Read an Excerpt
Introduction: What This Book Is and Isn't
So, you want to play Texas Hold'em, huh? All right, then, let's play it together and let's play it to win.
If you're like most beginning players, you've probably read (or skimmed) at least a book or two on Hold'em. You've undoubtedly watched the pros and celebrities on television with a combination of fascination, amusement, and even incredulity. And, if you're like I was when I first started studying Texas Hold'em, you're somewhat overwhelmed by the depth and complexity of the game. If you haven't played in an actual game yet, you're probably nervous about doing so. I know I was.
And you're probably really confused about a lot of the terminology. Don't worry, I've included probably the biggest Hold'em glossary ever published in a poker strategy book, so if you come across any words or phrases that are totally foreign to you, just go the glossary in the back of the book. There is no disputing the fact that everyone who plays this game must go through the pains of the Texas Hold'em learning curve. How quickly you adopt solid playing principles will determine how painfully you make your way through the curve.
It took me several years before I got to a point where I could throw away small pairs in early position, Ace-6/7/8/9 unsuited in any position, and pocket Kings with an Ace on the board. After playing such hands thousands of times during my early years, I finally got it into my hard head that I was just "pissing against the wind" by playing such hands. Many-if not most-of my Hold'em losses the first several years were the result of my own bad play. It took me at least three years to fully catch on to the complexities and intricacies of Texas Hold'em before I got to the point where I stopped making naïve mistakes and became a force in the low limit games I regularly played in.
It is the pursuit of conveying to beginners how to win at low limit Texas Hold'em in spite of those complexities and intricacies that was the inspiration behind this book. An examination of the playing out of a typical Hold'em hand reveals subtleties that will, at various times, leave you amazed, jubilant, frustrated, satisfied, dismayed, or even furious, depending on how the cards fall. It is my intent, through this book, to help you to experience more good moments than bad, and to make you a winning player through thoughtful hand analysis that will lead to good playing habits and decisions.
So, with all the poker books on the market, why this one? Simple. Because it's different from all the others. It teaches in more of a visual way rather than just textual. It's been said that people remember 10 percent of what they hear or read, 20 percent of what they see, and 70 percent of what they do. That principle alone makes this a better book from which to learn.
Most of the other poker books take a chapter-by-chapter approach to learning. The author will teach you about one certain phase of the game in each chapter. Then, in the next chapter, the author will discuss another topic. In this book, strategy is discussed and illustrated, hand-by-hand, in situation format, as it is needed, as it develops, because Hold'em situations fluctuate, like an ebb and flow, when each new card is turned up on the board. You can start with pocket Aces, flop a 10-6-4 rainbow, turn a 6, and river an Ace that makes for three cards of the same suit on the board, and who knows what the heck has happened. That's why you need to be able to think quickly and correctly about what has happened at each betting level and how you should proceed. Should you check or bet? Raise or fold?
And Hold'em situations don't change just because of the cards that are dealt. They change from moment to moment based on your position in the hand, what other players do before you, what others are likely to do after you, how many players are still in the hand, and on and on. Because of all these aforementioned complexities and intricacies of Hold'em, this book has been designed to allow you to more easily grasp the points of strategy being made.
Another benefit of this book is that it focuses on low limit Hold'em and how it is actually being played in the casinos and card rooms across the country. This is not a complicated book of poker theory targeted toward sophisticated and knowledgeable players like so many of the other books on the market. It is aimed at beginners and players who are at the early stages of their Hold'em careers but who desire more success than they've achieved up to this point.
This book is also reader/player friendly. Frankly, most of the poker books I read in my early Hold'em playing days were very hard to fathom. Most of the material went right over my head. I was flooded with terms I'd never heard before. The poker theory these books espoused made me dizzy. The game made much more sense once I started playing it, but it was costly too, because I didn't possess the basics I'm going to give you in this book.
I wanted to write a book that would figuratively take a new player by the hand and walk him safely through the Hold'em jungles; something I wish had been available to me when I first started playing.