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Old 06-27-2019, 08:57 PM   #51
MorganDollar
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Mason,

Very Helpful compilation!
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:56 AM   #52
lagtight
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Thank you, Mason, for sharing your book reviews.
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Old 07-08-2019, 08:18 PM   #53
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

how about ed millers " play the player" ??
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:03 AM   #54
Mason Malmuth
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

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Originally Posted by thegibson View Post
how about ed millers " play the player" ??
I don't have a review of that book.

Best wishes,
Mason
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Old 07-25-2019, 03:14 AM   #55
Mason Malmuth
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Hi Everyone:

Here are two more reviews.

Best wishes,
Mason

Advanced Concepts in No-Limit Hold’em; A Modern Approach to Poker Analysis (10) by Hunter Cichy. When first picking up this book, written by a young author who I’d never heard of, my expected reaction was that this would be, at best, just another run of the mill poker book with some reasonable information but nothing special, and to further this idea along, it includes a number of worthless testimonials to start the text. However, after reading it, I discovered an excellent poker book that should have a lot of value for many no-limit hold ’em players.

The book has three main sections. The first, called “The Math,” is just what you would expect, a quick summary of much of the math that you need at the poker table. The second, called “Pre-Flop Play” is essentially a large number of tables, based on information derived from the computer program Poker Snowie that cover everything from opening ranges, isolation ranges (when against a limper), three-betting ranges, and much more. Just studying these tables, which are based on the idea that your opponent is also playing well, and doing nothing else, should improve the results of many readers. And the author also gives advice on how to adjust these tables, especially against typical players in live games.

The third part of the book, called “Post-Flop Play” is essentially a large number of hand examples that cover many situations which come up in no-limit hold ’em games, usually where the starting effective stack is 100 big blinds, but sometimes the examples are for a much larger number of big blinds, and this is where the book, in my opinion, really shines.

To give a flavor for what is happening here, one of the examples, called “Pot the Turn to Overbet the River” begins with a “Pro Tip” where it reads “Lead the turn with a pot-sized bet on A-x-x-x boards against Villians who never check back with a strong ace to protect their weak holdings.” We’re then showed an example where the Hero calls a button raise with the 6♥5♥ where he flops an open-end straight draw with an ace on board, and both players check. Cichy then says “If your read is right, Villian has no A-x in his check back range,” and this flawed c-betting range created inconsistencies in his check back range. Thus you can now “pot the turn” and then overbet the river, and the example continues on showing how this is done when the right kind of cards hit.

Unfortunately, this text is not perfect. It doesn’t cover live loose games where a number of players limp in, and there are a number of errors in the text, which are mostly annoying but don’t change the advice. Two example of these errors are:

1. Early in the text, we’re told the odds of improving with a straight draw is 16 percent. Of course, this is not the odds of improving, which would be 5.25-to-1, but is actually the probability of improving your hand. However, this number can easily be converted into odds, but it’s the sort of thing that could confuse someone fairly new to poker.

2. The second error to mention is something that pops up in a number of the starting tables. An example comes from the Big Blind Defense Table where an early position player opens for three times the big blind. If you look carefully at this table, you’ll see that when the big blind has ace-deuce suited he should always fold. But when he has ace-deuce offsuit, he should fold 88 percent of the time and three-bet (which is noted as “raise”) 12 percent of the time. Now unless I’m reading this table incorrectly, this can’t be right, and that’s because the number of hands represented by the 12 percent unsuited ace-deuces should be shifted into the suited group, where it would now be 36 percent since there are three times as many unsuited hands as suited hands.

The reason for this should be obvious. There will still be the same number of ace-deuce hands to balance your overall strategy, but since they’ll be suited, their value is increased over the non-suited version.

However, even though for completeness I mention these errors, and there are some others, this is still an excellent book which gets my best possible rating and thus is highly recommended.

A Chip and a Prayer; The Duckman’s Desperate Quest to Become a Poker Champion (7) by Marvin Karlins. This is the story of the author’s experiences of coming to the 2017 World Series of Poker where he plays a number of tournaments. Karlins, who refers to himself as “The Duckman,” because he likes to occasionally play deuces, budgets $50,000 for his Las Vegas adventure where he aims to play a bunch of tournaments, mostly at The World Series, with the hopes of achieving some modest goals and a chance of a big cash.

