Doyle Brunson's Super System: A Course in Power Poker, 3rd Edition

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Staff Pick: Baseball Playbook

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When you have a child, you get a lot of stuff. There’s the baby stuff – the various transportation devices and accoutrements, the clothing, the books, and the toys (my favorite of these is a stuffed giraffe that plays a soothing African drum rhythm, peppered with the growls of, I guess, a lion. It’s comforting, despite the lion’s growl). Then there’s the stuff for you, the parent – my coworker got me a badly-needed bottle of bourbon; he knows me well. My father, on the other hand, brought me a book. Not a parenting book, mind you. My father was perfectly confident in my skills canada goose deutschland as a father; it was my ability to run a baseball team that he doubted. “You might have to coach Little League in a few years,” he told me, handing me a strange, plain windows 10 key Online book. My son was a week old. It would be at least two years before he would learn to throw a cut fastball (and probably another year or two before he had any real command of the pitch), but my father likes to plan ahead. He’d gotten 642-998 this book 70-417 from a colleague of his, one who used to scout for the Atlanta Braves and coached baseball at the college level, so the book came with an impressive recommendation.

Roughly the size of a chemistry textbook, Baseball Playbook (no article needed) is now one of the stranger books I own. It looks like a self-published book from the days when that meant cutting a deal with a printer and paying extra for a second 300-135 color of ink on the cover, an expense the publishers of Baseball Playbook declined to indulge. The only text on the jacket of the book is the title of the book and “by Ron Polk.” No publisher information, no ISBN, no blurbs. Ron Polk is a fan of simplicity. He was also the longtime head 300-360 coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs baseball team, and the book is published by the Mississippi State University Press (I discovered this information on the internet; there’s nothing at all in the book that states this).

Baseball Playbook is a complete guide to coaching a baseball team. It contains, among other things, a template for scheduling batting practice, a guide to developing offensive signs (you know, the ones the third base coach flashes to hitters and baserunners), a series of fundamental drills canada goose outlet designed to practice things like pick-off moves to first and second base, diving back to the base, and fielding bunts. There’s even a section dedicated to field maintenance. “For many years, calcinated clay has been the standard 312-50 material used for drying infields,” Polk writes. “However, recently a new product made from ground corn cobs called Diamond Dry has been marketed and promises to be a superior product.” It would not be an exaggeration to say buy Windows 10 Pro Key that you could build a baseball field with the instructions in this book.

If Baseball Playbook has a flaw, it’s that it sometimes dispenses some archaic advice. For instance, an early section of the book outlines a sample agreement between coaches and players regarding conduct. While drinking is to be strictly forbidden, “We will allow any player to chew tobacco on or off the playing field as long as it does not show grotesquely.” Don’t you hope your kid is on my Little League team?

By far the best part of the book, though, are the many different game play situations presented, complete with a diagram of what each player should do on the play. For instance, what is the second baseman supposed to do when a sure buy windows 10 key double to left-center field is hit with a runner at first base? The answer: “Once he reads the sure extra base hit to left center 210-065 field, he will be the back man for the shortstop on the tandom [sic] relay. In the tandom 210-260 relay, he will be responsible to communicate with the shortstop as to where the ball is to be thrown, if at all.” Now you know.

This section reminds me of Doyle Bronson’s Super System, a two-volume book that provides a hand-by-hand guide to nearly every conceivable poker scenario. In Baseball Playbook, there’s a chart that suggests defensive alignments based on the count – people tend to pull the ball more on hitter’s counts (more balls than strikes). It’s this completist streak, this idea that one might prepare for every play in a game, that draws me to the book. It reminds me of the obsession I’d developed in high school with chess, spending every spare moment thinking of the game, of openings. Later, I’d find a similar obsession with poker. Flipping through Baseball Playbook, it isn’t hard to propel myself into the future, to imagine myself as a Little League coach, running through the various possibilities of MA0-101 play in my head each night as I try, fruitlessly, to fall asleep. I’ll be the squinty, sun-leathered skipper of, I don’t know, the Nate’s Discount Tire Depot Padres.  We’ll always hit the cutoff man and never, ever, let our chewing tobacco show.

