March 18, 2005
In poker circles, Barry Shulman is best known as the publisher of Card Player magazine, but he is a serious player with numerous major tournament victories to his name. Needless to say, this is someone who has a front-row seat to big time poker. He discusses strategy for the game of limit Texas Hold'em in his book, 52 Tips for Texas Hold'em Poker with the assistance of Card Player author, Mark Gregorich.
Even though Shulman's book takes the form of a collection of tips, it covers all aspects of the game of limit Hold'em pretty thoroughly. It is generally aimed at beginning poker players, although those with an intermediate skill level may find some worthwhile material here. The book is divided into six sections. The author discusses general concepts, play on each betting round, and miscellaneous topics. 52 Tips doesn't cover everything, but it turns out to cover a large number of important situations in all aspects of the game.
52 Tips includes both general strategy advice and examples of how the author advises playing in specific situations. The book is well written and clear, as one would hope from an author with the publication resources available to Shulman. The language is straightforward, and its points are generally clear.
I believe that most of the strategic advice in these pages is sound. The examples are interesting and represent situations that a beginning player is likely to face in practice. Despite this there are some places in the book where a more thorough explanation would make certain points the author wishes to make a less ambiguous. 52 Tips for Texas Hold'em Poker is primarily example driven, meaning that the beginning player will often encounter situations that Shulman doesn't cover. This doesn't make it a bad book, but it means that 52 Tips is probably better suited as supplemental material along side a more thorough primary text.
It's my opinion that there are better first books for beginning limit Hold'em players on the market. Despite some ambiguous language and a few inconsistencies, however, 52 Tips for Texas Hold'em Poker is better than a great deal of what's on the market these days. My advice to beginning players would be to choose another book to learn from first, but if Shulman's book finds its way into one's hands or someone is looking for supplemental reading, this book is likely help more than hurt.
Card Player publisher, Barry Shulman, has written 52 Tips for Texas Hold'em Poker as an introductory book on playing limit Texas Hold'em. I believe that there are better beginner books on the market, but Shulman's book is pretty decent. Despite some ambiguities in the text, I believe it will help beginning and intermediate poker players much more than hurt. Consequently, I'm willing to recommend it as supplemental reading for this audience.
Note: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher. I have no other interest, financial or otherwise, in the success of this book.
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