Upswing Poker Tournament Masterclass Review

Poker is a game that is constantly evolving and changing year in and year out. The strategies employed by today’s players are very different than what players were doing even just a few years ago.

Whether you’re a poker professional seeking for the latest edge, or simply a recreational player looking to make a bit of income on the side, it’s clear in order to compete in today’s poker landscape you must improve your poker game through study and effort the felt.

With the latest World Series of Poker reaching record numbers and prize pools, tournament poker remains a thriving option. Upswing Poker just so happens to offer the Tournament Masterclass course which is one of the most comprehensive and thorough resources on the market.

Upswing Tournament Master Class Content

With 65 videos and over 30 hours of video content, Pratyush Buddiga covers practically every scenario you will find yourself in a tournament, from pre-ante to heads up play, and not simply covering when to c-bet, but why and how to do so profitably:

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

Buddiga mentions in the intro of the course. He then follows on with:

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.

That has always been my feeling with why people make so many mistakes in both tournaments and cash games: they don’t know their default ranges (this is something I cover in my article preflop range construction here)

Shuffle Up & Deal:

The course begins with the fundamentals and where most people make their first mistakes leading to horribly butchered hands postflop; preflop action. Both pre and post ante ranges are given for all positions:

The point of this is to make adjustments off your strong foundation, rather than just feeling your way through a tournament like many do.

The ranges given are all downloadable so you may have them with you even when not online. However, it’s not simply raise first in range (RFI) that is covers. Pratyush covers everything from four betting to big blind defense.

Pre ante there’s just not that much incentive out there, post there’s usually a whole extra big blind out in the middle and people simply don’t adjust to fighting for it.

If you’re a strict cash game player, doubling your opening range UTG after the first part of your session may seem like suicidal madness rather than sound theory, however once antes are introduced that’s precisely the default ranges he suggests, going from a 10% open to 21%.

I must admit, this is a big leak of mine. I wasn’t playing drastically different ranges in tournaments I played pre and post antes – of course I would play looser in the latter stages. but nothing to the extent shown in the image above.

However, as he goes more in-depth into the opening and three-bet ranges, he also acknowledges being able to take them and adjust accordingly to the table.

If you’re at a table with an aggressive button and a solid player who properly defends in the big blind, it may be profitable to shave off 5% or so because you’re simply not generating enough folds than if you were at a softer table, and this applies vice versa as well.

In the opposite scenario, you will be opening even wider than the ranges suggest if people are simply over folding and going to play straightforward against you without a substantial amount of resistance.

You need to ask yourself what is the most profitable move, and most importantly is it more profitable than folding.

In the Money:

After extensively covering the preflop decisions faced in tournaments in 14 videos, the course then moves laterally forward to play on the flop (9 videos) the turn (9 videos) and of course, the river (4 videos). With the Upswing Master Class course, it becomes clear that bluffing is perceived to be an underused tactic in today’s game.

Many players think of bluffing as a small part of the game that you need in certain situations, but Upswing’s course recommends adding in more bluff combinations.

You want to have just about as many bluff combinations as you do value. You never want to get into a spot where you have zero bluffs.

By taking this approach, Buddiga argues, not only do you win the pot without showdown a lot, you keep your opponents in an uncomfortable situation. He then proceeds to run out board textures and positions that make for good bluff candidates, there is a method to the madness.

There’s no point in putting money in the pot when you have zero equity because your hand will never improve to value. Don’t bet just because they checked to you.

One of the ways Upswing’s course differs from some other that I have seen is that in covering most of the theories used they also cover what they perceive the general player pool to be doing in these spots and how to exploit that.

This was enlightening when going through the course, and something that is very important to remain cognizant of when faced with decisions at the poker table. Take for example in the flop c-bet;

Usually players only bluff flop bet but you want to have bluffs in all ranges. “Oh I have ace-queen and bet the nine seven four rainbow flop, now I guess I give up.”

