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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Top Dozen Poker Gift Ideas for the Holidays

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Tis the season to contribute to the degeneracy of your loved one through the giving of gifts. Here are a few ideas for gifts that keep on giving for your favorite poker player.

Books on Poker

No Limit Holdem Theory and Practice by David Sklansky and Ed Miller.

The guru of poker has turned his focus toward the new world of NLHE cash games, bringing his equations and thinking to contemporary times. "Have you read the new Sklansky book?" asked Richard Brodie during our cash game at the IP. "It's the best thing I've ever read on poker." A great new addition to any poker library, but geared to be for the advanced player.

Harrington on Holdem: Volumes I, II, and III by Dan Harrington.

This is the be-all end-all for tournament NLHE by one of the masters. Volume I takes you through basic strategies for MTT's, while Volume II takes you to a key underserved area: the endgame, where the men are separated from the boys and the real money is earned. Volume III is a workbook to put what you've learned to the test. Harrington doesn't present Poker 1-2-3 but does continually pound key concepts, including the ever-present M. Your loved one will be pegged as a poker geek carrying these three ugly tomes around, but these should be standard for any serious player.

Read Em and Weep: A Career FBI Agent's Guide to Decoding Poker Tells by Joe Navarro.

I dropped the Phil Hellmuth presents because, frankly, who cares? Anyone in the know doesn't need Hellmuth's endorsement to know that Navarro brings a wealth of practical knowledge from his experience in FBI interrogation. Navarro has almost rock-star status when he speaks, as the more you can learn the greater your bankroll can swell. He's adapted his expertise to the poker world well, and this resource is an excellent complement to Mike Caro's definitive tome on tells.

Poker Face 2 by Ulvis Alberts.

Mr. Alberts had a table during the World Series, and I regret not picking this pricy coffee table book up then. Legendary players in black and white make up this collection of over 400 images from the roots of poker to the Explosive Years (2002-2005). It's pricey at $299, but what a gift for the total junkie degenerate. You'll be glad you picked this up, and it's an especially good thing to haul around to the WSOP or a WPT event if you want to get autographs of your favorite pro.

Poker Accessories

Persol Sunglasses.
Casino Royale has the new James Bond in these stylish Italian shades. If you have a gourd-like head, then no sunglasses will bring cool to your look. For everyone else, this may be just the thing to push your look over the edge while hiding your eye-tells from those peering into your soul. Choose the 2720S Bond Special Edition model or pick your style from the dozens of Italian wonders, all finished with the trademark Supreme Arrow in the frame.

Members Only Jacket from Rusty Zipper.
Let others wear their FullTilt jerseys, their UB butt-ugly hockey tops, and their WSOP logoed apparel. What better way to tell everyone at the table that you've been playing poker since Ivey was in diapers than a vintage disco-era jacket. Gray is probably the best color to go with to complete the look, but the poker geek won't really care about color coordination anyways.

BrookEase Separates Suit from Brooks Brothers.
If traveling businessman is the role you'd like to play on your next visit to Vegas, then a great new suit from Brooks Brothers should do the trick. The BrookEase collection is wrinkle-free and can be purchased with both jacket and pants separately. There's no better way to scream dead-money-conventioneer like a nice suit. And a couple of monster pots might pay for the suit too.

Men's Purse from Louis Vuitton.
The Yuma is 7.9" x 9.4" x 3.5", perfect to carry all of your crap around including your $1k Bellagio chippies. If you can head into the High Stakes Poker area with this metrosexual addition (or edition, take your pick), you'll at least be styling as you take a seat. It's a lot better than hauling around your college backpack or old gym bag.

Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones from Bose.
The Quiet Comfort 2 ($299) is an around ear model, while the new Quiet Comfort 3 ($349) is a more elegant on-ear model. Bose is giving away a 256MB MP3 player with this, which you can pawn off on a niece or nephew. Whether you listen to you iPod at the table or just want to make the same moves as Jason Strasser, you'll enjoy these endlessly.

Poker Junkets

Trip to Vegas from US Airways Vacations.
America West acquired US Air a couple years ago, and America West Vacations used to be my secret way to score incredible bargain deals staying at The Bellagio, The Venetian, or other great spots. You can find basement level prices for total dives as well as one of a kind offers at the top places. The more flexible your travel plans, the better the deals.

Jack Binion's World Poker Open.
When your loved one rips into the big box to find an entry into a $175 NLHE event on 7 January, the $1k HORSE event on 13 January, or a $200 NLHE Ladies Event (14 January), they'll go through the roof. You can buy them directly into the $5k WSOP Main Event if you like, but I'll be your son or husband for the Christmas holidays if you're planning to give that as a gift.


WSOP Main Event Seat Cushion by Craig Cunningham. Uh, I somehow came back from the Main Event with several seat cushions. This will be a collector's item, and I'll take the top offer through 18 December at 4:00PM Eastern time. Email me at with your bid, and I'll keep a running tally of who the top bidder is and what the current bid is on Quest of a Closet Poker Player. Bidding starts 13 December at 8:00AM Eastern.

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