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Poker Essays (For Both Hold'em and Stud Players) Paperback – November 1, 1996

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Poker Essays (For Both Hold'em and Stud Players) + Poker Essays, Volume II + Poker Essays, Volume III
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Product Details

  • Series: For Both Hold'em and Stud Players
  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Two Plus Two Pub.; 2 edition (November 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880685094
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880685099
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

There's more to poker than the obvious matters of odds and bluffing, as poker master Mason Malmuth--himself a professional mathematician--discovered long ago. Now Malmuth shares his insights and expertise in a collection of bite-sized essays on every aspect of the game in its various forms. This is no book for beginners. It assumes you already have a firm grounding in poker. However, good players who want to become great players will find this an invaluable source of profitable wisdom covering general concepts, technical matters, structure of play, strategy, psychology of image, tournament play, and card room matters.

About the Author

Mason Malmuth was born and raised in Coral Gables, Florida. In 1973 he received his BS in Mathematics from Virginia Tech, and completed their Masters program in 1975. While working for the United States Census Bureau in 1979, Mason stopped overnight in Las Vegas while driving to his new assignment in California. He was immediately fascinated by the games, and gambling became his major interest.

After arriving in California he discovered that poker was legal and began playing in some of the public cardrooms as well as taking periodic trips to Las Vegas where he would play both poker and blackjack. In 1982 he went to work for the Northrop Corporation as a mathematician and moved to Los Angeles where he could conveniently pursue his interest in poker in the large public cardrooms in Gardena, Bell Gardens, and Commerce.

In 1983 his first article Card Domination The Ultimate Blackjack Weapon was published in Gambling Times magazine. In 1987 he left his job with the Northrop Corporation to begin a career as both a full-time gambler and a gambling writer. He has had over 600 articles published in various magazines and is the author or co-author of 14 books. These include Gambling Theory and Other Topics, where he tries to demonstrate why only a small number of people are highly successful at gambling. In this book he introduces the reader to the concept of non-self weighting strategies and explains why successful gambling is actually a balance of luck and skill. Other books he has co-authored include Hold em Poker For Advanced Players, written with David Sklansky, Seven-Card Stud For Advanced Players written with David Sklansky and Ray Zee, and Small Stakes Hold em: Winning Big with Expert Play written with Ed Miller and David Sklansky. All the advanced books are considered the definitive works on these games.

His company Two Plus Two Publishing has sold over two million books and currently has 37 titles to its credit. These books are recognized as the best in their field and are thoroughly studied by those individuals who take gambling seriously.

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Customer Reviews

The information in both of these books is general, covering all aspects of poker.
Chris Constantine
This book probably should be used to supplement the other great poker literature and not stand by itself.
M. Grapenthien
As in his (and Sklanky's) other books there are quizzes pertaining to good and bad play.
Dennis Littrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Chris Constantine on October 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mason Malmuth in Poker Essays I and Poker Essays II provides the most direct and relevant general information on playing poker. Having played casino poker for a decade and having read and reread most of the poker literature I feel that Malmuth provides the most credible material. The information in both of these books is general, covering all aspects of poker. If you are interested in the world of poker then these books should be part of your global reference. (These books are a reedited collection of magazine columns.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the first collection of Malmuth's essays, most of which were originally written for Card Player Magazine beginning in the eighties, and rewritten or at least touched up for this book which originally came out in 1996. For the professional poker player they are something close to a must read because of the range of Malmuth's interests and because of his thoroughly professional approach.

Malmuth does not pretend to be a world class player and most of his experience comes from middle level cash games prior to the rise of the tournament phenomenon. But make no mistake about it, Malmuth knows poker. Not only is he the author of perhaps a dozen books on the subject, but he is well known and respected among professionals. Typically he played $20-$40 Hold'em and Seven Card Stud games in Las Vegas for many years and perhaps still does. I must have played with him some time before that in the Gardena clubs, but I don't recall meeting him. I have talked to regulars who have played with him, and they allow that he is a good, if unspectacular player who will definitely be a drain on your win rate.

The essays here concern some topics that are no longer of anything but historical interest, such as lowball and draw poker, spread limits, the old jackpot games in the Los Angeles area, and in general the atmosphere and conditions that prevailed in California and Las Vegas ten to twenty years ago. However, most of the book is still surprisingly relevant and even topical. Malmuth spends some serious ink on delineating the differences between seven card stud and hold'em, which skills are better applied to which game, and which game is juicier and why. He also enters the debate about which game--limit hold'em or no limit hold'em-requires more skill to play well.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By atakdoug on November 14, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book that reflects the power of self-promotion.

As the author will (and repeatedly does) tell you, he is considered an expert on poker. For all I know, he may be one. Unfortunately, that expertise is not presented in this book, which constitutes a somewhat disjointed collection of essays that rarely reveal anything that a reasonably thoughtful player would not already have figured out.

The author's apparently-favorite words: "obviously" and "clearly" [often as the lead-in to a statement with superficial validity but having some subtle theoretical weakness]. Favorite phrase: "It seems like..." (or "it doesn't seem...") Favorite sentence: some variation on "As I wrote in my book [fill in name of other book by same author]."

The self promotion quickly wears thin, as his 41 (I hope I didn't miss any) references in the text to other books include 36 to those he, or sometime coauthors David Sklansky and Ray Zee, wrote. The list of recommended books in the appendix constitutes nine books, of which seven are by himself or those coauthors; more can be found in the supplemental list.

But this weakness would be tolerable if the book offered insights that would improve a typical reader's game. Unfortunately, it doesn't. His strategic recommendations are unsupported and often at odds with good high-level strategy; his opinions on win rate and bankroll may be correct but are unsupported by data or mathematical proof; his opinions on good and bad games and on player types are probably correct but not novel to anyone who has thought beyond the shallowest level about the game.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Real Poker Advice on December 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Poker Essays is a great collection of articles on life and poker. If you're looking to play for any serious amount of money, part-time income, or full-time playing like myself, this is great reading.
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