Comparing poker tournament books Part 4: Kill Phil, Kill Everyone and Raisers Edge

In Part 1 of this series I outlined what this series is all about, and now we are up to Part 4, one of the most interesting series of books to hit the poker shelves, and one of the most interestingly titled as well!

Here is a look at each of the entries I will cover in this series:

  • Harrington on Hold’ Em, by Dan Harrington Volumes 1-3
  • Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker, by Jonathan Little (Volumes 1 and 2 have been released and Volume 3 is in the works)
  • Kill Phil, Kill Everyone, and The Raisers Edge, by Lee Nelson, Blair Rodman, Bertrand Grospellier et al.
  • Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time, by Jon Turner, Eric Lynch, and John Van Fleet (Volumes 1-3)
  • The Poker Tournament Formula, by Arnold Snyder (Volumes 1 and 2)
  • Standalones: Every Hand Revealed, by Gus Hansen: Tournament Poker for Advanced Players, by David Sklansky: The Full Tilt Strategy Guide (tournament edition)

Kill Phil, Kill Everyone, and The Raisers Edge, by Lee Nelson, Blair Rodman, Bertrand Grospellier et al.

This is a very interesting series and if you didn’t know beforehand, The Raisers Edge (which is mainly attributed to ElkY) is a part of the Kill Phil/Kill Everyone series. This is by far the most innovative series, and after wallowing in anonymity for a couple of years the books are finally getting the mainstream recognition they deserve.

Kill Phil is a treatise in negating the advantages star players have over amateurs by using ICM and other concepts to play an equilibrium strategy that is for the most part unexploitable. In Kill Everyone the authors go into small ball play, building upon the principles first described in Kill Phil, but tailoring them for maximum value in the hands of more experienced players. The Rasiers Edge finishes off the trilogy with more precise explanations of poker tournament concepts, instead of relying on a math-only approach.

Basic Strategies (3)

If you were a random amateur player who found themselves in the WSOP Main Event Kill Phil would be must-reading. However, for players looking to build a solid foundation from the ground up these books don’t deliver –they focus on quickly becoming competent and then adding more and more advanced plays as you gain experience.

 New Concepts (5)

No other poker book took as much of a risk as Kill Phil did when it first hit the market in 2005. In fact it took a few years before the book was thought of as anything more than an outlier in poker strategies. Now with three volumes in the series these books have actually changed the way poker tournaments are played, combining the best of the multiple strategies players employ.

Clear and Concise (2)

Expect to read these books multiple times. While the authors are definitely good writers the concepts and the way the book is laid out make it one of the more difficult reads you will find. There is also the equilibrium charts, bubble factor discussions and ICM percentages that will require you to earmark many pages in the books.

Will it Stand the test of Time (4)

Perhaps more than any poker book, the strategy laid out in Kill Phil is meant to be unexploitable, not optimal. So for this reason, Kill Phil will always be relevant, as will Kill Everyone.

Bang for your Buck (5)

These are three relatively cheap books that will instantly change the way you think about the game, and perhaps even cause you to rethink your own strategies and make adjustments. For nothing else these books are incredibly important just to be able to thwart as best you can someone using these strategies against you.


Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Harrington on Holdem

Part 3: Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker

Part 4: Kill Phil/Raisers Edge

Part 5: Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time

Part 6: Tournament Poker Formula

Part 7: Standalones


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