The story includes descriptions of some of the key hands that get played, what’s it like to play a poker tournament that has several thousands entries, play near the bubble, as well as all sorts of things relating to Las Vegas life for the lonely poker player.

So, how did he do? Well, you’ll need to read the book, and I found the narrative to be quite enjoyable as the author struggles with the highs, lows, and realities of tournament poker. Also. Even though I only gave this book a rating of 7, the highest I ever rate this type of book is an 8, so if you’re someone who’s looking for a light read with a poker theme, this book should do nicely.
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Old 07-25-2019, 06:15 PM   #56
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Thank you, Mason. Bought the book based on this review.
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Old 07-28-2019, 07:03 PM   #57
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Hi Everyone:

Here are two more reviews.

Best wishes,
Mason

Advanced Concepts in No-Limit Hold’em; A Modern Approach to Poker Analysis (10) by Hunter Cichy. When first picking up this book, written by a young author who I’d never heard of, my expected reaction was that this would be, at best, just another run of the mill poker book with some reasonable information but nothing special, and to further this idea along, it includes a number of worthless testimonials to start the text. However, after reading it, I discovered an excellent poker book that should have a lot of value for many no-limit hold ’em players.

The book has three main sections. The first, called “The Math,” is just what you would expect, a quick summary of much of the math that you need at the poker table. The second, called “Pre-Flop Play” is essentially a large number of tables, based on information derived from the computer program Poker Snowie that cover everything from opening ranges, isolation ranges (when against a limper), three-betting ranges, and much more. Just studying these tables, which are based on the idea that your opponent is also playing well, and doing nothing else, should improve the results of many readers. And the author also gives advice on how to adjust these tables, especially against typical players in live games.

The third part of the book, called “Post-Flop Play” is essentially a large number of hand examples that cover many situations which come up in no-limit hold ’em games, usually where the starting effective stack is 100 big blinds, but sometimes the examples are for a much larger number of big blinds, and this is where the book, in my opinion, really shines.

To give a flavor for what is happening here, one of the examples, called “Pot the Turn to Overbet the River” begins with a “Pro Tip” where it reads “Lead the turn with a pot-sized bet on A-x-x-x boards against Villians who never check back with a strong ace to protect their weak holdings.” We’re then showed an example where the Hero calls a button raise with the 6♥5♥ where he flops an open-end straight draw with an ace on board, and both players check. Cichy then says “If your read is right, Villian has no A-x in his check back range,” and this flawed c-betting range created inconsistencies in his check back range. Thus you can now “pot the turn” and then overbet the river, and the example continues on showing how this is done when the right kind of cards hit.

Unfortunately, this text is not perfect. It doesn’t cover live loose games where a number of players limp in, and there are a number of errors in the text, which are mostly annoying but don’t change the advice. Two example of these errors are:

1. Early in the text, we’re told the odds of improving with a straight draw is 16 percent. Of course, this is not the odds of improving, which would be 5.25-to-1, but is actually the probability of improving your hand. However, this number can easily be converted into odds, but it’s the sort of thing that could confuse someone fairly new to poker.

2. The second error to mention is something that pops up in a number of the starting tables. An example comes from the Big Blind Defense Table where an early position player opens for three times the big blind. If you look carefully at this table, you’ll see that when the big blind has ace-deuce suited he should always fold. But when he has ace-deuce offsuit, he should fold 88 percent of the time and three-bet (which is noted as “raise”) 12 percent of the time. Now unless I’m reading this table incorrectly, this can’t be right, and that’s because the number of hands represented by the 12 percent unsuited ace-deuces should be shifted into the suited group, where it would now be 36 percent since there are three times as many unsuited hands as suited hands.

The reason for this should be obvious. There will still be the same number of ace-deuce hands to balance your overall strategy, but since they’ll be suited, their value is increased over the non-suited version.

However, even though for completeness I mention these errors, and there are some others, this is still an excellent book which gets my best possible rating and thus is highly recommended.

A Chip and a Prayer; The Duckman’s Desperate Quest to Become a Poker Champion (7) by Marvin Karlins. This is the story of the author’s experiences of coming to the 2017 World Series of Poker where he plays a number of tournaments. Karlins, who refers to himself as “The Duckman,” because he likes to occasionally play deuces, budgets $50,000 for his Las Vegas adventure where he aims to play a bunch of tournaments, mostly at The World Series, with the hopes of achieving some modest goals and a chance of a big cash.

