SAGE – Sit And Go Endgame

[SS] “Iggy, for heads-up, short-stack, push or fold decisions, I use SAGE”, Stan the Stat declared.

[II] “What’s that?” Iggy the Improver inquired.

[SS] “Sit And Go Endgame, Copyright ©2005 by James Kittock and Lee Jones. They produced a very simple formula based on your hole cards and your stack size, which I’ve adapted to use M1 instead of big blinds. It only applies when the lower of your two Ms (after deducting the blinds and antes) is 5 or less.”2

[II] “That’s pretty much Dan Harrington’s Red Zone.”

[SS] “Right. And his Dead Zone when you’re shoving any two cards.”

[SS] “To use SAGE, all you need to do is a simple calculation and a table lookup.

  • Step One: Calculate the Power Index of your hole cards:
    • Deuces through Kings are worth 2 through 13 respectively, and Aces are worth 15; your higher card counts double
    • Pairs are worth 22 points
    • Being suited is worth 2 points

    Power Index = HighCard*2 + LowCard + Pair*22 + Suited*2

  • Step Two: In the following modified table, look up the lower M and your situation (in the small blind first to act or in the big blind after the button has shoved). If your Power Index is at or above the value listed, move all-in, otherwise fold:
    M Jam (SB) Call (BB)
    <1 any any
    1 19 any
    2 22 24
    3 24 27
    4 25 29
    5 26 31

SAGE doesn’t specify what you should do in the big blind if the button limps, but you can start with the Jam column’s values and adjust up or down according to what you think the limp represents. The same adjustment applies to calling.”

[SS] “Some examples:

  • In the small blind with a lower M of 1, holding 5♦4♣: 5*2 + 4 + 0 + 0 = 14. Table value is 19, so fold.
  • In the big blind with a lower M of 2, holding Q♣J♣ after a shove: 12*2 + 11 + 0 + 2 = 37. Table value is 24, so call the all-in.
  • In the big blind with a lower M of 4, holding K♣2♥ after a shove: 13*2 + 2 + 0 + 0 = 28. Table value is 29, so fold (borderline case).
  • In the small blind with a lower M of 5, holding 4♠4♣: 4*2 + 4 + 22 + 0 = 34. Table value is 26, so move all-in.
  • In the big blind with a lower M of 5, holding A♠3♦ after a shove: 15*2 + 3 + 0 + 0 = 33. Table value is 31, so call the all-in.
  • In the big blind with a lower M of 7, holding A♥K♥ after a shove: not a Jam or Fold situation because M is too high. Pretty easy call here though.”

[SS] “Here’s a version of the chart with hand ranges and percentages, but it’s really only so you can get a better feel for SAGE:”

Adjusted SAGE Jam/Call as Ranges

M Jam (SB) Call (BB)
<1 any
1 AA-22
2 AA-22
3 AA-22
4 AA-22
5 AA-22

[II] “Oh, that helps a lot. I can now see that you don’t even need the Ace or pair part of the formula, since you’re always shoving with those.”

[SS] “There are two borderline exceptions with a pair of Twos, but yes, close enough. That simplifies the Power Index calculation to your low card plus double your high card plus two if suited.”


  1. See M and Q if you aren’t familiar with M.
  2. Kittock and Jones use multiples of the big blind, but that unnecessarily ignores antes.

Related Links:


No Limit Hold ‘Em Theory and Practice Review

[II] “Thanks for lending me the book”, Iggy the Improver said as he handed Sklansky and Miller’s No Limit Hold ‘Em Theory and Practice back to Stan the Stat.

[SS] “You’re quite welcome”, Stan replied. “Did you like it?”

[II] “Loved it. I felt like a new player tonight.”

[SS] “As you are every time you read a different book! But I actually had time to reread this before I lent it to you, and I think I got more out of it on the second pass.”

[II] “All night I kept reminding myself of his Fundamental Theorem of Poker. I tried to make the right decisions, but more than that, when I had multiple reasonable options, I tried to choose the one that would make future decisions easier. That was especially helpful later in the tourney.”

[SS] “What else did you like?”

[II] “Bread and butter hands1 when stacks are big. Opening up your range as they dwindle. Big pots for big hands; small pots for small hands. The hammer of future bets. Trading small mistakes for big ones.”

[II] “And my favorite hand of the night, even though it ended preflop… With the option in the big blind after five limpers, I picked up the pot with a bluff holding 7♦2♣. I would never have thought to do that before, but since you’re supposed to bluff with hands just below your calling range, the big blind option is a special case with nothing to fold.”

[SS] “Sweet. Did you show?”

[II] “I was very tempted to but didn’t on the off-chance I’d get to pull the same trick again later. I didn’t but did pull off more Check-Raises and even the ‘Call Bluff’.”

[SS] “We call that a Float now.”

[II] “Ah, I knew it seemed familiar. It’s a great weapon against players like Elias the Eagle, who continuation bets so much.”

[SS] “Yes, your flop call appears strong, so your turn bet will usually take down the pot unless your opponent actually has a good hand or draw. Was there anything you didn’t like about the book?”

[II] “They referred to Limit Hold ‘Em, which I’ve never played, an awful lot. Sklansky-Chubukov looked interesting as a heads-up push or fold strategy, but it’s way too much to memorize.”

[SS] “And the Push-Fold Nash Equilibrium is better anyway, although it’s almost as voluminous. But Sklansky and Miller had a chapter called ‘Calling Preflop All-In Raises’ just before the Sklansky-Chubukov rankings that was a little easier. It broke your opponents into six tightness categories and your calling ranges into three groups by the pot odds.”

[II] “Even that was way too much for me: 24 hand ranges to memorize.”

