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Old 06-27-2010, 09:18 PM   #1
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Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

Originally Posted by peterpjames View Post
anyone breeze through all 500+ pages yet?
pg. 300

I feel like 2+2 regs wont get much from this book until part 3 when discussion on range distribution is covered and then the actual strat on micro and small stakes starts in parts 4 and 5. Even the value in these sections are questionable for a forum reg but the book has covered a few things that I was pleasantly surprised about. The previously mentioned range distribution discussion was good imo and the 3bet-4bet section in the micro stakes strat was impressive to me also.

Overall, I feel like if a beginner w/ some prior knowledge of the game read this book they would benefit from it significantly. As far as the average 2+2er, the benefits would depend on the individual's involvement in the forums and knowledge prior to reading the book.

Cliffs: The book picks up steam in Part 3, may be of questionable value to an already experienced uNL grinder/2+2er but is by far the best mainstream book on the market to a beginner.
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Old 06-28-2010, 03:32 PM   #2
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Re: Update on Harrington On Online Cash Games

I just finished my first read. I was surprised that I liked the book a lot. I think it is an excellent no limit book - the best out to date. I play anywhere from 2/4 through 5/10 depending on my game, opponents, time of day...

I think this book will help most players a lot. It starts with basic stuff, but gets very strong in the second half. After I read it again in the next week I will post a detailed review.
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Old 06-28-2010, 04:27 PM   #3
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

Copied the couple reviews out of the other thread to start this now that the book is out.
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:58 PM   #4
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

LOL@ the clown on making out with the book
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:41 AM   #5
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

Overall Impression: Excellent book. Very well-written. Not a lot of new material for advanced or high stakes players but drives home the fundamentals in a way that is well-organized and that I think will make sense and stick with a lot of players. I think a lot of top players will be disappointed because there’s probably not much that they don’t already know. Heck, with the exception of how to calculate 3 and 4 betting ranges, I think I pretty much knew most of the material covered in the book myself, but that doesn’t mean I execute it well. I’m beyond the point where reading any single book is going to have a big impact on my win rate, but because the book is so well-articulated, I definitely expect it to help my game. One of my pet peeves are typos and this book contains much fewer of them than I am used to seeing.

The book is divided into 5 parts. Here are my comments about some of the things I found most note-worthy.

I. Basic Concepts (17% of content): Clearly written but nothing new.

II. Playing Online (20% of content): Advice on using poker tracking software. Nothing really new but makes sense and is well-organized. Contains some useful benchmark figures. Contains a long well-thought out section on efficient note taking. Although most players might not think they need help in how to take notes, Robertie does a good job of pointing out what’s important to notice and how to effectively record it.

III. Ranges and Distributions (11% of content)
Great explanation on how to analyze poker decisions based on a player’s estimated range and how it matches up with the board. This has been explained before but IMO never as clearly as it is explained here. The 17-page chapter on studying hands contains a detailed example analyzing a single hand, and making some cogent observations. Anyone who wanted to analyze a few problems of his own should be able to follow the example in the book.

IV. Micro Stakes (24% of content)
I don’t play micro stakes, so I just skimmed over this section and intend to read it more carefully later.

V. Small Stakes (28% of content)
Explanation of how small stakes games differ from micro games. Contains a clearly expressed method of calculating how often to 3 and 4 bet that I have never seen in print before. The example problems are not deeply nuanced but not obvious either. Overall the problems are well-chosen and illustrative of the concepts explained in the book.
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Old 06-30-2010, 10:28 PM   #6
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

I also think this is an excellent book and very well written.

If you are new to 6max or even playing poker online then I think this IS the book to start with. It seems kind of odd that it doesn't touch on the topic of bankroll.
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Old 07-01-2010, 02:28 AM   #7
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

Thanks for the info...will proabably get it by the end of next wk. I'm new to this is good timing for me.

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Old 07-02-2010, 01:11 AM   #8
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

Originally Posted by KaizenK View Post
LOL@ the clown on making out with the book

is this him?
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Old 07-02-2010, 05:48 PM   #9
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

Easily worth $40 or whatever.

