Shuffle Up and Deal: The Ultimate No Limit Texas Hold‘Em Guide
Reviewed by Debra Dragon  

Mike Sexton has the World Series of Poker bracelet that gives him the right to put out an “instruction manual” for playing No Limit Texas Hold‘Em. His poker career has flourished, and the bracelet is proof that he knows what he’s talking about! Along with his own European poker champion success story, Mr. Sexton is the commentator and spokesman of the highly popular World Poker Tour, created by Steve Lipscomb, and the host for the extremely popular He takes his personal experience of the game and turns it into solid tips and strategies you can put to use to improve your own game.

The book is 184 pages of quality information poker players can actually use. While most of the book is based on No Limit strategies and techniques, there are a few chapters that are less strategy and more of an entertaining read. The introduction, written by Steve Lipscomb, President and Founder of the WPT, explains the history of The World Poker Tour. This chapter reads more like a novel than a strategy book, and is highly informative about what gave Steve the idea, how he built upon the initial idea of putting poker on television in a way that would make people actually want to watch it, and how the WPT turned into a fully operational, televised poker league with millions of viewers every Wednesday night on the Travel Channel.

The first few chapters are the strategy chapters. You’ll learn the basics of No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, what skills and personality characteristics separate the winners of poker from the losers, proven strategies for winning No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em games and tournaments. Chapter 6 covers the “key hands”, and how they should be played under each possible circumstance. How to read your opponent, raising over the top, and going all in while short stacked are just a few of the key hands that are covered in this section. Detailed information regarding betting strategies (how much to bet, when to do it, etc), bluffing and slow playing techniques are also covered.

Chapter 7 introduces readers to the World Poker Tour Final Table players of several seasons. You can read mini-profiles of each of the final table players, and learn what skills they possess that helped them make it that far. While not a chapter offering specific strategy tips, you can still gain a lot by understanding what works for some of the legendary poker players.

One of the nicest features of Shuffle Up and Deal is how the strategy chapters are broken up into little segments. This makes for an easy to read, fast moving book that you can read through sequentially the first time you read the book, simply moving from one page to the next until you finish and then can easily go back and find specific areas of interest when you want to study a technique or tip just by scanning the headlines of each segment of the chapters.

Of interest to many readers is Chapter 8: “How to Beat Online Poker”. This is a very extensive look at strategies that are specific to the online world of Texas Hold ‘Em. You’ll learn the differences between playing on the felt tables of casino poker rooms and playing among people from all over the world on your computer- because while poker is poker, the online environment is a little different than sitting across from your opponents at the tables, and requires a slightly different approach.

There is even a fairly detailed chapter involving setting up a home “World Poker Tour” tournament. Basically, Mike Sexton gives you his personal accounts of some home games he’s played, and one with celebrity Ben Affleck in particular, as well as information about setting up your blind structure, play times, and how to handle misdeals, betting out of turn or other mishaps that can and will occur in home games. This chapter is laid out in a step-by-step format, so you could easily follow Mike’s advice to organizing your own home tournament from start to finish.

“Shuffle Up and Deal” is an ideal book for both beginners and experienced poker players. Beginners can read the book from start to finish to gain a strong understanding of the fundamentals of No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em, while more seasoned players can use the strategies described to hone their own skills and improve their game- hopefully to bring them into championship level of play, whether that be at home games, online, or in casino tournaments.

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