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In case you’re searching for the best poker training websites that will help you climb the stakes fast, you’re not alone. Thousands of players are in your shoes, and are faced with dozens of options – it’s pretty hard to choose which one to go with! Luckily we have compared the different options available, and this post was written to present you with the best ones. Besides having catchy names, these poker training sites can take your poker game to the next level in 2020. The sites included in this article can help players whore occasional tournament players but want to start winning, full-time players looking to move up in stakes or anywhere in between.
Long gone are the days when players who were committed to making it as a professional had to learn new strategies by learning just from their own experiences. First it was poker books and strategy articles on magazines, then poker forums and after that video training content on both training sites and live streams on Twitch. Nowadays legends like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Ivey have their own Masterclass courses, and tactics on how to crush poker tournaments or cash games can be learned online. Immersive poker learning experiences are just a few clicks away if you happen to have a computer or smartphone with an internet access.
Even if you’re not particularly talented in the psychology of the game or the math side of it, accessing the proper training will help you develop your skills on your way to becoming a true crusher, going from Zero to Hero – or since you’re reading our review, shall we say from a pet to a true beast! Now what you need is courses and training videos from the best poker coaches available in your chosen game format, with content that is specifically designed for your current stakes whether that is micro stakes or high stakes.
The training sites presented in our review are not necessarily in any particular order, but if you choose to go with any of these sites and really put effort into studying their materials, you’re very likely to increase your poker edge & get better results fast. Here they are
The 5 Best Poker Trainings Sites in 2020
Our team first came across BluffTheSpot on YouTube, as they happen to post quite advanced video training materials there, for free. We wondered if some of that content should really not be available openly, and out of curiosity wanted to see how good their paid courses are, if the free ones are something players could as well pay for. It turned out, these guys know their stuff – and there is a logical reason behind it, as we found out!
The head coach for BluffTheSpot is MMASherdog. In case you haven’t heard of him, he is one of the biggest high-stakes NLHE winners on PokerStars, winning over $1M in 2018. He can be regularly seen at the highest stakes, battling it out with the sharpest minds in Online No-Limit Holdem. Now which other training site can say that they have a head coach who is still pretty much at the peak of his career?
The motto of BTS is ‘Dedicated To Fuel Your Poker Success’. They have plenty of coaches with great results in poker, such as mnl1337, Runchuks, RunLikePanda and many others. You can choose whether to study their courses independently or to join their Coaching For Profits program, where you not only have the access to their training materials but also to 1-on-1 coaching, group coaching sessions and a library of over 300 coaching recordings from the past with thousands of hand histories analyzed. Alternatively, you can apply to their staking program if you’re currently playing stakes between NL10-NL200 and are willing to work hard to crush bigger stakes in Texas Hold’em.
BluffTheSpot in a nutshell
Best suited for:
NLHE or PLO cash game players
‘MMASherdog’s content is set up in a nice, clean structure. He’s very strong theoretically, but what’s more important is that he can also put it into words nicely. I picked up some important concepts from the first couple videos and am looking forward to the rest of his series!’ – Steven ‘SvZff’ Van Zadelhoff, Winner of WCOOP 2017 Main Event
‘MMASherdog is one of the top 10 NLHE online cash game players in the world. He articulates his thought process very well.’ – ‘NLZWERVERNL’, High-stakes online professional
‘MMASherdog has been one of my toughest and most consistent opponents over the past few years. Poker content has never been produced from a player of his calibre before. This course should be a solid investment for aspiring players on their quest to the high-stakes tables.’ – ‘Bit2Easy’, High-stakes online professional
Where to sign-up:
To sign-up for BluffTheSpot training materials, just click here.
