New poker book targets beginners

Nov 29, 2005 12:40 AM

It’s always nice to see something new about poker. Especially a new, clear way of learning a game or how to become a dangerous, competitive (smart) player who understands the basics, develops discipline and stays in action.

So it is with the arrival of Low Limit Texas Hold’em Poker (Maximizing Winnings Through Optimization) by Carlos and Carlo Abulencia (288 pages, paperbound, $19.95), which takes a potential player from the basics to more advanced concepts in 13 chapters.

Designed for the $1-$2 player up to the $9-$18 game, it contains much about those limits but nothing about tournament play. The first 86 pages take the absolute beginner through the fundamentals including an explanation of the value of poker hands, the antes, the flop, turn and river cards and bankroll requirements.

What are the better starting hands? What about position? What are the table etiquette do’s and don’t. The authors do a fine job of preparing even the most nervous, shy player for what he or she will face.

You’ll find a nice discussion of odds, outs and the risk vs. reward equation.

The book moves to more sophisticated moves and strategies (the check raise, semi-bluff, free card raise, trapping or slow playing, representing a hand); then follows with a vital section titled psychological warfare. This includes body language, reading your opponents, delays, changing gears. You’ll see players make some of these moves on television — now you’ll understand why all the little moves are designed to "smokescreen" your actual intentions.

A short chapter on the types of players you may eventually face should prove helpful. These include people like "the rock" and "the fish" or "the maniac." Learning how to avoid their moves and turning their weaknesses against them is a sort of card playing judo. It pays off in the long run.

Packed with ideas, tables, charts, some mathematics, bits and pieces the authors have learned the hard way make this a way above average teaching tool. It would make a good gift for a college student, relative or friend who would truly love to learn the game, but needs guidance through clear writing and examples of situation with sample hands.

The book is available at the Gambler’s Book Shop (Gambler’s Book Club) in Las Vegas. The store’s web site is The phone number is 1-800-522-1777.