Harrington on Hold’em Volume 1

Dan Harrington is one of the best poker authors of all time. Dan “Action” Harrington has been playing poker for years and now has a series of books to help players become better at the game they love. The book is mainly about tournament play but still has content that will help a player develop their skills at cash games as well. Good friend of Harrington, David Sklansky put forth some help towards the book too. Harrington on Hold’em is a must have for any player who is serious about the game.

Dan Harrington is an established poker player and has been winning for years. 1987 Harrington made the final table at the World Series of Poker. In 1995 Harrington won the World Series of Poker main event. Dan made the final four in the main event at the 2003 and 2004 WSOP. These two final four finishes were especially amazing because these were when there was the largest turn out for the main event. These accomplishments prove Dan “Action” Harrington to be the perfect person to write about tournament play.

Volume 1 focuses on basic tournament play, but isn’t for someone who is completely in the dark about poker. In Harrington on Hold’em Volume 2 Harrington elaborates more on the in depth ideas that are involved in tournament play. Harrington teaches some preflop tips, flop tips, turn tips, and river tips. He does use some math for his examples but he mainly sticks to theory through it all.

The book is very well written. Bill Robertie (Dan’s old backgammon partner) collaborates with Harrington on this book. The two have come up with the best way to present their ideas about the game and make sure to elaborate in pure detail about each situation that is stated and explain why the correct play is the correct play. Dan makes it a point to give the reader enough to survive through the hard times at the beginning of a tournament that players can experience. “Action” Dan stresses the idea to players to take his same type of play with the super tight aggressive style. Dan emphasizes the fact that being in too many hands is a leak when you are not capable of playing the hand.

There are multiple sections in the book that explain how and why to play different starting hands. Harrington goes into detail about how to manage your stack by playing each hand the way that is stated. While playing in a tournament it is important that you keep up with the rest of the players, and Dan shows you how to hang in there by playing tight and letting the bad players be the ones who feel obligated to knock players out of the tournament. There are also sections in the book that show you how to play different hands when you are in different situations with your stack. He explains what it is to be short stacked in a tournament and what push/fold mode is. He also teaches about playing the deep stack and how to not go overboard because you are chip leader at your table.

The book as a whole is lined with page after page of reasoning for why you should play a certain way. Dan focuses on answering the question why instead of just instructing what to do and when. This helps the player to then take the information and apply it in not only the situations given, but other situations that are similar. Every player can take something from Harrington on Hold’em because Harrington designed the book that way.

All in all Harrington on Hold’em Volume 1 is an outstanding read. I recommend it to any player who plans on becoming a successful player in both tournaments and cash games. There are multitudes of different elements of the game that are explained in immense detail. Harrington on Hold’em Volume 1 is a must have in every poker player’s collection.

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