Super System 2
Doyle Brunson et al.
Reviewed by TwoGun and Ozone on 10 Feb 2005.
Dubbed "The Most Anticipated Book in the History of Poker", Super System 2 does a decent job at living up to expectations. This book is an impressive value because you really are getting about six books of material for the price of one.
A fair percentage of this 666-page book is a reprint of Brunson's advice from the original Super System. However, most of the poker strategy sections are brand new or were re-written. For example, a Pot-Limit Omaha section did not exist in the original Super System since the game was not popular thirty years ago. Sections that were redone include Limit Hold'em (re-written by Jennifer Harman.) There are also new sections in the book that are not direct poker strategy, such as "The History of No-Limit Hold'em" and "Online Poker."
On the whole, Super System 2 is a very comprehensive book. It covers the basic poker strategy for many poker games. Nevertheless, this great breadth sacrificed a fair amount of depth. Many of the individual sections are not nearly as comprehensive as other books that were entirely devoted to the individual poker game discussed.
It is difficult to analyze the quality of advice for this book since there are simply so many sections. Some sections are much better than others. For example, I was somewhat unimpressed by the "Online Poker" section. Not well known for playing online, Brunson still comes up with a very convincing case as to why online poker is no worse, if not better, than playing "real-life" poker. However, this section seemed like it was written hastily and that its primary intention was simply to promote Brunson's online poker website.
Another interesting section is Mike Caro's "43 Exclusive Tips From Mike Caro University". This section is a good read for all poker players because it briefly summarizes many of the most important concepts of poker. Harman's Limit Hold'em section is not anything special, but it does give solid general advice.
I found Brunson's No-Limit Hold'em section to be very disappointing. It is almost identical to the one written for Super System, and it does not correct many of the flaws of the original. His No-Limit Hold'em section is still written with high-stakes, high-buy-in games in mind. Thus, his over-aggressive strategy will greatly handicap many of his readers who play in low-stakes, low-buy-in games. Considering the vast majority of No-Limit Hold'em players do not play in $25,000 buy-in games, I think he really should have redone this section. There should have been more advice on how to play a straightforward, profitable game at the lower stakes.
At an astonishing 666 pages, Super System 2 can seem like quite the task to read, but the page number can be very deceiving. Broken up into 15 different sections, written by 10 different authors, it is easy to think of Super System 2 as a compilation of several smaller books. Any player can easily pick and choose the sections they wish to read, and will likely only find themselves with only 200 to 300 pages to digest. The authors do a great job of spacing out the different topics by giving them their own headings.