|Author: Dan Harrington
Publisher: Two Plus Two
Pub. Date: 2005
Book Review: Part 1
Among the vital reads for aspiring tournament poker players is Harrington on Hold ‘em – Expert Strategy for No-limit Tournaments Volume II: The Endgame. It’s a game-changing book, geared toward intermediate players but offering valuable insight to all levels and all disciplines, even though the book’s focus is on no-limit hold’em tourney play.Following the massive success of Harrington on Hold ‘em – Volume I, had to wonder if 2005’s Volume II was going to be a hit or a miss. Had all the good material been used up in the first book? In terms of sequels, was the second Harrington effort going to be Shrek 2, or Caddyshack 2?
The second Harrington book indeed turned out to be poker’s Shrek II – a big hit, another vital addition to the world of poker books and a “must include” to any player’s Poker Library Essentials. Not only was there was no shortage of valuable new material, but the insights were so important that the book’s publication, as with that of its predecessor, again kicked the world of poker tournament play to another, higher level. Failing to own (or at least read) this book and understand its concepts is to give at least some of your opponents an edge at the table.
Volume II stays true to the Harrington books’ format of laying out deceptively simple general topics, then providing plenty of meat under specific sub-headings. The book actually begins with Part Eight, continuing on from Volume I’s seven parts. In order, Volume II’s parts are: Making Moves; Inflection Points; Multiple Inflection Points; Short Tables; Heads-Up; and Final Thoughts.
One would think that a famously tight player such as Harrington would perhaps have less to offer on the topic of making moves than today’s typical young, hyper-aggressive young player, but as Harrington well knows, image is everything. In this section, “Action Dan” provides a full menu of bluffs, semibluffs and other special plays, backing them up with dozens of specific problems and examples from his own tournament experience. Harrington begins here with a general description of the hows and whys of bluffing, then moves on to nuances of all sorts of moves. As always, Harrington frames these concepts and moves within the structure of the tourney itself, emphasizing that the situation itself often creates the bluffing opportunity. Included here are such playful topics as a “Back Alley Mugging” (representing a big hand when a scare card arrives on the river) and the “Dark Tunnel Bluff” (randomly blind bluffs made by amateurs who make a move without fully understanding the situation into which they’ve committed their chips). The section wraps with a return to the various playing styles one encounters – conservative, aggressive, hyper-aggressive – and how bluffing and changing speeds works best within this dynamic mix during play.