Championship Satellite Strategy and Conquer the Casinos . November 2003

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Championship Satellite Strategy and Conquer the Casinos

books reviewed By Howard Schwartz (Manager of the Gambler's Book Shop in Las Vegas)

The expression “turning a toothpick into a lumberyard” has never been a more accurate phrase in recent years, especially when it comes to high-stakes poker competition and their satellites. In 1999 Irishman Noel Furlong won one of those satellite tournaments and parlayed it into a million dollars and change in the World Series of Poker. In 2002, New Yorker Robert Varkonyi took home more than $2 million in the same championship event. In déjà vu performance in 2003, Tennessee’s Chris Moneymaker pocketed $2.5 million, having come to the big event via a satellite.

The first satellite-WSOP champion was Tom McEvoy in 1983. Interestingly Rod Peate and Robbie Gears all made it to the final table that year and both of them arrived via the same inexpensive buy-in.

Now, with the popularity of satellites and poker at a zenith of popularity (half the entrants in the WSOP last year earned their buy-in by winning satellites, which guaranteed them the $10,000 buy-in), the timing was right for THE book on the subject.

Titled Championship Satellite Strategy (202 pages, 5x8 paperbound, $24.95), this breakthrough work on the subject is authored by the trend-setting McEvoy and Brad Daugherty (who won the WSOP in 1991).

Covering no-limit and limit hold‘em, this text explores how to play, survive and win in One-Table Satellites; Super Satellites and the most recent phenomenon, Online Satellites.

Major sections of the book, published in September 2003, examine 10 Ways to Win a Seat for the World Series; How Satellites Work; Winning Principles and Strategies.

This book contains some of the clearest explanations, with logic, rationale and respect for both the newcomer to the game and for the experienced player now venturing into tournament play for the first time.

There are examples of hands to help the reader understand proper play; an excellent comparison of online play vs. live play (it appears the online players are more than a “soft touch” at this point in time, since many are beginners—learning while playing) and a small section (two pages) of satellite tournament terms and phrases.

This royal purple-covered reference guide should be in every poker player’s hands—whether you think you know it all, or you’re even thinking of becoming brave enough to enter the tournament wars.

The book assumes the reader already knows the rules of the game and basic strategies, so don’t buy it expecting it to include ratings of starting hands and the flop as Hold‘em Poker by Sklansky would.

Expect the WSOP field to top more than 1,000 entries in 2004, with about 500 or more of them earned via satellite play.

Another fascinating new arrival at Gambler’s Book Shop is titled Conquer the Casinos (written by electronics engineer Philip Koetsch, 5x8 paperbound, 122 pages, $12)

Based on the analysis of more than 12 million games, his work says you CAN WIN in the short run. Subtitled Computer Analysis of Success Gaming Strategies, this book should appeal to those who wonder about progression bets, “geometric” bets, linear bets and flat bets. Is it better to pursue a theory that a losing or winning streak will continue based on probability?

What about the often written and talked about Martingale (after you lose a bet your next bet must be twice the previous bet)? Koetsch’s chapter on that particular form of wagering is one of the best you’ll find anywhere. The book gets specific in Chapter 8 when the author now directs his attention to slot machines, then moves to craps, blackjack, roulette and baccarat with his best bets.

This is a nice introductory work for the novice, clearly interested in what the best bets might be and which are worth avoiding, yet designed for the reader who doesn’t fancy digesting heavy mathematical formulas and tables in the area of probability. The book’s price is right on target too.

(The books mentioned here are available from Gambler's Book Shop, 630 South 11th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101. Call l-800-522-1777 from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday Pacific time to order, using only MasterCard, VISA or Discover card (no Amex accepted). You may order through the store web site at and view the store's 1,000 books, videos and computer software. You may also call or write and ask for the free 80-page catalog to be sent to you. The store, founded in 1964, is located about two miles from Downtown Las Vegas, and the same distance from where the Strip begins, a block west of Maryland Parkway, just off Charleston Boulevard.)