Friday, November 18, 2005


Another Book Recommendation

At times I do wonder whether I should coach here, outside the car park as it were. In for a penny though, while I do keep the odd trick up my sleeve, I'd rather come clean with any general info that might help patient readers of this blog.

And so I can strongly recommend Erick Lindgren's book (co-written with Matt Matros). It's very good. By the end, my neck was sore from agreeing with him. There wasn't a ton of stuff in there to make me think "ah-ha ! I could do that !", but definitely enough to cover the asking price. There was some excellent stuff about playing a deep stack and playing out of position. Lindgren also stresses the power of the check-call against aggressive players more strongly than most.

By now I'm sure you know that I scorn the "tournaments are all about survival" crowd. I hope that any of them who do come across this book will be stubborn enough to say "Yes, but except me, I always play the right hands so I'm really good". Lindgren demolishes the survival ethic as persuasively as I have ever seen. Check out this quote :

"The common refrain that serves as a counterargument to [Lindgren's stance] goes something like this : 'I'm a good enough player so that I don't have to put my chips in with only a marginal edge. I'll find a better spot to get my chips in later. And if I'm going to risk my tournament on one hand, I want to be confident I have the best hand. By playing this way, I can wait for all the bad players to bust, make sure I get into the money, and then worry about winning the tournament'"

Wow. Has he been lurking on Gutshot ? It's almost word for word. As he understates, if anything, "There are many, many problems with this line of thinking".

There are a few books out now that are so much better than texts from even 2 or 3 years ago it's scary. I would say that Sklansky concentrates far too much on marginal edge cases, Cloutier just waves his hands and burbles about nothing, and Hellmuth ... don't start me off on Hellmuth. There's nothing revolutionary about Lindgren's book, but it stresses the right points and assigns the right priority to each. Hopefully the same people who think they're too good to take marginal edges also think they're too good to learn anything from books.

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