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How to win the World Series of Poker (or Not) by Pat Walsh

Release date: 30th May, 2006
Publisher: Plume Books

List Price: £8.74
Our Price: £6.57
You Save: £2.17 (24%)
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Given events in Vegas this week, it seemed appropriate to review a book which put the WSOP at its heart. Ever since Tony Holden wrote Big Deal, the tale of an established writer setting off to Vegas with the intention of becoming world champion, he has spawned a plethora of copycat titles to the point where it has become an established literary genre, almost akin to a Michael Palin travelogue.

You know the story: author gets the hang of online poker, wins a few quid and decides a tilt at the WSOP title is a must. "What a great idea for a book," he thinks and so chronicles his journey to Vegas's bright lights. Tales of daring-do abound (or not, depending upon said author's ability) before he ignominiously busts out of the main event. Pat Walsh has adhered to this very basic plot line in his attempt to either a) become world champion or b) write a best-seller; it's not clear what his specific aim was.

Walsh acknowledges his poker ability is well, limited, having never played either online or at a casino. To make his story work, therefore, he starts playing at various online sites and later tries his hand in a variety of venues. This works in a basic, 'Rough Guide' manner, ie it gives details of the area where Walsh lives, but anyone looking for poker instruction would be disappointed.

In fairness, Walsh has not set out to be Mike Caro and his obvious nervousness when playing cash games for the first time will strike a chord with anyone who has played for their own hard-earned. On occasion, Walsh is genuinely funny, but the problem with his effort is this: it's been done before - and better.


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