Friday, June 20, 2008

Book Review from What're the Odds: Tournament Poker:101 Winning Moves by Mitchell Cogert

How many moves do you know?

In an attempt to improve my poker game during the last couple of years, I've purchased several poker books. I'm sure many of your bookshelves are also stacked with Sklansky, Harrington, Cloutier, Brunson and the 'Tell Guys'; Mike Caro and Joe Navarro. Today, I'd like to recommend an excellent one to add to your collection. The latest addition to my poker library is Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves by Mitchell Cogert.

Tournament Poker: 101 Winning Moves gives you one hundred and one expert plays for no-limit tournaments. It is the poker reference book that combines winning poker moves found in almost 20 years worth of poker materials with plays uncovered in heads-up battles against poker pros. -Mitchell Cogert

I have to confess, even as a poker blogger and an avid reader of poker strategy, I didn't even know about some of the moves discussed in this book! Of course, some are extremely well known, like the Continuation Bet, the Squeeze Play, the Stop and Go, the Isolation Play etc., but there were several that were unknown to me.

You may know some of these moves, but you don't know them all. And if you don't know them all, you are at a distinct disadvantage. It's time to step up to the poker table with confidence and an arsenal full of winning moves. -Mitchell Cogert

Each move is defined in a straight-forward, easily understood manner with example hands following. Unlike other strategy books I've read, I didn't have a single huh?? moment throughout the entire book!

Cogert's mantra for this one is Risk is Good and talks about embracing the risk associated with NL tournaments. Risk is good, because playing safe in tournament poker is a sure way to lose. While we may all know this, it helps to be reminded. I remember a live tournament that I played at Sam's Town not long ago where I 'forgot' this simple Golden Rule and proceeded to play the weakest poker of my life. I'll never forget that tournament. It was a lesson well learned. Too bad I hadn't read his book the night before that one.

Of course, it's all about knowing when to take these risks. For this, Cogert provides an Odds Chart with the number of outs you have and odds against improving on the flop and turn in the back of the book. Also, there's a FAQ section, such as How often will I be dealt pocket Aces? or What's the probability of my opponent having an Ace-high hand with a better kicker than me? The answer gives percentages on AJ, A10, A9 and A8, which I found interesting.

Then there are the Tips sections sprinkled throughout. There are some great tips in this book, such as the one on Fear: When your opponent makes a bet that puts fear in you, ask yourself if that is true or false. Remember that fear is often referred to as False Evidence that Appears Real. Is he bluffing? Semi-bluffing? I found these tips to be smart, thought-provoking and very useful.

If you've ever overheard someone say something like...."I decided to float the flop, then the turn. When I bet the river, he tanked and folded."...and wondered what they were talking about, you should definetly give this book a read. Even if you are familiar with floating, with 101 moves there are bound to be ones you don't know, but should know.

Not only will this book help you to incorporate more power moves into your tournament poker game, it will also help you spot when opponents are making these moves on you! You'll be able to effectively counter their moves and foil their plans.

My verdict: Ship it or skip it? Ship it!

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