Who Is Joe Tall?

There is no Hold'em Cookbook

I hear new players ask all the time. They come up new versions. They mix the situations around trying to find the answers. When the question is, "How do you play KK when there is an Ace on the flop?" or "Should I raise the flop when I hold four to a flush?", you have come to the right place as I always have the answer.

It depends.

That is the answer to all those questions. The reason for such a profound answer is that there is no hold'em cookbook. It is not a game played with simple ingredients. Phenomenal books have been written about Hold'em such as, Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players by Sklansky and Malmouth and Winning Small Stakes Hold'em by Miller, Sklansky and Malmouth. If you were to pick up one of those great poker works could you find the answer to, "What do I do with 55 on a flop of 883?" No, you could not. What you will find is scenario after scenario that may lead you to the right answer. All those books can do is act as a guide. It is up to you to make the decision.

How does one try to make the correct decision? If it was easy, I would write the cookbook. What you have to do is analyze those ingredients. Which player bet? Who called? What is my position? What are my Pot Odds? What are the hand ranges for my opponents? What is my position according to the aggressor in the hand? There are even more questions to every decision made in a poker hand. The more you can answer these questions correctly and completely, the higher your success rate will be.

How can you get to feel comfortable and confident answering these questions? Practice, read, discuss, learn, debate, think, and then practice some more. The harder you work on your game the better a player you will become.

2006 Joe Tall