[SS] “Well, I can show you what I use before next month’s tournament; I just want to take another look at it first now that you have me thinking about it…”

Title No Limit Hold ‘Em Theory and Practice
Author David Sklansky and Ed Miller
Year 2007
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Pros Wide range of general advice, formulas, and examples. Advice not only what to do in a particular situation, but how to think it through yourself. Shorter Concepts and Weapons section reinforces the bulk of the book (Fundamentals).
Cons A bit dated, with too many references to the now uncommon Limit Hold ‘Em. Too many pages spent on Sklansky-Chubukov, which wasn’t even that useful when it was new.
Rating 4.0


  1. Bread and Butter Hands are pocket pairs, Ace-King, suited Aces, and suited connectors down to 54.

Stan’s Lists – No Limit Hold ‘Em Books

[II] “What’s the next book I should borrow from your poker library, Stan?” Iggy the Improver inquired.

[SS] “I don’t know. Why don’t you decide for yourself?” Stan the Stat countered. “Here’s my list of all the No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em books I own (sorted by level and then rating):”1


Skill Level Author[s] Book Year Rating Notes
Beginner Brad Daugherty and Tom McEvoy No-Limit Texas Hold’Em 2004 3.5 Excellent introduction to No Limit Hold ‘Em for new Hold ‘Em players or those coming from Limit Hold ‘Em
Mike Sexton Shuffle Up and Deal 2005 3.0 Includes a basic training DVD and a good history of the World Poker Tour
Tom McEvoy and T.J. Cloutier Championship Hold’em Tournament Hands 2003 3.0 Advice on playing Limit and No Limit Hold ‘Em, especially preflop, plus an excellent collection of important World Series of Poker Main Event hands; see review
Phil Hellmuth Phil Hellmuth’s Texas Hold ‘Em 2009 2.5 More about Limit than No Limit Hold ‘Em; see review
Phil Hellmuth Play Poker Like the Pros 2003 2.5 Beginner’s guide to Hold ‘Em (mostly Limit), Limit Omaha, and Seven-Card Stud; see review
John Wenzel The Everything Texas Hold’em Book 2006 2.0 More about Limit than No Limit Hold ‘Em; see review
Richard D. Harroch and Lou Krieger Poker for Dummies 2003 2.0 Mostly about Limit poker; see review
Ken Warren Winner’s Guide to Texas Hold’Em Poker 1996 1.5 More about Limit than No Limit Hold ‘Em; includes some seriously dubious advice
Beginner to Intermediate Daniel Negreanu Power Hold’em Strategy 2008 3.5 Mostly about small ball but also covers everything from a beginner’s tournament strategy to high stake cash games
Intermediate Ed Miller Small Stakes No-Limit Hold’em 2010 3.0 How to beat $1/$2, 6-max online games (roughly $2/$5 live games)
Mike Caro Caro’s Most Profitable Hold ’em Advice 2007 3.0 A hodgepodge of advice (albeit a little too much about Limit Hold ‘Em)
Doyle Brunson Doyle Brunson’s Super System 2 2005 3.0 Update to the classic with lots of entirely new material (rate higher if you play the other games)
Doyle Brunson Doyle Brunson’s Super System 1979 2.5 The first significant Texas Hold ‘Em book (covers other poker variants). See review.
Gus Hansen Every Hand Revealed 2008 2.5 The thought process of a top pro as he goes through a large, big buy-in tournament
Stewart Reuben and Bob Ciaffone Pot-Limit & No-Limit Poker 2004 2.5 One of the few books that covers Pot-Limit Hold ‘Em
Intermediate to Advanced Doug Hull Poker Plays You Can Use 2013 4.5 Very well organized and immediately useful; see review
Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie Harrington on Hold ’em, Volume I 2004 4.5 Thorough explanation of M and how it should affect your play; see review
Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie Harrington on Hold ’em, Volume II 2005 4.5 Same as above for later stages in a tournament; see review
David Sklansky and Ed Miller No Limit Hold ‘Em Theory and Practice 2006 4.0 Excellent advice, both general and specific; see review
Dan Harrington and Bill Robertie Harrington on Hold ’em, Volume III 2006 2.5 Exercises and random tidbits only; see review
Advanced David Sklansky Tournament Poker for Advanced Players 2007 4.0 How to handle all the facets of a tournament, including theory and practice
Lee Nelson, Tysen Streib, and Steven Heston Kill Everyone 2007 4.0 A simple but effective, aggressive tournament strategy; see review
Arnold Snyder The Poker Tournament Formula 2 2008 3.5 Chip utility (similar to M) and how to use it during tournaments
Collin Moshman Heads-Up No-Limit Hold ‘Em 2008 3.5 Thorough explanation of how to play heads-up
David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth Hold ’em Poker for Advanced Players 1999 2.5 Good general advice, but specific information is about Limit Hold ‘Em
Advanced to Expert Ed Miller Playing the Player 2012 4.0 Specific plays that can be used against each major type of player
Eric Lynch, Jon Van Fleet, and Jon Turner Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, Vol. 1 2008 3.5 Like Every Hand Revealed but with three online pros; 4.0 with the index provided in the review
Expert Ed Miller How To Read Hands At No-Limit Hold’em 2011 4.0 Putting your opponents on hand ranges
Tony Guerrera Killer Poker By the Numbers 2007 3.5 Highly mathematical; teaches you a process for calculating EV but leaves you lots of work to do


Author[s] Book Year Rating Notes
Zachary Elwood Verbal Poker Tells 2012 4.5 A master’s thesis on tells based on a lot of real-word research; see review
Zachary Elwood Reading Poker Tells 2012 4.0 Categorizes tells into “waiting-for-action”, “during-action”, and “post-bet”; see review
Randy Burgess and Carl Baldassarre Ultimate Guide to Poker Tells 2006 3.5 Categorizes players into five stages of tell usage; see review
Joe Navarro Read ‘Em and Reap 2006 3.0 Good list of tells, but how do you know when a tell is real or fake? See review
James A. McKenna, Ph.D. Beyond Poker Tells 2005 3.0 Psychoanalysis of various personality types and how that applies to their poker styles; see review
Mike Caro Caro’s Book of Poker Tells 2003 3.0 26 tells, but how do you know when a tell is real or fake? See review


