Byron Jacobs is a publisher and author specializing in games and leisure. He is the author of three poker books the first of which, How Good is Your Limit Hold’em? received great critical acclaim as one of the first books that clearly explained how a successful player thinks.
He has written for Card Player magazine, Two Plus Two magazine, Pokerstrategy, and he is also the co-author of the forthcoming book by Chris Moorman entitled Moorman’s Book of Poker.
With Moorman having to face the same set of questions in every media outlet from here to Timbuktu, we decided to take a different tact and to interview his co-author instead.
Could you start by giving the readers a nutshell version of your professional life in the poker industry.
“I was a games player predominantly, and was an international master at chess when I was younger. When online poker first came on the scene I was fascinated by the idea that you could win money-playing poker over the Internet and got into it. I was hopeless at first, but then I read some poker books and really got into it.
“I have ran publishing companies for 20-25 years. There wasn’t a lot of strong poker books around in the beginning so I decided to put a company together to produce them. I don’t play so much these days because I work full time but I try to keep my hand in from time to time.
“We are doing really well with the poker books. Training videos have their place but they carry a danger that your interest will drift, because sometimes it’s like watching TV, whereas with a book you have to think about what the author has written and you get more focus. Our range of books are doing fine and we have plans to do many more.”
How did you get this gig with Moorman?
“My partner Dan Addleman was talking to Chris Moorman’s manager, Kate Lindsey, when he floated the idea. So we set up a Skype call and found a way we could do a book together. He’s excited about doing it, and we are very optimistic about the potential of the book.”
Have you met him yet – first impressions?
“We have chatted on Skype and exchanged e-mails and he seems very clear in his thought process. We have already started on the book and you can tell that he is very good at articulating his thought process in a very simply and clear way. I think we are putting together a very strong instructional book.”
What market is the book aimed at?
“We use Jonathan Little a lot, and he talks about his own hands in a lot of our books, but most people play poker at my level – not Jonathan’s. I’m pretty decent but nowhere near as close to these elite players.
“Trying to make the leap between me and them is too much of a quantum leap. So instead I am going to give Chris one of my hands, and some notes on my thought process, and then Chris will step in with his thought process. So it’s a gradual thought process and there will be tens if not hundreds of thousand of players like me who can learn from this format.”
What challenges do you face as a co-author when compared to your other books where you were the sole author?
“I have no worries about working with Chris at all because I know we are going to co- operate well. In the past it’s always been something I have been wary of because you can have some problems and issues, but in this case I will set out some material, he will comment on it and get it back to me, I will wrap that up as a series of hands, or a chapter, and he can go through the final thing. So we have a very good working structure in place already.
“Chris is perfectly good at impressing his own views on things, extremely confident and articulate. There will be some tweaks here and there but I foresee this as being a smooth process.”
What are the main things you need from Chris in order for this book writing process go smoothly.
“He’s going to have to look at the hands I am playing and he’s going to have to think where people like me are going to have to tighten up our game. I have done three hands with him already and I can already see that I am a little sloppy with position and stack sizes.
“One thing that has struck me already is that Chris always has his eye on turning his hand into a bluff, which is something I don’t do a lot. Someone like Chris is always thinking, “how can I represent a stronger hand than I hold and can I represent it successfully?”
Who would you like to write a poker book about?
“Not necessarily one of the very best players in the world. I have read so many books by big name players that are very low quality. We work with Jonathan Little a lot and he is really good at working hard and getting the job done. So I would like to work with someone who works hard, wants to produce a good product and wants people to like the product; rather than a great player who can’t be bothered to articulate what they are thinking and just throws any old stuff down to get the job done. “
When is the book coming out?
“We expect that it will be completed by the end of the year. September or October…but no later than November.”