Monday, November 07, 2005

Review: The Best Hand I Ever Played

The Best Hand I Ever Played was an entertaining, albeit short, read. It is a collection of 52 hands played by various professionals and big tournament winners. Each person recounts a brief tale of one of the best hands they ever played, hence the title of the book. Following the recount of the hand, Steve Rosenbloom throws in a section called “The Rake” where he dissects the strategic implications.

Upon receiving the book I was understandably excited and jumped in right away. After a couple of hours went by I realized that I had already ripped through over half of it and that my enjoyment was nearing an abrupt end. In the middle of “Oooh! New poker book!” euphoria I had failed to consider its length and consequently failed to pace myself.

Don’t expect any in-depth strategy lessons with this book, you won’t get them. This is primarily a poker book that tells a collection of brief stories; very brief stories. All of these things combined led me to a sense of mild overall disappointment with this book once I was finished. Perhaps I expected too much, that is always a possibility. I loved reading about the players and their favorite hands, but I was left wanting something more in-depth. The post-recount strategy sections were even briefer and felt like an afterthought; something just put there to fill space. Scattered throughout the book were handy-dandy little graphics explaining poker terms like “The Turn”. These definitely could have been left out. With ESPN increasing the poker coverage year by year I find it difficult to imagine that someone reading this book would find this most basic information enlightening in any way. Again, maybe I expected too much.

So, there’s how it all shakes out in my world. It seems that this book was devoted to pleasing everyone, which is understandable, but I believe that this is its downfall. I wouldn’t buy this book. I would, however, buy it for a friend or acquaintance as some sort of small gift, stocking stuffer, etc, and I would enjoy receiving it as a gift. The good thing is that it costs less than many of you spend on blinds in an orbit. It definitely couldn’t hurt to pick up a copy to read while your folding that string of Q3 offsuit’s you’re being dealt, just don’t make the same mistake I did and expect too much.