I often tend to assign poker players to one of two groups – cash game players or tournament players. Of course you could go into more detail than that, but this usually suffices to categories more or less 95% of all players. For cash game players there have always been plenty of poker books around, even though most of them focussed on Limit Hold'em instead of No Limit Hold'em. The only real literature for tournament players was books by David Sklansky, until 2005 saw the release of the 'bible' of tournament poker, the Harrington Series. The 'M' was now a widespread concept and after reading the book players understood that there is a push/fold stadium during a tournament.
Another book the solely focuses on tournament poker is "The Poker Tournament Formula" by Arnold Snyder. Snyder is a former professional gambler who – according to himself – made a fortune at the blackjack tables before stepping over to poker a couple of years ago.
Just to get the big question out of the way now: Yes, order this book! I've grown very enthusiastic about the book of Arnold Snyder. It isn't one of these books that just copies the words of Harrington, but it has its own view on tournament poker. Furthermore, this book also focuses on tournaments for the 'normal' player, so not on WSOP or EPT events with corresponding structures, but the various tournaments on online poker sites form the core of this book. This already becomes apparent in the beginning of the book when Snyder talks about "The Waiting Game versus The Hunting Game". This book will definitely introduce you to a new way of approaching tournament poker.
One main difference between Snyder and Harrington is the emphasis on tournament structure. While Harrington's game is greatly influenced by his 'M', Snyder focuses more on the structure of the tournament. Harrington sees the early phase of a tournament as a mine field through which you have to try and manoeuvre yourself. Snyder, on the other hand, tries to use this beginning phase to collect chips, which he then uses as a weapon in the later stages.
The book itself discusses a lot of elementary concepts, which also makes it a great book for poker beginners. The disadvantage of this is that the advanced player might have to skip a couple of pages before finding something new
Part 1 A new Approach
1. The Waiting Game vs The Hunting Game
2. How to play Texas Hold'em
3. The patience factor
Part 2 The Strategies
4. Meet the weapons Rock, paper, scissors
5. Basic Position Strategy
6. Card Strategy 1: Hands and moves
7. Card Strategy 2: outs and odds
8. Player Types
9. The Chip Strategy
10. Re-buy and Add-ons
Part 3 The Fine points (17 chapters)
Part 4 The most import chapters in this book if you want to make money
28. How much money do you need
29. How Field size affects Tournament Speed;
In book has a Total of 30 chapters, one of which deserves some extra attention (chapter 10). Snyder is one of the very few poker authors who includes a chapter about re-buy tournaments in his book. For those of you who think that it is +EV to go all-in every hand during a re-buy period ("after all. I need to build up a stack"), this chapter is a must-read!
All in all I can certainly recommend this book. The book does introduce you to some new interesting concepts about tournament poker. Basic strategies are discussed, and the fact that the book is applicable to the average internet game makes this book very interesting. Lets be honest, not all of us are going to end up playing the 3rd level of the WSOP Main Event, and Snyder did well in recognising this.
This book should definitely not miss in any bookcase of any serious poker tournament player.
Title: The Poker Tournament Formula
Author: Arnold Snyder
Publisher: Cardoza Publishing
Published: July 2006