Poker for Dummies with Richard D. Harroch

  • List Price: $14.99
  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Date: April 10, 2000
  • Publisher: John Wiley
  • ISBN: 0764552325
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If you’ve never played poker seriously before, you might wonder why you need a book about it. Why can’t you just sit down at the table with a few friends, or visit that friendly casino nearby and learn as you go?

Well you can, but there are better ways to go about it. The school of hard knocks can be expensive, and there’s no guarantee you’ll ever graduate.

Poker’s been around for a long time, and it’s never been more popular. With the advent of personal computers, a great deal of research about the game has been done in recent years and some of the tried and true concepts have been changing. Players who don’t keep their knowledge up to date will be left behind.

A reference book like this will explain the basic rules of the most popular variations of poker and provide a sound strategic approach so you can learn to play well in the shortest amount of time.

You’ll undoubtedly find many poker players who have never picked up a book on the subject. Some even disdain this new breed of studious poker players. A few self-taught players are quite skilled. But the majority of them are not. And even if they’ve been playing for 20 years, that doesn’t mean that they have not been making the same mistakes day after day, month after month, and year after year.

The first two chapters of Poker for Dummies are for people who have never really played poker before, as well as a refresher course for the rest of us. After a bit of poker’s colorful history, Chapter 1 provides all the basics one needs to know before dealing out a hand or two.

Betting terms, hand rankings, general rules and etiquette, and what’s important to becoming a good poker player are covered in this chapter. You’ll learn how casino poker differs from home games, and we’ll tell you what your opponents will be like. Don’t worry. Al Capone and Doc Holliday are long dead, and the guy who won last year’s World Series of Poker won’t be sitting down at the low-limit games where you’ll be cutting your teeth.

Chapter 2 provides essential strategic considerations that are important for all forms of poker. You’ll learn basic poker concepts along with a little bit of probability. Even if you’re numerically challenged there’s no need to stress out. You needn’t be a statistician, and the concepts are more important than the calculations anyway. We’ll show you why you shouldn’t play every hand your dealt. If you expect to win, you need to be selective – extremely selective in some cases – but when you have a hand worth playing, it is often correct to play aggressively.

Chapter 3 covers 7-card stud, a game that’s been popular since the Civil War, and is the most popular version of all the stud poker games. We’ll teach you all about antes and betting structure, starting hands to consider playing, and what kind of hands are likely to win. You’ll learn that stud requires more patience than most forms of poker, and we’ll explain why remembering which cards have been exposed can help you avoid the costly mistake of drawing dead. You’ll learn why the first three cards are the most important, and what to consider on subsequent betting rounds.

Chapter 4 covers Texas Hold’em, which is the most popular card game played in casino poker rooms and is the game used to determine the world championship at the World Series of Poker. We’ll walk you through he basics, teach you which two-card starting combinations are worth playing, and help you get to know the ins and outs of raising. You’ll learn what to look for on each of the betting rounds, and we’ll show you a few nifty moves along the way.

Chapter 5 will introduce you to 7-card stud eight-or-better, high-low split. We call it 7-stud/8 for short. It’s a game that can have two winners, which occurs when the best high hand and best low hand split the pot. Sometimes there’s only one winner. This happens if no one makes a valid low hand or the guy with the best high hand has the best low hand too, and scoops the entire pot. We’ll show you how the high-low version differs from 7-card stud, and you’ll learn which kinds of hands to be aggressive with, and when to slowdown and apply the brakes.

Chapter 6 shows you how to play Omaha Hold’em. It looks like Texas Hold’em except you have six times as many possible starting hand combinations. Winning high hands tend to be big hands, and since Omaha is usually played as a high-low split game, it features lots of players trying to make high and low hands to split the pot – or maybe even scoop it entirely by winning both ends of the confrontation.

Getting together with the guys, or gals, for an evening of poker? You won’t be restricted to those versions of poker played in casinos. Not by a long shot. Poker at home is famous for all manner of games, some improvised right on the spot, and as long as everyone is willing, why not?

Chapter 7 is all about home games, and contains enough strategic information so that you can survive in a game neither you nor anyone else at the table may have even dreamed of until it was invented right before your eyes.

All you’ll ever need to know about bluffing is covered in Chapter 8, and you’ll learn that you don’t even need a poker face to do it successfully. You’ll learn to recognize the best bluffing opportunities, and we’ll tell you all about the different kinds of bluffs. You’ll learn why bluffing is critically important to the success of any poker player, and how even an occasional bluff that fails can help you to win money in the long run.

Every business needs accountants and record keepers. Poker is no different, and Chapter 9 discusses the vital importance of record keeping and money management. We’ll show you how to assess your own risk tolerance and how to reduce some of the fluctuations inherent in poker. You’ll also learn how big a bankroll you should have, and you’ll discover how professional players maintain their bankrolls.

Chapter 10 is all about tournament poker. Tournaments are your best opportunity to limit expenses when learning a new game, as well as your best opportunity to win a bundle of money in a hurry. Almost every casino offers poker tournaments. Some are inexpensive, while others feature entry fees of $300, $500, $1,000 or more – all the way up to the main event of the World Series of Poker, where the cost of doing business is $10,000.

Chapter 11 deals with video poker. You’ll learn how it differs from regular poker, as well as some of the strategies for beating the more popular video poker games that can be found in casinos all over the world.

Chapter 12 takes you behind the color and glitz of poker’s premier event, The World Series of Poker, held each May in Las Vegas at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino. You’ll learn about no-limit Hold’em, the “Cadillac of card games,” and we’ll also show you how to play in high-roller tournaments affordably.

Chapters 13 and 14 take you right into cyberspace, where you’ll learn how the computer can be a shortcut to learning poker, and how you can create a comprehensive self-study course with nothing more complex than your PC and some poker software. You’ll also learn where to download, test, and use interactive software to practice and improve.

We’ll explain how to improve your poker with Internet play-money games , as well as how to determine if real-money Internet poker is for you. You’ll also discover the joys of the Internet newsgroup , and learn about some other cool poker sites too. There are chapters on how to read an opponent and spot their tells, those priceless bits of poker body language that you can use to your advantage every time you sit down to play.

In Chapter 16 you’ll discover where to learn more about poker. We’ll point you in the direction of other great books (besides this one) and how to embark on a learning plan to improve your game. You’ll be introduced to Card Player Magazine , and Poker Digest , two biweekly magazines that thoroughly cover the poker industry and all its aspects in great detail.

Chapter 18 introduces you to some of the legends of poker. We’ll introduce you to old-timers like Johnny Moss, who helped popularize poker in Las Vegas when he played a marathon, five-month poker game in the window of Binion’s Horseshoe, before he finally broke famed gambler Nick “the Greek” Dondalos. You’ll meet up-and-coming stars too, like Scotty Nguyen who, as a teenager, escaped from Vietnam with the clothes on his back and in 1998 won the World Series of Poker and a grand prize of $1,000,000.

There’s also a poker glossary, sidebars with tips from the greats of the game, lots of handy charts full of statistics and probability – so you don’t have to work them out yourself, and an index that can take you to any facet of America’s national game, poker.

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