Comparing poker tournament books Part 6: Poker Tournament Formula

The current installment in this series will focus on the most controversial tournament strategy books released, Arnold Snyder’s, The Poker Tournament Formula.

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)

The Poker Tournament Formula Volumes 1 and 2, by Arnold Snyder

Just when it appears that poker tournament strategy was starting to look solved, along comes Arnold Snyder in 2006 with The Poker Tournament Formula, bringing a whole new way to look at poker tournaments and poker tournament strategy. Snyder is both embraced and derided, and in all honestly he deserves both. His theories are fraught with danger, especially to impressionable players, but they also provide a lot of food for thought.

Unconventional, thought-provoking, and hyperbolic are the three words I would use to describe Snyder’s offering to the library of tournament strategy books.

Basic Strategies (3)

Tournament Poker Formula actually starts out with some really basic stuff and Snyder does a good job of walking a new player through his thought processes. If it wasn’t for the fact that these books could do some serious damage to a new players game, and some of the theories (such as Fast Tournaments being luck when they just require a different skill set) I would give these books a 5.

 New Concepts (5)

Patience Factor and the Roshambo analogy are just two of the interesting concepts Snyder brings to the poker world. The books are thought-provoking and will at the very least get you to start thinking about different aspects of the game.

Clear and Concise (4)

The books are well written and laid out in an easy to follow format. If anything, players in 2012 will find the 2006 walkthroughs boring and unnecessary, but this was a common way to begin poker books back in 2006.

Will it Stand the test of Time (2)

A lot of Snyder’s theories have already been put through the ringer and found lacking, but The Tournament Poker Formula will likely always be a helpful as a contrarian’s view to the game.

Bang for your Buck (2)

Of all the books I cover in this series The Tournament Poker Formula is probably the least useful, except to very experienced players who can separate the good from the bad in the books and reapply Snyder’s strategies and theories to poker in 2012.


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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