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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

'Poker Whiz Wheel' helps players' pre-flop strategy

21 August 2008

Whether it's single or multi-table tournaments, cash games or even online play, deciding whether to call, raise or fold in hold'em poker takes wisdom, experience and occasionally, an "aid" to your decision-making. Now comes the "Poker Whiz Wheel" ($19.95) to help speed up your calculations and decision-making. We hope it won't be barred from use in a live-game situation, as it certainly will assist beginners as they hone their skills and gain confidence.

The wheel operates this way:

You spin it to locate your hole cards in the first column. The front side contains suited combinations; the reverse side has off-suit combinations.

The player then identifies the color associated with his or her hand combinations. This color represents the recommended number of opponents to play the hand against. (This could be the table size and/or number of opponents who may play in that particular hand.)

You then identify the recommended Action Code for your hand combination relative to your position at the table. The first character indicates action in an un-raised pot and the second character is action in a raised pot.

The "ranking" system indicates the ranking of your hand combination out of 169 possible combinations. (Of these 169 combinations, there are 13 pairs, 78 suited and 78 off-suit combinations without regard to the specific suit.)

Call this a training tool or a quick way of learning the strengths and weaknesses of various hands depending on early, mid or late position. It's a nice gift for the beginner or for someone who needs tutoring for the game of hold'em. It's lightweight and easy to carry in a jacket pocket or handbag.

For those interested in books which discuss and analyze poker odds, here are some related titles and a quick look at their range of coverage:

Texas Hold'em Odds and Probabilities (For Limit, No-Limit and Tournament Strategies) by Matt Hilger ($24.95, 249 pages, paperbound), packed with charts and statistics of being dealt a specific starting hand or a quality starting hand; chances of hitting certain hands on the flop or in a showdown.

Practical Casino Math (Basic Odds and Probabilities for Hold'em and Omaha) by Pat Ditmar (231 pages, paperbound, $29.95), with the Omaha section actually being hi-low. pre-flop and post-flop odds for both games, with odds of improvement in a variety of situations.

Weighing the Odds in Hold'em Poker by King Yao (352 pages, paperbound, $24.95). Excellent material on outs, pot odds, position, raising for free cards, bluffing, semi-bluffing; common mistakes in short-handed play; probability and odds in independent and dependent events.

The Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen and Jerrod Ankenman (381 pages, paperbound, $29.95). Destined to be an all-time classic on the subject, this book has major emphasis on quantitative methods and modeling; great emphasis on strategy contrasted to an emphasis on decisions. This is clearly a book on how to think about poker. Includes sections on the risk or ruin, the Kelly Criterion and application of game theory. Excellent for use in tournaments and cash games, plus no-limit.
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.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
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.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com