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Upswing Poker Tournament Master Class Delivers Results From Proven Winners

Amateur Player Shares Thoughts On Pratyush Buddiga and Doug Polk's In-Depth MTT Course


The Tournament Master Class is now available from Upwswing Poker, featuring high-stakes poker pro Pratyush Buddiga, and of course lead instructors Doug Polk and Ryan Fee. Check out our review of the content below.

The Reviewer

Erik Fast — Tournament Content Manager for Card Player

I’ve been playing poker since 2003 and it has been an incredible hobby that has offered mental challenges, entertainment and luckily even some extra spending money. Poker has always been something I do for fun, but I also take the game very seriously. For these reasons, I was very excited to check out Upswing Poker’s Tournament Master Class. After poring through the generous amount of well-organized videos I decided to share my thoughts and perhaps help some poker players decide if this is the right course for them.

What You Get

Pratyush BuddigaThe Upswing Poker MTT Master Class is centered around more than 30 hours of video instruction, primarily lead by Pratyush Buddiga. Buddiga is a highly successful tournament poker pro, who has more than $6.4 million in lifetime live tournament earnings and frequently participates in some of the highest-stakes tournaments in the world. Buddiga finished sixth in the $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl in 2017 for $1 million.

Buddiga opens the course with an introduction that underlines why players need to focus on the theory behind sound tournament strategy.

“In tournaments, people have always had this feeling that every spot is unique and therefore you can use that idea to justify any play you want,” said Buddiga. “While I agree that there are always going to be reasons to make adjustments from your default, it’s important to know what the defaults are… The best way to be a great player in 2017 is to have strong fundamentals, then you make exploits and adjustments as you gain information. That is what all of the great players now do.”

After his introductory mission statement, Buddiga goes in-depth into strategy with five distinct sections. The first four are broken down by the obvious decision points in poker hands: Preflop(14 videos), The Flop (9 videos), The Turn (9 videos) and The River (4 videos). As you can tell from the number of videos in each section, an extra emphasis is rightly placed on preflop as it is the most played and therefore likely the most important street in poker.

The fifth section of instruction is Tournament Dynamics and it sees Buddiga examine some of the unique aspects of tournament play that inform a sound strategy, such as bubble play, stalling, final-table play, ICM (Independent Chip Model) considerations, adjusting to live play from online, and mental aspects of the game like dealing with downswings.

The next section features eight videos entitled Play & Explains. These videos help take the theory that Buddiga has discussed and put it into action, with reviews of real hand histories he has played covering a variety of situations. Buddiga closes with a three-part video analysis of a runner-up finish he made in a $5,000 buy-in online poker tournament.

Doug PolkThe final section of the course continues in the same vein, with three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and Upswing Poker lead instructor Doug Polk joining Buddiga to examine Polk’s second-place cash in the 2017 WCOOP $10,300 no-limit hold’em high roller for $455,000. Polk’s fellow lead instructor Ryan Fee takes over for Buddiga for the second half of the tournament.

In addition to the massive amount of instructional videos, players who purchase the course are also able to a private Facebook group with a forum to discuss the course and questions that arise with the instructors and other students. Speaking of forums, players can also join the private Upswing Poker Members Only Forum for further conversations on MTT and poker strategy.

Does The MTT Master Class Deliver?

I feel confident recommending Upswing Poker’s Tournament Master Class to players who want to improve their MTT game, especially intermediate players who already have a strong base of knowledge about no-limit hold’em. But I will caution that this course is not something you can throw on in the background, absorb passively and then automatically be able to implement when you play. The videos are densely packed with information, and can often rely on a lot of jargon that assumes a relatively high comfort level with poker tournament strategy.

I know that I came away from this experience with a better framework for approaching playing unique hands and the entirety of a tournament. I also enjoyed Buddiga peppering in some character while delivering his in-depth analysis. We even share a bizarre love for A-5 suited, which is my favorite hand outside of the obvious premium staring cards.

The Verdict

The Upswing Poker Tournament Master Class offers high-level concepts that are delivered by proven winners. If you are more of a complete beginner, the valuable information in these videos might fly over your head somewhat, even if you do your best to engage critically. However, if you are an intermediate player looking to take your tournament game to the next level, then this course is an ideal next step for your poker education.

Once again, those interested in taking the course can sign up here.