Author[s] Book Year Rating Notes
Jonathan Grotenstein and Storms Reback All In 2005 3.5 Significant history of the World Series of Poker through 2004
James McManus Cowboys Full – The Story of Poker 2009 3.0 Excellent history of poker (not just Hold ‘Em)
Bernard Lee The Final Table Volume I: Poker Columns from the Boston Herald: 2005-2006 2008 3.0 Collection of the poker pro’s newspaper columns
Amarillo Slim Preston and Greg Dinkin Amarillo Slim in a World of Fat People 2003 3.0 Amarillo Slim’s autobiography, including the 1972 WSOP Main Event and lots of prop bets. See review
Anthony Holden Big Deal 1990 3.0 A writer spends a year playing poker, including the 1988 and 1989 WSOP Main Events. See review
Al Alvarez The Biggest Game in Town 1983 3.0 The story of the 1981 World Series of Poker Main Event
Mike Caro Bobby Baldwin’s Winning Poker Secrets 1979 3.0 Bobby Baldwin’s biography (3.5 rating) and some poker playing tips (2.0 rating). See review
Barry Greenstein Ace on the River 2005 2.5 High level advice for more serious poker players
Dana Smith, Tom McEvoy, and Ralph Wheeler Championship Table 2009 2.5 Basic facts about each WSOP Main Event from 1970 to 2008; not as good as All In
Chris Moneymaker and Daniel Paisner Moneymaker 2005 2.5 The story of the amateur who sparked the poker boom2
Byron Wolford and Dana Smith Cowboys, Gamblers and Hustlers: The True Adventures of a Rodeo Champion and Poker Legend 2002 2.5 Stories from the early days of rodeo and poker. See review
Doyle Brunson Poker Wisdom of a Champion 1984 2.5 Entertaining stories from poker’s Road Gamblers era plus some high-level playing advice. See review
Larry W. Phillips Zen and the Art of Poker: Timeless Secrets to Transform Your Game 1999 1.5 High-level playing advice based on Zen philosophy. See review

[II] “Wow. You’ve read all of those?”

[SS] “Sure have. Probably need to reread most of them though.”

[II] “Well, if you could bring the two poker tells books next time, I think those would be a good change of pace.”

[SS] “Sorry, those are already out on loan. Can you pick something else?”

[II] “Um, how about No Limit Hold ‘Em Theory and Practice then. That’s the easiest 4-star book on your list.”

[SS] “Sklansky. You got it.”


  1. Updates: May 15, 2017: added Doyle Brunson’s Super System, Bobby Baldwin’s Winning Poker Secrets, Poker Wisdom of a Champion, Big Deal, Zen and the Art of Poker, Poker for Dummies, Play Poker Like the Pros, Cowboys, Gamblers and Hustlers, Amarillo Slim in a World of Fat People, and McKenna’s “Beyond Poker Tells”, Elwood’s “Verbal Poker Tells”, and Nelson, Streib, and Heston’s “Kill Everyone”. January 8, 2015: added Elwood’s “Reading Poker Tells” and Burgess/Baldassarre’s “Ultimate Guide to Poker Tells”.
  2. Although the subtitle is “How an amateur poker player turned $40 into $2.5 million at the World Series of Poker”, Moneymaker’s initial buy-in was actually $86.

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“Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, Vol. 1” Review and Hand Index

[RR] “What was the other book you got, Iggy?” Roderick the Rock inquired.

[II] “Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, Vol. 1 by the online pros with the handles ‘Rizen’, ‘Apestyles’, and ‘Pearljammer'”, Iggy the Improver answered. “Not as immediately useful as Poker Plays You Can Use, but a good book nonetheless.”

[RR] “What do you mean by ‘immediately useful’?” Roderick the Rock asked.

[II] “I think it’s a book that you’ll pick up a few things from every time you read it. But there are no overriding themes, lessons, or instruction. I think the closest book in my library is Gus Hansen’s ‘Every Hand Revealed’.”

[SS] “So it’s just a series of hands from one tournament?” Stan the Stat inquired.

[II] “There’s one series of hands like that leading up to the bubble bursting in one event1, but the other 75% of the book jumps around to random hands in random tournaments.”

[SS] “There must be some kind of organization!”

[II] “Yes, the main breakdown is by which player is analyzing the hand. Each of those four sections (one for each player and one for all the players together) is sorted by the blind size (which roughly corresponds to the stage of the tournament).”

[II] “These hands involve good players, so they won’t help you much against weaker opponents.”.

[II] “The biggest problem with this book is that it’s impossible to use as a reference. Except for one section on ‘Bubble Play’, there’s no way to find anything. You’d have to look through the whole book if you want to see examples of blind stealing or handling small pairs or suited connectors or whatnot.”

[RR] “Doesn’t the book have a table of contents and index?”

[II] “The table of contents just tells you that the book is broken down by which player is commenting: Jon ‘PearlJammer’ Turner does the first 50 hands, Eric ‘Rizen’ Lynch does the next 50, Jon ‘ApeStyles’ Van Fleet does the next 74, and all three of them do the last 20. There is no index, which I consider to be a major flaw for a book like this.”

[SS] “But like you said, maybe they just expect you to reread it occasionally.”

[II] “I have a couple dozen poker books in my library; I might not get around to it again for a decade. But all your lists have inspired me, and I summoned my inner-Stan to create an index!2 I added the two M columns because I thought they were much more useful than just knowing the blinds and stack sizes.”

