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Bobby Baldwin's Winning Poker Secrets (Great Champions of Poker) Paperback – 1 May 2004
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New edition - now back in print! Interspersed with important lessons on what makes a great player tick, this is the fascinating account of 1978 World Champion Bobby Baldwin's early career playing poker in roadhouses and his meteoric rise to the championship. Baldwin and Mike Caro, both of whom are co-authors of the classic Doyle Brunson's Super System, cover the common mistakes average players make at seven poker variations and the dynamic winning concepts they must employ to win. Endorsed by poker legends and superstars Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim. 208 pgs. Fascinating anecdotes and advice from the early days of one of the world's greatest players broaden the book's appeal and makes for great reading.
Top customer reviews
This book gives you an insight into the life of someone that's seen it all. From a young boy playing with a few dollars to flying in private jets to play in private BIG games. The life that Bobby has lived has truely been an amazing one, and he shows us that the life of a poker player isn't just one of big wins and glory.
He's had many ups, but also many downs. From loosing his bankroll on many occaisions to being the CEO of the Bellagio. Mr Bobby Baldwin has really lived it all. There are many lessons to learn from this book about poker as well as life.
Although most may think this is a conventional poker book, it is not. There are advice pages on several different types of poker but they only consist of a few pages and are very simple Do's and Don'ts. The Poker games that are tackled in this book are also very outdated, so I wouldn't recommend it to any begginers still learning the game.
If your an up and coming poker player or feel you want to go pro, I strongly reccomend you READ THIS BOOK, and others such as Barry Greenstein's "Ace on the River".
If your still trying to learn poker and want to improve the game you play, I reccomend you look elsewhere.
In short, fantastic book, but not for students.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book consists of a memoir of Bobby's gambling and playing days, starting as a schoolboy and working through winning the main event. At key points in the story, when he encounters a new poker game for the first time or runs into a common gambling problem, it waxes pedantic and gives the reader advice on that particular game or issue.
The problem with this book, and the reason I give it such a poor rating, is that it's not really any good as a memoir or poker manual. It flops on both fronts.
The memoir side isn't particularly interesting. Instead of recounting gambling tales that would be interesting to the reader (as Doyle does in his excellent Wisdom of a Poker Champion), it covers events from his personal life that were important to him (ie. wooing his various girlfriends) but that are just plain boring for the reader. This pattern is repeated throughout the memoir with one exception: the tale of how a group of kidnappers/killers almost ended his life (and did kill several others) over a gambling fortune they thought Baldwin had was engrossing. But most of the rest is banal - him driving somewhere and almost running out of gas, stuff like that. Unfortunately, the writing is not particularly good, so getting through the slow parts is even more of a chore.
As a poker manual, the book is likewise poor. It gives about 2 pages of very general information about each of the poker games popular at the time, many of which aren't commonly played today. The advice is OK as far as it goes, but isn't detailed enough to comfortably sit in even the lowest limit versions of those games. In that sense it is far inferior to what you could learn by reading the Supersystem chapters on the same games (all of which appear in the original Supersystem, not Supersystem II). This book probably once filled a niche for a low cost, low-content book covering a range of games, back when Supersystem cost $100 (in 1980's money). But now Supersystem costs a fraction of that, the standards for poker instruction manuals have risen 100-fold, and this book is at the back of the pack.
There is one section of this book that I do feel is worth your time: Bobby goes into some depth on the perils of extending credit to your gambling opponents, and provides some good advice how to make sure you get paid if/when you do. Everything he says on the topic is spot-on, and I think that one section may be worth the price of the book for some readers. If you've got a lending-related leak, then I would say this is a 5-star book for you since one bad loan prevented would easily pay the cover price.
Unfortunately, one good section doens't make for a good book. In retrospect I wish I had spent my money on something else and that I could get a "refund" for the time spend reading the 90% that was neither interesting nor informative.
Martin J. Fischer
Founder, Author and Creator
I can only rate a book based on what I get from it. Acknowledging all the (possible) negatives of other reviewers, I give it five stars for the following reasons.
1) Baldwin would easily be among the elite players today if he had continued with that as his major activity. For that reason his personal history is of interest to me, as I imagine it to be to anyone who plays poker whether professionally or casually.
2) Some of the stories raise the hair on the back of my neck as they bring back memories of my early experiences when poker players were all considered to be outcasts, the game was illegal in any form in many states, and a simple poker game sometimes led to a very interesting evening. Brunson's history in "The Godfather of Poker: The Doyle Brunson Story" and stories such as "Next to Dead Man's Hand" (Hand #2 in "My 50 Most Memorable Hands") illustrates some of the more "interesting" aspects of being a poker player at that time; but Baldwin clearly was operating in the same environment and his story gives another "insider" view.
3) In contrast with some reviewers, I did pick up a couple of important hints that can be used at the table - and they've paid off for me.
In summary, if you are looking for a "How TO" book this one's probably not the best one for you. If, however, you are interested in a third view (vs. Greenstein "Ace on the River", or Brunson "The Godfather of Poker") of "real poker" and how poker and poker players moved from the illegal game in the back room to the casinos of Vegas you'll enjoy this one.