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How To Read Hands At No-Limit Hold'em Paperback – December 6, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ed Miller is an MIT graduate and an acclaimed author of numerous poker strategy books. He's been playing, coaching, and writing about hold 'em full-time since 2003, and his books have sold over 250,000 copies worldwide.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1468001310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1468001310
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have played poker full time for over ten years at mid-levels both live and online. I wanted to improve my hand reading skills and have been impressed with Mr. Miller's other books. Soon into studying this book I began to wonder if he was deliberately trying to constipate our thinking process. Of course, the math and the logic in the book seem flawless. The problem is that the methods taught are essentially unworkable as presented. I'll provide specifics, including his own words.

In his very first example of how to read hands he estimates an opponent's range AFTER THE TURN as being 31 different hands comprised of 176 combos. Is that actually helpful? Remember, this is after the turn. You are in trouble if that's the best you can do.

In example after example I found myself thinking, "Nobody, except maybe Rain Man, actually does this. It takes too long." Ed Miller himself provides a surprising confirmation. Consider this quote from page 167: "Throughout this book I've talked about the process of hand reading. I started by defining hand ranges. I introduced notation for hand ranges. And then I enumerated range after range in excruciating detail. If you try to do this at the table, you'll get mixed up, your opponents will call time on you, and ultimately your brain will melt....It's too much work." Then he says he'll now, in the last few pages of the book, tell us how he actually reads hands that won't make my brain melt. I thought, "Finally!"

Unfortunately, all his examples of how he supposedly thinks we're just like all the preceding examples. I decided to check my perception. I timed how long it took to fast read, without trying for comprehension, a typical example of how Mr. Miller thinks during a hand. Three and a half minutes!
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I'm about 80% through my first reading of this book. So far, I find it a very good summary of some widely known concepts. Also, so far, I've not come across any truly new concepts (at least not new to me). I believe that much of this book has been (briefly) covered elsewhere in the poker canon, however, unless you're expert in Texas Holdem, you probably have not fully understood the concepts and their consequences.

IMHO, this book is written for the poker player that has a couple years in the game, and understands much of the lingo. Such a player, will likely have some grasp of the concepts that discussed in this book, but probably hasn't put it together into a systematic plan for play. This book will help with putting it together into a systematic plan. Definitely, this is not a book for a beginning poker player, or a casual poker player; you will not get much out of this book unless poker is "on your mind".

Personally, I really like this book, and books like it. The concepts involved are not overly technical, or mathematical, however only the truly dedicated players will be able to master these ideas. The concepts herein are 100% correct, and yet they are subtle. Those who give this book only a casual reading, will likely suffer a somewhat deteriorated poker game. Probably, the price of the book ($50) will essentially cause a self-selecting effect of the readership to the upper echelon of poker students, and so I doubt these concepts will become any more popular then they are already.
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This book is written for the $1 - $2 and $2 - $5 no limit players who understand the math behind poker but long to improve their hand reading skills. Although Miller doesn't say it, he assumes you know the power of position, can calculate outs and know how to figure out EV. If you have not mastered those concepts, pick up a copy of No Limit Hold `em Theory and Practice by the same author and David Skylansky or pretty much anything by Daniel Harrington.

Also, if you are serious about mastering the concepts in the book, you will need a pen and paper to write down the exercises. It's in working through the exercises Miller scatters throughout the book that your game will improve. You have to put in the work away from the table to get good at the game.

For Miller, a lot of hand reading comes down to using his range of starting hands for the three types of players you will find at an average small stakes game:

- The Nit: conservative in nature is mostly worried about losing big pots
- The Regular: the standard player who fills out small stakes live action hold'em and usually does well in her home games
- The Fish: a loose player who likes to gamble too much to be worried about pot odds and plays a wide variety of starting hands.

Miller avoids the traditional descriptions of tight, passive, loose, and aggressive. Although he doesn't say it, I think is the general point regardless of how players play, they stick to a range of starting hands. How they act on the flop, turn and river narrows the range of their hands, regardless of their style of play.

Three key concepts govern hand reading:
1) Players play a certain way for a reason. It's up to you to divine that reason.
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