There’s no lack of MTT training programs out there. The hardest part is actually choosing the one that works for you and fits within your budget. Both of these factors are very important but I’d say the first one is more critical. What works for someone doesn’t necessarily have to work for someone else.
I’m not a big fan of a very GTO-oriented approach to poker, so I’ll admit that I approached Gareth James’ MTT Poker School with a bit of prejudice. While I’m not trying to say GTO doesn’t work, I tend to find that kind of content harder to keep up with and stay focused.
I must say that now, after I’ve given the site’s training materials and courses a proper try, I’ve changed my mind quite a bit.
James is an experienced player and a poker coach who’s been offering poker training in one way or another for over a decade. So, his credentials were never questionable. I simply wasn’t sure what to expect inside.
When the course first debuted in late 2020, I was also a bit confused by the subscription options. I think the idea was to give players more wiggle room to access the course or particular lessons in a way that they were the most comfortable with, but it ended up being a bit too much. To Gareth’s credit, he’s fixed this issue since, and now the subscription model is much more straightforward.
MTT Poker School at a Glance
Signing up to the MTT Poker School gives you access to the entire content library of course materials.
The materials currently consist of 18 distinct modules with more content constantly being added. Most modules are organized in a way where you’re provided with:
- Theory part
- Deep dives (analysis of theoretical concepts using hand examples)
- Member hand reviews
- Useful charts and sheets
The range of topics covered in the course is very wide and James’ MTT Poker School is a living entity, i.e., there will be more lessons added over time. What’s important to note is that these modules are highly specific and address particular areas of the game in great detail. Whether it’s talking about raising first in, defending the big blind, or playing in position against an open, each module offers an extensive analysis of that particular segment.
Like I mentioned in the introduction, this is a very GTO-focused course so all theory in the videos revolves around optimal solutions found using solvers such as PioSOLVER and MonkerSolver. So, students are provided with mathematically correct solutions for particular scenarios at certain stack depths.
MTT Poker School Lessons Overview
When I first took up MTT Game Changer in late 2020, it consisted of 10 modules, with the promise of more content being added down the road. The course has delivered on its promise as now, seven months later, there are 18 distinct modules, with another one in the making.
The first one is more of an introductory module while the rest cover various pre-flop and post-flop topics that MTT players have to deal with. I’ve already covered the general structure of these lessons, so here’s a quick overview of the actual topics you can find inside:
- Introductory module: explaining basics of the program and offering a goal setting webinar, which can be very useful to all poker players. Learn how to set realistic goals, the difference between good and “bad” goals, and more.
- Raise First In (RFI): Covering GTO ranges, discussing common mistakes, looking at important stats, and how to adjust vs. different players. Lessons cover 100, 60, 40, 30, 20, and 15 BB play.
- Defending the Big Blind: Teaches you how to structure your big blind defense ranges at various stack depths, goes over some common mistakes, and discusses concepts such as equity realization. When should you deviate from GTO and how to take advantage of weaker players?
- Flop Strategies in Position as the Pre-flop Raiser: Focusing on 40 BB play but concepts can be applied to other stack depths as well. This module breaks down and categorizes basic types of boards and board textures – concepts that are important in future modules as well. Some common mistakes are covered in depth, you’re provided with extensive advice on how to build your c-betting strategy, and more.
- Flop Strategies in Position as the Pre-flop Raiser 2.0 (new): An upgrade to the original IP PFR module, focusing on just two bet sizes to make the learning process easier. The content is similar to what is already available in the first module, but the narrower focus makes it easier to practically apply the knowledge contained inside.
- Flop Strategies OOP as Pre-flop Caller: An entire module talking about what to do after calling from the blinds. The module teaches about the importance of staying sensitive to bet sizes, talks about the range and the nut advantage, covers minimum and optimal defense frequencies, and how to play across different board textures.
- IP Pre-flop Facing an Open: How to deal with opens when in position. What things to pay attention to, what mistakes to avoid, and how the GTO strategy changes depending on effective stack sizes. This module introduces some interesting concepts and strategies that may not “feel” right but are actually spot on from the mathematical point of view.
- OOP Flop Strategy as Pre-flop Raiser: The theory video talks about properly sizing your bets when having the initiative but being out of position going into the flop, going back to some concepts discussed in earlier modules such as different board textures and categories. The theory part is followed by three detailed deep dive videos.
