Hold 'Em Poker for Advanced Players 21st Century Edition by David Sklansky

holdem pokerDavid Sklansky, winner of three World Series of Poker bracelets, is a professional gambler, poker player, and poker theorist. He has coauthored thirteen books, including a chapter on seven-card stud high-low split with no qualifier for low for the Super System.

In collaboration with Mason Malmuth, poker player and owner of Two by Two Publishing, David Sklansky wrote Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players 21st Century Edition. This book is considered one of the most authoritative and comprehensive sources for poker strategies. And as the title of the book strongly implies, Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players 21st Century Edition is for advanced poker players only. If you are not, David Sklansky’s Theory of Poker is more appropriate for you.

The writing style for Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players 21st Century Edition is clear, concise, and candid. The words employed are plain and understandable, with no literary flourishes and no verbose explanations. Indeed, the book contains great poker strategies and poker tips especially in situations where your opponent is more skillful and adept than you are. What you will not find in the book are anecdotes, maxims, quotable quotes, and adventures outside of poker. After all, this is not a book by and about Amarillo Slim and Stu Ungar. Though these tend to lend a somewhat boring and tedious feel to reading, it greatly helps toward concentrating on the main ideas presented.

The main ideas in Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players 21st Century Edition are divided into chapters or sections. Introductory sections precede the main chapters, including a Foreword by Ray Zee, an Introduction, and a Using this Book portion. The last one is particularly helpful for its warning to read the book as you would an advanced textbook; this is neither a book for passing away the time nor a book for beginners and poker slackers.

There are eight main sections in Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players 21st Century Edition. Part One, titled Hand Rankings, covers the play of the first two cards, suggests the hands to play in various positions and recommends adjustments. Arguably, this chapter is the most important part of the whole book. Headed as Strategic Concepts, Part Two assumes that the reader is very familiar with poker terms since definitions are not provided. Better brush up on Sklanky’s Theory of Poker then. This part discusses check-raising, bluffing, slow-playing, head-up play, and other Hold'em concepts familiar only to the poker pro.

Part Three, titled Miscellaneous Concepts, discusses scenarios like poker strategies in playing trash hands and when a pair flops, playing against a maniac, and many other poker tips that come in very handy even in loose plays. Part Four, labeled as Playing Loose Games, is a new addition to this updated version. Parts Five and Six, titled Playing Short-Handed and Playing in Other Non-Standard Games, are greatly expanded versions from the older edition. Here you can read about poker strategies for loose games and other non-standard games. These sections are very helpful as any poker player will participate in them at some point in their poker careers.

Headed as Other Skills, Part Seven discusses the more intangible aspects of Hold'em like psychology, body language, tone of voice and hand reading. Though some poker critics say that this part of the Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players 21st Century Edition book is basic and is best covered by other books, I believe that including it is necessary to produce a well-rounded book that covers all the basics of Hold'em. After all, poker is as much a psychological battle of wills as it is about the pot money and the cards you are holding. The last section, Questions and Answers, is a very handy reference guide for everything that you have read in the previous chapters. Of course, there is nothing better than reading each individual chapter first but this section is a very good summary. Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players 21st Century Edition then finishes with concluding remarks, an appendix on calculating probabilities, and the obligatory glossary. As can be expected, and which the book did not disappoint, this updated version is truly updated and expanded to reflect the many changes that have happened since the last publication of its original in 1988.

But as with any game of chance, the decision to apply certain recommended poker strategies still lie with the poker player concerned. With the variety and unpredictability of poker games, a poker player must be on his toes at all times. Reading a book like Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players 21st Century Edition does help. However, applying the poker strategies and poker tips contained therein is still key to achieving maximum benefits for your money.