Very clear. I didn't read Harrington's previous cash books but this is first class and does exactly what it says on the tin.

In theory I might know most of it already (7 yrs play, at least 2 yrs full CR membership, played around with flopzilla for hours on end etc), but there is a huge benefit in having it all laid out so well and in such a easily read and concise style.

Also in truth most books/2+2 threads/training sites mix the good advice with stuff that is hard to apply, inapplicable and/or just plain wrong - this book just feels so 'right' and makes what it says appear so obvious and simple that you understimate how much its giving you IMHO.

Cliff Notes - buy it unless you are a $200+ player and really as good as you think you are....
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Old 07-03-2010, 02:58 PM   #10
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

Moved all the sales and availability questions to
Update on Harrington On Online Cash Games
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Old 07-04-2010, 05:33 AM   #11
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

Cross-post from 4L. I even spelt everything correctly for this one, although I didn't change the content:

Cliffs: Horrible book, don't bother reading either it or this post

Dang, they are still here. Dan Harrington's grasp of the game is remarkable. I learned a great deal from his tournament series, even more from his cash games books, and I learned just as much from this one.

I've only finished the first half so far, but Harrington's focus in this book seems to be the most efficient use of online tools. He briefly touches on some basics of poker, the differences between live and online, and then he delves into the world of the database.

His treatment of HUD statistics is very worthwhile for an amateur. I, like many, have Pokertracker and I like to fiddle around with the database a bit and try to get a read on my opponents. But Harrington specifically describes a number of useful statistics that can be utilized to take advantage of patterns in your opponents' pre and postflop tendencies. After adapting my HUD to Harrington's suggestions I have made a number of strong plays that I wouldn't have thought to make otherwise.

He also does a good job of correlating opponents' HUD statistics to their hand ranges and distributions. Reading Harrington 6max online really solidified a number of ideas relating to playing against hand-ranges instead of always having to worry about if he had that K or not.

He gives some really excellent suggestions on note-taking. I went from a haphazard assortment of random notes to a clean system organized by street. He also helped me discern some of the more important information to take note of. There was even a part he wrote just for me that said I shouldn't cuss out my opponents in the note box.

I highly recommend this book to any online player who isn't my opponent. Some of the ideas might be pretty basic to some of the seasoned online pros, but Harrington really laid down a comprehensive baseline from which to knowledgeably examine many of my unrecognized leaks. Seriously, I was just sitting there with VPIP, PFR, and AFQ%. I didn't even really know what the last one meant except that it was somehow related to aggression.

Also, the book stands up very well to getting soaking wet in a rainstorm. The cover is a little soggy but it's still perfectly readable. If it rains enough I'm going to see if the book may even counteract the effects of fire. It's just that good. I'm surprised Shamwow isn't in here.

Last edited by Pawntificator; 07-04-2010 at 05:47 AM.
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Old 07-04-2010, 05:49 AM   #12
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

Originally Posted by Black Arrow View Post
typos and this book contains much fewer of them than I am used to seeing.
I've noticed 3 but I think I could only find two of them.
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Old 07-04-2010, 02:06 PM   #13
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

On page 43 and I already found a stupid mistake: #3 He has two hearts and is drawing to a flush. If he has two hearts he already has a flush and you are drawing very thin.

I'm sure the content of this book is excellent, as all of Harrington and Robertie's books are but these stupid errors are annoying.

Get a better proofreader.
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Old 07-04-2010, 03:45 PM   #14
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

There are a few reasons why there hasn't been a general book about beating online cash games published yet. For the most part, 6-max cash games are full for fairly complex situations when you start breaking them down. Those that are crushing the games don't have a lot of incentive to write about it. Even if they did, writing isn't easy. That said, Dan Harrington's new book is the most ambitous volume in trying to educate players on the topic of winning at 6-max games.

