Holdem Poker For Advanced Players

A dual effort between David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth, this book touches on various advanced poker subjects for the Hold'em player. In this, the 21st century edition, psychology, semi-bluffing. The advanced poker tips and strategies in this course will help much more than your heads-up game because understanding wide range situations apply to all forms of poker. Mastering Mixed Games Learn how to crush the softest games available as Jake Abdalla teaches you through his winning strategy for Omaha 8, Stud, Stud 8, Razz, and Triple Draw. Nov 30, 1987 If you are a serious limit holdem player this always has been required reading but it has become more and more a study in the history of holdem in recent years. Changes in playing style and improvements in general play make it more of an intermediate read than the first step to serious advanced play that it was when first published. Most poker players think about each time they sit down to play Texas holdem as a single session. If they play for three hours and then go do something else they had a single session. This isn’t the way advanced Texas holdem players view the game.

Title:
Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players, 21st Century Edition
Author:
David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth
Publisher:
Two Plus Two Publishing
Date:
1999
ISBN:
1-880685-22-1
Pages:
332
Price:
$29.95

Reviewed by Nick Christenson, [email protected]

July 17, 1999

Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players has certainly been oneof the most influential poker books ever written, it has literally changedhow people have played this game. Moreover, this book has, in large part, set the standard by which other poker books have been judged.Now, a much expanded new edition for the 21st century has been released.

The book starts with several short preliminary sections, includingthe Forward by expert player Ray Zee, the Introduction, and a sectioncalled 'Using This Book'. The reader is warned immediately that this book should not be read casually. It is intended as a text book on Texas Hold'em and will need to be studied as a text, not read as one would a novel, if the reader is to maximize the benefit of the material within.

Then, the first of eight sections begins, covering the play of the firsttwo cards. This includes the now famous hand ranking table. The authorsrecommend which sorts of hands to play in various positions but emphasizethat it is not sufficient to just play well before the flop to be awinning player. The second section covers various important conceptsabout which the Hold'em player must be aware, including Semi-Bluffing,Slow Playing, the Check Raise, Inducing Bluffs, and many more. Thethird section covers a wide variety of topics, including playing whena flush draw flops, playing trash hands, playing against a maniac, etc.Most of these sections were classics when they were written. They'reeven better now that they've been updated to more closely reflectthe sorts of games that are commonly found in card rooms today.

Sections four through six cover playing in all sorts of non-standard games, and this is the area where the book has been most greatly expandedsince its original printing. We learn about playing in loose games, including so-called 'No Fold'em' games, playing short handed, and playing in otherunusual circumstances. All of this information is very interesting andhas been updated to be much more closely aligned to the sorts of gamescommonly found today. Of course, there is much more that could be saidon some of these topics, such as playing in spread limit games, but the authors cover a lot of territory already. I especially like thenew sections that cover considerations in playing some especially trickystarting hands, like AQoff.

Part seven includes commentary on other skills the successful Hold'emplayer will want to possess, such as reading hands and applying psychology.Finally, the last section, Questions and Answers, provides a quiz coveringmuch of the material presented in earlier chapters so the reader can testthemselves to see whether they've understood what the authors were tryingto communicate. I've always felt that this was one of thestrongest sections of this book and other publications by Two Plus Two, and I'm glad to see that it has been greatly expanded in the most recent edition. The book ends with someconcluding remarks, an appendix on calculating probabilities, and a glossary.

Of course, Sklansky and Malmuth have never shied away from controversy.There was plenty for Hold'em players to debate in the first edition ofthis book, and there is certainly much one could fairly argue about inthis edition. Although I wouldn't compare my strategic understandingof the game to the authors, there are strategies suggested in this bookthat I'm not certain are optimal, and I'm sure many people will argue theminutia of these many times over. However, I'm less interested in thespecific merit of the play of a single controversial hand than I am in the strategic concepts the authors are trying to teach. While I might quibble about whetherthat strategic concept is applicable in an example that they provide, I never get the feeling that the strategic concept itself is questionable. One of the great things about Texas Hold'emis that there are so many possible ways to play a given hand, and thatgreat players can disagree on these points. The way one can tell a greatplayer from a mediocre one is whether they can accurately read thesituation and take into account the strategic concepts that need to be applied at the moment, much more so than whether they bet, raise, checkor fold. One would be well advised, in my opinion, to keep thisin mind while reading this book.

Clearly, this book is a classic, and I doubt there are very many successfullimit Texas Hold'em players playing today who do not own a copy of oneof the earlier editions.Certainly, those that plan to play Hold'em well should own a copy of this work and read it several times. The big question is whether owners of previous revisions of this book should upgrade to the21st Century Edition. Note that this is the third update of this work,the original was published in 1988, it was updated in 1994, and thecurrent version was released in the summer of 1999. I have only the 1988 and 1999 editions, so I can only speak to those.

By my count, 150 pages have been added to the 182 page 1988 edition.In addition to new sections, there are minor changes to reflecthow the game has evolved over the years and to emphasize concepts thatcaused some conclusion in earlier editions. Overall, given the changes thathave been made to the 21st Century Edition from the first edition, Iwould recommend that those people who are serious about their Hold'emgame and have read the 1988 edition upgrade their copies of this book.Although I do not have enough information to make the same claim forthe 1994 edition, I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was worth upgrading from the second edition as well.

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Capsule:

Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players is one of the classicsof the poker literature. This book is extremely well written, and it'shard for me to believe that many players are likely to mastertoday's games without having read and studied this text. Further, the21st Century Edition is, in my opinion, enough of an improvement overthe first edition that those who have already read the 1988 version should buy and read the new edition as well.

Note: I received a free review copy of this book from Two Plus Two Publishing. I have no other interest, financial or otherwise, inthe success of this book.

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