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Ryan McLane

Ryan  McLane
Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news.

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Book Review: Killer Poker Online 2

24 Aug 2006

By Ryan McLane

Killer Poker Online 2 - Advanced Strategies for Crushing the Internet Game
John Vorhaus
September 30, 2006
Kensington Publishing Corp.
Estimated Price: $14.95

McLane's Top Line: This book changed the way I play online poker. The author, John Vorhaus, avoids the tedious hand by hand advice prominent in most strategy books and focuses on the little things a player can do to prepare themselves for an online poker career/hobby. The fact that it's well-written doesn't hurt either. Fans of intense hand strategy will not like this book, but hobbyists and amateur online players will love it.

Fun Fact: John Vorhaus sells signed copies of all his books at

In Killer Poker Online 2, Vorhaus, author of six poker books and more the 3 million published words on the game, spends four chapters and more than 200 pages explaining how you should play online poker and then devotes the last chapter to doing the exact opposite.

The final chapter is a diary of Vorhaus' attempt to play online poker for 24 straight hours. The full-time writer/part-time poker player provides a how-not-to account of online poker play that works to drive home his previous strategy points.

Vorhaus Advice

Sit-n-go Advice: Play these only for amusement. The prize structure as it compares to the blind structure will make you a losing player overall. Because these tournaments tend to require a little more luck than normal poker, trying to build a bankroll based on your play in these can be hazardous. However, the author suggests that sitngos may be the most entertainment bang for your buck.

Tournament Advice: This is by far the most valuable section in the book. Vorhaus suggests a selective-aggressive strategy, using the early rounds of a tournament to profile your opponents, and then pounce on them when you have their playing styles figured out. His best piece of advice: playing heads-up sit-n-go, short-handed sit-n-go, and regular sit-n-go tournament to familiarize with final table play. The best section by far is the middle-tournament-strategy section. It's a must read for any online tournament player.

Cash Game Advice: Always the cautionary, Vorhaus again expounds on the dangers of playing cash games while distracted, advising against multiple-table play and getting involved in too many hands because of boredom. His advice once again is to take player notes to keep yourself occupied, allowing you to get a strong road on an opponent and get all your money in the pot when you have the best hand. He is also an advocate of short-handed play, especially for players who like action and don't like waiting for big hands.

According to Vorhaus, the 24-hour concept is what prompted most of the material for the rest of the book. After seeing what sleep deprivation, lack of attention, and general boredom did to his game and his bankroll, Vorhaus decided to put it all in print.

"There are so many people playing poorly online and most of it has nothing to do with their poker skills," Vorhaus says. "The fact of the matter is most people play under conditions that are far from optimal."

The self-proclaimed writer and philosopher opens his book with a discussion about the mentality of online poker. For Vorhaus, the biggest flaws in any online player's game are the decisions made before even logging online.

Whether it's fatigue, anger, or simply not having the right amount of time to sit and play, Vorhaus expounds about the pitfalls of not playing in the right frame of mind.

His tips for staying sharp during online play are excellent: turning off the television and the cell phone, taking regular bathroom breaks, and informing those you live with that it's poker time are just some of the suggestions. By simulating a casino environment in your own home (avoiding distractions, focusing only on poker), a player can have a good session and still being able to wear their bathrobe and slippers.

His best piece of advice by far is taking player notes. He recommends a player become addicted to this. While they serve the obvious purpose of tracking an opponents playing style for later use, Vorhaus says it has the added advantage of keeping you focused on playing correctly.

"Make it a point to open every text box and enter at least something in all of them," Vorhaus writes. "Notice how this activity keeps your head in the game."

Continuing to infuse tidbits on how to mentally and physically prepare for a session of online poker, Vorhaus moves onto strategies for sit-n-gos, full-field tournaments, and standard cash-game play. In each he stresses the importance of note taking, reading your opponents, and exploiting weaknesses.

You'll have to read the book the book to appreciate the way Vorhaus is able to weave interesting prose, amusing anecdotes, and serious poker strategy into the narrative. Killer Poker Online 2 is a strong online poker guide and good overall read.

Mucking McLane
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