Poker Book Review: Kill PhilFebruary 27, 2010 8:47 am
‘Kill Phil’ by Blair Rodman and Lee Nelson does pretty much what it says on the book’s subtitle, and provides inexperienced players with a ‘Fast Track to Success in No-Limit Hold’em Poker Events’.
As 1994 World Series of Poker main event champion Russ Hamilton explains: “The Kill Phil strategy is designed to take advantage of what we, and many others, feel is a weakness in no-limit hold’em tournaments — the overemphasis on the all-in move in the later stages.”
More specifically, the “Phil” mentioned in the title relates to any player better and more experienced that yourself in a tournament, whose edge you can narrow down by employing a simple fold or all-in strategy.
This simplistic approach has appeared in other poker books too, such as David Sklansky’s ‘Tournament Poker for Advanced Players’. However, Rodman and Nelson have further refined the strategy and highlighted many important points including making a distinction between “small ball” and “long ball” poker.
Many exceptional tournament players are small ball specialists and will try to win a number of small pots while avoiding big confrontations, in order to take advantage of weaker players at a minimum risk to their own stack. Therefore, many good players will simply be unwilling to risk their tournament life to a pre-flop all-in without first holding an exceptional starting hand.
However, long ball players will tend to apply their skills pre-flop and so this will have to be taken into account when deciding whether to go all-in or fold. Other factors to consider before making a decision are discussed in the book, such as starting hands,the CSI (chip status index), calculating the CPR (cost per round), as well as your stack size, the power of the re-raise and table image.
Despite being more suited to live tournaments than online play, the book fulfills its promise of providing a threatening strategy for beginners to adopt in order to narrow the gap between them and the more experienced players during the later stages of tournament. It is written in an easy to follow format and I would recommend it for amateur and novice players looking to bring their tournament play up to speed.