“Poker for Dummies” Review

[LL] “I’m a pretty big fan of the For Dummies book series”, Leroy the Lion admitted. “I’ve read Tennis for Dummies, Meditation for Dummies, Guitar for Dummies, Photoshop Elements 15 for Dummies, and Social Media Marketing for Dummies, and I’d have to say I learned quite a bit from each of them.”

[RR] “You didn’t read Dummies for Dummies?” Roderick the Rock jested.

[LL] “I don’t remember seeing anything on ventriloquism,1 but I probably would have learned more from it than I did from Poker for Dummies. I shouldn’t have expected too much from a 17-year-old book on a subject I know very well.”

[RR] “You and Stan could certainly write a book on poker together.”

[LL] “True enough.2 Poker for Dummies could use an update at the very least. The material wasn’t that bad, but it’s mostly about limit games. The best sections covered games that are usually still played as limit, like Seven-Card Stud. Other good areas were the short home games chapter, the poker history, and some of the general information, like which types of players you want on your right and left,3.

On the other hand, Texas Hold ‘Em was the most disappointing chapter. The first paragraph discusses the WSOP Main Event, but then the rest of the chapter instructs you on how to play Limit Hold ‘Em without bothering to note that that’s not the variant played there.

The Omaha chapter could also have been pretty good if it didn’t mostly talk about Limit Omaha/8. It was also strange that they cover the High/Low version of the game and barely touch on the High-only variation.”

[RR] “Odd for a beginner’s book.”

[LL] “They correctly call Omaha ‘the game of the future’, but they also obsess over the rec.gambling.poker newsgroup as one of the best resources for learning poker. They didn’t anticipate how soon Usenet would go from mainstream to a historical footnote. AOL discontinued Usenet access in 2005, and most of the major ISPs followed in the next few years.

And like Zen and the Art of Poker, there’s a chapter on using computer software to study. Not surprisingly, the company whose PC apps they recommend no longer exists (the web site forwards you to a bitcoin site). But I’m sure Deb the Duchess will tell you that THETA Poker Pro is a pretty good substitute, especially since you can play anywhere and anytime, not just when you’re sitting at a computer.”

Title Poker for Dummies
Author Richard D. Harroch and Lou Krieger
Year 2000 (with minor 2003 additions)
Skill Level Beginner
Pros A decent introduction to many forms of poker.
Cons Barely touches No Limit Hold ‘Em, the most popular form of poker, mostly sticking with limit games. Could seriously use an update.
Rating 2.0


  1. Ventriloquism for Dummies exists, but it’s not one of the 273+ real titles in the For Dummies series despite not-so-cleverly ripping off the official series’ black and yellow cover theme.

    Dummy Playing for Dummies doesn’t exist, since the material is covered in the official, more thorough Bridge for Dummies.

  2. A book based on the Hold ‘Em at Home blog is actually in the works, but it might take a few years since development of THETA Poker Pro takes priority.
  3. Left: predictable, timid, passive players. Right: unpredictable, aggressive, skilled players.

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