There’s a good possibility that someone you previously perceived to be a “LAG”, is actually simply a tough solid player.

In addition, there is also a detailed lesson on check raisin which I believe is an underutilized tactic. The course goes through the key factors that make a good check raise (shown below), approximate ratios you should have for valuebets to bluffs, the different types of flops and barreling rules.


The “meat and potatoes” part of the course is certainly focused on breaking down ranges and situations to build a solid multi-table tournament strategy. Upswing covers attacking different board textures, playing in and out of position.

Upon completion of this course, there shouldn’t be very many spots where you do not a have pre-developed default strategy.

The course does not simply end with presenting the strategy, they then go on to cover playing before and after the bubble, truly understanding ICM (independent chip model), and even a video on stalling and the plus or minus EV of doing so.

After these additional “Tournament Dynamics” videos, application and review are then covered by Pratyush Buddiga, Ryan Fee, and Doug Polk as they work through a 2nd place finish in a $5,000 tournament and a 2nd place finish in a $10,000 tournament.

It’s one thing to study a range chart and know you should be opening X hand from Y position, but to see it successfully put into practice in video form really helps to fit the pieces together in addition to some confirmation that this is a proven profitable strategy used by some of the game’s top players.

One-quarter of the videos provided consist of the hand history review, from the start of the tournament to the final table.

Upswing’s Tournament Masterclass Cost

Essentially everything in poker, both on and off the table, can be boiled down a plus or minus EV decision. The same should be done with this course, at the end of the day, is this a profitable move to purchase?

Wrapped altogether the course does land with a $699 price tag, which also includes access to the forum on Upswing’s site and a private Facebook group in addition to the lifetime access.

This is a fairly hefty amount of information, however, if you were to break it down by cost of video, it comes to under $12 per video, or by hour of content it is slightly over $23 an hour, far below the normal poker coach rate, and one could argue, better.

This course is not one you are able to split screen with Netflix and still absorb the information, they dive into some advanced concepts and terminology that requires your full attention if one truly wishes to study and improve.

If you want to find out all the details about the course, click here.

What I liked About Upswing’s Tournament Masterclass:

  • Breaking the play down into street by street and delving into the thought process of some of the top tournament players in the game is done in such a way that people from the serious recreational to the seasoned pro will be able to learn and profit off this course.
  • Lifetime Access, on PC or Mobile App.Private Forum Access to Upswing Coaches.
  • Well Organized Video’s Broken Down into Specific Categories.

What Could Be Improved About This Course:

  • The preflop through postflop ranges and slides are downloadable images. I would much prefer to see this as a range viewer app or online webpage similar to what Raise Your Edge or the upswing poker lab provides to go along with these images.
  • The course does not keep track of your progress or what you have and have not viewed, you must remember what video you were on. If you exit the course in the middle of a video, you must manually navigate back to that video at that timestamp to resume.
  • There are a couple of instances of the sound being loud –  he might need to get a microphone protector but this is overall a minor point

This course starts off at a very high level and therefore if you are a beginner poker player, this may not be the most suitable course for you.

We recommend the Road To Success course by PokerNerve as an alternative for beginners to intermediates players which starts off at the very basics of poker and guides you up to advanced poker tournament strategy.

Upswing Poker Tournament Masterclass Verdict

Whether poker is your side or sole income, the wealth of content Upswing produces in this one package is very well done. That said the course does come with some presumptions that you already possess a fairly solid knowledge of poker and poker terminology and is not geared towards first time players, as the price tag might suggest.

Remember that bankroll management does not only apply to your buyins at the table, but also in study time and material if you’re seeking to be a winning player in today’s game. Have a question on a concept? All the coaches are on hand and active on the private forums to respond and explain in greater detail.

While variance is real and brutal, by studying this Upswing Course and properly applying it, you may very well be not far off from an upswing of your own.Or a deep run in next years WSOP Main Event!

Last Updated: 11 August 2018

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