To paraphrase the line made famous by comedian Garrett Morris’ ‘Chico Escuela,’ “Poker’s been berry, berry, good” to Jonathan Little. Not only has Little been about to parlay his skills on the felt into over $7 million in career earnings (and two World Poker Tour titles), but Little has also added to the plethora of poker books that are on the market. Little and D&B Publishing have recently released his latest tome, 100 Essential Tips to Master No-Limit Hold’em, which is just the latest in his bibliography of excellent instructional works on the game and how to approach it.
Thorough and Excellent Breakdown of Tips
It would have been easy for Little to just start at #1 and run the list through to #100. Instead, Little breaks his book down into different segments for easy consumption by the reader. Over 318 pages, Little dives into what he feels are the most important “essential tips” for a variety of situations at the table. Not surprisingly, considering his experience, Little’s observations are pretty spot on.
Little breaks the book into seven different segments that approach the game from its differing stages. There is a “basic” section, which includes the gem for players to not get married to the idea of ONE hand that an opponent might have, but to put the opposition on a RANGE of hands that they might be holding. This is one of the critical – hence, “essential” – tips that many players, even those that have a lengthy time in the game, tend to forget.
The book is then broken down into four stages of play in a hand – preflop actions, the flop, turn, and river. In each of these segments, Little offers various suggestions for each moment (such as when to take a three-bet action preflop, or the proper moments to raise or check/raise the flop) that offer excellent suggestions for a player. The next two phases of the book, however, are arguably the best of 100 Essential Tips.
In the “Format Adjustments” section, Little offers some thoughts on how to change up play for different situations at a final table. He delves into his thoughts dependent on the size of your chip stack (large, mid, and short stack) and tries to answer the question of when to make a final table deal. For those not in tournament poker, Little offers suggestions for playing in special situations such as “bomb pots” and straddles.
Finally, the book wraps up with Little examining several “outside” aspects of the game of poker. In these tips, Little offers thoughts on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, bankroll management, and when to move “up” or “down” in your cash game play. This segment of the book reminded me a great deal of Barry Greenstein’s Ace on the River in that it looked at the entirety of a life in poker, not just what was going on with just the action on the felt.
Little Has Voice of Experience Behind His Work
To say that Little has the voice of experience behind his work would be a huge understatement. Little followed in the footsteps of former World Champion Dan Harrington in writing a series of books on tournament poker that updated some of the thoughts of Harrington for a new audience. In the three-volume set Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker, Little established his mindset for readers and passed along some excellent information that could be taken straight to the felt.
Since that time, Little has applied his skills to a two-volume set on cash game play (Jonathan Little on Live No-Limit Cash Games), teamed up with Patricia Cardner to attack the mental side of the game (Positive Poker) and delivered a Super/System-esque tome that featured some of the best players in today’s poker world along with Little (Jonathan Little’s Excelling at No-Limit Hold’em). That just barely scratches the surface of what Little has done for the poker world as he has become the game’s preeminent instructor.
Yes, it may not be “cool” to read about how to improve your game anymore. Yes, you might already know most of what Little talks about in the book. If you are looking for a reference to keep around to give you a refresher on how to approach the game of poker, however, you would need to have 100 Essential Tips to Master No-Limit Hold’em in your library. Jonathan Little’s work gives the reader vital information that would have an immediate impact on their play and, if held to, improve their overall game.