“Kill Everyone” Review

[DD] “The last of the three books I got was Kill Everyone, the sequel to Lee Nelson and Steven Heston’s1 2006 Kill Phil: The Fast Track to Success in No-Limit Hold ’em Poker Tournaments. The older book presented a simplified long-ball tournament strategy to use against better opponents, which the newer book expands to all types of opponents and all games.”2

[LL] “I hope these weren’t as violent as Kill Bill, Vol. 1 and Kill Bill, Vol. 2“, Leroy the Lion remarked.

[DD] “Well, I suppose you’re taking your opponents’ tournament lives, but the range is more like petty larceny to grand theft.”

[RR] “And sometimes you’re simply goading your opponents into committing suicide”, Roderick the Rock added.

[DD] “Indeed. To segue from the last two books I read, Kill Everyone does have a short chapter on tells. The authors concur with Joe Navarro that the micro-expressions are key with good players, since they won’t have any Oreo-obvious tells. Then these fourteen pages focus on the blatant tells that beginners have, where beginners include veteran online players transitioning to the live game (and hence are less accustomed to handling real cards and chips). The short section also mentions verbal tells, with the best line being Alan Goehring’s response to Ted Forrest’s request for help as he pondered calling the former’s all-in bet: ‘I’d like to help you, Ted, but I’m involved in a hand now.’ Forrest folded to his nonchalance, which was what Goehring wanted.”

[DD] “But the main thrust of Kill Everyone is aggression. Your betting is rewarded by fold equity, since the authors felt that tournament players folded too often. To take advantage of that, you should make bigger and more frequent bets, even and especially all-in. What’s more, once you’ve shown a penchant for big bets, you’ll gain fear equity from your opponents who will now fold to your earlier, smaller bets because of the perceived threat of a bigger bet later in the hand.”

[LL] “That’s the ‘hammer of future bets’ from Sklansky and Miller’s No Limit Hold’em: Theory and Practice“.

[DD] “Right, except that Nelson, Streib, and Heston push the aggression much further, like trying to steal the blinds from under the gun, restealing, and re-restealing. They also suggest more frequent limp-raising preflop and check-raising postflop. The latter is particularly effective out of position against players who continuation bet too often.

They also do a nice job of exploring ICM, the Independent Chip Model for converting chips to prize money, even including an appendix on its limitations. One piece of math I’d never seen before though…, the authors present the bubble factor, which determines how tight each player should be playing based on the relative stack sizes of everyone left in the tournament. Unfortunately, they don’t tell you how to calculate the bubble factor but instead present some tables from which you can get a general idea.

Once you know your bubble factor though, you divide your pot odds by it to get your tournament odds. Since the bubble factor is always at least one, you need better pot odds than you would in heads up, winner-take-all, or cash game situations.”

[LL] “Like reverse implied odds but without the need for any future bets?”

[DD] “Same effect but applicable on every hand.”

Title Kill Everyone
Author Lee Nelson, Tysen Streib, and Steven Heston
Year 2009 (expanded from original 2007 version)
Skill Level Advanced
Pros A fairly simple but effective tournament strategy. Builds nicely on Kill Phil: The Fast Track to Success in No-Limit Hold ’em Poker Tournaments.
Cons Great against weaker and tighter players but may be too aggressive against players who are willing to call expecting to only be slightly ahead in a race. A bit muddled with multiple authors, including occasional contradictory comments by one person during another’s chapter.
Rating 4.0


  1. Tysen Streib replaced Blair Rodman as the third author. Mark Vos also contributed a chapter.
  2. The book still mostly covers tournaments, but Vos’s chapter is on cash games.

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