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The Poker Encyclopaedia by Elkan Allan and Hannah Mackay

Release date: 18th October, 2007
Publisher: Anova

List Price: £14.99
Our Price: £12.74
You Save: £2.25 (15%)
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We had some doubts about the publishers' decision to coat the original imprint of this book in green flock (so it feels like table felt - geddit?). Few concerns about the content, though.

Okay, as with almost any volume of this type, there is the odd faux pas (implying that a term originated in poker, for example, but then quoting the first recorded use of it in 1616) and occasional proofing errors to nitpick. But overwhelmingly this is good, accurate and, vitally, interesting material written in an economical yet engaging style. Here for example, is a short excerpt from the entry for 'Bluff':

"Imagine if you could win at chess by pretending to make checkmate or winning a football match by simply convincing your opponent you had scored more goals than you had. It is inconceivable. Yet often a hand in poker is decided without any of the players actually revealing their cards and, because of this, the cards you really hold are, in a sense, less important than the cards your opponent thinks you hold."

This is, of course, accurate, but much more lively that one might expect from a volume with 'encyclopaedia' written on the cover. No sterile reference work, then, but a book that you'll take off the shelf to look up one term, and often end up flitting from one interesting entry to another for the next 20 minutes.

As a consequence, many poker players, may believe it's a contender for 'lavatory book of the year'.


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