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Harrington on Hold 'em: Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments, Volume I: Strategic Play

(Harrington on Hold 'em #1)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  2,202 ratings  ·  80 reviews

Poker has taken America by storm. But it s not just any form of poker that has people across the country so excited it s No-Limit Hold Em the main event game. And now thanks to televised tournaments tens of thousands of new players are eager to claim their share of poker glory.

Harrington on Hold Em takes you to the part of the game the cameras ignore the tactics required t

Paperback, 381 pages
Published December 1st 2004 by Two Plus Two Publishing LLC
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Martin Georgiev
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Before starting this book I believed poker is just lucky draws, occasional bluffs and reading the body language of your opponents and while these things happen from time to time, the game has so much more to offer. In Dan's words "it's a game of memory, position, calculation, alertness and patience". The book teaches much of the strategic play fundamentals and my game has improved tremendously during the short course of reading it. ...more
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: tight-aggressive players, conservative players, chess grandmasters who turn poker pro
This is probably the best of the poker books I've read lately. It fits my learning style - practical lessons complete with a whole series of hands, played all the way through, at the end of each chapter, explaining thought processes and mistakes along the way. Dan Harrington I think thinks like I do - his style is naturally on the conservative side, which is how I've found I generally play, and he's a very logical player, a former chess and backgammon champion before he became a pro poker player ...more
Jun 27, 2007 added it

Well yes, I'm part of the poker craze, and yes I read up on my addiction. If you think poker is another gambling wasteland, then read this book. You'll learn how academic the game really is. Calculating odds, weighing risk vs. reward, and earning as much as possible are some of the topics. Sounds more like a business class than a poker book. If you do play poker, read it! You'll play better in tourney's immediately.

Terry Pearce
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Five stars for content, three stars for layout and ease of use. The problem pages could be much better laid out, in particular. It's an old book but not that old -- as a classic that people will buy because of the name, it could use a facelift. At the same time, you see why it earned that classic status. He knows what he's talking about. ...more
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book and the other two companion volumes where they came out. It changed the way I played and I credit the read and Terra's of Harrington and immediately qualified to the World Poker Tour (Cyprus 2009). Rereading the books meant my biggest live cash in the World Poker Tour to date: WPT Paris 2011 ... 25th for $24,000. ...more
Stephen Mettee
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Texas Hold 'Em, the chess game of poker.

I played a lot of poker during my six years in the National Guard. It filled up some of the hurry-up and-wait time.

When I moved to the Lake House, just up the hill from an Indian casino, Doug, one of my new neighbors, suggested we play in a $40 Texas Hold 'Em tournament since the casino was so close.

I didn't make it into the money that night (In each tournament only 8 out of 45 to 50 players get any return on their investment.)

Doug and I went back a numb

Kyle Thompson
May 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book to learn about Texas Hold 'em. Harrington really goes into the whole strategy of the game - position, when to bet/raise/fold, how much to bet/raise in certain circumstances and positions. He gives you a few overview/ workbook examples at the end of each chapter so you can practice what he just talked about. Right after I read this I implemented the stuff he talks about into my game and it has worked very well for me; I started to win a lot more than I lost. It still works f ...more
Mar 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very well written and thoughtful book. You can't learn basics of poker from it, but once you know the rules, the book is easy to read and provides a lot of valuable knowledge. Every chapter ends with a few real-life exercises. I understood every chapter very well and I've learned a lot. If you're a beginner, I can guarantee that you'll become a better player after each single chapter of this book. After reading it, I can't imagine playing poker without reading a book like this one. ...more
Dennis Littrell
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mandatory read for the aspiring tournament hold'em player

No-limit play is different from limit play; tournament play is different from ring-game play. In tournaments the blinds come marching irrepressibly around, and they get bigger and bigger. In a ring game, they march around but they stay the same size. What this means is that there is a certain urgency in tournament no-limit that doesn't exist in a ring game.

Harrington, one of the top players in the world, and a dead-on scientific and shrewd
Nov 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
you'll laugh you'll cry you'll go all in a lot less you donkey. ...more
John Pollard
Apr 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Superbly constructed book, wonderful insight into a fun but complex topic.
David Long
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Standard by which all other poker tournament strategy books must be measured. A classic.
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hard-copy
At its' time the best book on tournament Hold'em. ...more
Eric M
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent and thorough covering of the basics as well as in depth explanation of a few different strategies. A must read
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american, sport
The original hold'em bible for the tight aggressive player. ...more
Jaak Ennuste
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Maria Konnikova's "The Biggest Bluff" made me want to learn more about poker. She started by reading Harrington, and so did I.

