If you'd like to advertise on this site, please email me to discuss details and rates.

Review: Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time

I finished reading Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time Volume 1 over the weekend. I'm not a big tournament player myself but I still enjoyed the book immensely.

I really liked the book's layout. Basically, the three contributing online poker pros - Jon "Pearljammer" Turner, Eric "Rizen" Lynch, and James "Apestyles" Van Fleet - each dissect about 50 hands each. These hands cover many common situations that one would expect to encounter in a tournament. For example, you find yourself in the SB with JJ against an UTG limper and a button raise: what do you do?. Or how about when you find yourself on the button with AK and the pot is raised and re-raised in front of you? There are many more scary situations addressed (and expertly handled) in the book.

I will say that I found Pearljammer's section to be the best. No offense to Rizen or Apestyles, but Pearljammer seemed a little more earnest in his attempts to instruct readers on his actual thought process in his hands. I'm not sure if this was because Pearljammer was more aware of the process he goes through while analyzing a hand or whether Rizen and Apestyles felt the need to hold back for fear of becoming too exploitable in their online games. I'd like to believe that the former reason is most likely given that Pearljammer relied a little less on "instinct" and "reads" and more on math and logic. Each of Pearljammer's hands seemed well played, well thought out, and expertly handled.

I also rather enjoyed Apestyles hand-by-hand account of his bubble play in a big online tournament. It's amazing to see just how well professional players are able to take control of a tournament when everyone else seems intent on just surviving past the bubble. Apestyles uses persistent and smart aggression to fleece most players at his table of their chips. Once the bubble burst, Apestyles finds himself sitting atop a huge number of chips and ready to make a good run to the final table.

The last section of the book has all three pros giving their advice on how to play some tournament hands submitted by Matt Hilger (an established poker pro and author in his own right). The great thing about this section is that all three pros give different answers for many of the hands presented. It goes to show you how poker is a situation-specific game with any number of ways to interpret the bits and pieces of incomplete information that come bubbling up to the surface. The fact that three top players can't agree on a specific course of action in a given situation is one of the things that makes poker great. Any strategy can win a poker tournament as long as proper thought is placed on each decision you make at the tables.

Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time Volume 1 showed me that winning a poker tournament boils down to one simple concept: make the best play at the right time given current table conditions and your table image. With a lot of work and a good deal of luck, anyone can become a winning poker tournament player. Just keep making good decisions and that elusive first place in a Sunday Major is sure to follow...right?

No comments: