Over the years, I’ve had opportunity to take and subsequently review many poker courses. With due respect to the others, none come anywhere close to the Run It Once PADS on PADS course in terms of comprehensiveness.
This is an MTT course, created primarily by tournament specialist Patrick “pads1161” Leonard. Several other pros make appearances as well including Alex “Pwndidi” Theologis, heads-up specialist Kevin Rabichow, and over a dozen other MTT crushers. As for the course’s name, Leonard (a.k.a., “PADS”) focuses on Perfecting Analysis, Decisions & Strategy.
Before we dive into the course structure, one thing must be said. PADS on PADS isn’t for the faint of heart. There is a wealth of poker knowledge in there, but to actually take advantage of it you’ll need to really focus and put in the work. So if you don’t already have disciplined poker study habits, this may not be the right course for you as you’re unlikely to be able to get full value from it.
With all of that said, if you are prepared to put in the effort and study well, this course is worth its weight in gold and you are essentially guaranteed to get a solid return on your $999 investment.
The bulk of the course consists of Leonard taking you through the PIO Solver information calculated for different spots. This kind of information can be invaluable for any serious player, but it’s not something you’ll pick up after just watching a video. So, you better bring your full focus and be ready to take some notes as you go through the lessons – and there are quite a few to go through.
Run It Once PADS on PADS Course Structure
The course consists of over 160 videos totaling 87 hours(!) of content that are broken down into eight large units, each dedicated to a particular part of the tournament strategy. These are:
- Heads Up
- Live Plays
- PSKOs (Knockout tournaments)
- Off the Tables
Every section is pretty much standalone, but you should probably start with the Postflop one. This may seem counterintuitive at first, but Leonard suggests that mastering postflop play is key to preflop. You can only properly build your ranges before the flop if you have a clear plan for what comes next.
With so much content in PADS on PADS, many of you have been asking us how we’d recommend approaching it.
Follow the course in order? Jump around from section to section? Start with videos that interest you?
— Run It Once Training (@RunItOnce) February 19, 2021
Postflop – Breaking Down Every Scenario You Can Imagine
The main section of the PADS on PADS course contains 60 different lessons. Only very few of them could be categorized as short (around 10 minutes). The rest are 20 to 30 minutes in length, and a few of the more important ones are almost an hour long.
You don’t have to be a poker player to do the math here. There are dozens of hours’ worth of studying materials, and, as mentioned, it’s not the kind of content you can just rush through. Or you shouldn’t at least, if you want to get the most out of it.
Lessons can be broken into a few main categories:
- Playing 20 big blinds deep in position
- Mastering continuation betting
- Bet sizing: over-betting, down-betting, and exploiting your opponents
- Playing 30 big blinds deep out of position
- Turn play
- 3-bet pots
As you might expect, some concepts introduced in earlier lessons come into play later on, so the best way to go about the Postflop section is by watching videos in order of appearance.
Without getting into details of the individual videos (that would make this review way too long), the content is laid out pretty much uniformly across all videos throughout the course.
Leonard takes a particular spot and breaks it down to the smallest detail. He has prepared all the GTO solutions and calculations and takes you through them one situation at the time.
For example, the continuation betting videos look into different types of boards like dry paired boards, middling flush boards, and dangerous (draw-heavy) boards and suggest strategy adjustments. You’ll see how solvers think about these spots and what they suggest in terms of bet sizing, passive vs. aggressive play, etc.
Plainly put, if you want to learn GTO then you’re going to love PADS on PADS. It focuses heavily on GTO-based solutions, although Leonard takes some opportunities to suggest possible slight adjustments that flirt with the exploitative approach.
The Preflop section is another crucial part of this course. However, Leonard takes a different approach to this section of the game and presents some ideas that you won’t find in any other MTT courses.
Things tend to be very fluid in tournaments and rarely do all players at the table have the same stack size. Because of this, Leonard refuses the idea of adhering to rigid charts and instead looks into how you can adapt to different situations as they arise.
Although this section isn’t as comprehensive as the first one, there are still a dozen videos to go through as Leonard tries to break down different scenarios you can run into.
What makes these videos interesting is precisely his novel approach to preflop situations. Instead of just providing you with a bunch of sheets to decipher on your own, Leonard discusses at length how your ranges, raise, 3-bet, and 4-bet sizes and tendencies change depending on how stacks break down.
