When it comes to improving your poker, the internet is your oyster! There are literally hundreds of websites dedicated to improving your play, no matter what level you’re at or which version of the game you play.
But how do you pick what’s best for you from the massive choice available? Well, having never had any formal training myself – books and YouTube videos don’t really count – I have decided to share the top tips from my own search for the best in online training. The following detailed ‘editor’s choices’
should narrow things down for you!
Given that you are not a complete beginner (you know the rules and perhaps have played a little either live or online) but are struggling to understand things beyond the basics (you need help to decipher the maths behind making decisions
or the basic strategies for playing various formats of the game) then you have a wide choice of training sites and methods at your disposal.
By far the best, in my opinion, is PokerSchoolOnline
– PokerStars own beginners option
which offers absolutely everything you could wish for.
From the outset, with the “Take our poker assessment to start your education” introduction, through the videos, articles, forums and blogs which are all of a very high quality (as you’d expect from Stars) the beginner can work his way up to actually playing on the site itself, or play and learn simultaneously.
The Skill Leagues are an excellent way to progress (if you want) from Open League free-rolls through to Invitation-only Leagues and leaderboard prize opportunities.
Though some beginners might be wary of signing up to an actual playing site to access the ‘school’ (it’s always easy to forget about your training schedule and jump on the cash tables!) the sheer simplicity and quality of PokerSchoolOnline – a free training site! – has to be the over-riding factor. Editor’s choice for the disciplined beginner looking to improve their poker.
Please note: For US poker players (and some other countries) access to the real-money sectors of this site may be limited or blocked. However, the training parts should be fine.
might have passed me by as a beginners+ site were it not for very positive mentions on various poker forums. It is not the easiest site to traverse if you are still finding your way in the poker world, but it certainly offers masses of excellently produced material
across the board.
The home page blurb naturally sets out the aim of this respected coaching site: “We help beginning players start winning, intermediate players become advanced, and advanced players become unstoppable.” Not bad if you think you’re into poker or the long haul!
As with most training sites, videos predominate and DeucesCracked have over 3000 of them in easily-accessible and transferable format. With coaching plans starting from $29 monthly up to $279 for a year, take advantage of their 7-day free trial to gauge your level. This Silver medal site could be a keeper!
Small Stakes Training
Playing at the lower stakes doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a beginner! It does, however, provide a great training ground for those who see poker as a pastime or part-time job, perhaps with a view to rising up through the ranks.
, running since 2007, focuses on “providing premier poker training to small stakes players.”
Just the ticket by the sound of things, but what do they offer?
A video library of over 2000 training sessions covering all the different games, not only NLHE, plus an excellent and easy to use detailed search function. The ‘How to Master’ series of video tutorials is also an indispensable guide to learning and mastering NLHE, LHE and PLO.
Their ‘Poker Tools’
page also offers some original software designed by GrinderSchool
themselves, aimed specifically at the small-stakes players’ needs.
With a daily schedule including ‘Omaha Saturdays’ and ‘Podcast Sundays’ (see below) which will keep even the keenest of learners busy, Grinderschool aim to “provide more coverage of the micro and small stakes games in 6-max cash, SNGs, and MTTs than any other site on the internet.”
With no sign-up fee, and monthly/quarterly/yearly subscriptions which are extremely competitive – “We know small stakes players are on a budget, and our prices reflect that” claims the website - GrinderSchool is this editor’s choice for the micro and small-stake aficionado.
With $6 million
to his name in poker winnings, and famous for his prolific poker writing – including books such as ‘Strategies for…’
and ‘Crushing… Small Stakes Poker Tournaments’
– Jonathan Little
is the guiding hand behind FloatTheTurn,
a fantastic site which is “home to some of the most talented online poker players in the world.”
The individual coaching on offer is very reasonably priced and includes ‘poker psychology’ coaching
, with the video content numbers being 850+. There is a fortnightly webinar where a lucky player in the ‘hot seat’
will be coached by Jonathan himself, and with monthly fees of only $10 and no sign-up
, it’s difficult to see any flaws in the FloatTheTurn set-up.
Blogs, articles and a member’s forum fill out a well-designed training site. A well deserved silver medal for Jonathan and his band!
SNG’s (sit and go’s) are one of the most popular formats in poker.
You take your seat, wait for the table to fill up, and you’re off! The strategies involved, however, are markedly different from cash games and MTT’s.
specialize in this format and offer video training to cover everything from heads-up to 180-man and including turbos/hypers and anything else you can imagine yourself playing. Ivan ‘ILS007’ Stokes
is one of the main coaches and has himself made over $350,000
and coached students to even higher gains, so the sitngogrinders
coaching resume is not in dispute.
The big difference between this and other sites is the ‘poker psychology’ offerings from Elliot Roe, a qualified hypnotherapist from Las Vegas. As Roe states: “Poker is a game where playing with the correct mindset is incredibly important”, and anyone who has ever struggled with tilt will know exactly what he means.
