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Texas Hold'em Odds
by Catalin Barboianu
Book Picture
Hold'em Poker is highly predisposed to probability-based decisions. The book presents the mathematics involved in card distributions in hold'em and provides a precise account of the odds associated with all gaming events. The author is a recognized authority on casino mathematics. No formal background in mathematics is necessary for reading this book, although comfort with some probability and set theory notions is helpful. In most cases, you'll need some college math to follow the formulas but this is not a requirement, because the numerical results are collected in tables at the end of each section. The work is packed with formulas, algorithms and tables. Its primary goal is to allow the reader to quickly find the odds for own hand and for opponent's hand, in order to improve his/her betting decisions.

Odds and Stats Help Make Odds and Ends Meet

Depending on how deadly resolute you are and your level of play, odds on making various poker hands can be as serious as life or death. A new book by a writer named Catalin Barboianu titled Texas HoldHoward SchwartzHoward Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," is the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he has held since 1979. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.  Howard's website is  'Em Odds (143 pages, paperbound $29) is directed to those who are fascinated with gambling probability; who already the plays the game or who are programmers who want to create odds generating software.

This arrived at Gambler¹s Book Shop along with a fine beginner's book by Byron Jacobs, Beginner's Guide to Limit Hold'em (272 pages, paperbound, $19.95).

Let's look at each work and its value to a gambler:

Barboianu, (whose credentials I am unaware of, since the book offers no biographical or background information about the author), presents information in three major sections: "Own Hand Probabilities," the chance of getting every hand with either three or four cards on the table; to "Opponents' Hands Probabilities" three four or five cards on the table and "Immediate Odds" including preflop odds; flop odds; turn odds and other odds. Barboianu explains "the probability formulas and results corresponding to each specific card formation to be achieved are presented in double form; algorithm and table of values." The author adds that the guide is focused on so called "longshot" odds (probabilities of events that are chronologically preceded by others, calculated by using information of that moment before the first event).

Packed with tables, charts and formulas, Texas Hold'em Odds is perfect for those looking for a mathematical edge along while understanding the importance of position, bluffing and "playing the player." I just wish I knew who the author was and whether he plays.

Author Byron Jacobs, a regular columnist for Card Player magazine, also wrote How Good Is Your Limit Hold'em. Jacobs' newest work, Beginner's Guide to Hold'em, contains 11 major chapters, is well illustrated with sample hands and situations, and is geared to novices.

The first four chapters are basic, describing the hand rankings and explaining how the game is played. Sections which follow concentrate on how hands can develop including focusing on outs, implied odds and pot odds. That¹s followed by Pre-Flop Play, including small cards; pairs and non-pairs; playing from the blinds.

Jacobs gets rolling with specific strategies in pre-flop play with discussions on playing pairs, unpaired high cards and speculative hands. He moves to the importance of position; playing strong draw; slowplaying and river play.

Overall, a fine beginner's book, written clearly, with end-of-book exercises to fine tune what he's taught you in earlier chapters.

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