The Notes of Phil Gordon's Little Green Book Ⅰ


Chapter 1: The Truth of the Poker Hold’em

The Truth of the Poker Hold’em

The fundamental theorem

Groundbreaking book, The Theory of Poker writes: Every time you play a hand differently from the way you would have played it if you could see all your opponenets’ cards, they gain. It would be always a right decision to bet or raise when you have the best hand, check and fold when you have the worst hand, and call when you have the right pot odds or implied odds to see another card.

Common Mistakes

  • A player overvalues top pair: The average winning hand in Hold’em is two pair. If others take tremendous risks with top pair, you will overbet the pot to put them in a dilemma, or go out of my way to play small pocket pairs against them since I am likely to get paid off in a huge way if you flop a set. !!!(Implied odds)

Value of aggression

The player I fear most at the table are the players who consistently bet and raise. Checkers and callers are usually not threats.

  • Check or call will win only if the best hand is acquired at the showdown.
  • Bet or raise will win either opponents may fold or the best is acquired at the showdown.


If you are in position, you can take advantage of the difficulty of flopping a good hand. Unpaired hole cards (A-K, K-Q, 6-4, etc.) will only flop a pair or better about 35% of the time.

Blinds have a negative expectation

The blinds have a negative expectation primarily because they are the first to act on every round of betting after the flop. The hands the most success playing from out of position are small and medium pocket pairs. Flopping a set is a great way to win a big pot from any position. !!!(Implied odds)

Have a reason to bet

The reason commiting chips into the pot before the flop:

  • To steal the blinds. !!!(steal teh blind)
  • To set up a delayed steal, call from position and after my opponent misses the flop, then intend to take the pot.
  • To isolate a player. !!!(re-raise to Isolate)
  • You think you have the best hand.
  • If you make a hand, opponents will pay you off in a big way. !!!(Pot odds and Implied Odds)

The reason to bet after the flop:

  • There is a reasonable chance opponents will fold.
  • You think opponents have a draw, and you want to either make them pay for the privilege of drawing or make them fold a hand that can catch up.
  • You think you have the best hand.
  • Betting is the only chance to win the pot.

Changing gears

It is always right to keep opponenets guessing as to what mode you are in by changing from one gear to the next.

Big hand big pot, small hand small pot

When an opponent is looing to build a big pot by making a large raise, it is more sensible to throw away most of smaller hands so that you have a better chance of sticking around long enough to get into a big pot with a big hand.