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On Thursday, Golden Nugget Poker Room Manager Andy Rich posted a picture of a page from Ken Warren’s 1996 book Winner’s Guide to Texas Hold’em Poker. The section was discussing “Players You Want to Play Against.”

If there’s ever a classic example of poker material becoming obsolete, this was it. Continue reading and get a chuckle or two as we share the player’s Mr. Warren has pegged as poor players.

Off-Duty Casino Employees

According to Warren, “Skill at dealing poker does not equate to skill at playing poker. Dealing three hundred hands of poker a day does not teach you how to play poker.”

example of obsolete poker rule

I’d bet that Mike Matusow would beg to differ considering that he’s a former dealer. November Niner Kenny Hallaert is another that would beg to differ that off-duty casino employees are pushovers at the table.

Warren is right about how dealing 300 hands a day doesn’t teach someone how to play poker. The smart dealers are watching the players play those 300 hands and picking up tips to improve their game.

Oh, did we forget to mention that the 2016 Ladies Champion is a dealer? But dealing poker doesn’t translate into playing poker right?

Talkative, Loud, Smiling, Cheerful Players

“If they are doing all that, they can’t possibly be devoting enough mental energy to the game to beat the player who is concentrating on the game.”

Clearly, Warren had not met Daniel Negreanu prior to this book being written. William Kassouf will probably make his head implode. Humberto Brenes I hear is a big fish at the tables too. He is loud after all. That Jamie Gold fellow talked his way right out of the 2006 Main Event. Oh, wait….

Beautiful Women

This section summed up the “old school” mindset towards women in poker. According to Warren:

“It’s been my experience that good looking women haven’t devoted enough time and effort to learn the game. They almost always are playing because they’re waiting to do something else. Besides, they serve as a good distraction for the other men in the game.”

Hopefully by now Warren has changed his tune regarding this clearly sexist statement. I’d like to see him sit down at a table and try to win against Liv Boeree, Vanessa Selbst, Vanessa Rousso, Maria Ho, Jamie Kerstetter, Jennifer Tilly and Melanie Wiesner.

Players With Tattoos

At this point, I think Warren just was in a mood to insult other players as he offered up this nugget:

“Anyone dumb enough to have themself tattooed probably won’t exhibit a lot of intelligence at the poker table. They will unknowingly follow your lead at the poker table.”

So getting a tattoo makes you a lemming? Wow. Who knew? So getting a tattoo makes you a dumbass but being judgmental and sexist gets you a book deal. Oh, the world of poker Pre-Boom.

Interestingly enough, ESPN talked to several pros a few years back about “poker tattoos.” Imagine what Warren would have said about those.


Players Who Drink Alcohol

Out of the five points, this one actually holds some truth for many players. He said:

“A player who’s been drinking will start to play more carelessly, bet and call when he shouldn’t, bluff when he shouldn’t and generally play too many hands. And he’ll usually stay and play and drink until he’s broke.”

This is indeed true for some players – unless you’re Scotty Nguyen at the 2008 WSOP H.O.R.S.E. final table.


Poker is Ever-Evolving – Thankfully Poker Books Are Too

It’s no secret that many of the books written prior to the Poker Boom (and some written in the first few years of the Boom) are barely relevant to the modern game. While I haven’t read the Warren’s entire book, this excerpt makes me doubt that a modern player will glean much from it other than a good laugh.

Some books, such as David Sklansky’s Theory of Poker are able to stand the test of time. Others are clearly dinosaurs that show us just how far the game has come.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.