In case you watch any poker videos on YouTube, it’s pretty much impossible that Doug ‘WCGRider’ Polk hasn’t popped up on to your screen at some point with his humorous but on-point videos. As a founder of Upwsing Poker and a content producer, Doug is the perhaps the most visible character of this training site. He is a former high-stakes HU crusher in Holdem and he’s become somewhat of a poker celebrity in the last few years. Another co-founder of the site is Ryan Fee, who produced the legendary 6 Max NL Strategy Guide back in the day. Since their launch in 2015, Upswing Poker has grown into a pretty large business and they have signed more coaches such as Alex ‘Kanu7’ Millar, Matt ‘Checkmate’ Colletta, Andres ‘Educa-p0ker’ Artinano and many others.
While Upswing Poker has many different courses available, their main product is the Upswing Poker Lab. Upswing Poker Lab is an NLHE membership course that has comprehensive sections for each area of the game. It’s suitable for both beginners and winning players as long as they know the rules of the game. The content of the Upswing Poker Lab is updated each month, and can be broken down into 6 different modules:
Module 1: Lab Core Strategy
Module 2: Advanced Lab Strategies
Module 3: MTT’s
Module 4: Live Poker
Module 5: Mini-Courses
Module 6: Plays And Explains
One of the best tools included in Lab is the hand range viewer. Using this tool you can check which hands you should be playing from a particular starting position. This means no more guesswork during your pre flop decisions!
Other popular courses available on Upswing Poker include:
Crush the Baron: As the name suggests, Crush the Baron course breaks down the strategies of one of the greatest 6-max cash game players of all time, namely OtB_RedBaron. The course is taught by Andres ‘educa-p0ker’ Artinano.
Advanced Heads Up Mastery: Heads-up strategies and tactics are explained step by step by Doug Polk in this course. One of the most advanced HU courses available online.
Advanced Cash Game Strategy with Kanu7: This massive course contains over 36 hours of content from Kanu7. Alex ‘Kanu7’ Millar has been one of the biggest winners in high-stakes cash games in recent years, and developed an elite level cash game course together with Upswing Poker. Inside the course you can find the 286 preflop solutions Kanu7 uses in-game, obtained from his personal poker solver.
Play Like LLinus: This course is basically a follow-up course on Advanced Cash Game Strategy. The course is a compact one with 4 hours of video content teaching you the strategies of Linus ‘LLinusLLove’ Loeliger who is generally regarded as the end-boss of 6-max Holdem cash games.
Upswing Poker in a nutshell
Best suited for:
NLHE, PLO, 6+ and Mixed games cash game players, MTT players
‘Overall, I rate it 9/10. Unlike Cardrunners and RunItOnce, there isn’t a bunch of random content by random people with various strategies sprinkled in. It is highly consistent and comprehensive, which is exactly what I was looking for. The best part about the site is that you get access to the Facebook group, and get to discuss whatever you want, and guys like Fee and Joey Ingram actually participate.’ -TheMicroDonk
‘If you think your basics need a brush-up, or perhaps you’re curious about what Upswing Poker Lab could bring to your poker game, by all means check out their training course! If you’re a grizzled veteran, in order to prevent yourself from feeling like you’re treading water in a sea of poker content, I suggest that you aim for some of their more specialized training materials.’ –W. Shillibier
Where to sign-up:
To sign-up for Upswing Poker training materials, just click here.
Raise Your Edge
If you’re a tournament player, Raise Your Edge should be your number one choice for an online poker training site. Their head coach Benjamin ‘bencb798’ Rolle is one of the biggest online MTT winners in recent years, taking home trophies like $1.1M in WCOOP 2016 SHR. Patrick Leonard has said that bencb is likely the best tournament poker coach in the world!
The flagship course of Raise Your Edge is called The Tournament Masterclass, which includes a structured study plan, bencb’s personal range charts and over 20 hours of content in the Apprentice Class version. If you purchase the Expert Class version, you’ll gain access to over 50 hours of content and exclusive VIP discord channel with bencb. The course jumps directly into pre flop range analysis, and almost every situation imaginable is covered here in an interactive format: What to open from each position, how to continue against 3-bets and 4-bets. The course is being updated continuously so you will always be aware of any new strategies that you should implement at the tables. In addition you will get access to the range viewer built by RYE, which can come very handy in analysing different spots.
