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Starting Hands Revealed
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We start our list of poker book reviews at the beginning, i.e. with a "For Dummies" title. We have never been disappointed with this series and there is no shame in reading them, as they usually provide a solid overview of their topic.
In the same vein Texas hold'em For Dummies fullfills its mandate, providing an excellent introduction to Texas hold'em poker. This book is highly recommended for beginners and intermediate players who seek to have a comprehensive reference book on the foundations of Texas Hold'em Poker.
The book starts with hand ranking and Texas holdem rules. It then explains in more details how the four betting rounds take place, i.e. preflop, flop, turn and river. It continues with an introduction to some tactical moves such as bluffing, check-raising, trapping.
Other concepts encompass types of players (loose/tight, passive/aggressive), reading your opponents, bankroll management, online poker versus brick and mortar. Additional material includes the mathematics of holdem poker, where and how to play, and some general guidelines on how to improve one's game, such as the ten most common mistakes or ten ways to improve your texas holdem game.
Harlan's text covers all aspect of holdem. It is light and fun to read, yet concise, useful and to the point. It teaches Texas Hold'em poker in an entertaining way, with anecdotal information and trivia tidbits. It's definitively the first poker book you should buy if you want to learn how to play Texas holdem. If there is one motto to remember about how to play poker, it would be "know your ennemy".
As Sam O'Connor says in How to Dominate $1 and $2 No Limit Hold'Em, "Poker in not a card game played by people. Poker is a people game played with cards"