Advanced Lessons for Mastering Poker 2.0 . November 2011 . Vol 12 . No. 11

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Golden Advice on Winning from Rock-Solid Authors Gordon and Gollehon

By T. Dana Smith (for Howard Schwartz) - Gambler's Book Shop Las Vegas

Because of the “Black Friday” blues suffered by so many formerly online-only poker players, Las Vegas walk-in poker rooms are experiencing a spurt in growth. This new blood is bringing with it a challenging new brand of hold’em—the kind of game that noted pro Phil Gordon teaches you to cope with and conquer in his new book, Phil Gordon’s Little Gold Book (375 pgs, hard cover, $25). But don’t let the title fool you: There’s nothing little about it except its page size (5” x 7.5”).

Subtitled “Advanced Lessons for Mastering Poker 2.0,” it is the fourth book in Gordon’s “colorful” series, which includes his black, green and blue books. His Little Gold Book charts new territory, namely the oft bewildering world of online high-stakes pot-limit Omaha. Let me quickly add, however, that in my opinion the more valuable aspects of the book are his lucid explanations of how to use a bevy of modern poker tools that, previously, only the top echelon of players were privy to, not the least of which are Heads Up Displays (HUDS) and Meta-Game techniques.

“Version 2.0 of the game is characterized by very high aggression, off-the-charts variance, and relentless pressure,” Gordon asserts. Any old-line rather than on-line player like me can readily attest to the truth of this statement: This isn’t your grandfather’s poker! Whereas yesterday’s hold’em emphasized good pre-flop play, today’s game is all about post-flop play, “where the pros are separated from the posers.” Gordon’s “Poker 2.0 Toolkit” handily explains the meaning and value of HUDS, a computer program that analyzes opponents’ play in real time, and range simulation programs that give you insights into how certain hands you’re dealt will play against the ranges of hands your opponents might have. A later section titled “Meta-Game Considerations” deals with the game-within-the-game; that is, “the battle field and its warriors, which are constantly evolving,” as Gordon puts it.

Before getting into the how-to sections on no-limit hold’em and pot-limit Omaha, Gordon defines the new jargon of poker so that you can readily understand what a player means when he says, “My four-bet range was very tight so I flatted with A-Q suited. I donked half pot on the flop …” An especially valuable set of guidelines for money management at poker is set forth in guest writer Chris Ferguson’s advice titled “Zero to Hero.” You’ll also find many helpful illustrated hold’em and pot-limit Omaha hands with blow-by-blow commentary and critique.

If you decide to take a break from the poker table and head for the craps table, you’ll want to brush up on the game by first reading John Gollehon’s newly revised Conquering Casino Craps (154 pgs, $12.95). The book’s subtitle, “A Straight Talk Guide that Shows You How to Win Now,” is right on target as Gollehon teaches you how to play the game correctly and avoid the perilous pitfalls that cause uneducated and undisciplined players to lose too much money in the fast-action world of craps. The author clearly explains his signature power betting and power shooting strategies, which are designed to give you an edge at craps. Gollehon, “The Confident Gambler,” also shows you how to put his power progressive strategy into action to beat the casino out of some serious bucks.

While you’re at it, why not also pick up Gollehon’s Casino Games (230 pgs, $12.95), his newly revised penultimate classic. As always, you can depend on Gollehon to deliver quick, clear and concise advice on how to beat the casino, this time at eight popular games—blackjack, craps, slots, video poker, baccarat, roulette, keno and sports betting. If you’re impatient and like to learn quickly, this book is right down your alley, with straightforward points written in the language of a fellow player, not a mathematician.

These books are available at Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas. You can order them at or phone the store at 1-800-522-1777 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific time. Opened in 1964, GBC is located at 5473 S. Eastern between Tropicana and Russell, just a short drive from the Strip. View the store's complete line of books, CDs, videos and software at the web site.