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.
MTT Poker School at a Glance
I’ll start off by saying that there are two tracks for you to choose from within the MTT Poker School. Either you can just sign up for and get access to the entire content library of course materials, or alternatively you can ALSO choose to enroll in the group coaching + webinars that they offer, aka, the MTT Game Changer memberships.
The materials consist of 10 distinct modules that grow every month, each of them available for purchase on their own and together as part of a bundle. 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.
However, pre-recorded lessons are just one part of what MTT Game Changer has to offer.
Buying one of the membership bundles (which I’ll discuss in a moment) will also provide you access to the private discord and weekly webinars. I believe these add significant value to your experience, as they let you interact with other members as well as James who’s always around and happy to answer any questions.
Weekly webinars are organized in a way that one topic is covered for a full month and the videos you can purchase individually or get access to via a membership are actually past webinars that have been recorded and made available. The difference is, participating in live webinars, you also get to ask questions in real time and hear thoughts of other players, which can only help you grow and improve your game. What’s more, Gareth encourages players to ask any questions they might have in private, making it very clear there is no shame in being unsure about something or not understanding something. This is where his experience as a coach and not just a player really comes through.
MTT Poker School Lessons Overview
Right now, MTT Game Changer contains 11 modules. 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 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.
MTT Game Changer Bundles & Memberships
You’re free to purchase any individual module for £49 and you’ll gain access to all the videos and all the charts included in the module. If there is a particular spot in your game you want to look at, buying one of these should help you develop some new ideas, recognize some common mistakes, and, of course, see what the GTO approach is to that segment of the game. You can also purchase all the modules together as a standalone bundle.
However, to take full advantage of this program the way Gareth James has envisioned it, you should probably consider purchasing one of the Game Changer memberships to also get access to the Discord server and live webinars. There are three options available at the moment, available on a monthly and a yearly basis.
MTT Game Changer
This will give you access to the first module including raise first in charts for all the different positions and stack depths. It will also provide you with access to Discord and four live webinars every month. It’s a good option if you want to get a feel for the course and decide if it is right for you but you might struggle to keep up with new lessons without seeing previous ones this deep into the course. Discounts on existing modules are available for MTT Game Changer members.
MTT Game Changer+
This is probably an option that will work for most players. You’ll get access to the entire content library and all the perks from the basic membership. In addition to all the videos, you’ll get all the various premade charts and sheets so you can really take your MTT game to the next level. Having gone through the existing content, you’ll also be much better prepared to take part in future lessons.
MTT Game Changer Advanced
This package is for those really intent on becoming a tournament beast. On top of all the perks from the Plus package, this option also includes four private coaching calls with James every month and access to a special Discord server for Advanced members. It’s not cheap but considering everything you get with this option and comparing it to what else is out there, I can’t say it’s too expensive, either.
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.
You’ll also get a real sense of community, which is an extra perk. There are even home games for the members after every webinar, giving you a casual and safe environment to play the game, have fun, and ask any questions you may have along the way.
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.