No Limit Hold'em by Tom McEvoy book review
Strategize, Psychologize, Win
No limit texas hold'em by Tom McEvoy

No Limit Hold’em

2004, by Tom McEvoy.

In “No Limit Hold’em,” poker legend Tom McEvoy delves deep into the strategies that have earned him a World Series of Poker bracelet and solidified his reputation in the poker world. This book, published in 2004, combines McEvoy’s decades of experience with comprehensive advice for players aspiring to master No Limit Texas Hold’em. Through detailed explanations and examples, McEvoy guides readers from the basics of hand selection to the complex dynamics of tournament play, emphasizing the psychological aspects that separate good players from great ones.

  • Pros
  • Comprehensive Strategy
  • Tournament Insights
  • Psychological Tactics
  • Accessible Writing
  • Cons
  • Lack of Online Focus
  • Limited Coverage on Cash Games


Overall rating




  • After reading "No Limit Hold’em," you will know:
  • The fundamentals of No Limit Texas Hold'em strategy.
  • How to adjust your play for tournament scenarios.
  • Psychological tactics to use against your opponents.

Whether you're stepping into the arena of No-Limit Hold ’Em tournaments for the first time or an experienced player aiming to elevate your game, this book serves as the perfect guide. Now available at a reduced price, the updated edition is enriched with detailed practice hands and refreshed card illustrations, focusing particularly on tournament play and contemporary tournament structures. Designed for easy comprehension, the book presents seventy-four engaging game scenarios, two distinct betting charts tailored for tournament dynamics, and comprehensive sections on crucial principles and strategies vital for clinching victory. It also features a dedicated segment on triumphing in online tournaments, making it an indispensable resource for aspiring champions.

Mastering the Game: A Deep Dive into No-Limit Hold ’Em Strategy

"No Limit Hold'em" is more than just a strategy guide; it's a window into the mind of a poker champion. McEvoy meticulously breaks down the game, starting with the importance of position, selection of starting hands, and the critical decision-making process on the flop, turn, and river. He then shifts focus to the intricacies of tournament play, including adjusting strategies based on stack size, the pacing of play, and reading opponents. The book's title encapsulates the essence of No Limit Texas Hold'em, where a single decision can either build your stack or end your tournament journey.

Key Insights from "No Limit Hold'em"

  • In-depth Practice Hands: This guide takes a hands-on approach to learning, featuring detailed walkthroughs of practice hands that simulate real tournament scenarios. These examples are not just about the mechanics of play but also emphasize strategic decision-making, helping players understand not just the 'how' but the 'why' behind each move.
  • Updated Card Illustrations: With the game evolving, visual aids have been refreshed to reflect current trends and strategies in tournament play. These new card illustrations serve as a visual guide to help players better understand complex concepts and strategies.
  • Focus on Tournament Play: Recognizing the growing popularity and evolving nature of tournament poker, special emphasis is placed on strategies specific to this format. From navigating the early stages to making crucial decisions at the final table, the book covers it all, with strategies tailored to the unique dynamics of tournament play.
  • Understanding New Tournament Structures: As tournament structures evolve, staying abreast of these changes is crucial. This guide offers insights into modern tournament formats, including adjustments in blind levels and the introduction of new formats like re-entry and bounty tournaments, providing players with the knowledge to adapt and thrive.
  • Easy-to-Read Approach: Designed with clarity in mind, the book presents complex strategies in an accessible manner. Its easy-to-read format ensures that players can grasp sophisticated concepts without getting bogged down in jargon, making advanced strategies understandable for players at all levels.
  • Comprehensive Game Scenarios: With seventy-four game scenarios, players are exposed to a wide range of situations, from common hands to complex conundrums. This variety prepares players for the unpredictability of tournament play, equipping them with the versatility to handle whatever comes their way.
  • Betting Charts for Tournament Play: The inclusion of two unique betting charts provides a visual strategy guide for tournament play, helping players make informed decisions about when to bet, raise, fold, or go all-in based on their position, stack size, and the stage of the tournament.
  • Principles and Strategies for Victory: Beyond specific hands and scenarios, the book delves into the fundamental principles and overarching strategies that form the foundation of successful tournament play. From psychological warfare to risk management, it covers the essential tactics players need to dominate the field.
  • Special Section on Online Tournaments: With the rise of online poker, mastering virtual tournaments has become a key skill. This guide includes a special section dedicated to the nuances of online play, offering strategies for overcoming the unique challenges of digital tables and leveraging technology to gain an edge.

Who Is this book For?

