Little Green Book

Little Green Book

Author: Phil Gordon

Most poker instructional books tell you how you should play.  Here’s a hand, here’s the strategy.  Phil Gordon takes a different approach in his Little Green Book.  In this guide, (fashioned after, as golfers may notice, Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book), Gordon shows the reader not how they should play poker, but how he plays poker. 

It is a bit like going on a guided tour through the mind of a poker pro.  And Gordon does an excellent both organizing and guiding that tour.  The flow of the book feels very natural, starting with some things to think about before you start to play; he calls these “Poker Truths.”  From there, he goes forward through the play of the hand, with sections on pre-flop, flop, turn, and river play.  Of course, in each section, Gordon details a myriad of different scenarios, based on his holdings, his position, his opponents, chips stacks, etc.

This first half (approximately) of the book focuses on cash games.  After this, Gordon discusses tells, math, psychology, tournament play, and even includes a commentary on some of the popular professional players. 

One great thing about Little Green Book is how easy it is to pickup, put down, and pick up again.  Each lesson is spoon fed to the reader in digestible bite-sized pieces (many less than one page long), so at no point is anything overwhelming or boring.  Chopping up the book like this, along with the comprehensive table of contents, makes it a great desk reference.  Wondering how to play a double gut-shot straight draw after the flop?  Just flip open the contents, find that page, and you’re off.  Plus, it’s physically compact, so it is easy to tote around.

As discussed before, this book does not tell readers what they should do.  It tells readers what Phil Gordon does and how he thinks about each hand, each orbit, and each session.  What the reader does with this information is up to him.  Agree or disagree with Gordon’s strategy, it is always good to see how successful players think. 

Anyone who has watched Gordon’s DVD, Final Table Poker, will notice that it, too, follows the formula of getting into Gordon’s head.  The difference with the DVD is that it focuses on final table play and is not nearly as comprehensive as the book.  If you must choose one or the other, by all means, purchase Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book.  The DVD makes an excellent companion.