- Paperback: 504 pages
- Publisher: Cardoza Publishing; First Edition edition (17 Jun. 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1580422047
- ISBN-13: 978-1580422048
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Power Hold'em Strategy Paperback – 17 Jun 2008
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This power-packed book on beating no-limit hold'em is one of the three most influential poker books ever written. Negreanu headlines a collection of young, great players - Todd Brunson, David Williams, Erick Lindgren, Evelyn Ng and Paul Wasicka - who share their insider professional moves and winning secrets. You'll learn about short-handed and heads-up play, high-limit cash games, a powerful beginner's strategy to neutralize professional players, how to mix up your play, bluff, and win big pots. The centerpiece, however, is Negreanu's powerful and revolutionary small ball strategy. You'll learn how to play hold'em with cards you never would have played before - and with fantastic results. The preflop, flop, turn and river will never look the same again. It is a must-have!
About the Author
Daniel Negreanu, famously known as Kid Poker is widely recognized worldwide for his poker charisma at the poker table, especially for his ability to read opponents cards. Daniel Negreanu was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 26th, 1974. Even throughout his earlier years, Daniel Negreanu had what his parents would later call, quite simply, a knack for gambling. Negreanu s poker talent began to outshine at the early age of 15. By the time Daniel Negreanu was 16, you could find him spending his time in pool halls, spots betting, playing cards, and hustling. After playing poker throughout most of teenage years, Daniel Negreanu was so confident of his poker game that at the age of 21 Daniel left his college education behind, and he was only one credit short of a full graduation, and moved to Las Vegas to pursue a full time poker career. Daniel Negreanu is well respected by poker players as one of the best-liked players in poker, and has been described by his opponents as young, talented, friendly and positive . It s easy to see how Daniel s positive image for countless tournament victories has propelled to be the chosen pro poker player to represent PokerStars.com based on his reputation and tournament success. In 1997, Daniel Negreanu took the poker world by surprise with his two first place finishes at the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods earning a prize of $133,600 and taking home the title of the Tournament best all around player . Since those days, Daniel has earned himself 3 WSOP (World Series of Poker) bracelets, and 2 WPT (World Poker Tour) titles, not to mention more than 30 other victories in tournaments across the globe. Negreanu followed his 1997 win with his triumph at the 1998 World Series of Poker winning $169,460 at the $2,000 Pot Limit Hold em event making him the youngest WSOP bracelet winner in history until the record was broken in 2004. In the years following his WSOP win, Daniel Negreanu became of poker s most successful players, winning another 2 World Poker Tours and incredibly another 2 World Series of Poker. In 2004, he was named Player of the Year at the World Series of Poker and at the 2005 World Poker Tour, he was also named Player of the Year .
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The initial section, by Evelyn Ng, can be entirely skipped. Aimed at beginners, it attempts provide a "system" to avoid difficult decisions and post-flop play in general. The objective seems to be to minimise the edge of better players, but to be honest you shouldn't be sitting with better players in the first place- particularly if your knowledge of poker is this basic. There are more efficient means of learning the fundamentals than by following a "system". I would advise "The Theory of Poker" by David Sklansky for those among you who consider yourselves to be intelligent beginners.
The second section comprises of Tod Brunson's advice on high-limit cash games. It lacks structure and is fairly short. There are a few bits of useful information in there, such as never bluffing an idiot, however most of it is common knowledge: certainly to the players intending to play high-limit cash games.
This chapter should have taken a far deeper look at the subject. It certainly shouldn't have been the second chapter in the book. I have to add that, while Tod Brunson is undoubtedly a fantastic player who has achieved a lot in the game, there was an elementary mistake in the chapter which was nothing short of embarrassing. On page 129 he states in an example, "You figure it's 10 to 1 against his bluffing..." and later states a few lines down regarding the same example, "You may have picked that 1-out-of-10 times this guy was bluffing..." Now that to me is extremely disconcerting (should read "1-out-of-11") given that we are taking advice on high-stakes hold 'em! The basic nature of the error demonstrates a total lack of care.
