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How to Get the Most Value from Poker Coaching


With the game of poker evolving as much as it has in recent years, it is nearly impossible to become a great poker player without using some form of poker coaching. Understanding this is the first step to reaching your full potential, but finding what works for you can take some time.

There are many different types of coaching at your disposal if you want to take the next step in becoming a professional poker player. Whether it’s subscribing to poker coaching courses or meeting one-on-one with a poker coach, there are benefits to every method. The ultimate aim is to be the most efficient with your study time so that you’re able to develop your game and keep climbing the poker ladder. 

To help you differentiate between the poker training options you have, we will discuss how to make the most of your poker coaching sessions, what common mistakes to avoid, and what to do to maximize the value in 2024. An important thing to remember is that some of the best poker coaching out there is free, so let’s start there.

How to Get the Most Value from Poker Coaching

The Value of Free Poker Coaching

As you would expect, free poker coaching is the most accessible form of coaching out there and offers an incredible amount of value. New poker players, in particular, can profit greatly from free poker training, which can be found on any poker training online site, including this one. 

Free poker coaching is usually offered in the form of articles and videos, allowing players to learn the basic concepts of poker without investing a dime. Back in the early to mid 2000’s, Two Plus Two Forum was the catalyst for poker studying across all stakes and players would regularly share hands to receive feedback and discuss strategy with their peers. Nowadays, the direction has changed a bit more towards poker coaching courses and Discord communities, but the underlying factor remains the same, people want to work on their game. 

At Pokercode, we pride ourselves on providing great content not only to our members, but our followers as well. On our YouTube channel, you can find some incredible free content for both tournaments and cash games, including a ‘Play & Explain’ poker strategy series from our Cash Game Coach; Steffen Sontheimer. 

If you are new to the game, free poker coaching options offer incredible value, and you should capitalize on accessing this type of content. Trying to learn poker without any help can be tedious and you might lack direction. Instead, getting some help from poker training online will give you the advantage you need when starting. 

To get the most value out of free poker coaching, you should make sure to read and watch every piece of the free material you can get your hands on. 

Preferably, you want to make sure that you are reading the content in the order it was intended, as this will ensure you understand the things that are being talked about in the more advanced lessons. A great place to start is with our very own blog that offers a ‘Beginners Content’ section for everyone looking to start their journey. 

The truth is that there are a lot of fairly good and advanced materials out there these days that are completely free, and making use of these materials before you start investing money is a great idea.

How to Get the Most Value from Poker Coaching

Choose the Right Poker Coaching for You

Once you are ready to dive deeper into your studies, you’ll need to get the best poker coaching for you. These days, with so much expertise within the poker world, you’ll probably need to pay for the coaching unless you can find an experienced player willing to coach you for free.

You’re almost spoilt for choice when it comes to poker coaching, and separating the best from the rest of the pack can be tough. The last thing you want is to sign up for something that you’re not prepared for, so doing your research or following our expert advice will help. 

Before settling for a poker coaching course, make sure you have read the reviews and found out exactly what the program entails. Find out more about the coach who created the course and their results, as well as the coaching style and the kind of materials the course contains.

One thing we pride ourselves on at Pokercode is that we offer the full environment to help you succeed. We don’t just provide coaching videos and leave you alone to figure it out for yourself. We provide a community full of like-minded individuals who are willing to help and guide you along the way. Not only that, but our live coaching sessions are interactive and allow for members to ask strategy questions to our coaches in real-time, which speeds up your learning process. 

You will want to ensure that the poker coaching course is intended for the form of poker you prefer, whether that’s cash games, MTTs, heads-up, etc. For example, at Pokercode we have experts in both online cash games and MTTs, with Fedor Holz headlining the MTT Masterclass and Steffen Sontheimer developing the Cash Game Masterclass. 

