Home Articles Books Coaching Free Stuff About

Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em Excerpt: How Far Should Bill Go To Unbalance His Line?

Don't miss one article! Subscribe to the Full Feed RSS or get NPA in your inbox.

Today we completed all the editing on the new e-book Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em. This is a big milestone. The book is now final. All we have left to do is layout (basically make it look pretty) and then a final proofreading pass to make sure the prettying process didn’t break anything.

Editing took a few weeks longer than we anticipated, mainly due to complications from having three authors. But it’s done. Here’s what to expect now:

  • In about a week we’ll announce a firm release date. Release will likely be in or about the first half of June.
  • We will be offering a variety of payment methods. If we don’t offer a method that is convenient for you, you can email us and we will work something out.

I’ll make all the important announcements here, so if you’re reading this post, you’re in the right place.

And now for today’s excerpt from the section on Range Balancing.

How Far Should Bill Go [To Unbalance His Line]?

How far does Bill need to go to fix his unbalanced line? Unfortunately, there is no math answer to this problem. Too much depends on opponents, game conditions, and what street you are on. However, there are a few guidelines to follow.

The remainder of this article is insider content available to premium members only. Log in to your account or become a premium member and get instant access.

Tags: , , , , ,

40 Responses to “Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em Excerpt: How Far Should Bill Go To Unbalance His Line?”

Alessio Ferranti
@ Wed May 13, 2009 12:12:20 AM

I hope the book will contain more interesting and clear material because this excerpt looks like a difficult way to say – mix it up your game.

@ Wed May 13, 2009 12:44:52 AM

boo@2p2 for locking the thread just because 1 idiot asked about the price

@ Wed May 13, 2009 01:05:28 AM

Normally I like your suggestions but this one is not that great. My advice to SSNL players would be:

- Don’t worry about balance until your opponents starts to think in terms of ranges.

- Don’t worry balance until they start exploting you.

- Don’t worry about balance until you play against the very best 200NL players and the best 400NL players.

But do worry about you opponent’s ranges and how you can exploit them.

@ Wed May 13, 2009 01:52:44 AM


I think this part appears in the “Beyond $1/$2″ section and thus may be more appropriate advice. I think it’s sexy stuff.

@ Wed May 13, 2009 04:06:50 AM


I really like this blurb. This is something we constantly hear Leatherass talk about.. balancing lines. Not only does he talk about balancing lines, but also gives advice about studying the most common lines people take in given situations and exploiting them. I hope you cover these concepts in the book.

Personally, I never liked the ‘mix up your play’ mantra that’s often spouted. I think balancing particular lines based on player/table dynamics is far better advice. I mean, sure, I could mix it up constantly, be incredible difficult to read and at the same time leaving money on the table. You cover this quite a bit in your Stox videos, so I have to assume it’ll be in the book as well.

@ Wed May 13, 2009 04:11:05 AM


“- Don’t worry about balance until you play against the very best 200NL players and the best 400NL players.”

I can see this being true with fullring, but this has certainly not been my experience in 6 max. I find the 1/2 6 max games filled with decent players that tend to pay attention to common lines opponents take. A year ago, I would agree with you 100%, but I just see the competition getting much stronger at 1/2 and 2/4.

@ Thu May 14, 2009 08:28:51 AM

Awesome. I’m excited that this book is going to talk about line balancing. Looking forward to it!

@ Fri May 15, 2009 12:39:03 PM

Anymore teasers coming? :)

@ Fri May 15, 2009 09:01:24 PM

Ed, a while back you said you were going to look into making printed copies available. How is that coming along? Thanks.

Ed Miller
@ Sat May 16, 2009 08:39:34 AM

We are planning to print up some copies to make available to people who have bought the e-book and want both versions. They probably won’t be available for a couple of months after e-book release.

@ Sat May 16, 2009 04:11:29 PM

Does this mean the e-book will not be printable?

@ Sat May 16, 2009 04:54:41 PM


i hope that it doesn’t mean this. i definitely won’t buy the book if i can’t print it out, although i am realy looking forward to.

i hope also neteller will be a purchase-option!

hope to hear more infos about that from you ed!


@ Sat May 16, 2009 04:56:46 PM

another question (i forgot ask it in my posting before). how do you see your new book in comparism to bill vosti’s e-book?

thx for the info!

