Cover image for Poker for dummies
Poker for dummies
Harroch, Richard D., 1953-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Foster City, CA : IDG Books Worldwide, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxvi, 298 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
So why should you keep your cards close to your chest? Why is an ace in the hole such a great thing? From novices to advanced players, anyone who's ever played poker, or wanted to, can benefit from this jackpot of advice.
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1251 .H37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GV1251 .H37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Poker is America?s national card game, and its popularity continues to grow. Nationwide, you can find a game in progress everywhere. If you want to play, you can find poker games on replicas of 19th century riverboats or on Native American tribal lands. You can play poker at home with the family or online with opponents from around the world. Like bowling and billiards before it, poker has moved out from under the seedier side of its roots and is flowering in the sunshine.

Maybe you?ve never played poker before and you don?t even know what a full house is. Poker For Dummies covers the basics. Or perhaps you've played for years, but you just don?t know how to win. This handy guide will help you walk away from the poker table with winnings, not lint, in your pockets. If you?re a poker expert, you still can benefitnbsp;?nbsp;some of the suggestions may surprise you, and you can certainly learn from the anecdotes from professional players like T.J. Cloutier and Stu Unger.

Know what it takes to start winning hand after hand by exploring strategy; getting to know antes and betting structure; knowing your opponents, and understanding the odds. Poker For Dummies also covers the following topics and more:

Poker games such as Seven-Card Stud, Omaha, and Texas Hold'em Setting up a game at home Playing in a casino: Do's and don'ts Improving your play with Internet and video poker Deciphering poker sayings and slang Ten ways to read your opponent's body language Playing in poker tournaments Money management and recordkeeping Knowing when and how to bluff

Poker looks like such a simple game. Anyone, it seems, can play it wellnbsp;?nbsp;but that's far from the truth. Learning the rules can be quick work, but becoming a winning player takes considerably longer. Still, anyone willing to make the effort can become a good player. You can succeed in poker the way you succeed in life: by facing it squarely, getting up earlier than the next person, and working harder and smarter than the competition.

Foreword by Chris Moneymaker, 2003 World Series of Poker Champion.

