Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Book Review Kill Phil

     In my never ending quest  to improve my poker playing ability I read various poker books.   One of my latest reads was Kill Phil.  I was under the impression that Phil Hellmuth had written this book.  I certainly respect Mr. Hellmuth accomplishment in poker.  So I thought I would see what he had to say.  I picked up the book without checking contents and later found that he wrote a forward for the book, but not the book.

     One of my earlier reads was a book by David Sklansky on advance strategies for tournament play.  In this book Sklansky described how he developed a formula for play that would allow a complete novice to hold there own in a major poker tournament.  The Strategy boiled down to shoving all in with certain hole cards and not playing any other hands.  The hand that were to be played were AA, KK QQ JJ 10/10  There may have been included any cards that would make black jack, but I can't remember specifically.  The Novice player lasted a considerable time in the tournament until she ran into pocket Aces with a lower pair.

     This strategy is the basis for this book and has been expanded upon some what.  The book explains that for the most part the average player is no match for a seasoned tournament player.  This strategy negates their advantage in post flop play.  The problem is that an all in strategy works every time except the last.  So modifications needed to be made.  

     The book defines status in the tournament by the relationship of your chip stack to the cost per round.  In the beginning of play you have your buy in amount and and the blinds are small.  Say 25 & 50.  So the cost per round if you do not get involved in any hand is 75 chips.  With a stack of 10,000 you can afford to sit and wait.  You have a huge stack as compared to the cost per round.  Based upon this relationship you only play certain hands.  AA and KK and you shove all in.  

    As the tournament progresses the cost per round increases.  The blinds go up and the antes increase.  Your actions are always dictated by the size of your stack verses the cost per round.  If the cost per round is 1000 chips and your stack is 3000, you must play a wider range of cards.  The book spells all of this out.

     In my poker travels I have only encountered one person who played Kill Phil.  I admit it was hard playing against her.  She knocked me out of the tournament.  With the addition of the modifications to the formula presented in the book, I can see how it would be an effective style of play.  I believe that you have to be very selective in your use of the strategy in that a lot of the tournaments I play in include players who will call an all in shove with marginal hands.  

     All that being said, I recommend this book, if for nothing else, because you will likely run into a player who uses the strategy and understanding the range of cards played based on stack size would be helpful.


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