21/02/2012

Easy Game 3rd Edition: Adaptations

Lee Davy

A Review By Lee Davy

The first time I met Andrew Seidman was at the European Poker Tour (EPT) event in Deauville, France in 2010. I had no idea who he was but I liked him as soon as I was introduced to him. He is a very likeable person who has a wonderful confidence about his demeanor. When we ate in a Spanish restaurant he ordered his food in Spanish and when we ate in a French restaurant he ordered his food in French. When we were chilling out at the hotel someone started playing the banjo and it turned out that Seidman was also a dab hand at strumming the strings of a few musical instruments. In short Seidman is one of those kids that all the girls wanted to have and all of the boys wished they were like - one of those annoying people who just seemed to be good at everything. It is that trait that has made him an amazingly talented poker player, teacher, mentor and not too shabby when it comes to writing a quite amazing and enlightening book about poker.

Easy Game first landed in our virtual and real life bookstores back in 2009. A time when Joe Cada was winning the most important live tournament event of the year (WSOP Main Event), and a certain Andrew Seidman was smashing up the high stakes online cash games under his moniker Baluga Whale. Seidman understands that poker is a continually evolving feast of fashion, and he has decided to bring the pages of Easy Game smack bang up to date with a 2011 release, entitled Easy Game 3rd Editions: Adaptations. The idea to bring his book up to date by adding new references and not deleting any of the original prose is a brilliant one. A brilliant decision made by a brilliant mind for a brilliant purpose.

In a world of unremarkably average people, Seidman chooses to walk the path of the remarkable ones. He chooses to oppose the status quo and he is a man who turns his dreams into something tangible. But he doesn’t stop there. What makes him truly remarkable is his want to give something back to the world. At the moment it is poker, but in years to come I am sure it will be something much more meaningful. He is one the games most sought after poker coaches and it was his relationship with his students that first made him aware, that his first edition of Easy Game was full of gaping holes.

As Seidman stroked his finger along each piece of paper, all the while scanning the italics with his magical eye, he joked that he should rename the new edition Quite Difficult Game; such were the changes that had occurred in poker strategy over the past two years. Seidman talks about the game as if it is one big puzzle. That is the way he views the game, the way he teaches his fortunate students and the way that he teaches everyone who will read this great book.

Seidman explains in the first few pages of Easy Game that many small stakes poker players watch their high stakes heroes and immediately start imitating them. In no time whatsoever these poker pups have more moves than a bowl of jelly. Unfortunately, without understanding the framework that underpins that knowledge your moves are about as much use as a pair of chocolate sunglasses, worn by a one-eared blind man as he walks across the Sahara desert. Seidman approaches this problem by structuring his book in a way that takes a small stakes poker player through the required steps in the required order. He reminds you from the outset that getting good at poker is about learning and not about winning. The way he has structured the learning in this book is to follow concepts chapter by chapter. So I don’t advise skipping to certain chapters, especially if you play in the small stakes arena.

The book is broken down into a three sections. The first section contains the underpinning framework of a great poker game. Seidman guides you through the basic poker concepts, step-by-step, enabling you to deal with weaker players while slowly preparing you for the challenge that those tougher opponents will bring to the virtual felt. When Seidman first started playing poker he found the transition from small stakes to higher stakes a tough one. Each time he tried the transition it slapped him across the face – hard! Each slap stung worse than the last but Seidman would not turn the other cheek. He kept on thinking about the game, in fact it was incessant. Thinking about poker was the way Seidman learned more and more about the game. Eventually Seidman made the transition from a winning small stakes player to a winning high stakes player. In the second section of the book Seidman takes you through the concepts he used to win money playing high stakes poker. If a small stakes poker player was to jump straight into this section, it would be like trying to go scuba diving with a hole in your tank. You would eventually drown and every fish in the ocean would eventually take a nibble out of you until you were just bones.

The final part of the book is Seidman’s attempt to put all of the cogs, nuts and bolts together and show you how his whole poker machine works. The great Baluga Whale lets you peek inside his mind as he takes you through 27 hands from his own personal database. Each hand has been purposefully selected so he can showcase the theories he has taught you in the first two sections.

Easy Game consists of 136 pages interwoven into fifty-two chapters. Each chapter is very short allowing you to read them multiple times without your mind wandering away from the point he is trying to make. At the end of each chapter Seidman will make footnotes where he believes his 2009 advice is now outdated. It is these footnotes that are his Adaptations. Seidman doesn’t hold back with his criticism of himself, and his views, and this makes the book all the more interesting to read. As you read the Adaptations you quickly realise how much of his revised material has been given life from his relationships with his students. Even though he has turned from student of the game to teacher of the game he has continued to be a learner of the game.

Easy Game 3rd Edition Adaptations: is Andrew Seidman’s poker journey. The journey from a time where he would lose money playing poker in High School against his mate Jason Cook to becoming the legendary Baluga Whale. As you would expect and demand there is nothing about the game of No Limit Hold’em that he does not cover in these 136 pages of pure poker. Every poker process that travels the circuits of his neural pathways has been printed in these 136 pages.

Seidman has managed to turn a problematic puzzle into something quite understandable, he explains concepts with clarity and he opens your eyes and makes you realise that when you understand what Seidman understands it is an easy game.

Kindle edition and paperback version are available from Amazon.

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