The fantastic Poker Coaching Debate
As with many things in Poker the answer is going to be it depends.
This is a question that I have asked myself many times over the past few years. Not been a person who can sit and read a book for hours on end and take in all the information or watch a coaching video, make notes and it all implant itself in my head, I turned to the rather expensive option of paying someone to work 1 to 1 with me in an effort to improve my game.
How do you find a Poker Coach? Go on most Poker forums and they will usually have a forum dedicated to different types of coaching. Take 2+2 for example, a quick look on there and its easy to find a couple of pages worth of coaches offering their services for a multitude of games.
I was beating NL25 at a decent rate but were having problems moving up to NL50 and were looking for someone who could help me take that extra step. I looked on 2+2 and did what I thought was a good bit of research and chose the person who I thought fitted best with what I was looking for. Luckily for me I found one of the good guys in NL_Fool and he was very helpful and we chatted a lot on Skype and he even went as far to advise me that I could pay a lot less money and probably find someone who could help me. The thing that swayed it for me was that he had a lot of glowing reviews from very established members of the 2+2 forums and after further discussions i parted with about $1Kfor 10 hours of coaching.
If i recall i had about 6 hours out of those sessions before we had to cancel the rest because of personal reasons on his end but he was very professional over it and shipped me the money that i had over paid straight back no questions asked. As for those 6 hours of coaching, by the time I had finished those i was not only beating NL50 but i was also beating NL100 as well.
I honestly believe that if I had kept working with him then I would be playing a lot higher than I am at the moment but it wasn't to be. Its fair to say though that those sessions paid for themselves many times over.
I carried on playing for a couple of months and decided to look for another coach, again hopefully to help me move up. This time though I wasn't as lucky, I thought id done good research again but this time the coach didn't have the great reviews from members of 2+2 and as it would turn out he forgot to mention that he was traveling the world and that it may be hard to schedule sessions. Obviously all this is partly my fault but I paid just over $1K again for 10 hours of coaching with the CardRunners coach Fooz. Now don'tВ get me wrong the sessions themselves were quite decent and we had some good discussions but we would go 2 or 3 weeks without been able to schedule a session due to connection problems due to the section of the world he was in.
The final straw was that I waited in on a Sunday for the entire day because he вЂњmayвЂќ get a connection and we'd be able to execute a session, obviously I never got the decision and that was that. I began to fall out of love with the game and didn't contact him again to try and arrange another session. I used 6 hours of those sessions and have never heard any such thing from him in regards to a refund for enough time not used.
By this time around my confidence and probably my game was shot to pieces and I was floating between NL25-NL100 when Full Tilt got shut down. That's history and I moved to Ipoker which meant that I was going to need to learn 6max. This time I made sure that I did a lot of research and after a large amount of looking around I decided on the DeucesCracked coach threads13 and paid approx $50 each hour and altogether had about 10 hours of coaching with him which included several leak finder videos for DC which were thrown set for free. His approach to coaching was very professional and we did a lot of work on the math side of Poker that I must say i struggle with and by enough time we had finished I really was confident in my own 6max and FR game again and from that time I have kicked on and lots of that is because of threads13.
So that's my story with regards to coaching but a quick try looking in the forums and there's always stories of people who've not been happy with coaches and its super easy to see that it is an extremely shady area. After all its very easy to control a HM/PT graph to cause you to look like the worlds most readily useful player and its own going to be even harder to check peoples results given that PTR has stopped tracking Stars. You merely have to go through the oldschool scandal on 2+2 where the coach was very reluctant to provide out his screen names and also post a lot of graphs that folks were requesting and then when it all arrived in the wash the reason why he didn't want release a screen names was because on one of these he wasn't even in a position to beat NL25 yet was making out he could beat NL100 at an excellent rate and in addition offering coaching for that level. The worst thing about this is that 2+2 have now allowed him to cover another coaching thread therefore the only thing that is set up to protect folks from getting cheated is a couple of savy posters who turn to protect the city against people like this.
So is it worthwhile then?For me personally despite the fact that I did have a bad experience I'd estimate that the coaching has payed for itself often over and for some body like me who includes a very short attention span, the 1-1 method is great for me and I can get yourself a lot from it. It is a big chunk of money though and before you shell all that out you really want to do your research. I cant stress that enough because a bad decision can send you backwards rather than sending you forwards.
When you can sit watching a video or read a book and are in a position to learn most readily useful that way then there is a ton of good information out there but if that's not for you personally I would recommend giving 1-1 Poker coaching a chance if you actually want to improve your game.
I will do a follow up on this piece called Poker Coaching – Do's And Dont's which will simply be a list form of tips to use if you decide to go down this coaching route.