To get the full benefit from a RYE Tournament Masterclass, you should already have an intermediate level knowledge about MTTs. That means you should be familiar with concepts like hand ranges, ICM, pot odds etc. before buying this course.
Other popular courses available on Raise Your Edge include:
Live Cash Mastery: This course is created specifically for live play, covering topics like pre flop strategies, how to play versus all types of opponents, isolating and overlimping, playing deepstacked and many more.
Bounty Beast: Since bounty tournaments have become wildly popular, having an edge on players who are merely guessing the correct plays can put a lot of profits in your pocket. The course is compiled from solver work and analysis from coach ‘w3cray’, covering bounty tourney theory, math and tools and hand reviews in practice.
Raise Your Edge in a nutshell
Best suited for:
MTT players, Live Cash Game players
‘I bought RYE when I was fairly new to poker in general, especially online poker. After the first 3 videos I immediately noticed I was doing much better in the fields. Their range viewer is an amazing tool that is used by experienced regs and beginners alike. It’s truly a site that can fulfil needs for all types of players – Bravo!’ -T. Torrim
‘Do you want to improve in poker? Do you want to feel as if you were the best player at the table, every time you sit down? It took me from you average small to mid-stakes player, doing ok, to someone who is now competing at the highest stakes against real beasts – thanks to bencb and the whole RYE team for the incredible content!’ –Jaime Staples, partypoker Team Pro
Where to sign-up:
To sign-up for Raise Your Edge training materials, just click here.
Run It Once
Run It Once is a training site founded by Phil Galfond. Many old school PLO players have learned their first lessons of PLO from Galfond’s videos on Bluefire Poker. Galfond is basically a legend among PLO players, and nowadays he can be seen battling it out on The Galfond Challenge against some of the best PLO players in the world, playing nosebleeds stakes of course. The quality & quantity of their instructors is quite astonishing, including names such as Sauce123, NovaSky, Jeans89 and our very own BeastsOfPoker ambassador Joni ‘bustoville’ Jouhkimainen.
The memberships of RIO are devided into three different levels: Basic, Essential and Elite. When you join RIO with the basic version which is free, you get full forum access to their forum. On the Essential level you get 5 Essential videos per week and access to the Essential Library which contains 1533 videos. On the Elite level you get access to 9 new Elite videos per week and to the Elite Library containing 2405 videos. First 2 minutes of each video can be checked out free before you make the purchase decision. These videos can be watched also through the RIO app in case you want to study poker with your phone or tablet.
For low stakes players, the recommended choice is the Essential level. The Elite level in turn is targeted towards high-stakes players. RIO is a good choice for players who are already good in their poker fundamentals and are looking to improve further in specific areas of the game.
Run It Once in a nutshell
Best suited for:
NLHE, PLO, 6+, Mixed games, OFC and LHE cash game players, MTT players
‘The most important part is the Forum. A lot of really good people are goingg to help you. And despite the fact, that you are a micro-stakes player, they give you the best advice according to the limit you play. On the other Hand there are so many things, what you can learn from a player, who plays higher stakes. You learn how to think in ranges, how to use the right betsize etc. Bluffing frequencies and balancing and all that stuff, you simply don’t have to use it on the lower limits. That simple it is!’ –Zoty79
‘There may not be many videos of below 50NL, but watching low to mid stakes videos is just as valuable, if not more. Felipe, and Simon Couling have done plenty of <100NL videos. Go check them out. If they can get me from 10NL to 1000NL, anyone can do it!’ –Chael Sonnen
‘Run It Once, turned me from playing 4NL to 400NL. I think it’s definitely worth it. Knowledge is power. Use it wisely~’ –Mushmellow
Where to sign-up:
To sign-up for RunItOnce training materials, just click here.
