“Tournament Poker” Review

[LL] “Tom McEvoy’s Tournament Poker is a dense 424-page tome,” Leroy the Lion began

[RR] “Is ‘dense’ a good thing or a bad thing?” Roderick the Rock interrupted.

[LL] “That depends. If it makes me feel dense, then I don’t like it. But in this case, I just mean that there isn’t much fluff. It’s lot of meat and potatoes.”

[RR] “Which you like.”

[LL] “Yes, the book covers general tournament poker strategy briefly before diving deeper into numerous variations: Hold ‘Em (Limit, No-Limit, and Pot-Limit), Ace-to-Five Lowball (With the Joker), Deuce-to-Seven Draw, Omaha (Limit, Pot-Limit, and High-Low), Seven-Card Stud (High and High-Low Split), and Razz. For games I was already familiar with, like Hold ‘Em, I could have used even more depth, but for the others, the amount of detail was good most of the time. Seven-Card Stud got a reasonable 76 pages, while the three lowball games were shortchanged a bit (18 pages for Ace-to-Five, 8 for Deuce-to-Seven, and 22 for Razz).”

[RR] “Does McEvoy find all poker variants to be roughly the same?”

[LL] “He definitely thinks there are plenty of common threads between them, especially in tournaments. For example, expect players to be their sharpest in the early rounds. Don’t get married to a hand, especially in games like Hold ‘Em where having the nuts is rare. In the middle rounds, you can steal from the tighter players. In the late stages after the money bubble, you should be more aggressive, especially against the shorter stacks and those whom you think are just trying to move up the pay ladder.”

[RR] “Let me guess, he thinks a tight aggressive strategy is correct…, and his concept of tight is much tighter than most players play now.”

[LL] “Yes, especially in the early rounds of events. But realize that part of that is because most of his opponents were tighter then, too. On the other hand, McEvoy wasn’t afraid to ‘double up or go home’, since if you bust out of a tournament very early, you’ve saved yourself time compared to busting out at the money bubble. He’s even okay with exiting on a semibluff.”

[LL] “Overall, I got a lot out of this book, especially in the poker variants I don’t usually play. His general tournament strategy may need to be tweaked somewhat with the recent change to deeper pyaout structures, but his overall plan is still appropriate if your goal is to win tournaments rather than just run deep.”

Title Tournament Poker
Author Tom McEvoy
Year 2004 (originally published in 1995 but significantly updated)
Skill Level Intermediate
Pros Detailed tournament tips for 11 poker variants.
Cons A little dated but not horribly so.
Rating 3.5
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