Hand Index for Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, Vol. 1

Hand Page Buyin3 Hero
Board Notes
1 18 $50 T♣T♥ D 65.7 MP 81.3 solid 8♥6♠3♣6♦K♣ playing safe early in tourney with medium pair
2 20 $150 T♥T♦ HJ 96.7 SB 250.2 strong T♠6♦6♥ flopping a monster
3 22 $100 A♦K♥ UTG1 71.3 UTG 50.0 ? 9♣7♦6♣K♦J♥ folding TPTK
4 24 $300 J♥J♦ CO 66.0 UTG 44.1 strong 8♠5♣2♦6♥Q♣ getting milked
5 26 $300 T♥9♥ BB 73.3 SB 76.6 tough 7♥5♥2♥A♣4♣ keeping the pot small
6 29 $150 J♥J♠ BB 51.9 SB 46.8 solid playing safe
7 31 $100 J♦J♥ SB 35.2 BB 25.1 ? 9♦9♣2♣ pocket pair with paired board
8 33 $150 K♦Q♦ HJ 81.7 D 29.7 ? K♠3♦2♠A♥5♥ top pair vs. short-stacked opponent
9 36 $100 9♣8♣ MP 57.5 BB 77.6 solid A♠9♥3♦8♠7♠ suited connectors
10 39 $300 T♣T♠ HJ 35.3 UTG1 41.0 tight 8♦7♦3♥6♦2♣ overpair
11 41 $120 3♥3♣ UTG 48.5 multi N/A ? K♥5♣3♠6♦9♣ bottom set with lots of action
12 44 $150 K♦K♥ BB 20.5 HJ 49.4 ? 9♦5♠3♠Q♥8♦ squeeze play with real hand
13 46 $240 A♣K♣ D 22.1 HJ 39.8 solid, tight J♠J♣T♣9♥A♦ top two pairs on dangerous board
14 49 $150 Q♦5♣ BB 49.9 UTG 66.2 ? Q♥6♠3♥J♠2♣ top pair, no kicker
15 51 $10 A♥9♣ SB 38.8 HJ 40.3 inexperienced Q♠T♠9♠9♦7♦ trips vs. possible flush
16 53 $150 A♦Q♠ D 20.0 MP 28.5 tight A♠4♠3♠J♣5♥ top pair plus flush draw
17 56 $50 8♣8♥ MP 10.3 BB 5.9 weak K♠J♠4♥2♣6♥ medium pair vs. short stack shove
18 58 $500 T♥7♥ CO 16.4 multi N/A ? J♥T♦3♠4♥T♠ second pair then flush draw then trips
19 60 $100 Q♠Q♣ SB 14.3 HJ 20.3 ? all-in with Queens
20 62 $100 A♦A♥ CO 16.2 UTG1 25.7 ? 6♥2♣2♦T♦8♥ extracting value with Aces
21 64 $500 5♠2♦ BB 12.8 SB 18.2 aggressive 9♥4♠3♣6♦T♣ blind vs. blind
22 66 $50 A♥J♦ CO 9.7 UTG 26.0 ? J♣T♠3♥2♥7♦ good hand vs. aggressive limper
23 68 $100 Q♣Q♠ UTG 11.4 multi N/A aggressive folding Queens to too much action
24 70 $200 K♣T♥ CO 30.6 SB 32.7 ? T♣4♠2♥3♥8♣ top pair to the river
25 72 $200 A♠A♥ HJ 19.9 UTG 37.2 ? 8♣7♠6♦A♣2♦ not slowplaying Aces
26 74 $50 K♦9♥ D 18.6 BB 31.4 ? A♦K♣8♠2♦Q♣ BSB second pair
27 76 $300 A♦6♠ SB 14.2 BB 14.3 ? A♠9♦7♦ blind vs. blind: weak Ace
28 78 $150 A♦J♦ D 17.0 SB 22.1 ? J♥5♥2♥J♣K♥ BSB top pair vs. flush draw
29 81 $100 A♠K♣ HJ 9.7 D 19.0 ? A♥8♦5♠6♦2♦ TPTK extracting full value
30 83 $50 T♥2♣ BB 5.9 MP 28.0 ? T♦9♣6♠ top pair, no kicker and short-stacked
31 85 $100 T♣9♣ UTG 10.9 CO 13.1 aggressive K♣7♥3♣ suited connectors: raising from early position
32 87 $150 A♥Q♦ UTG 32.8 CO 26.2 ? Q♥T♦3♥7♣2♣ TPTK check on turn
33 89 $1,000 2♥2♠ UTG 18.6 BB 20.5 very strong A♣Q♣J♦T♦ small pair: raising from early position
34 92 $50 K♦J♣ MP 17.2 SB 17.4 ? K♥8♠3♠K♣2♠ bubble: widening opening range
35 94 $100 5♥3♠ SB 1.5 BB 9.8 ? K♣Q♥7♥ short stack: limp and go bluff
36 96 $10 T♠T♦ CO 19.0 multi N/A weak K♠Q♣9♥6♠7♣ medium pair fold vs. all-ins from short stacks
37 98 $150 K♣7♣ BB 4.9 D 2.8 ? 8♣6♣4♠A♣3♠ weak King vs. short stack shove from button
38 100 $69 A♥K♣ MP 16.1 HJ 21.4 ? loose image gets raise; reraise gets pot
39 102 $500 A♠A♣ CO 11.2 MP 20.5 very strong T♣6♠4♥ slowplaying Aces vs. aggressive opponent
40 104 $100 J♣9♣ BB 10.0 UTG 36.4 LAG Q♠J♥4♥6♦4♣ second pair vs. aggressive opponent
41 106 $200 T♥T♦ BB 9.9 UTG 10.1 ? 9♦7♥4♣9♠3♠ overpair
42 109 $200 A♣Q♣ D 5.2 SB 7.6 strong, aggr. J♥7♠6♣5♠8♥ short stack BSB with good hand
43 111 $10 5♥4♠ BB 8.0 UTG1 17.0 weak 4♣4♥3♥J♦3♣ short stack big blind special
44 113 $10 J♣T♦ HJ 28.7 D 26.8 weak? K♠9♣7♣2♠ double belly buster check raise on turn
45 116 $50 K♥K♦ SB 13.4 HJ 17.5 ? K♣Q♦T♠A♦Q♠ bubble: not slowplaying Kings
46 118 $30 A♥6♣ D 27.1 multi N/A ? bubble: preflop resteal
47 120 $100 A♠3♣ CO 34.4 BB 9.7 strong, LAG Q♦6♦2♦8♦9♥ bubble: turn float with 4-flush on board
48 123 $200 6♠3♣ UTG1 20.0 multi N/A ? bubble: big stack steal
49 124 $10 8♥5♦ CO 16.0 HJ 11.8 ? bubble: preflop resteal
50 126 $10 J♣8♣ CO 19.3 BB 7.5 tight A♥Q♣7♣ bubble: semi-bluff flush draw on flop
51 128 $200 T♦T♥ UTG 166.7 BB 166.7 good, tight A♠J♣T♠2♠ set on dangerous board
52 130 $300 9♣9♥ UTG 101.0 MP 99.0 mixed 8♣5♠2♣ playing safe early in tourney despite overpair
53 132 $1,000 K♦J♣ HJ 99.7 D 100.0 tight J♠T♠6♦ playing safe early in tourney despite top pair, 2nd kicker
