So you have decided training is for you—great! Poker training and proper study is what really sets a good player apart. But what should you look for in a training site? Here are ten criteria to keep an eye on:
More Than a Poker Instruction Manual
Make sure you’re getting value for your money. They should be doing a lot more than just telling you how to play the game. Any small child can learn the basic rules of poker in twenty minutes, but that certainly doesn’t make them a winner. Winning takes strategy and technique.
All Skill Levels
Poker technique does not work the same for all levels of play. A seasoned player, for instance, can get away with a lot more moves than a beginner. A good poker training site will cater to all skill levels.
Do they teach about odds? Any garage poker player with a half-empty beer can sit around making up half-brained poker theories about human behavior and luck, but a solid poker player needs to think about numbers.
Live Poker Play
A good poker site will often have live poker games you can watch and some kind of commentary detailing the theories behind different players’ moves. It is best if the games consist of an assortment of players of different skill levels. We could talk all day about what “works,” but if you don’t see it in action we’re just talking.
Hand by Hand Instruction
Every hand of poker is different and has a wide range of variables present, so just telling you about a certain theory and then telling you to run with it is a fool’s game. The site should show you specific hands and address all the variables that factor into decisions, such as the size of your stack, betting positions, odds, and how other players are betting.
If a site is not producing winners, then what is the point? Discuss a site’s reputation on popular poker forums and read some reviews, but don’t stop there. After you sign up, you need to assess your own improvement. If what you are learning is not equaling a slow, steady stream of dollars at the table, it might just be bad information. Most reputable sites will offer some sort of guarantee; don’t be afraid to take them up on it if they don’t deliver.
A solid poker training site will set you up with a personal coach. Not everyone is different, and your personal training program should be tailored to your needs. On the other hand, nothing is better than individualized attention.
You need to be able to interact with your coach and get feedback on watching you play online and discussing your moves with you as you go. This is what separates a truly quality training program from picking up a book and studying on your own.
A poker training site is a great way to set yourself apart from the crowd and turn the game into much more than a way to pass the time, but a lousy poker training site can be downright dangerous. It is almost worse to go out there thinking you know what’s going on and not having a clue than never training at all. Do your research, look for some of these qualities, and take your training very seriously. It’s your money on the line.