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Book Review

Title:  No Limit Hold'Em, Theory and Practice
Author:  David Sklansky and Ed Miller
Publisher:  Two plus Two
Price:  $19.77
Pages:  310
ISBN:  188068537X
rating:  texas holdem poker book review stars

David Skansky is the most well known poker theoretician of poker, with a special emphasis on the mathematical aspect of poker. His reading is nearly mandatory for any self-respecting Texas Hold'em Poker. Ed Miller is a well respected poker authority. Despite their recent popularity, Texas Hold'em poker cash games were still missing good theoretical books and No Limit Hold'Em, Theory and Practice is one of the first publication to fill this void.

In usual Sklansky fashion, this is a book full of content. It mostly contains advanced material and the reading is not for the faint of heart. This is not for beach perusal but for intense study. If you want to sharpen your skills, your effort will be rewarded.

The mathematical level is to the point, ubiquitous but not overwhelming. It is strongly recommended to intermediate or advanced players, but novice holdem players can also peep through it as they will come accross concepts that they do not know yet and which will open up their mind.

The concepts in the book apply equally well for live poker or online poker. The book first cover fundamentals such as the skills for success, the concept of expectation, pot size, implied odds, bet sizing, bluff sizing, bet-sizing for information.

Then it develops more advanced ideas like absolute & relative position, preflop raise strategy and preflop raise sizing, emphasizing the distinction between deep and short stack play. Then it continues with a detailed preflop strategy and more expert concepts such as call bluffing, adjusting to games and players, multiple level thinking, short stack strategy and dealing with preflop allin raises. All important concepts for poker.

No Limit Hold'Em, Theory and Practice introduces a new concept called the Sklansky-Chubukov rankings. This is a very interesting statistic which measures the maximum stack size for going allin preflop againt an opponent with perfect knowledge. It is benchmarked to a $1/$2 game and assumes the player sits in the small blind and can only fold or push allin. The resulting table for each possible hole cards can help make decisions with respect to preflop allin situations. For instance, KK has a ranking of $954, AK of $332 and 22 of $48.

The book is designed for advanced cash game no-limit holdem players, and it is definitively worth its price. Tournaments players will also learn from it. Beginners may wait a bit before buying it but it belongs to the library of all poker lovers.

One thing is clear, any serious player should at least glance through to have an idea of what the fundamental theoretical aspects of NLHE are supposed to be.

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