WSOP Superstars -wel Dan Harrington

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WSOP Superstars - Dan Harrington

One of the most respected players in the area of tournament poker, and in the World Series of Poker specifically, is "Action" Dan Harrington. Harrington's distinctive green Red Sox cap is recognizable the world over by poker fans, so much so that he has no hope of moving through the public inconspicuously without it.

Harrington, who had previously specialized in chess, began his legend by capturing first place in the 1995 World Series of Poker main event. He had previously appeared at the final table in the 1987 championship, a tournament ultimately won by the legendary Johnny Chan. The championship bracelet was the second one Harrington would capture in 1995, having also won the $2500 No Limit Texas Holdem event.

For most people, this would be enough of a poker legacy to last a lifetime, but "Action" Dan, ironically nicknamed due to his legendarily tight style of play, was just getting started. In 2003, all eyes were on the battle between Internet amateur Chris Moneymaker and Sammy Farha. Lost in the shuffle was the fact that Harrington, finishing third, had completed his third World Series of Poker main event final table, this time beating a record field of over 800 players. More amazingly still, Harrington went on to finish 4th in the main event the following year out of a field of over two thousand players, completing a mind boggling four World Series of Poker main event final table finishes, a seemingly impossible event in the modern poker era.

21st century hole card cameras which ESPN used to show home viewers of the World Series of Poker the cards as they were being played, revealed that "Action" Dan was not quite the rock everyone believed, that in fact, he was capable of some wonderfully aggressive moves and tremendous bluffs. Dan was gracious enough to reveal the method behind his madness in his series of instructional Texas hold'em tournament volumes entitled "Harrington on Hold'em." The books, patterned after chess instructional books, with volumes on poker strategy, the endgame, and a workbook, emphasize improving your play by working through specific tournament problem hands presented throughout. The workbook, in fact, consists entirely of these problems, based on concepts introduced in the first two books. Today these books are considered required reading for anyone who is at all interested in being a poker tournament success.

Dan Harrington continues to play in poker tournaments; most notably of late he can be seen putting his theories into practice on the Professional Poker Tour. If you happen to see him sitting at your table during the World Series of Poker, be sure you've studied up on his tournament theory. If you haven't, you could be in for a tough afternoon.

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