New poker book
helps figure the
odds, stats

Apr 11, 2006 2:40 AM

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 Hold’em Odds (143 pages, paperbound $29) is directed to those who are fascinated with gambling probability. It’s a must for those who already play the game or who are programmers that want to create odds generating software.

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

Meanwhile, a very timely annual for horseplayers from brisnet.com titled Maiden Stats (750 pages, paperbound, $99.95) arrived just in time for some of the biggest race meets of the year, as well as the Triple Crown series.

Let’s look at each work and its value to a gambler.

Barboianu 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 pre-flop odds; flop odds; turn odds and other odds.

"The probability formulas and results corresponding to each specific card formation to be achieved are presented in double form; algorithm and table of values," Barboianu explains. 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 with understanding the importance of position, bluffing and "playing the player." It would have been nice if the publisher provided information about 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. That’s followed by Pre-Flop Play, including small cards; pairs and non-pairs; playing from the blinds.

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

Horseplayers who realize Maiden Stats 2006’s value only have to know the book has arrived, because they know how to use it immediately. The work focuses on more than two dozen types of statistics on nearly every foal born in 2004 which will race this year, with listings by Sire, Dam, Top Sibling and Yearly Sales information. It should help evaluating maiden, turf and off-track races. It is divided into two sections.

These works and more are available from Gambler’s Book Shop (Gambler’s Book Club) in Las Vegas. The store’s web site is www.gamblersbook.com; the toll-free phone number is 1-(800)-522-1777.