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4.8 out of 5 stars121
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VINE VOICEon 5 October 2005
Having read all the hype about how good this book was, I decided to buy it and form my own opinion of it. First of all, I no longer see this as a purchase, but instaed an 'investment'. Invest £15 in this book, and you will see a fantastic return within a few weeks.
Harrington on Hold 'Em (HOH), if you study it and inwardly digest, will give you a significant edge over your less widely read opponents at the table.
To be honest, my first impression was that the first third of the book was rather slow- Harrington explains the different playing styles that a player can adopt, and describes the type of tournaments that you may play in. A key point to make here is that HOH is applicable for both online and live play, which differ in terms of the stragegy a player should adopt.
The real meat of the book begins when Harrington outlines and details his pre-flop recommendations. This advice was the first of Harrington's that I incorporated into my game. Some may say it's too tight and conservative, but I would counter that by saying that it is profitable- which is all that matters at the end of the day.
The rest of the book details betting after the flop, on the turn and the river. I've often found betting immediately after the flop one of the most difficult skills to grasp, but Harrington's methodical approach makes it clearer and easier. The concepts of continuation and probe bets, whilst not being brand new concepts, are given their most thorough treatment yet in a poker text.
However, I haven't yet mentioned the most important parts of this book- the problem sections. After each chapter, Harrington presents 10 to 20 real examples of hands that he has played or taken part in. The hands are specifically chosen to illustrate the points he has made during the chapter. These are the most instructive sections of the book, and give you confidence that what Harrington is teaching is sensible.
In colclusion: A brilliant book, well written. It must be noted that it is co-written with Bill Robertie, the great backgammon player/author. This was a wise move, because the book reads far better than many of the other 2+2 texts. Buy this now, or find yourself consistently losing no-limit hold 'em games.
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on 29 January 2006
I'll keep it short. From knowing very little this book was very addictive to read. The best way to use it is to play some play chip tourneys then read what you did wrong because you will have done everything wrong trust me!
This book is logically laid out and easy to digest. It will take you from beginner to intermediate with ease. Use this book as reference and keep going back to it when you come across an incident you are not sure you played right.
His philosophy ref gameplay is superb and easy to adopt. I would however, combine this book with a couple of others to broaden your outlook on how other professionals approach the game. Knowledge is power! And money!
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on 18 July 2006
Without doubt, this book, and the two further volumes represent the best available advice on No Limit Tournament play currently available. It is superbly written, with a great mix of advice and tips - all supported by very enlightening examples/quizzes. By starting with the basics, looking at pre-flop on full tables, right through to short-handed tables and rising blinds (in Vol 2) you've got all you need as a foundation upon which you build on yourself via experience. If you're going to give NL tournaments a go, investing in these three books will be money well spent. Some of the fundamentals covered even hold up well in cash games or at lower limits.

My only word of caution would be that it is obviously based on Dan's experience in higher stakes tournaments where raises are largely respected. If you're more likely to play on-line freerolls or very cheap qualifiers with thousands of players, the books remain valid, but be aware that calls are more frequent, raising has less effect, a looser starting hand selection is possible and you'll meet more all-in maniacs earlier on too. Dan actually highlights this himself, but just be aware that some of the more subtle aspects and bet sizes won't always translate till you begin approaching the final tables.

Forget Brunson's SuperSystem. Harrington's books are the new tournament must-have books!
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on 18 April 2006
Harrington has combined a lifetime of experience with a sound basic gameplay to come up with a fascinating and revolutionary system. This book is not really aimed at complete beginners, and many of the basics of the game as well as ideas about gameplay are essential...

However, after reading this, you will never see a live game in the same light again! Your mind automatically starts comparing pot odds to hand odds all in relation to your position on the table...

A must for anyone who wants to improve their game...thanks Harrington xx
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on 18 April 2006
My mate left this book half read at my house when he came to visit one day. I'd read it all in 24 hours and i've read it a further 2 or 3 times.

If you want to improve your poker game, read this book.

Very simple - It teaches you;

Hole card requirements/when and where to call or raise and how much.

Analysing the texture of the flop - Whether your hand missed your opponent/is it worth bluffing them off their hand/working out the odds needed to carry on and the implied odds of making your hand + much more detail. Loads of heavily analysed sample hands and situations referring to differences between online and live play. A few surprising little professional tactics that you've probably overlooked in the past.

Turn and river action etc etc.

I'm eager to read the second book as soon as I get my hands on it.

