10 Jul 12
Poker Book Classics: Harrington On Hold'em Volumes 2 & 3
Today we take another look back at the classic poker titles by WSOP icon Dan Harrington. This week Harrington on Hold'em Volume II: The Endgame and Harrington on Hold'em III: The Workbook.
Last month we revisited the poker strategy classic that was Harrington on Hold'em Volume I: Strategic Play by Dan Harrington. Today we take a look back at the two books that followed that title, which had an even bigger impact on the way we think about the game.
Harrington on Hold'em II: The EndgameAs the name suggests, the second title in this three-part series concentrates on play in the latter stages of a tournament, and in particular when the blinds-to-stack ratio gets lower.
Harrington on Hold'em II: The Endgame is where Dan Harrington really got to demonstrate the skills that got him to back-to-back WSOP final tables, as well as a two WSOP bracelets and a WPT title, to name just a few of his achievements.
It is here where Harrington introduced his most revolutionary tournament concepts, in particular the Q & M ratios. The Q ratio is a calculation to measure the relation of a player's stack against the average stack in the tournament at that moment.
More importantly, the M ratio is a measure of the health of a player's chip stack compared to the cost of playing each round of blinds and antes. Harrington devised a special colour system between red and green, depending on your M ratio, which should determine whether you need to be taking risks and pushing all-in, or whether you have the freedom to play as you choose.
The book also looks at some key tournament concepts like "first-in vigorish" and squeeze plays.
Of the three books, Harrington on Hold'em II is by far the most important, and the content within has changed the way we all play tournaments forever more. The concepts in this book are still as important today, seven years after publication, as they were when they were first introduced.
Harrington on Hold'em III: The Workbook
|"Action" Dan Harrington
Other than the key concepts in the first two books, what really set the Harrington on Hold'em series apart was the extensive use of hand examples. Book number three, the workbook, brings together the content in both books for a significantly more detailed series of hand analysis.
The workbook focusses almost entirely on well known hands from TV, featuring the biggest names in the game, and Harrington breaks down the higher level thinking that took place in these hands. In particular, each hand focusses on a particular "problem" that poker players face, such as playing middling hands, pot odds and calling ranges, multi-way pots, and attacking limpers.
The final book in the series probably doesn't get the same amount of kudos compared to the previous two titles, but it should. What Harrington does in the workbook is isolate some of the most common and tricky scenarios in poker tournaments, some of the biggest leaks in a poker player's game, and provides some solid advice for dealing with them.
You certainly need to read the first two titles, in order, before making a start on the workbook, but it is a perfect end to a must-read series for the serious poker player.
Where can you buy the books?These books, as well as many other great titles from Two Plus Two Publishing, can be found in bookstores, and are available online both at Amazon and the Two Plus Two Store.
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