@ Sun May 17, 2009 12:09:00 AM

. . . just listening to my Chris Brown CD, reading the Malleus Maleficarum.

@ Tue May 19, 2009 09:02:27 AM

It’s like counting down to Christmas as a kid. :)

@ Tue May 19, 2009 01:03:21 PM

This book better is the nuts (in terms of books). I love your stuff, Ed, but 39.99 for an E-Book is on the very steep side.

Look at it that way: When you publish through a publising house, you get maybe 20 percent of the copy price if its a fantastic deal. The typical 2plus2-price is 29.99. So that leaves the author with 6 bucks. This book will leave you with 39.99. Good idea! For you.

But not for the readers, im afraid. Because they will not get the “service” the publishing house charges in part for, i.e. getting a printed copy distributed to their house (via amazon) or to a good bookshop.

And for that, they have to pay more? Why? Give me ANY good reason.

I love your books so far, but i seriously doubt ill buy that one. The funniest thing is that you sell it at a “reduced” rate and claim youll sell it for 100!!!!!! later on. Thats just ridiculous. 100 bucks, you get holdem manager for that. Its worth 10k times the price of any book (admitted: not a fair comparison).

Sorry to sound harsh, again, youre great and i love your stuff. But i feel this is a bad idea. For us, and for you. Cause people just wont buy into that deal. Maybe a few hundred. But nothing close to the numbers youd get publishing it properly. And rightfully so.

@ Tue May 19, 2009 02:20:23 PM

@str8 +1 (exactly!!!!)

additionally I think, that such a reduction is only to create a hype, so that people don’t think about the $40 bucks. and compared to other really good poker books this one is much more expensive like “standard” poker books.

I won’t be rude, but I really think those pricing ($100) is effrontery and far away from reality

Ed Miller
@ Tue May 19, 2009 02:31:39 PM

Hey guys,

Regarding the price I wrote the following over at Stoxpoker:

With respect to pricing… we’ve chosen this price because we think this is what the book is worth. Well, actually we think the book is worth significantly more than $100, but you can’t always expect people to pay exactly what you think something is worth.

Why do I think the book is worth $100? I think this book is going to be huge for a lot of people. I think a number of people who are barely beating 50NL are going to read this book and, as a direct result, start moving up to and through 200NL with a nice winrate along the way. The book will easily be worth $10k or more to them. Obviously I know a lot of people won’t get quite that much value from it… but it’s honestly hard for me to imagine someone in the target audience (serious players who play 400NL and below) NOT getting $100 of value from the book.

I’m really proud of this book. It is a reasonably comprehensive guide to winning lots of money at 200NL…. the reasonably comprehensive part being key. Everyone who isn’t yet winning lots of money at 200NL will see in one place, organized logically and carefully explained, what it takes to do so. I guarantee that in two years people will be emailing me saying that this book launched their pro no-limit careers. I’ve received probably fifty such stories regarding my first book Small Stakes Hold’em (including ones from Leatherass and Cottonseed who I think got their money’s worth from the book), and I think this book will be the same way.

Comparing it to currently available paper poker books isn’t really fair. Most paper poker books aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. The rest are, in my opinion, underpriced. I didn’t set the price on my previous books, but if I had, I’d have priced several of them higher than the price 2+2 set. Is Small Stakes Hold’em really only worth $25 when guys are reading it and some of them are then going on to win millions?

Anyway, in the end things are worth what people will pay for them. I think this is a fair price that lots of people will buy the book and feel like they got way more than their money’s worth. But I could easily be wrong. If we release the book and three people buy it, then we’ll no doubt put our tails between our legs and rethink the whole thing.

@ Tue May 19, 2009 04:54:49 PM


There is no doubt that your book will help some start a sucessful poker career and generate a great deal of cash. But others will read the book, try what you suggest and still lose money at poker.

How many people read your first book compared to the 50 that started careers?

My point is that you don’t price your product based on what is possible for a small percentage of the readers. The future value to them is high, but they won’t know it until after the sale. The

The price should be set at the point of the authors highest EV (price * # of copies sold).

To me, I will pay $40 if I happen to notice it comes on sale and pre-order. But I won’t pay $100. To me there are other good sources of poker information that are available at a lower price point.

@ Tue May 19, 2009 04:55:26 PM

These guys better not find out about Baluga’s new ebook–$300 for volume 1; $700 for vol 2!

