Poker is just like any other sport, pastime, profession or hobby in that to improve you must continue to work on your skillset. Practice, game experience, and gaining more knowledge will go a long way to make you a better poker player, but to supercharge your game you may want to consider hiring a coach.
Here is a guide on poker coaching: who should consider getting a coach and when, where to find the best poker coaches, and what to expect when working with a coach.
When to consider a poker coach
For the majority of players, poker is a fun and sociable game to play with friends or during the occasional trip to the casino. However, for more serious players and those with ambitions of a professional career, there will come a time when hiring a coach becomes essential if you want to take your game to an elevated level.
Working with a poker coach must be looked at as an investment in your career, and like any investment you need to determine whether the returns are worth the costs.
Therefore, amateur players who play irregularly and for low stakes, a coach is simply not worth the money. But if you have formed a solid foundation and have designs on pro career that could earn you thousands – even millions – in prize money then a coach is a vital investment.
Poker coaching is not cheap, with coaches charging between $50-$200 per hour for one-on-one sessions, so it really is for serious players only.
If you are unsure if you want to dive straight into the deep end with a personal coach, consider signing up for a premium course. If after completing the course and implementing the lessons, you see vast improvements and want to level up to a private coach, do so then.
What a poker coach will provide
Of course, the primary service a poker coach provides is to make you a better poker player. Each poker coach will have his or her own methods but there are a few areas that each coach should be focusing on.
This is when you and your coach prepare the toughest hands and together analyze how best to approach these hands. They will be able to show you how to avoid common mistakes and provide strategies of how to deal with each situation.
Recorded gameplay reviews
Recorded gameplay reviews can be useful to help you spot weaknesses in your game – even areas that you may not notice yourself until an experienced coach points them out. This is no different to a swing coach in golf helping a golfer with problem areas of his technique.
In-play coaching is arguably the hardest method as it is difficult in poker to learn while playing. However, it is still an important method for players who want reassurance from their coach and to make sure they are implementing any strategies from the lessons.
What to look for in a poker coach
Each player’s requirements from what they want from a coach will differ based on what they need, but there are a few universal boxes to check when evaluating which coach to hire.
The most effective way to begin your search for a poker coach is to take a look at his or her track record. Do they have plenty of satisfied and successful students all offering glowing praise? That is a solid indicator of how they can deliver similar results for you. It is similar to when you might consider paying a tipster for horse racing advice.
Would you pick the expert who successfully predicted the last five winners of the Kentucky Derby, or the guy with a terrible losing record? Of course, you pick the person with the proven track record (check out the odds for the race here: TwinSpires.com/kentuckyderby/odds).
There are numerous variants of poker, all with their own intricacies and strategies. If you plan to take your poker career seriously enough to invest in a private coach, you need to make sure that they are an expert in your chosen version of poker. A general coach may help you in the early stages but when fine margins can make all the difference at the top level, you have to have a coach that specializes in your game.
Is invested in your success
We all know that the best teachers are the ones who genuinely care about your progress and success, whatever the field. The same applies to poker. Find a coach that is as passionate and serious about your success as you, someone who will go above and beyond (within reason) to help you get to where you need to go. Having that invested support will provide you the motivation and self-belief to take your game to the next level.
Where to find the best poker coaches
Check any poker advice website and they will all point you in the same direction: head to the coaching forums on TwoPlusTwo where you will find a large list of coaches offering their services. Coaches can also be found at PokerVIP and other poker coaching websites.