No Limit Hold ‘Em Theory and Practice Review

[II] “Thanks for lending me the book”, Iggy the Improver said as he handed Sklansky and Miller’s No Limit Hold ‘Em Theory and Practice back to Stan the Stat.

[SS] “You’re quite welcome”, Stan replied. “Did you like it?”

[II] “Loved it. I felt like a new player tonight.”

[SS] “As you are every time you read a different book! But I actually had time to reread this before I lent it to you, and I think I got more out of it on the second pass.”

[II] “All night I kept reminding myself of his Fundamental Theorem of Poker. I tried to make the right decisions, but more than that, when I had multiple reasonable options, I tried to choose the one that would make future decisions easier. That was especially helpful later in the tourney.”

[SS] “What else did you like?”

[II] “Bread and butter hands1 when stacks are big. Opening up your range as they dwindle. Big pots for big hands; small pots for small hands. The hammer of future bets. Trading small mistakes for big ones.”

[II] “And my favorite hand of the night, even though it ended preflop… With the option in the big blind after five limpers, I picked up the pot with a bluff holding 7♦2♣. I would never have thought to do that before, but since you’re supposed to bluff with hands just below your calling range, the big blind option is a special case with nothing to fold.”

[SS] “Sweet. Did you show?”

[II] “I was very tempted to but didn’t on the off-chance I’d get to pull the same trick again later. I didn’t but did pull off more Check-Raises and even the ‘Call Bluff’.”

[SS] “We call that a Float now.”

[II] “Ah, I knew it seemed familiar. It’s a great weapon against players like Elias the Eagle, who continuation bets so much.”

[SS] “Yes, your flop call appears strong, so your turn bet will usually take down the pot unless your opponent actually has a good hand or draw. Was there anything you didn’t like about the book?”

[II] “They referred to Limit Hold ‘Em, which I’ve never played, an awful lot. Sklansky-Chubukov looked interesting as a heads-up push or fold strategy, but it’s way too much to memorize.”

[SS] “And the Push-Fold Nash Equilibrium is better anyway, although it’s almost as voluminous. But Sklansky and Miller had a chapter called ‘Calling Preflop All-In Raises’ just before the Sklansky-Chubukov rankings that was a little easier. It broke your opponents into six tightness categories and your calling ranges into three groups by the pot odds.”

[II] “Even that was way too much for me: 24 hand ranges to memorize.”

[SS] “Well, I can show you what I use before next month’s tournament; I just want to take another look at it first now that you have me thinking about it…”

Title No Limit Hold ‘Em Theory and Practice
Author David Sklansky and Ed Miller
Year 2007
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Pros Wide range of general advice, formulas, and examples. Advice not only what to do in a particular situation, but how to think it through yourself. Shorter Concepts and Weapons section reinforces the bulk of the book (Fundamentals).
Cons A bit dated, with too many references to the now uncommon Limit Hold ‘Em. Too many pages spent on Sklansky-Chubukov, which wasn’t even that useful when it was new.
Rating 4.0

Footnotes:

  1. Bread and Butter Hands are pocket pairs, Ace-King, suited Aces, and suited connectors down to 54.
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