The Course: Serious Hold ‘Em Strategy For Smart Players, by Ed Miller


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The Course: Serious Hold 'Em Strategy For Smart Players, by Ed Miller

The Course: Serious Hold ‘Em Strategy For Smart Players, by Ed Miller

The Course: Serious Hold 'Em Strategy For Smart Players, by Ed Miller

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The Course: Serious Hold 'Em Strategy For Smart Players, by Ed Miller

The Course is different from other poker books you may have read. It’s written for players who are smart and who know that to succeed, you have to be different. Because in poker, if you play and think like everyone else, you’ll also get results just like everyone else.

There’s a saying in the golf world that you don’t worry about the other players. You just play the course. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing in a big tournament against a hundred other players or against just one. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing against Tiger Woods or against Woody the Woodpecker. You can’t control what they do, so they can only be a distraction.

All that matters is the course. And the only thing you can control is how you play it.

This is a powerful idea, and it applies just as well in poker. Poker is full of distractions, and most players get hung up worrying about all the wrong things. The things they can’t control. The things that ultimately don’t matter.

The Course: Serious Hold ‘Em Strategy For Smart Players, cuts through all the noise. It’s a practical and effective, step-by-step guide to winning consistently at no-limit hold ’em. It teaches the game as a series of skills. The first skill is the most important, but also the most fundamental. Each subsequent skill builds upon the last. Master the first few skills, and you can win at the 1-2 or 1-3 level. Master the next few, and you can win at 2-5. And master the final skills, and you can hang at 5-10 among the best players at your local card room.

The Course focuses on the most important concepts that determine who wins and moves up and who doesn’t. And it ignores the distractions. It doesn’t waste your time and attention with ideas that don’t apply to the games you play.

Unlike many other books, this book is ruthlessly practical. The ideas in The Course transfer directly from the page to the felt. The book starts out by showing you where and how money is available to win. Everything after teaches you how to go get it. Skill by skill, you will learn to win more money and win it faster.

The Course meets you where you are. If you’re just beginning to get serious about hold ‘em, the book starts you with a sound foundational strategy. If you’re an experienced player looking to get over the next hump, the book lays bare the challenge and teaches you what you need to do. Unless you’re already the boss player at your local card room, The Course is the perfect companion to help take you to where you want to go.

  • Sales Rank: #35109 in Books
  • Published on: 2015-04-28
  • Original language: English
  • Dimensions: 8.50″ h x .69″ w x 5.50″ l,
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 304 pages

About the Author
Ed Miller is an MIT graduate and an acclaimed author of numerous poker strategy books. He’s been playing, coaching, and writing about hold ’em full-time since 2003, and his books have sold over 250,000 copies worldwide.

Most helpful customer reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful.
Really, Really Good Book
By Flashy
Tommy Angelo in Elements of Poker, probably offered the single best piece of advice every written to becoming a good player, always play your “A” game. He never really defined what an “A” looks like, other than it was significantly better than your “D” game.

The Course defines the “A” game for live low stakes no-limit Holdem. If you stick to Ed’s guidelines, you will become a winning player.

I first encountered Ed over 12 years ago on the 2-plus-2 forums for his famous post, “Why You Are Not Crushing Small Stakes Holdem.” Ed had taken the time to write a long post about the skills necessary to beat the game and then took the time to answers questions. Since it was free, his only reward was helping other players get better.

Ed went on to become the most prolific authors on small stakes Holdem. While I am sure he likes the money and fame, I think his principle motivations remain the same. A sincere desire to help people become better players.

In The Course, Ed distills all the poker knowledge from his previous books and articles into a skill-by-skill framework to becoming proficient at 1-3, 2-5, and beyond. On any of one of these skills, there is more to learn but he provides the essential knowledge.

Example, in Pokers 1%, he goes through the math of why calling and then folding too many hands is everyone’s biggest leak. In The Course, he tells you this concept, but does not spend too long on the why. To understand the why plan on reading his other books, they are all excellent and worth your while.

Ed boils his advice down to advice that is very simply to remember and follow. Example, Don’t Pay People Off when they bet big is his second skill for a 1-3 level game. Just following that simple advice will enable many players to go from loser to break even. Vegas players have feasted for years on tourists never being able to lay down Ace-King when an Ace flops.

To those thinking that’s “obvious”, set mining would not be profitable if most players, even supposed “good” ones would not pay you off.

Later, at the 2-5 level, he explains there are times you need to violate this rule, as always folding to big bets at higher levels will become as big a leak as never folding. Next time I pay someone off, and it will happen; now I have a framework to decide if it was the right decision.

Many people, who have read all of Ed’s books and articles, may wonder if this is just a repetition of previous work. For me, The Course reinforce some of the things I knew, and explained things in a way that finally got through my brain. The chapter on getting 3 streets of value from good hands was well worth the price of admission.

This is one poker book where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. When you go through the entire journey with Ed, from answering the question where does the money come to taking on the pros, you emerge as a better player. I have already read the book several times, something I normally never do. It is that good.

For a serious player, The Course will become the one book you always reread on the flight to Vegas.

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful.
NOT some magic bullet vague tip like “don’t pay off
By Alvin
Ed Miller’s been writing poker strategy books for a while now, and he’s clearly very successful at marketing, promoting, and publishing new work constantly.

