Poker Night: Winning at Home, at the Casino, and Beyond Paperback – 30 Aug 2004
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This book meets that need well. I've thought about giving it to my poker buddies as a gift . . . but that would be pretty stupid, wouldn't it? I'm on the cusp of knowledge, and do plan to read Brunson, Slansky, Cloutier, Caro, etc. For a quick study, though, those books are a little intimidating. Vorhaus does a good job of explaining odds, pot odds and strategic considerations in hold 'em, including playable hands, how to vary your play in various stages of a tournament and how to play against various types of opponents. It's pretty distilled, which is what makes it a good starting point. There are a handfull of succintly stated useful tips that will improve my play. Now if only I can remember them . .
The rest of the book is OK. I suppose if you're just starting out with a home game, there's useful information. The author has some pretty strong biases against crazy games and wild cards; though those are staples of many home games, he chooses to ignore them. And he sums up play in various games nicely with a major piece of advice: FOLD. That's his advice for 7/27 if you don't happen to start quickly with the nut 7. Of course, if you start "playing to win" at some of these home games, it might mark you as an unfun person. He talks about that, too.
If you're looking for a compendium of poker variations, especially the whacky varieties, there are other books that offer much more.
This book serves as a quick start guide for the casual player just ready to step it up to a more serious level.
Overall I thought the book was ok and worth the money. I picked up a good dozen or so tips on strategies for playing. I coupled these tips with what I learned in Peter Arnold's "How To Play Poker" and I guess the tips are working because when I play online I win a lot (with play money of course). I liked the section on odds - no complex mathematical equations on calculating odds or memorizing tables of probabilities. Just a simple explanation on how to calculate card odds and then pot odds.
I would recommend the book to anyone who buys it. For $14 you can't go wrong. Plus it's funny too - I caught myself laughing out loud a few times at the humor Vorhaus put in the text.