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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru


New professional No-Limit Hold 'Em work must-reading

23 August 2007

By Howard Schwartz

Three poker players, Matt Flynn, Sunny Mehta and Ed Miller, have written a marvelous book for "people who play all stakes, live and online, short-handed and full ring." In the work titled Professional No-Limit Hold 'Em: Vol. 1 (314 pages, paperbound, $29.95), the authors include five major sections. They start with the basics and fundamentals and move quickly into what they call the REM Process "a series of steps that will guide you through every no-limit decision, from whether to call a pre-flop raise to whether to try a daring all-in river bluff." In this unique and interesting collaboration the authors break new ground. (The R stands for Range of Hands; the E for equity and the M for maximize.) In this vital section, they focus on knowing your opponents; being able to observe their tendencies including physical tells and betting pace; calculating equity against the range of hands and finding logical reasons for betting or raising or checking at optimum time.

The discussions on value betting, bluffing, when to fold are innovative thinking at its best. With sample, example hands, the book flows, has balance and is easy to digest once you've decided to stay with it to improve your game.

Sections discussing stack-to-pot ratios (SPR) are vital reading -- this includes material on hand strength, opponent tendencies; strategy against different opponents; playing top pair or an overpair; and making adjustments.

The book is nicely indexed to help isolate key concepts. It can be read by beginners, but soon moves to more advanced concepts, so it should be digested slowly, underlined, bookmarked and practiced gradually. It's one of those books you can read then reread, each time finding something new that should help you excel in these popular games.

Any item reviewed here is available from Gambler's Book Shop (Gambler's Book Club). The store's web site is . You may order there using MasterCard, VISA or Discover (no CODs please) or by phoning the store any day except Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time at 1-800-522-1777. Orders usually shipped the next working day. The store, now in its 40th year, is located a mile from downtown Las Vegas, a block west of Maryland Parkway, just off Charleston Boulevard at South 11th Street. You may view the store's complete array of books, videos and software via the Web site or request a hard copy of the catalog be mailed free and first class. The store's address is 630 S. 11th St., Las Vegas, NV 89101.

Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

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