Review: Harrington On Holdem Volumes 2 & 3

5 Star, Book Reviews

August 28, 2007

Author: Dan Harrington & Bill Robertie

Publisher: 2+2

These two volumes round out the excellent Harrington on Holdem series.  Like the previous volume, the cover no limit holdem tournament play exclusively.  Volume 2 begins with a section on making moves and bluffing that belonged in Volume 1 but was moved for space constraints.  Then it moves on to the heart of the series – Harrington’s system for handling rising blinds and antes and shorthanded tables.  Those are the conditions found in the later stages of a tournament, and are the place where many players fall down.

Like Volume 1, Harrington’s advice in Volume 2 is both correct and well presented.  The examples are clear and realistic, and his analysis of the play is quite insightful.  The book concludes with an extended example of a heads-up match which is by far the best material on heads-up NL holdem in print.  With the information in volume 1 and 2, a player is well equipped to tackle NL holdem tournaments in a variety of formats.

Volume 3 is a workbook consisting of hand examples in the same format as the previous books with analysis by Harrington and a scoring system that tells you how you did.  While a “workbook” probably brings up memories of poorly written supplemental textbooks in high school,  this volume is in fact quite well done.  The examples here focus mostly on medium to deep stack play against tricky and agressive opponents, and Harrington goes to substantial effort to explain everyone’s play.  One unexpected surprise is that Harrington frequently puts you in the seat of a more aggressive player like Phil Ivey which counterbalances the more conservative advice of the previous books.  The examples were arguably the best part of the previous two books, and an entire volume of them is a very good thing.

Overall, this series is by far the best poker writing I’ve ever seen.  The material is correct, the writing is good & well edited, the books are entertaining to read, and the examples are very instructive.  You can’t really ask for more in a poker book, and frequently get far less.

Rating: 5 stars for both volumes

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