Secrets Of Professional Poker: Volume 1: Winning Strategies For Limit Hold’em, No-Limit Hold’em, And Omaha, by Rolf Slotboom
I have to admit I have a great deal of fondness for reading books about poker and poker strategies by professional poker players. A great deal of that fondness comes from the fact that there are so many poker games that playing different ones requires a different approach if one is to be successful, and knowing something about how the game works allows a player to make money based on one’s own courage and knowledge. Yet there is no end of writing poker or having to adopt one’s approach, because like so many other competitive aspects in life, skill at poker requires a variety of complex tasks. First, one has to know one’s cards, and have a mathematical understanding of expected payoffs and the odds that a given hand has of winning. Then one has to know one’s other players, and the psychology of those players. One should handle those who are passive different than those who are aggressive, those who are tight different than those who are loose, and keep one’s own emotions under control while showing courage and enough unpredictability that others cannot fully know one’s approach and respond in kind, and that is by no means an easy thing to do.
This particular book is divided into three parts and is about 250 pages in length. The author begins with a discussion of limit-hold’em strategies, including dealing with such matters as defending the blinds, how to handle the ace-king hand, quizzes, dealing with maniacs, what to look for in starting hands, and how to deal with limits. The second part of the book contrasts limit and no-limit hold’em in fourteen parts, including differences in pre-flop play, avoiding becoming a calling station, positional considerations, strategies based on stack sizes, and playing the blinds. The third part of the book looks at the author’s strategies for pot-limit Omaha, including starting hands, moving from limit to pot-limit, playing the player (and not only the cards), bluffing, as well as some simulations and the author’s amusing stories about his own experiences playing the game. This particular book is aimed at readers who want to make a living playing poker, professionals who are able to profit off of the ignorance and holes of the players they are sitting at a table against, and is clearly meant for a serious student of the game for fun and profit.
Although my own experience playing poker is relatively slight, I must admit that I find a great deal of interest in reading vocational poker books. The author spends a great deal of time dealing with the question of one’s own attitude and mental state and being able to stay disciplined. The fact that there are several series of books aimed at the professional poker player suggests that there are plenty of people who seek to make a substantial part of their living through poker. The book itself reveals a variety of poker pros, including the author and those who write letters to him, including a senior citizen who is disabled but who makes a living through playing poker and was looking to fill some holes in his game and deal with maniacs. The fact that the author assumes that the reader is a poker pro is a bit daunting, but all the same there is nothing in this book that is beyond the level of a serious student of the game. If you are reading a book like this, after all, you are at least interested in being a better player of the game through knowing oneself, knowing the cards, and being able to read and deal with the players that are sitting around the table with you and whose chips and money you want to acquire for yourself.