Furthermore, you will want to make sure that the coach is a proven winner in these games and someone who has real insights to share, which is not always the case. Thankfully, at Pokercode, our team of pros have earned over $100 million in their poker careers, so you’ll be in good hands. 

An important factor to consider when deciding on which professional poker training to delve into is making sure your personal poker goals line up with the coaching you’re receiving. If you aim to reach the top of the game and become a professional poker player, you’ll want to learn from the very best, but if you’re just looking to become slightly better to beat your local games, you might not want to invest as much. 

If you can get a free preview of the course or snippets of it, you will want to do that, as this will ensure you can relate to the coach’s teaching style and methods before you invest the money.

Using Your Poker Coaching to the Maximum

It is not rare that a poker player will buy a poker coaching course but not use it in full. Most players don’t utilize the entirety of the coaching they purchase or spend nearly enough time studying poker. You’ll quickly find that you will only get out of it what you’re willing to put in. 

Once you have joined a paid program, it is highly advisable to spend many hours studying it and re-watching more advanced concepts. It’s like learning any new skill, the more you practice it the easier it becomes over time. 

When you sit down to watch a poker training video, you should treat it like you’re going to a seminar at University. Be prepared to make detailed notes of anything you don’t fully understand and the key things you did understand from every lesson. By taking notes, you’ll be able to learn more efficiently and reference them at a later date if you want to check a specific concept of the poker strategy. 

In addition, by noting down the things you didn’t fully understand, you can reach out to people who are better than you and ask them for feedback. You’ll be surprised how effective this is and how receptive other players are to helping you and answering questions. A good example of this stems from a video with Fedor Holz explaining how finding your community can help you progress within the game. 

Chances are that watching a coaching course just once will not be enough, but this is where Pokercode is different. The environment we have created in our community enables you to connect to others and get motivated within the process. Other than watching video content, modern coaching sites like Pokercode offer interactive challenges, quizzes and tasks to create an interactive experience. 

It is important not to rush your learning process and to allow yourself as much time as needed to cement your knowledge and fully adopt the lessons being taught by your poker mentor.

If a poker training site has 40 hours of video material, you will probably need 200 hours or more of studying time to ensure that you have truly mastered the course.

The results of such meticulous studying will show in your results, as you will be able to fully emulate your coach’s game and apply every single concept you learned during the course you underwent.

How to Get the Most Value from Poker Coaching

Private Coaching - Is It Still Worth It?

Private one-on-one poker coaching sessions were the norm in the past, and many of the best poker coaches only offered this service.

Today, poker coaches record full training courses and sell them to players, but that doesn't mean there isn't still value in getting private professional poker training. The biggest advantage of getting private lessons is that your poker coach can look at your game, quickly detect the mistakes you are making, and explain how you can stop them.

Plugging leaks through private coaching with a great poker player can be one of the finest ways to advance your game, but it can also be very costly. One-on-one poker coaching is typically very expensive, so you should only look for it once you have tried the other types of training.

This is where group coaching comes into play. Some of the best poker coaching can come from reaching out to like-minded players in your stakes or higher and getting together to review hand histories or go through specific concepts/theories. However, this is a lot easier said than done. You’ll need to find players who have the same dedication as you, and who can provide value to the group regularly. It’s great when it works, but it can be difficult to build the perfect learning environment. 

In this case, paying for a top poker coach to spend some hours reviewing your sessions and detecting leaks you may still have in your game will be well worth the money you spend. Ultimately, if you want to become the best you can be in online poker games, you must find the right player who is a big winner in the games you play and can confidently say what works and doesn’t.

Whether you’re playing low-stakes games or you’re just starting as a beginner, there are coaches for everyone in the poker world who can provide the best poker coaching at your stakes. However, be careful, as many "general" poker coaches will take your money for private coaching lessons but will not be able to give you the value you paid for. Only pay for a coach whose coaching style works well for you and whose methods you understand and can adapt to. If the coach is not right for you, don’t be afraid to say so and look for another.

