Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Book Review: "No Limit Hold'em Theory and Practice" by D. Sklansky & E. Miller

Well, I finally finished this darned book. I have been playing a lot over the past year and always seemed to choose playing over reading. I apologize for that.

As I have tried to do with my past few book reviews, I will reveal my verdict first (I hate when reviewers bury their recommendation near the end so you have to hunt for it). I FULLY RECOMMEND this book to any intermediate NLHE poker player who wants to take the next step in their poker progress or to any advanced player who wants to explore concepts that they may want to add to their arsenal. However, this is NOT a beginner book. I would say it would be best suited for those players with 1 year of experience or so.

Also, this book is for deep stack cash players. I'd say 98% of the book relates to cash games (2% tourneys). It's about 55% math (Sklansky) and 45% strategy (Miller). And like the title says: It's 100% no-limit hold'em and only mentions limit hold'em in comparisons.

I like the fact that most sections of the book have a "Final Thoughts" ending to bring things together. It seems as though the authors really wanted to make sure they are understood. The reader can detect Miller's influence in these as Sklansky's "Summary" sections of his previous books seemed to fail as good section "wrap-ups", IMO. In this book, this also makes for a definite end to a section instead of allowing confusing bleedover as some poker books tend to do.

Unlike some books that have left me still asking "Why?" after reading a concept, this book seems to really get to "nitty gritty" of its concepts. The only question you may ask yourself after reading certain strategies or concepts is "Am I going to have enough time to calculate all this during a hand?" They do say that one can't possibly do a completely thorough job of calculating all situations. But they also say in effect that it's more of developing habits and introducing new routines to your current thinking progression during a hand. I've already adopted some of the things they layout here and they still help me even though I don't have time to be complete. Even the first "Fundamentals" section could change the way the reader looks at things that they thought were second nature to a non-beginner as it did for me.

There are even a few things in this book that I have found to contradict common online poker wisdom. Things like "open limping" from late position and "shoving the river" with the nuts are things I know don't really fly with most online hotshots these days, but the book explains exactly why the authors believe in their concepts (much of it has to do with stack sizes).

Many of the books concepts can be easily found in the table of contents for future reference, but I think the most important part of the book is the last section called "Concepts and Weapons". It starts out by saying it is "fast-paced" and could repeat a few prior concepts, but the quick hits are gold. There are 60 brief concepts in this section and range in 1/2 page to 2 pages in length. Future reference city! This makes it easy to write on a book mark the name and number of some important concepts in this section and to come back to them for easy study. Pure excellence.

In summary, I enjoyed this book so much that I believe it should be considered the "New Bible of NLHE Poker". I've read "Theory of Poker" and didn't get much out of it due to it's complexity. "NLHE Theory and Practice" is part simple, part complex, and all usable for NLHE players looking to step up their game. No beginner filler here. I'll be going back to this one for years.

1 comment:

WVHillbilly said...

Nice review and I completely agree. NLTAP is a great resource and I personally LOVE shoving the river when I have the nuts. You'll be amazed at how often the fishes call. I think they get suspicious because "why would anyone overbet shove with a real hand".

Still playing SnGs?