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Phil Hellmuth Presents Read 'Em and Reap: A Career FBI Agent's Guide to Decoding Poker Tells Paperback – November 7, 2006

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Phil Hellmuth Presents Read 'Em and Reap: A Career FBI Agent's Guide to Decoding Poker Tells + Caro's Book of Poker Tells: The Psychology and Body Language of Poker + Doyle Brunson's Super System
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; First Edition edition (November 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061198595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061198595
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joe Navarro was a career FBI agent specializing in nonverbal communications and is now a lecturer and consultant for major companies worldwide. He has appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews, the Today show, the CBS Early Show, CNN, Fox News, and other major media. He lives in Tampa, Florida.

Marvin Karlins received his Ph.D. in psychology from Princeton University and is senior professor of management at the University of South Florida. He is the author of twenty-three books and most recently collaborated with Joe Navarro on Phil Hellmuth Presents Read 'Em and Reap.

Phil Hellmuth, Jr. is a ten-time World Series of Poker Champion and all-time leading money winner at the World Series of Poker. In addition to appearances on the Discovery Channel, E!, ESPN, and Fox Sports Net, he has been featured in Sports Illustrated, Time, and Esquire. Phil also contributes to Gambling Times Magazine and writes for many poker websites. He lives with his family in Palo Alto, California.

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Customer Reviews

I have read Mike Caros book on poker tells.
Even if you are a natural at reading people this book will help you in concealing all the tells you may have.
This book is a must read for anyone who wants to be a serious poker player.
D. Kruse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

142 of 150 people found the following review helpful By J. Rubino VINE VOICE on November 18, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very good. It does a very good job of laying the groundwork for the psychology and physiology behind tells. It explains the body's natural tendency to react to various situations as a function of the biology of the brain and thousands of years of evolution. It also takes the reader through several learning excercises that will help increase awareness of important things to observe and additionally help the reader to be less "readable" himself. Additionally, it is well organized and well written.

I have read and re-read every tell book on the market and dozens of poker books. I find it interesting that so many "experts" can not agree on the value of tells. In John Feeney's "Inside the Poker Mind" he minimizes the value of tells quite a bit. In the tells section of "Super System 2" Mike Caro suggests that you "might easily double your income" by developing your skills. In this book the authors suggest that winning poker is 70% reading players and only 30% reading the cards("understanding the mathematical and technical aspects") They do tell you that their 70/30 equation is geared towards larger buy-in no limit tournaments but the overall presentation suggests that this 70/30 is a general guide to poker.

Personally, I think they may all be somewhat correct! Let me explain. Feeney plays(played) mostly middle and upper limit holdem and stud where the players are more advanced and rely on their technical prowess and aggression to hold an edge. In the lower limit games there are so many available tells that Caro might not be far off in his assertion. Navarro and Hellmuth address primarily no limit holdem tournaments as far as the specific examples from Hellmuth's poker career. Why is this important?
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By F. Presson on November 8, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished a first pass through _Read 'Em and Reap_. I'm sure I could write a better review after a few sessions of live play trying to use what I have learned, but I can always edit this one in the light of any significant results[1].

Too many books of this general type are fluffed up with a lot of rhetoric about why we should care about the subject; there's only a little of that here, before the author dives right in. Navarro provides a good catalog of unconscious tells to look for, hints on how to distinguish those from acting, and a good method for sealing yourself off from broadcasting tells (hint: watch Hoyt Corkins play). I was pleased to see that he discusses how to put tells in context and doesn't exaggerate their importance.

There isn't going to be a magic bullet in this field, as people vary in their responses, not to mention acting ability and the curious phenomenon of unconscious acting. I was once in a hand with two players ahead of me, where I had picked up a pair of 9s with my 97 (No snide comments allowed: The Persian Carpet Ride is my favorite trash hand, and you have one, too.) The two other players were competing to see who could lean over the pot the furthest; I had not seen anyone at the table completely lose it like this before or since. Caro would say they were weak but acting strong; Navarro would say they were strong unless you could be sure they were acting. With a bet and a call ahead of me, I'd love to be able to say I correctly diagnosed what they were doing, which was trying to make something happen with a couple of mediocre overcard hands, and raised them back into their chairs. I didn't, though; since I couldn't decide which way they were leaning, so to speak, I got out of the way with my middling pair. I wouldn't do that today.
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57 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Rob L on January 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is pretty bad. It has a few useful tidbits of info if you are willing to wade through pages and pages of filler material. I strongly suggest anyone considering purchase go to a bookstore and examine the book first. Here are some things you will find:

1. Look at the print - it's practically double-spaced.

2. It's filled with unnecessary full-page photos. For example, look at page 168, where a full-page photo shows what whistling looks like.

3. It reuses photos. Look at pages 34 and 87. Notice anything? Entire page taken up with exactly the same photos. The captions are slightly different, but basically say the same thing.

4. It reuses content. Everything is repeated over and over and over again. There are countless examples of this throughout the book.

5. The writing is very long-winded. Open to any random page and read a few lines and you'll see what I mean. Here's an example: pages 133 to 137 describe a single tell called a tongue-jut, including a full-page photo to show what it looks like. Here's what those 5 pages say: if a player flicks his tongue between his teeth for a second, he feels like he got away with something. That's it. 5 pages.

6. The Phil Hellmuth anecdotes are self-promoting, uninteresting and basically useless to the reader. Is anyone surprised by this? To see what I mean, flip through the book and read any section with a gray background. For example, on page 137, Phil begins a 3-page story about how great he was at reading Howard Lederer in a certain hand.

And so on...

The cover of the book tells us that Joe Navarro wrote the book with Marvin Karlins, but it's presented by Phil Hellmuth.
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