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play poker like the pros

Title: “Play Poker Like The Pros”
Author: Phil Hellmuth Jr.
Facts: “Play Poker Like The Pros” contains 416 pages. It is available in 7 formats on Amazon, with the paperback version costing $12.49 at the time this review was written.

About the author:

phil hellmuth

Everybody knows Phil Hellmuth. He was once known as Poker Brat because of the tantrums he had but nobody ever denies the quality of his game. Hellmuth was voted as the best Poker Tournament player in the world by fellow poker players and is still seen as among the best. On his resume we can clearly highlight his 13 WSOP bracelets out of 51 final tables. This is obviously impressive and he is also one of the winners of the WSOP Main Event and WSOP Europe Main Event. Read more about Phil Hellmuth here!


This book was written for beginners and will be of no use for advanced players. However, keep in mind that you may be one of the Hold’Em experts and not know much about Razz. In this case, the book may help you but the truth is that we are looking at a book that is not seen well by professional players. That is mainly because of the mixed bag approach, one that is no longer that useful in the modern poker world. We say this because the game changed a lot in the past few years, especially because of the evolution of online poker.

There are two problems with “Play Poker Like The Pros”:

  1. Phil often applies high limit and middle limit concepts to low limit games. That can get beginners into trouble as they will most likely play low limit games.
  2. An inconsistency in showing whether the advice offered is for tournament play or cash games.

No Limit Hold’Em Chapter

Since Phil was seen as the best no limit hold’em tournament player in the world for a really long time, this is where we would expect this book to shine. It is also the one section that most people are going to want to read as the number of hold’em players clearly surpasses the total of those that play other games.

This chapter will not really help beginners to master the game. We say this because a lot of really important data is missing. You will be told to put all your money in pre-flop with KK and AA. However, this does not mean that if the pot is $5 you should bet $100. That would almost always lead to the opponent folding.

We are reading a book that is aimed for beginners. If you trust this book you will find yourself not knowing important information like how much to bet, when and why. This is vital in all forms of no limit poker. The lack of clarification about when advice is suitable (cash games or tournaments) will lead to huge holes in a poker player’s game.

Other Chapters

“Play Poker Like The Pros” takes the reader through different poker games and then starts to talk about online poker. At the time the book was written, Phil was associated with Ultimate Bet so it is obvious that there is a lot of talk about that. After the promotional material is out of the way, we are told that we should basically play the top 10 hands (according to Hellmuth, not Slansky) and that is pretty much it. We are offered some general advice for 5 handed games like playing off-suit hands but nothing is really specific.


As you surely already realized, we cannot recommend this book to beginners or basically any other aspiring poker player out there. Those written by David Sklansky will offer you a much better understanding about poker if you are a beginner. If you are an advanced player, you surely already know that this book is not suitable.  The huge problem with “Play Poker Like The Pros” is that the advice is outdated. The game evolved and this book is not helpful, offering some good advice at times but advice that is hard to memorize as it is surrounded by mediocrity.


  • Readability: 9 out of 10 – pretty easy to read
  • Examples: 4 out of 10 – there is a clear lack of examples to fortify examples
  • Advice Quality: 3 out of 10 – outdated information
  • Information Offered: 4 out of 10
  • Overall: 5 out of 10