4 Things You Must Know Before Hiring a Poker Coach

4 Things You Must Know Before Hiring a Poker Coach

In this blog you’ll discover 4 things that make for a good coaching/client relationship and how
to get the most out of working with a poker coach.

Having worked with countless clients over the years I find these factors to be integral in having
a positive experience for both parties.

1. Make Sure You Share the Values of Your Poker Coach

There are many options available when it comes to hiring a poker coach. Each person has unique strengths and approaches the game in their own way. It’s important that the person you choose to work with is someone whose playing and teaching style matches your own.

Are you an analytical person?
Work with someone who uses solvers.

More on the intuitive side?
Work with someone who can make great live reads.

Ideally, you’ll find someone who applies a combination of both and can cater the experience to how you learn best.

In addition, you want your poker coach to be someone whose values you share. Naturally, you’ll be spending time with them either in person or virtually and its important you guys can connect.

For example, I personally help my clients to create their poker business plan, and plan responsibly for their future. I take a conservative approach when helping one manage their bankroll because poker has plenty of inherent risk and I want to virtually eliminate the chance that someone goes broke.

And, by putting my values and content out for the world to see, I attract like-minded people. I
believe this is why I’ve always had great experiences in working with clients and they’ve seen some incredible results.

In short, knowing how your poker coach sees the world will help you determine if you guys are a good fit.

2. Make Sure Your Poker Coach Has a Proven Track Record as Both a Player and Coach

Not every great poker player makes a great coach. It’s important that the person you choose isn’t merely an accomplished player, but is also eloquent and can simplify the concepts for you to understand.

In short, he or she need to be good at teaching poker as well.

That said, your poker coach must have achieved a certain level of success for the knowledge they are sharing to be trustworthy.

Poker is unlike other sports where you don’t necessarily have to reach a level of mastery to coach others.

Bill Belichick, arguably the best football coach of all time for example, never did reach the pros
(although he played through college). In other sports this level of proficiency as a player is enough to make a great coach.

The same rule doesn’t apply to poker for the simple reason that it’s a game of information. One doesn’t know what they don’t know.

In short, the more one has mastered the game, the more knowledge they have to impart on their students. Choose a coach who has not only played professionally themselves but has a long track record and competed at high levels.

3. Choose a Poker Coach That Teaches Concepts

The number of possible ways a deck can be ordered is so great that it’s likely that a deck has never been shuffled the same way twice.

When you couple that with the nuances of each poker hand (stack sizes, player type, history, etc.) one can easily see how no two situations will ever be the same.

With that in mind, what good is simply reviewing one hand of poker and correcting your mistakes? You’ll never be in that same spot again!

That’s why it’s imperative when choosing a poker coach that they focus on the underlying concepts behind the hand; strategies you can apply to any situation against any opponent.

For example, when reviewing a crucial flop decision, your coach shouldn’t merely correct your mistake, but take the opportunity to focus on core concepts such as bet sizing, hand reading or
poker math.

These are things you can then implement to every facet of your game.

I call this ‘Conceptual Based Learning’, and I believe it’s the best, most effective way to teach
poker. Furthermore, it’s the foundational way in which I approach every lesson with my clients.

4. Choose a Poker Coach That Empowers You to Learn

It’s not realistic for most people to permanently work with a poker coach. Many of my clients for example have busy lives, and only dedicate a set period of time each year (often in summer during WSOP) to get serious about poker.

It makes sense to work with a coach when approaching that window, but perhaps not year round.

More importantly, what good is a poker coach if your improvement is inextricably linked to them overseeing your game?

It’s my firm belief that a great poker coach should empower you to learn on your own by giving you the tools, systems and resources to study the game. In effect, they should take you into the lab and show you their process so you can apply that on your own. They should also be able to convey their macro thought process in a simplified way, not just in one hand of poker, but how they think about the game in general.

In this way, your poker coach will empower you to become your own critic and you can improve without them. This is the only long-term strategy which makes sense for the client, and I believe it’s the responsibility of any poker coach to ensure this wisdom is transferred during the consulting period.

Before choosing a poker coach, have a look around and see which person you resonate most with.

Then, ensure they’re qualified, not just as a player, but are capable of simplifying complex concepts in a way that’s easy for you to understand.

Third, make sure they’re teaching you strategies that you can apply to your game as a whole. Finally, ensure you’re being empowered to become your own coach so you can take your game as far as you please.

I hope you enjoyed this post on poker coaching. If you resonated with me and this approach, I invite you to apply to work with me by clicking the banner below.

Alec Torelli Private Coaching

We can book a no strings discovery call where I’ll get to know your personal situation and goals. Then, I’ll lay out a game plan to help you bridge that gap, and if you’re comfortable, we can move forward. Either way I’ll point you in the right direction with some actionable next steps.

I look forward to helping you on your poker journey.

Alec Torelli
Welcome! I'm Alec Torelli, founder of Conscious Poker, a training site dedicated to transforming good players into great ones by providing the best poker strategy and mindset content. I've been a professional poker player for 15 years and have over $1,500,000 in tournament winnings and millions more in both live and online cash games. On this site, I share the lessons I learned during my poker career to help you crush the games, optimize your bankroll, make winning decisions and achieve your poker goals.

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