Review: Harrington on Cash Games Volume II

5 Star, Book Reviews, No Limit Texas Holdem

October 13, 2008

Subtitle: How to Win at No-Limit Hold’em Money Games

Author: Dan Harrington & Bill Robertie

Publisher: 2+2

This is the follow-on to the excellent Harrington on Cash Games Volume I.  The two volumes are in essence one book, and should be treated as such.  Volume one deals primarily with basic concepts and play before and after the flop, and volume II deals mostly with play on the turn and river.  Since turn and river play are more essential to winning at NL, this could in some ways be considered the more important volume.  That said, don’t consider buying only one of the two volumes – they really are just one book split in half, and having one but not the other doesn’t make much sense.  So if you’re going to buy one, buy both.

Like the previous volume, the advice in this volume is of high quality and strikes me as sound on a number of theoretical levels. There are places where I disagree with Harrington on esoteric points of poker theory.  However, the fact is that a player armed with the strategies, and more importantly underlying philosophy, contained in this book would be a top 1% NL player.  No other book or series can come close to giving a new player that kind of preparation.

A standard criticism of Harrington is that he’s a very conservative player.  That’s true, and likely a good thing in that players coming into the game would be well served to adopt conservative strategies at least initially.  However, it’s very nice that Harrington included a section on the loose-aggressive player.  This is admittedly written from the outside, but Harrington gives a nice view into the plays that good loose players use to overcome the inherent disadvantage of entering the pot with inferior cards.  This should be useful whether you intend to play a loose style or just play against them.

In addition to the turn and river play material, Volume II included several small sections on essoteric topics that aren’t NL specific, but that Harrington decided to include: tells, bankroll managment, tilt, game selection, and an interesting but ultimately low content interview with Bobby Hoff (perhaps the only “old school” Texas circuit player that still plays NL for a living). These sections are interesting, but they do feel a bit like filler.  Two Plus Two seems to publish all it’s books in the same trade paperback format (size, length etc.) and I think Harrington had about 1 & 2/3 of a book worth of material.  So a few extra things got tacked on.  The good news is that the “main” topics, that is to say discussion of correct play, were covered thouroughly and it’s the filler material that is covered in a passing way.  So while this material isn’t up to the same standards of thuroughness as the rest of the book, I think it is a bonus for readers – none of the good stuff was cut to make room for it.

Overall, this is a definite winner of a book and along with Volume I is essential for anyone who wants to improve their cash game NL play.

This article is part of Project Cash Game No Limit Holdem - You can find more great strategy articles there.
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