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Getting the Most out of Poker Coaching

Whether you get coaching from me or someone else, here are some tips on getting the most out of the experience.

Discuss Expectations Beforehand

As soon as you’ve found a coach you’re interested in, make contact and check their availability. The best poker coaches often fill up, so you may need to get on their waiting list. Inquire about their teaching methods and philosophy, how frequently the lessons will happen, for how long, and at what times. Confirm how much it’ll cost and what payment methods are accepted. Much of this information is often available in their coaching ad, but fill in the gaps.

Also let me emphasize that coaching is not a “magic bullet”. One lesson or even ten are not going to automatically turn you into an expert player. I frequently get questions like: “can you turn me into a winning player?” or “will I be able to crush the next level when we are done?” While these are reasonable questions, realize it is effectively impossible for someone to answer that is unfamiliar with your current skill level, intelligence, speed of learning and work ethic.

Leading up to your first lesson, make sure you’ve connected over skype or at least exchanged IDs. Download and install any recommended poker software and tools that you will be using (e.g. Teamviewer) as well as any recording software (e.g. Camtasia) in the event that you want to record the lesson. Confirm with your coach that recording is ok. Most should be fine with it. And then ask if there’s anything else that you should do or read or watch to prepare for the first session.

During the Lessons

Be online and logged in a few minutes prior to the start and have any necessary software open and ready to go. I also like to have a notepad (on the computer or IRL) handy for capturing highlights. Once you start chatting, maintain a positive, friendly and respectful attitude. This will help ensure things go smoothly and that you receive similar treatment.

Ask LOTS of questions. Even prior to the meeting, you could compile a list of typical hands, opponents or situations that give you trouble. The more inquisitive you are, the more you will learn. Don’t be afraid to challenge your coach if you disagree with a point, but again do so respectfully. Listen very carefully and ask him to repeat or elaborate on anything you don’t fully grasp.

At the end of the lesson, of course you should schedule the next. I find it easiest to setup a recurring meeting at the same day and time each week assuming that is your frequency. Then ask for homework. What can you read, practice or study between the sessions so that you are learning as efficiently as possible. Learning of course requires repetition, so ideally you can get in some hands between sessions.

After the Engagement

Ask for suggestions on how you can continue learning and improving your game. Perhaps there is further reading or videos or forums he might recommend. Even better, see if there are other students of his with whom you can connect. The next best thing to coaching is a solid peer network for strategy discussion and sweat sessions.

Hopefully your experience was fulfilling, and you come away a much stronger player. Assuming things went well, it is always a nice gesture to leave feedback on the coaches ad if there is a means of doing so.

If you’d like further information about poker coaching or about my coaching specifically, you can ask below in the comments or you can contact me using the link at the top of the page. If you’re ready to sign-up for coaching, please fill out my coaching form.

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