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Beyond Traps- The Anatomy of Poker Success by James McKenna

Release date: 01st August, 2007
Publisher: Stuart (Lyle)

List Price: £11.99
Our Price: £6.39
You Save: £5.6 (46%)
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According to James McKenna's third book dealing with the vagaries of poker, the game actually consists of two separate entities: fish and fishermen. As we know, the fish are generally newcomers whose knowledge of the game could hardly be described as extensive, or else they're older hands who never bothered to learn the game's techniques. By contrast, fishermen are players who watch the fish, learn how they swim before baiting hooks and casting their nets to catch them one by one.

As a qualified therapist, McKenna knows about the human psyche; as a poker player, he knows how to put that knowledge to work. This accounts for his assertion that successful players should do more than merely identify another player's habits - they should also learn to identify their own habits. This allows them to amend their table persona and thus establish an effective smokescreen. McKenna offers some tips for readers to ensure they can undertake their own self-examination to discover what type of poker person they are. It's fascinating material.

McKenna's theory is that once a person understands what drives him, he will be able to either use those attributes to become a better player or eliminate them in order that his progress is not hindered. .

Of course, there's more: to become an effective fisherman, the player must also understand what type of fish are in his waters in order that he may prepare the correct bait. This is where McKenna is outstanding - advising readers on the different forms of bait they can use.
"Good [poker] trappers," he explains, "are hard to identify because they use different traps for different players. In other words, when a player is setting up a trap by checking and then raising, good players know this trap won't work on all players." As in the rest of this excellent book, McKenna offers sound advice.

At some point in our poker careers, most of us will have been labelled a 'fish' by our opponents, even though most of them will have been delighted to see us at the table! It's a derogatory label slapped onto the greenhorn which we seek to divest ourselves of as rapidly as possible, usually by playing more poker in order that we learn about the game.

With luck and a modicum of application, in time, we graduate from fish to fishermen. We develop into players who, according to author James McKenna, have an innate ability to closely watch the fish, understand how they swim and then leave baited hooks and cast nets to catch them.
This is an interesting theory in what is the final piece of McKenna's poker trilogy for it suggests that players need to learn about how they play as well as interpreting how their opponents are playing. Only by identifying the advantages and disadvantages of our own table persona can we establish an effective smokescreen which enables us to catch the fish.

Once a player appreciates his own shortcomings, he can become a fisherman, although naturally, there are many different types of fish around in poker's murky waters which means the bait appropriate for one might not bag another.
In his chapter entitled "Different Bait for Different Prey", McKenna discusses all manner of bait and the traps essential to snare your prey. These range from fish-baited traps and speed traps to net traps and dirty traps among others.
It's another thought-provoking, well-written book and one hopes that although McKenna's trilogy is now complete, he will continue to produce further quality material for the poker enthusiast.


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