“Poker For Dummies”: the book becomes a game

by ~ August 19th, 2008. Filed under: Basics of poker.

EA games has decided to take the “For Dummies” instructional book series and build interactive “games” out of them. The first in this series takes on the “Poker For Dummies” book, with others to follow.


I don’t recall whether I read the “Poker For Dummies” book or not; I read a bunch of different books when I was starting out. Most were quite forgettable, so I can’t say how closely this follows the book. I can say that this game is pretty much for dummies though. Not that that is a bad thing, if you are in fact a poker dummy.

“Poker For Dummies” covers very very basics of poker, though it does include Omaha and 7 Card Stud as well as Hold’em. There are rules, hand values, tests, then a simulator to practise, with a “Poker Coach”.

The simulator is 4 handed, which is not a typical table for on-line play. I didn’t test it closely enough to see if it’s making adjustments for short table strategy or not. It’s obviously much simpler to build a simulator for limit than for no-limit, so all the games are limit versions only.

Some quibbles; preflop the coach will say “Just call. Let’s see where this goes.” I think that’s bad wording just because waaay too many beginners think that exact same thing and play too many hands. I don’t necessarily dislike the strategy, especially as it is limit poker, it’s just that the wording is something that beginners will too easily get addicted to using in their own games.

Another comment; I tried Omaha, and the cards are so big and the table so small it’s hard to tell who is sitting where. If you give the demo a try you’ll see what I mean.

Also, if you get in a reraising battle, it would be nice if the “coach” told you something like, “Fold, it’s obvious he thinks his hand is better than yours” or something, rather than giving you the same “fold’ message that it says when you totally miss the board to begin with. You’re folding for a different reason, not because you totally missed the board.

After working out with the “Poker coach”, then you can progress to playing poker against the simulator, with up to 6 at a table, with at starting bankroll and higher buyin levels that you can aspire to.


If you or someone you know is really just starting out, it’s worth downloading and using the 60 minute trial version (available as a free download on www.pogo.com) to learn the rules of poker and hand values. If you’re beyond that stage, it’s not much use.

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