Hold’em Poker for Advanced Players has certainly been one of the most influential poker books ever written, it has literally changed how people have played this game. Moreover, this book has, in large part, set the standard by which other poker books have been judged. Now, a much expanded new edition for the 21st century has been released.
The book starts with several short preliminary sections, including the Forward by expert player Ray Zee, the Introduction, and a section called “Using This Book”. The reader is warned immediately that this book should not be read casually. It is intended as a text book on Texas Hold’em and will need to be studied as a text, not read as one would a novel, if the reader is to maximize the benefit of the material within.
Then, the first of eight sections begins, covering the play of the first two cards. This includes the now famous hand ranking table. The authors recommend which sorts of hands to play in various positions but emphasize that it is not sufficient to just play well before the flop to be a winning player. The second section covers various important concepts about which the Hold’em player must be aware, including Semi-Bluffing, Slow Playing, the Check Raise, Inducing Bluffs, and many more. The third section covers a wide variety of topics, including playing when a flush draw flops, playing trash hands, playing against a maniac, etc.. Most of these sections were classics when they were written. They’re even better now that they’ve been updated to more closely reflect the sorts of games that are commonly found in card rooms today.
Sections four through six cover playing in all sorts of non-standard games, and this is the area where the book has been most greatly expanded since its original printing. We learn about playing in loose games, including so-called “No Fold’em” Slot games, playing short handed, and playing in other unusual circumstances. All of this information is very interesting and has been updated to be much more closely aligned to the sorts of games commonly found today. Of course, there is much more that could be said on some of these topics, such as playing in spread limit games, but the authors cover a lot of territory already. I especially like the new sections that cover considerations in playing some especially tricky starting hands, like AQoff.
Part seven includes commentary on other skills the successful Hold’em player will want to possess, such as reading hands and applying psychology. Finally, the last section, Questions and Answers, provides a quiz covering much of the material presented in earlier chapters so the reader can test themselves to see whether they’ve understood what the authors were trying to communicate. I’ve always felt that this was one of the strongest sections of this book and other publications by Two Plus Two, and I’m glad to see that it has been greatly expanded in the most recent edition. The book …