Poker in Print: Harrington on Hold’em (2004)


Published 15 years ago, Harrington on Hold’em has become known as a classic of its type – a strategy book which still contains poker tips that apply to players of almost all levels today.

Harrington, whose nickname bears little resemblance to the game he plays, was known as ‘Action Dan’, which today sounds more like a cash game whale who sits down with the maximum and leaves with bus fare home. In actual fact, ‘Action Dan’ might have been better referred to as Dependable Dan.

poker-in-print-harrington-on-holdem-2004Having played professionally since 1982, Harrington released Harrington on Hold’em a massive 22 years after he first decided to check-call for value. He has always won big in the game, however, with major European success aligning nicely with his 1995 WSOP Main Event victory.

In Harrington on Hold’em, the man in question breaks down strategic guidelines to help players get better at many key parts of poker, and many of his tips would help live and online players alike.

Harrington’s ability to break down each stage of a poker tournament were revelatory to many players at the time of reading. While it might seem crazy for him to have waited two decades before publishing his first book, the timing of that release coincided in it being the year after Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event. There was never a better time to appeal to the masses, and Harrington has since published another six books, the most recent of which again focusing on the modern poker tournament, released in 2014.

From mixing up your style at the table, making your betting patterns harder to read and knowing how to analyse the hands you’ve played – as well as others – Harrington’s strategy makes you focus on winning the most money you possibly could.

Harrington’s poker legacy will always include his many achievements in the poker arena himself. But it might be argued that his greatest bequest to the poker fraternity is the knowledge he has passed on through his writing. Harrington on Hold’em changed poker literature when it was released and while none of his following books have had the same instant impact, they form a canon that continues to teach players where they have been going wrong and how they can put it right.

Harrington on Hold’em is an essential poker book, and any player serious about their game should have it in their collection. Controlling the action with ‘Dependable Dan’ can only lead to a player improving.