54 134 $150 3♦3♥ BB 102.7 D 104.7 weak A♠3♣2♥Q♣T♦ bottom set
55 136 $150 A♦K♣ D 99.0 MP 100.0 ? T♥9♥3♠ playing safe with 2 overs only
56 138 $216 J♥J♠ BB 97.7 multi N/A very strong T♥6♣4♠ playing safe early in tourney with overpair to two all-ins
57 140 $1,000 A♦2♣ CO 72.1 D 65.9 ? Q♣6♥6♦3♦K♦ 3-barrel bluff
58 142 $200 9♦6♠ BB 73.8 UTG1 23.9 very strong T♦9♠6♣A♦T♠ hero call with counterfeited 2 pairs
59 144 $200 A♦K♥ D 56.9 BB 134.0 ? Q♦T♠7♦K♦7♠ losing the minimum with TPTK on dangerous board
60 146 $200 K♥Q♥ HJ 88.9 UTG 70.0 aggressive Q♣8♠5♣3♠T♣ inducing river bluff with top pair, 2nd kicker
61 148 $150 A♦9♥ HJ 74.6 BB 39.0 solid, tight A♣5♦4♥T♥8♥ top pair, weak kicker vs. weak flop lead
62 150 $150 5♣4♣ MP 59.6 HJ 39.9 ? Q♦8♠6♣A♣ turn semibluff
63 152 $200 K♣Q♥ HJ 53.4 BB 28.6 strong, loose K♥J♣3♠5♦8♣ calling pot bet with top pair, second kicker
64 154 $150 9♣6♣ D 51.4 CO 65.6 ? A♥5♣4♦ 2-barrel bluff
65 156 $50 A♣K♦ HJ 35.7 UTG1 43.5 ? A♦T♠6♠7♣T♦ winning with TPTK after opponent bets weak twice
66 158 $150 J♦J♠ UTG 36.6 MP 50.5 ? Q♦T♦4♣7♠3♦ overplaying 2nd pair and losing badly
67 161 $200 K♠2♠ BB 57.2 SB 45.7 strong Q♠T♠2♣5♠J♣ lucky flush vs. 2 pair from big blind limp
68 163 $150 A♦K♥ MP 47.9 BB 18.6 ? Q♠J♠7♦A♥4♠ strange, just above min raise from big blind
69 166 $150 K♠J♠ MP 38.3 UTG 28.6 mixed J♦8♥3♦ fold to flop reraise with top pair, second kicker
70 168 $150 3♣3♥ MP 14.5 SB 15.9 mixed J♣5♦2♥Q♠3♠ 2-outer on river for set
71 170 $100 7♣5♣ HJ 63.3 CO 160.2 very strong A♣T♠9♣ semibluff with flush draw
72 172 $150 6♠2♥ BB 31.0 D 56.6 mixed 8♥6♥2♣3♠3♦ big blind special 2 pair counterfeited
73 174 $120 K♥Q♥ HJ 33.7 BB 50.0 ? A♠9♠7♦Q♠A♦ caution with 2nd pair
74 176 $2,600 9♦9♠ HJ 95.3 MP 311.3 mixed 9♥7♠4♥5♥5♦ set vs. possible flush but fills up
75 178 $500 J♦J♠ CO 11.5 BB 14.9 weak K♠8♣5♣7♥5♦ 2nd pair vs. weak turn bet and medium river bet
76 180 $150 J♠J♥ UTG1 29.0 SB 81.7 ? K♦Q♣8♥9♠5♥ 3rd pair vs. min turn and river bets
77 182 $150 K♣J♥ HJ 74.5 MP 51.0 mixed A♥K♦7♥9♣ 2nd pair vs. min check-raise on flop then half pot on turn
78 184 $30 Q♦T♦ CO 37.9 SB 30.4 ? K♥9♠5♦J♣J♥ straight on turn but river paired
79 186 $1,000 5♠4♠ MP 43.2 D 37.9 very strong K♦T♦5♥K♣T♥ all-in bluff after 3rd pair counterfeited on river
80 188 $30 A♣7♣ SB 35.0 BB 48.1 weak 9♣8♥6♣T♥3♠ check-raise all-in with straight and flush draws
81 190 $100 K♥J♣ CO 44.6 BB 30.4 ? K♠8♠3♠K♣8♥ top pair on suited flop
82 192 $100 J♠T♠ HJ 51.1 D 12.8 solid, tough T♥9♣9♦8♣3♣ top pair on dangerous board
83 194 $2,600 8♦8♣ UTG1 67.5 BB 107.9 mixed Q♣J♠J♣7♠6♠ underpair on dangerous board
84 196 $200 A♠J♥ UTG1 12.4 D 10.4 strong J♦9♥3♦J♠8♠ cracking opponents Kings after two min-raises gave his hand away
85 198 $150 A♣Q♣ HJ 15.2 UTG 19.6 mixed 8♣6♣2♣2♦9♣ flopping the nut flush and playing it fast
86 200 $150 T♣6♥ CO 22.6 HJ 13.5 mixed folding to all-in rereraise despite good odds
87 202 $100 9♥9♦ SB 13.7 CO 29.4 ? A♠K♣4♥ all-in cbet bluff
88 204 $200 K♠J♣ CO 9.4 BB 23.6 mixed A♥7♣4♦ all-in bluff raise of small flop bet
89 206 $150 K♥Q♦ D 24.7 BB 10.4 aggressive 5♥3♣2♦Q♠6♥ top pair against LAG
90 208 $120 A♠J♣ D 13.6 CO 25.8 LAG bully K♣8♠7♣ bluff-raise cbet from LAG
91 210 $100 6♥2♣ BB 20.0 CO 10.8 ? bubble: preflop resteal
92 212 $200 K♣K♦ UTG1 29.7 MP 49.6 very strong A♥J♠7♦A♠T♦ 2nd pair vs. big stack
93 215 $200 A♥Q♣ SB 15.7 BB 14.1 very strong K♥T♠4♣6♣ 2-barrel bluff
94 217 $100 K♦T♦ D 10.3 BB 8.7 good A♣A♦Q♣9♠ turn bluff-raise with just inside straight draw after 2 weak opponent bets
95 219 $500 8♠8♦ UTG1 7.8 UTG 15.7 loose, passive Q♠3♣2♠K♦T♣ calling weak river bet with only 4th pair
96 222 $500 6♥6♣ BB 29.9 D 42.7 mixed 3-bet overly loose button
97 224 $500 Q♥3♠ BB 25.1 UTG 2.4 mixed odds-based all-in call with bad hand
98 226 $200 T♥8♥ BB 22.3 UTG1 3.2 very strong A♠J♣3♠9♠3♣ odds-based all-in call with bad hand
99 228 $200 A♦T♥ MP 12.7 BB 23.0 very strong Q♠7♦7♣ bubble: flop raise of big stack’s donk bet
100 230 $50 Q♣J♥ UTG 11.8 BB 26.7 aggressive T♥9♠5♥ cbet with straight draw, sized for 3-bet all-in
