Beyond the Written Word

You need a lot more than book learning to become a successful poker player. Personal characteristics, integrity, strength of purpose, resiliency, willfulness and dedication are all ladled into this stew. As in almost every other human endeavor, talent is nice to have, but character and the ability to stick with it count too.

Where to get the books: A buyer's guide

You can purchase many of the books we mention in this section at the major chain bookstores, but there are other sources that specialize in poker and gaming books:

ConJeICo: In addition to publishing books, ConJeICo is also an e-based retail business located at www.conjelco.com. ConJeICo has a complete catalog 6f more than 100 boots, software, «id videos devoted to gaming. The Web site also houses detailed analyses of past World Series of Poker results and a lot of other information most poker players find fascinating. If you are not yet on the Internet, you can write ConJeICo at 1323 Radcliff Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15237-2382 or phone 1412-492-9210.

v0 The Gambler's Bookshop, located at 630 South 11* Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101, will send you a free, 72-page catalog if you call them at 1 800-522-1777. They've been around since 1964, and are probably the oldest and the biggest bookstore devoted to gaming literature. Check them out on the

Webatwww.gamb1ersbook.com.

u* Card Player Magazine and Poker Digest both do a booming business in book sales, and almost alt of the books we discuss can be purchased there too.

Card Player is located at 3140 S. Polaris Avenue, Suite 8, Las Vegas, NV 89102, , and their phone number is 702-871-1720. You can also reach them online at

Poker Digest is located at 1455 E. Tropicana Avenue, #300, Las Vegas, NV 89119; phone 702-740-2273. Their online address is

www.po ke rd igest.c om.

At their Web sites, you'll also find links to other poker information, listings of tournaments and other upcoming events in the world of poker, and afford yourself an opportunity to read an abbreviated version of the magazines online.

Here are ten keys to success that hold just as true for life itself as they do for poker.

v* Know thyself: An outrageous table image works for some people but not others. Some players are better suited to cash games, others to tournaments. Know yourself. Do what you do well.

V Be responsible: What you achieve is the product of your own play. If you can't hold yourself accountable for the results you achieve, you won't succeed.

Think: Do your homework. Keep up with the current literature. Think about the game at the table and away from it. Analyze and modify your game. Repeat as needed.

I, Plan: What is your goal as a poker player? Do you want to have fun and just break even? Do you want to be a top tournament player? Be the best $ 15-130 player in town? If you don't have a plan of your own, you are most assuredly part of someone else's!

V Set deadlines: If your goal is to play 30 hours per week, then do it. If you want to read the latest poker book, then set a deadline and do that, too. A plan without a timetable is just so much wishful thinking.

t* Be realistic: Set challenging but reachable goals. Keep trying. But don't expect to win the World Series of Poker next year if you've never before played no-limit poker.

V Expect difficulties: You'll succumb to all your flaws as a poker player while you're learning. Each top-notch player struggled to reach the level of success he or she has achieved. You're going to have to do the same.

w Build on small accomplishments: If you study hard, put what you read into practice, and integrate sound strategy into your own style of play, you'll improve. Success builds upon itself. Ignore small setbacks. If you play poorly, correct it next time. Focus on achievement. Taking the worst of it on a hunch, or simply for the fun of it, is nothing more than premeditated backsliding. Do it and you have only yourself to blame.

Persist: You must sustain. Ninety percent of success is just showing up. Keep playing, practicing, and building on small victories.

J^* Have fun: Enjoy yourself. While there are lots of bitter pills that we all have to swallow in life, we ought to enjoy what we choose to do. If you can't enjoy yourself when you play, you might want to think about other outlets for your time and money.

Puggy's bus

Poker legend Puggy Pearson is one of poker's most endearing personalities. Never one to refuse a gamble, Pearson has a long-standing offer to play anyone, at any game, for real money. And, he puts it "in writing."

Emblazoned on the side of Puggy's giant motorcruiser, which he frequently drives on road trips across the country, the former world poker champion has stenciled a catchy proposal that has most certainly turned a few heads along American highways:

For any amount—that I can count

Ifs orrty when you get up close to the side of the bus and see in tiny letters underneath that you see the fine print:

As long as I like it.

"Gambling is just like running a business," Puggy says. "If I'm going to take a gamble, I want to make sure I have the best of it"

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