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Play Poker Like the Pros

Phil Hellmuth

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Strengths: Tournament chapters.
Weaknesses: Ring game advice is sometimes downright bad.
Year: 2003
Page Count: 416

Reviewed by TwoGun and Ozone on Feb. 10, 2005.

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In his first published book, world champion Phil Hellmuth, Jr. spends 395 pages and 15 chapters giving the reader various strategies for many popular variations of poker. There are very few books out there that cover so many forms of poker in one book. Most poker authors choose to write on one game that they play the best. While Hellmuth's ego may lead him to believe that he is justified in writing about all forms of poker, several chapters in his book give tenuous advice at best. His Limit Hold'em advice is especially weak.

Poker Advice

For each game, Hellmuth writes a beginner strategy section and an intermediate/advanced strategy section. This book often belittles the beginning poker player. Phil goes so far as to suggest that a beginning Limit Hold'em player should only play ten (yes, just ten) specific hands preflop. This style of play results in too much folding and too much reliance on winning big pots with fragile holdings like pocket sevens. Phil clearly did not test this advice too much and did not give too much thought about its effectiveness in loose games. One nice aspect of this book is Hellmuth's willingness to inform the reader of some of the other popular strategies. This book educates the reader about the playing style's of other famous players such as Devilfish Ulliott, world champion Huck Seed, Daniel Negreanu, and T.J. Cloutier.

The underlying message in all of Phil's advice is selective aggression. This is an important concept for players, so it is good that Hellmuth preaches selective aggression. However, the tournament advice in the book tends to be much better than the cash game advice. Any player who flawlessly follows Phil Hellmuth's cash game advice, is likely to be described as predictable and beatable by their opponents.


Edited by the late Andy Glazar, Play Poker Like The Pros is, for the most part, an easy read. One frustrating aspect of this book is the example hands in the Omaha Hi-Lo section. Phil will write in excessive detail about a four-way Hi-Lo pot, which really can be a headache to follow. The advice in this book is pretty straightforward and very well organized. At the beginning of each chapter, Phil outlines the concepts the reader will be learning in the following pages. Each paragraph is titled, and each example hand shows card icons.


Play Poker Like the Pros can be purchased at Amazon

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