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Hold 'em Poker For Advanced Players Book Review

Discussion in 'Poker Gear Reviews' started by TenPercenter, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. TenPercenter

    TenPercenter Administrator
    Staff Member Lifetime Supporter

    Mar 20, 2005
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    Hold 'em Poker For Advanced Players Book Review
    by littlebu


    Title: Hold 'em Poker For Advanced Players
    Authors: David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth
    Publisher: Two Plus Two Publishing
    Retailers: twoplustwo, amazon, buydotcom, and any other bookseller
    Average Price: Retail 29.95; $17.79 at buydotcom; $19.77 at amazon

    Hold 'em Poker For Advanced Players is a book from the Advanced Players series from Two Plus Two Publishing. If you are brand new to limit hold 'em, I would recommend reading Getting Started in Hold 'em by Ed Miller, or Small Stakes Hold 'em by Ed Miller, David Sklansky, and Mason Malmuth before you read this. You need to get acquainted with the game because this text assumes you already know the basics. This book does not contain the detailed sections on calculating odds and other hold 'em concepts which the previously recommended texts contain.

    • Good hand/scenario analysis
    • Detailed examples
    • Easy to follow
    • Not a book for beginners
    • No explanation on how to calculate odds

    Hold 'em Poker For Advanced Players contains eight sections, none of which should be skipped. Each section is then divided into more traditional chapters, each of which focuses on a main idea related to that section.

    The main sections are the following:

    Part One: The First Two Cards

    This section focuses on starting hands, and your position. Here your playable starting hands are broken down and put into groups, which the authors refer back to throughout the text. The groups are then used as loose guidelines as to which hands can be played in EP, MP, and LP, along with a the small and big blinds, along with the number of players already in the pot, type of players etc. Each position has it's own chapter in this section.

    Part Two: Strategic Concepts

    This section contains a lot of good information and should be gone over more than once. This section covers most everything a good limit player needs to know to be successful. There are chapters on semi-bluffing, free cards, slowplaying, check-raising, odds and implied odds, bluffing, inducing bluffs, folding in large pots, heads-up vs. multiway pots, raising, and river play. This is the largest section of the book and for good reason. Take your time and reread this section, it will definitely be beneficial to your game.

    Part Three: Miscellaneous Topics

    Part three covers a lot of the quirky situations that seem to routinely come up in full ring limit hold 'em. Topics like staying with draws, playing on suited flops, playing flops with pairs, playing pairs in the hole, playing against maniacs, playing the turn, and more. What I really like is that the recommended play is not always the same, but varies for different opponents depending on skill level, reads, and playing styles, which does not seem to be talked about much in beginner books.

    Part Four: Playing in Loose Games

    Since the original printing of this book in 1988 the games have obviously changed a bit. This section was added to the 21st Century printing and seems to be very accurate to the way the game is currently played. The two chapters I really liked in this section were "Playing AQ," because I'm pretty sure I misplay this hand more times then I play it correctly so it was nice to see in print, and "An Adjustment Based on Player's Skill," because it was a reminder that not everyone takes the game as serious as others, and it served as a wake up call to not look at all hands in a vacuum because some hands are winners against certain opponents but not against others.

    Part Five: Playing Short-Handed

    I was really happy to see this section because I love to play 6-max and is where I play a good amount of my games. Aggression and position are key at a short-handed table and the authors seem to cover it perfectly. They cite some good examples, odds calculations, and how to play the tricky turn against aggression.

    Part Six: Playing in Other Non-Standard Games

    This section covers playing in extremely wild games and extremely tight games. It also covers playing against live straddles and how to handle playing in spread limit games.

    Part Seven: Other Skills

    Part seven goes on to show the importance of reading hands and players at the table. It also goes into psychology, why are these guys playing?, he thinks I think..., how to keep the fish happy and in a good mood at the table. I really enjoyed this section because it's something I think a lot of people forget about from time to time.

    Part Eight: Questions and Answers

    This section gives some basic questions based on the info contained throughout the book. It is a good review tool because if you get the question wrong, in the answer it gives the section from which the question was taken, so you know exactly where to go to review.

    This book also contains a Conclusion where the authors give their brief thoughts on the text as well as two appendices. Appendix A contains a probability table along with one example calculation and Appendix B contains a glossary of poker terms contained throughout the text.

    Reviewer's Comments

    I think that this book should be on every serious hold 'em players book shelf. There's no section in this book that should be skipped. Each section contains valuable content to the topic being discussed. All of the topics are things that seem to routinely come up during a normal hold 'em session, whether live or online. To fully get your hands around the ideas presented in this book it is going to take more than one careful read. I feel the way to get the most out of this book would be to read it through completely once, rereading any sections you have difficulty with, then playing for a month while trying to incorporate the ideas of the text. Then revisit the book and give it another reading. The rereads tend to go faster than the initial reading because the ideas aren't completely foreign and the authors did a good job maximizing the amount of info/analysis, while keeping the text a smooth read compared to some of the other strategy books available.

    Strategy Sections

    As stated previously, I really enjoyed this book. The only other completely based limit book I have read is Small Stakes Hold 'em. I felt this text was much better because unlike SSHE the hands/examples were not looked at in a vacuum where there seemed to always be a correct play. In HPFAP there are multiple lines given based on reads, playing styles, position, table images, and tendencies. I think the shorthanded section will also prove very helpful to those who have previously struggled with 6 max.


    I would highly recommend this book to any serious cash game player, limit or NL. Many of the concepts contained in this text can be applied to NL as well as to tournament play. This is a must read regardless of which form of hold 'em you prefer.

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  2. shanes3t

    shanes3t Active Member

    Jan 30, 2008
    Likes Received:
    I always liked the way that DS stresses making a good read on your opponent and then applies the math to that. Too much time in most books is spent on the math of it without any foresight on where the numbers come from or how they change in certain tough situations.

    For example, AQ is a monster against AJ and a dog against AK and AA. How do you know which math to use? For this reason alone, DS is a good read.

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