Here's what I got from the book, with my opinions/whatever:
The Game of Hold'em:
Introduction: What is poker? What factors and by what means does one measure the strength of their hand?
Poker is a game of imperfect information (if it was 'perfect' info, we'd have a way of finding out what our opponents held all the time = no fun). Players make bets based on the strength of their hand ie how likely it will be the winning hand by the time showdown comes.
The four factors HoH mentions are:
- The likelyhood of your hand improving (straight math and odds),
- Estimating the strength of your opponents hand,
- The likelyhood that your opponents hand will improve - made much more difficult due to both having to estimate his holding, and then making calculations on that estimation
- The pot odds; I hugely underestimated pot odds' effect on the game and didn't realize how essential a caculation they are. This book will definitely help me out here.
The Cadillac of Poker: What are the two main factors that make texas hold'emto be considered the most profitable version of poker, and what is it about those factors that makes it so?
I think Sammy answered this part perfectly.
The two factors are information availability, and controlling pot odds.
The perfect balance of cards shown vs. cards not shown which makes the game very skill based, and 'controlling' the pot odds both lets you choose to play hands with good odds and dump hands with bad ones, aswell as setting odds for your opponent, and thus setting bad ones and forcing him to either make bad calls or make him fold. The authors refer to limit poker and how different it is in that you can only bet a certain amount, and that's why NLHE is such a unique, different and profitable game.
Elements of a Hand: What are the eleven elements of a hand? How do these elements effect your decisions?
1. What status/stage of the tournament is it?
The play at your table will vary greatly from the early stages to the middle stages to the bubble and to the final table. You have to adjust your play accordingly.
2. How many opponents are at your table?
Your 'gears' should switch according to how many players there are at the table. The fewer the players, the more frequently the blinds will hit you, and the faster you'll have to play.
3. The players at your table
Consider the playing styles of your opponents, and adjust your style accordingly.
4. Your stack vs. the blinds/antes
The smaller your stack in relation to the blinds and antes, the faster you'll have to play. You have time to sit back and play a tighter hand selection when you have a bigger stack.
5. Your opponents stacks
Sitting at a table of big stacks will be a challenge with a small stack on your end of the table, because players will probably be more inclined to bully you. Conversely if you're a big stack at a table of smaller stacks, you should adjust your play and start to bully them around and take control.
6. What is your position in relation to aggressive and passive players?
The ideal situation is to have aggressive players on your right, and conservatives on your left. You'll have position on the wilder, tougher-to-read opponents, and will have advantage with having tight players to your left (with blind stealing).
7. What is the action ahead of you?
Obviously if you've seen a raise and a reraise from two mouse-like players, you dump a hand like 99 real quick. Had those two players been super-aggressive players, you might change your strategy thinking that they're just being their aggressive selves.
8. How many players are there to act behind you?
This is one of the main position factors - when people talk about early, middle or late position, they mean that both 1) You will have more/less people to act behind you with an early/late position and 2) You will have position/be out of position with certain positions after the flop has been dealt.
The more people to act behind you, the stronger you hand has to be because it is more likely that someone will have a strong hand with more players to act.
9. What are your pot odds?
This is something I personally never do, but obviously should. Nearly very decision you make, you should be running the odds through in your head. Preflop, on the flop, turn and river.
10. What is your position after the flop?
My favourite position to have is the button, because you get to act nearly the latest pre-flop, but get to act absolutely last after the flop. The later the position, the more info you will get, and that will affect your decisions. This element should also affect your hand selection in the blinds because you will be among the first to act.
11. What cards are you holding?
Lastly, your cards!
Of course the thing that defines who wins a pot (aside from people pushing others out of pots before the showdown, which happens a whole lot) is him/her having a better poker hand than another player.
Though cards can be all but ignored in certain circumstances; you can effectively represent a hand by raising any two cards. Think about it - aggressive players do it all the time. If you think your opponent's hand isn't strong enough to call bets to the river, then it doesn't matter what you hold! You can push him off by just betting your junk. Of course you need a very good read and tons of info on a player to do this.
The Hidden Luck Factor: What does the author mean by this?
I think Effexor put this one perfectly. I wasn't sure how I was going to word my answer, but he put it very nicely.
The example in HoH is a perfect one; by making the simple decision of cold-calling AK instead of re-raising it preflop, Harrington avoided losing a massive pot when Farha would have flopped a set of 9s, and Harrington's C-bet (which he would have to put out after a big PF reraise) would cost him a huge pot.