I have two distinct lives. One in the trenches of low-budget film and television, the other in professional gambling. Because of the feast-or-famine nature of show business I need a reliable income... gambling. So here you will read about both worlds. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Decide To Play Great Poker

Decide to Play Great Poker: A Strategy Guide to No-limit Texas Hold Em
is a new book by Annie Duke, and John Vorhaus.  Annie and John have a light conversational style that makes this a fun read.  It is geared to the beginning and intermediate player.  This is not a "set of problems" book, like the books by Dan Harrington.  This is much more like Theory of Poker, by David Sklansky.  (Theory of Poker is a must-read for any serious player.)  The idea is to teach you how to think about your poker decisions, and the book does this quite effectively.

The thesis of the book is that every move you make at the poker table is a decision.  Every decision should have a sound reason behind it, and your goal is to make your own decisions easier.  They take you through this starting with pre-game decisions and then moving to pre-flop.  A lot of the book is devoted to analyzing flopping top pair.  Top pair is a tricky hand to play, especially for newer players.  A,Q is used to illustrate your thinking when an ace hits the flop.  They talk about being in position, out of position, heads up versus multi-way.  You will learn more than you ever wanted to know about the hand Ace, Queen.  But it isn't really about Ace, Queen.  It is about deciding, do I bet, raise, call, or fold.  And how much do I bet or raise, and why that amount?

There are a few very important concepts in this book that pros take for granted, but often amateurs never learn. Here is one example: Many amateur players get to the river, and think, "I have the best hand.  I should bet." But often, if they really thought about it, they would know that their opponent is never going to call unless he hit that miracle card and has you beat.  Your bet can only lose money.  Most times he folds and your bet gained nothing, and sometimes he raises and you either fold or call and get beat.  There is no reason to bet.  If you have never considered this, then this book will pay for itself hundreds of times over.

The book is a bit long at almost 450 pages, but I give it 3 1/2 aces.

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