Posted by Johnnymac 8:28 AM
Blogger was running pretty slow yesterday - I couldn't get in to make any posts and apparently the comments were having problems, too.
In any case, I intended to point out that I received my copy of Dan Harrington's book and from the first 100 pages or so I can say that it's a very good book. I didn't realize it until I started, but this book is intended to be the first of a pair. This one is "Volume I: Strategic Play" and the next one is supposed to be "Volume II: Endgame Strategy".
As far as this particular book, it really is about strategy and sort of takes the tactics themselves for granted, when compared to other books. For example, Sklansky's books are less "books" than they are a collection of individual narratives outlining particular tactics. For Sklansky, the strategic implication of each tactic is sort of left up to the reader to figure out on his own.
Super/System, on the other hand, is kind of a rambling anecdote where Doyle works his way through a number of topics and explains why he likes each one and how it's supposed to work, but the reader really has to tease the overall theme out of the narrative. Everyone knows that that Doyle's strategy in Super/System is, "try to play smallish cards cheaply and trap your opponents," but nowhere in the book does he ever actually say that. You kind of have to figure out the theme for yourself.
(BTW - TJ Cloutier's book is quite similar o Super/System - except that he goes even less into strategy (the "why") and moreso just says, "Play conservatively and do what I do because to do otherwise is trouble... Now, did I ever tell you about the time I shot a guy named Bobby Roosterhead in Hickville, Arkansas?")
When you compare Harrington's book to those above, you see that it's less about specific cards or specific tactics and more about identifying situations when they would be appropriate - for example, we all know playing against a tight player requires a different strategy than playing against a loose player (duh) - and Harrington's focus is on identifying those types of players and when certain tactics should be employed. I like this because there are very few books like this. These are the "upper levels" of poker where the cards matter less and the game matters more.
More to come as I get further into the book.
(One final thing: I'm not disparaging all of the other books (even TJ's). They are very good and valuable to one's poker knowledge. I'm simply trying to compare and contrast them to the Harrington book, which I find to be rather unique. )
It’s interesting that you just received Harrington’s book. I ordered my copy from Amazon on Monday, and am waiting for it to arrive. A friend recommended it as being an outstanding book on NL tournament strategy, and I was told to read it right before the Bellagio tournament in 2 weeks. I can’t wait to get it.