Friday, June 16, 2006

Harrington, Vol. 1

I know I'm probably the last person in the world to read "Harrington on Hold 'em, Vol. 1," but I'll weigh in anyway.

I liked the style it was written in and the practical advice given. The hand examples are the most valuable part of the book. They're well-illustrated and easy to understand, and they convey general principles in a game where everything seems to depend on the situation.

A few of the details struck me as odd.

I don't know what to make of his occasional probe bets. Harrington suggests tossing out bets of about 1/3 of the pot every once in a while as bluffs to try and pick up the pot with minimal expense. Perhaps this move is more effective in live tournaments, but it seems to me that underbets in online tournaments are rarely successful. I prefer to bet 1/2 of the pot size so that I don't appear so weak and have a greater chance at success.

I also might quibble (only a little) with some of Harrington's play on the flop when he has a big draw. In one example, Harrington flops a straight draw and a flush draw, but he's unsure how clean his outs are. He suggests calling the flop and seeing what the turn brings.

I almost always play my monster draws very hard on the flop unless I have a good reason not to. I feel like I give up value if I play my drawing hands too passively, and I like to get all in when I have such a potentially strong hand. That gives me two streets to hit one of my 15 outs by the end, which is usually good enough for at around 50 percent equity. But of course that's entirely situational.

Overall, I liked Vol. 1 a lot. It's hard to find good books on no limit strategy, and this one is the best I've read. I don't think it will make me a tournament master, but it will help my overall no limit game.

Vol. 2 is up next.


Victor_Enriq said...

Well thats nice yank! Finally outread you Volume two is even better than volume 1. Its much more "sophisto" is you like, as its more advance strategy.

About the probe bets, I've been succesful with Harrington's advice. It depends a lot on your tablemates... as far as I've seen at least chilean players tend to fold even with great odds to this small probe bets (I've seen them fall even when the odds that are given are as high as 8 or 9 to 1) specially in end games situations.

About your other post, great that you are heading to bars once in a while. Its just the best thing in the world! You should check the website of modern drunkard magazine, tha's just hilarious.

Victor_Enriq said...

My tiping above is horrendous, maybe that's because I'm just a little drunk. No way I'm playin tonight as I'm so sleepy, and no way I'm driving out this tired. So, I just hit the bar at home.

Tommy said...

You have to remember that the Harrington books are about tournament play first and foremost. He recommends calling to see what comes rather than pushing because in a tournament you only get to lose one coinflip. You can't just reach into your pocket for more.

Except in the rebuy period of a rebuy tourney, of course.

cc said...

All I know is both are terrific, and I figured if I disagreed with anything he said, that I was pretty much wrong. Of course, I'm not a bona fide expert living in Hawaii...

I also found both to be fairly depressing as I realized how little I know about this wonderful game.