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Dan Harrington on Hold'em

Harrington on Hold'em Vol 2.

The Endgame by Dan Harrington

Review by Lawrence Gilbert
Harrington on Holdem Books

Bill Robertie

The EndgameIn the beginning stages of tournament play, conditions are stable. Everyone has the same amount of chips, tables are full, and the fear of busting out of a tournament on the bubble is not yet a concern. As the tournament progresses, conditions become more dynamic. Chip stacks start to vary, player counts at the table start to decrease as players get knocked out, and playing styles become tighter or more aggressive as they become concerned about finishing “in the money”.

It stands to reason that the style of play one must use in order to finish successfully in a No Limit Holdem tournament changes drastically as the tournament progresses. However, few poker books devote significant time to addressing end game strategies. That void is filled in Harrington on Hold’em Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments, Volume 2: The End Game, a book by Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie.

Harrington on Holdem 2 is the companion piece to Strategic Play (Volume 1, which focuses on the beginning stages of a tournament). As a result, End Game’s most likely audience will be those players that read Volume 1 and found it helpful. However, the information in each volume is self-contained, so reading Volume 1 is not a requirement for getting the most out of Volume 2.

Like Strategic Play, Harrington on Holdem 2 is mostly likely to appeal to beginning, intermediate and expert tournament players looking for practical advice on playing No Limit Hold’em tournaments. This is not a “how to” book for the rank beginner. The information contained in this book is very specific. Hand rankings, game rules and general poker theory are not covered in depth in this volume. As a result, some previous general knowledge or experience in poker is a prerequisite for gaining the most knowledge from End Game.

End Game is well organized into thirteen distinct sections, each containing easily digestible and actionable information specifically related to situations that occur at the end of No Limit Hold'em tournaments. In order to gain full value from the material, readers are encouraged to treat the hand analysis (contained at the end of each section) as quizzes and to look at the author’s advice only after they have wrestled with the problems themselves

Harrington introduces the reader to many strategies that were formerly only known by the pro’s. Squeeze plays, check raise bluffs, slow plays, and back alley mugging are all explained in detail. Even better, Harrington doesn’t just explain various strategies; he goes in to specific detail about when and when not to employ each strategy. Readers have no doubt seen these strategies pulled off on TV, only to be dumbfounded when they don’t work in their local home game. Harrington explains that tricky and creative plays will only work under certain game conditions. He then explains exactly what conditions must exist to make these strategies effective and reinforces the learning by providing both hypothetical and real life examples.

One of the key differences between poker tournaments and cash game play are the effects that rapidly changing conditions resulting from escalating blind and antes have on tournament strategy, especially at the end of a tournament. Harrington gives solid advice on how to alter your strategy based on the players and his opponent’s chips stacks in relation to the blinds.

Like Strategic Play the biggest appeal of the book are the problems contained at the end of each chapter. It is in these sections that the readers apply their learnings and then see how it stacks up against one of the best tournament players in the world. The problems are very detailed, and include a vast amount of information about the conditions relevant to the play of a particular hand. The reader is bound to miss something, and will then learn from what they missed by reading the subsequent analysis. It is like having a world famous poker coach all to themselves – someone who sweats their cards during a tournament and then tells them what he would have done himself.

The Harrington on Holdem Expert Strategies series has created a new niche in poker literature. The recent poker boom has created a glut of poker books that teach beginners how to play poker. As these beginning players advance, they are now looking for more specific advice on strategies to employ given certain situations. Harrington’s Books fills that need for the No Limit Texas Holdem tournament player. Harrington on Hold’em Expert Strategy on No-Limit Tournaments, Volume 2: Strategic Play is an excellent read for players looking to maximize the value of their tournament dollars.

Purchase Volume 2

Harrington on Hold'em

Other book reviews by Lawrence Gilbert:
Harrington on Holdem vol. 1
Holdem Poker for Advanced Players
Theory of Poker
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