June 15, 2010

The Poker Blueprint review

Before I start, I should say, I don’t know anything much about the either of the authors of The Poker BluePrint. Aaron Davies asked me to review the book through this blog. I have never studied the popular, but pricey e-books such as “Let There Be Range” and “Exploiting Regulars” which this book sort of relates to, in that Tri Nguyen was involved in those .

Initially, I struggled to figure out whether “The Poker Blueprint” was for an online beginner, an intermediate player still down at the 10nl to25nl stakes, or aiming at the 100nl grinder trying to make a go of 200nl to 400nl . I think it is aimed at the 100 to 200nl area, but really, I couldn’t be sure. It’s important because we play differently at different stakes. For example, I would never 3 bet bluff below a certain level, and I would change my isolating raises too, depending on stakes.

The authors introduce us to the concept of aspiration of the Learner as opposed to the Grinder. I would have liked to see some more explanation of this, (through card examples eg a “learners” approach to AK versus the auto all-in grinder), as it’s an important point for players, giving an experimentation aspect which is essential to progress, and which few are able/prepared to do.

We then go on to moving up stakes. Aaron and Tri talk about taking shots at 30buyins, taking shots to learn from better players, moving down when losing 3 buyins and Risk v Reward. Whilst I don’t think there is a science to taking shots, I do believe that luck plays a big part in how we end up a “reg” at a certain stake. However, what isn’t discussed, and therefore which renders the argument a little hollow, is that of variance versus volume. It’s frankly the most important topic for shot taking, as it has a significant effect on both bankroll and psychology.

We are then onto Maths and Hand Ranges – with a simplified introduction, probability and odds including the concept of implied odds, I don’t get the point of wasting words on this, given every poker book on the planet goes over it, Harrington style. More should have been spent on hand range analysis, as that is where micro players struggle.

Fold Equity is a concept rarely discussed in books, and it’s a big shame this is not elaborated further, as its one of the most important things in 3 and 4 bet pots, but more importantly, in post flop 6max games in particular. Odds charts are shown, and again, I personally never quite get that in a book that is looking beyond a beginners audience, we all know it already.

Expected value is discussed, and ranges become all important here. Revising ranges based on betting patterns on later streets is not discussed.

A reasonable preflop 3 betting strategy is discussed along with a positional adjustment, and balancing our big hands, with our speculative ones. The preflop opening range is better, as the writer uses poker stove to illustrate ranges and percentages, which is a more advanced and original format for exampling preflop strategy, as we get some logic behind the suggested play.

Postflop strategy is where I feel this text does show some excellent strategy for an aspiring player, where the cbet, paired flops, and checking behind are all usefully illustrated.

No tilt discussion, which again is critical for plays moving from 10nl recreation and upwards. It must be discussed, surely??? This, and the aforementioned variance, are the 2 most important factors in becoming successful at online play in my view, more important in fact than poker skills themselves, which can be learned and honed at one’s own pace. But not with tilt issues, or negative variance, which ultimately translate into the bad beat jackpot mentality which can destroy an otherwise promising player.

Would I recommend it? Well the fact is, there simply isn’t anything much else out there at the moment in a consolidated volume for the aspiring microstakes online player. Ed Millars E-book is the obvious comparison, but it’s coming from a different perspective (primarily from a live low stakes player), and a slightly different era. It’s $37.00 as far as I know , easy to read and interesting.


  1. Excellent review, with just one comment. I don't know how anyone can successfully address the issue of tilt. Though everyone likes to point out intellectual reasons for battling and coping with tilt, I think these are largely unsuccessful and quite likely a waste of time. I think that dealing with tilt is pretty much non-teachable and is an undertaking that can only be accomplished alone.

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