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Winning Low Limit Hold'em
Lee Jones
Publisher: ConJelCo (1994)
Pages: 176
Reviewed: January 1997

Sklansky and Malmuth have the middle limits pretty well covered with their book, but there really wasn't a good manual on strategy at the lower limits prior to Lee's book. But with the explosion of Texas hold'em in California, and the abundance of games populated by players with more money than poker skill, the need for a manual on wilder, less skilled games has never been greater. In steps Lee Jones.

Winning Low Limit Hold'em is probably among the most lucid and well-written of the poker books I've read. It lays out pretty clearly a strategy for playing limit hold'em against bad players (typically at low limits). There's no detailed argument here, it's basically a cookbook approach, although where appropriate he does reason things out. It's unlikely to turn an inexperienced player into a winner overnight, but it will get dedicated players started in the right direction.

Especially useful are the sections on starting hands, which are written simply and clearly. Pre-flop play at these limits is rightly viewed as mechanical, and he lays out a decent (possibly a bit loose in my non-expert opinion) approach to starting cards. Post-flop play introduces many more variables, so instead of trying hopelessly to construct a comprehensive strategy, he provides solid advice for the most important situations low- limit players are liable to mis-play. I thought the section on playing flush and straight draws was especially good - parts of it are certainly applicable even against slightly better competition than you'll find in the average no fold'em contest. Of course, the strategy he details isn't really specific to low-limits per se - it's perfectly appropriate for any game played in typical California no fold'em hold'em style (basically, any game with frequent four-way showdowns).

All in all, an enjoyable and well-written book, with good advice for the low limit hold'em masochist. I think an overlooked use for this book is as a field guide for players used to skilled games who, for example, plan to play in California. But it's mainly useful for hold'em novices. See my review of Roy West's stud book for some comparative comments.

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