Review: Every Hand Revealed

Every Hand Revealed
Every Hand Revealed by Gus Hansen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gus Hansen is my favourite poker player and in this fascinating book which Gus has painstakingly put together for his fans, we get to see the genuine inside story of one of his big tournament wins. It is a blow by blow account of all the action and we get to see Gus’ poker decision-making at work. Very often, on TV, you see Gus playing wacky cards. He will call with just about any two cards and plays so,me really unplayable hands which the average person will just chuck away. We see in ‘Every Hand Revealed’ some of his mathematical reasoning behind doing this. He is constantly assessing and reassessing pot-odds and he argues with reason about why certain calls should be made and on occasion will make a laydown for the same reason. I found one of the most intriguing facts of the book to be just how many pots he picks up after betting aggressively and holding absolutely nothing. He relies on continuation betting and will raise almost anything preflop. I cannot understand how players do not stand up to Gus more in the live environment and simply dump him out as from reading this book, it can be seen that nine times out of ten you have better holdings than him. Gus Hansen is a poker enigma and this book is thoroughly readable and enjoyable. It is written in a hand for hand format and the various days of the tournament are split into chapters. I flew through the read and was thrilled to see Gus finally pick up the $1.5 million (Australian dollars) cash prize. I’ve read other poker books by hardened professionals and they too are valuable but I feel that Every Hand Revealed definitively displays a professional at work and at the top of his game. If you are into poker and Gus Hansen then this book is a must. Five out of five.

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Review: Siddhartha

Siddhartha
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short work by German / Swiss author and nobel literature prizewinner, Herman Hesse, was a cornerstone of the hippy movement which emerged during the 1960s. The book explores the journey of a young Indian man through an adventurous life, in which his main quest is to achieve enlightenment. He leaves home, becomes an ascetic and then meets the Buddha (Gotama), before rejecting asceticism and turning to the material world, seeking the pleasures of lust, wealth and gambling. He fathers a child with his lover and then departs off to seek pastures new, depressed and fed up of his life in the city. He finds a middle way between the asceticism of his youth and the high life of his merchanting. As a ferryman, next to the river, he lives with a wise old sage who comforts him and allows him to finally achieve the enlightenment he seeks. His son disowns him and his old friend, who becomes a follower of the Buddha, periodically bumps into him and eventually the story concludes with the two old men sharing views on life and what they have learnt, with Siddharta revealing some of the deep philosophies which have shaped him. It’s an exciting and eminently readable tale, full of Buddhist and Eastern mystical titbits that the reader can relate to and indeed be enlightened by. I can see why hippies favoured this novel and it really can be classed as a true twentieth century classic.

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