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"The Final Table Volume I" Review

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TitleThe Final Table Volume I: Poker Columns from the Boston Herald: 2005-2006
AuthorBernard Lee
Skill LevelBeginner (strategy)/any (history)
ProsLots of good hand analyses. Every hand is presented to make a point.
ConsOnly a few of these hands are particularly famous.

Table of Contents
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ixForeword by Joe Hachem
1September 2005: In the Beginning
11October to December 2005: Remembering the 2005 WSOP
49January to March 2006: Moral of the Story and 2006 PCA
77April to June 2006: Bernard Lee Hands
105July to September 2006: 2006 WSOP Hands
131October to December 2006: 2006 Cashes and Friends
165About the Author

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Bernard Lee came out of nowhere to place 13th out of 6,352 entrants in the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event, collecting $400,000 after previously having no tournament results in the Hendon Mob database. Unlike many poker players who manage to go broke after a big cash, he parlayed his success into the steady incomes of a job writing the weekly Sunday poker column for the Boston Herald, announcing and writing for ESPN, coaching other players, and hosting a live weekly radio show, The Bernard Lee Poker Show.

Lee collected the best of his early poker columns from the Herald and improved upon them by adding a page of commentary, corrections, and in some cases, better hand diagrams. Most of the articles are about his own play (unlike his second book, The Final Table Volume II, where he discusses other players' hands more with fewer from WSOP bracelet events [see that review for details]).

About a third of the hands in the book are from the 2005 and 2006 World Series of Poker. Most of these are from the Main Event but some are from other bracelet events. Several of the 2005 Main Event hands were shown on ESPN, with Lee timing his articles to match up with their initial airing. Perhaps the most famous is the hand where Lee made an incredible preflop fold with Pocket Kings, correctly placing his opponent on Aces even the betting had not been wild. This hand is also discussed in Joe Hachem's Pass the Sugar.

Every article serves to teach a brief lesson, mostly at a beginner level, as his audience was the general readership of a large Boston newspaper during the middle of the mid-2000s poker boom.

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