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Old 03-29-2012, 12:00 AM   #12
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Ottawa, ON
Posts: 7,792
Re: Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker

A few weeks ago, I purchased a copy of Smashing Fewer Holes in Your Computer Desk: Written Insights on Modern Internet Poker. I did so based mostly on my prior experience with Jon Tannen, as I had some professional and insightful coaching and was eager to get my hands on some written content.

I'll be honest: I'm picky when it comes to buying poker related products, so when I started writing this review, I set out to answer the question: Is this title worth the money? While most publications offer a clear “yes,” or “no,” SFHiYCD offers a slightly more frustrating (but worthwhile), “it depends.”

The meat of the product is a series of videos – Jon's students record a play session, then Jon offers a written response. Each response is exhaustive, with links to Jon's other poker theory documents and more detail piled on. Rather than take an overall, generalized approach, Jon gets right down into the trenches and goes hand by hand, one at a time, through three different student videos.

It's daunting. I spent several days just working through one student video. By the time I got to the end I questioned what to do with what I'd learned. I'd certainly learned a lot, but there is just so much densely packed material that it was difficult to distill what I had learned down into a few general statements.

Consciously or not, I think SFHiYCD attempts to deal with a fundamental problem: Poker is hard. It's complicated. Books just covering the concepts and outlining hand ranges never quite seem to capture the “real” thought process of an individual hand, but that's what Jon's work accomplishes in crushing detail.

Jon holds nothing back in this text, it's clear that he's poured every drop of his poker knowledge into the material. Instead of talking theory, SFHiYCD talks mental process. The work is essentially a long string of examples on how to think through real poker hands.

This isn't a product for beginners. If you want discussion of basic theory and general concepts, it's going to be hard to do better than published books like Professional No Limit Hold'em Volume 1 or Small Stakes No Limit Hold'em. Jon doesn't try to emulate or rewrite these books, but instead strikes out into new territory. When a player gets all that theory, then wonders, “how do I use all this at the table?” SFHiYCD has the answer.

This text has taken a huge amount of energy and effort to truly digest. I'm still going through it, and still learning from it, and I expect I will be for some time. For those that want one size fits all answers and poker platitudes and band-aids to patch up a leaky game, this is definitely not the text for you. But if you're willing to study and work through hand after hand alongside a great poker mind, SFHiYCD is a rewarding experience, and definitely worth the buy.
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