Author Notes

Richard Harroch is an attorney and avid poker player. Lou Krieger is the author of two guides to Texas Hold 'em, the most popular tournament poker game.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xxvii
Introductionp. 1
Why You Need This Bookp. 2
What We Assume about Youp. 2
How to Use This Bookp. 3
How This Book Is Organizedp. 3
Icons Used in This Bookp. 4
Where to Go from Herep. 5
Part I How to Play the Gamesp. 7
Chapter 1 Poker Basicsp. 9
Poker and the American Dreamp. 10
Where Did It All Come From?p. 10
Poker is Good for Youp. 10
Before You Put on Your Poker Facep. 11
Planning and disciplinep. 11
The object of the gamep. 12
Number of playersp. 12
The deckp. 13
Poker chipsp. 13
The Basics of Playp. 13
Hand Rankingsp. 15
Straight flush; royal flushp. 15
Four-of-a-kindp. 15
Full housep. 15
Flushp. 17
Straightp. 17
Three-of-a-kindp. 17
Two pairp. 17
One pairp. 17
No pairp. 18
Low handsp. 18
Bettingp. 18
Rules of the Roadp. 20
Going all-inp. 20
The forbidden string-raisep. 20
How to raisep. 21
No splashingp. 21
Protecting your hand; cards speakp. 21
Table stakesp. 21
Time outp. 22
Decks and dealingp. 22
The finer points: Etiquettep. 22
What Will Your Opponents Be Like?p. 23
Casual recreational playersp. 23
Cardroom regularsp. 23
Professionalsp. 24
Proposition playersp. 24
Playing in a Casinop. 24
How to get in a gamep. 26
Buying chipsp. 26
Shuffling and dealingp. 26
How Casino Poker Differs from Home Gamesp. 27
Tighter than home gamesp. 27
Players are more selectivep. 27
Games are fasterp. 28
Chapter 2 Essential Strategic Considerationsp. 29
What Poker Is and Isn'tp. 30
We Were All Beginners Oncep. 31
Build a foundation firstp. 31
... Then you can improvisep. 31
Basic Poker Conceptsp. 32
Understand blinds and antesp. 32
Know your opponentsp. 32
Prepare to winp. 34
A Little Probabilityp. 35
A short-term simulationp. 35
A long-term simulationp. 35
How many bad players does it take to make a good game?p. 36
Some Poker Perspectivep. 37
Why some tactics are important in poker and others aren'tp. 37
Frequent decisionsp. 37
Costly decisionsp. 38
Decisions and subsequent actionsp. 38
Poker's single most important decisionp. 39
Starting standardsp. 39
Hand selectivityp. 39
Be aggressive, but be selectivep. 40
Patiencep. 41
Positionp. 41
Coping When All Goes Wrongp. 42
Gear downp. 42
Narrow the targetp. 43
Chapter 3 Seven-Card Studp. 45
If You've Never Played Seven-Card Stud Pokerp. 46
A sample handp. 47
Antes, the Deal, and the Betting Structurep. 48
Bettingp. 48
Raisingp. 49
Double betsp. 49
Showdownp. 50
Spread-limit gamesp. 50
Know When to Hold 'em and Know When to Fold 'emp. 50
What Kind of Hands Are Likely To Win?p. 50
The Importance of Lives Cardsp. 51
The first three cards are criticalp. 52
Positionp. 52
Subsequent betting roundsp. 53
Seven-Card Stud in Depthp. 53
Starting handsp. 54
Starting with three-of-a-kindp. 54
Big pairsp. 55
Small or medium pairsp. 56
Playing a drawp. 56
Beyond third streetp. 57
When all the cards have been dealtp. 58
Chapter 4 Texas Hold'emp. 59
Basic Rulesp. 59
Blind Betsp. 60
Hold'em in Generalp. 60
Hold'em only looks like Stud; it plays differentlyp. 60
The first two cards are criticalp. 61
Position, position, and positionp. 61
The flop should fit your handp. 62
Beyond the flopp. 62
Hold'em in Depthp. 63
Small gaps make more straightsp. 63
Gapped cardsp. 64
Acting last is a big advantagep. 64
Starting Handsp. 64
The Art of Raisingp. 67
You've been raisedp. 67
When someone's raised after you've calledp. 67
When should you raise?p. 68
Playing the Flopp. 68
Fit or foldp. 69
Flops you're going to love, flops to fold onp. 69
Overcardsp. 71
Flopping a drawp. 71
Multiway possibilitiesp. 72
Playing the Turnp. 73
What to do when you improve on the turnp. 74
What to do when you don't improve on the turnp. 74
Should you continue with a draw?p. 75
Should you checkraise or come out betting?p. 75
Bluffing on the turnp. 76
Playing the Riverp. 77
Realized versus potential valuep. 77
What do I do when I make my draw?p. 77
Top pair on the riverp. 78
When the Pot Gets Bigp. 79
Chapter 5 Seven-Card Stud Eight-or-Better, High-Low Split (Seven-Stud/8)p. 81
If You've Never Played Seven-Stud/8 Beforep. 81
Antes, the Deal, and the Betting Structurep. 83
Bettingp. 83
Betting orderp. 84
Raisingp. 84
Positionp. 84
Double betsp. 84
Showdownp. 85