With how expensive some poker coaches can be, you have to make sure that you’re investing money that you can afford and that you understand what work you have to do outside of that session to better yourself. A poker coach can put you on the right track, but you have to use those sessions as a springboard to hold yourself more accountable for self-study in the future. 

Finally, always record your coaching sessions, whatever form they may be in, as this will allow you to re-watch them later and refresh your knowledge if some of it fades away over time.

All things considered, this form of learning should be an exception rather than a rule. There are so many quality training programs for a fraction of the price compared to private coaching that you usually are better off joining them. On top of that, sites like Pokercode have an active community where you can get your questions answered by coaches, so you get the best of both worlds.

Remember to Spend Time in the Lab

Most poker coaching programs will give you the tools and the knowledge you need to be a great poker player, but they won’t automatically make you into one.

Instead, you will usually need to spend time studying the game yourself and using the knowledge you gained from your coaching lessons to improve your own game. This is something that takes time, but the good thing for you is that there are a variety of methods at your disposal when it comes to poker training.

Sitting down with fellow grinders to review hand histories, using poker trainers online like GTO Wizard to discover accurate, in-depth analysis, watching video content to develop a better understanding of a poker concept, or posting hands in our Pokercode Discord community for feedback. The tools are there for you to utilize, you just need to use them.

If you are stuck and can’t seem to move up in poker, you should probably be spending more hours studying the game and fewer hours playing it.

Instead of breaking even at the tables and constantly being frustrated, spend the time you need going over the hands you have played, running simulations, and discovering new ways you could play the same spots.

Receiving professional poker training will improve your knowledge of the game and take your ability to new heights, but you need to know how to apply it to your daily routines when your coach isn’t around. This is why self-study is so important. 

One practical tip for applying coaching lessons to actual gameplay is to use one or two questions in-game to ask yourself when making a decision, exactly like what your coach would ask you in a coaching session. This will keep you centered and focused whilst playing online poker games and your mental framework will be more structured to help you make the best in-game decisions. 

Good poker coaching will set you on the right course, but if you want to truly get the full value from it, you should be prepared to spend many hours studying the game and improving your poker skills by applying the knowledge you gained from your coaches.

How to Get the Most Value from Poker Coaching

How Much is Poker Coaching Worth?

This brings us to the matter of pricing. Different poker coaching courses or private coaching lessons will cost different amounts, and it's very hard to say how much such coaching is worth.

It all depends on what you get from the coaching. If a poker course can help you beat high-stakes games, it should easily be worth thousands of dollars.

On the other hand, if the course is only good enough to help you beat the micros, it should probably not be worth more than a few hundred.

Since every player is different and online poker games don’t all play at the same level, the truth is that any poker coaching will be worth a different amount for different players.

As a general rule of thumb, you will not want to pay more for poker coaching than you can afford to lose in a decent-sized downswing at the tables, but there are exceptions. If you are desperately stuck at a certain level and are looking for ways to move up, it may be worth buying a poker course with great reviews or paying a private coach several buy-ins to help you advance your game.

At the end of the day, only you know which direction you want to take your poker career in and how much poker coaching might be worth to you. Yet, keep in mind that all good education costs money and that a good investment in poker coaching can pay serious dividends down the line.

Ultimately, It’s Down To You

Every poker player is different. Some want to be professional poker players competing on the biggest stage and others just want to be good enough to beat low-stakes online cash games when they get home from work. 

The one thing that both of these journeys have in common, is that poker coaching will enhance the chances of success. No matter what level you’re at, there are forms of poker coaching that are essential to help you take the next step and become a better player. 

For aspiring professionals, spending a little extra to get the perfect coach for you is a good idea. For a recreational player, sticking to a budget and finding more affordable poker training is suitable too. 

Remember, poker coaching is just one piece of the puzzle, and putting in many hours of your own time studying the game will get you to where you want to be.

How to Get the Most Value from Poker Coaching

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