April 3, 2010 – 10:41 am | 7 Comments

I’ve compiled a short (just 7-pages) e-book, an introduction to the mathematics of poker. It’s basically covers how to calculate your expected value in a certain spot – starting with explaining what EV is, all …

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Home » Miscellaneous

No Limit Hold Em Theory by Sklanksy and Miller

Submitted by on January 8, 2010 – 1:19 am4 Comments

No, this isn’t a book review post. It’s actually more of a question to you guys.

I’ve seen the book, No Limit Hold ‘Em Theory by Sklanksy and Miller, around, and it seems like an interesting premise, on a topic that highly interests me. It seems like it’s meant to be a mathematical look at NLHE, and that’s really something I would love. So I’m quite tempted to get it as the nex step in my poker study.

That said, there are some less favorable reviews on Amazon. One of them pointed out:

This book’s strength is that it shows why certain plays are mathetmatically correct. That doesn’t mean, you can’t take those conclusions, and figure out the correct play to make.

For example: If you have AK and you raise, then if our opponent raises with KK, we can use math to show why it’s correct to fold. That doesn’t help me if I raise with AK, and my opponent raises me, sometimes I should raise again, sometimes call, sometimes fold. I don’t know he has KK or AQ or 87, so how’s the math help me now? It doesn’t. This is a very simple example for those who play small stakes or are new to poker. But this is the best example in summarizing this book.

To be fair, I think that’s the (current) shortcomings of most mathematical approaches to poker. There hasn’t really been a model for determining hand ranges (not yet, anyway), and without putting your opponent on a range, you can’t really do much with the math.

So on a whole (especially those who have read it), what do you think of the book? Is it worth getting?


  • Steve Brogan says:

    This is just me. I current own over 60 books and have read some more than once and still don't have a positive EV from my playing. I own this one as well. I think the important thing is that you think about poker, read about poker and play poker. Of course the more you read, the more conflicted you could become. I am of the opinion that the more knowledge and experience you get, the better you will be. That said, at least I learned that I am not paying proper attention to the math side of poker and that over the long haul, I will probably be losing more that I win until I change that part of my game.

  • Derrick Kwa says:

    Yeah, definitely. I think the danger of reading too much, though, is sometimes you read contradictory things (authors with different strategies, etc), and it can get confusing. But more knowledge is always a good thing. I don't own anywhere near to 60 books however. Currently the poker books I own are Daniel Negreanu's Power Hold'em strategy, The Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen and Jerrod Ankenman, Gus Hansen's Every Hand Revealed, Small Stakes Hold'Em by Sklansky, Malmuth and Miller, and the Harrington on Hold'Em series.

    Out of your collection, what are the books that you recommend most highly?

  • jason says:

    that's like saying einstein's worthless because you don't have any plutonium handy.
    i haven't read the book, but there's a problem with the argument.

  • Derrick Kwa says:

    Well, firstly, I haven't read the book either, and I didn't write that review.

    I do think it's an interesting book, and was looking for your thoughts, the post wasn't meant as a criticism of the book. My apologies if it came across that way.

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