Phil Hellmuth's Million Dollar Texas Hold 'Em - Tournament Strategies (Masters of Poker)
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The third volume in the Phil Hellmuth MASTERS OF POKER video series is what everyone has been waiting for. Finally, for the first time ever, 9 time world champion of poker, Phil Hellmuth, reveals his MILLION DOLLAR TOURNAMENT STRATAGIES that have mad him the best NO LIMIT, TEXAS HOLD EM Tournament player in the world. Learn what it takes to enter and win major tournaments like THE WOLRD SERIES OF POKER. After making this incredible video, Phil realized that he might have given away too many secrets! But theres no turning back now these secrets can be yours!!!
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The only mention of tournaments is that "in tournaments you get to play 9 handed, 8 handed, 7handed, 6 handed etc....."
That is it.
It's Full-screen, in 2.0 channel stereo. Total running time= approx. 90 minutes. Filmed in early 2004.
The main feature is 52 minutes long (not including titles, promos and end credits), plus, there's 37.5 minutes of special features (same ones that are on all his Dvd's though)--see 'The Turn' section, of this review, for the details.
Like most people, I got hooked on poker during 2003, when Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP championship. I then started watching poker on tv, like a man possessed. Since one of the most entertaining players I watched was Phil Hellmuth, I chose his book, "Play Poker Like the Pros", as my first poker book. I learned that I should usually just jam the pot when I had the best hand, rather than slowplay. I learned about Phil's animal types (mouse=very tight player, etc.) and also about other poker games like Omaha, etc.
So, when I previously watched both his "Million Dollar Poker System" and "Secrets to Bluffing and Tells" Dvd's, I was bored and disappointed. They briefly touched on various topics, but they were just too basic.
Recently, however, I got a chance to rent this "Tournament Strategies" Dvd, and found it to be my favorite. Not because I learned any new poker strategy, but rather because it was the most entertaining and relaxing one to watch. Phil basically runs through the basics of how to enter the WSOP tournament and offers some tips on how to play in big tournaments.
What makes this Dvd at least mildly entertaining, is that Phil recounts actual situations from some of the many tournaments he's played in, which helps to better emphasize his various strategies. Such as, when he raised more than 20 consecutive times (to steal the blinds and antes), and rarely got called, because the other players were worried about being eliminated from the tournament (on the bubble).
This Dvd, like his entire "Master of Poker" series of Dvd's, has Phil once again sitting down behind a poker table, with some poker chips in front of him, talking to the camera. It looks silly when they film him from the side as he faces towards the other camera, but somehow he manages to keep it light and informative enough. He also seemed very happy. One annoying thing that occurred near the beginning though, was when Phil raised his hand to show his 1989 WSOP bracelet, and the cameraman didn't zoom in fast enough to let us see it up-close. I guess the budget was too low for a reshoot.
Phil talks about the way he likes to play just his top 10 hands, during the first 3-4 hours of tournaments (like the WSOP) with fast rising blinds. Then, when the blind structure slows down and the antes are introduced, he likes to open up and play less appealing hands. He mentions the all-in strategy beginners often use, and how they win a lot of pots this way, except for the last one. He also admits it works well against pros, but suggests that often enough, a raise of just half your stack is good enough to push players out of the pot. "Never bluff ALL your chips", he says. If the pot, is for example, $20,000 , Phil suggests a bet of $6,000 or so, would usually accomplish the same thing, without taking such a big risk.
THE TURN (Bonus Features):
Each of Phil's "Master of Poker" Dvd's, includes the same bonus features. You get the 'poker dictionary' (which accidentally leaves out A-K, from Phil's Top 10 hand list), and 37.5 minutes of extras. They include the following brief topics: Bad Beats, The Rake, Crazy Home Games, Tournaments Vs. Side Games, Knowing When to Quit, Love of the Game, Will Phil's Secrets Work for You? (13.5 minutes in length); Rank of Poker Hands, Phil's Top 10 Hands, and his Majority Play Hands (A-x suited, etc.)(12.5 minutes in length). As well, he explains the rules of Texas Hold' em, Seven Card Stud and Omaha (in only 11.5 minutes).
Is it worth buying? Not really, but Hellmuth fans should give it a rent. I found it relaxing to watch and it got me in the mood to play some poker, even before I finished watching it. Thanks Phil.
Production values are poor. Sure, each new topic is introduced with fancy computer generated graphics, but they're pointless and distracting rather than providing any actual benefit. The meat of the video consists of Phil staring directly into one camera in front of him, while a second camera cuts in often as he's still staring into the first.
Most important the information was weak at best and terrible advice at worst. Phil stresses repeatedly to play his "Top Ten Hands". As someone who's yet to post a blind, (online or off) I've learned enough to know that a pair of 7's is generally a lousy starting hand and should probably be folded unless you're calling from the blinds. But no, that's a top ten hand according to Phil. Never mind it's ranked mathematically as 30 of 169. Missing from these hands are several stronger hands. (KQs for instance) And absolutely no discussion about your starting position.
Perhaps he has a legitimate reason for including relatively low pairs, and of course, he'd like to sell you his "Million Dollar Secrets" which is supposed to go into more depth. Given that I have little confidence that the contents will match the label, be particularly informative, or that it would be an honest strategy guide; I think I'll pass.
As a total newbie with a few math skills, this book seems to be teaching bad habits. So sure, one might *want* to recommend the book to increase the number of "fish" at the tables. But it's egregiously dishonest of Mr. Hellmuth to line his pockets selling bad advice in a how-to guide. If someone asks for advice at the poker table, they deserve what they get. That is where I thought he made his money in the first place. I suspect few fish frequent the high stakes tables he'd haunt, so I guess this is his way of continuing to reel in suckerfish. Don't bite!
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Total beginner stuff, what a joke.