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  Poker not your game!
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The Poker Players of Super System 2
By Paul McGuire
October 4, 2005

Doyle Brunson's Super System is arguably the most popular poker book ever written.  The success of the first book could be attributed to the team of poker players that Doyle assembled to help him write the book.  Each player shared his knowledge of a different game.  One of my favorite things about Super System is that it's a comprehensive volume on strategies for different poker games,  not just Texas Holdem.  Every time I re-read it,  I get to tap into the brains of some of the world's best poker players.

In Super System 2, Doyle Brunson stuck with the same formula.  He asked some of the best players in poker today,  like Daniel Negreanu and Jennifer Harman,  to share their thoughts on different games.  Doyle also tapped some of the players from his infamous home game,  including Johnny Chan,  Bobby Baldwin and Lyle Berman,  to collaborate on Super System 2.

Doyle Brunson wrote the sections about online poker,  tournaments,  and the most-read chapter in the book:  No Limit Holdem.  He also got Russ Braun to add his caricatures of all the authors.  My favorite cartoon is the first one featuring the publisher,  Avery Cardoza,  who's holding 7-2o  (which is also known as  "The Hammer")  against Doyle Brunson's infamous hand,  the 10-2o.

Johnny Chan wrote the Preface and he speaks honestly about his tough journey rising up through the poker ranks.  He has nine World Series of Poker bracelets and is one of the most respected men in the poker world.  His words are a great way to start off the book,  but it's too bad he didn't get to write an entire chapter on any specific strategy.

Crandell Addington is a poker legend.  There is no better person to pen the chapter on the  "History of No Limit Texas Holdem."  After all,  Addington is the man who helped introduce the game to Las Vegas  Addington was one of the original road gamblers.  Just like Amarillo Slim and Doyle Brunson,  he played in the biggest cash games all over Texas and the South.  At the time,  Five-card Stud was the game of choice in Nevada and California.  That quickly changed after he introduced Texas Holdem.  My only complaint is that Addington was limited to just nine pages to speak about the history of Hold 'em.  I wish he'd had more space to tell some of the wild stories he has encountered during his lifetime of gambling.

Mike Caro participated in the first book and it seemed natural he'd be back sharing his astute poker acumen.  Mike Caro shares 43 tips that he discusses in his sold-out lectures from the university that bears his name.  Any wisdom that you can pick up from Mike Caro is an added bonus.

Steve Zolotow has been a successful gambler for decades.  He started out utilizing his degree in statistics and his masters degree in finance by crunching numbers and running computer simulations to crack sports betting.  He's won two bracelets at the World Series of Poker and has built up his bankroll by diversifying his play.  He was a perfect fit to discuss a difficult question that most players have to ask themselves:  "Specialize or learn them all?"  He gives solid commentary on why you should learn different games besides Texas Hold 'em.

Jennifer Harman was picked by Doyle Brunson to write the section on Limit Holdem.  He said he was impressed by the way she handled some of the biggest limit cash games in Las Vegas.  Her aggressive style fits in perfectly with the overall concept of  "power poker"  that Doyle suggests throughout both of his books.  Jennifer won a WSOP bracelet for Limit Holdem,  so she is more than qualified.

Bobby Baldwin was one of the original collaborators and he penned the section on Limit Holdem for Super System over 27 years ago.  In this instance he wrote the Omaha 8 or Better section with the help of Mark Gregorich,  who is one of the top Omaha players in the world.  These days Bobby Baldwin is one of the most respected executives in Las Vegas,  acting as president of the Bellagio and CEO of the Mirage Corporation.

Todd Brunson was tapped by his father to write the section on Seven-card Stud Hi/Lo,  which includes 18 different concepts.  Doyle never expected his son would be interested in becoming a professional gambler,  but when Todd was 20,  he told his father that he wanted to drop out of school to pursue poker.  One year later he won his first tournament.  Although he's one of the most consistent winning Limit players around,  Doyle felt that his knowledge in Stud Hi/Lo was even more remarkable.

Lyle Berman was selected to write the chapter on Pot Limit Omaha.  Doyle Brunson considers Berman the best Pot Limit Omaha player in the world.  He should know since Berman regularly sits in Doyle's Big Game.  Berman is also one of the founding fathers of the new face of poker.  His company,  Lakes Entertainment,  is responsible for funding and backing the first season of the World Poker Tour.  Without his involvement,  the popularity of poker might have never taken off.

Daniel Negreanu wrote the Triple Draw chapter.  It's a virtually new game and Daniel Negreanu has quickly become one of the best Triple Draw players in Las Vegas.  It's a form of lowball in which you get five cards down and can draw cards up to three times.  Triple Draw is often spread in high limit mixed games.  I never played Triple Draw but Daniel does an excellent job explaining how it's not a game of luck and chance like a lot of players think.  Its too bad that Daniel's talents were wasted on writing about this rare game.  I would have loved to have read some of Daniel's thoughts on tournaments instead.

Steven Lipscomb wrote the last chapter that covers the World Poker Tour.  He helped create the WPT,  so it's fitting that he gets to talk about it at the end of SS2.  Although it was extremely interesting to see how the World Poker Tour came into being,  this chapter seemed out of place.  It looked more like an advertisement.  I wish those pages had been given to Crandell Addington so he could tell us about some amazing poker stories from his many years as a road gambler.

Overall,  Brunson has gathered another excellent group of friends,  world-class pros,  and the best minds in poker to collaborate on the followup to the most popular poker book ever written.  Super System 2 will also be widely regarded because of the outstanding collection of contributing authors.

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Paul "Pauly" McGuire is a writer from New York City.  He quit his job as a bond trader on Wall Street to pursue a career in writing. He is a novelist and screenwriter but became most famous for his poker blog.

The Tao of Poker  (http://taopoker.blogspot.com)  chronicles his daily poker thoughts from his late night forays into the online poker world to playing in home games and tournaments around New York City.  He also covers his adventures to casinos like Foxwoods,  Atlantic City,  and Las Vegas.

As an amateur poker player and an avid traveler,  Pauly often finds time to squeeze poker into his itinerary no matter where he goes.  He has played poker all across America and will track down a home game or drive miles out of his way to the closest card room or casino.  He has even played hold'em on a bullet train in Japan.  You'll most likely find him slumming around at the low limit tables on Party Poker.


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