There have been many threads and discussions on forums about which coaching site “is the best”. Due to the appearance of PTR (pokertableratings.com), the stats of well-known coaches became public – and not too rarely, their numbers were in the red. Doubts arose in regards to the quality of their coaching. “Good coaches are not always good players” is one of the things you might hear.
In this article I want to provide you with a few guidelines on what to look out for and what not. I assume that your main goal is to improve your game. There is something to be said about entertainment, but I will not include this as a variable.
1) What is the target group / Is my game among the target group ?
Very often people join poker coaching sites because one of their idols/super heroes is coaching there. But what if you´re playing NL 200 fullring and your coach crushes high stakes HU? Keep on admiring him, but you should rather look for somebody as your “idol” who is beating your stakes AND does coaching. To see if you are among the target group, check out;
—–> Who provides coaching for your limit/game
—–> How many new HELPFUL videos are added per week
I emphasize helpful because how does it help you if a site adds 12 new vids each day, but none of them can improve your game? Yes, other videos could be helpful. But I assume you are a busy person and you´re not looking to waste your time on watching 7-game vids if your main game is NLHU. Again, if it entertains you, go ahead, but as said before, this is not an entertainment guide.
2) Who is poker coaching my limit? Is the coach beating my limit?
A lot to be said about the “bad player, but good coach” topic. Before you go down this road, let me tell you, there are plenty of sites, plenty of players and plenty of good coaches. Don´t pick anything but the BEST. You’ve got the choice, so why take a bad player, who is a good coach, if you can pick a good player, who is also a great coach?
Also, keep in mind over which sample your coach has beat the game. There are SO MANY one-hit-wonders in poker. It’s not even funny. Among the many players, there will always be some, who run hotter than everybody else combined ;). When looking for coaching, look for proven long term winners.
As always, there are exceptions to the rule, but those coaches have to be ENORMOUSLY good and simply extremely excellent. They are out there. But they are few in number.
Check out www.pokertableratings.com (PTR). Stats are 99% reliable for Full Tilt and Pokerstars. For Ipoker they are completely off. Don´t rely on them there.
——> Check out your coaches at PTR, if they are beating what they´re teaching
——> Don´t get impressed by hot short term graphs, everybody´s got them
3) Don´t fall for the celebrity/fame advertisements
There are tons of famous and popular players out there. Poker training sites need publicity like any other business. Sometimes this means adding a player that is well-known and will draw crowds to the site. Don´t fall for this. Sometimes those players are also quite good, but being a well-known pin-up shouldn´t be the reason why you join.
—–> Pick a site for their product, not for one lead instructor
4) Coaching environment (like forums). Participate there
What else does this site offer to YOU? Forums are quite common. And I´d advise you to pick a site where the coaches actually take time to answer students’ questions in forums. You will benefit so much from this. It’s like a free extra. Also, look at the quality of those forums. Engage in discussion. Post hands, and your own thoughts. The advantage of coaching site forums are the absence of noise. Well, there´ll always be worthless comments, but usually the kind of people who participate in discussions are as eager to learn as you are. A good learning environment can be extremely helpful and beneficial.
—–> Take advantage of the coaching forums
5) Cost per month/year
This point is not really important in my opinion. What I do wanna point out is that it is very helpful to buy your subscription for yourself. I´m not going to drop any comment on account sharing. People who do it, will do it regardless. One advantage of buying it with your own money lies in the psychology behind it. Once you´ve paid for something, you´ll try to use it as intensely as you can. Most sites cost a maximum of $30/month. So in the big picture the price is clearly a joke for what you will learn. In good poker lingo I´ll call it “chump change”. One site costing $10 more than the others is basically big time bullshit. If that’s really a reason why you choose one site over the other, then you have a long long way to go.
—-> It’s not much money regardless, so choose the best and save money at more appropriate times
—-> Your education is not the right place to start saving money