With the explosion of the game of poker, you knew that the subsequent flurry of new publications would follow along with it. Television was the first media, started with the World Poker Tour (on the Travel Channel) and the World Series of Poker (on ESPN); now you can't flip the dial without finding some sort of poker programming on.
The same can now be said when you stroll by the magazine racks at your favorite bookstore. With magazine publications, for many years, the only thing you could even get close to was CardPlayer Magazine, and it was by subscription only or (if you were there) in casinos. Now there are several that have come into the game, and the latest one is DEAL Magazine.
DEAL Magazine is done by the same folks who bring you Xbox Magazine, the publication dedicated to the Microsoft home video game system. It is a glossy looking publication that has hit the shelves with the attractive visage of poker player Evelyn Ng staring at you and billed as a "Special Collector's Issue". At $9.99, it may seem a little pricey, but I will explain this here in a moment.
The poker player looking for some hard core strategy sessions will be highly disappointed. In this first issue, there is a primer for newcomers to our great game, but nothing that would approach a intermediate to advanced player status. Online poker master Matthew Hilger does do a great article on spotting online poker tells, which could be helpful to many who play online.
If you are looking for tournament coverage...WHAT tournament coverage? There isn't even a tournament mentioned in the introductory issue (other than a list of the World Series of Poker World Champions), and this may be an area that DEAL may want to take a look at. When poker players look over a magazine, they do like to be kept up on what is going on in the tournament world and, in this, DEAL is seriously lacking.
There are some great things to mention about the magazine, however. There are several player profiles done in the magazine, including the previously mentioned Ng, Daniel Negreanu, Josh Arieh, Erick Lindgren and last year's WSOP runner up David Williams. These are very well done and come with great photography of the players as well. Evelyn Ng's story about coming across a couple who were attempting to cheat a game was especially priceless! There are also articles on poker player/actress Mimi Rogers and "Ultimate Poker Challenge" hostess Brandi Williams
There are some nice pieces (the one on poker movies was interesting), but where the magazine hits its stride is (to be expected of a company that focuses on computer games) when it discusses the different poker video games on the market and soon to come. The writers pick these games to pieces and offer very blunt reviews of them. They also look online to poker websites and offer their picks for their Top 25. DVDs from Phil Hellmuth and Mike Caro even come in for review as well.
Probably the most exciting part of the premiere issue of DEAL Magazine is the CD that comes along with it. It is chock full of demos of video games and shareware featuring some of the prime software tools that many poker players use (including PokerTracker). It also has an interview with Daniel Negreanu and a look at his new video game "STACKED". This probably added somewhat to the additional price of this issue and it is a very nice tool for players to have. If they plan on doing this each issue (which might be difficult), then great...$9.99 is a great price on the magazine. If not, then they'll have a hard time justifying it to a poker player, be they casual or serious.
All in all, DEAL Magazine seems to be geared to the twentysomethings that are playing the game today. It is slick, professional, and shows promise on many areas. It could be a few issues before they hit their stride, but DEAL Magazine may be off to a nice start!
Ed Note:Noble Poker has 6 handed single table tournaments that we think are easy pickins...get in on the action