Annie Dukes Advanced Texas Holdem Secrets

Annie Dukes Advanced Texas Holdem Secrets

Author: Annie Duke

Advanced Texas Hold’em Secrets was the first of Annie Duke’s four instructional DVD’s to be released, followed by ones geared towards beginners, online players, and, interestingly enough, women.  While most players will be able to find helpful tidbits that will improve their games (this reviewer saw an immediate upswing in his fixed limit game), there is not much here that will blow your mind.

That is not to say that there is nothing interesting in this DVD.  On the contrary, the lessons are all solid and Duke lays them out well.  Noteworthy is her chapter on poker tells, where she discusses FBI profiling techniques and how they can be applied to pick up information on your opponents at the table.  While Mike Caro is the master when it comes to tells, Duke really steps up this classic subject with some fascinating teachings on thinks like blink rate and hand placement. 

The production quality is above average and nothing is too “overdone.”  Sure, the animated chapter transitions are a little cheesy, but nobody is watching this DVD for the segues.  The poker tutorials involve only Annie Duke.  No fake players, no dealers, nothing else except for a poker table at Commerce Casino and a pleasant backdrop.  There are a few minor annoyances, such as some volume inconsistencies and the fact Annie Duke’s hair style changes slightly in a few chapters (that’s just odd), but overall, the DVD is well done.

While the title of the DVD says it is “Advanced,” it is not really going to be all that useful to players who are truly at the advanced level.  The lessons are far enough along to probably be a little too complicated for beginners, but anyone who has played for a while and tried to educate themselves on the game will not see much that is new.

After the introduction, the first chapter focuses on “Advanced Decision Making.”  While it starts off with Duke discussing how to narrow your decisions in a hand (complete with her dealing the cards to give examples), it eventually comes off as a little scattered.  The chapter goes on to discuss bet patterns and opponents’ possible holdings, which, while they may fit best in this chapter, feel more like trains of thought.  Part of that feel may be the result of Annie Duke’s speaking style, which is fast and casual.  She was obviously not reading from cue cards.  It seems like she is shooting from the hip, which makes things a little tough to follow at first, but after a while, her style is easy to get used to and actually makes for an enjoyable view.

The aforementioned tells chapter is next, followed by a chapter on bluffs.  Duke does a good job of bringing information taught in the first two chapters over to the third, greatly improving the flow.  But, again, one lesson is slightly misplaced – trapping.  It is taught quite well by Duke, but it would probably fit better somewhere else.

Next is the obligatory pot odds and implied odds chapter, then an interesting chapter to have all to itself: “Playing with Maniacs.”  Again, not much new here, but Duke appears to be genuinely interested in passing on her knowledge to her viewers, so the information is easy to absorb.

Duke concludes with something that many poker pros don’t touch: money management.  This, now, is something of great use to the advanced players, as they are the ones who may be considering testing the waters as professionals.

In the DVD extras, there is an extra section for poker tips, which is puzzling.  These would have been easy to mix in with the main chapters; there was no reason to have them in a separate bonus section.  Perhaps they were lessons Duke thought of after the bulk of the DVD was shot, so she decided to just throw them in a “miscellaneous” pile, rather than re-shoot.  The rest of the extras are of no particular use to anyone who would be classified as “advanced.”

Annie Duke’s Advanced Texas Hold’em is well worth a watch.  For the seasoned veterans, aside from the chapter on tells and perhaps the chapter on money management, there won’t be any startling revelations, but Duke’s teachings can be a good way to reinforce what one has already learned.  Plus, her particular style, more casual and conversational, may resonate with some players well and help drive home the lessons.  For those who are ready to move past the beginner stage of their poker careers, this DVD is a good next step.  It is not too long to be overwhelming, but still packs a punch.