Poker Resources for Players
written by: John
Before poker exploded in popularity, there were very few resources for poker players to utilize to better their game. Sure, there were a few books such as Doyle Brunson's Super System but for the most part, a player's education simply came from playing the game, losing and analyzing what they were doing right and most importantly, what they were doing wrong. And for some players, it took several times while doing things the wrong way and going broke before it finally 'clicked' for them.
Nowadays, resources are not only available, but they are everywhere you look. Players can choose from books, e-books, coaches, training programs and more. What works best will ultimately vary from player to player as each player has their own needs and budget.
So, what we have done below is outline some of the best resources available to players including the price, pros and cons of each.
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Poker Forums - Free
Pros: One of the best things about a poker forum is that it is full of players who live and breathe poker such as you do. Players can sign up for free, post questions and receive genuine and critical advice on their game play. Better yet, since many forum members play hands differently, it is possible to get several 'right' answers to the same question leaving a player with several new tactics to try out. This is a great source for information, especially for the budget minded.
Cons: The biggest negative to a forum is also one of the best things. In a forum, you are sure to get plenty of different answers to questions that you have, all of which can work. But which one will work best for you? Well, you may have to spend a few dollars finding that out. Also, depending on the size and popularity of the forum, some questions or posts may very well be over looked and not answered at all.
Poker Books - $10 to $50+
Pros: Books are a great resource for poker players because many books are targeted towards a specific poker variation. Players can find books targeted towards cash games, sit n go's, tournaments or a combination of all 3 all of which have cover basics such as hands to play, position, betting and plenty of hand examples. Also, since books are written by different authors/players, it is possible to find a player that has a similar playing style to yours which makes learning much easier. Lastly, books are great because they can be referred to as long as you own them.
Cons: A downside to poker books is the fact that poker is evolving everyday which quickly makes many books outdated and making it costly trying to stay up to date on all the newest and latest strategies. Another thing to think about when choosing a book is that about 90% of them spend 1/3 of the book reviewing stuff you probably already know such as position, starting hands and basic betting. So finding a book that is geared solely towards intermediate and advanced players will be slightly more difficult. Lastly, most poker books are targeted towards Hold'em players. Since more players everyday are trying out new games, the lack of resources available to these games are disappointing to say the least.
Poker Training Sites - $20 to $100+ per month +set-up fee
Pros: The best thing about poker training sites is that many of them offer videos of their pros and/or coaches playing various games at all size stakes with most videos having a general theme as well such as late stages in a tournament, how to profitably play suited connectors in middle position, how not to play pocket aces and so forth. Poker training sites are a great way to learn because many of us are visual learners and need to see what we are being taught. Poker videos provide just that.
Cons: The cons of poker training sites will really depend on each site, so these comments are more of a generalization. Now, the largest downside to poker training sites has to simply be the cost. Most sites will charge upwards of $100 for a set up fee with the monthly fees ranging from $20 to $100+ per month. This is probably doable for those of you that play $1/$2 cash games or $10+ tournaments and sit n go's but for the micro stakes players, this may be difficult to manage. And let's not forget that many who sign up to these programs or are looking for help are micro stakes players.
Secondly, many videos that are made are made with the players winning and not losing. Sure, who is going to want to sign up to a site full of losers? But the point is, is that a player will learn the most from mistakes being made and how to go about avoiding these mistakes in the future.
Lastly, videos are great because you can watch how others play. But, this doesn't focus at all on how you play and what you need help on. Many players cannot pin point their leaks themselves and videos don't really solve this issue either.
Poker Coaches - $25 to $200+ per session
Pros: Poker Coaches are the ultimate way to go because it is one-on-one training. You will simply be told what you are doing well, what can be improved and what you flat out suck at. Coaching can range from just having your hand history reviewed to having your coach 'sweat' you while you play via a screen-sharing program. This will allow players to receive advice directly based from how they play and how they played in relation to their opponents. Many players have claimed that they have seen their investment double or triple upon receiving coaching in one form or another.
Cons: Similar to poker training sites, the con here has to be the price. Of course, in most cases it is worth the price since you should see an immediate return, but many players just simply do not have that much money in their bankroll to cover the costs. Most hand history reviews will run $10 to $25 while a 'sweat' session where a coach watches you play and gives you a review can be upwards of $200 or more for a couple hours of his or her time. Simply put, this can put a strain on a bankroll that is small in size.
Also, finding a coach is similar to finding a good car mechanic or babysitter. They all say they know what they are doing to get you to pull your wallet out but then before you know it the car is dead on the side of the road and the babysitter is in jail. The point I'm trying to make here is that it can be difficult to find an honest player who actually knows what they are doing and doesn't just show you a graph of their last 50 games that they won due to them running hotter than the sun.
Other Poker Resources
InstantPoker.org - Because the best alternative to using a credit card to fund your online pokerfrom the US is an eCheck.
PokerOnline.org - Another great site with tons of info about online poker and online poker sites. Give this site a read if you are looking for a new poker site to play at.
PokerSplendor.com - This site contains reviews of popular poker sites as well as some poker strategy.
FeltPoker.com - A great site for players looking for poker rakeback for playing online.
LooseChangePoker.com - Yet another quality resource for players looking for online rakeback information.
PokerRules.net - This is a great source for learning the right poker rules. It breaks down the rules by game type so you can quickly refernce this complete guide.
PokerSite.org - This is a great place to learn all there is to know about the various online poker sites.
PokerDepositOptions.com - This site has everything you need to know about how to make a poker deposit for online poker. Lot's of great info at this site.
TopOnlinePokerSites.org - This site has a ton of toplists of online poker sites that split the sites into categories. Whether you are searching for the best American poker site or the fishiest poker site this site has it.
Poker Resources for Poker Players
Hopefully we have made it apparent that there are plenty of resources available to players who are looking to play better poker. But it is important to keep in mind that there isn't a perfect resource out there or a 'one size fits all.' It will truly come down to a player's budget, how much help they need and most importantly, the amount of research that they are willing to do to find the right resource that they benefit from the most.