The cost of the video tuition varies (starting at $29.99) but for those looking for top-notch tuition aimed at very specific areas in SNG’s, you’ll find this site much, much cheaper than individual tuition.
A sometimes quirky site which caught my eye, SitAndGoPlanet
does what it says on the tin, covering all the bases for SNG players. “Turning players into Winners”
is the site’s main claim, and it attempts to do so with a mixed bag of strategy articles, tuition videos, links, software downloads and adverts all aimed at the SNG fanatic.
With no individual coaching on offer, sitandgoplanet can’t match some of the other offerings out there, but for sheer comprehensiveness in every other area it more than makes up for this. The big bonus of this site is that is free! Even when you think there is a cost - for example the ‘$16 per hour blueprint’ – you discover it means your potential earnings rather than any outlay. So, a strange site in some respects, but highly-recommended for SNG buffs all the same!
Playing heads-up is a complete nightmare for many poker players. The strategy is completely different from other areas of the game, but if you plan to be a winning tournament or SNG player you simply can’t avoid it!
Gold Medal - HUSnG
Describing themselves as “the ultimate resource for professional heads up poker strategy and training videos”
back up this claim with over 800 videos
(half of which are free once you sign up to their site forum) focusing on the mano-a-mano part of the game.
With a dozen coaches for hire, all with good pedigree, here is one example of what you can expect to find – “Along with one-on-one coaching, I analyze villain HUD stats, break down villain ranges, construct exploitative strategies
and charts, and help with off-the-table study. I work with players of all buy-in levels”.
So says coach coffeeyay,
"coached over 100 students. I don’t like the “one size fits all” approach. Your current development as a player will help determine the best course of study to make you more profitable.” coffeeyay
Coaching at husng is not cheap (coffeeyay’s fees start at $200+ per hour)
, nor are the training videos ($99 for the Premium Video pack)
But the site is dedicated to heads-up and almost guaranteed to pay off in the long-run, so picks up the editor’s choice.
With a couple of the heads-up-specific websites having fallen by the way-side over recent years, the second spot might well have gone to one of the bigger, over-all training sites. I’m going to offer you an alternative in DragTheBar
, where they claim, “It does not matter if you are a beginner with an interest in poker training, or an experienced player looking to increase your win rate. All of our content is recorded, so you can watch our library of poker videos again and again in our one-of-a-kind poker school”.
The content is indeed hugely impressive, with heads-up fans treated to over 100 specifically targeted training videos. The sites pros are spread across the different games, although NLHE naturally takes centre-stage and aside from this, the site is now FREE, so access to all the basic content will cost you nothing. So, with nothing to lose and huge potential, dragthebar lifts the silver medal!
Tournaments are the big boys among all the poker formats. The WSOP for live poker and the WCOOP for online players are the 2 most rich and famous of these, and dreams can often be built on the back of one single success. Learning how to play the various stages of tournaments is therefore a must for serious poker players, and here’s the perfect place to find out how!
is a slick site offering “professional MTT training from the top live and online pros.”
With a multitude of training videos, tournament podcasts and strategy forums all geared towards MTT’s the website can justly claim that "Tournament Poker Edge is a poker community …dedicated exclusively to multi-table tournaments."
TPE can boast an impressive list of pros on their books, all seasoned MTT specialists and from all corners of the globe. With individual tuition also available from $75 per hour upwards (sometimes VERY upwards!) there is no shortage of ways to improve your game on this site, however…
The unique selling point here is the TPE University,
a 16-course offering which will “help you identify the key areas you need to improve, and provide you with the content you need to get better.”
The ‘poker university’ course is included in all of the monthly, quarterly and yearly plans which, though not cheap, are excellent value if you are an MTT fanatic.
For overall online MTT training content, and impressively sleek design, it’s difficult to see past Tournament Edge Poker – the editor’s choice for the tournament buff looking to cash in!
One site which could equally be at home as a medalist in a number of categories is BlueFirePoker
. With the emphasis on “all of our coaching is done by instructors who are top players in the games they play, and have the ability to effectively teach others how to be more successful at the tables”
bluefire has professional individual coaching along with a massive video library.
A detailed search function is a necessary feature of this site, but once you get the hang of it the MTT’s are plentiful. The 7-day signup trial is followed by a membership of about $40 per month, giving you access to the MTT team. Silver medal for bluefire!
Cash Game Training
This is your author’s main sphere of interest, so hopefully I can give you good advice! Again, cash game strategy differs massively from other formats of the game – making the transition from tournaments, or trying to decipher the differences between online and live cash games can be a difficult and expensive business, so a good training site will be worth its weight in gold (or chips and dollars!)
was a new name to me among the online training resources. Boasting that “top-ranked cash poker instructor Mike Gano uses classroom style lecture and real life examples to teach you his proven system for beating the micro-stakes 6-max and full ring cash poker online”
, makes it sound like a one-man-show but pokerinabox
also uses other successful coaches, with private lessons starting at a very reasonable $60 per hour.
