The Eight Best Training Sites for Online Poker Players
What separates a fish from a regular? What separates a regular from a shark? And what separates a shark from Phil Ivey?
Okay, in the case of the latter, it’s probably something genetic, but the other two questions have a much simpler answer: Hard work.
Poker, like any other complex game of strategy, involves making the maximum number of “correct” decisions based on the information you have available.
Unlike most other complex games of strategy, however, poker challenges its players by hiding the majority of the data that they’d ordinarily base their decisions on. Add variance into the equation and you’re sitting with a game that’s almost impossible to predict.
That’s why decisions in poker are rarely described as either “right” or “wrong”, but rather whether they have positive or negative expected value (also referred to as +EV and -EV)
There are so many factors that determine whether a play is +EV and it often comes down to a subjective interpretation of the hand. There isn’t one definitive resource that will tell you with exact authority whether you made the right decision or not.
That’s why constantly studying and training is the most important aspect of becoming a winning player. Fortunately for us, we live in the age of information and the internet has made finding excellent resources for getting better at poker extremely easy.
So, with that in mind, we’ve put together a list of eight resources that we feel are the ideal places for online poker players to learn how to constantly improve their skill levels.
With more than 3,500 videos presented by a friendly and extremely helpful community of professionals, Deuces Cracked is one of the most popular training sites available for online players.
While the site covers a wide range of game types and stakes, the majority of videos are focused on catering for the micro-stakes No Limit Hold’em market.
In addition to the many one-off videos added by community members on a regular basis, the site also features a number of video “series” which consist of many installments that tackle larger topics.
The most popular of these series is an eight-part epic titled “Eightfold Path to Poker Enlightenment” presented by Tommy Angelo and Wayne Lively. This particular series has received widespread acclaim and is regarded as a landmark in online poker training.
Access to Deuces Cracked is currently priced at $29 per month.
7.9 million poker enthusiasts can’t be wrong, right? Boasting one of the largest memberships of all the poker sites we reviewed, PokerStrategy.com is easily one of the most popular online training resources.
Unlike the majority of its competitors, PokerStrategy.com is a free resource, offering users not only unrestricted access its entire knowledge base, but also a $50 instant bankroll that you can deposit at several of the major poker rooms.
This risk-free introduction to the world of online poker has resulted in Pokerstrategy.com attracting a less experienced audience, meaning that much of their material focuses on turning new players into winning players.
PokerStrategy.com’s video catalogue may not be as comprehensive as Deuces Cracked, but these have more of a “classroom” feel to better cater to their target market’s needs.
The site also offers a vast collection of strategy articles and tutorials, all aimed at helping the new player succeed. In addition, it also boasts one of the most vibrant and helpful communities all too keen to get involved in discussing hands, sessions and other aspects related to becoming a better player.
This unique site features an array of sophisticated tools that emulates a poker setting, provides context-sensitive guidance, and analyzes your play to point out strengths and weaknesses.
The foundation of their product is simulation software that allows the player to play up to 500 hands per hour against highly-sophisticated bots programmed to test every aspect of your game.
Their trademarked rating programs perform a real-time evaluation of your play and provides an astonishingly deep set of data that helps you identify where you need improvement.
The site’s reliance on artificial intelligence may be a concern for some, but the immersive, gamified approach to coaching may well be a big draw for others who prefer to learn while playing.
Advanced poker training will set you back $29.90 per month
If you’re looking for a training site that has more of a quality-over-quantity approach, Bluefire Poker is the one for you – especially if you’re a high-stakes 6-max No Limit Hold’em player.
The video content at Bluefire Poker is of an exceptionally high standard. With its relatively small roster of producers – lead by site founder and online poker legend Phil Gaflond – the site is able to better curate its output and ensure that members don’t have to sift through hours of content before finding something of real value to them.
Another reason why Bluefire Poker may the best training option for you is if you’re already an experienced player looking to learn more advanced strategy and techniques.
Bluefire Poker prizes content above all, meaning that they have spent little time cultivating a community. Consider signing up if you’re mainly looking to get advanced insight from the best roster of online video producers available.
Membership costs $29.99 per month and a $99 initiation fee.
Two Plus Two is one of the originals – a genuine authority in the world of poker training – and has been around since the heydey of online poker.
One of the first online communities to embrace peer-driven hand analysis, Two Plus Two thrives on discussion. The site boasts more than 400,000 members, a large portion of whom actively participate in the seemingly endless number of hand analyses posted on an hourly basis.