101 232 $215 T♠9♠ D 165.3 SB 168.7 ? A♥9♦5♦ early: reraising with suited connectors
102 234 $1,060 3♠3♦ D 86.9 BB 102.7 ? A♥8♥2♠K♠5♠ giving up on the bluff
103 236 $109 A♠A♥ D 52.7 BB 60.7 weak J♦9♥8♥T♥Q♠ overbet with straight on board
104 238 $320 3♣3♦ MP 126.8 HJ 96.0 aggressive K♣9♣3♥6♠K♥ flopped set called down to river
105 241 $320 J♣J♠ SB 134.2 UTG1 76.7 tight, passive A♣A♠J♥Q♦ folding a full house
106 244 $162 K♠J♦ CO 82.3 HJ 54.2 weak K♦9♠6♣6♥A♦ 3-outed with top pair
107 246 $320 A♦K♣ MP 70.1 CO 63.1 LAG K♥9♦7♣ folding TPTK to massive overbet and raise
108 249 $320 J♥T♥ HJ 65.1 BB 65.9 regulars 6♦6♠4♦A♣ turn bluff representing an Ace
109 252 $1,060 T♥T♣ D 95.5 multi N/A ? 4♠4♥2♥5♦5♥ folding overpair to too much action
110 254 $55 A♦Q♥ UTG1 40.5 SB 68.7 tight folding AQo to tight player’s 3-bet
111 256 $320 J♠J♣ HJ 56.5 UTG1 36.1 tight 8♣5♣2♣J♦ overpair plus medium flush draw
112 258 $215 A♥K♦ HJ 13.8 D 204.5 LAG Q♣Q♠8♠ all-in check-raise with overcards
113 260 $530 J♣J♠ BB 87.7 UTG1 23.7 aggressive K♥T♦4♥7♣K♦ putting opponent on second pair
114 263 $55 A♠J♦ BB 20.1 D 22.7 LAG T♣8♦4♥ planned flop all-in check-raise
115 266 $530 A♦K♥ MP 74.3 CO 58.7 tight K♠Q♣J♣9♦2♦ TPTK on dangerous board
116 268 $55 T♣T♠ UTG 38.4 HJ 26.4 tight folding Tens to tight player’s 3-bet
117 270 $215 Q♥4♠ BB 17.2 SB 17.0 ? K♦9♥6♥K♣Q♦ BVB: thin value raise with 2 pair on river
118 273 $162 A♦Q♠ HJ 25.7 MP 33.4 ? K♥T♣5♦T♦ floating with inside straight draw
119 276 $1,050 J♦J♥ MP 15.8 SB 33.9 loose, passive 9♥6♣4♦K♠3♠ putting opponent on weak pair
120 279 $530 A♦J♣ SB 25.7 UTG1 31.7 weak, loose, passive J♥7♥3♦9♦2♥ check-raise with TPTK to set up river shove
121 282 $215 Q♠Q♣ MP 20.7 SB 58.5 aggressive K♠4♥3♣5♥8♦ value betting Queens despite King on board
122 284 $109 K♣T♠ HJ 39.2 BB 30.9 loose A♥8♦8♣K♦3♦ giving up after c-bet fails
123 287 $55 T♦T♠ UTG1 21.3 SB 18.2 regular Q♦6♠3♥6♦K♣ putting opponent on weak pair
124 289 $215 A♠T♣ CO 34.7 D 33.1 aggr. regular A♥J♦2♠7♦8♦ checking to induce a bluff with top pair
125 291 $77 Q♥J♠ BB 34.0 HJ 25.8 aggressive K♣5♦3♠ check-raise bluffing a c-bet on King-high flop
126 293 $109 A♠9♦ BB 6.1 D 8.2 weak, tight raising late limper all-in to steal
127 295 $109 Q♦J♦ UTG1 17.0 multi N/A passive, tight all-in preflop against short stack to drive out deeper stack
128 298 $215 K♠J♠ CO 39.5 BB 14.7 solid raising a limper but folding to 3-bet
129 300 $109 J♣T♣ HJ 27.7 BB 24.5 weak A♦8♥6♣Q♣9♥ taking a free card on the turn and hitting the river
130 303 $109 7♥7♦ D 4.6 multi N/A loose short stack: all-in after three limpers
131 306 $1,060 7♦6♦ HJ 29.1 MP 11.0 ? bubble: 3-bet small raise to steal
132 309 $1,060 T♦3♠ MP 31.1 MP 11.8 aggr. regular bubble: fold bad hand with bad image against good player
133 310 $1,060 K♦Q♥ MP 31.1 HJ 27.5 ? bubble: raise but fold to 3-bet
134 311 $1,060 9♦2♠ UTG1 29.7 multi N/A n/a bubble: easy fold with bad hand in early position
135 312 $1,060 7♣6♠ UTG 29.7 multi N/A n/a bubble: easy fold with bad hand in early position
136 313 $1,060 7♦3♠ BB 29.7 D 12.0 aggr. regular bubble: fold bad hand to raise
137 314 $1,060 Q♠7♣ SB 29.1 BB 22.6 ? bubble: BVB steal
138 315 $1,060 A♦7♠ D 29.8 multi N/A ? bubble: BSB steal against decent stacks, not short ones
139 316 $1,060 K♥9♥ CO 30.8 multi N/A ? bubble: steal from CO as bubble is very close
140 318 $1,060 3♣3♥ HJ 31.8 multi N/A ? bubble: 4th steal in a row with low pair
141 319 $1,060 6♦5♥ MP 32.8 multi N/A ? bubble: time out from stealing
142 320 $1,060 K♣5♥ MP 32.7 MP 8.9 ? bubble: fold to raise with bad hand
143 321 $1,060 Q♠T♥ UTG1 32.7 UTG 14.0 ? bubble: fold to larger raise
144 322 $1,060 T♥3♦ UTG 32.7 multi N/A ? bubble: easy fold with bad hand in early position
145 323 $1,060 Q♦T♠ BB 32.7 multi N/A aggr. regular bubble: all-in resteal vs. presumed button blind steal attempt
146 325 $1,060 K♦7♥ SB 46.3 BB 21.6 ? bubble: 4-bet all-in steal after sucking out on last hand
147 327 $1,060 T♥7♦ D 51.1 CO 15.4 ? bubble: fold to 4xBB raise
148 328 $1,060 Q♦2♦ CO 51.1 HJ 16.3 ? bubble: fold to min-raise with bad image
