“Making the Final Table” Review

[LL] “I’ve always dreamed of playing in the World Series of Poker, but it would actually require a lot less travel to play in the World Poker Tour”, Leroy the Lion remarked.

[RR] “Sure, they have a festival at Foxwoods every year”, Roderick the Rock suggested.

[SS] “Sorry, it’s not there anymore”, Stan the Stat corrected. “The closest stop is now the Borgata in Atlantic City.”

[RR] “I wouldn’t think any less of you if you a won a WPT bracelet instead of a WSOP bracelet!”

[LL] “Would be pretty cool if a bunch of us drove down and tried to get in through a satellite.”

[RR] “How much are the entry fees?”

[SS] “The cheapest ones are under $100.”

[LL] “I’m ready; I just finished reading Erick Lindgren’s Making the Final Table. Okay, I’d never be good enough to play in the WPT just by reading that book. But it did put the thought into my head.”

[RR] “It’s a book just about playing on the WPT?”

[LL] “Well, most of the advice covers any Texas Hold ‘Em game but is framed in the context of the WPT. After a brief introduction to the World Poker Tour, Lindgren gives intermediate level advice about playing on the tour, referencing actual tournament setups, blind structures, and even the television lights.

Mike Sexton’s Shuffle Up and Deal, published the same year, gives more of the history of the WPT, but Making the Final Table is a level higher skill-wise.

Lindgren takes a very aggressive approach. Because tournament payouts tend to be top-heavy, he’s willing to bust out early trying to get a big stack, and he’s willing to keep gambling as the event goes on to get to the final table well-equipped. He has no interest in min-cashing or reaching the final table last in chips.

Like Daniel Negreanu, Lindgren believes in the small ball approach to poker. He plays more hands than most, prefers to keep pots smaller before the flop, and uses his superior hand reading skills after the flop. Because he has a wider range than his opponents, he can almost always reasonably represent a hand that hit the flop.

In middle position, Lindgren will play any cards that can flop big, like Ace-Jack or Jack-Nine suited, while in late position, he will play almost any two cards for at least a call.

Other good sections of the book include the most common postflop mistakes (and how to take advantage of them), what to consider when trying to steal the blinds, what to expect if you reach the final table, and how to play heads up.

While the advice specifically addresses the World Poker Tour, most of the book is applicable to any poker tournament.”

Title Making the Final Table
Author Erick Lindgren
Year 2005
Skill Level Intermediate
Pros Good introduction to the World Poker Tour, especially if you want to play on it. Solid, wide-ranging, intermediate-level advice.
Cons Less than a hundred pages on strategy1, far too short (and low level) to prepare you to play on the WPT.
Rating 2.5


  1. The first couple of appendixes waste 22 pages on instantly outdated WPT ranking lists of Millionaires and Money Leaders that are no more than trivial historical curiosities.

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