series, and his recollections of the event itself. Once the setup is done, the rest of the book goes into considerable detail about the events of that fateful week and provides some information on the aftermath.
The background material is remarkably candid. Basically, Moneymaker makes the claim that his low-stakes online poker playing was in some measure a way for him to keep a big sports betting problem in check. He recounts both the good and bad aspects of his upbringing and history in a way that sheds a great deal of light on his character. He isn't looking for absolution here, he's calling it like he sees it. Even though Moneymaker doesn't paint a terribly flattering picture of himself here, there is something admirable in this sort of forthrightness
Poker Books Recommended
One of a Kind : Nolan Dalla and Peter Alson
Genius is an overused word, but in the history of the game if there is one poker player to whom the term could be fairly applied, it is Stu Ungar. In a relatively brief tournament poker career, Ungar amassed a staggering record of success. Part and parcel with his great proficiency for card games, however, were serious personal problems which led to his untimely death in 1998. His story is chronicled in the much anticipated book, One of a Kind , by Nolan Dalla and Peter Alson.
The seeds of this work were planted in interviews with Dalla before Ungar's tragic death. Initially intended as an autobiography, events forced the authors to completely recast this book. Because much of the information they compiled came from Ungar himself, as well as the recollections of his family and closest friends, One of a Kind presents the story from a personal angle that no other source will be able to match.
Mastering No-Limit Hold'em : Russell Fox and Scott T. Harker
Due to the influence of televised poker, cash no-limit Hold'em games are more popular now than they have ever been. In jurisdictions where these games are legal, nearly every card room spreads some sort of no-limit game, usually with a capped buy-in. Despite their popularity, very little has been written about how to play in these games. In Mastering No-Limit Hold'em Russ Fox and Scott Harker provide the information necessary for players to make the transition from limit to no-limit Hold'em.
One thing I noticed immediately upon reading this book is that the authors have elected not to provide some of the introductory material customarily found in poker books. They do not explain how the game is dealt or the rank of hands. They assume that the reader comes to this book with a basic understanding of Texas hold'em. So, those who haven't played casino Hold'em before may want to get themselves another book to learn the mechanics of the game. For myself, however, I'm appreciative that I don't need to read through this material yet one more time.
Even though Mastering No-Limit Hold'em assumes that the reader has played casino poker before, the authors specifically aim this book at those with little or no no-limit experience. Basically, the target audience are those who have played limit hold'em and want a solid foundation for moving to no-limit games. This book provides a great deal of information on successfully making that transition.