by Bruce Schechter
Sure, I memorized the charts of opening hands in Malmuth and Slansky, which helped alot. The strategies were more of a problem. Most were couched in poker jargon that I didn't really understand. And when I finally did begin to understand them I found that they didn't apply to the "no fold'em" games I found myself in. I felt sure that when the gloriuous day arrived that I finally could move up to higher-stakes games this advice would be incredibly valuable. Until then, I was on my own.
Lee Jones's book is the beginner's guide I was looking for. It is an exteremely well-written and organized guide for beginning hold'em players. Jones is careful to define all the poker terms he uses in the book. His explanation of probability, pot-odds and implied-odds lays a firm foundation for all that follows. And what follows is a practical guide on how to play in a game in which most of your opponents will play any two cards and call to the river on a whim. More than teaching how to play poker, Jones teaches you how to *think about* poker--which is good, because following his prescriptions you'll be watching many more hands than you play. I've already read this book twice (it reads easily) and have played a session under its influence ( I had more fun at the table since I understood the other players better, and despite bad cards managed to make a decent profit).
Another aspect of this book I would have appreciated as a rank beginner is its discussion of card room play and ettiquette. At the very least it would have prevented me from throwing my chips into the center of the table every hand. Had no idea why the dealer was giv ing me such dirty looks!
To complete this rave I'll add that the book looks great--not like a poker book at all. To some of you this might not be a plus, but Malmuth and Slansky's yellow cover and revolver drew a little more attention at the office than I like.
Bruce Schechter - Bruce_Schechter@cc.wdi.disney.com