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Play Poker Like the Pros Paperback – May 6, 2003
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Hellmuth is to poker players what Tiger Woods is to golfers. A seven-time World Series of Poker winner, he knows his craft and has now decided to pass a little of his wisdom on to less-skilled players. As the introduction stresses, this is not a book to be perused casually; rather, you read it like a textbook, a training manual for effective poker playing, at both beginning and advanced levels. As in Bellin's Poker Nation [BKL Mr 15 02], where the author explores the logic behind successful strategy, Hellmuth details card combinations and analyzes situations with the precision of a surgeon. And in both books the art of reading other players receives in-depth analysis. What's unique here is the breadth of coverage, focusing not only on traditional table play but also on online gaming, at which many high-end players now prosper. An extensive glossary makes for entertaining reading on its own, as does the impressive listing of Hellmuth's top-50 wins. A must for any gaming collection. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
“Phil Hellmuth gave me the best poker lesson I’ve ever received.” (Matt Damon, actor and co-star in the movie Rounders)
“Phil Hellmuth is the best poker tournament player that I have ever played against.” (Johnny Chan, Seven-time World Champion of Poker)
“Play Poker Like the Pros is the best poker strategy book ever written. ("Amarillo Slim" Preston, Hall of Fame inductee and poker's greatest ambassador.)
“From the moment I first played poker with Phil I knew that I was witnessing something special.” (Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson, Poker legend and eight-time World Champion of poker)
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Top customer reviews
Phil's table image turns off a lot of people but his success is beyond question or doubt. It turns out Mr. Hellmuth is also a pretty good teacher. His beginner's strategy will allow anyone to walk into a card room and play long enough to get the feel for the game and gain table time for experience. I have yet to share this book with anyone who has any negative feedback.
I really enjoyed the stories about him aggressively raising with weak hands, and pulling down pots. Unfortunately, many of these stories were in the "Beginner" sections. The type of aggression he advocates DOES NOT WORK in a low-level game which has either clueless opponents, or even a couple of better-than-average players. For example, reraising pre-flop in hold 'em with a pair of 7's, and then betting into a scary flop in a multiway pot will absolutely get you killed! Phil is a masterful tournament player, but he would get crushed in the $-$ games that I play in if he followed his own advice.
Throughout the Hold Em and Razz sections especially, he advises players to get a lot of money into the pot early, giving them a reason to stay in the hand later, even if their cards don't improve (specific examples were Ace-King in Hold 'Em and solid low-draws in Razz). What kind of thinking is that? In the Pot Limit Omaha section, he gives the advice, "Look for a reason to fold." Guess what, Phil? That is how any beginning player should think for ALL games.
My last main beef is that the "Advanced" sections preach a change in playing style, but it all revolves around his ability to read other players. Easy for him to say since that ability is what makes him a world-class player! But there's no in-depth discussion about how I can get better at reading players.
As I said above, it is an interesting book, and I'll probably read it again and catch some things I missed the first time. Still, newer players should start elsewhere with books by authors like Lee Jones, Mason Malmuth, and Mike Caro.
This was a good book. I had read many others before, so the section on Holdem was difficult to sit through. I did learn a lot about Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, 7-Card Stud, and Stud Hi/Lo. Those sections were a great start. The first time ever playing those games online... I was sitting there with the book open, reading it, needless to say, I made some money.