Poker Training Sites FAQ
A structured approach works best for getting the maximum learning effect out of any poker training site. You need to realize that watching videos and reading free poker articles randomly without any structure will not help you much. You should first work on your fundamentals, and then move on to more advanced poker concepts and courses. Successful poker players develop a system of what they need to do each day to improve their game, and that’s what you should do too!
The first step you need to get right is choosing the right poker format. Many players choose the wrong format when taking into account their strengths as a player, and some do not make the choice at all! Decide what format you want to play and make it fits your needs the best way possible.
Only after you’ve made this decision will you be able to reach your potential as a player and stop wasting energy on things that do not matter. Getting proper tracking software and poker tools is essential for all online players. A free 30-day trial version is available for both Holdem Manager 3 and Poker Tracker 4. If you’re shooting for the fastest learning curve possible, we recommend to get paid poker coaching for your preferred game format.
Anyone can become a solid player as long as they understand a few basic principles. Before you start building your poker game and strategy, you should ensure following conditions are met:
- You have a preparation routine for sessions where you turn off distractions and make sure your basic needs are taken care of before you start playing.
- You can identify good games to reduce variance.
- You know when to quit a table.
- You don’t start playing poker if there is something else on your mind.
Ask any veteran high stakes player, and they’re likely to have this type poker warm-up routine. These simple yet crucial routines will affect your poker mindset and results more than any strategy you can learn – make sure you get them right before working on your poker strategy!
There is no way around that GTO or Game Theory Optimal strategies are the foundation for any exploitative plays you might make. All poker pros should learn GTO play since that’s the baseline strategy you should stick to before you have reads on your opponents to make exploitative plays.
But, GTO is only used as a starting point vs good players or unknown players. Instead of trying to balance your ranges in each spot, you should aim to punish your opponents to the maximum for their particular mistakes. That’s where exploitative strategies come into play: The players who make the most money in poker are very good in exploiting their opponents. Don’t leave money on the table by blindly following GTO or solver-based plays!
Since blinds are continuously increasing in tournament poker and the prize structure heavily favors those who can make it to the final table, the optimal strategy in tournaments will differ from cash game strategy a lot. The biggest difference is basically that once the tournament goes deep, you should play more according to the stack sizes of different players at the table and adjust your aggression based on the prize pool structure, while in cash games you’re always looking to make the most +EV play in chips.
Mastering preflop strategy will give you a solid edge against your opponents. Even if you’re a postflop god who can outplay people after the flop, it doesn’t matter much if you’re leaking a ton of chips in preflop spots.
Improving your preflop game is like building a house: You need to lay good foundations before you can build anything solid on top of it. Pretty much every good poker player uses hand charts, whether they’re printed out or just an image in their head.
To improve your game, you should first learn basic opening and 3betting charts in your preferred game format. Then, start to deviate only gradually from those hand selection charts if you’re facing opponents who are way too loose or tight. All the best poker training sites offer preflop charts as part of their training materials, so make sure to take advantage of them.
You have a couple of options for finding and plugging leaks: Marking up hands and going through them with a coach or poker friends, or analysing your play on your own. The first option is perhaps a bit easier, since you don’t have to find the answers by yourself: Just record your session or mark the hands that gave you trouble, and let your coach find the leaks and suggest corrections. The second option takes more work, but it should give you a deeper understanding of the game in general.
Analysing your game can be done with the help of tracking software such as Poker Tracker or Holdem Manager. You can compare your stats to those of winning players, and analyse all types of stats of your own and those of your opponent’s. After you’ve played around with these tools for a while, you can learn more about the game than you previously thought possible.
The most crucial parts of poker strategy are those that affect your win-rate the most. These might not be the most exciting spots or big hands, but getting them right is vital to your success. True winners understand not only what to do in poker, but also why to do that. The areas of poker strategy you should master are the following:
- When to c-bet the flop and when to keep barrelling
- How to play from big blind facing a c-bet or a check-back
- How to continue postflop in 3-bet pots after calling a 3-bet in position
- When to bluff catch
- How to size your bets to manipulate your opponents into making mistakes
While it’s hard to say what the absolute best poker training app is, the top apps for learning poker are Poker Snowie, SnapShove, Tournament Poker Coach and Poker Copilot. Using a training app to learn poker can raise your game quite quickly. Poker training software might soon even replace your poker coach as powerful AI’s are being deployed in this area!
The best free poker training options to improve your game include reading poker articles and watching educational poker videos. You can find great free articles here at Beasts Of Poker or sites like Upswing Poker and Pokernews. For the best free video content, just check out some channels of professional poker players who are active Twitch streamers or Youtubers.
Online poker sites on the whole are definitely not rigged. Most likely you’re just facing normal variance – poker is a game of both luck and skill after all. Also the financial incentives for the poker sites to maintain a true integrity of their real money poker games are just too important for them to go for non-random cards being deal at the table. However, in case you think a particular poker site is rigged, you should stop playing there and withdraw all your money from that poker website.
There is an excellent article on why some players just can’t seem to win at online poker sites – check out this free poker article from PokerGlobal.
PokerStars is the biggest site with the most cash game players according to online poker sites traffic report on PokerScout. When partypoker left the US market, PokerStars took over as the biggest online poker room in the world. GGPoker is not too far behind in terms of real money players and we predict it’s only a question of time when it surpasses PokerStars as the market leader.
Johannes is the Editor in Chief at Beasts Of Poker and is an expert in both live & online poker. Johannes played online poker semi-professionally for 5 years while completing his Master’s Degree in Technology.