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Tales out of Tulsa
Bobby Baldwin
Publisher: Gambling Times (1984)
Pages: 152
ISBN: 0-89746-006-5

Bobby Baldwin's Tales out of Tulsa seems like it wants to take you under its wing and set you on the right course to becoming a winning poker player. Alas, most of the material in the book is just fluff, and what's left will not be especially profound to anyone but the most novice player, at least in 1999. Since the novice player would be better directed elsewhere for an introduction to thinking about poker, it's not clear that there's an audience left for this book.

Although Baldwin generally comes across as right-thinking and trustworthy, the chapters don't live up to the promised content. Many of the chapters read like good ideas for chapters, but unfortunately end before the content kicks in. There are some useful ideas, but I don't think I read anything that I haven't seen presented more clearly elsewhere. For example, the strategy content of the ten chapters on tournament poker could probably be summarized in a single paragraph. The more atmospheric stories were generally dull as well (with some exceptions), and the writing style was decidedly juvenile.

It's worth noting that some of the material in the book is worse than fluff, it's the kind of misinformation that will get people into trouble. Because Baldwin has clearly been a world class poker (and pool) player and gambling icon for a long time, I'll tend to assume the benign interpretation of anything that seems wrong. But here and there he writes something that it's hard to reinterpret favorably. I think the most blatant example comes at the bottom of page 56 (a chapter entitled "Take Your Pick: Tap City or Money"), in which he implies that craps players do the house a favor if they leave a hot table.

Because I respect Bobby Baldwin's enormous accomplishments, I like to think that this book was slapped together, mainly from hastily written columns, in a way that he's not proud of (at least not now in 1999).

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