“Poker Plays You Can Use” Review

[SS] “Perfect timing that you joined us just now, Iggy”, greeted Stan the Stat. “We were just discussing New Year’s Resolutions, and the first section was about improving your game!”

[II] “Oh, yeah. Half of my resolutions this year are about getting better at Hold ‘Em!” Iggy the Improver volunteered.

[RR] “What about the other fifty? {Chuckles.} How many new poker books did you get for Christmas?” Roderick the Rock asked.

[II] “Just two, but they’re really good ones.”

[SS] “Do tell.”

[II] “The first one is Poker Plays You Can Use by Doug Hull.”

[RR] “I’ve never heard of it…, or him.”

[II] “He’s not famous… yet. But his advice is very sensible without being obvious, straightforward without being dull. And, Stan, you’d really like the way he’s organized his book! Each ‘play’ is categorized by the weaknesses it exploits, the skills it uses, and a difficulty level.”

[SS] “That sounds awesome.”

[II] “Hull groups the plays by type and indicates the most closely related plays.”

[RR] “Can you give us an example?”

[II] “The sections are ‘Bluffs and Semi-bluffs’, ‘Getting Value’, ‘Good Folds’, and ‘Three-bet pots’.1 Since the first section contains almost sixty percent of the plays, here’s a medium-difficulty play from there.”

[II] “‘When a bad barreling card comes, wait for the river.’ This play takes advantage of tight, predictable opponents by utilizing the two-barrel bluff in your arsenal. After raising preflop and getting your continuation bet called by a nit, it may make sense to check the turn and bluff the river instead. For example, out of position, holding 8♥8♦ on a 3♠7♦9♥6♣ board, your opponent is likely ahead with top pair or an overpair and will call if you semi-bluff the turn with your straight draw and second pair. If he checks behind, however, when a K♣ appears on the river, you can represent top pair and take down the pot with a healthy river bet.”

Title Poker Plays You Can Use
Author Doug Hull
Year 2013
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Pros Very well organized. Provides immediately useful suggestions. Includes in-game exercises to improve your skills.
Cons Too brief despite containing 306 pages (as that includes the exercises and appendixes)! With almost fifty plays, each play gets only about five pages. Also a tad pricey (list price $49.99 paperback, $44.99 ebook), although it has gone on sale at least once.
Rating 4.5


  1. Both Rod and Stan would have had a minor quibble with the inconsistent capitalization, but that’s the wrong type of nit to pick on in this blog.
Brought to you by Poker Omnibus W50P, the incredible World Series of Poker history app for iPhone & iPad.