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Phil Hellmuth Presents Read 'Em & Reap 'A career FBI agent's guide to decoding poker tells' by Joe Navarro and Marvin Karlins

Release date: 01st March, 2007
Publisher: HarperCollins

List Price: £11.99
Our Price: £8.39
You Save: £3.6 (30%)
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We've all seen those thriller movies where the deep-thinking FBI guy makes an incredibly outrageous move based upon a hunch which turns out to be so stunningly successful, it helps nab his 'perp' and, inevitably, the pretty girl in the process. But that is the movies and in real life, one suspects an FBI agent's role is a tad more mundane.

It's a wonder then that someone as well established on the poker scene as Hellmuth would recruit a former FBI agent, the wonderfully-named Joe Navarro (now there's a name for the movies), to put together quite a short book focusing on poker tells. Hellmuth is the pro, Navarro a retired FBI officer and most definitely not a poker pro, but a non-verbal behaviour expert. .

Apparently, Joe spends much of his time nowadays advising players on where they're slipping up on the tells front, although he doesn't reveal who they are.

Nevertheless, as he's been advising some of the world's very best players, it's disappointing that he offers only basic advice here, much of it repeated several times. He identifies two areas where players can spot a tell, the first being to: "see if someone does something every time they bluff and watch for them to do it again - then you will know they are bluffing." That's rather basic stuff, as is: "when you bluff or bet for value, always act the same way." All but the greenest of greenhorns will probably know that.

There's a handful of interesting anecdotes, although not many relate to the poker table and even as celebrity-endorsed poker titles go, this is a very short effort.

One school of thought would suggest that if you can get an insight into any tell, it's worth knowing and while it's difficult to disagree, this is hardly the type of book which is likely to knock readers over with its wealth of informative, well-written detail. In short, Navarro's hunch to write a poker book has probably not proved his best.


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