Patrick Leonard explains what a beginner will get out of PADS on PADS and why focusing on preflop ranges can be bad for you game. pic.twitter.com/BtJmhJjO7E
— Run It Once Training (@RunItOnce) February 18, 2021
Some of the specific topics covered in this section of PADS on PADS are:
- Deep-stack play
- Mixed stack sizes
- Adjusting to population tendencies
- 4-bet jamming and squeezing
This approach to studying is definitely more demanding than memorizing charts and sticking to them. At the same time, though, it can provide you with much more flexibility and make you much more unpredictable to play against. This may not be as important at the lowest of stakes, but as you move up, you’ll want to make it as hard as possible for your opponents to figure out how you play.
Teaching ICM Using a Hands-on Approach
ICM (the Independent Chip Model) is one of the crucial things for every serious MTT player to understand. Even so, it’s not necessarily an easy concept to master as there are many moving parts to take into consideration. However, in this section, Leonard takes a step away from PIO Solver and takes a different approach as he doesn’t believe that ICM is something that can be “solved” in the same way as preflop or postflop scenarios.
Instead, after presenting and explaining some basic concepts such as the ICM Collision Effect, he offers a bunch of actual scenarios from various tournament final tables. You’ll get to see many different ICM spots and learn from them as Leonard explains everything in (painstaking) detail.
This is another fairly extensive section of the course, but it’s more “fun” to watch as there is some real poker action to enjoy. If you’ve gotten tired of PIO simulations, nodes, and all that, the ICM section is a breath of fresh air and still very important to go through for your overall growth as a player.
Bringing it Home: Heads-Up Play
The heads-up section of the PADS on PADS course is also quite extensive, which, as Leonard emphasizes, is for good reason. In most tournaments, there is often a huge pay difference between the first and the second place, so mastering heads-up play is critical.
The first few videos cover some theoretical concepts. These offer preflop ranges for HU play depending on stack sizes, limping strategies, and how to adjust to your opponents limping. The approach here is similar to that in earlier videos, where Leonard basically provides in-depth GTO analysis for these spots.
After the general introduction, Patrick is joined by Kevin Rabichow, a high-stakes No-limit heads-up specialist who made the transition to MTTs, who contributes to the discussion with his vast knowledge and experience.
The two go over strategies for different stack depths, after which the course moves on to reviewing some actual hands, demonstrating many of these theoretical concepts in practice.
What Else Does PADS on PADS Offer?
The sections reviewed up to this point could be described as the heart of the PADS on PADS course. That said, there are even more learning materials in there for those hungry for knowledge, including.
- In the Live Play section you’ll find quite a few videos in which Leonard takes you through the action as it happens, hand by hand. All play is from high stakes tournaments and this is a good way to see how theoretical concepts from previous lessons are applied in practice.
- The Guests section features tournament reviews by other high-profile online poker players like “escapemissio”, “Ceis”, Patrick Brooks, and “Mrbradleyy”.
- In the Off the Tables section you’ll find heaps of valuable advice on how to best study the game, use PIO Solver, plan your time, etc.
The PSKOs section deserves it’s own special shout out, as it is basically a mini-course on its own. Taught by Alex “Pwndidi” Theologis, it teaches you strategies for knockout tournaments on PokerStars. This is an incresingly-popular tournament format that requires a number of strategic adjustments due to bounties.
PADS on PADS Verdict
I’m not even going to pretend that I’m qualified to judge the quality of the course as far as the technical side is concerned. What I can authoritatively say though is that Leonard offers the kind of in-depth analysis of the tournament play that I haven’t seen anywhere else, and he is exceptionally meticulous. Clearly, besides having crushed live and online poker for over $15 million in winnings, this guys is a crusher at poker instruction and training.
In all fairness, however, as I alluded to in the introduction of this review, this is certainly NOT the right course for a casual poker player. PADS on PADS is clearly aimed at those already playing high stakes tournaments or aspiring to move into the world of big buy-in events.
To keep up with the content, you’ll need to have a decent understanding of the basics and some idea of what solvers are and how they work. You’ll also have to really focus and grind through the lessons. To Patrick’s credit, he makes things as entertaining as possible as you go, but learning to play poker at this level is hard work and there is no way around it.
If you’re somewhere at the start of your MTT journey, there are easier-to-follow courses out there that will give you all the knowledge you need to make progress. But, if your foundations are already very solid and you’re at that point where you need to find something to put you really ahead of the pack of good players, PADS on PADS by Run It Once will get you there.
The $999 you pay will grant you lifetime access to the course, monthly updates, access to a private Facebook strategy group plus it’s updated each month and Q&A videos from Patrick Leonard, an example of which you can watch below.