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Texas Hold'em For Dummies [Kindle Edition]

Mark Harlan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Turn on the TV, drop by a newsstand, or just browse the checkout your local supermarket and you'll see firsthand that Texas Hold 'Em is the poker game everyone's playing. It's a game that's deceptively simple, yet within its easy framework you’ll find truth and trickery, boredom and fear, skill and misfortune—in other words, all the things that make life fun and worth living!

Texas Hold'em For Dummies introduces you to the fundamental concepts and strategies of this wildly popular game. It covers the rules for playing and betting, odds, etiquette, Hold'em lingo, and offers sound advice to avoid mistakes. This handy reference guide gives new and even seasoned players winning strategies and tactics not just for playing the game, but for winning. You'll learn:

  • Rules and strategies for limit, no-limit, tournament, and online play
  • How to "play" the other players
  • The importance of your bankroll—recommended sizes and more
  • Hands you should and should not play
  • How to camouflage your play and dodge traps
  • When, who, and how to bluff
  • How to maximize your win with check-raising and trapping
  • The different approaches for playing in private games, casinos, card rooms, tournaments, and on the Internet
  • How to use mathematics to your advantage

Texas Hold 'Em is  a game of both skill and chance. But it's a game that can be beaten, and whether you want to make money, sharpen your game, or just have a good time, Texas Hold 'Em for Dummies will give you the winning edge.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Covers betting, odds, etiquette, and lingo

Read your opponents, avoid mistakes, and win the pot!

Want to play — and win — poker's hottest game? This practical, portable guide gives you all the insider tips and tricks you need to play at the table or online. From playing each stage of a hand and reading other players to betting, bluffing, and minding your bankroll, you get everything you need to play smart and maximize your win!

Discover how to

  • Make the right bets
  • Bluff your opponents
  • Check, call, raise, and fold
  • Look for tells and dodge traps
  • Read your hand
  • Play in casinos and tournaments

About the Author

Mark “The Red” Harlan was born in Rawlins, Wyoming, and has lived exactly the life you’d expect as a result. Armed with a degree in Applied Mathematics (from a university he loathes so much that he refuses to even utter the name), he fell headlong into a 20-year stint in the Silicon Valley’s computer industry.
Red’s professional experience includes human-interface work at Apple Computer, development of the bidding schema used by eBay, overseeing application development at Danger (makers of the T-Mobile Sidekick), as well as co-founding CyberArts Licensing (suppliers of the poker software seen on the MANSION and GamesGrid sites).
At the tender age of 8, he won a pinewood derby competition in the Cub Scouts, giving him his first heavy swig of victory that would forever warp his oh-so-soft-and-pliable mind. Under the influence of this experience, he started playing poker that same year (“might as well win money if you’re going to win”) and became good enough by 2005 to be a net money winner in that year’s World Series of Poker.
Red is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and has an extensive writing background ranging from penning InfoWorld’s Notes from the Fringe during the heyday of the Internet, to being lead author of the book he thinks everyone should own (his mom does): Winning at Internet Poker For Dummies (Wiley).
Red maintains a Web site of poker articles at and welcomes non-spam e-mail at (be sure to include the +).

Product Details

  • File Size: 2077 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (May 18, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004QWZO1S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,443 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Place to Start December 18, 2006
I picked this book up at my local bookstore; I actually almost didn't. The shelf was covered with lots of books written by these great names I had seen on t.v. However, upon cracking open their covers I found a dialect I still wasn't ready to handle. I was a young player just tryiing to get a feel how to beat friends in the neighborhood and had no idea how deep the game of Hold 'em actually was. I chose this book because of the trusted Dummies name and I was not dissapointed me.

The book is the best approach for a beginner. The book starts with an explanation of the rules of the different variants of poker before dipping into any really deep strategy. He did what he should to any novice, presented the "correct" way to play Hold 'em and then told me about the deeper strategies of Hold 'em, but he only scratched the surface, leaving those strategies to other Hold 'em books.

All I can really say is that it is the necessary stepping stone for the true novice. Without reading this book, you won't have the foundation necessary to progress to more advanced books authored by such geniouses as David Sklansky and Mike Caro. These advanced books start off assuming the reader knows the rules of Texas Hold 'em and throw poker jargon at you from start to finish. Without this introductory text, anything else you read will be useless.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peek inside a master's brain November 8, 2006
I started playing poker a long, long time ago, back when Texas Hold'em wasn't the only game that got any attention, poker wasn't televised, and guys that look like Jesus weren't winning big and getting famous. But I never learned -- I always played for fun, not profit.

Reading this book changed all that for me. While I've always resented the implied insult in the "...for Dummies" series titles, I was indeed a dummy at Hold'em before picking up this volume.