The author succeeds at making the book a good introduction to amateurs, while leaving the impression that you are grappling with serious strategic questions in the problems outlined in the work. I have played poker a bit before, but not at the level where I calculate pot odds and the probability of a card that I want to see hitting me. Neither had I thought about table po
alexander young
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read

This book breaks down each scenario that could occur in the early stages of a poker tournament. The authors teach the reader how to calculate pot odds which I never knew before (which are how much it costs you to be part of a pot). This book has inspired me to try a poker tournament at my local casino. I believe anyone can learn to play hold 'em with this book and practice.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m a very new poker player, and found this book incredibly helpful. I have a much better understanding of the fundamentals of how and when to bet, and when to fold. There are extensive examples throughout, presented as problems “What should you do in this situation?” which really helps reinforce the theories presented.

It has improved my game massively, and would recommend it to anyone looking to gain a better understanding of poker.
Anthony Swad
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must-read for beginners and seasoned players alike

Easy to read. Great introduction to basic tournament skills. Some brief introduction to more advanced skills to prompt readers to more advanced readings. Affords solid insight into thought processes and tactics of a well respected champion and his not insignificant number of poker disciples. Can provide a solid foundation if studied, or help a more mature player refine their game on review.
Travis Timmons
Sep 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Absolutely essential introduction for getting serious about Poker. Through the sheer quantity of sample hands presented here, I think I'm finally getting the mechanics and tactics of poker. Harrington is indefatigable in all these.

However, the actual writing and organization of the book were a bit bewildering. Some definitions were too thin, unclear. And the sequencing of ideas was confusing.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I didn't finish the entirety of the book (maybe I'll revisit it later) but it has taught me a lot about Hold 'em in an entertaining way.

Deducted one star because of the atrocious quality of my (electronic) copy, several examples contained incorrect images (suits) which made them impossible to learn from.
Pedro Silva
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The abc poker strategy explained with (some real) hand analysis. This is a perfect startup to embrace all the important topics of poker. Maybe some points may be outdated, but it's still good enough to get all the volums and get in touch with the whats real matter in poker.

Its a "must have" for all poker aspirants.
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Great book for tournaments but not as good for ring games. Learnt a lot.
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poker
Great book that is a must for poker play in general.
The clarity of thought, crisp writing and great examples all makes it a great read.
Keven Wang
Jul 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Outdated for 2020. But good fundamentals are covered
Carlos A Nuno Morales
This book will give you rules to follow and strategies that will improve your poker skills. Many times you want to decide over a hand following your guts and sometime you are locky but in the long run they wont be proficient so I put to test these advices may times and stick to the book recomendations even against my will and I became sucess at the end of the poker night most of the times. Two years in a row beating my buddies in our yearly championship with a monthy game (and they taugh me how ...more
Jan 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: tournament poker players
Best book about tournament poker in my opinion. Especially useful is his definition of M (stacksize relative to blinds and ante) and differnt comfort zones depending on your M. He advocates pushing allin simplay to steal blinds and ante at some stages of the tourney if your M is too low and this makes it difficult for an opponent to call because often times the push is for a big chunk of their stack, therefore the calling range is dramatically reduced. Good sections about heads up play and hand ...more
Tim S.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: instructional
HoH lays out a fairly basic strategy for playing NLHE tournaments that's easy to understand and will improve the performance of most amateur players. If you're already familiar with basic NLHE strategy you may be able to skip the first volume, which is mainly primer material, and move on the second, which contains more tournament specific strategies and concepts that are now absolutely vital to understanding the game and playing it well. ...more
May 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
If you like to play tournament poker this book is a must read. Harrington taught me how to play winning tournament poker through this book. With concepts like "M" and pot odds being explained in detail, but also easy for a novice poker player to understand it's definitely worth a read for everyone interested in improving their game. There are a lot of examples and the chapters are fairly short making it an easy read even for light readers. ...more
Peter Altice
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If you play tournament No Limit Holdem, this is an important book to read and to understand. I think the easiest concepts in Holdem to learn is pre-flop strategy, which is covered in detail in here. Don't get me wrong, the strategy is generic and depending on the players, your personal table strategy could change. But this book covers a lot of basic and advanced strategy for tournament play.

If you play tournament Holdem on a semi regular basis, this is a good book to read.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Dan Harrington is a professional poker player who won the main event at the 1995 World Series of Poker. He is also an expert backgammon and chess player.

Other books in the series

Harrington on Hold 'em (3 books)
  • Harrington on Hold 'em: Expert Strategy for No-Limit Tournaments, Volume II: The Endgame
  • Harrington on Hold 'em: Expert Strategies for No-Limit Tournaments, Volume III: The Workbook

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