Poker Books

May 18, 2010 7:07 AM


Poker author Dan Harrington has just released a double-barreled package of ammunition for serious cash game players.

As eagerly-awaited as any poker books this century, Harrington on Cash Games: How to Win at No-Limit Hold’em Money Games Vol. 1 (418 pages, paper bound, $34.95) and Vol. 2 (374 pages, paper bound, $34.95), both with Bill Robertie, cover plenty of previously uncharted territory at all levels of play.

In the past two years, requests for books on cash games have been the strongest ever, perhaps because the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour have attracted such great numbers of players.

Through examples, illustrations, problems and analysis, the Harrington-Robertie combo, like a slick double-play tandem, rises to the occasion (again) to introduce their winning approach to this volatile competition. For instance, when discussing hand reading, the pair illustrates the text with a sample hand played by Mike Sexton and Phil Gordon in a "Poker after Dark" TV episode.

In Volume One, the first 50 pages re-introduce many basic concepts since the authors assume not everyone knows them.

Follow-up chapters focus directly on the elements of no-limit cash games – stack sizes and hand selection; hand reading (including deception; table image and table presence), tight-aggressive pre-flop play (and how to play specific hands), the small and big blind and attacking the limpers.

The authors move swiftly to tight-aggressive flop play heads-up (which includes bet-sizing on the flop) and betting a variety of hands on the flop. The sections on various flops (pre-flop aggressor out of position and in position; non-aggressor in or out of position) could be some of the best guiding light material ever to appear in any publication.

A final section of Volume 1 examines tight-aggressive play with multiple opponents which includes playing very strong hands; playing over-pair and top pair hands; playing and middle pair and low pair hands.

Volume 2 continues at high speed with a solid section on tight-aggressive turn play (balancing bet sizing and pot commitment, bluffing or checking on the turn). Other critical concepts include comparing deep-stack cash games to tournament play, bet-sizing depending on how good your hand is and calling on the river. The section on tells follows, with focus on how to disguise your own style of play; defending against tells; observing betting patterns and the dangers of table talk.

There is nice discussion on playing the loose-aggressive game (a combination developed by most world class players) along with taking advantage of volatility, the tactics of the loose-aggressive style and when to switch to tight play.

A large majority of cash game players might want to cut right to the "wallet factor." They want the answer: How can we best beat weak games? Harrington and Robertie cover the topic in detail. They also provide a wonderful methodology for controlling your bankroll with the understanding that you must move up and down according to the bankroll bottom line. The method looks simple at first glance but it has a tremendous potential for helping players succeed – and not go broke.

Both volumes are indexed so you can isolate a specific concept or move easily if this might improve a weakness in your game.

These books and more are available at Gambler’s Book Shop (Gambler’s Book Club) in Las Vegas. The store’s website is; or you can call toll free at 1-800-522-1777.