The Early Days of Big Money: A Review of A. Alvarez’s The Biggest Game in Town

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The poker craze may have peaked, but it was a big thing there for a bit. About five years ago, ESPN’s prominent televising of the World Series of Poker and the emergence and proliferation of online poker sites where amateur card sharps could test their skills against other players around the globe fueled an explosion of interest in what was once a back-room pastime. To a lesser extent, a pair of books fanned the flames as well: James McManus’ Positively Fifth Street, a journalist and amateur poker player’s tale of parlaying an advance for a Harper’s piece on the World Series (and other related topics) into a miracle run to the final table and Ben Mezrich’s Bringing Down the House, an apparently substantially apocryphal tale of MIT geeks who used their considerable mathematical abilities to bilk millions from Las Vegas casinos using card counting schemes. (Yes, the latter is about blackjack, but it seemed aimed squarely at the suddenly booming poker market and tapped into the same “get rich quick” bravado.)So, for the many poker novices who have taken up no-limit hold’em over the last few years, whether via a neighborhood game, or more likely online, the earlier, though not to say more innocent, years of no-limit hold’em and the World Series of Poker will be surprising in many ways.Such was my reaction to reading The Biggest Game in Town, a journalistic account of the 1981 World Series of Poker by New Yorker contributor and accomplished essayist, novelist, and poet A. Alvarez. On the one hand, it is interesting to know, some twenty years before ESPN began broadcasting poker seemingly every day, that the World Series, held annually since 1970 at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino, was a notable event even back then. Alvarez describes “television teams trail[ing] their cables around the room,” major newspapers carrying the results, and spectators “packed against the rails.” At the same time, these early years seem almost impossibly quaint compared to the madness that is described on TV now. In 1981, there were 75 entrants competing for $375,000 in prize money. In 2007, it was 6,358 going after $8.25 million (and that was down from 8,773 and $12 million the prior year). Alvarez’s description of the players’ introductions sums up the scene:Jack Binion climbed onto a chair at the back of the room… He motioned for quiet, did not get it, then introduced the players over the babble of the casino: name, place of origin, a word or so of praise. His favorite description was “plenty tough.”This familial atmosphere allows for Alvarez to paint compelling profiles of a dozen or so of the participants. Unlike the online moonlighters and poker tourists that you might find at the World Series nowadays, these are hard-bitten bunch, and more candidly hooked on gambling than any drug addict and as prone to peaks and crashes. From the likes of Amarillo Slim, Johnny Moss, and Nick “the Greek” Dandalos emerges Doyle Brunson, a survivor in the poker world, thanks both to an uncharacteristically even-keeled demeanor compared to most of the poker pros that Alvarez meets and to a popular and highly technical poker manual he wrote, Doyle Brunson’s Super System: A Course in Power Poker. It’s not uncommon to see Brunson on ESPN still today, revered as a poker god among the hordes of newcomers. Even his children have become celebrity poker players.While Brunson and his small-town Texas bonhomie are at the heart of the book, his colleagues provide the color. What’s particularly interesting is that this book, far more than McManus’ Fifth Street, is a book about addicts. It just happens that these addicts are incredibly good at what they do and so can improbably make a living at it, albeit one that sometimes has them losing hundreds of thousands in a matter of hours and opening a line of credit with a casino (or some shadier operation) in order to get back on track.The World Series, we surmise, is just an attempt clean up poker and market these latter day cowboys for the tourists. It’s telling that the World Series itself isn’t particularly interesting to the participants, Alvarez, or this reader, rather it’s the numerous “cash games” that spring up when the world’s top poker players occupy the same zip code. In these games, which Alvarez describes with something like awe, the $375,000 that World Series participants spend a week competing for might be lost (and won) in a single hand. Members of the top-tier poker fraternity compete ruthlessly, and have no qualms about absolutely cleaning out the deep-pocketed amateur who gets in over his head. It’s an ugly world, lived in windowless rooms with smoky air, and trailing lost jobs and broken families. There’s glamor and excitement in the sums involved but, Alvarez’s book makes clear, never satisfaction.

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