The target audience for Tom McEvoy's guide to No-Limit Hold ’Em tournaments can be precisely delineated into several key player profiles, each of whom stands to gain considerable value from the book's rich insights and strategies. This guide is tailored for:

  • Aspiring Tournament Players: Individuals newly introduced to the competitive poker scene, looking to gain a solid understanding of tournament dynamics and strategies. This book offers foundational knowledge essential for navigating early tournament stages and building a robust skill set.
  • Intermediate Players with Tournament Experience: Players who have some familiarity with tournament play but seek to deepen their strategic approach and improve their results. The book provides advanced concepts and psychological tactics to help these players outmaneuver opponents and make deeper runs in tournaments.
  • Serious Amateurs Seeking Improvement: Dedicated amateur players passionate about the game and committed to improving their performance. They will find McEvoy's insights into tournament preparation, bankroll management, and psychological resilience particularly beneficial.
  • Live Tournament Enthusiasts: Players who primarily participate in live tournament circuits and wish to enhance their understanding of live play nuances. The book's emphasis on reading opponents and managing the unique pressures of live settings will be of significant value.
  • Online Tournament Players Looking for a Live Play Edge: While the book leans more towards live play, online players aiming to transition into live tournaments or seeking to adapt live strategies to the online environment will find useful tactics and considerations for bridging the gap between the two formats.
  • Poker Students and Coaches: Individuals dedicated to studying the game's intricacies or coaching others can leverage the book's comprehensive strategies and psychological insights as a teaching tool, enriching their curriculum and enhancing their students' learning experience.

Tom McEvoy's guide caters to players motivated to refine their tournament strategies and mental game, offering a blend of foundational knowledge, advanced tactics, and psychological insights. By tapping into McEvoy's wealth of experience, players across these profiles can elevate their game, achieve greater tournament success, and navigate the complex landscape of No-Limit Hold ’Em with confidence.

Pros and Cons

  • Comprehensive Strategy: Offers a deep dive into both fundamental and advanced strategies.
  • Tournament Insights: Valuable advice from a WSOP champion.
  • Psychological Tactics: Focus on the mental game provides a competitive edge.
  • Accessible Writing: McEvoy’s explanations are clear and insightful.
  • Lack of Online Focus: Primarily tailored to live play and tournaments.
  • Limited Coverage on Cash Games: Focuses more on tournament play.

In weighing the pros and cons of Tom McEvoy's guide to No-Limit Hold ’Em tournaments, we find a resource rich with strategic depth and practical insights, underpinned by the wisdom of a poker legend.

While the text shines in delivering comprehensive strategies and a psychological playbook for tournament success, its emphasis on older styles of play and lesser focus on the digital game represent areas where readers may seek supplementary resources for a more rounded perspective. Nevertheless, McEvoy's mastery in breaking down complex concepts into accessible lessons ensures that this book remains a valuable asset for poker enthusiasts.

As the landscape of poker continues to evolve, the timeless strategies and mental frameworks outlined by McEvoy offer a solid foundation for players aiming to navigate the competitive terrain of No-Limit Hold ’Em. Balancing its few limitations with a wealth of knowledge, this guide stands as a testament to McEvoy's enduring legacy in the poker community, empowering players to elevate their game and pursue excellence at the tournament table.

For more essential reads, check out our article on the best poker books.

Why "No Limit Hold'em" is a Must-Read


Master Tournament Play

Learn from a champion’s perspective.


Enhance Your Psychological Game

Gain insights into manipulating and reading opponents.


Improve Decision Making

Understand the why behind every play.


Broaden Strategic Horizons

Explore advanced concepts and strategies.

My Honest Opinion on "No Limit Hold'em"

Tom McEvoy's "No Limit Hold'em" is a treasure trove of knowledge for players aiming to excel in the realms of strategy and psychology. McEvoy's insights are not just teachings; they are a legacy that continues to influence the game. While the book's examples may feel a bit dated given the evolution of the game, the strategic principles and psychological tactics remain invaluable. This book is a beacon for those looking to navigate the complexities of No Limit Hold'em, offering a blend of foundational strategies and advanced concepts that can elevate any player's game.

Tom McEvoy

about Tom McEvoy

Tom McEvoy, born in 1944 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a revered figure in the poker world, celebrated for his profound impact both as a player and an author. McEvoy's poker career is highlighted by his historic win at the 1983 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, making him the first to claim the title through a satellite tournament—a landmark achievement that has inspired countless players. With four WSOP bracelets to his name, his accomplishments at the tables are matched by his contributions off them.

McEvoy has authored and co-authored numerous influential poker books, focusing on tournament strategy and the mental aspects of the game. His works are prized for their insightful, practical advice, helping players refine their approach to poker. Beyond his strategic teachings, McEvoy has been a leading advocate for smoke-free poker environments, enhancing the game's health and enjoyment for the community. His dual legacy as a champion and a mentor cements Tom McEvoy's status as a pivotal figure in poker's history, whose influence continues to guide and inspire the poker world.


  1. Is "No Limit Hold'em" suitable for absolute beginners? While the book covers foundational concepts, its depth is best appreciated with some basic understanding of the game.
  2. Can this book improve online poker play? Yes, despite its focus on live play, the strategies and psychological insights are applicable to online settings.
  3. How relevant is this book today? The fundamentals of poker strategy are timeless, though players may need to adapt some concepts to fit modern aggressive playstyles.
  4. Does it cover cash game strategies? It's primarily focused on tournament play, but many concepts can be applied to cash games.
  5. Is there content on managing tilt? Yes, managing emotions and psychological resilience are key themes.