@ Tue May 19, 2009 06:29:18 PM

These guys should go bag on baluga whale – his ebook is $300 for volume 1!

@ Tue May 19, 2009 11:42:32 PM

All poker books are underpriced if you look at their ‘worth’ to the studious buyer. That said, I’ll buy the book, but don’t like the trend as all the other books I’ve bought have been a steal. Yes, that includes Helmuth’s inaugural ridiculous book, and even Phil Busto’s little green book, and a Vorhaus book….

But, the bulk of the market for poker books, even advanced ones, is NOT winning players IMO. Hence the paradox, but I trust smarter guys than I like Ed to experiment with the market more than I trust my judgment.

I surely hope they are wrong for purely selfish reasons.

Also, if limon ever wrote a book, I’d pay $1000 easily for it sight unseen.

Alessio Ferranti
@ Wed May 20, 2009 12:42:54 AM

Ed, your reasoning is completely flawed. How much would have Einstein sold his Theory of Relativity based on your reasoning? A million dollars? MLG is right, how many go bust following your advices? You’ll never know but they are surely the majority. And who will be a winner in the long term, would have been a winner even without your book. There will never be a book that will change a loser in a winner in two or three hundred pages.

@ Wed May 20, 2009 12:47:52 AM

@Alessio Ferranti

Wrong sir, please consider the Theory of Poker or Hold Em for Advanced Players, or Small Stakes Hold Em or Getting Started in Hold Em. or Phil Helmuth’s (scratch PH part)

@ Wed May 20, 2009 02:13:54 AM

Writing as one of the idiots who paid 300 bucks for Baluga’s 39(!!!) pages of advice in volume one, I’m looking forward to buying this reasonably priced ebook.

@ Wed May 20, 2009 04:12:21 AM

I guess it’s a matter of perspective. As a live 2/5 (sometimes 5/10), I’d easily pay a couple hundred dollars for one or two good tips that would help my winrate.

I’m not knocking the guys that don’t feel $100 (or $40?!?!) is fair, simply giving a different point of view.

Personally, I wish you were charging Baluga’s prices. It’s true, training material does offer opponents the opportunity to misapply the information in context. However, you’re great at breaking down difficult concepts into easy to digest slices. My games are about to get a bit harder.

@ Wed May 20, 2009 04:20:35 AM

Oops accidentally trimmed this off:

Slowhabit/CTS released a book for $1800. It’s getting amazing reviews.

@ Wed May 20, 2009 10:36:37 AM

And let’s not forget Aejones’s audio product for $5,000. Personally, it’s all about opportunity cost to me. Ok.. sorry for all the short posts.

@ Fri May 22, 2009 04:45:06 PM

Honestly I am perplexed why anyone would pay hundreds for one of Baluga’s e-books. Sure he is a fantastic player and charges almost 1k/hour for coaching, but I have watched all his videos (free) and am perplexed as to what an e-book can really add beyond what was in those. If I played 10/20 NL I might have a different perspective (and fatter wallet).

Now if Ed wrote an e-book coherently detailing all Baluga’s video wisdom- that would be worth $100.

That’s kinda how I’m thinking about Ed’s new book here.

Ace X
@ Sun May 24, 2009 11:15:45 AM

I have no experience with e-books so this can be a dumb question, but on the website of the book, it says that the advantage of the book is that it can easily be updated as the game evolves.

My question is will updates be free or not ?

@ Sun May 24, 2009 01:24:21 PM


“Sure he is a fantastic player and charges almost 1k/hour for coaching, but I have watched all his videos (free) and am perplexed as to what an e-book can really add beyond what was in those.”

Fantastic point. I think both items go hand and hand for any serious poker player. Once Ed releases his book, I plan to use those insights and revisit his videos on Stox. You gain a lot from videos, however, I believe a good book can go deeper into the concepts introduced in the videos.

By trade, I’m a CS college instructor. When I’m prepping for a course, here’s how I’ll usually tackle it:

1. I’ll start with any professional training videos (ex: Advanced algorithms using Java).

2. I’ll then read a book (or some type of professional publication) on the topic to gain a deeper understanding of concepts the videos just didn’t have time to go into.

