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| Daniel Addelman
Jonathan Little is D&B’s most prolific author. As well as being a highly successful professional player (pro), he has been coaching recreational players (recs) for most of his playing career. He knows, maybe better than anyone else around, what they understand and also areas of their game where they typically fall short. He has distilled this wisdom into his definitive guide to tournament play: Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker: The Essential Guide
Many of the problems recs face arise from the fact that they play too safe. Their approach to each hand is to contemplate what might go wrong and avoid this awful possibility at all costs. They like being in their comfort zone and they stay there.
What they really hate is being faced with difficult decisions when not quite sure what to do – especially when the pot has got big. They either want to have a monster hand with which they can commit their stack or something fairly weak they can fold without being subject to the nagging doubt that they might have been bluffed. The problem is that in poker, much as in life, shying away from difficult decisions does not usually get you very far.
Pros have a different mentality. They view their job as being to capture the value at the table and recognise this will often mean putting themselves in tricky situations. They rely on their skill to navigate these tough spots, knowing this is where the money is.
Here is an example from the book.
Hero is on the button facing a 2.5bb raise from MP. Most players would simply fold the 7-5s without a second thought but Jon will encourage you to look at this hand as being a fine candidate for a loose 3-bet. Raise to 7bb and if you get called then bet 7bb on the flop every time.
This play will have a lot of fold equity, both pre-flop and on the flop, and may well be profitable for that reason alone. However, problems will arise if you happen to get called and face the turn play in a tricky spot with a moderate hand when you are not quite sure what to do. Being in such uncertain situations is what spooks recs and is what they want to avoid at all costs. The problem is that in poker, much as in life, shying away from difficult decisions does not usually get you very far.
The famous racing driver Mario Andretti famously said that if you have everything under control, then you are not going fast enough. If you feel your poker could speed up a little then Jonathan Little is the man to show you how to make that happen.
Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker: The Essential Guide by Jonathan Little.