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Harrington on Hold 'Em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 1 review

Harrington on Hold ‘Em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 1 – Book Review

Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie have written three volumes of Hold ‘Em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments. Volumes I and II are a must-read for anyone who wants to improve No-Limit Holdem tournaments skills.

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Who are the authors – Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie?

Dan is a professional poker player. His poker success includes:

  • winning the Main Event of the World Series of Poker in 1995.
  • winning one World Poker Tour title, 
  • winning two WSOP bracelets, 
  • and more than six million dollars in tournament cashes 

Dan is a top player and a Poker Hall of Fame member. He started with chess, where he quickly became a master and one of the best players in New England.

Harrington picked his nickname “Action Dan” because of his tight, conservative style of play.

Bill is a poker, backgammon, and chess player. He started playing chess when he was a boy. He has won the World Backgammon Championship twice (in 1987 and 1983).

While attending Harvard, he helped the Harvard chess team win many titles.


Volume 1 is all about the fundamentals of tournament poker.

The book includes:

  • strategic play – playing styles (yours and your opponents), 
  • pot odds and hand analysis, 
  • table position tactics, reading the table,
  • essential considerations in your decision-making before and after the flop, on the turn, and River. 

Here is Dan Harrington’s description of each chapter:

Part One serves as an introduction to the game as a whole. I’ll show you why no-limit Hold ’em is considered the “Cadillac of Poker” and what you need to consider when you try to evaluate a hand. I’ll also take you inside a very interesting and complex hand from the final table of the

2003 World Series of Poker. You might have seen this hand on television; I’ll show you what the players were really thinking.

Part Two covers playing styles. If you watched some poker on television, you’ve heard players described as “conservative,” “aggressive,” “super-aggressive,” and “willing to play any two cards!” In Part Two I’ll show what these terms really mean and how to play in each style. Most

important, I’ll explain why you need to switch from style to style as the situation demands.

Part Three, “Reading the Table,” explains how to observe the action and keep track of both physical tells and betting patterns. It also explains how to observe yourself, and why that’s so important.

Part Four, “Pot Odds and Hand Analysis,” explains all the math you’ll need to know to play no-limit hold ’em. (There is some, but fortunately there isn’t a lot.) The chapter covers pot odds, expressed and implied odds, and analyzes hands in relation to the odds being offered.

Part Five covers the whole topic of “Betting Before the Flop.” I’ll introduce a complete strategy for betting for value in pots that haven’t been opened yet, and I’ll also show you what hands you

need to call or raise for value when the pot has been opened in front of you.

Part Six, “Betting After the Flop,” shows you how to think about your hand when the flop arrives. I’ll show you a number of sample hands and compare them to various flops, explaining which flops are good, wrong, and deceptively dangerous.

Part Seven covers fourth and fifth street action, including getting extra money in the pot, playing against drawing hands, and betting (or not betting) on the end.

Each chapter contains several “problems” or quizzes to test your knowledge.

Volume 1 is really a foundation for volume 2. You must read both books for a complete strategy. 

This book is loaded with diagrams. And the Kindle version does a fantastic job of presenting the graphs from the paperback. 

Is there an audiobook of Harrington on Hold’em?

Yes, there is an audio version of the book, and it’s much cheaper than the paperback.

Is this book still relevant?

Harrington on Hold ’em, in general, is not considered outdated because many of the concepts are still applicable and used by many players today.

Is it also for cash games?

The book has been created to help your tournament game, as the title suggests. However, many of the ideas can be beneficial for cash games.

Is there a free pdf version of Harrington on Hold’Em available?

There is no legal free pdf version of this poker book. The Author and the publisher must be paid for their hard work, and by purchasing the book instead of downloading it, you say thank you to them.

9.1Expert Score
Harrington on Hold em Volume I is for tournament beginners to intermediate players who want to improve their NLH tournament play. It is a “classic” and an excellent read, even though some of the strategies are well known today. Even many years after its publication, this great book is the place to start your poker training
  • Very good Kindle editions
  • For beginners to intermediate
  • Great writing style
  • Great tournament insights
  • Good sense of humor o the authors
  • One of the poker ‘classics’
  • Loaded with diagrams
  • Most of the techniques are well known today

Poker on television needs to appeal to a broad audience of mostly casual players. As a result, the hands selected for inclusion tend to be dramatic all-in showdowns and major clashes.

Tournaments are won and lost in the trenches, where average-plus hands butt heads with average-minus hands. That's the workaday world of no-limit hold 'em

But you don't need to be a math whiz to play good poker. Keeping your head at the table and thinking clearly is far more important.

In no-limit Hold 'em, there are no trivial hands. Since you don't have to show your cards down to win, under the right circumstances any hand can be a winner.

Specification: Harrington on Hold ‘Em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 1 – Book Review

Required Skill Level:


Game Type

NLH Tournaments



Publisher ‏

Two Plus Two Pub. (December 1, 2004)

Publication date

December 1, 2004

Print length

404 pages

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Harrington on Hold ‘Em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 1 – Book Review
Harrington on Hold ‘Em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 1 – Book Review
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