There is no doubt that the Harrington on Hold’em series both for tournament no limit hold’em poker and for cash games have become almost the definitive books in their respective areas. Written and co-authored by ex-WSOP main event winner Dan “Action Dan” Harrington and the former double world champion at Backgammon, Bill Robertie. The books are written in a very easy to understand format that allows the reader to build on the considerable experience of Harrington and Robertie by a careful use of hand examples and theory.
Dan Harrington & Bill Robertie
Whenever I look to recommend any kind of book then I like to do some research on the authors who write that book and what their background is in not only the field that they are writing about but also in related fields. The reader need not have any doubts about the potential and the ability of either Dan Harrington or Bill Robertie. Harrington burst onto the poker scene and became a big name in 1995 when he won the European Poker Championships followed by the World Championship at the WSOP.
The remarkable story of Dan Harrington can be seen by his very impressive results in three different games where he became a Chess master winning several different titles as well as being a top Backgammon player. In fact his prowess at Backgammon was so established that he won the World Cup of Backgammon in 1981. Bill Robertie started his game playing in Chess becoming a master where he then won the US Championships in 1970. His main achievements though are in Backgammon where he has won many major titles including the World title on two separate occasions.
Harrington on Hold’em Vol 1: Overview
Tournament poker is the glamorous side to poker, it is the form of poker that is televised and shown and where legends and stars are created. When Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP main event then it paved the way for a poker explosion both in live events and online. There was an instantaneous interest in tournament poker and with it the desire to learn tournament strategy. Harrington on Hold’em largely filled that void and Volume 1 was released in 2004.
The book covers no limit hold’em poker tournaments and covers it in a way that simply cannot be learned from watching television. The series takes the reader through every single stage of a no limit tournament from the strategies involved in small blind play during the early stages all the way to final table action. Volume 1 begins as most books do with an introduction and this is where the book discusses the basics of tournament no limit hold’em.
It is when the book gets into the second chapter that it really starts to get into its stride as Harrington and Robertie break down the pros and cons of various tournament styles. If you have ever wondered which style of play is the most successful or which style of play suits you the best then I definitely suggest reading Harrington on Hold’em : Volume 1. Part three discusses reading the table and various opponents as well as being cognisant of your own playing style which is key as being aware of your own image is a major part of successful tournament play.
As you go deeper into the book then Harrington and Robertie turn their attention to odds and hand analysis and then eventually to play on all of the streets in turn. Once you have read this book then you get the feeling that no stone has been left unturned and at knocking on for four hundred pages then the book is certainly not short of volume.
Summary of the book
The overwhelming question to answer is, does the book deliver or not to the beginner and intermediate player in terms of advancing their game to a winning level? I would have to answer that with a straight forward “yes”. The problem that any novice or intermediate no limit tournament player faces is that they often go into tournaments lacking a clear idea of the overall structure of the event and what is required at each and every stage.
Harrington on Hold’em : Vol 1 takes the reader down the road of correcting this problem and provides them with not only in depth knowledge of no limit hold’em poker tournaments but a clear strategic way of playing that few other books possess. Will the book turn the reader into the next Phil Ivey or Gus Hansen……no it won’t! But then again no book in the world will do that but if read and studied by the very people that will get the most out of it then I have absolutely no doubt that a serious study of this material could potentially pay huge dividends by way of tournament poker success in the future.
Written by: Carl “The Dean” Sampson – Poker author, writer and professional player