Books & DVDs
Table Poker with Phil Gordon from Expert Insight
Art of War, David Apostolico
Diary of a Mad Poker Player, Richard Sparks
Final Table Poker with Phil Gordon is like being thrown into the middle
of a WPT broadcast. However, instead of only seeing 1 out of every 10
hands and thinking the players are insane for going all in with 8-9
offsuit, Phil walks you through his and his opponents thought processes.
starts off with a "WPT Like" introduction of the players,
they consist of some of the stereotypical players you might see at a
The final table consists of the following players:
Butch Dude - The overaggressive internet qualifier part of
the young and unemployed "crew"
Harmony Jensen - a thinly veiled homage to Jennifer
Harman and great player
K.W. - a solid all around player
Bruce Buffer - A macho aggressive trash talker who
will play any two cards.
Chris "Jesus" Ferguson - The best tournament
player in the world
Phil Gordon - Tiltboy, TV Celeb, Poker Pro
We then hear Phil's
thoughts as each hand at the Final Table takes place. Phil takes his
time with each decision and pays great attention to his opponents style,
chip stack, position, and their state of mind (tilt factor).
The importance of Position is stressed on numerous occasions throughout
the DVD with examples. We of course hear the old poker saying - Position,
Position, Position! Phil covers several important concepts with several
hand examples from the table. Some of the ideas presented include Sklansy's
Gap Concept, Selective Aggression, and five reasons why it's better
to raise when your the first one in the pot.
As the "tournament" progresses, Phil instructs on how to calculate
odds & outs, the Rule of 24 - a simple way to estimate the probability
that you'll make your hand by the river card, how to calculate pot odds
and implied odds. Particularly valuable to new players is a discussion
of the correct amounts to bet based on the texture of the flop/board.
As players get eliminated the topics of isolation raises - raises to
get you heads up against a particular opponent, when to not bet on the
river, and the common mistakes that bad players make (e.g. going broke
with one pair).
table becomes short-handed Phil covers the importance of stealing the
blinds and whom to steal from, how to play a short-stack, why you want
big cards versus drawing cards, and the criteria for making successful
bluffs. The things to consider after a significant change at the table
will help players think about adjusting to the differing dynamics.
Other important topics include:
- Hands to go to war with
- Headsup Play
- Exploiting your own table image
- The importance of sometimes
"checking it down"
- A method of getting off "Tilt"
a very professionally made DVD that looks great and is fast-paced. Phil's
commentary is interspersed with some good wisecracks and very solid
The DVD also comes with two different commentaries from Phil - one for
beginners and one for more advanced players. Additionally, for the beginners
it includes a detailed starting hand chart and an Odds & Outs chart.
A few things about the DVD were mildly annoying, for example, every
so often there is a Full-Tilt Poker commercial thrown in, the commercials
are pretty funny but it's kind of cheesy to add them to a $25 DVD. In
addition, the lighting used at the table is supposed to resemble the
WPT but reminds me more of a disco ball and is somewhat distracting
as the lights spin around constantly.
Overall, the DVD is great looking and has solid advice for beginning
to intermediate players. Will you become an instant world-class pro
after watching the DVD, of course not, but you should pick up some useful
advice to improve your game and beat your poker buddies out of their
hard earned cash.
You can play and learn from Phil at Full