Advanced Poker Training
Advanced Poker Training is basically like a virtual personal trainer for poker, as it trains you to play hands against AI opponents. This way the training will allow you to get real-time advice and feedback on your decisions and point out potential improvement areas in your game. You can even choose the type of opponents you have most trouble with, and set the trainer to include players with that style. For example, if you have trouble playing against maniacs, just set the game to include that kind of opponents, and you will learn how to beat them in no time!
The trainer is started with a screen that allows you to adjust the different factors of the table, after which you move on to the table to start the training. The trainer has weekly reports to follow how your game is progressing, and which areas still need more focus. By upgrading to the premium account you get access to many options that are not available in the free version.
During the training you can always click the ‘brain-button’, which opens the thought process of your advisor for the current spot you’re facing. This comes handy in tough situations where you’re not quite sure what the optimal play is. Advanced Poker Training is an excellent choice for players who like to learn by doing, and who want to exploit various types of opponents at the tables.
Coaches of APT include names like Mike Caro, Jonathan Little, WSOP 2016 Main Event winner Qui Nguyen, Ed Miller and Alex ‘Assassinato’ Fitzgerald.
Advanced Poker Training in a nutshell
Best suited for:
NLHE cash game players, SNG players, MTT players
‘It’s not a perfect simulation, but I really like that you can practice particular spots with repetition. After I lost a couple live pots recently with AK, I went in there to play AK hundreds of times in a row just to get more comfortable with how to make decisions in different spots with AK. Similarly you can set it up to practice a ton of hands OOP. … or only with small pairs… or only with suited connectors.’ –MattP
‘This is a great tool to just try different moves. One thing I like to do is to play every single hand (not using the deal only playable hands), just to get myself into some tough situations. Just play a bunch of hands, use the advice feature, use the session reports to see where you’re making mistakes, and really put some thought into those mistakes to figure how you could have done better. Even studying a single hand for 10 minutes can have a great impact on your overall game.’ –bigburge10
Where to sign-up:
To sign-up for Advanced Poker Training training materials, just click here.
Some of the poker veterans have lived the days when it was enough to raise preflop and take down the pot with a c-bet to print money. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Working in a structured way on your game is a must if you want to become a winning player. The most efficient way to do that is signing-up to a poker training site and studying their materials prepared for your preferred game format.
If you want long-term success, utilizing poker training sites is highly recommended. Happy training and see you at the tables!
Recently asked questions
How can I get the most out of poker training sites?
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 articles randomly without any structure will not help you much. You should first work on your fundamentals, and then move on to more advanced concepts and courses. Successful players develop a system of what they need to do each day to improve their game, and that’s what you should do too!
What’s the best approach for improving in poker?
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.
Can anyone build a solid poker strategy?
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 if there is something else on your mind
Ask any high stakes player, and they're likely to have this type poker warm-up routine. These simple yet crucial routines will affect your results more than any strategy you can learn – make sure you get them right before working on your poker strategy!
Which is better, GTO or exploitative play?
There is no way around that GTO or Game Theory Optimal strategies are the foundation for any exploitative plays you might make. All professional poker players 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!
What’s the main difference between poker tournament vs cash game strategy?
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.
How to improve my preflop strategy in poker?
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.
You should first learn basic opening and 3betting charts in your preferred game format, and only gradually start to deviate from those charts if you’re facing opponents who are way too loose or tight. Many of the poker training sites offer preflop charts as part of their training materials, so make sure to take advantage of them.
How to analyse my game and plug leaks?
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.
What are the most crucial parts of poker strategy?
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
What’s the best poker training app?
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. Poker training software might soon even replace your poker coach as powerful AI's are being deployed in this area!
No matter how much I work on my game, I always get outdrawn at the tables – are online poker sites rigged?
Online poker on the whole is 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 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 site.
There is an excellent article on why some players just can't seem to win - check out this article from PokerGlobal.
I want to test my skills at the tables! Which poker site has the most players?
PokerStars is the biggest site with the most players according to online poker sites traffic report on PokerScout. When partypoker left the US market, PokerStars took over as the biggest poker site in the world.