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Book Reviews: Tales from the Tiltboys and How to Win No Limit Hold'em Tournaments

How to Win No Limit Hold'em Tournaments
by Don Vines & Tom McEvoy
367 pp, $29.95

Tales From the Tiltboys by Kim Scheinberg
207 pp, $19.95

Don Vines and Tom McEvoy have written a timely, cut-to-the-chase work titled How to Win No Limit Hold'em Tournaments, while Kim Scheinberg has edited a highly unusual, check-your- reality-credentials-at-the- door effort titled Tales From The Tiltboys.

Vines, Mcevoy Team On New No-Limit Book Vines, a relative newcomer to writing about the game but a veteran of no hold'em in medium buy-in events, has won more than three dozen titles including the World Poker Open and Orleans Open. McEvoy, 1983 World Series of Poker winner at Binion's, has written many books, including Championship No-Limit Hold 'em.

This collaborative effort contains 15 chapters beginning with the key concepts of no-limit hold'em (including the importance of position, good starting hands in middle and late position), the basics of tournament play (including freezeout and rebuy tournaments), skill versus luck, the different stages of tournaments, making a double bet, underbetting the pot and building your stack.

The sections on when to play aggressive, when to bluff and when not to bluff are some of the most important in the book-- which does a nice job of assisting beginners on their understanding of tournament structure and tactics.

For those interested in winning strategies for low stakes, or medium and high stakes tourneys, the material is written in a relaxed, yet structured format.

The book moves into high gear from pages 213 on when offering advice on no-limit hold'em play (including check-raising and slow-playing); then discussing specific tournament situations; adjusting your tournament play (based on fast (20 minutes); medium or slow-action (60 to 90 minutes) tourney formats. A section is also devoted to adjusting based on the size of the field (fewer than 100 entries to more than 1,000 players).

For those who plan to enter online tournaments the book has some material to prepare the novice.

The final three sections examine fatal flaws and how to fix them (including betting the wrong amount; playing too many hands; playing marginal hands out of position; misreading opponents; not raising when you should); and how to manage your tournament bankroll; with the final area probing successful playing styles (aggressive; superaggressive; unpredictable; conservative, etc.)

Tiltboys Funny

Tales From The Tiltboys is like a reality show where inhibitions go by the wayside. Written in what might be called new-journalism- style, a la Hunter Thompson, with a "whatever goes" approach, it's about people who exist to gamble, who binge on poker and who enjoy putting each other on tilt.

"Yes, this is the center of our universe. Yes, every one of us is completely out of touch with reality..."

Think Animal House versus the Real World of Poker. This book is a form of dairy, collection of episodes, flashbacks, highlights, new definitions, convoluted thinking with a Tom Wolfe approach. It's a world of talented, crazy, innovative think, often defying the laws of logic.

If you're between the ages of 21 and 30 and you've just gotten hooked on poker, the book will appear to be a sort of classic -- truly defining this often impatient, thrill-seeking generation. For the "older folks" (30-60 range), the book's style could be interpreted as egotistical, hedonistic and unstructured. Look at this book as occasional summer reading offering bits and pieces of advice about poker and sports betting among other areas while allowing you to observe the actions of a wild, yet talented and educated group of players who ascribe to a John Belushi character's lifestyle.

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