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Books and BioShock

My wife's birthday weekend was a smashing success. I got to spend a lot of time just relaxing and spending time with my wife and son. I may not have played as much poker as I would on a normal weekend, but my time was well spent.

Beginning this evening, there is another distraction entering my life that may also limit the amount of time I put aside for poker. If you play video games, you'll know that BioShock, the critically acclaimed blockbuster game, was released today for the Xbox 360 and PC in North America. I've been waiting to play this game since the beginning of the year and tonight, my wait is finally over!

Video games aside, I have a book I'd like to recommend to all no-limit hold'em enthusiasts out there: Professional No-Limit Hold'em: Volume 1. This book was written by Ed Miller (author Small Stakes Hold'em, co-author of No-Limit Hold'em: Theory and Practice, and more), Matt Flynn, and Sunny Mehta and is a must-read for any poker player looking to make money by playing NL hold'em.

Professional No-Limit Hold'em has completely changed the way I look at NL hold'em. Whereas I'd grown accustomed to making hard decisions in a number of my hands while sitting at the NL tables, PNLH has shown me that poker doesn't need to be that hard.

In my mind, the book breaks no-limit hold'em into three important concepts:

  1. Planning your hand
  2. Commitment decisions and thresholds
  3. Stack to Pot Ratios (SPRs)
Although I could expand on these concepts, I really think you should buy the book and read all about these ideas yourself.

Once you've read the book (and re-read it), you should start to "see the light". You'll come to realize that many of poker's adages, such as "Don't go broke with TPTK", are far too simplistic. In fact, if you blindly follow this type of advice, you're bound to be leaving money on the table.

The biggest change that I've experienced in my poker game involves my perception of NL hold'em itself and my overriding strategy at the tables. I used to approach the game with one goal in mind: don't get stacked. My whole game was reduced to a series of moves all dedicated to protecting my stack and reducing variance as much as possible. The end result was a number of small wins and a number of small losses, with the former slightly outweighing the latter.

I now approach the game with one objective in mind and that is to make good (and easier) decisions. By planning out my hands and boldly pushing my chips into the pot when I feel that I have I an edge and am committed to the hand, I'm able to make more money. As I continue to develop my game, I expect to make better and better decisions which, I'm hoping, translates into more money for me.

Since buying Professional No-Limit Hold'em from Amazon, I have been reimbursed twenty times over for my investment. This book is really that good. And though I'd prefer that few people read this book (which would give me a huge edge at the tables), Miller, Flynn, and Mehta deserve the recognition and financial rewards that come with writing a revolutionary NL hold'em book.

Over the next couple weeks, I anticipate that I'll spend 70% of my free time playing BioShock and the remaining 30% at Titan Poker's great 6-max NL tables. In that time, I hope that each and every one of you has the chance to buy and read Professional No-Limit Hold'em. You'll be amazed at how much NL hold'em can be when you're in the groove and making good decisions.

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I'll be back in a day or two to discuss one instance how I dealt with a filthy blind stealer the other night.

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