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Book Review

Title:  Professional No-Limit Hold'em - Volume I
Author:  Matt Flynn, Sunny Mehta and Ed Miller
Publisher:  Two plus Two
Price:  $19.77
Pages:  314
ISBN:  188068540X
rating:  texas holdem poker book review stars

Texas Hold'em Poker has exploded in recent years. It is now the most popular poker game in casinos and on the Internet, in tournaments and cash games alike, replacing 7-card stud. This phenomenom started with televised Texas Hold'em tournaments like the WSOP main event, then the wave expended with high stakes cash games programs such as Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker. Because of the novelty of Texas Hold'em cash games, few books have been written about this topic, and Professional No-Limit Hold'em is one of the first publication contributing to this effort. This is an intermediate Texas Holdem poker book with good depth, but the reading is easy.

The material of the first chapters will be known to most intermediate or advanced holdem players, but it provides a good review and it will be very beneficial to beginners. This covers essentials such as pot odds & implied odds, understanding absolute and relative bet sizes, effective stack sizes, big pots versus small pot. Then the authors dwell on more advanced considerations such as understanding and planning for commitment, which is defined as the willingness to push allin or to play a big pot. This is a key concept to master. It relates to pot control and leads to potential "big mistakes". Finally position and hand reading are explained with numerous hand examples.

Chapter three introduces a novel concept, REM which stands for "Range, Equity, Maximize". The ideas are not new in themselves, but the way they are put together is pedagogical. "Range" corresponds to developping your hand reading ability, i.e. use all available information to make an educated guess about the most likely hand range that your opponent is holding. "Equity" stands for pot equity and expresses your expected value versus your opponent's range. "Maximize" develops the methods aiming at collecting the most possible chips given Range and Equity. Playing with the REM framework in mind may help you getting your act together in difficult situations.

The rest of the book is dedicated to planning hands around commitment, and they use as their main weapon the SPR, which stands for "stack to pot ratio". One fundamental principle in no-limit holdem is to always plan your hands in order to avoid expensive commitment mistakes, and SPR is a tool designed to help you think correctly in this respect. The book contains an extensive review of the various types of situations which arise in holdem cash games, with many good examples.

If you want to master Texas Hold'em Poker, Professional No-Limit Hold'em will be a valuable addition to your poker book library. The ideas in this book are absolute requisite if you want to reach the next level.


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