Are poker coaches all they are cracked up to be?

So you want to improve your poker game? You know the basics, you’ve read a book on strategy and you’ve posted a few questions on poker forums. And you’ve obviously played a few hundred games or more. The question you’re asking yourself is how can you take your game to the next level? How can you go from good to great? Well getting yourself a one to one poker coach is certainly an option, but is it the right one for you? Let’s have a look at the issues and see.

Where are you now?

There’s really no point in paying up for a poker coach until you’ve reached a certain level in the game. Poker coaches don’t usually come cheap. Think about it for a moment. These are going to be the guys who are good at poker – that’s why they’re coaches – and if they’re good at playing poker, they could spend their time playing and winning. For them to take time out to coach, it’s got to be worth their while not to be winning at the table. So before you even think about getting a coach make sure you’ve read all the online poker uk sites offering poker tips for beginners, that you’ve got a few hundred hours of live play under your belt, and you’ve read at least a couple of books. Back before the boom years of poker, all anyone read was David Sklansky’s classic Hold-em Poker and they were good to go. Now there are literally hundreds of books to choose from. Sklansky is still a pretty good place to start, although for my money, The Education of a Poker Player by Herbert O Yardley is hard to beat. It’s not a strategy book by any means, but it will teach you a lot about what it takes to be a winner at the card tables. You should also try and play with good players. This can hurt financially in the short run, because if they’re good they’ll probably be winning your money, but think about it as an investment. Watch what they do and think about why they’re doing it. Of course you can just watch games rather than play them if you don’t want to take the hit to your bank roll.

Where do you want to be?

So let’s assume you’ve done all the above and have a pretty strong grounding in the game. The next question to ask yourself is what are your poker goals? If you’re only ever thinking of playing now and then on the lower limit games, shelling out for a coach might not be worthwhile. But if you’re hoping to make a decent amount of money, then a good coach can be very valuable. You should also consider whether you want to play tournaments as the strategies involved are quite different and a dedicated poker tournament coach can be a huge asset.

What will a poker coach do for your game?

Poker coaches may work in a number of different ways, and you’ll need to have a chat with any potential coach up front to discuss how they work. Some coaches will focus on analysing your hand history to spot your weaknesses and show you how to remove them from your game. Some will want to play with you and talk through every decision and thought process as you go along. There’s no shortage of online poker coaching uk sites for you to pick the right coach for your needs. You can also ask a good coach to work on just one particular aspect of your game, if you know it’s an area where you need to improve. Some coaches may specialise in working out probabilities, some will be able to show you how to play against a range of different playing styles and some will be experts on the various psychological elements of the game, although this always tends to be less of an issue in uk online casinos rather than in live game play if that’s your thing.

In the end, a poker coach is definitely going to improve your game, but like any thing else in life, it’s going to give you the best results if you’re willing to work hard too – listen to what they tell you, always analyse your own game and remember that there’s always room to get better.