And now? I am stunned, astonished at (a) what I didn't know, and (b) that I could learn it from (c) a book. I've long admired Mark Harlan's legendary writing prowess, but only for enjoyment -- I didn't realize that the man could teach, as well as entertain. And he's got real chops, as the founder of an online poker company and frequent tourney player.

This book has given me, an occasional poker player, the skills and confidence to move forward in the world of Hold'em. If it can happen to me, it can work for anyone.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! December 3, 2006
Texas Hold 'em for Dummies is packed with game play information, strategy and tons of useful tips. Mr. Harlan starts with a bird's eye view of Hold 'em and then moves into play by play mode. In addition to discussing the basics of the game, he also talks about the importance of managing your bankroll and table position. From there he goes into advanced strategies of reading players, bluffing and trapping. There's also chapters on mathematics as it relates to the game and an overview of game theory.

If that weren't enough, he then gives a complete overview of where to play Hold 'em whether on-line, with friends or in a card room. Here there are useful tips like how to handle hotheads, the difference between good skimming and bad skimming, what kind of food to eat during a poker game (no potato chips which can grease up the cards!) and a friendly reminder to get your car validated at the card room.

Written with an authoritative, friendly style, Mr. Harlan makes this complex and fascinating game accessible and fun. Also included is a great glossary because Hold 'em and poker in general have their own slang which can get confusing. Overall, this book is a great value for the money because you will continue to go back to it as a reference and it works as a springboard to more advanced information.

Oh, and he's funny too. I was also impressed that he knows the names of all five Marx Brothers.

That Godzilla comment was a kick too.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real bang for the buck March 30, 2007
Harlan's first book Winning at Internet Poker For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)) is the book that turned me from a losing player to a winning player. I bought this book as soon as it hit the shelves and I was not disappointed. Since his first book I have bought and studied over a dozen texas hold'em books and like the one reviewer said "nothing new". Well duh it is a for dummies book, but Harlan brings it all together in a unique fashion and he covers the basics to some advanced concepts that I have only seen in one or two other books.

Harlan has a point he drives home repeatedly: know your enemy. "If you can identify the traits of your opponents, and interpret the way those traits are presented to you at the table, you've found the master key to the game. Make no mistake about it, understanding your opponents at the table is THE most important aspect of poker."

I have found a couple holes in the way I present MYSELF at the table, and I am more able to see things in others.

Don't let the title sway you. This book's a winner, and for the low price the best bang for your buck in any poker book I've seen. I can honestly say that Harlan's books have been worth thousands of dollars in profit to me at the tables. If you are serious about winning you should add Harlan's books to your library.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book. Easy to understand
Good book. Easy to understand. Was able to play and win downloaded games after a short while.
Published 20 days ago by Rosie
4.0 out of 5 stars Educational Entertainment
Simple and does not require advanced in-the-head mathmatics. Good beginners book. Don't think you could go from reading to tournament, but it's a good start and worth hanging onto... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lance Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Basic resource
I am a seasoned Hold 'em player and I still found this book useful. It isn't going to help you refine your game, but it is a good basic reference. I recommend it. Read more
Published 4 months ago by LEO808
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for Dummies
I'm usually very impressed by the simplicity of the "Dummies" books, but this is the worst one I've purchased yet. Read more
Published 6 months ago by David Claus
3.0 out of 5 stars Hold'em
I thought I was purchasing a 25-30 page book I once had bought a beginner. It must've been like a cliff notes of this book, the cover looked the same. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Alan
3.0 out of 5 stars Too professional!! Needed to be written in simple terms!
A bit too complicated for a "dummies" book! I expected the book to be simple to understand! Most of these series of books were uncomplicated!
Published 8 months ago by Elaine R. Gill
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, heed its lessons!
I read this book before going to vegas to play hold em. IF I had paid more attention to this book I would have been better off. Two lessons - 1) be patient. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Joe Danville
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Informative
Very simple and easy to follow. Very informative. An easy read. Now I'm ready to start playing with the big boys!
Published 11 months ago by Pamela Odom
4.0 out of 5 stars No longer the donor seat
Are you the one that gets invited to games because you always lose (and then re-buy... and lose again? Read more
Published 12 months ago by Derek Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars Went from $0 to $500 wins in a month
This book made me a better poker player immediately. I recommend this book for starters or vets. It WILL change your game for the extreme better.
Published 15 months ago by Trenton Nisbet
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Problems with Kindle content
I bought "Texas Hold'em for Dummies". It is full of diagrams that are essential in understanding the book. The diagrams do not display on the Kindle. Actually, I see only half of a diagram, the other half is not viewable. Why does Amazon sell this book in this format if it is unreadable?
Feb 8, 2012 by Rocky2 |  See all 2 posts
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