More than any of the other sites mentioned here, the value a member will derive from Two Plus Two is proportionate to becoming involved. Sure, you can lurk on the edges and read what other members have to say about each others’ play, but the real magic happens when you get involved.
The Two Plus Two forums are free to join.
Not many training sites have as narrow a focus as Tournament Poker Edge, with the site eschewing conventions of covering a large range of game types and focusing solely on multi-table tournaments.
Aside from the typical training material you’d find at a training site, Tournament Poker Edge also offers a structured training curriculum that takes members on an a well planned educational journey.
This product, named TPE University, allows you to consume training content applicable to your level of skill and experience and helps you assess whether you are ready to progress to a new level of training.
As can be expected of a training site with a narrower focus, the quality of content at Tournament Poker Edge is of a very high caliber, with the likes of Casey “bigdogpckt5s” Jarzabek, Charles “Hagbard Celine” Sizemore, and Ryan “HITTHEPANDA” Franklin among their regular contributors.
Tournament Poker Edge will set you back $23.95 per month.
Jonathan Little’s website offers several training resources in the form of educational videos, blog posts, and book reviews, but few of these are as insightful as the terrific weekly hand analysis he does in the form of a podcast and video.
All online poker players know that the majority of the time that you spend “studying” should involve your analyzing big hands and getting other players’ input on your choices.
Well, few people are as gifted at diving deep into his own thought process as Jonathan Little.
In this weekly series, you can expect to hear insightful and candid commentary on his and his opponents’ play, with his discussions on one hand sometimes exceeding the 12-minute mark. So don’t expect your standard, superficial analysis here.
Best of all, this resource is entirely free to everyone.
Cardrunners is without a doubt one of the most respected platforms for teaching players the techniques needed to move on from the from the traps of playing standard, tight aggressive, ABC poker.
The site’s approach to teaching – and the quality of its content – has also seen it gain favour amongst some of the world’s top professional players as a resource for constant improvement.
Their enormous roster of contributors reads like a “who’s who” of the online poker world, with the likes of Brian Townsend, Taylor Caby, Brian Hastings, and Andrew Wiggins frequently adding to the already-sizeable knowledge base.
An aspect that sets Cardrunners apart from its competition is the quality of their No Limit Hold’em Heads Up training content. This game format has become increasingly popular, especially at the higher stake levels, and no training site covers it as well as they do.
Cardrunners’ Gold membership comes in at a cost of $27.99 per month and there is also a one-off fee of $99.00.
Another training site that caters for a niche audience – albeit a very large one – SitnGoGrinders aims to help players interested in dominating this popular game format.
The site has a broad focus within the scope of Sit and Go’s (SNGs), offering a medium-sized pool of videos that cover all the most popular types of tournaments.
To reflect it’s more precise, narrow scope, SitnGoGrinders has adopted an innovative pricing model, opting not to bill members on a monthly basis, but rather offer collections of themed videos (called “packs”) at set prices coming in at around $40 – $60 per pack.
Grinding SNGs is one of the most popular ways for poker players to grow their bankroll and few other sites offer the wealth of specialist information than these guys do. This site is an absolute must if SNGs are your game.
Bonus: Poker Copilot
Reviewing, analyzing, and discussing an isolated hand that included many interesting decision points is certainly one of the most effective ways to learn.
Doing so also has the most obvious impact on your bankroll since winning more and losing fewer big hands is one of the main goals of improving your game.
It’s easy to overlook the importance of analyzing your play in hands that didn’t have a memorable pot, you are playing hundreds of them in a session, after all.
To best assess these types of hands, Poker Copilot offers a feature called Leak Detection. This sophisticated functionality analyzes all of the hands that you have played in a session and points out small, typically invisible flaws that will cost you money in the long run.
Poker Copilot will analyze your gameplay and help you answer the following questions:
- Are you showing enough pre-flop aggression from each position?
- Do you attempt to steal the blinds regularly enough and how successful are you at it?
- Do you loosen up your game as you move closer to the dealer position?
- Are you profitable enough with pocket pairs?
- Are you showing adequate profitability with suited connectors?
Many of these resources may come at quite a high price, but don’t let this put you off! We’ve found that paying for your education can often be a very helpful motivator for taking the process a little more seriously.
As with most things in life, the reward you get out of learning is proportionate to the investment you make in it.
Whether it be financial, time, or effort, you get what you put in and this applies doubly when it comes to improving your poker game.
If you genuinely commit to making the most of these resources, respect the material, and trust the educational process, you are guaranteed to become a better player and show profit in the long run.
So choose which one of the above options work best for you and pour yourself into the experience of getting better.
See you at the tables!