Table of Contents

About This Book by David Some Notes About the Examples Part One Fundamentals The Skills for Manipulating the Pot Size Adjusting Correctly to Stack Sizes 13 Winning the Battle of Mistakes 14 Reading Hands Manipulating Opponents into Playing Badly 15 From Skills to Success No Limit and the Fundamental Theorem of Poker 17 Thinking In Terms of Expectation Playing the Nuts on the Final Thoughts The Pot Size The Pot Size Philosophy An Example 28 The Importance of Implied Imperfect Information and...

Fundamental Theorem of Poker

In David's book The Theory of Poker, he introduces a concept he calls the Fundamental Theorem of Poker Every time you play a hand differently from the way you would have played it if you could see all your opponents' cards, they gain and every time you play your hand the same way you would have played it if you could see all their cards, they lose. Conversely, every time opponents play their hands differently from the way they would have if they could see all your cards, you gain and every time...

Final Thoughts

The key to no limit isn't always thinking on the fourth or fifth level. Usually thinking that deeply is unnecessary and only likely to lead you to absurd conclusions about what's going on. When you are short stacked, as you often are in tournaments, usually the zeroth and first level will suffice What do I have, what does he have, am I getting the right odds You can also easily overthink bad and mediocre players. In our example, second level thinking suggested a good call against your regular...

The Skills for Success

You can't learn to be a good no limit hold 'em player until you understand what it means to be a good no limit player. What do good players do that mediocre or bad players don't This chapter will tell you what it means to be a good no limit player, and the rest of the book will show you how to think about the game so that you can acquire those skills. In many endeavors the answer to the question, What makes someone good is at least somewhat transparent. You have to have quick reflexes to be a...

Information and Implied Odds

The previous example was idealized because you knew exactly what your opponent had pocket aces. You could play perfectly against him, always folding without the required implied odds and making the most when ahead. In that situation, the player with pocket aces had to raise a relatively large amount, 65 in a 40 pot, to protect himself from you. Real poker is played with hands facedown, though. If you have pocket jacks and all you know from your opponent's reraise is that he has a good hand, but...

Adjusting to Loose Games and Players

Some of your most profitable no limit opponents are the loose players. Loose players play too many hands and go too far with them. Sometimes they don't raise much, but call too often loose and passive , and sometimes they raise and call too often loose and aggressive , but their main characteristic is that they put way too much money in the pot with hands that are too weak. Before we discuss how to beat these players and it isn't very hard , we want to distinguish truly loose and aggressive...

Winning the Battle of Mistakes

You make money when you win big pots and lose small ones. You also make money when your opponents make big and frequent mistakes especially in relation to what you hold , and you make small and infrequent ones. If your opponents made no mistakes, there'd be no money for you to win. Your opponents' mistakes are your opportunities for profit. Everyone makes mistakes. The goal isn't to play mistake-free. Good no limit players try to win the battle of mistakes. Winning the battle of mistakes means...

Calling Preflop Allin Raises

While no limit hold 'em can be a complex game requiring sensitivity to a dozen or more factors in each decision, it can also be a frighteningly simple game. When the stacks are small compared to the big blind, the game often devolves into a preflop all-in and call game, where one player moves all-in, and one other player calls. These situations are most common in tournaments where the stacks are often small compared to the size of the blinds. They can also occur in cash games, particularly for...

No Limit Hand Values

In deep stack no limit, preflop hands have value based mostly on how well they extract money after the flop from your opponents. They don't have value based on how likely they are to win a showdown. That is, T494 is a far better no limit hand than We use a few abbreviations. The first three have become relatively standard in the poker literature. LP means late position, and it indicates two seats the button and one off the button. MP means middle position, and it indicates two seats two and...

Some Notes About the Examples

Throughout this book, we'll introduce examples in this format You're playing a 5- 10 game with 1,000 stacks By that, we mean that there are two blinds a 5 blind to the left of the button and a 10 blind two to the left of the button. Also, every participating player has at least 1,000 in front of them. You might have 1,000, and everyone might have you covered. Or you might have 3,000, and your opponent or opponents have around 1,000. In this scenario, 1,000 would be the effective stack size. One...

Quantifying the Value of Information

Sometimes you can put a specific price tag on what information is worth. For instance, say, instead of pocket aces in the big blind, you have pocket kings. Now it's worth something if your opponent shows before you call, as you can fold if you see aces. Say your opponent has raised 100 all-in, and you think correctly that she would do this with pocket aces through nines, ace-king, and ace-queen. With kings, you're calling against every hand except aces. When she has aces, you're roughly a...

Use the Sklansky Chubukov Rankings

In the last section, we explained what Sklansky-Chubukov S-C numbers are, and we gave you a basic idea of how you might use them to make decisions. But we gave you only a basic idea, and we would be remiss if we left things there, as there are right and wrong ways to interpret the S-C numbers. We offer you extra guidance in this section to help you make the most of this tool. Although the precise S-C numbers apply to a precise situation you have a 1 small blind, and your lone opponent has the 2...

Absolute and Relative Position

Position is undeniably an important factor in every hand. Having position often represents an enormous edge. But many people think that having the button always gives you the ultimate positional advantage. Unfortunately, the position story isn't quite that simple. Sure, there's no better place to start a hand than on the button. And on most hands, the button will be an important asset throughout the hand. We'll call having the button having absolute position. That is, you are last to speak no...