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!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Small Stake No-Limit Hold Em by Ed Miller, Sunny Mehta, and Matt Flynn

We are having Ed Miller on the show this week, so I checked out some of his books. I am happy to say that Small Stakes No-Limit Hold Em is excellent. If you are a beginning or intermediate player this is a great book to start with if you are interested in cash games. Obviously many of the concepts will transfer to tournaments, but the focus is on 6 handed 1-2 or 2-5 games.

The book starts out explaining that much of your win rate comes from stealing blinds, and then explains different approaches to this. It explains value betting with good hands, the 3-bet 4-bet 5-bet game, isolating players, and more. One of the things I found most helpful was explaining stack to pot ratios. That is, choosing the size of your bets not just on the size of the pots, but on the size of your stacks. This is nothing new, but I thought it was very well explained in this book.

There are two things that might give the reader pause, but don't let this dissuade you. The first is that all of their examples are based on online 6-handed games. My experience in 9-handed ring games is that there is much more limping, and rarely can you steal the blinds outright. But the majority of the info will apply to larger ring games. The second thing is the chapter on "profiling opponents using stats." This was an eye-opener to me. I have not played a lot of online poker, and that is no longer possible in the US. I was aware that you could look up stats on all the online players at the major poker sites, but had never done it. What a mistake! In the book they show you what stats are available, and how to use them. It's like bringing a bazooka to a knife fight. As regular readers of this site know I believe online poker will be back, and soon. If that happens this book moves from just an excellent book to a "must have."

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