Many poker players walk the distance in a year – three, but do not go to the coach – because they do not know who and how to choose, or do not understand if they need help. We have collected for you an extensive article with tips and life hacks that will help you deal with this issue.
5 reasons to ask a poker coach
# 1 Self-study doesn’t work
Most of the top poker players of the old days started their careers completely on their own, learning the intricacies of poker through trial and error. For many regulars, this method of working on a game is still preferable today, largely due to the emergence and development of software that makes it possible to comfortably train and disassemble the game. Despite the expansion of opportunities, self-study has a ceiling for almost every person and can even lead to a dead end. If you regularly work on the game, have learned and mastered all levels of poker thinking, but this no longer gives you a sense of development, or training with yourself has become too monotonous, and you do not know where to go next, then it’s time to contact a coach.
# 2 Stop at one limit
The rise in limits is perceived by many players as an obligatory consequence of regular and high-quality play. And when at a distance, despite all efforts, there is no progress, often players come to the conclusion that they have reached their personal ceiling on the limits. This is only partly true. The fact is that people have different constitutions of the psyche and use different tools of cognition. Often the reason for the inability to understand something is the use of inappropriate tools for the situation. You can play and work on your actions day after day without the desired result, because in some part a completely different approach is required, unknown to you. Hiring a good coach can help you expand your toolbox, take a different look at the game and successfully master the new limit.
# 3 The need for external evaluation
A long distance alone with oneself inevitably leads to blurring of the look at everything that happens during the game sessions at the table and in the process of parsing the game. To get a look at their actions from the outside, many players turn to their colleagues on thematic forums, but this format is comfortable and not desirable for all regulars. If you feel that you need another opinion and assessment of a stranger, but do not want to publish information about yourself, then the way out for you will just be to contact a coach.
# 4 Desire to move to another discipline
At times, people think about changing the way they work – but for poker players, there aren’t too many options. Upgrading a computer, renting a new room to create an office, moving to another room – the coach will definitely not help you with all this, but with the study of a new discipline it is easy. Turning to a coach when you are interested in other types of poker not only can make your first steps easier for you, but also help prevent financial losses that could arise when you find yourself in completely new conditions.
# 5 Psychological discomfort
This item includes all the emotional and physiological reactions that make your gaming sessions less comfortable. You need help if you:
- You regularly fall into tilt and get out of it hard.
- Feel less motivated.
- You get annoyed more often.
- Become more distracted.
- You get tired faster.
- Avoid poker.
When looking for a way to deal with psychological discomfort, talking to a poker coach can help if the source of your problem is lack of confidence in the correctness of the game. If this is not the reason, or you yourself cannot understand what exactly – contact a psychologist, psychiatrist or psychotherapist who has experience in helping poker players or at least is not biased towards gambling.
How to choose the right poker coach
There is a misconception that the degree of a coach’s professionalism in poker is determined solely by the effectiveness of his game. Of course, traits that are required for a coach include regular play at the limit you are interested in, consistently profitable ROI / win rate over the distance, and deep knowledge of poker theory. And although all these parameters characterize the coach as a good player, they do not guarantee that he will be able to teach other people well. A vivid example is a member of GGTeam Russia Mikhail “innerpsy” Shalamov… Despite the fact that he is a professional player who maintains an active dialogue with his audience through Twitch and Telegram, Mikhail took up coaching work only once in 2019 and for a very short period of time, after which he admitted that – although he is competent in poker – it is not given to teach him.
In order not to find yourself in a similar situation as a student, be sure to check a potential coach according to the following criteria:
Clear explanations. This rather general wording hides an extremely individual thing – the coach’s ability to convey information in the most understandable way for you. Before starting a workout, make sure you fully understand the person’s explanation.
