Apostolico's "Lessons" Provides Insight into PPT Play

30 August 2006

Lessons From the Pro Poker Tour
By David Apostolico
July 10, 2006
Kensington Publishing Corp.
Price: $14.95

Book Summary: Lessons From The Pro Poker Tour is a No Limit Texas Hold'em tournament strategy book. Tips are highlighted by examples of decisions made by poker's most famous players in Professional Poker Tour (PPT) tournaments.

Review: In his latest book, veteran poker writer David Apostolico gives readers a glimpse at how he attempted to navigate one of the most elite tournament fields assembled in the first season of the Professional Poker Tour (PPT). Lessons From The Pro Poker Tour is a strategic guide on how to play tournament poker, with advice for all levels of play.

The PPT is a series of invitation only No Limit Texas Hold'em tournaments. Players qualify for PPT events by performing well in World Series of Poker or World Poker Tour events. Other players are given exemptions for a number of reasons.

Apostolico was invited to play thanks to a media exemption, and the book catalogues his experiences at the tables. He discusses hands he played against notable professionals, but even more valuable are his keen observations of how others played, often when he wasn't even involved in the hand.

Old School vs. New School

In Part II of Lessons From The Pro Poker Tour, Apostolico discusses the differences between "Old School" and "New School" players.

Old School Player

  • Typically very conservative early in tournaments, unwilling to take unnecessary risks
  • May skip the first few levels of play (e.g., Phil Hellmuth)
  • Establish a conservative table image early to take advantage of that image later, either to trap players or to steal chips when blinds and antes are higher

New School Player


  • Aggressive right from the beginning of the tournament
  • Unpredictable and dangerous
  • Willing to call large bets with marginal hands

Apostolico believes the reason "young guns" play more aggressively is the increased number of poker tournaments. When tournaments were scarce, players were conservative early because they might not get a chance to play another tournament for months. Now, with tournament opportunities popping up everywhere, busting out early isn't a big deal.

At one point the author notes that Doyle Brunson was dealt pocket Queens four times but folded three times and just called down to the river with them once. Each time, he made precisely the right decision based on the situation.

The book starts slowly with a typical discussion of how to play premium starting hands (A-A, K-K, A-K, Q-Q, etc). Some sections provide valuable advice, while others regurgitate tactics listed in hundreds of poker books already widely available.

Apostolico's most valuable lesson is his constant reminder that players must focus on the tournament aspect of the game at all times. Each decision must be weighed based upon how that decision will affect a player's ability to advance in the tournament.

The most enjoyable part of the book is Part II, which discusses interesting issues such as how tournament poker has changed and the "old school" vs. "new school" styles of play. Unfortunately, this only makes up 20 pages in the 150-page book.

Lessons From The Pro Poker Tour is a great book for beginners, especially because tips are made based on the decisions made by some of the game's most famous players. This star power factor will give beginners reason to continue reading what otherwise might be a boring book about starting hands and betting patterns.

Intermediate players looking for advice on tournament strategy may also find some valuable advice, but players who have read several books on Texas Hold'em tournament strategy may have little to learn from what is offered and instead find that Lessons From The Pro Poker Tour is useful only as a catalyst to continue an ongoing evaluation of their own strategy.

Other Books by David Apostolico
Tournament Poker and the Art of War
Machiavellian Poker Strategy: How to Play Like a Prince and Rule the Poker Table
Pocket Idiot's Guide to Tournament Poker
Lessons from the Felt: Advanced Strategies and Tactics for No-Limit Hold'em Tournaments (Sept. 2006 release)


Related Links
Ranked Online Poker Rooms
WPT Gaming Vendor Information
WPT Enterprises Gaming Vendor Information

Featured Vendors
Regulatory Management Counselors, PC
Casino Schedule Ease
Regulatory Management Counselors, PC
Over 45 years of experience serving the legal and regulatory needs of casino industry clients
Casino Schedule Ease
Full Featured & customizable for the complex scheduling needs of table games & other casino depts
Betson Imperial Parts & Service
GamblersPick
Betson Imperial Parts & Service
Your one stop shop for all your gaming and OEM needs!
GamblersPick
Share & Read other players' reviews! A top player community-driven portal for online casinos.
Top One Tech Limited
Dable Advisory & Consulting Services
Top One Tech Limited
Global Touch solution partner of choice, 10+ years OEM manufacturing, 100,000+ units application
Dable Advisory & Consulting Services
Advisory & consulting services services for Indigenous entrepreneurs, businesses & organizations
Sunkist Graphics, Inc.
Casino City Press
Sunkist Graphics, Inc.
Specializing in the creation of best-of-breed gaming graphics - slot glass, sign faces, and more
Casino City Press
A leading publisher and distributor of casino and gaming business data and market research reports.
Slot Machines Unlimited
Rymax Marketing Services, Inc.
Slot Machines Unlimited
Exporter of IGT, Williams, AVP, Trimline, Aristocrat, Konami, Bally, & parts over 20 yrs experience
Rymax Marketing Services, Inc.
Leader in creating award winning player & employee loyalty programs & events proven to increase ROI
Talisman Group Creators of EZ Baccarat
Players Pal
Talisman Group Creators of EZ Baccarat
With over 800 tables in 150+ casinos, EZ Baccarat is the number one brand in baccarat.
Players Pal
Revolutionize the way you connect with your casino players with the Players Pal mobile app
Shenzhen ZhengYuanTai Technology Co., Ltd.
AmericanChecked
Shenzhen ZhengYuanTai Technology Co., Ltd.
14 years experienced gaming display manufacturer: open frame, curved, and halo monitors
AmericanChecked
Background checks for the gaming industry with key & non-key packages & fingerprinting solutions
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) Conference
Casino Network
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) Conference
The biggest little show in Indian gaming! Save the date: August 12-14, 2024 Oklahoma City
Casino Network
20+ years experience selling refurbished slot machines, parts & glass for all major brands
OCR - Online Casino Reports
Imagine This
OCR - Online Casino Reports
Delivers highly targeted casino traffic from over 70 countries! Get your casino listed today at OCR!
Imagine This
Imagine This #1 Source for Player Gifts. Over $50 million in stock ready to ship! Let us serve you!
TribalHub
House Tech Ads
TribalHub
25th Annual TribalNet Conference Sept 16-19, 2024 Westgate Las Vegas
House Tech Ads
Drive quality casino-gambling traffic to your brand from over 70 countries from our premium assets!
Texas Slots & Gaming
Texas Slots & Gaming
Wholesale gaming reimagined. Texas Slots & Gaming is your sustainable gaming partner.


Your Guide to 14,934 Gaming Industry Suppliers