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Paperback Professional No-Limit Hold 'em: Volume I Book

ISBN: 188068540X

ISBN13: 9781880685402

Professional No-Limit Hold 'em: Volume I

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Book Overview

No-limit hold em was once only a tournament game. Cash games were rarely spread in conventional poker rooms, let alone the Internet. All of that changed when the game exploded on television. No-limit... This description may be from another edition of this product.

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Customer Reviews

4 ratings

FINALLY! Now I feel like I'm playign against children.

Like most of the other reviewers, I feel like this should be considered one of the classics. Right up there with Sklanky's Theory of Poker. I have played online, mostly single-table tournaments, for about 4 years. But have found that because of the time commitment necessary for those, I have been migrating to the ring/"cash" games. I dominated the $10 to $30 tournaments for a solid ROI, but found that even at the $2/1 cash games, I kept being "pushed around". It felt like I was always up against a group of pros, not knowing what to do on the flop or turn. Now, after getting through this book a SECOND time in a month's worth of reading, I find that it feels like I'm playing against a bunch of children. It feels so easy. They key has been to plan the hands from before the flop. This book is the first of about 20 NL or PL Hold-Em books I have read that really, really explains what is meant by planning your hand and manipulating the pot size to your advantage. You will find out how to position yourself in situations so that you'll know in advance what to do when the flop comes. It gives an excellent explanation of the target Stack-to-Pot ratio you need to aim for depending on your cards (are you going for top-pair, or is it a drawing hand: Suited ace, connectors, small pair...) You'll find yourself constantly NOT CARING how your opponent acts on the flop. The play of the hand has already been established. You will either commit or fold. And rarely will there be a Turn decision. If you pair this book with a decent online tool to track your opponents (so you can tell the set-farmers, from the action-kids, from the tight-rocks) you will find that you can easily play 3 or 4 tables at once and NOT be a predictable player yourself. After about 12,000 hands I'm showing that on average I play 1.8 tables at a time, and I'm making close to 10 BB/100. (Yes... yes... not enough hands... STD Dev is over 20... but it feels like it is not luck...) If you are a NLHE cash player at the small stakes, you NEED this book. If you are a Limit player... WHY? Limit is so mechanical and technical. You can never hope to be THAT much better than the field. In No-Limit, 10 to 20 BB per 100 hands is achievable at the small stakes, and counter-intuitively with LESS variance. I can't wait for Volume 2. Those $10/5 games look promising!

Superb title for no-limit cash game players

I review poker books for Card Player magazine, and here's the piece I submitted about this excellent new book from Two Plus Two (in its November 7 issue): A lot of amateur players seem to believe that no-limit hold'em is a game dominated by feel and aggression instead of mathematical rigor and brutal rationality, but this powerful new book dispels that notion in no uncertain terms. "It's not the one gut-wrenching decision for all the chips that counts most," the authors write. "It's the thousands of small strategic decisions that the pros get right and the amateurs don't." Don't misunderstand. Feel and aggression are critical to success in no-limit hold'em. But the most consistent winners use analytical skill to complement their decision making, and in no-limit hold'em, the math is a lot more difficult than it is in the limit game. In limit, you're playing for one or two or three more bets; in no-limit, your entire stack may be on the line in every hand. And that makes the analytical aspects of no-limit hold'em a lot more complicated. No surprise, then, that the book includes a lengthy discussion of stack sizes, which "are critical to most no-limit decisions." Stack size effectively determines your risk/reward possibilities, and that idea prompts a long and very valuable analysis of "commitment." "'Am I committed?' is the first question you should ask yourself on every street," write Flynn, Mehta, and Miller. If you understand the concepts in this book, you'll know how to answer that crucial question. But here's the real challenge: You have to make the all-in decision before you play a large pot. You must know if you're at the "commitment threshold" and how you're going to respond if you're facing an all-in bet. Those are the situations than can build--or destroy--your bankroll, and you have to be prepared for them. The book is primarily about the analytical (i.e., mathematical) aspects of no-limit hold'em, but Flynn et al. do a good job of illuminating topics like hand reading. It's not mystical (unless your name is Kenny Tran), but it's not purely rational or logical either. In particular, the book points out the folly of putting someone on a specific hand instead of range of hands. And that leads directly into the meatiest concept of the book, "the REM Process": "Range, Equity, Maximize." Range, of course, refers to the spectrum of hands your opponents could have (we all know players who only raise with AA or KK, but most raisers have a much wider range of potential hands). Observation of showdowns will help you assign a range to a specific player, and of course you'll add physical tells and intangibles (is someone on tilt? stuck big-time? flush with chips?) to your analysis. Equity is the value of your hand compared to the range of hands your opponent has (Harrington fans will recognize this concept in his "Structured Hand Analysis" in Harrington on Hold'em, Volume II). Only a savant could perform these calculations at the table, but

