Tournament Strategy

The leading current publication on tournament poker is Jonathan Little’s 3-volume series,Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker. Volume 1 covers the fundamentals; volume 2 works through the various stages of tournament play; volume 3 is a workbook that challenges you to apply what you have learned in volumes 1 & 2, in a multiple-choice quiz format utilizing 150 actual hands from major tournaments. It replaces Dan Harrington’s classic 3-volume series, which is now out of date as a result of the fundamental changes in tournament strategy that have developed in recent years.

As noted in the previous links (for “self-taught” and “intermediate” players), if you want to understand how world class tournament players think through each hand, the two must-reads are Gus Hansen’s Every Hand Revealed (in which he reviews his thinking on every significant hand he played in the 2007 Aussie Millions tournament), and Jonathan Little’s The Main Event (in which he reviews his play of 54 hands during the 2014 World Series of Poker championship event.)

Jonathan Little’s Excelling At No Limit Holdem includes several chapters of particular value to tournament players – namely Matt Affleck’s chapter on Tournament Strategies, Phil Hellmuth & Liv Boeree’s chapter on Short Stack Strategies, Jonathan Little’s chapter on Tackling a Final Table, and Olivier Busquet’s chapter on Playing Heads Up.

Arnold Snyder’s 2-volume series, The Poker Tournament Formula, is controversial and not universally approved. But his contrarian focus on “chip utility” rather than “chip equity” is thought provoking, and worth studying.

Finally, if you play a lot of small stakes tournaments, you will want to review Jonathan Little’s book, Crushing Small Stakes Tournaments and Chris Moneymaker’s chapter (Lower Buy-In Tournament Strategies) in Excelling At No Limit Holdem.

See previous links (to resources for self-taught players and intermediate players).

See previous links (to resources for self-taught players and intermediate players).

Equity Calculators are equally valuable tools for expanding your skills in tournament play and cash games. Insta Poker has a number of hand packs that focus specifically on tournament play. ShareMyPair is useful for analyzing and learning from poker hands of any type, whether encountered in cash games or tournament play.