Poker Through the Eyes of an Amateur

April 15, 2006

Hooked On Harrington Worked For Me

I'm about halfway through Dan Harrington's volume one on tournament strategy, and I'm really enjoying it. The way he lays everything out and the problems at the end of the chapters make this book incredibly educational. If you don't have this book, I highly recommend picking it up, along with volume two, and adding them to your library. I'm not even finished, and it has already had a tremendous impact on my game.

I logged in to PokerStars tonight with the intent of playing a cheap MTT to practice what I had been learning and work on my table reading. When I logged on, there was a $2 game starting in 8 minutes so I signed up. As soon as the game started, I began to notice that my play was slightly different. I was a lot more appreciative of table position, and my reads on players were almost always spot on. I knew about table position before reading this book, but for some reason, I think I understood some things a little more clearly after reading what I had.

I was card dead for a big portion of the first round, but I had a guy to my right pegged as a hyper-aggressive player. I knew that once I got a decent hand, I was going to be doubling up. Sure enough, a little while later, I get AK. He leads out with a raise to steal, and I come over the top all in. He obviously has not been paying attention to the fact that I have played almost NO hands at all and calls me with KJ. I double up. A couple more well played hands later, and I am sitting nicely.

I ended up getting as high as 16th place with several hundred remaining out of the initial 1755. However, I once again went card dead for a VERY long time, and with blinds and antes what they were, I was soon into push fold mode. I ended up pushing with AK, and someone called me with A8 soooooooooooted. I was happy until he hit his three outer on the river. Such is poker I guess.

I'm still extremely satisfied with my play tonight though. There's one aspect of my game that I really need to work on, and that is dealing with those long card dead situations. I didn't quite trust my reads on the table at this late point in the game, so I was afraid to pull the trigger on reraises with marginal cards on what I suspected were weak hands/steals, but I wasn't quite sure. Hopefully by the time I'm done with this book and play a few more tourneys I will be a lot more confident. Regardless, I think that 88th out of 1755 is great! Too bad this tourney used PokerStars' 20% payout structure. I hate that crap. I ended up winning only $5. Oh well, at least I got my money back.


  • Nice work Matt. 88th out of 1755 is great, that's a lot of donkeys to dodge. I always find it really satisfying to go deep in one of those monstro-sized MTTs.

    By Blogger Garthmeister J., at 4/17/2006 11:17 AM  

  • Way to go Matt. I agree with Garth, going deep in those tourneys is hella fun. It's hard when you go card dead. It doesn't seem as though you played them badly, and you did get all in with the best hand. So it goes. I finished Harrington V1, and V2 is next on my list. Keep it up.

    By Blogger iamhoff, at 4/17/2006 6:16 PM  

  • Yeah Matt, great work. 88th in a large MTT is nothing to sneeze at, and it means that by and large you played a great tournament. Congrats on that.

    And yes let me second (or third, as the case may be) that the Harrington books (both volumes) are two of the absolute best holdem books ever written. Any serious player should have read them both -- at least twice. I put them right up there with Super System as my all time best poker books.

    By Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo, at 4/17/2006 11:12 PM  

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