Lost at sea with one-pair hands postflop

I have little to add to P. Binion and Felson's thorough reviews, but here goes: Although it's a gross simplification, for me the value of this book is primarily some new ideas about how to play good one-pair hands -- top-pair-good-kicker or an overpair. Anyone who's struggled a bit with postflop NLHE decisions probably knows what I mean. You bet your pocket aces on the flop. Call. You bet the pot on the turn. Call. Now your not-entirely-straightforward-but-not-maniacal opponent bets the pot from out of nowhere on the river. It could be a big bluff, but you're probably beat, right? Can you really lay your aces down and sleep at night? HELP!!!! This book won't give you a magic recipe for what to do in this situation. That's ridiculous -- NLHE is far too complex for one-size-fits-all algorithms. But this book can help you plan so that you're less likely to GET to those tough one-pair situations. In particular, it's sobering to realize that with 100 BBL stacks, your "standard" preflop raise called by an opponent is getting the pot to exactly the *wrong* size for one pair. And as the authors point out -- what are you most likely to flop with AA, KK, or AK if it hits the board? When you look at your cards and see a big pair or big ace, this book will help you start thinking about where you'd like the pot to be on the flop and beyond. (I've neglected small pairs or other drawing hands, because they're not as harrowing as one-pair hands to play correctly, but the book talks about their preferred pot size too.) Your planning won't always work out right -- sometimes five loose opponents decide to call your raise instead of one; sometimes you want to limp/reraise but no one raises. But if you've been planning, the big decision that puts you to the test won't catch you unawares. It's not a silver bullet, but it is an effective framework to help you start looking ahead from the moment you get your cards. And that's the theme of this book: "Plan your hand." -- DISCLAIMER: Although I take part in 2+2's forums I'm hardly a personal acquaintance of the authors, and I would criticize any of their books that merited it. I'll never tell you that Sklansky can write or that his "Hemingway preface" is a reasonable attitude to take toward one's audience, for example. I praise Ed Miller's work only because it's really good.


Overall, the best book on NL cash games in print. The writing is very clear and direct. It is an "easy" read, even if some of the concepts require thought to digest. Kudos to Ed Miller, whom I am sure is at least partly responsible for the imminent readability. The first half of the book breaks no new ground, but is an excellent primer for NLHE play. Basics, Fundamentals and REM (Range, Equity Maximize) should be nothing new to, but a good refresher for, experienced players. It will be excellent material for beginning players who don't think much beyond their own two cards. These sections account for pages 1-138. Pages 140-295 include the Commitment Threshhold/Planning and Stack to Pot Ratio discussions. This is the groundbreaking material which I have never seen written about. Some of it is intuitive. Some of it is not. But it is explained in clear terms, and based on my limited experience employing the ideas, it provides an excellent framework to guide your actions at the table. I was generally aware of building pots and exercising pot control and implied odds, but I had not thought explicitly of stack to pot ratios, nor what types of hands preferred what ratios for what purposes. Same for "pot-committed." I generally knew when someone was pot-committed, but the commitment threshhold and planning hands around it is new to me. I shudder to think how many bad spots I have put myself in by making the "standard" play. This book will get you thinking about the right things. Which will make you money. Kudos to Matt and Sunny for the new ideas presented in the second half of the book. Looking forward to Vol 2 in '08.
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