More Hold’em Excellence is renowned Card Player author Lou Krieger’s follow-on to his book Hold’em Excellence. While the first was an introduction playing a winning game of Texas Hold’em, the second goes further than just the basics, attempting to impart the correct decision making skills in the reader so they can take their game to an even higher level.
I would divide this book into three sections. The first section deals with some review material and gives general advice on topics like position, what decisions are more important, being aggressive, etc.. In my opinion, the review material is tedious in any sequel such as this one, but it was probably the publisher’s decision to include it. It’s also short enough not to be terribly distracting. The general advice looks generally correct to me, but most players who have played a little and read Krieger’s previous book, Hold’em Excellence, and have played a bit are likely to be able to answer a reasonable quiz on the section without having read it.
What I would categorize as the second section deals with starting hands and how they relate to position in more depth than in the author’s previous book. Most of the advice is pretty good, although maybe a tad loose for my tastes, but also pretty much in line with what other authors have recommended. One thing I don’t think Krieger emphasizes enough is that many hands that are worth bringing it in with for a raise in late position are hands that one shouldn’t consider calling two bets cold with, or often even calling with if there are a couple of early position limpers.
The third section, covering just over half the book, is a collection of loosely related essays that seem to have mostly been culled from Krieger’s Card Slot Player articles. In quality, these range from pretty banal to seriously good. I like essays like “Aggression” and “Counting Heads”, but “Your Bankroll–How Much Do You Need” is lifted almost entirely (with attribution) from an essay in Mason Malmuth’s Gambling Theory and Other Topics. Restating another essay seems reasonable to me when you’re trying to crank out 26 columns a year for a magazine, but why include it in a book?
As another example, in a couple of essays, Krieger talks about questions of preserving a professional player’s bankroll vs. extracting money from one’s winnings to live off, and he gives the sage advice to “not eat one’s seed corn”. However, it seems to me that the essay ends before Krieger has really driven home his point. While this may be a necessity given the word constraints of being a magazine columnist, I would have like to have seen more effort go into tying these essays together and extending them where appropriate.
Overall, the book contains little bad advice, but like Krieger’s previous book, I fear there’s little here that the book-reading intermediate poker player isn’t already very familiar with. Again, poker book junkies won’t be offended by anything in the pages of More Hold’em Excellence, and those who haven’t read many poker books may find it contains much valuable information, although I would suggest that there are more efficient directions in which that reader should expand their library.
Although a reasonable Intermediate level book on Texas Hold’em, More Hold’em Excellence doesn’t contain a great deal of novel additions to the information base already available on playing poker well. Also, I believe that Krieger often doesn’t drive home the good points he does make strongly enough, and that the former Card Player articles that are the basis for the essays in the back half of the book could have used some more expansion and should have been tied together tighter. It’s not a bad book, but I don’t believe that any poker player with a decent library won’t gain very much from reading it.