All I would recommend is that you know the basics of poker before you read it and that you have a genuine interest in the technicalities of the game. Oh and read it all. Don't just read the first chapter and consider yourself a genius.
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on 6 June 2005
For the occasional to regular tournament player with a good grasp of most poker priciples this is invaluable. It brings together all the different aspects of tournament play, postition, stack size, opposition styles, pot odds, and makes you evaulate all of them. Before reading this I was aware of a lot of the plays Harrington describes, but I wasn't 100% sure why I was making them and why they were correct. He deals with a lot of situations where you are lost as to what to do and shows you how much more information there is out there. Havng read this book I now find myself in a lot less difficult situations and when I am in those difficult situations I can better guess the correct play.
In summary don't buy this book, because the more people who read it the less useful it will be to those that have!
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on 1 July 2005
There's a reason this guy made 2 straight World Series of Poker final tables (a feat most people rank as one of the most impressive in modern poker history - even more impressive than Johnny Chan's back to back victories, because Harrington competed against a field of thousands each year.) He knows his stuff cold.
I had always been an above average fixed-limit hold'em player, but was the first to admit that I was absolutely CLUELESS when it came to no-limit (and no-limit tournaments). Harrington, however, explains VERY clearly how to approach the early and middle stages of NL tournaments (the 2nd volume to be released later this year will cover the late stages - I can't wait). This book helped my tournament play more than ANY other book or friendly conversation I've ever had. I started off tackling the low-limit online sit and go NL tournies, and ended up in the money (top 3 out of 10) around 50% of the time. The examples from his book are priceless - taken from actual tournaments he has played in - and he always, always takes time to explain how his read on a player affected his decision.
Perhaps what I appreciated most was that unlike nearly every other book I have read, Harrington doesn't preach his style of play as the be all and end all. In fact, several times he goes out of his way to note that there are a number of different styles that could be adopted - and even praises many of his peers as masters of a looser/aggressive styles than he's comfortable with. Whereas other books I have found leave you pretty much stranded if you don't agree with something the author writes, Harrington explains the THOUGHT PROCESS so clearly that should you choose to deviate from his strategy, you have a good idea just how to do that.
Take all of my feedback with a grain of salt, because I really have stuck mostly to online tournaments, but I'm sure that his advice applies expertly to live casino tournies as well. Personally, I like online play better - I was a little hesitant at first, but after taking the plunge, I don't understand what all the worry is about. Read some site reviews and get sign-up bonus codes at that will help you pick which poker site to try. Overall, I'm extraordinarily happy with this book, and eagerly look forward to the 2nd volume.
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on 3 December 2007
For anyone who doesn't know who Dan Harrington is he won the main event at the World Series of Poker in 1995 and reached the final table in both 2003 and 2004. He has been at the top of the game for over 20 years. This is the first volume in his poker series and is a wonderful tool for the aspiring tournament player. The chapters are clearly set out and he covers some quite complex poker theory in a clear and easily understandable language. The book is especially good because like a textbook it has end of chapter problems, these help test your understanding of the material covered and helps make sure you have in fact mastered the previous topic.

The only words of warning I would give are that this is just the first book in his series and it doesn't cover all the bases such as; heads up play, or playing at the final table. So you will have to buy his second volume if you want to know more. This is a terrific book for both beginner and advanced players as he makes difficult concepts seem so straight forward and easy but it is a book solely aimed at helping you improve at tournament poker and therefore some of the topics covered will not be relevant if your are searching for a book on cash game play.
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on 25 June 2006
This pair of books is, in my opinion, the most technically accurate and comprehensive work on No Limit Hold 'em available at this price and level. Assuming a basic knowledge of the game this book will undoubtedly improve your poker skill - and whilst many of the issues raised are apparent to any amateur player - there are many principles that are not and it is from these a reader will glean the most useful instruction in the game.

The examples cited and 'practise questions' are reminiscent of school textbooks but engage and involve a reader with the thought processes behind the examples and effectively ensure a reader has grasped the concept before moving on.

Whilst (again in my limited opinion) Harrington overestimates the skill of many online players, and suggests they play much tighter than I have found (even in tournaments with several hunded GBP buy-ins) his advice is excellent.

The register of the book is appropriately didactic and a reader without a detailed knowledge of the idiom of poker will gain a great deal from the jargon-buster style glossary at the beginning of the first book. The examples are often amusing and highly illustrative also - the simple layout also makes it easy to read and follow.

Ergo overall I found this book an excellent work - for more on the math-side see Sklansky, as there isn't that much in here, but other than this I find no fault.

Buy it - you won't regret it.
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on 12 March 2008
Harrington on Hold 'Em shows you how to eliminate the guesswork from poker. It's all about weighing up the game's various factors and probabilities in such a way that the decisions to check, call, raise and fold almost make themselves. That means a small amount of mathemetics, but trust me: speaking as a total non- number-cruncher, it's easy to digest. The writing is accessable and drily witty, which sugars the heavier pills.

This book is indispensible for established beginners looking to make that frustratingly elusive leap to intermediate and higher levels of poker skill. If terms like 'flopping trips' and 'suited connectors' mean nothing to you, then this book is not for you - yet. Other books presumably - and certainly the web - cover the basics of poker and poker terminology; once you have that covered, Harrington's meisterwerk is your next stop. The book overhauls and restructures your game, doing most of its good work as far as I was concerned, within its first few chapters. That said, it still has so much to teach after that, dropping nuggets of bankable poker wisdom with each page.

At the time of writing this, I'm two-thirds of the way through the book. However, those two thirds alone are easily worth the entry fee and the five-star review. I play regularly in an amateur poker league at a local pub, and yesterday's game was the first live 'bricks and mortar' game I played since reading the book. I won. Without a doubt I have Dan Harrington to thank rather than my own natural ability (or lack of it). I can't think of a better personal endorsement than that.

Like Poker? Buy this book.
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