149 329 $1,060 Q♠T♠ HJ 51.1 D 26.3 ? A♣7♥3♥ bubble: c-bet with air
150 330 $1,060 K♣6♣ MP 40.0 multi N/A ? bubble: fold still trying to restore image
151 331 $1,060 Q♣4♣ MP 39.9 UTG 24.4 pro bubble: fold to UTG raise
152 332 $1,060 9♦3♦ UTG1 39.9 multi N/A ? bubble: early position steal attempt fails
153 333 $1,060 A♣T♥ UTG 38.7 multi N/A ? bubble: early position steal attempt succeeds
154 334 $1,060 Q♦8♣ BB 39.7 UTG 13.3 ? bubble: fold to UTG raise
155 335 $1,060 Q♣Q♠ SB 39.1 MP 5.9 tight bubble: 4-bet after min-raise and 3.5x reraise
156 336 $1,060 Q♥2♥ D 44.5 CO 8.8 ? bubble: fold to raise
157 337 $1,060 T♠2♣ CO 44.4 MP 21.9 pro bubble: fold bad hand to raise
158 338 $1,060 A♥2♥ HJ 44.4 SB 10.5 ? bubble: c-bet King-high flop
159 339 $1,060 7♥2♥ MP 46.4 multi N/A ? bubble: fold with bad hand
160 340 $1,060 Q♠5♦ MP 46.4 multi N/A ? bubble: fold with bad hand
161 341 $1,060 J♥3♥ UTG1 46.4 multi N/A ? bubble: fold with bad hand
162 342 $1,060 J♦5♥ UTG 46.4 multi N/A ? bubble: fold with bad hand
163 343 $1,060 J♥T♥ BB 46.3 none N/A ? bubble: walk
164 344 $1,060 A♦8♥ SB 46.8 CO 26.5 pro bubble: fold with decent hand but OOP vs. tough opponent
165 345 $1,060 K♣7♣ D 46.5 multi N/A ? bubble: BSB steal
166 346 $1,060 7♣3♠ CO 47.5 HJ 9.3 ? bubble: fold to min-raise
167 347 $1,060 Q♦T♦ HJ 47.4 MP 2.7 pro bubble: 3-bet in position
168 348 $1,060 8♣3♦ MP 49.4 UTG1 26.4 pro bubble: fold to raise with bad hand
169 349 $1,060 Q♦7♠ MP 49.4 UTG 27.3 pro bubble: fold to raise with bad hand
170 350 $1,060 8♦8♠ UTG1 49.4 BB 28.3 pro bubble: fold medium pair on flop with 3 connected overs
171 351 $1,060 3♣3♥ UTG 48.3 SB 30.8 pro bubble: c-bet with underpair
172 352 $1,060 J♠5♣ BB 50.4 SB 8.6 ? bubble: big blind steal vs. limped small blind
173 353 $1,060 6♥4♦ SB 40.9 CO 23.6 pro bubble: fold to raise with bad hand
174 354 $1,060 J♦8♦ D 40.6 multi N/A weak, tight bubble: BSB steal as bubble bursts
175 356 $320 J♦J♠ CO 100.0 multi N/A ? 7♥3♣2♥T♠ early: Jacks vs. UTG1 raise
176 361 $215 Q♥Q♣ MP 87.7 UTG 100.0 ? early: Queens vs. UTG 4-bet
177 363 $25 A♦K♥ MP 62.3 UTG 70.6 ? 7♦6♣3♣A♠8♦ early: big slick vs. UTG raise
178 368 $150 A♥K♦ BB 39.6 CO 74.8 ? K♠9♣6♥J♣ early: big slick vs. UTG limp and CO raise
179 371 $50 A♦T♥ BB 54.7 SB 30.7 ? Q♠J♣8♥K♥9♥ BVB with SB limp
180 374 $50 J♦T♦ UTG1 47.4 CO 172.9 ? K♠T♥9♦Q♥9♠ suited connectors in early position
181 379 $150 A♥K♣ CO 52.8 multi N/A ? big slick with raise and reraise in front
182 381 $200 A♦J♦ UTG 47.4 multi N/A weak A♣6♠4♦6♥T♣ top pair, 3rd kicker vs. blind limpers
183 385 $200 T♥T♣ CO 27.0 HJ 21.1 ? medium pair vs. possible HJ steal then D shoves
184 388 $320 K♣Q♦ HJ 30.9 CO 24.3 loose J♦4♦3♣K♦5♥ TPTK vs. possible flush
185 392 $320 Q♦Q♠ MP 19.2 UTG 24.3 ? A♣9♥7♠4♠ Queens vs. Ace on board
186 396 $650 J♦J♠ MP 29.8 SB 19.4 ? Jacks vs. pot-committing raise
187 398 $150 A♠Q♥ CO 46.4 D 11.5 ? AQo vs. all-in reraise
188 400 $650 Q♣Q♥ D 14.6 multi N/A ? K♠J♣7♠K♥ Queens vs. King on board and 2 opponents
189 404 $500 A♠A♣ SB 13.2 CO 22.9 ? Q♥T♠7♣ Aces vs. CO raise
190 407 $200 7♥7♠ MP 33.6 UTG1 25.3 ? Sevens vs. early raise
191 409 $25 A♥Q♥ UTG 11.1 SB 18.3 ? T♣8♠3♠J♥A♠ top pair on river
192 412 $100 J♠8♦ SB 11.9 BB 10.2 ? J♥T♦9♣ top pair and straight draw
193 415 $50 2♣2♦ BB 2.6 multi N/A ? short stack: small pair vs. raise and call
194 418 $150 A♦6♥ HJ 3.1 multi N/A ? short stack: shove or fold decision
Title Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, Vol. 1
Author Eric Lynch, Jon Van Fleet, and Jon Turner
Year 2008
Skill Level Advanced to Expert
Pros Lots of hands (423 pages worth), each presented with the thought process (and sometimes critique) of one or all three of the pros. A wide variety of tournament situations are covered.
Cons No overriding theme or continuity. It’s completely up to the reader to figure out what lessons to learn. Book isn’t nearly as long as its page count, as hand diagrams take up almost half of the space (this is just book one of a three-part series).
Rating 3.5 (4.0 with the above index)


