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The Poker Player's Software Guide
Shay Addams
Publisher: Pocket Rockets (1996)
ISBN: 0-9638187-3-2
Pages: 178
Reviewed: 2/97

I really didn't know what to expect when I first saw this book. On the one hand, I like nifty software and poker- related products. On the other hand, did I really want to read a book of cover-to-cover software reviews? Well, The Poker Player's Software Guide isn't quite that, but it's close. Addams divides the book by game, saving special chapters for tournament poker, research software, and poker books, and dives into the details of each program.

At first I was a little surprised that he really didn't have that much negative to say about most of the software packages. While he mentions a few shortcomings here and there, he devotes most of the text to describing what each package does, and tacks his evaluative comments on at the end ("Showdown"). While it's hard for me to evaluate what he's done in the case of packages I don't know so well, I thought he was a bit soft on some of the packages I do know (e.g., not mentioning that WSOP Deluxe Casino Pak is surprisingly easy to beat for a gold bracelet).

Some of the book's other contents are a little harder to explain. The chapter on what he considers the top ten poker books includes indices for some that weren't (well) indexed in the original. It also includes detailed descriptions of the contents of each book, but very little by way of review (well, we can presume he thought they were, as the top ten books, generally pretty good). Instead he gives details on how to practice the techniques presented in each book, either with or without software. It seemed to me that the bottom line was that the books and software don't generally work so well together, but he does give a number of ideas for practice exercises.

All in all, the book does what it sets out to do fairly well. It describes what's available in poker software, and gives you a feel for what can be done. I would have preferred a more evaluative approach, and I think an unwary reader might be misled into thinking commercial poker software is generally more advanced than it is. But if you're thinking of investing in some poker software, this book can at least give you some idea of what you're getting into, which was probably the idea.

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