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Should I get Poker Coaching?

Should I Hire a Poker Coach?

Before you pursue poker coaching, consider why you think you need coaching. There are several reasons why you would seek out professional coaching. Let’s break it down.

Guided Learning

Learning the game of poker can be a daunting task, especially if you try to undertake it on your own. People end up spending hours upon hours of both studying and playing, and in the end still cannot figure out how to beat the game. Therefore, many beginning/recreational players seek out a coach to act as their tutor or instructor.

“The role of the coach in these situations would be similar to that of a ski instructor.”

It’s quite possible to learn how to ski on your own, however for most people that process would involve countless face plants and a severely bruised ego. With the help of an instructor this process can be smoothed out and expedited to ensure you spend more time on your skies than on your face. This is because the instructor can help you develop necessary fundamentals and help you eliminate mistakes before they become habit.
These principles can be carried over directly for a poker coach. The major difference is, instead of easing the pain on your body, they ease it in your wallet. A poker coach can help you learn all the fundamentals, from bankroll management, to what cards to play in each position, to learning proper bet sizing. Through their instruction you learn the game at a much faster rate, therefore spending less time studying and more time playing.
This is particularly beneficial to people who already have a full-time job and are looking to play poker recreationally. It is often a better use of their time/money to invest in a poker coach, because they already have such little time to dedicate to poker. With the help of a poker coach you can speed up the learning process, and make sure that the little time you are able to dedicate to studying poker is used optimally. Hiring a poker coach as a beginner will ensure that your initial investment in poker goes towards improving your game, rather than into the accounts of your opponents.

Diagnosis

Here is a situation we can all relate to. You wake up one morning and something just feels off. At first you ignore it and go about your day, but eventually the nagging discomfort of the issue starts to get to you. You hop on the internet, ask some friends/coworkers trying to diagnose your symptoms. You experiment with different remedies for what you believe to be your ailment, and sometimes this works. However, when it doesn’t work eventually you take the most logical course of action and consult a professional – your doctor.
This exact scenario is very common for new poker players, and may sound familiar to you. Things start out great, you are crushing your games and moving up the stakes. Then all of a sudden the money stops coming your way.
At this point you attempt to figure out what you are doing wrong. You search the internet, you ask your poker friends all in an attempt to diagnose your leaks. You implement some suggestions and sometimes this helps, others times it just gets worse. It’s at this point where you should consult the help of a professional – a professional poker player. Due to their experience and expertise they will be able to look at your play and let you know where you are losing money.
They can objectively look at your play, review your hand histories and utilize all of that data you have to determine your biggest weaknesses. This will ensure that instead of wasting time trying to cure your misdiagnosed inflamed-call-button, and instead eliminate your real issue; that severe case of 3-Betaphobia.

Personal Trainer

In life we typically seek out a personal trainer for one of two reasons:

  1. We either can’t motivate ourselves to consistently work out on our own
  2. Or we really want to train hard for something in particular and we believe we can only reach that level with the help of a professional.

This exact scenario arises in poker as well. The first example is very common for people that have been playing poker for a while. They get to a point where they have been consistently winning in their games over a large sample, and after a while they lose their motivation to study. They are “winning enough” or they “already know all they need to beat their stakes”.
This is a terrible mentality to get into, and eventually with this mindset you will begin to fall behind the games. You stop advancing your understanding of the game and introducing new elements to keep your opponents missing. Eventually these players either start to become losing players or have to drop down in stakes. It can be hard to know where to start or how to go about studying these new concepts.
By hiring a poker coach, you enable them to setup a personalized training program, much like a personal trainer would, for your specific poker needs. This allows you to dedicate your focus on improving specific parts of your game that your coach has specifically assigned to you, rather than attempting to sift through all the concepts and ideas available to you in the internet. This will make your study time more efficient, and you’ll see the results in your game much faster.
Another reason you’d hire a poker coach is when you’d like to make the jump to the next level. There are many individuals who have been a consistent winner at their stakes, but every time they try to move up they feel lost, lose money and move back down to their old stakes. By working with a poker coach, you can lay your goals out and they can help make that jump a reality. They can work with you to determine the adjustments you need to make to successfully make that jump up in stakes.

Diversify

It’s fairly common for people to get to a point in their career when they decide they want to try something new. This could be a small shift from one department to another or a huge leap to an entirely new role. These career shifts typically require some sort of prerequisite, whether it be going back to school, taking an online course or simply seeking out a mentor in your desired role.
This scenario is very common in the poker world as well. Most poker players specialize in a very specific form of poker whether it be short-handed cash games, large field multi-table tournaments, hyper Sit’N’Go’s etc. For some people this niche meets all of their needs and they never diversify into other areas.
However, it’s very common for people to get to a point where they want to learn a new area of poker with which they have little to no experience with. Realizing how many hours they had to spend perfecting their craft in their current games, they understand that learning a new game will not be easy.
Therefore it’s often the case that they will seek out coaching from an expert in the games they wish to transition to. This could be a small jump of switching from No Limit Hold’Em Cash games to No Limit Hold’Em Tournaments or a much larger jump of switching from No Limit Hold’Em Cash to Razz Tournaments.
Either way, they understand that hiring a coach is a great investment. In the working world if you wanted to make the switch from marketing to finance you might go talk to Doug in accounting. So if you are looking to make a switch to a new form of poker go talk to ALLINBABY98 in tournaments.

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2 Comments
  • Roxanne Miller
    February 14, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    This was very helpful. I’m self taught and I was initially seeing some improvement but I feel like lately I’ve plateaued. I think coaching might be the way to go!

    • xshuttyx
      February 14, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      I think you should take the plunge! I cannot recommend coaching enough.

      I was apprehensive as to how much I would benefit from coaching. The coaching sessions that I had with Mike have paid for themselves multiple times over.

      He’s very effective at finding leaks in your game, explaining strategies to add to your arsenal and ultimately improving your win rate!

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