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Play Poker Like the Pros

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Overview

In Play Poker Like the Pros, poker master Phil Hellmuth, Jr., demonstrates exactly how to play and win — even if you have never picked up a deck of cards — the modern games of poker, including: Texas Hold'em, Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, and Razz.

Phil Hellmuth, Jr., a seven-time World Champion of Poker, ...

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Play Poker Like the Pros

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Overview

In Play Poker Like the Pros, poker master Phil Hellmuth, Jr., demonstrates exactly how to play and win — even if you have never picked up a deck of cards — the modern games of poker, including: Texas Hold'em, Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, and Razz.

Phil Hellmuth, Jr., a seven-time World Champion of Poker, presents his tournament-tested strategies to beat any type of player, including:

  • The Jackal (crazy and unpredictable)
  • The Elephant (plays too many hands)
  • The Mouse (plays very conservatively)
  • The Lion (skilled and tough to beat)

Play Poker Like the Pros begins by laying out the rules and set-up of each game and then moves on to easy-to-follow basic and advanced strategies. Hellmuth teaches exactly which hands to play, when to bluff, when to raise, and when to fold. In addition Hellmuth provides techniques for reading other players and staying cool under pressure. There are also special chapters on how to beat online poker games and an inside look at tournament play.

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Editorial Reviews

Matt Damon
“Phil Hellmuth gave me the best poker lesson I’ve ever received.”
Johnny Chan
“Phil Hellmuth is the best poker tournament player that I have ever played against.”
"Amarillo Slim" Preston
“Play Poker Like the Pros is the best poker strategy book ever written.
Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson
“From the moment I first played poker with Phil I knew that I was witnessing something special.”
Matt Damon
"Phil Hellmuth gave me the best poker lesson I’ve ever received."
Johnny Chan
"Phil Hellmuth is the best poker tournament player that I have ever played against."
"Amarillo Slim" Preston
"Play Poker Like the Pros is the best poker strategy book ever written.
Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson
"From the moment I first played poker with Phil I knew that I was witnessing something special."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060005726
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/17/2003
  • Series: A Harperresource Book Series
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 350,621
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Phil Hellmuth, Jr. is a ten-time World Series of Poker Champion and all-time leading money winner at the World Series of Poker. In addition to appearances on the Discovery Channel, E!, ESPN, and Fox Sports Net, he has been featured in Sports Illustrated, Time, and Esquire. Phil also contributes to Gambling Times Magazine and writes for many poker websites. He lives with his family in Palo Alto, California.

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First Chapter

Play Poker Like the Pros
The greatest poker player in the world today reveals his million-dollar-winning strategies to the most popular tournament, home and online games

Chapter One

Skill versus Luck in Poker

Most people today misunderstand poker. Let's be frank: most people know poker from the low-stakes games they now play (or grew up playing) with their family and friends. In these lowstakes home games, luck often plays a much bigger role than skill.

The money to be gained or lost in a home tends to mean next to nothing, and everyone at the table plays almost every hand to the end. The dealer's choice games are often nonstandard, even bizarre variations (often fun) where, for example, deuces, black kings, or one-eyed jacks (or all of them) are wild. In this type of poker game, people just put their money in the middle (in the "pot") and hope to make the best hand. Often, there doesn't seem to be much strategy or thought involved. When the evening winds up, everyone seems to agree that "Johnny sure was hot tonight!" You don't hear anyone saying, "Boy, did Johnny play great tonight. I sure am afraid of him at the poker table."

One reason why luck has such a big role in home-style poker games is that many of the skills we use in pro-style games just don't come into play in a home game. For example, three of the more important skills that we use are being patient in determining which starting hands to play, bluffing, and reading people. Patience, like discipline, is a virtue in many areas of life, and poker is no exception. It is in the nature of professional or tough high-stakes poker games that it is mathematically correct to fold a lot of hands right away. If you are playing too many hands (which equates to too many bad hands) in a tough poker game, you will often find yourself "drawing mighty thin," that is, trying to win by catching particular cards that are in short supply.

