Monday, October 04, 2004

Review: Phil Hellmuths Million Dollar Tournament Strategies DVD

After experiencing disappointment with the Million Dollar Poker System I really didn't have high hopes for this one.

While the production value remained roughly the same as in the Poker System DVD it was obviously filmed at a different time. We see Phil wearing the open collar and unbuttoned cuff (what's up with that) look that he sported in the late add on segment placed into the Poker System DVD. As before I believe a continuity in wardrobe would have added to the overall production value. A few more "effects" have been added where camera angles are changed with maddening frequency and the onscreen transition graphics become quite annoying. A welcomed addition was Phil's greater comfort level with the cameras. He appeared to be much more relaxed and almost reminded me of the personality type you see on the late night infomercials. Not the Ronco guy because he's way over the top but Phil had a rather subdued yet energetic delivery. The trademark ego was in full affect but to be honest I took it as more of a qualification of his abilities and supported his "proof of knowledge" as opposed to the normal blatant self indulgent rhetoric. He bordered on personable, but that may just be that fact that I'm in a good mood while watching this.

Now onto content. Knowing that this instructional DVD is for beginners only, and I stress the word beginners, it has some very good content. It also severely lacks in its explanations of that content. At 57 minutes the run time is just to short to do anything but tell you what a tournament is. In fact the 57 minutes includes the opening sequence, credits, and commercials at the end. All in all only about 48 minutes is actual instruction. This DVD is more of a primer to help people watch a tournament on TV, and have some idea what the commentators are talking about, rather than a primer to actually playing in a tournament.

Phil steps through the following strategies or stages as they call them in the DVD
1) How to Enter
   What to Expect
   The First Hours
2) Raising to Steal the Blinds
   The "All in" Strategy
   The Bluffing Weapon
3) Work Your Chips
   The Will to Win
   The Final Table

Phil starts with the buy in procedure for most major tournaments. As this would be step one in the casino tournament process I suppose it had it's place. The DVD would have been better served if they had taken that 5 minutes and used it to give more detailed explanations of actual playing strategies. For instance the blind stealing section although important in tournament play really left much to be desired in it's explanations. Phil has a tendency to introduce a basic concept, then explain that concept by introducing advanced plays and anecdotes from his past tournaments. I can't blame him for the lack of real world usable content. The DVD medium is just not the proper format for truly learning the game of poker. A good collection of books will give you so much more useable information. He introduces concepts and tells you what they are, just not the real knowledge to use them.

Next up Online Secrets...I can't wait :)