3. I’ll then apply it real world.

When the class comes back around, I have a number of choices. If I need just a quick recap, I’ll opt for the videos. If there is a topic I’m still a bit shaky on, I’ll pick up the book for a deeper look at THAT specific topic (ex: spanning tree algorithms).

That’s just my approach to education.. I know everyone has their own flavor.

************ ED ***********

What are your thoughts on the comparison? Why should someone buy your book over just watching the videos you produced?

Little Old Lady
@ Sun May 24, 2009 02:48:29 PM

Well, I’m not Ed, but the new book contains Matt and Sunny’s insights, not just Edward’s, and as far as I know Matt and Sunny do not have videos available. Edward has been formatting the book all weekend, and it is roughly 300 pp give or take, so it’s a full-fledged book with a lot of material.

@ Sun May 24, 2009 04:49:07 PM


Here’s an idea. What if the authors made a series of videos illustrating concepts from the book? The e-book could turn into it’s own mini training site. A mundane e-book by itself really doesn’t utilize the power of the internet. Now, that would be worth $100…
Little Old Lady

Good point about Matt and Sunny.

Ed Miller
@ Sun May 24, 2009 04:53:47 PM

Ace X:

It will work basically like software. All modest updates will be free. If we create a second edition including, say, 50+ pages of new material – it may be free or we may sell it again as a 2nd edition. This ebook think is a bit of an experiment so we don’t know exactly how things will turn out down the line.


I think this book will be extremely valuable to people who watch my videos. It’s easy to say, “It’s all the same material, so why get it twice” but there are two reasons I think the book will be very worthwhile to a Stox member:

1. It’s certainly not all the same material.
2. It’s in a black-and-white, “condensed” format.

You’d have to watch probably 50+ hours of videos to even begin to get all the information that’s in this book. Books can be used as references while videos, not so much.

It’s kind of like asking “Why buy the text book for a class when you’re just going to go to the lectures anyway?” Anyone who has taken a class probably feels like both the lectures AND the text book are useful.

@ Mon May 25, 2009 06:17:56 AM

To the guys complaining, you are entitled to your viewpoint, naturally. But I think you need to look at this book in a different way. It’s not a Danielle Steele romance novel, it’s a technical book to help someone in a profession.

For one thing, even though I think this book will be immensely popular ( I’m one of the ones Ed is talking about with SS , messaged not emailed) it’s not going to sell a zillion copies like a general interest book might. So for the smaller target audience i think your work has to be priced accordingly.

As an instruction book in a profession you are going to further your career along and make LOTS more money. Again, reflected in the price. Do I want to drop a $100, well, that’s hypothetical because Ed and the Boyz are offering an awesome pre-order price ( thank you Ed ). I took organic chemistry many years ago and my book cost a decent amount more than Ed’s full price.

So, do I think it’s overpriced, no. Back in the days of 03 I started playing online. I was reluctant to drop more cash on pokertracker starting out and I’m sure many were happy as I moved up stakes quickly and then got my ass handed to me. And, on that topic, if I could have Ed’s book available when I started playing I would have, in retrospect, been lucky and glad to get it for $100.

In closing, free speech means you have the rigt to bitch about the price. But, free enterprise means you can set the value on your work and knowledge. Then people can buy it or not.

@ Mon May 25, 2009 08:55:27 AM


sorry but you didn’t answer two very important questions for me:

1.) will i be able to print out the book, as i hate nothing more than to read books on the monitor

2.) will neteller (would be the prefered option) or site-transfer @stars or @ftp be possible as i have no creditcard?

thx for your answers!

Little Old Lady
@ Mon May 25, 2009 10:26:54 AM

Zam, Edward is traveling, so I will answer your first question. Yes, the book will be able to be printed. It is formatted with the correct margins for binding too. As for the second question, I know that a number of payment options have been set up to accommodate an international poker-playing target audience, but I don’t the specifics.

@ Mon May 25, 2009 12:54:22 PM

@ Little Old Lady: THX!

Ed Miller
@ Wed May 27, 2009 09:26:13 AM


Yes, you can print the book. We also plan to offer at some point paper books at as an add-on for those who have bought the e-book, but we probably won’t have the paper books for a couple months after release.

FTP transfer most likely of those three. Probably not Stars or Neteller.

@ Fri May 29, 2009 08:29:42 AM

Hey Ed,

Are you still on target for a June release?

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>