Full Tilt’s Learn from the Pros

Fox Sports premiered Full Tilt’s Learn from the Pros last night (Sept. 27) at 8:30pm local with new episodes airing every Sunday at 4:30 p.m. local and repeats on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. local. I watched the first episode and it’s certainly worth watching. Chris Rose hosts along with Howard Lederer and the format appears to be one segment of Howard discussing a particular strategy point and a second segment with a roundtable of pros talking about whatever they want to talk about. In between segments they have mini-segments that are a pre-filmed and offer quickie bits of advice.

This first episode is the all-in. Chris and Howard then review previous FSN televised tournaments and Howard discusses why the strategy works in some situations and fails in others. After the strategy portion, Howard and Chris sit down with several pros around a poker table and an open discussion takes place. In the first episode, the pros are Chris Ferguson, Layne Flack, Jennifer Harman, and Phil Ivey. It’s somewhat interesting to hear them just chat. Layne claims that he’s never been intimidated at the tables while Jennifer admits that she was so scared the first time she played against Brunson she couldn’t speak. Layne justifies his comment by saying that if you work your way up, none of the better players know how you play but you know how they play and Phil Ivey chuckles and tells Layne “I wouldn’t go that far,” and reminds Layne that anyone stepping up to the Big Game is an underdog. It’s that unscripted back and forth banter that makes it quite interesting. Another exchange happens when Jennifer says that it’s important to take shots at higher levels and that if you get busted, you can move down again. Ivey ribs her by saying that, of course, she can do that because if she gets busted out people will lend her money. Guys? Nobody’s going to lend a guy money.

Between segments Chris Jesus Ferguson and Phil Hellmuth do quickie mini-segments. Chris does a card throwing demo and Hellmuth gives a quickie on reading players at the table.

So, overall, where does it rank? Well, it’s certainly better than the WPT’s Poker Corner episode last season. And if taken in context (i.e. it’s a ½ hour episode of a 26 part series which covers increasingly more advanced topics each week) it’s better than most of the instructional DVD’s out there. I caveat that by saying “in context” because you’re not going to sit down to one 1/2 hour episode and become a better player. But the shows are short enough to keep it interesting but not so long as to compete with a more comprehensive instructional format. In other words, it’s something that might play better if you Tivo all 26 episodes and watch them back to back or wait until (or if) FSN releases them on DVD.