Harrington on Hold’em – Volume 1: Strategic Play

The Poker BookstoreHarrington on Hold’em – Volume 1: Strategic Play

Latest Review Author: Dan Harrington
Publisher: Two Plus Two
Pages: 381
Pub. Date: 2004
Price: $19.77

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Book Review: Part 2

A similar area of poker fundamentals is dealt with in the Pot Odds and Analysis section, where Harrington explores the concepts of expressed and implied odds, how to compute them, and how to interpret the expectations for winning that a typical hand might offer.  It’s in this section that Harrington begins to real stretch the book to fit in examples from real-life and online play, virtually all of which are actually hands taken from his own experiences.  Harrington even offers a mathematical concept for evaluating the likelihood of a bluff, then incorporating that percentage into play – a vital factor for online situations when reading one’s opponents for tells, excepting unusual betting patterns, is non-existent when compared to “brick and mortar” play.  Despite this, and no matter whether the situation is in real-life or online, Harrington again and again hammers home the point that evaluating one’s opponents and creating a range of expectations for their possible actions is absolutely vital to tourney success.The final three sections of the book examine proper betting ranges at each step of a typical tournament hand – pre-flop, post-flop, and on the turn and river.  The real-life situations and problems are expanded further, beginning to show the chain reactions that can develop based on a decision made at a single point in a given hand.  In these later sections the “problems” make up the bulk of the material, taking pains to illustrate each point made in the accompanying text.  Harrington even offers a glimpse or two at some of the more advanced tournament concepts that make up the bulk of the outstanding Volume 2, such as inflection points, those key moments in a tourney when a subtle decision point offers the chance for radical change in one’s overall tournament outlook.Evaluating the flop, value betting, continuation bets, squeeze plays, probe bets, playing with and against drawing hands – these are among the many topics dealt with in the book’s later chapters.  Properly used, each is a weapon in the tournament poker player’s arsenal.  Perhaps no greater testament to the book’s quality and effectiveness is in the way the game itself changed in response to the books.  One long-running thread on a major poker-discussion saw posters note, wryly, that after Harrington, continuation bets stopped working.  They didn’t really, of course, but the percentages of players that understood why and how certain plays were being made certainly bumped higher, with the result that the overall game developed to an improved, more skilled level, a development reinforced by the later publication of Volume 2 and Volume 3 in the series.  Both those books are also very worthy additions to a solid poker library.Summing up, you must read and understand the concepts in Harrington on Hold ‘em – Expert Strategy for No-limit Tournaments Volume 1: Strategic Play to be a successful no-limit tourney player.  If you can’t buy the book, borrow it, but one way or another, read it.  It’s a poker essential, one of the best strategy books ever written.


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