Ok, here's the quick review I promised earlier.
First off, full disclosure: I emailed Zach Elwood about the expected time for an epub version of the book, as I have an iRiver Story HD which I use for most of my reading now, and instead of a date or a brush-off he sent me an advance copy of the epub version of his book. Since then I have read the book, and as the book is now available in e-book form on his website I purchased the epub version (the website has since changed, the price has increased slightly and you get all three formats - Kindle (mobi), epub and pdf).
Background - I was introduced to NLH in home games a couple of years ago, was excited about the game and started devouring all I could about how to get better. I started playing online, no great success, but had a good run during the FTP rush poker time until I started concentrating more on volume and points than playing the game. 1000 hands per hour what a buzz... at this rate I'll be an awesome player really soon
Anyway, I dabbled with live play in casinos (Australia, so there's really only one casino to pick from in whichever capital city you live in - not all of them cater for NLH, some only have games a few nights a week). Stakes much higher than the old home games or online, rake is ridiculous. I managed to have some big wins, some big losses. Many of the things that work online don't work live as well, or maybe there was something I was doing that meant I was easy prey for those guys that knew all the dealers' and pit bosses names and basically lived at the casino.
So, this went on for a while, my trips to the casino started happening less and less frequently. I banked my live roll and went back to online. I still read books, even about online, as much as I could... and then I got Reading Poker Tells
I read through the book in about 3 days over a couple of sittings. While a lot of the material struck me as 'yeah, that's pretty common sense when you think about it, isn't it?', the thing that really struck me was that although I've read a few books about poker and bodylanguage and tells, the structure
of how to think about what you're seeing and how to interpret the signals you're picking up was there for the first time.
Zach has obviously spent a lot of time working out how to interpret tells at the poker table - this clearly shows in the examples in the text. He managed to convince me on my first reading (of what will be many, I am sure - I'm going to have to read and re-read this book until I internalize the through processes and structure of how to analyse tells) that tells play a vital role in live poker, and the reason I never managed to win very much at live poker was probably that the more experience live players were reading me like a book.
Anyway, after that first read-through it was time to go see what playing with this new knowledge was like. I played on Saturday night, only a short session, but I found myself a lot more involved in the game than usual. I was carefully observing people as they checked their cards, as they watched other people or considered betting. I saw some tells, but didn't see if I was right as the hands didn't go to showdown. I caught myself on a number of occasions doing or about to do some of the things that Zach uses as examples in his book.
This book is essential reading to anyone considering playing live - the section of what people might do to angle-shoot you with subtle fake tells and not-so-subtle talk is brilliant. I know in the past I've fallen for some cheap moves, but now that shouldn't happen. Even if you think you know all about tells, or don't consider them worthwhile compared to a solid basic strategy, do yourself a favour and read this book - you'll be surprised by how much information you can pick up on others and how much you're sending out there to be read by skilled players if you're not aware. Tells don't even have to be 100% reliable - so many situations are almost 50/50 and, when you're considering committing a large part of your stack, even a tell which gives you an edge just 30% of the time will end up giving you a massive advantage in the long run.
No, this book won't turn you into a wizard who can stare at opponents and read their souls and decipher their exact holding, but it very well may turn you into a player that seems to know when to value bet top pair weak kicker or when to call or fold that baby flush.
So, that's it. I have to go read the book again, this time slowly and taking notes. Then I'll go play again and take post session notes, re-read sections that might apply, then maybe do it all over again. I think this is one book worth studying.