  1. Hands 131 to 174 were consecutively played as the table chip leader starting from 15 players away to the money bubble in a tourney with a mix of good players and satellite winners.
  2. If you want to sort or modify this table, make a copy of the Google Docs spreadsheet index for “Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, Vol. 1”, which has additional columns like table size. Like a lot of the tables in this blog, the HTML above was dynamically created by a column in the spreadsheet.
  3. The buyins for hands 21, 64, 65, 75, 84, and 88 are my best guesses as they are not given in the book. While a larger buyin usually means higher skilled players, some of the tournaments had weaker fields from players who had satellited in from smaller events.
  4. Pos = Position (SB = small blind, BB = big blind, UTG = under the gun, UTG1 = under the gun plus one, MP = middle position, HJ = hijack, CO = cutoff, and D = dealer button).


“Poker Plays You Can Use” Review

[SS] “Perfect timing that you joined us just now, Iggy”, greeted Stan the Stat. “We were just discussing New Year’s Resolutions, and the first section was about improving your game!”

[II] “Oh, yeah. Half of my resolutions this year are about getting better at Hold ‘Em!” Iggy the Improver volunteered.

[RR] “What about the other fifty? {Chuckles.} How many new poker books did you get for Christmas?” Roderick the Rock asked.

[II] “Just two, but they’re really good ones.”

[SS] “Do tell.”

[II] “The first one is Poker Plays You Can Use by Doug Hull.”

[RR] “I’ve never heard of it…, or him.”

[II] “He’s not famous… yet. But his advice is very sensible without being obvious, straightforward without being dull. And, Stan, you’d really like the way he’s organized his book! Each ‘play’ is categorized by the weaknesses it exploits, the skills it uses, and a difficulty level.”

[SS] “That sounds awesome.”

[II] “Hull groups the plays by type and indicates the most closely related plays.”

[RR] “Can you give us an example?”

[II] “The sections are ‘Bluffs and Semi-bluffs’, ‘Getting Value’, ‘Good Folds’, and ‘Three-bet pots’.1 Since the first section contains almost sixty percent of the plays, here’s a medium-difficulty play from there.”

[II] “‘When a bad barreling card comes, wait for the river.’ This play takes advantage of tight, predictable opponents by utilizing the two-barrel bluff in your arsenal. After raising preflop and getting your continuation bet called by a nit, it may make sense to check the turn and bluff the river instead. For example, out of position, holding 8♥8♦ on a 3♠7♦9♥6♣ board, your opponent is likely ahead with top pair or an overpair and will call if you semi-bluff the turn with your straight draw and second pair. If he checks behind, however, when a K♣ appears on the river, you can represent top pair and take down the pot with a healthy river bet.”

Title Poker Plays You Can Use
Author Doug Hull
Year 2013
Skill Level Intermediate to Advanced
Pros Very well organized. Provides immediately useful suggestions. Includes in-game exercises to improve your skills.
Cons Too brief despite containing 306 pages (as that includes the exercises and appendixes)! With almost fifty plays, each play gets only about five pages. Also a tad pricey (list price $49.99 paperback, $44.99 ebook), although it has gone on sale at least once.
Rating 4.5


  1. Both Rod and Stan would have had a minor quibble with the inconsistent capitalization, but that’s the wrong type of nit to pick on in this blog.

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