Know When to Hold 'em and Know When to Fold 'emp. 85
What Kind of Hands Are Likely To Win?p. 85
The importance of live cardsp. 86
Starting Standards: The first three cards are criticalp. 86
Playable Handsp. 87
Seven-Stud/8 in Depthp. 90
Beyond third streetp. 91
When everyone has low cards showingp. 91
Do big hands equal big profits? Not alwaysp. 92
Jamming the potp. 93
When you hold the only low handp. 93
How Seven-Stud/8 Differs From Seven-Card Studp. 94
Hidden Handsp. 95
Driving and Brakingp. 96
When All the Cards Have Been Dealtp. 98
Chapter 6 Omahap. 99
Playing Omaha/8 for the First Timep. 100
Blind betsp. 100
The deal and betting structurep. 101
A sample handp. 102
Knowing When to Hold 'em and When to Fold 'emp. 103
Position, position, and positionp. 104
The flop should fit your handp. 104
Omaha/8 in Depthp. 104
Starting handsp. 105
Getting good at hand selectionp. 107
Acting last is a big advantagep. 107
Looking for a flopp. 107
The unpleasant experience of being quarteredp. 108
Beyond the flopp. 109
What to Do When You've Been Raisedp. 110
Flopping a drawp. 110
Playing the Turnp. 111
How do my opponents play?p. 112
What in the world could my opponent be holding?p. 112
Where do I sit in relation to the other bettors?p. 112
How much will it cost to see the hand through to its conclusion?p. 113
Playing the Riverp. 113
When you make the best high handp. 113
When you have the best low handp. 114
Exploring Omaha High-Onlyp. 115
Chapter 7 Home Poker Gamesp. 117
Setting Up a Home Gamep. 117
Rulesp. 117
Dealer's choicep. 118
Betting stakesp. 119
Wild cardsp. 119
Time limitp. 120
Food and drinksp. 120
Paying upp. 120
Game Optionsp. 121
Seven-Card Studp. 121
Texas Hold'emp. 121
Omaha Highp. 121
Omaha High-Low, 8-or-Betterp. 121
Pineapplep. 122
Five-Card Drawp. 122
Lowballp. 122
Five-Card Studp. 123
Baseballp. 123
Black Mariahp. 123
Indian Pokerp. 124
Razzp. 124
Crisscross (or Iron Cross)p. 124
Poker Etiquette in Home Gamesp. 124
Do...p. 125
Don't...p. 125
More Information on Home Gamesp. 125
Part II Advanced Strategyp. 127
Chapter 8 Bluffingp. 129
What Is Bluffing, Anyway?p. 129
Different Kinds Of Bluffsp. 130
The Importance of Bluffingp. 131
Keep 'em guessingp. 132
The threat of bluffingp. 132
The Bluffing Paradoxp. 133
Not All Bluffs Are Created Equalp. 134
Bluffing on the end with a hopeless handp. 134
Bluffing with more cards to comep. 135
Bluffing and Positionp. 136
Bluffing More Than One Opponentp. 137
Bluffing Strategiesp. 139
Chapter 9 Money Management and Recordkeepingp. 141
What Is Money Management Anyway?p. 141
Does money management make sense?p. 142
Should you quit while you're ahead?p. 142
Should you quit when you reach a stop-loss limit?p. 143
The Truth About Money Managementp. 143
Having a positive expectationp. 143
Game selection and money managementp. 144
The Importance of Keeping Recordsp. 145
What kind of records should I keep?p. 145
How to keep recordsp. 145
Keeping up with recordkeepingp. 146
How to Figure Your Win Ratep. 146
All averages are not created equalp. 146
Standard deviation for the mathematically challengedp. 147
How the standard deviation worksp. 148
Using standard deviation to analyze your poker resultsp. 150
How to Reduce Fluctuations in a Poker Gamep. 151
How Big Should Your Poker Bankroll Be?p. 152
A fool and his money...p. 153
How professional players maintain their bankrollsp. 154
Moving Up to Bigger Limitsp. 155
Part III Computers, Casinos, and Cardroomsp. 157
Chapter 10 Poker Tournamentsp. 159
Why Play Poker Tournaments?p. 159
The thrill of victoryp. 160
Learn new games inexpensivelyp. 160
The game is "pure"p. 160
Take on the champsp. 161
Poker Tournament Basicsp. 161
Buy-ins and feesp. 161
Betting structuresp. 161
The prize poolp. 162
Satellite tournamentsp. 163
The Relationship Between Blinds and Betting Structurep. 164
The escalating blindsp. 165
The end gamep. 165
Be extremely selective; be very aggressivep. 166
Key Mistakes Made in Poker Tournamentsp. 166
Trying to win too earlyp. 167
Defending your blind too muchp. 167
Playing too tightp. 167
Playing a marginal hand after the flopp. 167
Being unaware of other players' chip stacksp. 167
Tournament Tips from a World Championp. 168
Cutting a Deal at the Final Tablep. 170
The fairest way to cut a dealp. 170
When the chip count is identicalp. 171
Issues with Payoff Structuresp. 171
The ethics of deal makingp. 172
