Choosing a Poker Training Site

Online poker training sites have exploded over the last few years. What was once a cottage industry featuring a few small sites with a handful of videos has expanded into a highly competitive arena, with dozens of sites battling it out for subscribers. With so many sites to choose from, the process can be overwhelming, especially for newer players. To help simplify things, here’s a simple list of questions you’ll want to ask yourself when comparing training sites. Taking just a few minutes to answer these questions can result in not only saving hundreds of dollars, but also in ensuring that you get the most out of your investment when you do subscribe to a site.

Do I Need a Training Site?

If you’re reading this article, you probably think you have the answer to this question already. Put that aside for a second and consider a few things first: Have you viewed the hundreds of free strategy videos that are available on sites like YouTube, PokerTube, PokerListings and PartTimePoker? Have you considered joining a poker forum and getting direct feedback on your game from other players by participating in strategy discussions? Have you taken the time to analyze your game and identify your strengths and weaknesses? All of the above are absolutely free alternatives to a costly training site subscription, and are valuable avenues for players to explore.

All too often newer players think of training sites as an ‘easy fix’ for their game – sign up, watch some videos, and viola, leaks plugged. In reality, there is no easy fix for your game. Training sites are a valuable resource, but if they’re the resource you’re turning to first, you might want to pause and explore some other resources like those mentioned above before proceeding.

How Much Does It Cost?

This question might seem a little obvious, but determining how much a subscription to a training site actually costs can be a tricky task. Some sites have low monthly fees but charge you an initial sign up fee. Some sites offer discounts if you participate in a promotion they’re running or if you earn rakeback through their site. Other sites, like Cardrunners, offer free poker training if you play a certain amount of hands at an online poker site. Be sure to read the fine print and carefully compare offers, as training site memberships can cost upwards of $1000 a year. There’s no need to pay a cent more than you have to, as that’s money coming out of your bottom line.

What Game and Limits Am I Focused On?

Not all training sites are the same – some are focused just on cash play, some on MTT play, and some on SNGs. Some sites focus exclusively on lower stakes, while others are geared toward mid and higher stakes play. It’s important that you clearly identify the type of game and the limits you’re looking to focus on before choosing a site. Once you know your game and limits, read reviews of poker training sites (and the archives of the sites themselves, if you can) to get a better idea of what the primary focus of the site is. There’s nothing worse than plunking down some cash for a training site, starting to watch some videos and then realizing that the videos you’re watching have little or nothing to do with the games that you play on a regular basis.

What Extras Does the Site Offer?

Not all training sites are created equal. While all of them offer various types of videos, some sites (especially the larger ones) offer additional perks and tools to help you with your game. PokerXFactor offers an excellent hand replayer that gives you insights into your play you might not get otherwise. Cardrunners offers a wide array of promotions that add value for their users. Dig around in the site and get a feel for what they offer above and beyond just the videos, and evaluate whether or not those extras add value for you.

What Do Others Say About the Site?

Do a quick search on the site you’re considering subscribing to on Google. What are other players saying about the site? Sign up at a poker forum like 2+2 and ask other players for their experiences – they’ll be happy to share. Fellow poker players – especially those who play games and limits similar to yours – are the best resource you can have for evaluating the quality (and therefore, the value) of a poker training site subscription

Training sites are a valuable addition the arsenal of any poker player, but they are an addition that shouldn’t be made haphazardly. Hopefully this guide has given you a few questions to ask before you sign up – questions that will help you choose not just the best training site, but the best training site for you.