Coaching: Poker Training Sites vs. Private Coaching
The poker training market has evolved immensely in the past few years. With sites like Upswing Poker and Run It Once, should players still consider private coaching? This article will discuss some of the pros and cons for each.
Before thinking about poker training site membership or private coaching, think about how far in your poker career you are. Are you a beginning player who is just starting online poker? Are you a small stakes grinder? A mass multi-tabling mid stakes player? Regardless of where you are in terms of skill level, there are different services for all players.
Private coaching can be found at different poker training sites, third party listings such as https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/164/cash-game-poker-coach-listings/, and other places. Poker training sites are wide and varied, catering to all types of players and games. Poker training sites allow customers to view videos (either streaming or download) in order to learn poker concepts and theories. Poker training sites also have hundreds of videos in their library covering many different poker strategy concepts.
Poker training sites typically cost anywhere from $50-$100 a month for a subscription. These sites typically produce 1-2 videos a day and many of them have hundreds of videos in their video library. These videos can typically be accessed at any time during your subscription.
Poker coaches typically cost $35 to several hundred an hour for personal one on one coaching. The top players charge thousands an hour. These coaching sessions typically last from 1-2 hours, depending on the coach and structure. Group coaching sessions generally run much cheaper but lack the personal attention that one on one coaching achieves.
Advantages for Training Sites and Target Audience
Training sites are better catered towards beginning players and those who are still learning the fundamentals of the game. Training sites are also cheaper than personal coaching, where one coaching session may equal an entire months worth of poker videos. Some other advantages for poker training sites:
- Good bang for your buck- there are lots of videos and a ton of quality content that you can get for a cheaper price. Video libraries ensure that you will be able to watch hundreds of hours of poker instruction.
- Variety of coaching and teaching- With poker training sites, you have access to many different coaches and teaching techniques.
- If you are a beginning poker player, you will *probably* have a smaller bankroll due to just starting out. This bankroll might be better served with a cheaper training service (poker training site) instead of more expensive private coaching.
- The two main poker training sites, Upswing Poker and Run It Once, are catered to different clients: Upswing is more geared for beginners and newer players while Run It Once is more geared towards professional poker players and higher end strategy.
Advantages for Private Coaching and Target Audience
- Private coaching ensures personal attention. Private coaching ensures that the coaching session will be about YOUR specific leaks and your overall game; not a generic lesson on a topic of a video producer’s choosing.
- As a customer (or student), the hired coach is working for YOU. The customer always gets to decide the coaching format (live sweat, HH review, theory discussion, or something else). This enables the customer to choose a coaching format that best fits his needs.
- Personal coaching typically lasts a few sessions, which means that the coach will be better equipped to focus on a student’s leaks due to longer exposure. For instance, if a student has a leak of calling too many pre flop bets, the coach can think of a solution or way to fix the problem over the course of a few coaching sessions.
- Extra help- private coaches typically allow students to send them hand histories free of cost (outside of the coaching session). This provides extra value and should definitely be touched on before starting sessions.
When deciding between private coaching and training sites, it is vital to understand where you are in your poker career. If you are just starting out, a training site is typically much better value and cheaper. You’ll most likely get a bigger bang for your buck given the large amount of videos in the training site library with a training site subscription. Newer players should be focusing on the fundamental concepts in poker and this knowledge can be obtained either freely (in poker forums) or through cheaper poker training subscriptions. I would personally not subscribe to poker training sites until I was at least at 25NL online.
For players who play mid stakes (400NL+) or higher, private coaching is probably the better option. A mid stakes player understands the fundamental concepts and should more be looking to plug leaks that only a private coach can help. Private coaching is obviously less of a damper on a bankroll when playing significant stakes (200NL+). Be sure to check coaching reviews and talk to past students before committing to a long term coaching deal with a new coach.
The hardest decision when deciding on private coaching and training subscription is for players who are right in the middle of small to mid-stakes (50NL-200NL players). It is probably case specific as to what the best option is (private coaching or training site subscription), and sometimes a mix of both can be an option.
Both options are fantastic, and sometimes necessary to improve as a poker player. This article only touches on some of the basic thoughts that you should have when deciding whether to receive private poker coaching or a poker training subscription.
top photo credit: Kate Ter Haar/Flickr