An in-depth look at Poker Coaching Part 2: Types of coaching

In Part 1 of this series I discussed the basics of poker coaching, focusing on the history of poker coaching as well as what precisely a poker coach is. In this installment I’ll layout the different methods players can choose from when they decide to hire a poker coach or receive coaching.

Types of Poker Coaching

  • Live 1-on-1 Coaching

Live 1-on-1 coaching is probably the most useful, but it is also usually the most expensive. With face-to-face coaching you’re going to get the most out of your sessions. These sessions generally involve hand history reviews, theoretical and strategic discussions, and sometimes sweat sessions or heads-up matches.

  • Internet/Phone 1-on-1 Coaching

Similar to face-to-face coaching, 1-on-1 coaching via Skype or over the phone will also give you a lot of bang for your buck as you have the coach’s undivided attention (as far as you know). The MO for these sessions usually involves a flip-flopping between sweat sessions and review sessions.

  • Group Sessions

Group sessions are where a coach will meet with you and several other players and have some type of roundtable discussion or Q&A session. Unlike 1-on-1 coaching you’ll have to share the coach during these sessions, and some of the discussion may not be pertinent to you.

  • Poker Training Boot Camps

Another form of poker coaching is where players register for poker boot camps. These sessions are usually a day or two days, and involve lectures from several different speakers, followed by a Q&A session of some sort.

  • Poker Coaching Websites

The final option for players in search of poker coaching (especially players on limited budgets) is to join an online poker training site. Poker training sites offer their customers videos and other content designed to improve their game. This type of coaching is not as individualized, but most sites also offer forums and other live sessions where players can ask more specific questions.

What Kind of Coaching Do You Need?

There will be two main factors that go into your decision making process when you decide that you want to further your poker education and pay for some poker coaching of some sort. The first consideration is money: More precisely, how much money you want to invest in a poker coach. The second factor will be your current skill level: After all, if you haven’t even read a poker book than paying $1,000/hour for Phil Galfond to teach you the basics of position and blind-stealing is probably not a wise investment.


Obviously if you have about $200 to spend on poker coaching than a live one-on-one session with Phil Galfond isn’t an option, but you still have to decide if you think two sessions with an untested poker coach (who charges $100/session) is a better option than registering for a WPT Boot Camp or subscribing to a poker training site for six-months.

The deciding factor should be what precisely you are trying to get out of your poker coaching session (which I’ll talk about more in Part 3) and whether it’s something that can only be ironed out by a solid winning player giving you two hours of one-on-one coaching, or if the more cookie cutter approach of a poker training site will suffice.

Your Current Skill Level

Once you’ve narrowed down your options based on money you should look at your current skill level. New and/or losing players would be better off with more volume like poker training sites or boot camps than one or two sessions with a coach. For instance, there is no sense hiring a calculus professor to tutor you in long division; it’s unnecessary, it will cost you far more money, and the professor is going to be disinterested to boot!

Stay tuned for Part 3 where I’ll discuss what to look for in a poker coach.



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  • Posted in: Poker, Poker Strategy & Tips
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