The title of this book Poker 24/7: 35 Years
as a Poker Pro, is appropriately, a bluff. While this book concentrates almost entirely on his poker career, Stewart Reuben is
admirably balanced in his life and spends a great deal of his time and attention on family and friends and even has a minor source of
income organizing chess events. Despite the fact that he left his last job (teaching) in 1979, he has managed to make a living at poker
without making it his whole life. That is not a bad example to set. If you appreciate the art of the memoir and are interested in poker,
this book is first-rate.
This book is not a how-to book. It wonít tell you what the author thinks you should do if you raise UTG+1 with AA and there is a raise
and another raise, giving you the option to cap it when it gets back to you (Las Vegas rules). There is no learned discussion of the
amount of value you lose by not capping versus the information you give if you cap. Stewart Rueben has written such books, including some
very valuable ones, although limit poker is not his forte and Holdem is not his cup of tea. Since he is English, his cup of tea is probably
It is the authorís humility, humor and warmth, not his perfectly fine poker analysis, that makes this one of the great books of poker
memoir, along with those of Hedlen, Alvarez and Yardley, among others. He tells the story of his poker life in some detail. Most of it
is set in London, following the rise and fall of the poker clubs in the city. However, he talks about his frequent trips to Las Vegas
and his other travels.
The capsule, and sometimes longer, descriptions of poker players form the heart and soul of the book. Reuben, unlike some other poker
authors, is not afraid to say that player X is better than he is. He is also not afraid to say that another, very successful and famous
tournament player, is a long-term loser in the big cash games in London. His discussion of players who are not well-known and especially
of long-time contributors to the games he plays in is warm and not derogatory. His description of his own progress from a young player who
wanted to be and often was the boss player (making big moves and with every playerís attention on him) to a mature player playing a somewhat
quieter but still aggressive game is well worth reading.
Against the background that he sets and using the characters he describes, Rueben tells one anecdote after another with charm and wit.
Reuben started playing poker when the game of choice in his venues was pot-limit seven-card stud. I have heard that this is not a good
form of the game. Just as the pot-limit version of Omaha eight or better is usually said to be bad, because the errors are so clearly
bad plays that players horrible enough to make them are hard to find. However, there seemed to be enough of them around that the game
became a profitable hobby for Stewart Reuben in his youth. He gives some good examples of play in this game and it looks like it is
When he started to play in bigger games, he found that people were playing pot-limit Omaha, the high-only game. He gives quite a few
hands and analyzes some situations while telling the stories that make up the bulk of the book. The other game that was popular during
his period was London Lowball. This is not a variation on Lowball Draw but a game that has been called Razz on amphetamine. It is played
pot-limit, the low lock is 6-4-3-2-Ace, not suited, as straights and flushes are high hands but the Ace is low. This is a logical way to
rank low hands that is popular in home games but has never been used in U.S. casinos. He does not have a high regard for this game but
he admits that it led to a great deal of money changing hands. However, he isnít certain that he has been a winner over his lifetime in
London Lowball, a rare admission from a poker expert. I find the game about as fascinating as juggling cobras and I am just about as
likely to try it.
I would certainly advise reading Poker 24/7: 35 Years
as a Poker Pro by Stewart Reuben.
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