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Internet Texas Hold'em - Matthew Hilger

By Paul McGuire

Matthew Hilger has been playing poker online successfully for the last few years. He has done well in live tournaments, too. He made the money and placed 33rd in the 2004 World Series of Poker and won the 2002 New Zealand Poker Championship. He started playing poker in college and improved his game while in graduate school.

Internet Texas HoldemWhen he took a job with Chiquita Foods in Costa Rica, he began playing in weekly tournaments at the local casino. Little did he know he played and even won against some of the best players in the world like Humberto Brenes. He started to play online after he transferred to Argentina, where gambling is illegal.

From those experiences to today, he shares what he has learned from playing over seven thousand hours online in his book, Internet Texas Hold'em: Winning Strategies from an Internet Pro, which specifically focuses on limit Texas Hold'em. If you are thinking about playing on the internet, this is the book for you.

Hilger's book is roughly broken into nine sections. During the first three, "The Introduction," "Poker Concepts," and "Starting Hands," he gives a general overview about poker which is beneficial to any new player. He includes a few definitions and familiarizes the reader with internet jargon. The charts and graphs he includes are easy to read and he suggests printing them out and keeping them next to the computer while playing.

Hilger spends almost 100 pages discussing the flop. He breaks down the concept further by discussing flopping the nuts, sets/trips, two pair, top pair/overpair, middle/bottom pairs, flush and straight draws, overcards, and my favorite... trash hands.

His strongest section is his thoughts on "The Turn." His discussion on raising on the turn to show the strength of one’s hand instead of slowplaying quickly rubbed off on me. I won a few more pots in recent games instead of losing to suckouts on the river because I failed to properly protect my hand.

Hilger also spends time on "Playing Your Opponent" and "Bankroll Management." He highlights taking advantage of your opponents' strengths and weaknesses. He also talks about the fluctuations that might occur in a bankroll and why the player needs to stick to a formula of 350 big bets to insure he or she does not go broke at that level.

His last chapter is made up of different topics such as site and game selections, online tells, high vs. low limits, stack sizes, playing multiple tables, personal record keeping, taking notes on other players, tournaments, promotions, collusion and cheating.

The end of each section has a "Chapter Review" and a quiz called "Test Your Skills." Hilger asks questions regarding different levels ($3/$6 vs. $10/$20) and gives clear and concise answers. The best parts of his book were the random "Internet Tips" which appear throughout. This one was my favorite:

"On the Internet, players tend to be a little more aggressive than in live play... since many opponents can't resist trying to bluff at a pot." (Hilger, Page 212)

Hilger spends most of his time giving an overview about poker. Although his "Internet Tips" are helpful, he doesn't reveal anything that has not already been discussed in other books of this nature. He only focuses on Limit Texas Hold'em and the reader will not find any tips on playing No Limit nor playing tournaments. His book can be helpful for beginners, but it should not be the first book one reads about poker. It's a solid addition to any poker library, especially for online players looking to improve their games.

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