Poker Omnibus W50P

Home Up

"How to Win the World Series of Poker (or Not)" Review

[Hide Overview]

TitleHow to Win the World Series of Poker (or Not)
AuthorPat Walsh
Skill Levelany
ProsHumorous look at poker from very low-buyin home games to the World Series of Poker Main Event.
ConsShort (160 pages) and mostly lacking in content. Even the end of the Main Event is glossed over.

Table of Contents
[Hide Table of Contents]

1Section 1: Texas Hold 'Em How-To
5Section 2: Prologue
11Section 3: How to Win the World Series of Poker (or Not) [Part 1]
20[Part 2]
33[Part 3]
48[Part 4]
62[Part 5]
76[Part 6]
90[Part 7]
102[Part 8]
114[Part 9]
131Section 4: Epilogue
133Recognitions and Thanks
135Poker Glossary

The parts of Section 3 are numbered but not named and do not appear in the book's Table of Contents.

[Hide Review]

Like Richard Sparks, Pat Walsh dreams of playing the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2005. He starts by walking into a bookstore intending to start his research by buying three books and instead walking out with a $400 pile featuring strategy books by Phil Hellmuth, Tom McEvoy, Mike Sexton, David Sklansky, and Doyle Brunson, and history books by James McManus, David Spanier, Al Alvarez, and Andy Bellin.

He creates a ledger to track his wins and losses and opens a separate bank account to segregate his money. But then he takes a misstep or two by buying a couple of Texas Hold 'Em apps for his cell phone. Unfortunately, in 2005 there weren't any good poker games for phones.

His choices for live poker aren't much better: a social game with extremely loose beginners, a club game in a church basement with slightly stronger players but an extravagant rake, and a restaurant banquet room game with players old enough to be hooked up to oxygen tanks (not that that stopped anyone from smoking). Walsh is a winner in all three, but that says more about the quality of his opponents than his own skill level.

Back at home and playing online, he moves up to $20 sit-and-go tourneys and is doing okay, so he ventures back out, this time to a real casino. He plays in a $1/$1/$3 No-Limit Hold 'Em cash game with some weak players who play like it's still Limit poker. He wins almost every session then returns for a tournament, where he reaches the final table and finishes fourth for $680.

Unfortunately, he then hits a painful losing streak both live and online that lasts right up until he has to leave for Las Vegas. Fortunately, unlike Sparks, Walsh has a book deal and simply buys into the World Series of Poker Main Event for the full $10,000.

Walsh can brag that he outlasted Johnny Chan, Daniel Negreanu, and Chris Ferguson. In the end though, Walsh has to return to his day job, which fortunately he's very good at. A five-page stretch of Chapter 2 alone contains these nuggets:

How to Win the World Series is worth a read for the laughs alone, but don't expect to learn much poker strategy or history.

[Show Errata]