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"Bad Beats and Lucky Draws" Review

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TitleBad Beats and Lucky Draws: Poker Strategies, Winning Hands, and Stories from the Professional Poker Tour
AuthorPhil Hellmuth
Skill Levelany
ProsAlmost 100 important and interesting hands from 1974 to 2004.
ConsStrategy is only taught haphazardly. Hellmuth's incessant bragging can be annoying.

Table of Contents
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1Against All Odds1
31World Series of Poker Hands2
69World Poker Tour3
95European Poker Tour4
117Reading Other Players' Mail5
133From the Other Side of the Table6
181Poker Hollywood Style7
195Cheesehead Poker8
209Appendix 1 -- A Golf Story
213Appendix 2 -- An Hand
217Appendix 3 -- Champion of the Year Award
221Appendix 4 -- My Top Moments in Poker
222My WSOP Wins
223Appendix 5 -- The Next Poker Wave

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Just a year after Phil Hellmuth published his first book, Play Poker Like the Pros, he was back with his second. The winningest World Series of Poker player in bracelets, final tables, and cashes had just caught Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan at nine WSOP bracelets when he put together Bad Beats and Lucky Draws, an impressive book of poker hands. The subtitle, 'Poker Strategies, Winning Hands, and Stories from the Professional Poker Tour', is accurate, but you'll be gleaning random strategy tidbits with no unifying theme, so you have many better choices (although his first book isn't recommended) if your main aim is improving your poker skills.

The book includes almost a hundred hands grouped by setting, with chapters on the major festivals and tours (World Series of Poker,1 World Poker Tour, and European Poker Tour), brilliant reading of opponents' hands, and hand stories told by other players.2

The Poker Brat's first-person perspective may lend authenticity to the hands he's involved in, but a third-party perspective could have made the book more enjoyable to read (as could the exclusion of the Bad Beats, most of which seem to be included just so Hellmuth could say that he played great but got unlucky).3 Still, the sheer quantity of noteworthy hands makes this an excellent read.

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