Phil Hellmuth can come off as a cocky guy, but let’s face it he has something to be cocky about. Hellmuth has won a record breaking eleven bracelets all in Hold ‘Em mind you. Although he has said statements like “If luck weren’t involved, I guess I’d win every one” you can’t help but appreciate his skill. The “poker brat” as he known has written a book titled Play Poker like the Pros. His book is not exactly what I would call helpful. It is boastful and unhelpful for the most part.
For starters I can do without the long-winded I am so great speech. Too much of the book was dedicated to reminding you why you should take his advice, probably to recompense for the bitter taste his antics leave in your mouth. The book goes into detail about his successful career and his conservative playing style. None of this of course helps the reader. If he and his editors felt it necessary to discuss this then they should have put it in the preface.
Hellmuth makes a big to do about pre-flop choices. He urges players to hold on to pairs, because they can mostly end up profitable. Well, thank goodness for those saps taking his advice, because they are making me money. Hellmuth’s disciples are predictable creatures. In a game of instinct you cannot stick to a procedure. Hellmuth’s instruction cause players to develop distinct playing habits and makes them easy to pick off.
In addition to misguiding new players Hellmuth just down right decides to not inform them at all about the techniques that really make you money. Hellmuth as well as the other poker greats all derive their success from being able to read their opponents. The ability to urge on competition when they have a weak hand and scare them off when they have a strong hand is the powerful secret that he keeps to himself.
Hellmuth’s advice contradicts itself constantly. He gives you a series of scenarios similar to, “if you get hand A you should never fold at stage C, unless a player has hand B.” Which is a issue, because how are you supposed to what hand a player has. The book is filled with “what the heck” moments.
The book does have a small section where Hellmuth compares different kinds of playing styles to animals. It is quite a chuckle that this man considers himself some kind of poker Zen master distributing animal characteristics to playing styles like kung-fu styles.
The most annoying part of his book is the constant interruptions. Hellmuth will be in the middle of explaining an aspect of limit hold’em and he starts giving you a story about no-limit hold’em. His tales of poker pros usually have nothing to do with the advice he was giving to you, and if it is in correlation it usually contradicts what he was telling you to do.
If you want to buy a book on how to play poker please don’t buy this book, because it is a story about Hellmuth’s career and his big win and poker pro friends.