In many ways, the books is pretty good. It covers a lot of topics that are important to winning at holdem. If one of my friends watched some poker on TV and wanted to start playing online, I would recommend this book. On the other hand, for someone had already played online over any reasonable sample size (30K hands at 25NL or above) and had a basic understanding of a TAG style, I think this book has very limited value and at times will even guide you in the wrong direction (more on that later).

Poker is one of those areas where it's fairly easy to say things which on the surface make sense (especially to beginners), but when those ideas are broken down by better players, prove to be wrong. Thus, you should be skeptical of advice given from players who have not demonstrated good results at the games about which they are preaching. While Dan Harrington is an accomplished tournament player, he is a complete unknown in online cash games. That said, this book feels like an eloquent rehasing of a lot of the 2+2 stickies from the uNL and SSNL forums. Yes - there is a lot of good general advice there, but it's nothing that's not available for free with a little bit of searching.

The big upside of the books is its general organization and the fact that it's in print. You can take it anywhere you go and then mark it and write all over it. That's a HUGE upside over searching through all the different forum posts. Thus, if this is all this book was, I would recommend it for the $40 (which is a great value for any poker reasource). The problem that I have is with some of the advice given and general value for a player already has the general basics down (don't limp, open more from BTN than UTG, 3-bet light vs. people that fold a lot, use a HUD). I'll illustrate some of my points below.

For example, the book skims very quickly over double-barrelling:

“Bet if you made a continuation bet bluff on the flop and your opponent just called. A few years ago the idea of a ‘continuation bet’ on the flop was new to many players who just folded if their opponent bet and they hadn’t made a strong hand. As continuation bets became understood, more players were willing to call a bet on the flop with a weak pair, a draw, or even nothing at all to see if they could win the hand later.

The counter-strategy to this approach is to fire a second bluff on the turn. Known as ‘double barreling,’ this second bet shows a lot of strength and is correspondingly harder to call. You should plan on double-barreling at least some of your flop bluffs.” [p. 58]

This is pretty much the extent of the discussion on double-barreling – one of the topics that a vast majority of beginning and even regular players struggle with. Nothing in the quote above is wrong, but nothing is really all that useful. For example, what type of hands and boards do we fire again on vs. what kind of players? Another area where a lot of beginning players struggle is river play. Here are a few pieces of advice the book gives on bluffing the river:

“Only bluff with hands that have no showdown value. […] If you bet with a hand like second pair and get raised, you may have to fold a hand that would have won if your opponent decided to raise with nothing! Pick hands that can’t win the pot for your bluffs.” [p. 65]

“Don’t bluff with a high card (like an ace) in your hand. If you and your opponent were both drawing, and you both missed, your high card may be good enough to win.” [p. 66]

“Bluff if the river is a scare card. Good scare cards are hands which make a low or medium pair on the board, or cards which seem to fill a straight. The story you’re telling is that you had a medium hand or a draw and hit the jackpot.” [p. 66]

It seems like the first two pieces of advice are contradicted by the third. If the river is a good scare card then if you have some showdown value (3rd pair for example), the value of betting your made hand as a bluff could be higher than just taking your showdown. This again follows the pattern of giving general pieces of advice and not fully backing them up with examples and perhaps counter-examples. Learning about situations in which to turn your marginal-made hand into a bluff is a key ideas of moving up in the stakes.

The book presents the idea of HUDs. It mentions some other useful HUD stats while warning the player that “these statistics require many hundreds of even thousands of hands to converge to solid numbers, so don’t assign too much weight to them until you’ve played with a particular opponent for awhile” [p. 113]. While this is very true, it doesn’t give any guidelines for how many hands on average it takes for the different stats to converge. In fact, it recommends inclucing BB/100 right after the player's name and # of hand. As we all know, the BB/100 is something which can take tens of thousands of hands to even come close to giving you some insight, so presenting that as a basic piece of info will do more harm than good.

The section on drawing inferences from the different HUDs will be useful for beginners, but once again we run into problems. When looking at a HUD of a 25/20 player over 210 hands with a 3-bet of 10%, Harrington writes “Also note his 3-bet number of 10 percent. […] (A 10 percent range includes hands like small to medium pocket pairs and even holdings like ace-jack offsuit or queen-jack suited).” This begins to be problematic as trying to construct a 3-betting range for an aggressive player over a small sample size is very difficult (other than realizing he is probably 3-betting light), but it will almost always not include small pocket pairs at the micros and even small stakes.

