If you play poker and dream of making a serious income, it is nearly inevitable that at one point you will ask yourself whether or not it is worth the money to join a paid poker training site. You may have even visited a few training websites, noticed that they feature content from well-known pros and wondered if maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to pony up the cash.
In most cases, the answer to this question is an emphatic yes. As a former member of multiple paid training sites, I can tell you from personal experience that I got my money’s worth. The content, concepts and strategy discussions that I paid for stand far and above anything you could find free on YouTube or a poker discussion forum.
The cost of a membership at a quality poker training website averages out to around $30 a month. That is where the questions begin. “Do I really want to add yet another monthly bill to my plate?”
Ultimately, the question comes down to this:
Does a paid membership actually improve your skills in the real world to a degree that you make more additional money than the cost of the membership?
The answer to that question is usually yes. The reason I say “usually” is because some of it depends on how serious you are as a player. If you log on to 888 Poker to play a £10 tournament once a month, you’re not the target market for a paid membership. I do believe even the most casual of players would see improved results, but it becomes a question of cost vs. benefit at that point.
Then again, I doubt you would have even stumbled across this post if you really were that casual a player. If you’re considering joining a poker training site, I would be willing to bet you play fairly regularly as a small-to-medium stakes player. You would like to improve your skills so that you can improve your win rate, move up in stakes or both.
If that sounds like you, a poker training membership is most definitely worth it as long as you’re willing to put in the work. And yes, it does take work. Don’t fall into that trap of lazy thinking where you hope that throwing a little money at a problem will make it go away. You will need to make the most of your membership.
The best poker training sites cater to all types of players. Some sites focus primarily on tournaments while other, larger sites have hired pros to cover all sorts of variations such as no limit Holdem cash games, fixed limit Holdem and other variations.
You can also expect to see videos and content geared towards different stakes. It’s nice to see the latest in advanced poker strategy as it applies at the highest stakes games in the world, but you’ll also be able to watch videos and read articles that are designed to improve your results at low and middle-stakes games. No matter what you prefer to play, there is a training site out there that will fit your needs.
Making the Most of Your Membership
Doing so is a matter of watching videos – and I mean really sitting down and watching them. Give them your full attention and process what the coach is telling you. Imagine that you’re a student at a new university that you paid good money to attend. That’s essentially what you become when you join a training membership site. And just like a traditional university, it is up to you to make the most of your time there.
Your site should also have a library of strategy articles and other reading material. Visit the library and do your homework just like you would in school. Strategy articles complement video learning well because the written word is usually more organized and constructed in a purposeful manner to impart a specific lesson. Videos are more off-the-cuff but also useful because they show you the various strategy principles in action.
Finally, if your site has a discussion forum, become an active member. Participate in discussions and share hand histories. When you play online poker, make a note of any hands/situations in which you had a tough time deciding on the right play. Take those hands to the discussion forum and ask for feedback. Posting hand histories was one of the best things I ever did for my poker career.
Free resources do have their place as well – especially if you’re brand new to poker. Paid membership sites are tailored for players who already have a firm grasp of the basics. If you don’t understand why the tight-aggressive strategy is recommended as a starting point for poker strategy, it would be best to first brush up on the very basics.
Free strategy websites, discussion forums such as 2+2 and free YouTube videos are all great places for getting a grip on the fundamentals of poker strategy. There are even some great poker books written all the way back in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s that still apply today. Some of the timeless classics include The Theory of Poker by David Sklanksy, Winning Low-Limit Hold’em by Lee Jones and Super/System by Doyle Brunson.
These books and resources will start you on the right path. Once you have laid the foundation, you are then able to make the most of any paid poker training website.