Book Review: Winning Poker Tournaments volume 3

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Nov 13, 2012 Posted in Reviews | No Comments »

The highly anticipated third volume of Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time is now available, and the final installment of the tournament poker trilogy did not disappoint. This time around Eric “Rizen” Lynch, Jon “ApeStyles” Van Fleet, and Jon “Pearljammer” Turner, are joined by Matthew Hilger as the quartet dissects 50 tournament hands, providing the high-level thinking and strategies that made the first two volumes of the series so well received.

Before I get into the content let me touch upon the overall quality of the book:

Winning Poker Tournaments is well constructed (kudos to Dimat Publishing) using high quality paper, a solid binding that will last through multiple readings, and one of the best type-settings I’ve seen in a poker book, making it easy to read and peruse. I’ll also add that the layout of the book, with each hand featuring its own seating chart and stack-sizes, followed by clear headers separating each authors’ thoughts on the hand, is phenomenal. It may seem inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but proper line spacing, paragraph breaks, and font sizes really do make a huge difference in the overall quality of the text.

The book is also well-written, using clear and concise language, and even contains some humorous moments (usually when the authors feel the hero of the hand, typically Matthew Hilger, has made a major mistake) which makes the book far more palatable than the usual poker primer.

Ok, so now on to the meat and potatoes of the book.

It takes just under 250 pages to cover the 50 hands presented, with all three authors offering their independent insights, and for the first time in the series Matthew Hilger joins the discussion offering up a summary of the concepts at the end of each hand – I had a chance to pose some questions to Matthew, who runs Dimat Publishing, and you can find that interview here:

Volume 3 of Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time works as either a standalone or as the final piece of the series — it’s not essential to read Volumes 1 and 2 before Volume 3 but I would definitely recommend it. The main focus of the text is on end-game situations where the hero is deep in the money or at the final table. Strategically the book runs the gamut from 3-betting ranges to how stack-sizes influence play, but throughout there is a major emphasis placed on looking at all of the variables, thinking ahead, and how payouts and pay-jumps can impact decisions for both you and your opponents.

One of the themes players will quickly pick up on is that not all high-level players think the same or focus on the same bits of information, but in the end they usually arrive at the same conclusions (usually being the operative word!) and when they do differ it’s usually in very marginal situations where cases can be made for multiple lines of thinking.

As most poker players will guess, there are quite a few hands where AQ and Pocket Tens and Jacks are covered, which should make many poker players extremely happy, considering these are the hands that most often give players fits at the poker tables, especially in these end-game scenarios.

All in all, this book will be a godsend to struggling players, and with three different trains of thoughts for each hand will also give experienced players some food for thought as they think through each hand –my playing style seemed to lineup more with Jon Van Fleet, so it was interesting to focus on Eric Lynch’s and Jon Turner’s commentary to see what they were looking at that I was glossing over.

Each volume of the series will run you around $20 on Amazon (or about $15 if you have a Kindle) which is a pretty good price to have three top players review 50 hand histories!


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