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Gaming Guru

 

Yao's Weighing the Odds; Fox & Harker's Mastering No-Limit Hold'em Solid Hits

4 May 2005

The parade of new, helpful and innovative poker books continues with the arrival of two new titles at Gambler's Book Shop: Weighing the Odds in Hold'em Poker (350 pages, paperbound, $24.95) and Mastering No-Limit Hold'em by Russell Fox and Scott Harker (209 pages, paperbound, $24.95).
Eleven years ago, Mike Petriv wrote the well-received and still hot-selling Hold'em's Odds Book. Until now, it was the only in-depth resource on hold'em odds. Now, King Yao, former derivatives trader for the Susquehanna Partners, with experience in options, who loved poker more than trading, has produced a wonderful new 20-chapter resource for the serious, dedicated player. The word was out on this book, which Yao worked on for nearly a year, and the first wave of books which arrived were gone within 72 hours.
Yao, a Boston area author, says "…understanding the mathematical aspects alone is not enough to turn you into a winner. In order to use the concepts (of the book) correctly, you need to understand how your opponents play and how theory responds to different actions. This ability is less of a science and more of an art. Any formula is only as good as its plugged-in variables."
This book is for the limit hold'em player. Yao describes the types of players you may face and how to identify them and play against them. He writes about expected value, outs, pot odds and position.
A second section discusses Raising for Free Cards; Bluffing and Semi-Bluffing; Slow-Playing and Check-Raising. This is followed with a section on Starting Hands -- which hands to play in which positions and why; The Flop; The Turn; the River; Reading Hands.
A final section examines short-handed play and online poker.
There is a clear, preciseness to Yao's to-the-point writing. Short sentences, questions, answers, probing material, with some formulas, tables make his work highly readable.
Beginning with Chapter 12 (Starting Hands), comes Yao's best material. He emphasizes how and why starting hands can change in value; what the flop may mean for other players' hands; when to check with AK on the flop; why pairing your low card is sometimes better than pairing your high card; thinking on the turn; thinking on the River: heads-up and in multiple-player pots; reading flushes and flush draws.
Where Petriv's book broke ground and carried the baton of information beyond the basics in 1996, Yao's book takes it all a step or two further, as the skills and intelligence level of experienced players have taken it. This is truly a must-read for the serious beginner or veteran of the tables. Stanford Wong and his Pi Yee Press made this fine book possible.
Mastering No-Limit Hol 'em by Fox (a California resident) and Harker (from Youngstown, Ohio) focuses itself on the smaller, fix-buy in, no-limit games. Designed for the beginner, it covers much of the basics: house rules; what to expect when you first sit down at a table; the small stack vs. big stack; reading your opponents and understanding the types of players you may face.
There's nice coverage of odds and betting strategies; the importance of position; a look at the blinds; draws and the play on the flop; the turn, the river and bluffing; avoiding tilt; keeping records.
The authors analyze an eight-hour no-limit hold'em session at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA., in November 2004 (279 hands played, 59 of them got action, with 28 hands won).
There's a sense of structure to this book, keyed to novices and those with some experience, but who need help. The authors have been there, experienced what it is to be nervous, wary, learning to be aggressive when it counts.
Yao's Weighing the Odds; Fox & Harker's Mastering No-Limit Hold'em Solid Hits is republished from Online.CasinoCity.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
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