Lou Krieger, married to the beautiful Deirdre Quinn, learned poker at the tender age of seven, while standing at his father's side during the weekly Thursday night game held at the Krieger kitchen table in the blue-collar Brooklyn neighborhood where they lived.
Lou played poker throughout high school and college—it was seven-card stud back then, since Texas hold'em and Omaha weren't even on the horizon—and managed to keep his head above water only because his cronies were so appallingly bad. But it wasn't until his first visit to Las Vegas that he took poker seriously, buying into a low-limit seven-card stud game where he managed—with lots more luck than skill—to break even.
"While playing stud," he recalls, "I noticed another game that looked even more interesting. It was Texas hold'em. "I watched the hold'em game for about 30 minutes. The pots were bigger, there was a lot more action, and the players seemed to be having a lot more fun. I got my courage up, asked for a game change, and sat down to play. One hour and $100 later, I was hooked. I didn't mind losing. It was the first time I played and I expected to lose. But I didn't like feeling like a dummy, so I bought and studied every poker book I could find."
"I studied; I played. I studied and played some more. Before long I was winning regularly, and I haven't had a losing year since I began keeping records."
A few years later Lou discovered Omaha. "I was spending a week in Palm Desert, and the only place to play poker back then was a small club in a run-down building in Indio. The two hold'em games were both small limit affairs, but the club had a $10-$20 Omaha game that was flourishing. I bought in, and began to learn the game by trying to use what I knew about Texas hold'em and apply it to Omaha. It didn't work very well, but by week's end I had broken even, learned the rudiments of the game, and knew I had a lot more to learn if I ever expected to play it well."
In the early 90's Lou Krieger began writing a column called "On Strategy" for Card Player Magazine. He's written a total of eleven books about poker: Hold'em Excellence: From Beginner to Winner; MORE Hold'em Excellence: A Winner For Life; The Poker Player's Bible, 52 Great Poker Tips, Poker For Dummies, coauthored by Richard Harroch; and Internet Poker: How to Play and Beat Online Poker Games, coauthored by Kathleen Keller Watterson.
Along with Richard Harroch and Arthur Reber, Lou also coauthored a book about casino gaming, Gambling For Dummies.
With poker player Sheree Bykofsky, Krieger authored Secrets the Pros Won't Tell You About Winning Hold'em Poker, The Rules of Poker: Essentials for Every Game, and The Portable Poker Pro.
Lou is the editor and a columnist for the bi-weekly Poker Player Newspaper, and also writes for Gaming South, the European publication Player Ireland, and the online site Pokerology.com. He hosts a weekly poker talk radio show at Rounder's Radio—found online at www.roundersradio.com.
But flash back for a moment to that week when Krieger was struggling to learn Omaha by the arduous—and often costly—process of applying what he knew about Texas hold'em. "There was a woman in that game who seemed to win every night, so it was clear to me," said Krieger, "that she played the game very well indeed. Her personality illuminated the game as easily as her skill took the money out of it. She was friendly and approachable, so we chatted a bit and wound up as friends by week's end."
Back then he had yet to write a book or even an article about poker, and she hadn't yet done anything in the poker world either, other than to win money from all of us. So wasn't he surprised a few years later to learn that his old Omaha buddy, Linda Johnson, had just purchased Card Player Magazine, gone on to win a bracelet at the World Series of Poker, and become known as "The First Lady of Poker."
When not writing about poker, Lou—who now lives in Palm Desert—can be found playing poker online and in the card casinos of Southern California.
Note: Lou passed away in 2012. He will be missed.