Book Review: Expert Heads Up NLHE Volume 1
The latest addition to the poker library of D&B Poker is Expert Heads Up No Limit Hold’ Em Volume 1: Optimal and Exploitative Strategies, by Will Tipton. Tipton is a relative newcomer on the poker scene, picking-up the game in 2007 while in college and turning the occasional home game into a lucrative career as an online pro, while at the same time working towards a PhD at Cornell University. The fact that Tipton doesn’t have the reputation that precedes other poker authors didn’t stop D&B Editor Byron Jacobs from writing a glowing foreword to the text, explaining how he had a “Susan Boyle moment” after perusing the unsolicited submission from an unknown author –something you rarely see an editor do.
You can read my interview with Will Tipton here: PNB talks Poker with player and author Will Tipton
So, what were my thoughts on Expert heads Up NLHE? While I didn’t have the “Come to Jesus” moment that Jacobs experienced during my reading of the text, I was very impressed with the book and as a relative greenhorn when it comes to Heads Up NLHE I’m pretty much the target audience of the book. I found the text extremely helpful for my game and for my understanding of Heads-Up NLHE; a format that is virtually a blank canvas when it comes to poker literature.
First off, let me start by saying that Tipton is an excellent writer. The book is easy to read, which is a godsend considering the technical nature of the Expert Heads Up NLHE, which will make anyone who has ever tried to plow through a poorly written technical poker book (and there are definitely a few) happy with both the writing and editing of the text.
The book is laid-out nicely, with many chapter and section breaks, as well as key points you should know at the end of each chapter. I found the shorter chapters/sections/headers kept my mind from wandering during the more technical analysis (I should caveat that with the fact that I’m not a math guy!), and the additions of the bulleted sections “Conclusions” and “You Should Know…” prevented me from moving on to the next chapter before I understood the concepts in the previous one. Despite the technical nature of the game, Tipton did a good job keeping the math to a minimum (which is great since I’m not a math guy!) using equations very sparingly.
Volume 1 of Expert Heads Up No Limit Hold’ Em clocks in at an impressive 336 pages, and as usual D&B Publishing produced a quality book that will survive the handful of readings you will need to digest all of the information Tipton imparts. By the end of the book I had put in a dozen placeholders for sections I wanted to reread.
The overarching content of the book is a cross between a typical strategy primer and a course in game theory, written by a very good poker player, a doctoral student in one of those fields you don’t even know exists (he’s a computational materials engineer), and someone who is obviously very intellectually curious with a lot of hours of critical thinking on the game of poker under his belt. In regards to the last point I was pleasantly surprised with was Tipton’s way of looking at a hand of poker as a decision tree – a view I had never considered, but one that made perfect sense after reading through the opening salvo in Expert Heads Up NLHE.
If you are a heads-up NLHE player, or are looking to learn the increasingly popular format than you finally have a book you can turn to. As I said, HUNL is not my forte, but after reading through Expert Heads Up No Limit Hold’ Em I had the poker itch and wanted to go and apply Tipton’s strategies at the poker tables – which I would say is the mark of a truly good poker book.
Tags: Addi, Blank Canvas, Byron Jacobs, Caveat, Conclusions, Cornell University, Godsend, Greenhorn, Home Game, Latest Addition, Lucrative Career, Math Guy, Phd, Poker Book, Poker Game, Relative Newcomer, Susan Boyle, Target Audience, Technical Nature, Unsolicited Submission, Volume 1
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