Book Review: Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker Volume 3
Jonathan Little is back with the third and final volume in his Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker series from D&B Publishing. This time around the text is composed entirely of hand histories where the reader is asked to make decisions as if they were playing the hand, and is awarded points based on the quality of their answers.
When Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker Volume 3 came in the mail my first thought was simply, “Man this is a big book!” And it is, clocking in at 432 pages, with 150 different hands for the reader to peruse and answer. The second thing I noticed was the format, and the way the book was broken down into three distinct parts: The first section covers hands from a $25,000 WPT Championship; Section 2 covers a $1,000 WSOP tournament; And Section 3 covers a $2,500 WSOP tournament. All three sections start off with early hands and gradually progress deeper and deeper into the tournament as the sections go on.
The format reminds me of the Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time series by Eric Lynch, John Van Fleet, and Jon Turner, where you feel like you are following along with the hero as they go deeper and deeper into the event. Where Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker Volume 3 differs from Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time is that in Volumes 1 and 2 Jonathan Little laid a foundation of principles and strategies, and now the reader is tested on what they have learned. Little’s book also offers up different decisions through multiple choice answers, with each answer graded – some answers award zero points, some award two, four, five or six points, and some as high as eight or ten points.
Before I get into my thoughts on the content let me say that the book is laid-out nicely with each Hand Heading clearly indicated along with the concept that will be tested. The multiple choice questions are prominently displayed and another good thing is that you don’t have to worry about accidentally seeing the answers thanks to the layout. This last point is even truer if you purchase the book via an e-reader like Kindle, where all of the answers are at the end f the book and can be jumped to by clicking a link. As much as I usually dislike Kindle versions of poker books because the formatting and graphics can be wonky I’d actually recommend it in this case since you can jump around and make notes on your e-reader, and as mentioned above the book is fairly bulky too, so having a digital copy is helpful from a logistical standpoint. So, kudos to D&B Publishing for creating the first poker book I’d recommend for Kindle.
Ok, so what about the content? To be honest I’m generally not a huge fan of “what do you do here” questions because I’ve been around poker long enough to know that in many instances there is no right or wrong answer; some lines are good, some lines are better, and some lines are terrible. That being said, by using the point system Little gets around this issue, and while cases could be made that a six point line is better than eight point line in some of the hand examples, overall it will give you a very good idea of how much of Volumes 1 and 2 you absorbed and retained.
If you’ve read Volumes 1 and 2 of this series than Volume 3 is a must read, and even if you haven’t read Volumes 1 and 2 the final installment is simply a great value considering it’s a book with 150 hand histories from a top tournament player complete with commentary on the good and the bad decisions.
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