Play Poker Like the Pros by Phil Hellmuth — An Unbiased Review


8.7 Total Score

People can love him or hate him, but one thing’s for certain — no one can stay indifferent when Phil Hellmuth is concerned. His versatile style of play has made him an important figure in the poker world, which is why his book Play Poker Like the Pros has drawn a lot of attention…

PROS
  • Free with Audible
  • The strategy for beginners is well explained.
  • Readers get insight into Hellmuth’s unique style of play.
  • Real examples are offered.
  • Omaha, Seven-Card Stud strategies are included
CONS
  • A large portion of the book focuses on the Limit game.
  • There aren’t enough hand examples.
  • Not enough advanced strategies.
  • Too much Phil’s ego.
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Book and Author Information

play_poker_like_the_pros_book_review(1)Play Poker Like the Pros was published by HarperCollins Publishing Company in 2009. This 419-page book was written by Phil Hellmuth, a poker legend with 15 WSOP bracelets. In 2007, he was introduced to the Poker Hall of Fame. In addition to this book, Hellmuth has also published six other books, including

  • Phil Hellmuth’s Texas Hold’em,
  • Phil Hellmuth Presents Read’em and Reap,
  • Bad Beats and Lucky Draws.

Book Summary

Hellmuth wrote this book to teach his readers how to play and win by following his strategies. In it, you’ll come across Phil’s tournament-tested tips that can help you beat any type of player, such as:

 

  • The Jackal
  • The Elephant
  • The Mouse
  • The Lion.

The opening pages of the book introduce players to the basic rules and setup of Texas Hold’em. Nevertheless, the following section builds on that to explain more advanced gameplay. Then, Hellmuth repeats the same for Omaha and Seven Card Stud. In addition to game strategies, Phil gives useful advice on when to bluff, raise, or fold, which hand to play, and how to read other players.

A separate chapter is dedicated to online poker games, while the final pages talk more about the most popular poker tournaments.


Praise, Critique, and Recommendation

Although the book uses simple language and is easy to read, Hellmuth’s approach is all over the place. He’ll treat you like a complete newbie at times, which is okay since beginner strategies are quite well explained. However, he then moves on to explain how to read other players, which might be overkill, especially if you’re a novice.

The theory part of the book is quite solid and explained in great detail. However, the examples are lacking. Namely, you will get insight into a few hands that have been drawn on the WSOP tournaments, but it’s highly unlikely an occasional player will come across them. That is why those readers who have already developed a certain style may find it difficult to adapt to Hellmuth’s way of playing.

What’s more, throughout the book, Hellmuth hangs onto specific strategies. For example, if you look at the “Limit Hold’em: Beginners Strategy” chapter, you’ll notice that he focuses solely on the top ten hands. In fact, he states,

“Before the flop, then, successful play in Hold’em is pretty darn easy using the top-ten-hands strategy.”

But, many experienced players would disagree with this approach.

Overall, Play Poker Like the Pros is an excellent choice for beginners. The rules and basic setup are easy to understand, while the more advanced strategies could use more examples. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for entertaining literature, you’re better off reading other authors

About Phil Hellmuth

Phillip Jerome Hellmuth Jr. (born July 16, 1964) holds the world record for both most cash finishes at the WSOP (118) and most WSOP final tables (54). His live tournament winnings exceed $18 million. Hellmuth won fifteen World Series of Poker events. In 1989 he won the Main Event and became the youngest player ever to win it. Phil held the record, as the youngest champ, for almost 20 years. You can see full Bio and all his poker books here.

Play Poker Like the Pros - Quotes

"Pick the right stake level for your practice games."

"Most people today misunderstand poker. Let’s be frank: most peo- ple know poker from the low-stakes games they now play (or grew up playing) with their family and friends. In these low-stakes home games, luck often plays a much bigger role than skill."

"Don’t make this the only poker book you ever read. I have a cer- tain natural bias about the value of Play Poker Like the Pros, but un- less you’re a Hellmuth-type savant, there’s other reading you should be doing. It’s impossible to cover everything you need to know about poker in one book, and there are a number of other superb books available to you. By the time you’ve read and absorbed Play Poker Like the Pros, you’ll know enough about poker to be able to recognize the difference between a good poker book and a bad one."

Table Of Content

What Do The Pros Say About Phil?

“Phil Hellmuth gave me the best poker lesson I’ve ever received.”
Matt Damon
“Phil Hellmuth is the best poker tournament player that I have ever played against.”
Johnny Chan
“From the moment I first played poker with Phil I knew that I was witnessing something special.”
Doyle Brunson

Audiobook Play Poker Like the Pros - Sample

Book Details

  • Title: Play Poker Like the Pros
  • Author: Phil Hellmuth
  • Number of Pages: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Game/Theme: NLH, LH, Omaha, Seven Card Stud
  • Live/Online: Both
  • Required Skill Level: Beginner
  • Format Available: Audiobook, E-book, Paperback
  • Free with Kindle Unlimited: No
  • Free with Audible: Yes
  • Publication date: May 6, 2003
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
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