Mostly basic strategy, but I still liked it.
Poker Face | Toronto, Canada | 10/06/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a Gus Hansen fan so I found this to be a worthwhile rent. It claims to showcase intermediate and advanced strategies but actually it's more basic strategy (starting hands, etc.) than anything else. Bet on the flop even if you have nothing. That's really the most important thing he mentions. It's emphasized repeatedly throughout this 69 minute, widescreen, stereo Dvd. Other than that, he briefly talks about betting out first so that you're controlling the bet size. If you don't do this, you're giving your opponent(s) the chance to bet a higher amount that you might not want to call, so you're forced to fold; or perhaps worse, you decide to gamble and call the higher bet and then end up losing more than if you had bet first and then were just called. It's a defensive bet that makes it harder for an opponent to raise you because they think you might actually have something good and that you're making a value bet or perhaps trying to bait them into a raise, because you have a monster hand. So, based on poker strategy alone, it's a one star Dvd. However, because I still enjoyed watching it and did learn two things about Gus' strategy, I gave it another star.
So what did I learn? First, the minor thing. Gus mentions that a player's false tells can sometimes get you into trouble. So be cautious if you're playing against a crafty player, who knows you're watching. For example, Gus might shuffle his chips a certain way just before he shows you his weak hand, so that you think as soon as you see him shuffling them the same way later on, you think he's weak and you raise him. Look out! Gus now actually has a strong hand and was just giving you a false tell. Yes, I knew about false tells beforehand, but I still liked hearing Gus talk about HIS fake chip handling.
The most surprising thing I learned was that Gus actually plays the river differently than the majority of players. I've heard Mike Sexton (WPT announcer and poker pro) frequently mention on the WPT tv show, that when it's your turn to bet on the river, you shouldn't bet or raise when you have a MEDIOCRE hand (hands like, middle or bottom pair). Just check or call. The theory is that your opponent will most likely only call or raise with a hand that can beat you, otherwise he'll fold; so why bother betting when you stand to gain nothing, at least 90% of the time? Also, it's sometimes okay to bet on the river if you have a weak hand (like,ace high-or any hand that you think your opponent has beat-even if it's top pair) because you're trying to bluff your opponent into folding what is most likely the better hand. In addition, making a value bet (highest amount that you think the weaker hand will call you with) with a strong hand is also recommended.
However, Gus theorizes that if your opponent knows that you will sometimes bet weak hands (mostly bluffs) on the river (because he's seen you do it), your opponent will then sometimes call you with his own weak hands hoping that you have an even weaker one. If your opponent is calling you with his weak hands often enough, then it's worthwhile for you to also bet your MEDIOCRE hands on the river, because your opponent just might call you with his weak hand and lose to your mediocre, but still better hand. It's also important to keep your opponent guessing by mixing up your play or else he'll soon figure out that he should never call you with his weak hand because you're rarely betting with a weak (bluff) hand on the river yourself.
As well, let's say every time you bet with your MEDIOCRE hand on the river, your opponent keeps folding. You think to yourself, why should I keep on betting? He's only going to fold his weak hands anyway. Well, you keep on betting because very soon he's going to think that there's no way you can always have a good hand, so you must be bluffing with a weak hand (rather than betting a mediocre or strong hand). That's when he'll take a stand and call or even raise you with his weak hand. Hopefully, at that moment you'll have a strong hand and reraise him, or otherwise you can just call him with your mediocre hand if you still think you probably have him beat. You could also fold if his raise is too large and you suspect he may actually have you beat.
So, I enjoyed watching this Dvd even though I didn't learn much. Since it's supposed to be a Dvd designed to improve your poker game, I can't give it more than 2 stars or it might look like it's worth buying, which it's not--unless you're a diehard Gus Hansen fan or perhaps would like to learn some basic strategy explained by a likeable pro."