Little Blue Book

Little Blue Book

Title: Phil Gordon's Little Blue Book - More Lessons and Hand Analysis in No-Limit Texas Hold'em

Author: Phil Gordon

Phil Gordon has made a name for himself in the poker world as an excellent teacher of the game.  He is a strong player in his own right, with two World Poker Tour titles and a World Series of Poker main event final table to his credit, but he is perhaps best known for his television commentary and instructional books.  Phil Gordon’s Little Blue Book is Gordon’s third instructional work, preceded by Poker: The Real Deal (re-published as Phil Gordon’s Little Black Book) and Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book.  All three can now be purchased together in a box set.

In the Little Green Book, Gordon set forth dozens of mini poker lessons.  The Little Blue Book takes those lessons and applies them to real hands that Gordon has played.  These hands range from cash games to tournaments, from live to online, from smallish stakes to the World Series of Poker.  As Gordon himself says in the introduction, “If you’re the kind of person who prefers the practical to the theoretical…this book should help you enormously.”

As was the case with his previous two books, the Little Blue book is organized in way to make it easy to follow.  It starts with cash games, moves through the early, middle, late, and final stages of tournaments, continues with Sit-and-Goes, and finishes with satellites.  Each hand is introduced with a brief description of the situation, a table diagram depicting the action, and any notes Gordon may have had on the relevant players.  Gordon also lists how much money is in the pot, how much he must call, and what his current pot odds are.  The flop, turn, and river are prominently displayed – the only thing that would make them easier to read would be color print.

Gordon’s analysis of each hand is clear and concise, allowing him to keep each discussion short and simple to comprehend.  He is not shy about sharing hands where he lost money or played poorly, either.  His goal is to teach, not to show off.  And as he says in both this and the Little Green Book, his analysis is not the end all, be all of poker insight.  Plenty of readers may disagree with how he played a hand or otherwise have different strategies of their own.  What Gordon aims to do is present his thought process in both an entertaining and logical manner and leave it up to the reader to mull it over.

One unique feature of the Little Blue Book that should be much appreciated is the “Further Study” section at the end.  In this section, Gordon cross-references lessons in the Little Green Book to specific hands in the Little Blue Book.  This way, if you want to study up more on a concept from an interesting hand, you know exactly where to find what you need in the Little Green Book.  While both books can stand alone in their own right, this link creates a combined work, strengthening each.

Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book was an excellent poker primer and his Little Blue Book is a worthy successor.  With his informal writing style and understanding of how to impart his knowledge to a wide range of players, Gordon has produced another winner of a poker book.