I had pre-ordered this a long, long time ago and had almost given up on it when I got the the email that it was being shipped. I had actually lost a little interest in poker (particularly on-line) in the past year, but this book revived me. Why? Because it taught me something important and the funny thing was that the most important thing I learned wasn't in the book at all..
First things first: this really isn't a book for beginners. There is an introductory chapter by Evelyn Ng that lays out a strategy for beginners, but that's not the main thrust of the book. This is about power tournament no limit poker and it's the absolute best book I've read yet.
There are several other chapters by important players: Brunsen, Lindgren, Ng, Williams and Wasicka all contributed material. Frankly, they could have left all of that out and I would have been just as happy. I don't mean that those are bad chapters, but for me the meat of this book is Daniel's.
And those few pages (less than 200) are definitely the best I've ever read. There are several reasons I say that: for one thing, with many other poker books you sometimes can't tell what game they are talking about: pot limit, limit, cash games? The strategies for all of those are much, much different than those for tournament NL so the lessons learned can be very harmful. Daniel makes it very clear what he is talking about, and mostly that's Tournament NLHE.
Here's another thing: most poker books aren't really written well. The authors aren't writers, and it shows. Daniel Negreanu writes very, very well and that makes a big difference. I really appreciated that. Sure, you can get across the same ideas with bad grammar and clumsy sentences, but it's a lot more pleasant to read someone who actually can write.
So what's that most important thing I learned here? Simply, that I was right. That is, over the few years that I've been playing, I have slowly come to the same place that Daniel outlines: "small ball" is the path to winning tourneys. But every time I'd express any opinion along those lines, the old-style Doyle Brunsen high-aggression players would insist that I was wrong. Well, if I'm wrong, so is Daniel and I don't think many are in a position where they have any claim to question his play.
Not that I'm in Daniel's league, of course. I'm not; I'm a middling good player only. But so much of what he said caused me to say "Yeah!" and feel vindicated and of course the rest helped me refine and improve the things I have been thinking about. That's what made this book so valuable for me.
The thing about poker is that if "everyone" started playing small ball, the old style Doyle Brunsen aggression would once again be the best play. You always have to remember that primarily you have to "play the player" and be ready to switch your style as circumstances dictate. However, right now a lot of the lesser wannabees still know nothing about small ball so the few that really apply these lessons will benefit greatly.
Highly, highly recommended if you play Tournament NLHE.
Order (or just read more about) Power Hold'em Strategy from Amazon.com
Tony Lawrence 2008-06-23 Rating:
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