The learning style that’s right for you. Some people like the format of school teaching, when the teacher speaks for a long time in one helmet, and the rest listen. Others prefer constant dialogue, when the coach not only answers the student’s questions, but also asks them himself. It is easier for some to learn in a purely theoretical field, for others – exclusively in programs. When choosing a coach, you should always look at the style in which he works. Don’t settle for an uncomfortable format, even if the trainer has great recommendations – an unsuitable style will make the training more stressful and may not produce the desired results.
Pleasant manners and voice. No matter how technical and theoretically savvy the coach is, if his manners or voice are unpleasant to you, the effectiveness of the training will be much lower than in the opposite case.
Remember that “the trainer explains everything well” feedback is not a good reason to buy a workout because perception works differently for different people. To evaluate how clear the explanations are to you, the presentation and format of teaching is pleasant, you should watch the streams of the trainer or his VODA, or take a trial lesson.
As for the performance of the game of a potential mentor, it (with rare exceptions) can be checked by asking him for his name, surname and nickname and breaking through the databases. For tournament players, use SharkScope, PocketFives, TheHendonMob and PokerProLabs. For cache users – HighStakesDB and SmartHand.
What trainers to avoid
While choosing the right mentor is an individual matter, there are a number of traits by which you can weed out potentially harmful or useless coaches:
Arrogance. Does the coach speak down to you or other students in a condescending tone and disdain for weaker players, showing a sense of superiority over others? This is not an indicator of his competence, but it can hide a lack of knowledge, self-doubt and inability to teach. It is better not to contact him, because in this situation you are just in the role of a weaker player – you will hardly be comfortable dealing with someone who does not consider you an equal.
100% certainty without checks. If a coach is always 100% sure of what he is saying, is categorical in his assessments and does not seek to check and support conclusions by calculations in programs, then you should not contact him. When evaluating a coach according to this criterion, pay attention to whether he serves each block of information based on calculations, for example, in Simple Preflop Holdem or ICMIZER. For a good coach, every word in class is not just a thought that must be believed, but a verifiable mathematical fact.
Lack of information on the results of the work. Never take a workout from a person whose statistics you cannot check. If a coach refuses to provide ROI / winrate data, they may well pretend to be experienced and competent in an effort to make easy money from training.
Suspiciously low cost. When choosing a trainer, compare its price tag with competitors in the market. A good player knows the value of his time – while practicing, he takes away the hours of his earnings directly from poker, strengthening the field at his own and the nearest limits. So if the coach asks for too little money, this should make you suspicious.
Who doesn’t need a poker coach
The opinion that a coach is definitely not needed by those who are just starting to play has long since passed into the category of delusions. One of the most recent examples of this is high-stakes regular Landon Tice, who started out in poker with a coach. However, for some categories of players, contacting a mentor may not be necessary in a particular situation or not at all.
# 1 People who don’t plan to make money with poker
Investing in developing poker skills only makes sense if you want to make money by playing. If for you poker is purely fun for the soul, then you do not need a coach.
# 2 Poker players are not ready to learn
A coach can and will help you, but the main responsibility for the result lies with you. If you do not want to listen to advice, follow the recommendations and work on your gaming sessions with another person, and also hope that everything will be put into your head without your efforts – give up training until you are ready for them.
# 3 Those who are in streaks
Often, upstreaks are perceived by players as a personal achievement, and downstreams are perceived as a consequence of insufficiently developed skills. Play a decent distance before contacting a coach. For example, for tournament players, according to poker regular and coach Vladimir “AptiVova” Lappo, it should be about 500 – 1,000 tournaments. Only at a distance can you see real results. evaluate the quality of your game and see if you need help.
# 4 Players with no stable income
To work with a coach, you need to have a bankroll sufficient to play at current and new limits. If you don’t have a bankroll, it’s better to build it up first and only then take training.
However, for those who play with a plus at a distance and are ready for regular gaming sessions, there is an option without investments – to apply for a backing of a proven fund with a good reputation. There you will not only be given a bankroll to play in European rooms and Chinese applications, but will also help you grow rapidly in limits.