If you've played poker lately, you've probably noticed that the game is looser yet more aggressive than it's ever been. Yet that's hardly a bad thing if you can adapt your game accordingly. The Raiser’s Edge is designed to help intermediate poker players master all the elements of modern poker tournament play. With advice from well-known poker pros you'll learn everything from equilibrium strategies and thin value betting to floating and squeezing. Whether you play live or on the internet, this book can raise your level of tournament play. Just keep in mind that this title isn't a particularly easy read and assumes that you have some experience playing poker.
Given the recent poker boom, you’d be forgiven for thinking there had been a slew of quality theory-heavy poker books published in recent years. At first glance, poker players have had a veritable feast of new literature to choose from, but in actual fact, much of the emphasis has been on the ‘lifestyle’ elements of poker. Indeed, there seems to have been a prevalent theme of introducing players to the age-old gambling game, without much focus on the theory behind poker. The Raiser’s Edge: Tournament Poker-Strategies for Today’s Aggressive Game readdresses this imbalance and unashamedly offers up a poker guide that’s definitely not for beginners.
The book’s authors, Bertrand ‘Elky’ Grospellier, Lee Nelson, Tysen Streib, and Tony Dunst are some of poker’s brightest stars, and while it makes clear the focus is primarily on live tournament poker, Grospellier and Dunst both cut their teeth in the online environment. The effect this has on The Raiser’s Edge is that while the book undoubtedly has live tournament play at its core, it approaches the topic in a way that won’t alienate online-only players.
In fact, The Raiser’s Edge is the perfect book for online poker players who are looking to make their way into the live circuit. If you have an adequate knowledge of poker theory, and in particular, an interest in LAG (loose aggressive strategy), then this title will provide you with the confidence you need to sit down at a tournament table for the first time.
Theory aside, one of the most interesting chapters of The Raiser’s Edge focuses specifically on what online players can expect from their live tournament competitors. While the authors are quick to point out that the information provided shouldn’t be interpreted as “absolutist”, they provide an excellent list of checkpoints for players to bear in mind, including common live player concerns and faults.
Perhaps one of the most interesting sections in the book is the “bonus chapter” by Steven Van Aperen. Aperen, who’s also known as the ‘Human Lie Detector’, provides readers with several tips on how to learn from an opponent’s body language. Even if you’re not well-versed in poker, Aperen’s insights and Lee Nelson’s analysis offer an entertaining and thought-provoking read.
While The Raiser’s Edge definitely wasn’t created with beginners in mind, players who have an awareness of poker strategy, theory and trends will find it a complete and enjoyable read. Given its specialist nature, we’ve awarded the book three out of five stars; this should be taken as an indication of the book's niche nature, as opposed to a comment on its quality. However, if you want to get beyond the basics, then this is the book for you.