The story includes descriptions of some of the key hands that get played, what’s it like to play a poker tournament that has several thousands entries, play near the bubble, as well as all sorts of things relating to Las Vegas life for the lonely poker player.

So, how did he do? Well, you’ll need to read the book, and I found the narrative to be quite enjoyable as the author struggles with the highs, lows, and realities of tournament poker. Also. Even though I only gave this book a rating of 7, the highest I ever rate this type of book is an 8, so if you’re someone who’s looking for a light read with a poker theme, this book should do nicely.

Is the “Advanced Concepts” book about cash games or tournament play?
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Old 08-02-2019, 04:58 AM   #58
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason Malmuth View Post
Hi Everyone:

Also. Even though I only gave this book a rating of 7, the highest I ever rate this type of book is an 8, so if you’re someone who’s looking for a light read with a poker theme, this book should do nicely.
You gave KingKrab's book a 9
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Old 08-02-2019, 06:47 AM   #59
Doc T River
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Quote:
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You gave KingKrab's book a 9
Did he post an amended review because in the thread in this section devoted to the book he gave it an eight.
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:19 PM   #60
bornlooser
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc T River View Post
Did he post an amended review because in the thread in this section devoted to the book he gave it an eight.
Post #38 currently (08/07/19) shows it at a 9.
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Old 08-10-2019, 02:47 PM   #61
BossPatsakos
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Any reviews on the Ken Warren poker books? I also want to ask if you had reviewed Championship Stud; I just found that book in the library.
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Old 08-11-2019, 01:46 AM   #62
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by BossPatsakos View Post
Any reviews on the Ken Warren poker books?
Forum members' reviews:
https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/3...eaches-150381/

I doubt Mason wasted his time reading one of his books all the way through.
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Old 08-11-2019, 06:24 AM   #63
Doc T River
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by BossPatsakos View Post
Any reviews on the Ken Warren poker books? I also want to ask if you had reviewed Championship Stud; I just found that book in the library.
I always wonder about an author whose major accomplishment seems to be playing the first hand of poker somewhere.
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Old 08-15-2019, 11:06 AM   #64
lagtight
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc T River View Post
I always wonder about an author whose major accomplishment seems to be playing the first hand of poker somewhere.
First hand played on a riverboat casino, I think.

A blurb on the back cover of one of his books says that the owner of a cardroom somewhere asked Warren to stop playing in tournaments there so other players would have a chance to win.
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Old 11-05-2019, 09:39 PM   #65
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

thank you for your phenomenal thread, efforts and reviews.
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Old 02-01-2020, 05:10 AM   #66
Chimneycakes
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

1. Early in the text, we’re told the odds of improving with a straight draw is 16 percent. Of course, this is not the odds of improving, which would be 5.25-to-1, but is actually the probability of improving your hand. However, this number can easily be converted into odds, but it’s the sort of thing that could confuse someone fairly new to poker.


What is the diff b/n "odds of improving and "probability of improving"? is this the error you refer too? or is there some meaningful difference here?
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Old 02-23-2020, 11:15 PM   #67
Mason Malmuth
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Re: Requested Book Reviews

Hi Everyone:

Here are two more reviews:

Modern Poker Theory; Building an Unbeatable Strategy Based on GTO Principles (8 to 9˝) by Michael Acevedo. I found this to be a very difficult book to review. Thus, some of you, including the author, may dispute what I’m about to say. But here goes.

First, notice my strange rating of 8 to 9˝. The reason for this is that I don’t think you can leisurely read this text and get much out of it. But, on the other hand, if you’re willing to spend much time studying and thinking about this material, then it has a lot to offer. Also, any book that I rate an 8 or higher is something I recommend, so Modern Poker Theory is definitely a recommendation.

So, stating it quickly, this book is simply a lot of results, and I mean lots, from today’s modern solver programs with discussion from the author about what the results mean and what the solver is attempting to accomplish. Also, everything is done at a mathematical equilibrium since that’s the way solvers work, but there is some discussion on how to exploit your opponent if his strategy / range moves away from the appropriate equilibrium.

