Every Hand Revealed is the first in what I hope to be a long series of Poker Books reviews.
Poker fan or not, you’ve surely must have heard of Gustav “Gus” Hansen. With several WPT open tournaments, a WSOP bracelet and countless “in the money” finishes in his CV, The Great Dane is one of the most proficient poker players of the early 2000’s. His plays at NBC’s Poker After Dark brought him even more fame and fortune, with the $575,000 pot against Daniel Negreanu being one of the most viewed in televised poker history, while his performance at the Poker Supertars III, where he went all-in thirteen hands in a row, won twelve of them, and knocked out two players, was nothing short of epic.
One of Gus’ major career achievments was at the Aussie Millions main event back in 2007, where he won the title and A$1,500,000 while defeating a field of 747 players. This is what today’s book is about: Every Hand Revealed.
Well, it’s not really every hand–Gus did leave out those he mucked pre-flop–but rather every one he had put money in the pot with during the tournament, starting with the 7♠5♠ and finishing 329 hands later with the almighty A♣A♦. The journey takes us through every one of the tournament five days, showing us not only how Gus played, but also what his reasoning was, most of the times accompanied by post-tournament thorough analysis of his own plays.
I loved many things about this book. First and foremost, it is well written. Some of it is surely the editor’s influence, but Gus’ voice is strong and friendly, and in places I suffered alongside him although I knew the tournament’s outcome.
The strongest part of this book though, is the logical breakdown of his actions, his reasoning and thoughts while playing, all pictured with great detail and accuracy. How did Gus manage to remember so many things like blinds, flops, or stack sizes? Well, he said it himself, after every played hand he stepped away from the table and taped everything into his handheld recorder, as if he knew he was going to win and write a book about it!
You’ll see in places thorough calculations of his odds and outs and you’ll probably wonder how is a player able to do that while at the table. Gus wasn’t. He admits that most of his decisions were based on intuition, but an intuition close to the mathematically correct decisions, one that comes after many hours of practice and study away from the felt, and one that every serious poker player should strive to achieve. On other occasions Gus shows us he’s human by playing some hands in a questionable manner and by openly criticizing his own play after the tournament.
All good and well, but we must remember that the action took place more than a decade ago, in which time the poker world and plays have changed. Everyone agrees poker is a lot tougher these days and what worked back then might not work now. Gus Hansen himself admits his opponents were somewhat on the tight-passive side and they probably didn’t pick too many hands against him. I don’t recall too many situations of Gus being 3-Bet for example, and considering his VPIP of roughly 39% (so, technically he played 2 hands out of five), I think that says a lot.
If you haven’t read too many books on poker, I think this might be a good place to start. Even if it won’t make you a winner, it sure gives you insight into large-field tournament play, from starting levels up to the final table and then the heads-up battle for the title.
Every Hand Revealed is an easy read, made even more pleasant by Gus’ humor. It’s fun to put yourself in the shoes of a good player and try to anticipate his moves before reading about them in great detail.
This book addresses more the beginner and intermediate players, but it’s a fun read regardless of your skill level.
Good book, good advice and insight, not too technical, and plenty of humor for an easy read.
What do you think of this book? I’d love to hear about it so make sure to leave a comment. If you don’t have it yet, you can use the link below.