Book Review: 'The Poker Tournament Formula II'November 29, 2009 8:59 am
‘The Poker Tournament Formula’ by Arnold Snyder dealt with the subject of fast-structure tourneys and now in his follow up book ‘The Poker Tournament Formula II’ he turn his attention to slower, deep-stack tournaments.
A key concept Snyder deals with is “chip utility”, which is the value of each chip in terms of what plays it allows you to make or not make. Snyder emphasises the advantage of “full utility,” which allows you the whole range of pre- and post-flop poker plays while maintaining the pressure on opponents.
Dan Harrington’s M theory categorised the “green zone” of unrestrained play as 20 M or 20 rounds of blinds and antes before being blinded off. In contrast, Arnold Snyder asserts a player needs a chip stack of at least 100 big blinds to achieve full utility, which is almost twice Harrington’s “green zone” requirements.
Snyder, as a ‘small ball’ proponent, explains the importance full utility gives a competitor in playing suited connectors, small pairs, unsuited one-gappers and other speculative hands, and allowing him a range of post-flop actions, without putting his stack significantly at risk. He does, however, draw attention to the need to play ‘long-ball’ later in the tourney, when all but the most enormous stacks, will demands accurate big pot play.
Snyder emphasises in his book that a player cannot expect to be dealt enough premium hands throughout a game to progress to the final table of a big, multi-table tournament. Instead, he should be constantly aggressive so as to create fear and respect in the minds of his opponents. The author then spends some time giving practical advice on aggressive play in a section titled “Five Easy Fleeces,” or five types of bluffs players must employ regularly to keep opponents off balanced.
The final section of ‘The Poker Tournament Formula II’ describes the five stages of any tournament, which he says are Stack building (taking advantage of early stage tight players to increase your chip count), The Minefield (when players are taking shots with short stacks), The Bubble, The Money, and The Final Table. He then sets out to explain how to play at each of the different stages, and highlight the common mistakes to be avoided.
Snyder also devotes some time categorising different players and explaining how to identify and play against them.
All in all, this book comes highly recommended for players looking to gain some original insight into poker tournament play. The concepts described often fly in the face of conventional held theories on the subject and will enable the reader to gain a deeper understanding of the subject area, and should help improve overall tournament success rate.