Small Stakes Hold ’em: Winning Big With Expert Play
written by Ed Miller, David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth
If there is one book you were to ever read as a poker player to make your game progress to the next level, I would recommend Small Stakes Hold ’em: Winning Big With Expert Play. Now I know there are other players out there that would shout, The Theory of Poker, by David Sklansky, but I honestly struggled with that book. Theory of Poker covers so much of the basic principles of poker and gambling that I think when I read it, the simplicity of parts made me bored and then when the intellectual information came along I was not ready for it because I was not paying enough attention. This is NOT to say it is a poor book. Many still refer it as the first poker book any player should read. I certainly cannot deny that thinking.
Ed Miller is the epitome of every die hard poker player’s dream. He had a 9-5 job where he was doing well. He got bit by the ‘poker bug’ and started playing…horribly. He lost. Yet, he drove himself to understand the game better. He joined a few forums, namely www.twoplustwo.com where he could post hands he has played and comment on other hands. In the beginning he was many times ‘wrong’ in his answers, but quickly began to play better, understand more, and then became one of the experts on the site. He quit his job, moved to Las Vegas and now plays professionally.
First off— Small Stakes Hold ’em: Winning Big With Expert Play is NOT a beginners book. You must have a grasp of the game and understand some basic principles, otherwise the information will truly go over your head. The next step is to read and understand the information being presented. I can almost guarantee that you cannot read this book straight through cover to cover and retain 50% of its contents. You will read and re-read many parts. Then once you start to apply the principles you will start to grasp the power this book can provide.
Secondly, Small Stakes Hold ’em: Winning Big With Expert Play, is not a solve all problems band-aid. Again, your second and third (or more) time through the book is where it will start to progress your game. If you expect to read it though quickly and begin to win, you will be very frustrated. I suppose there are some individuals that can pull this feat off, but I was not one of them. It helped my game immediately, but I did not start to understand and have the ability to incorporate the theories into my normal play until much later—2nd and 3rd readings. Only then did my results truly begin to show.
Lastly, this book can help you find the leaks in your game and then give you the tools to stopper them. However, only hard work and staying sharp on your game will attain the levels the book attempts to bring you towards. Ed Miller will show you the path, but you are the last step in the process that has to implement (and then build upon) the information he gives you. The last chapter contains a sort of ‘test’ you can take to help you understand the levels of your knowledge. Many feel it is this last section that glues their game together as he explains specific hands in question.
So where Small Stakes Hold ’em: Winning Big With Expert Play, by Ed Miller, is not a beginners book, it is my most important book on the shelf. My copy is tattered and beat up from repeated readings, and I feel there are still many gems within that I have yet to uncover. It was by far the most influential poker book I have ever read.