There’s that saying, “Don’t Mess With Texas”. That’s true, considering the most famous Texans in American history are big-time risk takers, thrill seekers and gamblers. President Bush claims he is from Texas. Meanwhile our university president, Shirley Strum Kenny is a Texas native.

But when it comes to gambling it all and risk-taking, the first thing that comes to mind is Texas Hold’Em Poker. Put the two together and you have Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson, who took all and won back-to-back World Series Of Poker Championships in 1976 and 1977.

With Super System, Brunson and his closest friends explain the basics and fundamentals of No-Limit Texas Hold’Em, Draw Poker, Seven-Card Stud, Limit Hold’Em, Low Ball, Razz and High/Low Split.

In Brunson’s No-Limit tutorial, he shows you how to play down to the wire and bet with a pair of Aces and also Ace/King. At certain points, Brunson shows legendary hands as they really happened at the World Series to demonstrate how to trick your opponents into putting their money into small suited connectors such as 7/6 so you can make straights with them. Better yet, Brunson tells you about nut flushes by having the best of suited cards. He also demonstrates how to play Queens and other low pairs, trouble hands and trash hands.

But it’s more than about the cards laid out on the table. Step by step (pre-flop, flop, turn and river), he teaches you how to be fearless and not be afraid to make big bets to prevent possible straights and help from free cards. In the case of 76♦, Brunson explains why you would go all-in with A/A/Kbecause your opponents don’t know that you have A/K, A/Q, or K/K. Position also plays a factor in Brunson’s strategies in where and what to bet, depending on what you hold.

It doesn’t end with Doyle. His victory and championship streak felt so good to him that the book wouldn’t have been possible without the help of other professional money-makers. Current president of the Mirage Casino, Bobby Baldwin was one of the very few Limit Hold’Em players to transition from the Limit variation and became the 1978 WSOP Champion. Here, Baldwin shows his expertise in the Limit chapter.

Also joining Brunson is the late legend, David “Chip” Reese, and his tutorial on Seven-Card Stud, Joey “Howard Hughes” Hawthorne writing on Lowball and Razz on Seven Card-Low, and David “Einstein” Slansky in his chapter of High-Low Split. Even Jimmy The Greek and another notable Texas hustler, “Amarillo Slim” Preston, stop by to write forewords for Doyle’s book.

But it also wouldn’t be poker without the gaming statistics, and Mike Caro is on hand not only to teach you to win at Draw Poker, but to explain statistics. Caro’s reputation is shown in his extensive work on those statistics, where he shows the probability of how cards appear and the frequency of hands dealt pat. (For example, in a one hour game of 48 hands of Draw Poker, Jacks or better are dealt once every 5 minutes and 35 seconds, where five Aces are dealt once every 38 years!)

For more statistics, the charts appendix in the back gives odds, probabilities and chances of cards dealt for all variations of poker covered in Super System. The charts for Texas Hold’Em show probabilities for basic plays, hands, flops for when a player holds A/Kand Kings and, very interestingly, long shots. Odds are 270,724 to 1 that both players in a heads-up game will have a pair of Aces. The chances of one player being dealt a pair of Aces four times in a row? Only .00000004%.

Doyle delivers very valuable words of wisdom about such subjects as tells, gut feelings and bluffing. Brunson also believes in a no-drinking and no-drugs lifestyle during play, and vacationing to take a break from unlucky streaks. It all proves very important when high stakes are involved. Super System includes a brief autobiography of his ascent from college basketball player to millionaire, and priceless photos of the glory days of 70’s poker.  These touches make it an authentic history book of the poker scene of the 70’s.

The only problem with Super System is that any reader who is very interested in No Limit Texas Hold’Em, but is just starting out may have a little problem in following all the situations Brunson explains. With No-Limit’s complex nature, which requires careful attention to details (what is going on in terms of hands dealt, pot size, what’s on the table, stack size and probability of what could happen), it could be hard to follow the logistics of what exactly to do during certain hands and why it would work. Players may have to read certain parts repeatedly to follow and understand the reasoning behind Doyle’s moves.

Brunson’s timeless Super System, written 30 years ago, is considered the poker player’s bible of Texas Hold’Em, as well as the other games covered in the book. It is written by a true poker legend.  For fifty years, Doyle has played Vegas and the world.  He knows what works and what doesn’t. Amateurs and pros alike will no doubt learn a new thing or two from Super System, to earn their chops at the table and be more confident.

Don’t mess with Texas.


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