The third section deals with online play and is contributed by Erick Lindgren. This chapter is far more carefully structured than its predecessor. It provides generally useful advice for the intermediate player, though that is accompanied by a couple of contentious pieces of advice. Firstly, "Maintaining a consistent bet size" is a controversial bit of advice given the benefits you forfeit by doing so. All that is really required is to sufficiently mix up your play. The second(less contentious, more misleading) piece of advice is "Protecting the Babies." It implies that you should take the number of chips in the pot that came from your stack into account when making a decision about whether to make a bluff on the river. Now this implication is dangerous. As Mike Caro correctly states, "What you've already invested doesn't matter." All that matters is the mathematical expectation of the play- the fact that some of the chips in the pot were initially yours has absolutely no bearing on that.
The following section, written by Paul Wasika, deals with short-handed games. I found a lot of his advice to be very solid. The small section on ego wasn't anything revolutionary, but it's extremely important. I found his coining of player types a bit counter-productive as there are more efficient ways of doing this, such as those purported in "The Psychology of Poker" by Alan N. Schoonmaker. Much like Lindgren's section, it provides generally useful advice for the intermediate player.
The fifth section, by David Williams, discusses mixing up your play. Now some sections were informative such as "Making Moves," but as far as mixing up your play goes, this section was pretty much devoid of useful information. The assertion that you should generally play in a more straight-forward manner against top/unpredictable players is another contentious one (I'm being kind: "contentious" should be read "completely wrong"). While it's prudent to avoid- where possible- entering into hands against skilled players when there are weaker players at the table to target, it is of the utmost importance that you mix-up your play if you are forced to play an accomplished opponent (e.g. heads-up or at a table comprised completely of top players). This was at no point acknowledged in this chapter.
The entirety of this chapter could have been comprised of a single tip from Mike Caro and been far more useful:
"Against very weak opponents, it's usually not necessary to randomize your decisions. You don't need to be very deceptive, because a straightforward strategy will usually earn the most money. But against more experienced players it's a good idea to mix it up, as long as you don't sacrifice too much in the process... One very easy way is to decide to choose the standard play for close decisions (such as mostly calling, but sometimes raising) three-quarters (75 percent) of the time and the exception one-quarter (25 percent) of the time. For situations in which a three-to-one ratio of standard play to exception seems reasonable to you, you can simply consider the suit of the FIRST card dealt to you. If it's a spade, choose the exception and raise (for the sake of this example). If it's any other suit, go with the standard play and just call. As an extra precaution against the unlikely event that an opponent will catch on, you might change the exception suit from time to time. You could change it each session or even each hour."
There is something amiss with a 70-page section when one paragraph can improve your game to a greater extent!
The final section, penned by Daniel Negreanu, covers the "small-ball" strategy he has become synonymous with. Finally! A section that met my expectations. A well structured and interesting look at the "small-ball" strategy: essentially trading small mistakes on earlier, cheaper, betting rounds for big mistakes from your opponents on later, more expensive, betting rounds. This section is entirely responsible for earning the 2 stars awarded to this book.
A final mention for the author of the preface, Avery Cardoza. It was an extremely bias and infuriating preface that spends a few pages talking up the books under the cardoza publishing banner. Not good. His derogatory comment aimed at mathematical analysis was concerning. I worry that his opinion of mathematics cost us some insightful and more in-depth discussion of the differing mathematical expectations of certain plays throughout the book, especially in Negreanu's section.
Cumulatively then, this is a fairly poor piece of work saved only by Negreanu's final section. More advanced players should take a look at "No-Limit Hold 'em: Theory and Practice," by David Sklansky and Ed Miller instead.
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The other parts are not bad, but nothing particular.
In this chapter a player (especially the intermediate) will understand that poker is not only...Read more