But here’s the problem: new poker theory isn’t coming out at the same pace poker strategy materials are being produced. This goes quadruple for the lower stakes games ($100NL and below online, or $2/5 live), where basic theory and a solid fundamental understanding of the game is the key to winning, NOT some magic bullet vague tip like “don’t pay off.” In fact, I would actually argue that much of the information in this book is even technically inaccurate, which for a beginner might as well read as “burn money.” This is coming from a professional mid-stakes no-limit player and former poker video producer.

Here’s an example from the book, also used in Ed Miller’s hand-of-the-week e-mailing list:

“It’s a $2-$5 game in Las Vegas. Your opponent is a typical regular player at the stakes. You’re playing $1,000 stacks.

A player opens for $20 from three off the button. You call in the cutoff with K♦Q♦. The blinds fold. There’s $47 in the pot. The flop comes T♦9♠6♠. Your opponent bets $30. What should you do?

***

Raise. This is a dynamic flop that your opponent, an out-of-position pre-flop raiser, should be checking a lot. But if this player is like most at 2-5, there’s a good chance he’s unaware of these subtleties, or he is aware, but he makes so much money firing barrels he’s going to fire away until given a reason not to.”

So if you’re an experienced player, you’ll realize that on the flop you have two over, a gutshot, and a backdoor flush draw, which is a lot of equity to see a turn in position with. In fact, raising is significantly worse than calling, because you risk getting re-raised on the flop, deep, in position, with a hand that isn’t good enough to happily fold like A6.

In fact, not seeing turns in position here is arguably one of the hallmarks of a weaker player, because it’s not abusing the single biggest strength you have as a player, 200BB deep: position. Weaker players want to end the hand and get the immediate feedback of winning a pot; weaker players care about dragging pots while strong players care about winning bets. I think a 2+2 book said that, so it’s funny to see a hand where that concept is clearly applied poorly.

For what it’s worth, no strong players recommend Ed Miller’s books, or any 2+2 book except Matthew Janda’s, which is fantastic. But if you think 2+2 is offering new or cutting edge information, information you can’t read off of forums and digests across the internet (to be fair, mostly on 2+2), then you’ve been fooled by the advertising.

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful.
The Course: Serious Hold’Em Strategy For Smart Players
By Bill Conklin
Book Review:

The Course: Serious Holdem Strategy for Smart Players by Ed Miller 303 pages
To be released on 4/28/2015
This is the ninth book written by Ed Miller, concerning Texas Hold’Em poker cash games. Some of the earlier books were written in concert with other authors, but all the recent ones were written solely by Miller, and concern the play of the no limit, cash version of the game. Ed is a very bright, well-educated fellow, very experienced in $1-2, $2-5 and $5-10 no limit games as played in Las Vegas, and across the country. He is a highly respected player, author and teacher.
The Course is designed for players at these levels, to enable them to win the games they currently play, and perhaps move up a level successfully. New concepts are presented in an interesting and coherent manner, and many are new ideas that even very experienced players may not have considered before. Ed has a unique ability to see what others don’t know or understand, and to lead them to the right questions to ask, and to the right answers. That ability shows up in this book.
While many of the concepts are not simple, Ed presents them in an understandable way that makes them easy to absorb and retain, and put into your game. There is virtually no “math” to speak of, though the needed math concepts are woven into the material seamlessly. “Math-phobics” need not fear!
An over-riding theme throughout the book is the idea that almost all low-level Hold’em players at these games play far too many hands, a fact which we need to understood and use advantageously. This central idea shows up one way or another in every one of the “skills” throughout the book.
The Course is arranged into three basic sections; one each for $1-2, $2-5, and $5-10 NLHE. Within each section there are several chapters, each presenting “skills” the player will need for success at that level. For example, in the $1-2 section, three “skills” are presented: preflop play, avoiding paying off opponents, and understanding the real value of our own hand, relative to likely hands the opponent might be playing. Each of the skills feeds into the next, for use as a building block.
The focus of the sections differs, too. The first section, on $1-2, has the reader concerned primarily with his own cards, the problems he may have, and how best to play.
The second section, for $2-5 NL contains four skills and focusses much more on the other players in the game, what cards they may be playing, what their strategies might be, and how to use that information productively. Betting skills, tells, reading the opponent and evaluating the texture of the board cards are key ideas in this section, along with understanding one’s own emotions effectively.
The third section is devoted to an introduction to $5-10 NLHE, and to the skills required for success at that level. The key factor here is coping with aggression, taking on “professional players,” and playing with deep stacks for much larger sums than in the earlier two sections.
Each of the sections ends with a “Hand Quiz” in which hands are presented as unknowns, with discussion, to emphasize points made in that section.
The book is not a difficult read. Quite the contrary, in fact. I found it very interesting and enjoyable, and was able to gather a number of useful ideas for my own game. I believe even knowledgeable, experienced players will be pleasantly surprised with the amount of useful new information they find in the book.
My prediction is The Course will be very popular and will soon be known as one of the very best books on No-Limit Cash games. It was a pleasure to be able to review the book!
#excellent; #thenuts; #lovedit!.
Bill Conklin

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