UK PokerNews Book Review: Texas Hold'em Odds And Probabilities: Limit, No-limit, And Tournament Strategies by Matthew Hilger
Maths is to poker, what referees are to sport, what vegetables are to Sunday lunch and what flu jabs are to a tropical holiday. In other words, maths is a fundamental part of poker, which is tedious and tiresome for many of us.
Like a lot of poker players, I have a good understanding of the key odds and probabilities in the most common hold'em situations. I know how to work out how many 'outs' I have and what my chances are of hitting them, I know how often I will hit a set and when I am pot committed to call a bet. I also know how to work out how big a favourite I was when I suffer a bad beat. That unfortunately is about it for the calculator that is my brain.
I think all the above is pretty much the minimum a poker player needs to know, and alas is the maximum I was prepared to learn. So I was both excited and sceptical when I got my hands on a copy of Texas Hold'em Odds and Probabilities. Excited because there was a book out there that covered my undeniable shortfall in poker, sceptical because it seemed like a lot of hard work for a subject I simply didn't enjoy.
I was pleasantly surprised; Matthew Hilger has written a very succinct yet detailed handbook on the mathematical aspects of poker. It is very easy to pick up for the poker (or maths) layman, yet it still manages to go into as much depth as a David Sklansky book, with significantly less head scratching.
More importantly, it covers a range of situations that hold'em players want to know, like how much to bet to protect your hand, how to assess your opponents likely range of hands and what the chances are of an over card flopping against X hand. This book is particularly valuable for all-in situations and tournaments. Hilger very successfully manages to simplify (for me) a lot of otherwise complicated decision making about whether or not to bet or call all-in, when previously a lot of head pounding conflict would lead to me making the wrong decision and going bust.
Also featuring a very involved Limit Hold'em section, a comprehensive segment to test your newly found skills and a CD-Rom including a very impressive learning aid called the Poker Tutor. Texas Hold'em Odds and Probabilities is likely the only book you will ever need to develop a solid understanding of the mathematical side of poker, without becoming one of those tiresome Game Theory experts.
More than anything it is a vital handbook which I shall be keeping at the side of my PC whenever I play online. If Supersystem is the bible of poker books, Texas Hold'em Odds and Probabilities could very possibly be the dictionary.
Matthew Hilger's new book, The Poker Mindset, is out next month. Keep an eye out on uk.pokernews.com for an exclusive giveaway.
Ed note: After reading up about poker you should practice your skills with $50 TOTALLY FREE at Titan Poker