Poker Without Fear, by Alex Fitzgerald and Steve Blay: A Review

Alex Fitzgerald and Steve Blay believe that most poker players possess poker knowledge that is not evidenced in their actual play. Even novice poker players are keenly aware that aggressive strategies are essential to profitability. Whether knowing to punish limpers, 3-bet with a range of hands beyond AA and KK, c-bet, or mix in well-timed bluffs, players must manage to win pots without the best hand.

If poker players have this knowledge, what is holding them back from its execution? Blay and Fitzgerald believe the cause is very simple: fear.

In order to overcome this crippling roadblock, they have combined their efforts to produce a course with over 20 videos and extensive supplemental materials designed to help the modern player combat fear. Poker without Fear is the most complete package available with the single goal of assisting every player to maximize his or her aggressive potential.

Poker Without Fear

Poker Without Fear

Alex Fitzgerald is a poker professional, long-term coach, and author of several excellent poker books and courses. Steve Blay is a poker coach, author, and the founder of AdvancedPokerTraining.com. He has spent years teaching computers how to play poker at a high level. He was also Qui Nguyen’s poker advisor when Qui won over $8 million at the 2016 WSOP Main Event.

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

Fitzgerald and Blay share a foundational belief: the majority of poker players, regardless of experience, exhibit the same flaws in their games. Their play is based on emotional and personal factors, rather than on quality play rooted in logic, odds, and data. For example, a player may have mastered open raising pre-flop and calling with decent hands in position, but their primary drive is the desire to see the flop and be a part of the action. The FOMO (fear of missing out) principle is high among poker players. If a player folds small, suited connectors to a large raise and then flops a straight with a redraw to the flush, he is distraught. So rather than correctly folding those suited connectors out of position, he calls and ends up losing his 6 high flush to the nut flush on the river.

Conversely, FOLS (fear of looking stupid) is an equally strong driver. FOLS arises when a player realizes that he may get caught in a move which seems illogical to other players and will evoke mocking or scorn. You may know that you should re-raise a c-bettor on a flop that likely missed his range and gave you a 9-high flush draw and a backdoor straight draw. Instead, FOLS makes you convince yourself that he hit a set, and you just call in hopes of hitting your flush, folding when you miss the turn and he bets again.

Throughout this course, Fitzgerald and Blay challenge players to confront these tendencies and rather to rely on proven strategies that lead to greater profits. Blay has devised 10 challenges, illustrated below, that force players to practice aggressive actions until they become more comfortable with this type of play.

challenges

challenges

Justification of Aggressive Play: The Math and the Data

Unsuccessful bluffs weigh heavily on the memory of poker players. You bet half pot on the river on a blown draw, get called, and feelings of failure linger long. However, how often does the bluff need to work to be the correct move? In fact, it only needs to work one out of every three times you try it to reach the break-even point. In other words, you can lose the bluff twice as often as you win and still break even! If you get 40% folds on half-pot bluffs, you’re profitable (even though you are still losing more often than winning), and if you get 50% folds you are printing money!

Blay provides the mathematical justification for betting scenarios like this one, and presents factors that will help increase your likelihood of success. He also tells you when NOT to bluff. This course will leave little doubt in your mind that well-timed aggression will be extremely profitable in the long run.

Like Blay, Fitzgerald loves data. He will explain that the data of his students consistently supports the fact that playing passively is perilous, and that profitability hinges on assertive play. In these videos, Fitzgerald presents actual profitability tables of his students’ play that compare the success rates of various lines of action. The case is clearly made: aggressive approaches, thoughtfully and carefully executed, are irrefutably more profitable that passive ones.

Techniques

Poker without Fear weaves together multiple strong teaching techniques. Both Blay and Fitzgerald present clear sets of guidelines concerning how to employ aggressive play on all streets. This course offers very specific techniques the player can use across a variety of circumstances.

Fitzgerald and Blay also teach when aggression is ill-advised (e.g., responding to aggressive action from a historically tight player), and when to slow-play (e.g., when you have a monster and your opponent likely holds a callable hand). They create an architecture of principles and approaches to guide your play and hand assessments in a wide variety of situations.

They also share a belief that knowledge without application has limited value. In line with that, Poker without Fear includes dozens of hand examples and quiz questions to teach correct aggressive action in a variety of circumstances. The quizzes include assessment of proper bet sizing, as well as correct action.

Those familiar with Fitzgerald’s previous training videos will recognize his application of repeated drills. He believes that, as a developing player, you need to practice playing in a variety of situations and have a very clear understanding of why you are taking a specific action. Fitzgerald also frequently challenges you to identify the “most important thought” you should be having in determining your action. This meta approach engages you on an advanced level of processing, teaching you to execute the appropriate move with solid justification and an understanding of how that justification was reached.

Fitzgerald’s techniques, as he readily admits, are not for the lazy player. They are provocative, intense, and require an engagement not always typical of poker training videos. In many ways, Fitzgerald’s teaching method is as aggressive as the style of poker play he advocates. Playing quality poker is not easy, and neither is proper preparation.

Special Discounted Pricing

Altogether, Poker without Fear includes:

  • 200+ Quizzes To BREAK DOWN Your Old Game And REBUILD It!
  • 23 Episodes Of PREMIUM Training Content
  • 10+ Hours Of Quality Footage With ZERO FILLER!
  • IN-DEPTH Scientific Analysis Of TRUE Aggressive Poker!
  • TWO well-known poker coaches offer you multiple views on poker problems
  • Simulations based on REAL poker hands where aggressive poker results in HUGE pots!
  • A free PDF copy of Steve Blay’s brand new 100-page e-book Seven Days to Better No Limit Hold’em Flop Play, regularly $39!
  • And much more!

All of the above is offered for $497, but if you want to order Poker Without Fear, be sure to use the code Robbie397 you will save $100 and get the discounted price of $397.

Final Word

Fitzgerald and Blay are clearly after two things in this training course:

  1. To alter your attitude and natural tendencies toward more aggressive lines of play, and
  2. To model the thought processes and skill sets to execute these lines.

Poker without Fear is a workout, containing volumes of data, specific technical information, and dozens of hand applications and quizzes. Be prepared to put in the work. You will be glad you did.

About Robbie Strazynski

Robbie founded the Cardplayer Lifestyle poker blog in 2009.

Having quite literally learned how to play poker around the kitchen table as a child, “living a Cardplayer Lifestyle” is something that he’s always aspired to. After having worked as a copywriter and marketing professional in the online gaming industry for a number of years, Robbie transitioned to become self-employed in the poker media industry in March 2017.

Robbie translated Pulling The Trigger: The Autobiography of Poker Pro Eli Elezra, from Hebrew into English. He is also the host of the Twitch.tv/poker roundtable panel show The Orbit, the CardsChat Podcast, and creator of the Poker Notes Live mobile app.

Robbie received the 2018 Global Poker Award for Charitable Initiative of the Year.

Connect with Robbie on Twitter @cardplayerlife, or via email: [email protected]

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