Expanded payoff structuresp. 172
Where to Find Information about Tournamentsp. 173
Chapter 11 Video Pokerp. 175
The Basics of Video Pokerp. 176
Getting startedp. 176
Playing handsp. 177
Video Poker versus Regular Pokerp. 178
Jacks-or-Better Video Pokerp. 180
Deuces Wild: The Best Game for Beginnersp. 182
Tips for Becoming a Better Video Poker Playerp. 185
Seven Mistakes to Avoid in Video Pokerp. 186
Further Readingsp. 187
Chapter 12 The World Series of Pokerp. 189
How It All Got Startedp. 189
1970: The First World Series of Pokerp. 190
High-Roller Tournaments Made Affordablep. 191
No-Limit Texas Hold'em--the Cadillac of Card Gamesp. 192
Let's Get Ready to Rumble: The Latest Battles at the World Series of Pokerp. 193
Stu Ungar: The Comeback Kidp. 194
Scotty Nguyen: An American dreamerp. 197
Chapter 13 The Computer: Your Shortcut to Poker Masteryp. 203
Choosing the Right Computer for Poker Studyp. 204
Getting by with a used computerp. 204
Using a Computer for Interactive Poker Practicep. 205
An Interactive Self-Study Coursep. 206
Interactive Poker Software Programsp. 207
Finding the best softwarep. 208
Using the offerings from Wilson Softwarep. 208
Chapter 14 Internet Pokerp. 213
Internet Play-Money Gamesp. 213
But it isn't real poker, is it?p. 214
What the games are likep. 215
How these games help you to improvep. 215
The Best Internet Play-Money Sites: Internet Poker Casinosp. 216
Getting startedp. 217
Finding gamesp. 217
Looking for serious play-money gamesp. 218
Participating in the Future of Poker at (RGP)p. 218
Finding RGPp. 219
Benefiting from RGPp. 219
Virtual Poker for Real Money: Internet Cash Stakes Gamesp. 220
But is it legal?p. 221
Our advice to youp. 221
Part IV More Poker Funp. 223
Chapter 15 What's Behind the Sayings, Terms, and Mythsp. 225
Poker Sayingsp. 225
Poker Slangp. 227
Poker Mythsp. 231
Chapter 16 Learning More about Pokerp. 233
The Zen Poker Processp. 233
A Learning Planp. 234
Read beginner-level booksp. 234
Read the magazinesp. 235
Use your computerp. 235
Play pokerp. 236
Think about the gamep. 236
All Kinds of Poker Booksp. 236
Books for beginnersp. 237
Books for advanced playersp. 239
Other recommended booksp. 240
Beyond the Written Wordp. 240
Part V The Part of Tensp. 245
Chapter 17 Ten Ways to Read Your Opponentp. 247
Shaking Handp. 248
Jitteringp. 249
Shrugs and Sad Voicesp. 249
Changes in Breathingp. 249
Misdirected Betsp. 250
Extra Emphasisp. 250
Looking Awayp. 250
Staring at Youp. 251
Reactions after Looking at Their Cardsp. 251
Reaching for Chipsp. 252
A Final Wordp. 252
Chapter 18 Ten Poker Legendsp. 253
Stu Ungarp. 254
Johnny Mossp. 254
Jack "Treetop" Strausp. 255
Benny Binionp. 255
"Amarillo Slim" Prestonp. 256
Doyle Brunsonp. 257
Johnny Chanp. 257
Phil Hellmuth, Jr.p. 258
Scotty Nguyenp. 258
Huck Seedp. 259
Honorable Mentionsp. 259
Chapter 19 Ten Keys to Successp. 261
Be Aware of Your Strengths and Weaknessesp. 261
Act Responsiblyp. 261
Thinkp. 261
Have a Planp. 262
Set Deadlinesp. 262
Be Realisticp. 262
Expect Difficultiesp. 262
Build on Small Accomplishmentsp. 263
Persistp. 263
Have Funp. 264
Chapter 20 (Almost) Ten Things to Consider Before Going Prop. 265
Poker Isn't Like Most Jobsp. 265
Considering Your Own Resultsp. 266
Playing When You're Not at Your Bestp. 266
Keeping Good Recordsp. 266
Deciding Where to Playp. 266
Using Statistics to Predict Your Expectationsp. 267
Assessing Your Risk Tolerancep. 267
No Licensing Requiredp. 268
Following Good Examplesp. 268
Asking the Right Questionsp. 269
Chapter 21 Ten Ways to Improve Your Poker Todayp. 271
Know Your Numbersp. 271
Know Your Opponentsp. 272
Keep Your Ego Out of the Gamep. 272
Keep Records--Even When It Hurtsp. 272
Choose the Best Gamep. 273
Commit to Excellencep. 273
Practice with Computerized Softwarep. 273
Read the Newsgroupp. 273
Analyze Your Game--and Your Opponents'p. 274
Concentrate on Things That Matterp. 274
Read All the Booksp. 275
Chapter 22 Ten Real-Life Poker Lessonsp. 277
Being Selective and Aggressivep. 277
Safety at All Costs Can Be Costlyp. 277
Knowing Your Opponentp. 278
Timing Can Be Everythingp. 278
Deciding If the Prize Is Worth the Gamep. 279
Reaching for Objectivesp. 279
Being Responsiblep. 280
Painting Yourself into a Cornerp. 280
Thinking Outside the Boxp. 281
Realizing When Discretion Is the Better Part of Valorp. 282
Indexp. 283
Back of Bookp. 303