Getting Started in Hold’em by Ed Miller

Getting Started in Hold’em by Ed Miller
Getting Started in Hold 'em

Ed Miller and the people at 2+2 Publishing have really hit the ball out of the park with this book. I’ve mentioned in my previous review of “Hold’em Poker” by David Sklansky that though the introductory material is solid, there just isn’t much re-read value. It might be called a bad value. Since starting this site, I’ve been struggling to finish an article about the books a beginning player should read, focusing on the contrast between Winning Low-Limit Hold’em (Lee Jones) and Internet Texas Hold’em (Matt Hilger). Both books have some good information but neither taught the reader about hold’em in the most logical way: teaching beginning players key good habits in hand selection and pot-odds evaluation.

Ed Miller obviously thought through his book’s structure a bit better than I did. He starts out by assuming that he’s addressing the same core audience that buys and reads Hold ‘Em Poker. He goes through several lessons on the basics of poker-hands, hold’em structure, and relative hand strengths. This is a really terrific section, emphasizing some lessons that it takes some people a lot of time and money to understand. Instead of just throwing out a chart on hand selection, Miller walks the reader through a number of sample hands, teaching several lessons about position, hand selection, calling raises, etc. Again, this section is superb. The lessons are great, and positional strength is casually introduced as a concept that the beginning player needs to think about (which they do). The pre-flop hand selection standards are similary outstanding, and in a completely different section. They are again introduced through the walk-through of sample hands, a “putting it all together” section, and finally a chart. I don’t mean to brag (yes I do) but the hand selection chart is almost identical in structure to the ones I produced from Miller’s pre-flop section in Small Stakes Hold ‘em.

In a later sample hand, Miller introduces important post-flop concepts like counting outs and pot-odds. This treatment of post-flop play is a solid introduction, and should serve the beginning player well. On the other hand, post-flop play is the focus of Small Stakes Hold ‘em, which may be why he says to “read this next.” Good call. I’m very comfortable with telling beginning players to read Ed Miller’s two books as their sole hold’em introduction.

I’ll admit that my book collection doesn’t contain many no-limit books. Ok, I own and have read Harrington on Hold’em (vol 1: Strategic Play), but that’s it for books I own. On the other hand, I’ve browsed through every bookstore poker section I could find for good books on no-limit. Harrington is the closest I’ve found, until now. Miller has written the best introduction to no-limit play that I’ve read so-far. It’s clear, logical, and thought-provoking. I just don’t play no-limit, but after reading this introductory section, I’m tempted to “dangle my toes.” By the way, Harrington’s book is Miller’s “read this next” selection.

No-Limit tournaments are the topic of the last major section in “Getting Started …”. The section starts out focusing more on the various tournament structures out there. There’s a bit on tournament psychology which is gold, and then a discussion of various structure-specific strategies. Very nice introductory material. Lots of things I, as a limit ring game player, hadn’t thought about before. Again, my curiosity is piqued.

There are some closing discussions on topics which beginning players need to hear, what they can expect to happen to them, and discussions of tilt (without actually using the word, actually). More gold at the introductory level. This section perhaps could have closed with a pointer to Inside the Poker Mind. The next thing beginners need to read about is Feeney’s essays on tilt and “The Professional Attitude.” [ Here’s my review of Inside the Poker Mind]

This is just a tremendous book. It’s the one you should point to when your friends ask what single book to read to learn good poker. I haven’t mentioned it explicitly, but each major section has a “further reading” section after it, mentioning several books to further the education. In each case, the books it reccomends are terrific complements to Miller’s introductory work. Hilger and Jones had good attempts at introductory-level books. Miller has now written his second “catagory-killer” and the good people at 2+2 publishing are offering it for less money than it’s competitors. Look no further than Getting Started in Hold’em by Ed Miller.

Getting Started in Hold 'em

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