The plain fact is that if you play too many hands in a prolevel poker game, you just cannot win, certainly not in the long run and probably not even on just one given night, no matter how lucky you are. But if you're playing a lot of hands in a home poker game, you may be in good shape anyway, because the sheer size of the pot will wind up offering you odds sufficient to draw to an inside straight (add a nine, for example, to your 7-8-10-J hand) or another "unlikely to hit" hand. You'll usually lose, but when you do manage to hit the card you need, you're going to win a huge pot.

Further, the number of cards that can complete what you need in the late rounds of a hand in a home game is often larger than one sees in the pro game, because the dealer has designated various wild cards or rules that allow you extra draws or give you chances to buy another card or replace a card.

Because you don't see these big pots and people paying you off with weak hands in a pro poker game, patience is crucial there. In the traditional home-style poker games, patience not only is not as important but may actually clash with the "spirit" of the game -- that "We're all here just to have fun and gamble." Playing a more technically informed style may win you more money in a home game, but it might also mean that you're not invited back the next time the game is held! In a casino poker game or an online poker game, of course, you don't need to be concerned that you might not be invited back.

Another key difference between home poker games and the games that the pros play is that bluffing actually succeeds in the pro-style games! In a home game, it's extremely hard to pull off a bluff, because you usually can't bet enough money on the last bet to get your opponents to fold. For 25 cents, someone who is convinced he is beaten is nonetheless willing to throw the two bits into the pot, just to see what you have, and, oops, there goes your attempted bluff. In fact, in most situations in these home games where there is a "bet on the end" (in the last round of action in a given hand), someone is always egging someone else on to be the "sheriff." "Bill, you call that boy and be the sheriff this hand! We can't let him bluff us!"

In the pro game, bluffing is a sound strategy, because in the late stages of a hand there aren't many people who haven't folded. If you've been playing very few hands (that is, patiently), and have seldom been caught bluffing during a day of play, then when you do bluff, it's hard for those remaining in the hand to "call you down" through the last bet. Long live the bluff! Bluffing well is an art form, and I will be addressing it at various points throughout this book. The bluff is one of the poker craftsman's tools that is seldom available to players in wild, friendly, low-stakes games.

Another important element in pro poker games is reading your opponents. Are they riding on "hot air" or the real thing? In a lot of home games, there is just so much money in the pot, relative to the size of the final bet, that it makes sense to call that bet. (What do you have to lose?) In pro poker, there is enough money involved, and enough actual thought processes are being utilized, that many situations come up where you can take advantage of a good read -- which might arise either from your ability to detect weakness or strength in body language or from your ability to assess the implications of the betting pattern on the hand -- and make either a good call or a good fold ...

Play Poker Like the Pros
The greatest poker player in the world today reveals his million-dollar-winning strategies to the most popular tournament, home and online games
. Copyright © by Phil Hellmuth. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2007

    What a piece of garbage

    This book is just terrible, absolutely bad advice from start to finish. I know Hellmuth has a lot of name recognition, but he's certainly not a very good teacher of the game. Instead of this buy anything from twoplustwo or by David Sklansky. Theodore Korolchuk

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2005

    Very good

    One of the best poker books I've read. Maby a little poor on odds and math behind the game.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2005

    an ok book

    I found this book to be alright. I think this book would help if you are just starting to play, but it doesn't give many advanced techniques.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2005

    Not that Great of a Book

    this book was an okay book. it really didnt help me out that much. when the book first hit the shelves,i bought it immediately thinkng it would be great. but it wasnt.basically the book just gives you common sense moves and tips.and through out the book all phil really talks about is how hes the best poker player and his past poker hand memories. it's really not that great of a book. save your money and get something else