As an example, “The Flop Continuation-bet (C-Bet)” chapter shows that (“Flop Strategy Example 1: Diagram 58") with a flop of A♥Q♦3♠ (and 40 bb) you would, with a weak hand, c-bet two-thirds the pot 82 percent of the time, c-bet half the pot 9 percent of the time, c-bet one-third the pot 5 percent of the time, c-bet the minimum 3 percent of the time, and check 1 percent of the time, and all this assumes you have started with the proper pre-flop range (for your position) and these numbers are an average for all (in) positions against the big blind. And this is just a smidgeon of the solver results available for this situation.

So the above should give you an idea of what this book is about, and to get the most out of it a lot of study and effort is needed. Also, for what this is worth, I liked the chapters “GTO Turn Strategies” and “GTO River Strategies” at the end of the book a little better than the earlier chapters.

But Modern Poker Theory has some problems. Most are minor and one is major.

First, at the beginning of the book we read these words about Michael Aceveda: “his background as a mathematician and expertise in process improvement helped him master the theoretical aspects of poker.” Yet, mostly early in the book, we read statements like:

“You could be the ninth best player in the world but if you made a point to only play against the eight players who are better than you, you will get destroyed.”

and

“After playing 100,000 hands players start to get an idea of what their actual win rate looks like, but a sample of at least 1,000,000 hands is required to be statistically significant.”

Clearly, both of these statements are wrong and, in my opinion, that the author’s background in the underlying mathematical statistics that govern poker is not as strong as indicated even though he may have done much work with the mathematics of poker.

The reason this might be important is that these type of misunderstandings can creep into some of the analysis that appears in the book relative to why the solver makes the plays it does. Also, to be fair, and I know from much personal experience, these type of errors can get introduced by an editor who is trying to make the language a little easier to read and understand.

And this now brings us to the major problem with the book. There is no discussion of Multi-round Game Theory. Perhaps this is related to the type of mathematical errors mentioned above, but a book with the title Modern Poker Theory that does not cover this topic has a major hole in it, and because of this, my rating on this text was lowered.

To be specific, Acevedao does have discussion on how the turn card impacts the betting between the flop and the turn, but it’s also impacted by the mathematics of GTO play as well. In addition, Multi-round Game Theory will also impact the betting from the turn to the river (assuming there are chips left to bet). There’s also no excuse for the author not being aware of this topic, even though solver programs should be taking it into account, since our book the Applications of No-Limit Hold ’em by Matthew Janda, first published in 2013 and studied by many top no-limit players, has a thorough discussion of it.

Anyway, as can be seen from this write-up, Modern Poker Theory was a difficult book to review. But again, I do recommend it to those of you who are willing to put the proper amount of time and effort into it.

Play Optimal Poker; Practical Game Theory for Every Poker Player (10) by Andrew Brokos. This book is more designed to explain how Game Theory works than how to use it when playing poker even though many poker examples are given to help the reader, who plays poker, to understand the material just covered. Much of the book presents “toy games,” which generally get more complex, that are simpler than poker, but represents various aspects of Game Theory that today’s GTO experts are using at the poker tables to assure they achieve an acceptable minimum win rate.

As an example, early in the book there is a discussion of “Polarized Versus Condensed Ranges” where we are introduced to “The Clairvoyance Game.” This game is based on a three card deck of ace, king, and queen where the out of position player, Opal is always dealt the king. This means that the betting action will always fall to the in position player, Ivan, who has the polarized range — ace or queen versus his opponent who will always have the condensed range — king. Obviously, the in position player will bet the ace for value, but how often should he bluff with the queen? Using Game Theory techniques Brokos gives us the answer so that the in position player will guarantee himself a long-term profit but also not allow himself to be exploited by his opponent. This is known as the equilibrium.

Anyway, this is what this book is about and some of the topics covered include Nash Equilibrium, randomization, polarized and condensed ranges, mixed strategies, exploitative strategies, complex ranges, and the effect of raising. One topic, multi-round Game Theory, is not covered, but since this is not a poker strategy book per se, I don’t consider this to be a serious omission. However, the author did tell us in our “Books and Publications Forum” that “I’m working on a sequel that will delve more deeply into this.”

Finally, one last comment. When writing a review like this, to give a balanced representation of the book, I usually try to come up with a couple of questionable examples from the book. But none appear here because none were found in my reading.
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