Lou Krieger is both a professional writer and professional poker player operating out of the Los Angeles area. He also writes a regular column for Card Player magazine. Hold'em Excellence: From Beginner to Winner is Krieger's first poker book. As the name suggests, it is intended to be a book that, if its advice is followed, will guide the reader from a complete novice to a winning player.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part, called Basic Education, is all about getting started. It has really good information on what to expect the first time one steps into a public card room. It also explains what Texas Hold'em is all about and the basics of winning poker play. The introduction to card room procedure is probably the best I've seen written on this topic. The information on the basics is necessary, but routine.
The second part is titled Earning Your Degree. Its focus is to introduce basic winning playing strategies, including information on how to play the first two cards, playing in the blinds, and what one's considerations should be as more cards come out. I agree with most, but not quite all of the information presented here. Most of what I disagree with is either more advanced than the book intends to be or is likely to involve fairly minor differences in opinion.
Krieger calls part three Post Graduate Work. Here he talks about jackpots, money management, keeping records, further study, and several other topics. Again, I think the advice the author gives is generally good. Again, I have minor disagreements about some of the points made, but these are mostly incidental.
Overall, the book presents good advice for an aspiring poker player, and the novice would do well to read and understand what Krieger has written here. The most significant complaint I have with the book is that nothing new has been added to the poker literature here, most all of what is advocated in Hold'em Excellence has been written about elsewhere. There really aren't any breakthroughs nor any fundamentally new ways of presenting this material. What's there is fine and may be useful to players who have not yet read much about poker, but the player with a significant poker library will find little information in this book they haven't already read elsewhere.
In my opinion, I still prefer Winning Low Limit Hold'em as an introductory work, and the 2+2 books and essays for more advanced learning. Admittedly, there are many more pages in those books than there is in Hold'em Excellence, but the serious poker student is likely to acquire them, so I'm not sure they'll learn a lot more by also reading the introductory book by Krieger. Hold'em Excellence still is a fine book on poker, and for a single book may get the novice player furthest along, but its concepts are well covered in other books that have already been written. It works fine, though, for novices or folks who, like me, are poker book junkies.
Krieger's Hold'em Excellence is a good poker book, focusing on taking the reader from complete novice to winning player, but it doesn't add any new poker insights. As a single starting point, it's pretty good, although I still prefer Winning Low Limit Hold'em by Lee Jones, but the information it contains becomes redundant with other sources once the aspiring player expands their poker library.
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