One extremely novel approach which I hadn’t seen before was the ‘earn a poker lesson’ feature. You sign up to a playing site (it has to be one you haven’t played on before) and once you have earned a certain amount of rakeback (which your coach follows as you play) you earn a free lesson! Very unusual and good for up to 5 lessons from a pro!
For this reason alone (and there are many more reasons as mentioned) I have to choose pokerinabox as the editor’s choice for cash game training.
There are some big (very big!) names out there when it comes to training sites and they don’t come any bigger than the IveyLeaguePoker.
Boasting a coaching list straight out of a major event final table (Patrick Antonius
and Dan Smith
anyone?) you can either focus on the video tuition or opt for the individual coaching sessions. “Ivey League is a great site to learn and improve. I'm happy to teach my strategy and help members generate the most profits from No Limit Hold’em cash games."
says Chris Kruk on the sleek home page, though his hourly rate of $450
is at the high-end of the scale.
With Undergraduate (free but limited), Bachelors ($70 annually) and their Masters ($500 yearly) training courses available there is something for everyone here, so it easily deserves a Silver medal. Big names, big site and if you don’t improve it’s not down to the coaching!
Pot Limit Omaha is the 2nd-most popular poker game after No Limit Hold’em and you’ll find it being played online and in almost every casino at all levels. Online training in PLO is an even more-distant 2nd to NLHE, but there are still plenty of opportunities to improve your PLO game.
is one of the best-known sites catering for PLO enthusiasts with over 100 videos
focusing on games from beginners/small stakes up to the nose-bleed $1k cash games.
With PLO experts on board such as small-stakes mentor Richard ‘El Razor’ Steele, CardRunners pro Andreas “Skjervøy” Torbergsen and 6-max PLO specialist Alexey ‘Shuller_A1t’ Altshuler, you’re never far from a 1-to-1 session to maximise your potential and winnings.
Sign up costs for the site are fairly standard beginning at $30 per month
up to $275 for the full year
with the requisite free 7-day trial
, so if PLO is your game and you are searching for “a group of professional poker players dedicated to providing all the tools necessary to become a winning poker player”
gets your editor’s choice.
Sometimes you encounter a site which sounds too good to be true, and PLOQuickPro
has that feel to it when you see the blurb “I'm certain my PLO training is the best in the world. Now let me prove it to you by FREE ROLLING you a 1 hour coaching session ($200 Value)”.
My ignorance, of course, as on further investigation I discovered that ploquickpro is the brainchild of John ‘KasinoKrime’ Beauprez, WSOP bracelet winner and PLO expert. With a mixture of free content and Beauprez’s own special QuickPro Elite PLO training products, you can be sure that you are getting what you pay for (though it isn’t cheap!)
Alternatively – and interestingly – students can apply to join the ‘Coaching for Profits’ scheme which Beauprez is a part of. The coaches take a percentage of winnings; akin to the ‘no win, no fee’ of the accident and injury world. Silver medal for this fact alone!
If you’re a player who loves to mix your games and formats, and looking to boost your knowledge across the wide range of poker variants, then you’re probably looking for a one-stop-shop rather than to mess about with several individual sites.
could well be your best friend as it offers a massive amount of content
across the board.
“At the core of our community is a massive, vibrant forum with over 20,000 posts each day. Here our pros look after you - and not just when it comes to poker questions”
claim the guys at pokerstrategy, and this is important if you’re trying to improve your overall game.
Although the emphasis is skewed towards NLHE, the 200 pages of videos (2000+ in total)
ought to enable you to find exactly what you need, and the live coaching streams plus hand strategy discussions will prove invaluable.
With Silver (from $5 per month)
, Gold, Platinum and the top-of-the-range Diamond ($99 per month)
memberships available, pokerstrategy
offers something for everybody’s budget and for an overall training site it has to be the editor’s choice.
When you’re looking for something other than NLHE, it’s a god-send when the homepage has a drop-down menu of the kind RunItOnce
boasts. No searching or despairing of ever finding the PLO, Open-faced Chinese, Stud or Omaha8 – they’re all there and ready to improve your mixed game.
A beautifully-constructed site, runitonce also contains over 2000 videos
and boasts pros like Phil Galfond
and Ben Sulsky
among their 46 instructors. Daily training videos are easily accessed and again cover all games and formats, plus there is a vibrant online community forum which allows you to discuss everything poker-related.
This site could easily have won the top award for overall training were it not for the pricey $99.99 per month
price-tag for the Elite membership. A well-deserved Silver medal though!