Poker Strategy – 5 Novices’ Quick-Start Guide to Poker Strategy

There are a lot of books available on poker, or so I’ve been told. If you’re a newbie to the game or just want to improve your game, you’re in the know if you’re readying this very important book.

Poker: The History of a Game MuchBook plus my membership site (the book had better be good, otherwise I won’t bother coming back) revealed the amazing history of the game, and the tales of glory to greats like Negreanu, Hellmuth, and most prominently of all, Jim “The Anneys” Hansen. Hansen is, perhaps, the most background character in the book besides Negreanu, and while he does play nice cards at the start of the book, by the end he’s all poker-face, throwing down big pairs and trying to get others to believe he has something before he actually has it.

Negreanu’s restraint is kind of funny to read about, because he starts off talking about how he doesn’t want to be known as a guy who is always bluffing. He talks about how he figured out his opponents from the beginning, and that at the end of the day, all he did was make his opponents believe he had something. Kind of like how you do when you flop a royal flush? That’s kind of what Negreanu does throughout the book.

If this book had been an instruction manual for tournament poker, it would have been quite nice to see how its author would recommend you play. The hands-on part of the book is decent. It doesn’t really do anything new except scratch the surface of some explainations to common hand strengths, and even that is exaggerated for the most part. I have some actual problems with parts of it, but the hand analysis itself is honest and straightforward. I didn’t like how it attacked tight players, since those were the ones to be aggressive against. Most everyone plays tight, except Mike Caro. Oh well. There are also some very competitive early parts of the book, so if you sought out a book like this forTellOffs, I would have gone ahead and given it a positive review. As is, though, this is still a good handbook for the starter. The text is short, not to say that the information it contains isn’t worth examination.

There are some questionable decisions, like not playing AK or lower suited cards in early positions. As in, really early. I wondered about this extensively because those cards are seventeen times better than anything in early position, yet Negreanu plays them. Later he talks about raising with them, which I found shocking because they are the most easily dominated hands, and do not increase in strength based on the position you are in. Later on he says AK is similar to JQ; you can’t play it from the button because nobody will call you, but if you hit a flop it can win a big pot. Really? Later on he says hisAK suitedis one of the hands he really wishes someone had coached him on. I am not sure who.

He also advices players not to become too egoistical or worried about being called out of early positions, which I thought was a very refreshing way of thinking about those early positions. In fact, against any hand combination your decision on whether to call or not is based on your hand strength. So if you have a weak hand pre-flop, you should call, unless of course you plan to semi-bluff.

If you have a weak hand and bet, then you have committed already 30% of your stack (if you’re in the big blind). You will lose approximately 70% of your stack in the event of an all-in, call, or re-raise. So if you can’t decide if calling or not is right or wrong, then it is time to get out.

The book also has a great Introduction that explains poker concept to the early beginner. It then goes on to explain advanced concepts of the game. If you are someone who needs a quick and easy reference of commonly played hands and concepts, then this is great. In addition, the hand analysis is fresh and innovative. It’s like they took a few promising and struggling concepts, tweaked them, and added some of their own creative thoughts.

At the beginning, I thought that the Advanced NL Hold Em could use a little work on the analysis and interpretation of the games. For example, it says that AQ is usually not a hand that you want to see in the flop. But the fact is that if it’s there, you’ll probably be up against it. On the other hand, much of the Advanced guide is geared toward deep and multi table tournament play, which is something even the upcoming generation of poker players knows about.