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2004

    Insanely Good Book for Any Player

    This book is one of the best books out there for helping rounders or poker players to improve their game and learn new strategies. Some strategies he gives are very good and helpful. I have used this book and it has helped me in alot of major and some small tournaments. Some of those tournaments I was in trouble so I rememebered one of Phil's strategies and it helped me enough that I came in first in the tournament. Phil also gives great examples of past experiances of how the strategies were used in the World Series of Poker tournament at Binion's Horseshoe casino. This book will help you no matter what kind of player you are. You will learn alot from this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2004

    Cool Book

    This Book was cool. It provided important and useful concepts about the game of Poker. I learned some new strategies, which identified some leaks in my game. Leaks in your game can come from anywhere!!! Leaks can originate from lack of aggression, overcalling raises, misreading opponents and any other number of ways. So this book helps. Many people look at poker the wrong way. They think to win they need to do all of this super fancy plays and mindblowing stunts. Well folks...there are not that many options in poker...you fold, call or raise. So its really hard to do thinks that will just fool your opponents all the time. To win at poker it is mostly limiting your mistakes and getting all that you can from winning hands and minimizing losses on losing hands...that's it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2004

    Very good book

    I love how Phil breaks it down to guide you when presented different situations. It's presented well, and written well which makes all the information much easier to digest. It's helped me at home games, tournaments, and at tables at casinos. You can't really go wrong with this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2004

    Thanks Phil

    'My comments relate to the Limit Hold'em content of the book, although I suspect it is fairly consistent with the book in its entirety. I make no pretences about the fact that I am an average Hold'em player. I play limit anywhere from 3/6 to 10/20 and make a nice profit over time, but I am definately not the kind of player that walks from a table to a round of applause :) Phil on the other hand needs no introduction. His reputation (great at cards, shocking at manners!) is known to anyone who takes an interest in the game. Like many players though, I rushed out and bought his book when it hit the shelves, and like most I was hugely disappointed... It's a story of 'I'm Phil Hellmuth, I'm great, and I'm gonna keep telling you I'm great, and now I have your money for a book full of rubbish!' I threw it the corner with the same feeling you get when another player draws to an inside straight and hits - bad beat! Let's face it. What seperates Mr Hellmuth and other big name players from the rest of us is an instinctive ability to accurately read a player, to the extent that they can almost read the suit of your cards, let alone the value. From there they pressure you when you're weak and back off when you're strong. For us mere mortals we need to rely more on the technical aspects of poker that make the foundation of any good player's game. Play Poker like the Pros is extremely light-on here. In fact more information can be found for free in an hour searching a few online forums. If you want to actually improve your game, any books by Sklansky, Malmuth or 'Middle Limit Holdem' by Ciaffone & Brier and the like are the way to go. If your new to the game and need a solid introduction, you can't go past 'Winning Low-Limit Hold'em' by Lee Jones. Just don't waste your money with Hellmuth. So how am I making a killing? Well, there seems to now be a wave of new players, 'Phil Hellmuth's Pheasants' I call them - the sixth animal not discussed in his book - and they're just waiting to be plucked. Invariably there seems to be at least 1 at every table. You'll see them three betting pocket 5's pre-flop and raising on the flop with second and middle pair 'to see where their at'. These players are the ones that were never good enough to begin with, hence they actually believe the diatribe, and have not improved with their latest book purchase. Once identified these muppets can be targeted so easily, because they become so predictable pre and post flop and almost all of them have zero talent on the turn and river play. (Interestingly, areas that are hardly touched by Phil's book.) In the 12 months prior to the release of 'Play Poker like the Pro's' I averaged a profit of $57 per hour. Like I said at the start, fairly average for the stakes I play. Since his book and the adjustments to my game to target the Pheasants that average has risen to $74ph. All I can say is 'Hurry up and release your next book Phil, so we can both get rich! ' Most truthful and correct review I found and just thought I should put this here since I did not see this here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2004

    Good Beginners Book

    An excellent book for people just starting to play or wanting to learn how to play, but I don't recommended for advanced players (try Super Systems much better for advanced players).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2003

