If you are in AC in a game of Texas Hold’em with someone who knows only half as much as Bellin, don’t play it all the way to...



An inveterate poker player madly devoted to the insidious card game presents tales from the world of scarred and victorious veterans wrapped up in a technical hornbook on some of the fine points of play and a primer of the philosophy and practice of gambling. Serious poker players will find the illustrative anecdotes apt and instructive. Dilettantes, however, should take the savvy lessons with a grain of salt, since they may not be easy to apply at the table. For the complete card doofus, Bellin still provides mild over-the-shoulder entertainment. Sketching the evolution of the game and its history in Vegas, he explicates the clues gleaned from players’ tics (“tells”) and the signs of panic playing (“tilts”). Don’t look at the deal, he advises, but watch the players who are watching the “flop.” Bellin writes of memory, of creating a “book” on regular opponents, of ways to bluff, of methods of cheating and (why not?) of sex. Probability and game theory, statistics, and other inexorable laws of poker and nature make obligatory appearances, along with helpful tables and charts and a glossary.

If you are in AC in a game of Texas Hold’em with someone who knows only half as much as Bellin, don’t play it all the way to the river. You’re drawing dead. He wins. Cash in your chips and go home with a good book about poker—like this one.

Pub Date: March 10, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-621066-6

Page Count: 300

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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