Learn to Win at Texas Hold'em with Daniel Negreanu

Learn to Win at Texas Hold'em with Daniel Negreanu is like sitting down with Daniel for private poker lessons. The video is broken out into 3 pieces - a short intro of the DVD with Daniel, the tips section, and bonus materials. The video is produced by MTV and is done very professionally. The DVD was done as a companion to the video game "Stacked" so "Stacked" logos are featured prominently throughout.

The real meat of the DVD is in the Tips section. The section is broken into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced play. Daniel picks out a player at each level and gives them a private lesson in how to improve their game.

The Beginner Section

Daniel picks out a beginning player named Danielle from the poker room at the Wynn casino and gives her some tips to improve her game. The tips include:

1. Which hands to play - Premium, Strong, and Marginal.
2. The importance of position in selecting hands.
3. How much to bet pre-flop - Daniel uses a 5 times or 7 times based on the action in the hand and a guide for when to push it all in.
4. Protecting your hand - making large enough bets post flop to punish drawing players.
5. Play on the Turn - be cautious but aggressive.
6. When it's ok to draw - Open ended straight draws and flush draws.
7. Avoiding Dominated Hands - ie when not to play hands that can't really win on their own.
8. Bluffing - avoid bluffing pretty much altogether except in certain circumstances.

Daniel teaches the beginner a "Fit or Fold" strategy, play good cards and play them aggressively to put pressure on the table pre-flop. He doesn't want a beginning player to face any tough decisions until they get some experience in the game.

The Intermediate Section

Daniel picks out an intermediate player named Erica to give some private instruction. The section goes into more advanced issues, such as playing the player and setting up bluffs. The tips include:

1. Classifying your opponents styles - Rock, Maniac, Pro.
2. How to read an opponent - ie the guy who has bluffed the last 6 hands is obviously a maniac.
3. Exploiting players based on your table image - for example if you've been playing few hands, maybe through in a bluff or two.
4. Whom to bluff - bluff the rocks and short stacks!
5. Whom not to bluff - don't bluff a maniac or you become one!
6. Types of bluff - Semi-bluffs are the ones you want to try (aka bluffing with outs).
7. Setting up a bluff - utilize your image and past history to set up bluffs.
8. How to avoid going on Tilt - Have confidence and faith in the system and stay stable!
9. Playing based on your stack size - you have a lot more flexibility with a larger stack.
10. Basic Poker Math - Daniel gleans over some basic odds and tells you to do some homework on poker math.

Daniel teaches Erica that poker is really about playing the player and that their style and their perception of you dictates how you should play.

The Advanced Section

Daniel selects Cole, a player who's ready to take the next step in his poker education. The advanced section stresses playing post flop "small ball" poker. This is in direct contrast to the beginner "Fit or Fold" style stressed earlier. Tips include:

1. Playing "Small Ball" Poker - take smaller risks to steal blinds and give yourself a maniacal table image; this loose agressive image will enable you to win some big pots later.
2. Blind Stealing - Daniel advocates making smallish 2.5 - 3 times the blind raises with a lot of marginal hands in late position to steal the blinds and get a loose table image.
3. Take stabs at pots post flop - if a flop is checked to you, make a less than pot sized bet to win a lot of pots cheaply.
4. The Math behind small ball - Daniel briefly discusses Pot and Implied odds.
5. Avoiding Traps - you need discipline to fold good but beaten hands.
6. Setting Traps - exploiting your loose image to induce bad bets/calls from your opponents.
7. Phantom Poker - Calling with nothing to set up a bet later.
8. Defending your blinds - You must defend your blinds liberally to keep from being run over.
9. Tells - Daniel discusses some subconscious and acting tells and what they probably mean.

Daniel teaches the small ball method and explains why it's such an effective way to play poker. He stresses that poker is hard work, takes discipline and constant learning.

Bonus Materials

The DVD includes some bonus materials which in all honesty are pretty weak. I would have like to seen a more in depth discussion of poker math and maybe some more interesting hand examples. The bonus material includes:

1. How to spot a sucker at the table - ie fumbles his/her chips, or a player who doesn't protect their cards.
2. Headsup Play - the difference between headsup strategy and ring game strategy.
3. Tourney vs Live play - the difference objectives of the two.
4. Chip Shuffling - Daniel teaches you how to shuffle chips so you look less like a donkey.
5. Poker Etiquette - a text based primer on being a nice guy at the table.
6. Daniels Stats - a text based history of Daniel's poker achievements.
7. Video Preview of Stacked - a preview of the video game Stacked, the game does look pretty slick but I hate commercials on things I've paid $20 to get.

Overall

Overall the DVD is done very professionally and Daniel's delivery is very polished and natural. The DVD is about and hour and a half but has too much information packed into that amount of time. The DVD would be better if it was broken into one DVD for each level of play. Daniel really doesn't get into too much detail on each subject so the DVD seems a little rushed. Other minor weaknesses include the bonus materials and the cameos by Erick Lindgren; he basically just parrots what Daniel is saying while the two observe the students applying what they've been taught.

The information on the DVD is very good if you are a beginning or intermediate player. I especially liked the discussion on small ball poker which is definitely more fun that sitting and waiting for premium hands. I would definitely recommend this video for beginning players or anyone interested in learing how to play the small ball style of poker.

The DVD is produced by MTV Video and retails for $29.99. It can be purchased at MTV.com or you can save $10 by calling Call 1-800-531-7929 and ordering over the phone.

 

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