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Posted November 10, 2008
Great for stimulating the poker brain, but take with a grain of salt...
"Action Dan" Harrington is a great poker strategist, as well as a player who has proven, on numerous occasions, the power behind his teachings. <BR/><BR/>I picked this book up not because I'd like to play like Action Dan, but because I continually search for any opportunity to stimulate that area of my poker mind that works behind the scenes in order to be ready for anything while I'm actually sitting at the tables. In this regard, this turned out to be an absolutely great book.<BR/><BR/>However, readers should be cautious when considering some of the overall workings of this "workbook." For example, the book takes a novel approach to poker teaching/evaluating. Harrington presents the reader/player with numerous situations - some fabricated to illustrate a point and others based on actual notable hands played by professionals in tournament situations - and asks what you, as the reader, would do on a step by step bet/call/raise/fold level each time the action comes to you. Again, this was a novel approach and a great idea in the book authoring and brainstorming process, but sadly, it falls flat in practice while readers work through the book.<BR/><BR/>One of the main flaws concerns the scoring system. The biggest problem is that Harrington was (excuse me for saying so) extremely presumptive in that he included a "rate yourself" section in the back of the book. Harrington claims to be able to tell a reader how profitable their play is based on their final score tallied from each answer Action Dan agreed with. I suppose that if poker was a game in which there was only one way to make a proper move in every situation, this rating system might work. Unfortunately, anyone who's played more than three hands of the game can attest to the fact that it's not. Therefore, all Harrington's scoring system ultimately manages to do is reward every player who thinks precisely as he does and penalize and put down every player who zigs when Harrington would have zagged. <BR/><BR/>This is especially strained by the fact that many of Harrington's own examples in the book, complete with his guidance on what should be done given the situation, lead to disaster at the table - keep in mind that I'm referring to the fact that you lose the hand by doing what the author suggests...IN HIS OWN BOOK, NO LESS! I understand that there's a measure of realism in losing once in a while at poker, but what kind of a man can't even win in his own made up scenerios? The kicker to mentioning this oddity is this: Harrington docks his readers/students points for making decisions that would have saved them money in the very example had they smelled trouble and folded. Perhaps a solution which read "If you chose to fold, then that's not a bad play based on what we know about our opponent. Score 10 points for the remainder of the problem and just skip the following questions about post flop/turn/river play" should have been included here and there.<BR/><BR/>Unfortunately, he forces the reader to continue on with hands, making decisions in situations where they didn't want to be involved any longer - all the while, they're not making the decisions that are leading Harrington to lose more and more money in the hand, and Harrington is penalizing them for it in his wacky scoring system. It's like a choose your own adventure book where your choices don't matter and there's a good chance that you'll be eaten by the bear at the end anyway.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 10, 2007
The Harrington on Hold 'Em series is excellent for intermediate No Limit Hold 'Em players who are interested in improving their tournament standings. Vol 1 dealt with basics of tournament play, vol 2 highlighted final table play and vol 3 is a workbook that will help the reader test how much they've learned. There are 50 problems in which the situation is described in great detail and you must decide what you would do. Answers are given and discussed and there's an opportunity for you to rate yourself at the end. If you read the first two books, you are doing yourself a disservice by not testing yourself to see how much you've learned. If you read the first books and you didn't try to work through the problems on your own, then you probably won't enjoy this. Again, this book is not for beginner players (it assumes an understanding of the game and an intermediate experience level) and although it could be read on its own, I think it is best used as a companion for the first two excellent books in the series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 17, 2006
Solid Follow Up
This workbook is a solid follow up to Harrington's Two Volume Treatise on Hold 'em. The first two volumes are must reads. While this volume is not a critical read, it's like taking a refresher class to see how much you have learned and retained.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.