Title | Championship Hold'em Tournament Hands |

Author | Tom McEvoy and T.J. Cloutier |

Year | 2003 (2005 edition) |

Skill Level | Beginner (strategy)/Any (hand recaps) |

Pros | Solid, basic advice on playing Limit and No-Limit Hold 'Em. Excellent collection of important WSOP Main Event hands. |

Cons | Over half of the book is on Limit Hold 'Em, and all of the advice is a bit tight for modern play. |

Rating | 3.0 (2.5 for the strategy and 4.0 for the hands) |

Page | Title |
---|---|

15 | Foreword |

19 | Limit Hold'em Hands |

21 | Introduction |

24 | Big Pairs |

45 | Big Connectors |

64 | Medium Connectors |

77 | Medium Pairs |

90 | Small Pairs |

102 | Small Connectors |

105 | Big-Little Suited |

112 | One-Gap Hands |

120 | Two-Gap Hands |

129 | Three-Gap Hands |

139 | Playing the Blinds |

144 | Playing Against Super-Aggressors |

151 | No-Limit Hold'em Hands |

153 | Introduction |

156 | Aces |

178 | Ace-King |

187 | Kings |

197 | Two Queens |

202 | Two Jacks |

205 | Ace-Queen |

208 | Ace-Jack |

210 | King-Queen |

213 | Ace-Wheel Card |

219 | Two Tens |

224 | Middle Pairs |

226 | Small Pairs |

231 | Middle Suited Connectors |

236 | The "7-2" Factor |

239 | Building Your Stack |

245 | Key Concepts Learned at the World Series of Poker |

247 | Introduction |

249 | WSOP Concepts From 1978 |

254 | WSOP Concepts From 1979 |

260 | WSOP Concepts From 1981 |

267 | WSOP Concepts From 1982 |

269 | WSOP Concepts From 1983 |

272 | WSOP Concepts From 1984 |

274 | WSOP Concepts From 1985 |

277 | WSOP Concepts From 1987 |

280 | WSOP Concepts From 1988 |

282 | WSOP Concepts From 1990 |

285 | WSOP Concepts From 1991 |

290 | WSOP Concepts From 1992 |

298 | WSOP Concepts From 1993 |

300 | WSOP Concepts From 1994 |

305 | WSOP Concepts From 1995 |

309 | WSOP Concepts From 1997 |

318 | WSOP Concepts From 1998 |

324 | WSOP Concepts From 2000 |

330 | WSOP Concepts From 2001 |

335 | WSOP Concepts From 2002 |

347 | Tournament Poker Terms |

Note: actual Table of Contents go one level deeper.

Championship Hold'em Tournament Hands is really two books in one. Fortunately, the strategy sections were written by a WSOP Main Event winner, Tom McEvoy. Unfortunately, over half of his chapters discuss Limit Hold 'Em. Fortunately, even without those, the book still has over 200 pages. Unfortunately, the 1983 champ spends 22 of them on how to play a pair of Aces in the hole, a hand you'll only get once every 221 hands. Fortunately, T.J. Cloutier's part of the book on important tournament hands is excellent. Unfortunately, he fills less than a third of the book. Fortunately, most of the hands are the pivotal hands from the World Series of Poker Main Event. Unfortunately, he only covers 1978 to 2001, so an entire decade was already missing when the book was published (and now it's less than half of the years).
^{1}
plus Ace-Wheel,^{2}
Middle Pairs, Small Pairs, and Middle Suited Connectors, with everything else folded. Some of these sections are split into Early, Middle, Late Position, and occasionally the Blinds. This means the advice, as accurate as it may be, is very brief. In general, McEvoy recommends playing very tightly, which is certainly an appropriate beginner's strategy.
About a quarter of these hands are the final hands of the event. Cloutier gives the back story where it's relevant, includes most of the details like blind, stack, and bet sizes, and offers some analysis of the play of some of the most important hands in the history of poker.

McEvoy wants you to play supertight, especially in early position. Players he described as "Super Aggressors" then would be considered about average now.

For No-Limit Hold 'Em, McEvoy dedicates a short section to each of the top nine hands (Aces through Tens, Ace-King to Ace-Jack, and King-Queen)McEvoy discounts the value of suitedness greatly, saying on page 21, "...we want you to understand that the ranks of the cards are more important than whether they are suited." Modern players probably value suited Aces and Kings much more highly than he did.

Ace-Wheel means an Ace with a Deuce, Trey, Four, or Five.

The advice is very heavy on preflop hand selection and very light on everything after that. The implication is that if you pick the right hands to play, good results will follow. More about postflop play would have been useful.

The second part of the book covers 44 key hands from the WSOP Main Event plus one from the 2002 Four Queens Classic.^{3}

Actually, although 45 hands are featured, several others are mentioned bringing the total over fifty.

Note: McEvoy and Cloutier also released Championship 107 Hold'Em Tournament Hands in 2003 with much of the same material but organized differently (Limit Hold 'Em starting hands, WSOP Main Event final table hands by number of players remaining, and No-Limit Hold 'Em starting hands). It has more hands if you're primarily interested in the WSOP history but also contains many more errors and appears to be the earlier book.

- P. 164: misspells "tries" as "trys".
- P. 224-225: "Although nines are a little stronger than sevens or eights, and can be played in more or less the same way as tens, the biggest difference is that nines don't give you as good a chance to make a straight, unless a 10 or 5 hits the board." Tens, Nine, Eights, and Sevens (and also Sixes and Fives to be complete) all make exactly the same number of straights (five different types each). Saying that a Ten or Five is needed for a straight is a nice piece of trivia but pointless otherwise (if you have a Ten, you can't make a straight without a Jack or a Nine, but so what?).
- P. 249: misspells Crandell Addington's name as "Crandall".
- P. 255: A period appears as a box.
- P. 257: With 54 players in the 1979 WSOP Main Event, the average entrant would be 53-to-1 against winning, so if Hal Fowler were the worst player, he'd be at least 100 to 1 if not 200 to 1 or higher (not 54-to-1).
- P. 337: "[T.J.] had clawed back from a 10 to 1 chip deficit heads-up" was actually an understatement; it was nearly 12-to-1 (the next page states that it was 4.7 million to 400,000 chips).
- P. 345: "[T.J. Cloutier] and Doyle Brunson are the only players who have placed in the [WSOP Main Event] top five four times..." is missing Johnny Moss, who did it five times (1st in 1970, 1971, and 1974; 5th in 1979; and 4th in 1980 [and non-cashing 5th in 1972 and 2nd in 1973]) and Berry Johnston (3rd in 1982, 3rd in 1985, 1st in 1986, and 5th in 1990). Jesse Alto did it three times (5th in 1978, 3rd in 1984, and 4th in 1986) plus twice that weren't cashes (4th in 1974 and 2nd in 1976).