- Defending the Small Blind: This module has some similarities with the one covering the big blind play, but ranges and solutions differ greatly. The lesson covers some common mistakes like being too passive and not being sensitive to raise sizes. It also explains why frequencies and descriptions are much more useful than position.
- IP Flop Strategy vs. the SB: Once again, a lot of focus is put on some of the most common mistakes, such as playing the same as against the big blind, sizing bets wrong for the board texture, and failing to think about the whole situation and understand the “why” behind your actions. Deep dive videos help further clarify theoretical concepts.
- Flop Strategy in Position as Pre-flop Caller: Using solvers, this module focuses on looking at different hands and trying to find good flops to take advantage of your opponent’s play by calling, raising their bets, or taking a stab after they check to you.
- Flop Strategy OOP as the PFC in SB: Constructing an optimal strategy for playing from the small blind after just flat calling the raise, looking at different board textures and referring back to many concepts covered in earlier videos.
- Turn Strategy IP as the PFR: This is the next module to look into after going through the Flop IP module. Deciding when to check back and when to double-barrel. The module also introduces the idea of geometric bet sizing to help with how to structure your bets properly for the maximum EV. Other considerations in this module cover how various turn cards change our equity and how that influences our decision (check or bet, and how big).
- Turn Strategy OOP as the PFC: The module features the already familiar structure, making it easy to keep up with and focusing on the 40bb stack-size. It’s the module in the series that introduces the idea of turn leads, and the first couple of webinars deal with these spots. The other two webinars focus on situations where you’re faced with a double barrel.
- Blind vs. Blind Preflop: This module covers in detail how to play in the blinds, addressing play in small and big blind positions. The course provides a variety of solved charts for different stack sizes (from 10 to 100 big blinds), while videos discuss different blind vs. blind scenarios, talking about appropriate raise sizes, some of the most common mistakes and misconceptions about these spots, etc.
- Flop Strategy IP Blind vs. Blind as the PFR: Continuing on the previous module, these lessons cover a very specific scenario where you raise as the big blind after the small blind has limped in. The module looks at different board textures and GTO solutions for these spots, with the aim of finding and memorizing the best boards for checking and betting.
- Facing a 3-bet Preflop: This module is divided into three main parts, covering deep stack and shorter stack theory, as well as situations where you’re facing the nutted range from the big blind or the button. In addition to video lessons, there are also ready-made charts for 50bb-100bb and 15bb-40bb scenarios.
- Flop Strategy OOP in 3-bet Pots as the Pre-flop Caller: Although the module looks into a specific spot (BTN vs. LJ), main concepts and ideas are applicable across much more general scenarios. Like the rest of the lessons in the MTT Game Changer course, suggestions and strategies are based on in-depth calculations made with PioSOLVER.
MTT Game Changer Membership
As mentioned in the introduction, the MTT Game Changer used to feature a rather elaborate membership structure, where you could pick from a number of different options: buying individual courses or purchasing different levels of membership.
However, the membership model has been fully restructured and now there is just one, simple and straightforward option. Paying £499 once will get you lifetime access to the course, which covers all the existing as well as any future content. New modules are added every month, and so far James has been true to his promise.
The only other option currently available is to buy the RFI course for the one-time charge of £49. This will give you access to the very first module in the MTT Game Changer course (Raise First In) as well as downloadable RFI charts for different stack depths. Although it’s a valuable purchase on its own, it is more meant as sneak peak to let you see the kind of content you can expect to find inside.
Value for Money: How Good is MTT Poker School and Game Changer?
One thing I can say after spending quite a bit of time trying out the MTT Poker School is that it’s fully geared towards serious players who really want to get better. If you’re looking for something casual, there are other options that will be a better match.
Gareth James takes his Game Changer course instruction very seriously and the quality of the training material is very high. His webinars are never rushed and he takes as much time as necessary to cover everything that needs to be covered. He then takes some more time to answer any questions and provide any additional clarifications.
So, you will be getting your money’s worth either way but you’ll be getting the most out of this offering, if you’re willing to study and participate. Maybe you’ll feel like you’re back to school at times, but that’s what it takes to become really good at poker these days.
If you are dedicated to becoming a better MTT player, I have no doubt that Gareth James’ MTT Poker School will provide you with everything you need to get there.