Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker book review

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Dec 12, 2011 Posted in Reviews | No Comments »

It’s not too often that a poker player at the top of their game takes the time to write a strategy book, but this is precisely what two-time WPT Champion Jonathan Little has done, and the end-result is a two-part tournament poker strategy book published by D&B Publishing, titled Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker –Part 2 is scheduled to be released sometime in 2012.

***Read my interview with Jonathan Little here***

Now, with somewhere between 150 and 200 poker books under my belt, I admit that I go into any “new” strategy book with a preconceived notion of what to expect (which is typically a rehashing and updating of an older tome’s strategies and theories) but it only took about 50 or so pages before I realized that Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker was a whole different animal.

The first thing you notice is that Little’s priorities are poker first, math second. Math isn’t disregarded in the book, but it’s very apparent that Little’s poker game is based on the specific opponent, and a solid understanding of the “why” in poker. He knows the math and he explains the important math, but this is not the typical math book from a player of the online-poker generation.

Instead you’ll find plenty of “depending on…” and “this will/won’t work if your opponent is…” type of analysis throughout the book –which is a nice change from the recent trend in poker books where you are told, “if your opponent is 3-betting 25% of the time you should be 4-betting xx% of the time, with this range” and then given a college-level statistical analysis of the situation based on some generic range of hands.

There is also a lack of “Fluff” in Little’s tournament book. You won’t have to labor through 50 pages of uber-basic concepts. Even where the concepts are basic to a seasoned player, Little does a terrific job of quickly going over them and keeping the text flowing right into the next concept. Even with well over a decade of poker experience I found myself re-reading certain sections and taking notes on certain ideas –something I haven’t done since reading Chris Wallace’s No Limits book and Rolf Slotboom’s Secrets of Professional PLO book.

The book itself clocks in at an impressive 266 pages, which is quite a bit considering it doesn’t contain the lengthy “Hand Examples” section at the end of the book (which clogs up 50-100 pages in some books and artificially inflates the number of pages). I’m not sure if there will be a Hand Examples section in Part 2, but I was much happier reading the extra 100 pages of Little’s thoughts than going over hand histories rehashing what was already stated in the book.

As I said above, Little manages to make the book flow from concept to concept, while constantly reminding the reader throughout the book that the keys to success in poker falls squarely on understanding the opponent you are up against, as well as your position and table image. Now “Flow” is not typically a word I apply to poker strategy books (which tend to be choppy and jump around a bit) since they have a tendency of being hard to digest and text-bookish, but I found Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker to be a page-turner.

So, where would I rate Little’s offering to the ever-growing catalogue of tournament poker books? If Part 2 delivers in the Same way Part 1 of Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker delivered than the duology will likely replace Dan Harrington’s, Harrington on Holdem trilogy (which is currently considered to be the best work on tournament poker to date) as the go to source for tournament poker strategy.

If you are a tournament poker player than Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker should be given a place of honor on your bookshelf.

You can buy Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker by Jonathan Little at

You can find more poker titles at the D&B Publishing website

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