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"My 50 Most Memorable Hands" Review

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TitleMy 50 Most Memorable Hands
AuthorDoyle Brunson
Skill Levelany
ProsHalf a century of diverse, entertaining, poker stories with a wide cast of characters. Clear hand diagrams with a touch of red for the hearts and diamonds.
ConsHands are not presented in any particular order.1 Some hands lack details and the book is fairly short. Chapter titles appear in Table of Contents but not in the text, where the hands are simply numbered.

Table of Contents
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11Brenham, TX: The Circuit1
15Exchange Avenue Pool Hall: The Shooting2
171976 WSOP: The "Doyle Brunson" Hand3
19The Golden Nugget: Me vs. Bobby Baldwin4
23Aladdin: The Forty-Five Day Game5
271977 WSOP: The "Doyle Brunson" Hand Sticks6
31San Antonio, TX: Invitation Only. 7
35Houston, TX: My Mentor, Johnny Moss8
37Las Vegas: The Silverbird Cardroom9
39Exchange Avenue: My Longest Session10
431986 WSOP: 10 Players Left11
472004 WSOP: Rules are Rules12
49Freddie (Sarge) Ferris: One of the Best Deuce-to-Seven Players13
51Odessa, TX: The Eagle's Club14
55Ft. Worth, TX: The Diane Hotel15
57The Flamingo, 1975: My First Look at Chip Reese16
591980: Stu Ungar's First WSOP17
63*Super System*: "I Had to Change *My* Game"18
65A Pot with Joe Bernstein, a Poker Hall of Famer19
69The Horseshoe: A Rich Texan Named Rex20
73The First WPT Event: Play Your Opponent, Not Your Cards21
75From the Bible Belt to Pro Poker Player22
77Brownsville, TX: To be Staked... or Not23
79Mobile, AL: Captain John's Mistake24
83Death at the Table: Lowball to Blame?25
85The Dunes: Me vs. Nick "The Greek" Dandolos26
89Odessa, TX: "Murder"27
91The Montana Banana: Getting Lucky28
93The Texas Gambler's Tournament: Be Aggressive!29
97Texas Hold'em from the Texans30
101The Horseshoe: "It Ain't Over Till It's Over"31
105Flamingo: Deuce-to-Seven32
109'Let's Gamble': Me vs. Stu Ungar33
1111974 WSOP: A Man by the Name of "Waterhole"34
1132006 WSOP: The Hand I Always Get Asked About35
117The "Big Game": Me vs. Lyle Berman36
119Poker Tech: Sometimes You Need Help37
121Me vs. Sklansky: I Didn't Do My Homework38
123George Barnes: One of the Best "Unknown" Players39
127Limit Omaha Getting Lucky40
1311993 WSOP: Settling for Third Place41
135Five-Card Stud Tournament: A Rule Not to Play By42
137The Battle of the Bracelets43
139Chip Reese: My Achilles Heel44
143Briefly Pondering Retirement45
147Golden Nugget: Two Royal Flushes?46
149The Texas Rangers: "Cap" Riddle47
151Golden Nugget in the 2003 WSOP: Me vs. Phil Ivey48
1552006 WSOP: Another $1,000 Event49
159Snowed In: Cash vs. Tournament50

Note: chapter names are in the Table of Contents but not in the text, which just has "Memorable Hand #X".

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Doyle Brunson had already had one of the longest and most successful poker careers ever by the time he wrote My 50 Most Memorable Hands in 2007, so the biggest challenge he faced wasn't trying to find enough hands to talk about but the opposite, reducing his stories down to just 50 (less than one per year). The 168 sparse pages fly by so fast, you might wish he'd included another 50 hands.

Highlights of the book (or lowlights depending on your perspective) include cheating, robbery, and murder (and two other deaths at the table), but great poker also features prominently, with high-stakes cash games and ten stories from the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

Read this book purely for entertainment purposes. If you happen to learn a little poker strategy along the way, consider it a bonus. The frontier days of poker will never return, so enjoy the reminiscences of a legend who has no shortage of short and tall tales.

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