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"The Best Hand I Ever Played" Review

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TitleThe Best Hand I Ever Played
AuthorSteve Rosenbloom
Skill Levelany
ProsWide variety of entertaining and educational stories from 52 poker pros. Excellent use of sidebar to define glossary terms.
ConsCould have used a little better editing.

Table of Contents
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13Note to Readers
16Josh Arieh
20Joe Awada
22Lyle Berman
24Doyle Brunson
26Miami John Cernuto
28Johnny Chan
30T.J. Cloutier
32Hoyt Corkins
34Kassem "Freddy" Deeb
36Martin de Knijff
40Annie Duke
44Antonio Esfandiari
46Scott Fischman
50Layne Flack
52Alan Goehring
54Phil Gordon
58Gavin Griffin
62Hassan Habib
66Gus Hansen
68Jennifer Harman
70Dan Harrington
72Bobby Hoff
76Chip Jett
80Mel Judah
82Thomas Keller
86Phil Laak
88Howard Lederer
92Kathy Liebert
94Erick Lindgren
96Marcel Luske
98Matt Matros
102Tom McEvoy
104Chris Moneymaker
108Daniel Negreanu
112Evelyn Ng
116Men "The Master" Nguyen
120Scotty Nguyen
122Paul Phillips
124Thomas "Amarillo Slim" Preston
128Greg Raymer
130David "Chip" Reese
134Ron Rose
136Erik Seidel
138Mike Sexton
142Charlie Shoten
146Barry Shulman
150Gabriel Thaler
154Dewey Tomko
158David "Devilfish" Ulliott
162Amir Vahedi
164David Williams
166Robert Williamson III
171The River
173Poker Hand Rankings

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When Ron Rose wrote Poker Aces: The Stars of Tournament Poker, he promised to publish a sequel. It never happened, possibly because just one year later, ESPN commissioned Steve Rosenbloom to write a similar book for them. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but Rosenbloom's book, The Best Hand I Ever Played, actually exceeds its inspiration with quality over quantity.1

Each of the 52 sections runs two to three pages, with a brief biography, the pro's favorite poker hand he or she played, and a wrapup.2

A great indication of the quality of the book is the 52 players interviewed for it: Josh Arieh, Joe Awada, Lyle Berman, Doyle Brunson, John Cernuto "Miami John", Johnny Chan, T.J. Cloutier, Hoyt Corkins, Kassem "Freddy" Deeb, Martin de Knijff, Annie Duke, Antonio Esfandiari, Scott Fischman, Layne Flack, Alan Goehring, Phil Gordon, Gavin Griffin, Hassan Habib, Gus Hansen, Jennifer Harman, Dan Harrington, Bobby Hoff, Chip Jett, Mel Judah, Thomas Keller, Phil Laak, Howard Lederer, Kathy Liebert, Erick Lindgren, Marcel Luske, Matt Matros, Tom McEvoy, Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu, Evelyn Ng, Men Nguyen, Scotty Nguyen, Paul Phillips, Thomas "Amarillo Slim" Preston, Greg Raymer, David "Chip" Reese, Ron Rose, Erik Seidel, Mike Sexton, Charlie Shoten, Barry Shulman, Gabriel Thaler, Dewey Tomko, David "Devilfish" Ulliott, Amir Vahedi, David Williams, and Robert Williamson III.

This group, which now includes fourteen Poker Hall of Famers, has won ten WSOP Main Event championships and finished second eight times. The nine hands selected by Arieh, Deeb, Gordon, Habib, Lederer, Nguyen, Raymer, Seidel, and Williams each took place during a WSOP Main Event.

Perhaps the only real problem with the book is the inaccurate adjective in its title. The hands may be the pros' favorites or most memorable but many required little or no skill and so could hardly be described as "Best". But it's an excellent read that is as entertaining today as it was when it was published.

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