There's a lot of poker tournament experience, some of it bitter, behind the hands and the commentary on this DVD. Gordon basically mocks up a big-money final table, with Chris Ferguson and some lesser-known players, and talks us through every decision of the final table. There's a refresher on calculating outs and card odds, pot odds, and implied odds (the only surprise being the omission of Implied Tilt Odds, but the concept is touched on), and during the course of the commentary Phil goes far beyond those basics, talking about how to develop an understanding of your opponents, who to attack and who to retreat from, and so on.
The job of each of the player-actors in this video is to enact a certain stereotype. There's a strong (and beautiful) woman player, who wins at least one huge pot because her male opponent underestimated her (think Jennifer Harman or Annie Duke); a brash "Internet Pro"; a super-aggressive ego player; a very cagey Black player (not unlike Paul Darden); and of course, Chris Ferguson, who gives a very good imitation of himself. A couple of the players are a bit too far into their stereotypes, but not quite to the point of provoking unintended laughter (of course, your mileage may vary on that).
As the action progresses, we see Phil's hole cards, but not the other players'. Phil talks his way through an assessment of each hand, including the ones he doesn't play. Strategic points are illustrated throughout; for one example, he calls attention at one point to the fact that the hand with which he is raising is the same as one he folded not long before, because of position and the action coming to him.
This is a very enjoyable learning tool which will repay its cost many times over. I plan to review this DVD frequently.
As I watch it again and again, perhaps I will learn to ignore the circling lights on the table. Why anyone would do that is beyond me; if I sat down at the featured table in a big-money tournament and they lit off a disco ball overhead, I'd find a heavy object and smash it.
Some of the Full Tilt poker ads are included, and since these are some of the cleverest, funniest ads ever made, I don't object one bit. I need to check the scene selection menu to see if I can jump directly to the Jesus "72 Bluff" ad when I need a laugh.