    A must buy for serious play

    The book's greatest benefit is not that it introduces you to the most popular poker games today, but its serious analysis of plays. This is not the book that you can read from front to cover and expect to know it all. You will go back to its different sections to understand the strategy. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2003

    Average

    The book is well written (easy to understand), and it will help a beginning player become a better player, and that's about it. I read super system before I read this book, and I much prefer it. I'd recommend this book to anyone starting out in poker, or to anyone who is looking for another view on the game. However, for intermediate to advanced players, the book doesn't cover anything of great value. Stick to Super Systems.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2003

    A Pro Shares His Wisdom

    Very insightful given the fact that it's written by one of the best poker players of all time. I love the tournament replays he illustrates as examples of certain points throughout the book. I read the section on limit hold'em tournaments and the importance of playing Sattellites about ten times in a row. Even if you're an accomplished player, you may not realize how or why you've become successful - Phil knows, and his insight will add even more weapons to your arsenal. Just don't think you're going to beat Phil, though. Reading this book one gets the distinct impression that Phil has left his most deadly tacticts out of it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2003

    Winning your money back

    Phil your the man! I've went from losing alot of money...to winning that money back and then some. Phil breaks it down so it's easier for the rookies to understand how and what to do. This is a must read to start off your Hold'em game.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2003

    buy this book

    this book has taken my game 2 another level and will do the same for you

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2003

    Great Book by a Poker Champion!!

    I enjoyed reading Phil's book. Although, my style of play isn't as aggressive as the style he recommends in his book, I was still able to adopt many of his techniques. Also enjoyed hearing about how this great poker player started out playing in his college days. Phil offers some great tips on reading players, and how to play against certain players. He also does a great job in breaking down principles of play into an easy to understand format. I would recommend this book more for advanced/intermediate players. I think beginners would get a better understanding of the game by reading 'Winning Low Limit Hold'em' by Lee Jones (5 Stars) A great book for beginners.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2003

    Pretty good

    I just got the book and have read most of it. Although, like a previous review mentions it doesn't have much on position or on pot odds and such. It is still a pretty good book. I think for the price it is very good for beginners to intermediate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2003

    The Best Book on Poker Ever Written!

    Phil Hellmuth is one of the best Poker players in the World. He has won an amazing nine bracelets at the World Series of Poker. In Play Poker Like the Pros he has done a great job distilling his poker magic into easy to understand instruction. You can really win with these strategies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2003

    outstanding hold'em book !!!!!!!!!!

    I think that Mr. Phil Hellmuth Jr. is one of the best if not the best poker play ever. He brakes it down so any one can under stand. And helps beginners to advanced players can get a thing or two out of this book. Every asspect that I could think of was in here. That why I gave it 5 stares. And thanks you Phil you helped me so much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2003

    Disappointing

    I'll be returning this book immediately. Mr. Hellmuth having won so many tournaments must surely know his game. The problem is, is he sharing it with us? I must admit that I only read the holdem sections, he has very little to say about position accept to mention a couple of times that it's always nice to have! Very little at all about odds. Overall his tone is very condescending, as tho he and fellow pros are great poker players, you're a wannabe so it's ok to give you partial information. Wouldn't want to burden a small mind with more than it can handle. At one point he talks about cards that help a player to win the pot and goes on to say, 'pros call these cards outs'. Instead of telling us how 'pros' talk wouldn't it be better to tell us how to figure outs? Before I say why I gave 2 stars instead of 1, I have one more gripe and it may be nitpicking . To further set the tone as if he were talking to third graders, where most writers refer to player types as rock, calling station, maniac, solid player etc, Mr. Hellmuth prefers that we learn: mouse, elephant, jackal, lion and eagle, I have no idea why. Having said all that, the strategies are still likely to make for winning poker sessions. Even though he doesn't stress position his play is so tight and agressive that it is unlikely that you'll be playing out of position very often. Good book for beginners not much for intermediate to advanced.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews

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