Small Stakes Hold’em

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Small Stakes Hold’em

This is not a beginners’ book. We will not explain the rules of Texas hold ‘em, show how to read the board, or teach you to identify the nuts.2 We do not discuss how to select a table, tell you how large a buy-in to make, or teach you proper table etiquette.

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Small Stakes Hold’em

This is not a beginners’ book. We will not explain the rules of Texas hold ‘em, show how to read the board, or teach you to identify the nuts.2 We do not discuss how to select a table, tell you how large a buy-in to make, or teach you proper table etiquette.

This is also not a beginners’ strategy book. We do not repeatedly emphasize the importance of playing tightly before the flop. We do not constantly advise you to avoid trouble or warn against the perils of calling down aimlessly with weak hands.

We do not talk about these things, not because they aren’t important, but because we assume that you already know them. Many books have already been written to teach the fundamentals of winning strategy at small stakes hold ‘em. They emphasize starting with only the best hands and continuing after the flop with only a strong holding. They aim to fix the most expensive mistakes that new players make: ones that stem from the natural tendency to play too many hands and to go too far with them.

These beginners’ books generally do a good job of starting students on a winning track. They fix the big errors, and most players who study one of these books will improve from a losing player to a break-even or modestly winning player if they stick to very easy games.

This book picks up where the beginners ‘ books leave off. We aim to teach you how to transform yourself from a good player to an expert and from a modest winner to a big winner. We want to teach you to squeeze every last penny of value out of your games. To help you do this we introduce some advanced concepts that you have likely never before considered. In fact, some of them have never before appeared in print.

Beginners’ books usually advocate a style that we would characterize as tight, cautious, and defensive. They discuss the importance of anticipating and avoiding expensive traps. They urge you to forgo potentially profitable situations if attempting to exploit them might leave you in a precarious spot. Teaching you to protect yourself is their (op priority.

We advocate a tight, but aggressive and attacking style. We focus on attacking opponents who have weak hands more than defending ourselves when we have a weak hand. Of course, any attacking plan must be tempered by a solid defense, and the lessons taught by the beginners’ books are still valuable. But, while you can be a winner by playing defensively, if you want to be the best, you must attack!

Even though this is not a beginners’ book, a beginning player can start with this book. We present the important fundamental ideas (tight preflop play, calculating drawing odds and pot odds, discussion of when to fold a hopeless hand, etc.), we just do not emphasize and repeal them as a beginners’ book would. A beginner will simply have to study this book more thoroughly than someone, who already plays fairly well to achieve the same results,

Furthermore, though the title is Small Stakes Hold ‘em, the ideas in this book are valuable at all limits. We teach you how to win the maximum in any games with players who play too many hands and go too far with them. These games are ubiquitous at small stakes, but are also quite common at medium stakes and sometimes even higher. We do occasionally discuss concepts specific to small stakes games, such as the influence of the rake, but otherwise the advice is not limit-specific. Few players, even professional medium stakes players, could read this book without learning many valuable lessons.

Hold ‘em is more popular now than it ever has been, introducing waves of new players, and most of them play poorly. These new players have made most games much looser and more profitable than ever before.

While a winning strategy designed for the tighter, tougher games of the past will also win in these new conditions, it will not win the maximum. To do that, you must tailor your strategy to the new conditions and specifically exploit your loose opponents’ mistakes. We wrote this book to teach you how to do just that.

The authors also want to thank Dr. Alan Schoonmaker for his help in editing this manuscript. Thanks to Dr. Al our words and ideas are expressed clearly and concisely, and the concepts in this book should be understood by all.

In addition we need to thank Dave Clark, Jeff Galian, and Dr. Mimi Miller for their contributions and insights. We do thank Chris Evans and Gary Alstatt of Creel Printing for their cover design and other artwork throughout this book, as well as all the other personnel at Creel Printing that assisted in this project. We thank Portraits Today by Catherine for photography. We also want to thank all the posters on www.twoplustwo.com for their debate, comments, and encouragement.

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