Harrington on Hold'em Vol. 1 discussion: Part 1

ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
I'll just format this the same way that FPaulsson does with his ToP discussions.

So!

The Game of Hold'em:

Introduction:
What is poker? What factors and by what means does one measure the strength of their hand?

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?

Elements of a Hand: What are the eleven elements of a hand? How do these elements effect your decisions?

The Hidden Luck Factor: What does the author mean by this?


Simple enough stuff, but essential nonetheless. Discuss! :)

NOTE: Please do not quote the book. This thread is to help broaden the understanding of the book, not rip off the copyright of it. Feel free to discuss, but try doing so without infringing on Dan Harrington's, Bill Robertie's or 2+2 publishing's intellectual property rights. Thank you.
 
tenbob

tenbob

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Nice one Chuck. I have HoH on order from Amazon.

Should be jumping in on this thread within the week.
 
Sammyv1

Sammyv1

Legend
Alright!!

Great topic Chuck, I have HOH and I will start Re-reading it now! It's been a while since I read it so I'm over due to pick it up again!

I'll comment on to the first part later today. Uh, if I remember how to read.
 
LetsGetItOn

LetsGetItOn

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Im on page 200 and I honestly can't remember one thing. I can read but I have a really bad memory, after I finish it the first time i'm gonna have to give it a once over.
 
F

Freakakanus

Legend
Still waiting for a copy, maybe for my anniversary I'll get a copy. It's a must read from what I hear and I really need to jump up the next step.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
aright sounds like we have fewer people with the book than i thought; I'm just gonna leave this one open and wait for you guys to get the book or reread the book.

^^^it's a gem, freak - best poker book I've read so far
 
Stick66

Stick66

Legend
ChuckTs said:
alright sounds like we have fewer people with the book than i thought; I'm just gonna leave this one open and wait for you guys to get the book or reread the book.

(The thread's only been up for 10 hours. I bet you'll get more responses as time goes by.)

The Cadillac of Poker: Information availability and controlling pot odds.

"Controlling pot odds" is something I am confident in and am learning to apply gradually. "Information availablity" is what I am a having slight trouble with. Knowing when to "bet for info" or "use your position", etc. are things that I need to really work on. I guess slowing down between turns & thinking more would help, but the speed of online poker hands doesn't allow me enough time to do this as thoroughly as I'd like. I'm finding that I am, at times, more comfortable playing live for this reason. I feel like I miss too much information when I'm rushed. Anyone else?
 
Sammyv1

Sammyv1

Legend
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?

One of the factors is the information available.

Some games show all but 1 card and some games show no cards. NLHE shows 5 cards but has 2 hidden cards. So what is meant by information available is there is:
1. Just the right amount of "hidden" information to allow for good bluffing.
2. Just the right amount of "shown" information to try and figure out what an opponent has.

The other factor is Controlling pot odds.

Controlling pot odds is a huge factor in NLHE. Odds are offered in all sorts of gambling. For example, many professional gamblers play blackjack because it is one of the best "ODDS" game in the Casino. They still do not have an advantage against the casino, but they play knowing that there odds are much better than, lets say roulette.

So if we can control the odds in NLHE how great of and advantage is that! Using pot odds "correctly" gives us a huge edge against someone just calling to "hit" a flush, or an over card! Knowing how to control pot odds is "HUGE" in the NO LIMIT game. You can successfully make players play bad if it is done right.
 
Effexor

Effexor

Cardschat Elite
The Hidden Luck Factor:

This is one of my favorite parts, and here's my interpretation:

We all know there's luck in poker, what cards you are dealt and what comes on the board. The hidden luck is that you also rely on the "luck" of the other people at the table. If you are dealt pocket aces 10 times in a row, that would be very lucky obviously, BUT if everyone else was dealt 72 offsuit, 83 offsuit etc. and always folded to your PF raises you'd never win more than the blinds for those ten hands. Now, if at least one person was dealt pocket Kings each of those ten hands, you'd expect to win rather large pots 8 of those 10 times.

The "hidden" luck you want, is the kind that deals someone else at the table a strong hand, but not quite as strong as the one you are dealt.

It's like when you flop the absolute nuts. You are hoping that someone else either hit the flop, or makes a good hand on the turn or river, otherwise you can't expect to get paid off.
 
t1riel

t1riel

Legend
Introduction:

Pretty simple standard stuff. I like how he points out that no limit hold em is more of a "mathematical exercise" than a card game. He also said that under the right circumstances, any hand can be a winner. That's pretty obvious. I don't have much to add on this. Sorry for the quotes.


The Cadillac of Poker:

I know that this term was taken from Super System Volume 1 but the footnote is kind enough to point that out. I agree that poker is a game of incomplete information. It's probably the best way to look at it. So, playing poker is figuring out what the players have but also trying to hide what you REALLY have. I think this is one of my problems. I spend so much time figuring out what the other players have that I don't stop to think how to conceal what I REALLY have. Figuring out what other opponents have is half the battle.

Now, pot odds I always have trouble with. The point of pot odds is calling a bet when there are good pot odds. Although you probably won't win every hand you call a bet with due to pot odds, you will win more chips than lose in the long run. I realize this is one aspect I have to work on and apply. This is actually goign a little head to what the introduction explains but this is what I got from it. Make less mistakes and make your opponents make more mistakes.

Sorry, the introduction section is short so ther eisn't much to discuss. It's pretty much common sense if you've been playing hold em for a while. This is helpful info for the intermidate player or even the beginner.

Elements of a Hand:
The section skillfully points out how many things you need to consider when you're in a tournament before you even look at your cards. Actually, the cards you actually have apparently should be the last thing on your mind. Another thing I should keep in mind that I don't do as often. Using the 11 factors pointed out here should make decisions easier for you. The one factor I think he fails to mention is "instinct." If you fell you have the best hand despite many of these factors are against it, you should go with your instinct every once in a while. That's my two cents anyway.

Hidden Luck Factor:
Ok. Here's my take on this. There is luck in poker but applying the factors mentioned in the previous section weakens the luck factor remarkably. He uses a sample hand to explain. Every now and then, you play a hand prefectly but your opponent gets a miracle river card or a lucky flop. This should happen rarely if you keep the 11 factors in mind. But, luck does become a factor, just not the majority of the time.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

Legend
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.
 
Beriac

Beriac

Guest
One thing I'll say about the Elements of a Hand from HoH1, it really helped to crystallize things for me. He's right when he says that you ask a weak player about a hand and all they'll remember is their hole cards, the board, and how much they won or lost.

Gradually, as I played more and more hands, and read helpful books like this one, I started to see a hand differently -- especially position, chip stacks, and the tendencies of my opponents.
 
tenbob

tenbob

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Donks at amazon sent me the wrong volume. Just gonna stick with No limit holdem theory and practice by Slansky for now.
 
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