Ligaz11 Review of When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em



I’ve read many poker books by many authors who have made extreme claims about their own qualifications as an author and to the benefit that might be realized by reading their book. None of them have made the sorts of claims that self described “genius extraordinaire” William Barnes has made about his book, When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em. In his own words, “Expect to discover more Hold ‘Em Poker information and enlightenment in this book than in all the bookstores and libraries of the world.” An extreme claim to be sure. Can this book live up to its own promotion?


The book consists of three parts. The first part consists of letters Barnes has sent to various luminaries correcting articles they have written. Mostly, these letters correct some luminary’s incorrect use of some term describing statistical measure such as “odds” or “probability”. Sometimes, the target of Barnes’ friendly barbs has made some other misstatement or fallen victim to some simple logical fallacy. I believe most people would consider these corrective missives to be pedantic, but with some effort I can bring myself to understand why Mr. Barnes would feel compelled to send them. What I can’t figure out is why he would think anyone would care about the letters he sent?


The second section, and the bulk of the book, is a set of quizzes on various ligaz11 Hold’em related math problems. Some of them are interesting but most cover situations that are covered in other books, such as calculating the probability of hitting a runner-runner flush if one has three cards to a flush on the flop. It’s useful for a Hold’em player to be able to come up with reasonable answers to questions like these, but being able to calculate …