Friday, December 7, 2007

Book Review: "Texas Hold'Em Odds and Probabilities" by Matthew Hilger

I have to say that this book took me a while to finish for a few reasons, but the main one was that I stopped in the middle of it to read "Why You Lose at Poker" because I was losing at poker. LOL.

The case with this book is that you CAN judge this one by its cover. It is about the calculations needed to excel at Hold'em. No techniques, no plays, no moves. Just pure numbers and how they affect your poker decisions. Very precise, very complex, very involved.

It basically has 4 sections. The 1st one is about how to calculate. Hilger calls it "Basic Math", but I'd say it's far from basic. I'd consider myself of slightly above average overall intelligence & uptake and I achieved average grades in high school algebra, but we never got this far. Judging by how he quickly explains all of his "basic" calculations in this section, I think he assumes his average reader took some college calculus. I would have liked more explanation in a way that your standard beer-drinking, ball cap-wearing, foul-mouthed poker player could grasp a bit better. You don't need a college degree to succeed at poker, but you might to read this book. Anyway, it's a short, but important section since it shows the formulas he uses for the rest of the book. I should have put a permanent bookmark in this section since I was constantly flipping back to it to grasp things mentioned later in the book.

The 2nd section is on applying the formulas to Limit Hold'em and the 3rd is for No-Limit. Aside from the above mentioned backtracking I needed to grasp the formulas as they were applied to specifics in this section, the information in these sections is very useful. Much of the Limit applications could be applied to NL. The part in the NL section that helped me the most was on "Effective Implied Odds". This concept has more to do with "expectation" than "potential". It really shed some light for me. The "Test Your Skills" hands in these sections were a bit tedious, but overall these were good sections.

I think the 4th section is the most helpful in the book. It contains a ton of charts used for commonly-needed calculations in Hold'em. Though there are a few charts scattered throughout the other 3 sections, I think this section is the meat of the book. Did you know that 65s has a better chance against AA than KQs? I didn't until I read a chart in here. This is definitely a section I will reference many times in the future.

The book comes with a CD ROM, but it is mostly just an advertisement for a pay service that has pros that are supposed to help you analyze your play. Not much else to it.

Overall, I'd recommend this book as a good reference much like I would a really good dictionary or encyclopedia. But as a read straight through, I would have to warn folks that it could be a difficult read for most and that they should try to digest it in small parts. I think it actually helped me when I took that break in the middle so I could soak it in before continuing until finished.


Munchrs said...

Thanks for a good review. :D

Aridaman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.