This idea comes up again in an example of a situation where we face a 3-bet (p. 404 – 407). We open from middle position in a 100NL game (a position where Dan recommends opening 18% of hands). It folds around to the small blind, an aggressive player with a 3-bet of 8% over a few hundred hands, who then 3-bets us to $10. Dan then writes: “Since we raised form MP, our raising range will be a little tighter than our overall PFR. He will tighten his 3-bet range accordingly. Since he’ll be OOP after the flop, he wants to 3-bet light a little more, and call a little less. The net result of all these factors looks like a wash, so we’ll assume his 3-betting number in this situation is no different.”

He then proceeds to assign him a 3-betting range of AA-99, AQ+ for value and 22-55, A8s-A9s, and QJs-JTs as 3-betting light. Once again, I have big problems with that because I cannot think of a single competent winning SSNL player who would 3-bet 8% of hands out of the SB vs. another competent MP open given 100BB stacks (which is not stated, but I’m guessing is assumed in this example).

Given his analysis above, he states that he would 4-bet AA-QQ and call with 55-JJ, AKo, AQs+ and then 4-bet as a bluff with ATs-AJs. I think this is incorrect on a lot of levels (To begin with, why 4-bet/fold AJs if villain is 3-betting A8s, A9s, and 22-55, 99-TT? Why 4-bet AA when he is likely to 3-bet fold such a huge part of his range when we 4-bet? Unless we assume that by 3-betting for value, the villain will 5-bet shove 99 vs. our range. If so, I have even more issues with the analysis).

Here are two more examples from the “Beating Small Stakes” section – the first one dealing with blind defense and the second dealing with facing a 3-bet.

Problem 5-2 (pg. 442-444):

A 200NL game. A 50 BB stack unknown (3 hands) opens for $6 from the CO. We are in the BB with 4c5c. Dan writes “In general, we want to defend our blinds. […] Since you are required to post a blind no matter how bad your hand may be, and since you’re OOP in the subsequent play, you can’t expect to show a profit in the blinds. You can, however, work to reduce your losses, and the best way to reduce your losses is to take advantage of generous pot odds when offered and call with playable hands. With odds of 2.25-to-1, suited connectors are an easy call here.”

Problem 5-16 (pg. 491-493):

A 100NL game. We have $120 and raise 8c9c UTG. An aggressive player (23/23 with a 3-bet of 12% over 100 hands) 3-bets us to $10 and everyone else folds. Dan writes “Player B has been an active 3-bettor and we’ve had to lay down to him a couple of times. Our hand is only about 37 percent to a typical 12 percent range, technically not good enough to call. But he’s been throwing his weight around and we feel like getting involved. He certainly won’t read us for this hand, so we may be able to maneuver after the flop.”

Playing marginal and speculative hands without great reads out of position without deep stacks or initiative is just a recipe for slowly (or quickly) bleeding money at the micros and small stakes. While SOME players can certainly do this because they are really good, no beginner or break-even regular will show a profit making this play though.

Cliff Notes:

While I think this book provides a good general foundation for someone who has never played online poker (or is transitioning from SNGs or MTTs into micro cash games), I think for players who play on a regular basis at 25NL and above and are active in forums it can do more harm than good if the information is taken at face value for the reasons I discussed above.

These players need advice not on whether to open ATs on the button, but how to deal with 3-bets, whether to c-bet and then what spots to double-barrel on, how to profitably play from the blinds (all areas which I think were inadequtely and at times misleadingly covered in this book).

In addition, winning poker is about emotional control, managing your bankroll, and having a plan for moving up in stakes - areas that this book didn't even begin to cover.
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Old 07-04-2010, 04:18 PM   #15
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Re: Harrington on Online Cash Games: 6 Max reviews & discussion

Awesome review verneer
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