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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, if very basic, introduction
Sometimes when I read--and I use that word with some restrictive license--a "Dummies" or an "Idiot's" guide to a subject, I find myself thinking, "how aptly named!" This book is no exception. However--and really this is what is important--if you're new to online play, this is the book you want to peruse. It's very basic, almost painfully so in some respects, as all...
Published on 10 Mar. 2005 by Dennis Littrell

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overblown but not meritless
Let me start off with a warning: in the first few pages of this book, it states that you need a WORKING KNOWLEDGE of poker strategy before getting use out of the book. The authors then go on to recommend/plug another 'Poker for Dummies' book as essential reading before their own. Frankly, I'm not a fan of this kind of tie-in and you shouldn't have to discover that...
Published on 29 July 2005


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, if very basic, introduction, 10 Mar. 2005
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Winning at Internet Poker For Dummies (Paperback)
Sometimes when I read--and I use that word with some restrictive license--a "Dummies" or an "Idiot's" guide to a subject, I find myself thinking, "how aptly named!" This book is no exception. However--and really this is what is important--if you're new to online play, this is the book you want to peruse. It's very basic, almost painfully so in some respects, as all "Dummies" books are; but whether you are a neophyte poker player or an expert, this book will give you everything you need to know to begin playing online.
Notice I am not talking about reading the book from cover to cover. As the authors say in their introduction: "Read any chapter at any point. Feel free to skip around." They do a good job of giving the links and naming the sites--playing sites and sites associated with online poker. They explain how you can deposit money and they alert the reader to some of the dangers of online play. They even give advice on how to play. However, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that this might not be the best book to buy if you are interested in becoming a better player. What advice they do give is generally good although not of world class quality.
Here are a couple of examples that the causal player might want to skip:
[First, there's their analysis of a hold'em hand they observed being played at the $3 & $6 level (p. 138). I won't rehash the hand, but will observe that their conclusion that "Player 1 may have had A-K, or a large pocket pair, but dropped the hand when the other players clearly showed the board had paired" is faulty in several places. One, of course, is that the board had not paired. What they mean is that the bet, raise and re-raise action after the flop of 9s 10s Qd indicated that at least one of the players had a queen in hand and therefore had a pair. The fact that Player 1, with 17 bets in the pot, giving him 17 to 2 odds on his money by calling the raise and reraise, did NOT call strongly suggests that he did not have AK, since if he had he would have had two overcards and a draw to the nut straight, which has something like a 40% chance of improving on the river to a hand that could very well win the pot. It's hard to say what he had. It looks like he misplayed his hand. Furthermore, the authors don't give us the full story. At the showdown they reveal that the winner had AQ and won with just a pair of queens and the top kicker. They remark that the site folds the caller's cards because "the runner-up doesn't show." That's correct, but if you are in the hand and refer to the record of the hand that is sent to your computer on sites like PartyPoker, it will show all hands still in play at the showdown, and you could find out what the runner-up had.]
[Another example is on page 190 in the box discussing 2-2 vs. A-K. They say that it's a 50/50 proposition, but then contradict themselves by pointing out what most players know, namely that the deuces are a slight favorite head-up. Then they muddy these waters by saying, "The true odds vary from 50.3 percent versus 49.7 percent in favor of the pocket deuces to 53.2 percent versus 46.8 percent for the deuces, depending on the suits involved." Note that this is quote, unquote. It's a little unclear exactly what they are saying, but trust me the deuces are always the favorite. Their point (apparently) is that if the deuces are in the same suit as the aces, then, should four of either of those suits fall on the board, the deuces will always lose, thereby lessening their small advantage. However since one can never know until the hand is over just which suits the other player is holding, the proper way to figure the odds is to ignore the suits, since the distribution is not only unknown, but evens out over the long run. Furthermore, they are relying on the calculator at Card Player's Internet site, which is a Monte Carlo simulation, not an actual calculation of the odds. For most purposes, a simulation of a few thousand hands is sufficient. However, the real odds can only be figured out mathematically, which nobody these days, it appears, bothers to do. Well, I'm sure David Sklansky still figures his odds.]
These quibbles aside, Harlan and Derossi's book is well worth the investment, especially if you are a total newbie. They cover just about every aspect of the experience that a beginning online player would want to know about. Here's an example of their guidance under the subheading "Grappling with the Psychological Basics" on page 70: "From a psychological point of view, the biggest differences between online play and the brick-and-mortar world include the radical increase in the speed of play and a heavy (mental) disassociation from the money you put in play."
The plain fact of the matter is that when the dollars seem like virtual dollars (although they are not) there can be a tenancy to bluff too much, to play too loosely, and perhaps to play at a higher game than one can afford.
Another good (and very different) introductory book on cyberspace poker is John Vorhaus's Killer Poker Online, which I also recommend.
Incidentally, if you really are a beginner at poker, I recommend you buy a computer game and practice with that for a while, and then--as the authors recommend--play at the "play money" games that the online poker sites offer before you risk any real money.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overblown but not meritless, 29 July 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Winning at Internet Poker For Dummies (Paperback)
Let me start off with a warning: in the first few pages of this book, it states that you need a WORKING KNOWLEDGE of poker strategy before getting use out of the book. The authors then go on to recommend/plug another 'Poker for Dummies' book as essential reading before their own. Frankly, I'm not a fan of this kind of tie-in and you shouldn't have to discover that warning AFTER purchasing the book! So, if you are a complete novice, don't buy this book.
Having said that, this book doesn't seem particularly advanced to me. I'm no Howard Lederer, but having skimmed through the books by Slansky and co, this seems like kid's reading in comparison.
The book itself is very, very flabby. To be honest I was hoping for a book which gave straightforward poker strategy for the internet arena. What you find instead is a whole truckload of pages dedicated to reviewing online poker sites, telling you the differences between online play and bricks n' mortar play (duh), online security, payment systems and generally spelling out the most obvious elements of internet poker. This is all stuff that is discovered through trial and error by 99% of people, but even if you are a fastidious individual you'll find it's all information that is freely available on numerous Poker Review sites online.
Then the authors proceed to turn their flabby book into a clinically obese case as they define and give their verdicts on the different types of poker (Omaha, Stud, Texas Hold'em etc) and then the different types of tournaments (multi-tables, ring games, single tables). It's all very unnecessary and takes up needless amounts of pages. It's really the kind of thing you don't need to know unless trying to explain internet poker to a toddler in a life-or-death situation.
But, finally, they get to the juicy stuff. There are a couple of good chapters on single table tournaments which provide some basic strategy for winning and bossing tables. This isn't advanced stuff, but it gives a good blueprint for your average player and will almost certainly up your success rate if playing low stakes. If you're a Sit 'n' Go nut, then you'll probably find these chapters worth the price alone, but be forewarned that you WILL only be paying for around 30 pages!
Overall this book is disappointing but does JUST enough to redeem some usefulness. I remember purchasing a book called 'Winning at Poker' some time ago, only to find that 99% of the book was dedicated to explaining the RULES of poker in its different forms with an incredible TWO pages dedicated to strategy. I thought the title was cruelly deceptive. Well, it would be unfair to group 'Internet Poker for Dummies' with that travesty, but there's no doubt it is a book which is crammed with chaff which acts as an insult to readers and rain forests alike. If you're willing to suck that up though and pay for the 30 odd pages which are pretty useful, then go ahead and purchase this book. Put it this way - it won't make your game any worse...maybe it will just worsen your temper towards 'For Dummies' books in general.
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Winning at Internet Poker For Dummies
Winning at Internet Poker For Dummies by Chris Derossi (Paperback - 4 Feb. 2005)
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