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Poker Coach

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Bob Ciaffone was the original founder of Poker Coach.

He was an American Poker player, and the author of Robert’s Rules of Poker, he was nicknamed The Coach.

Bob was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 10, 1940. Bob was an avid gameplayer, having started learning chess at age four, poker at age nine, and bridge at age fifteen.

Bob amongst his peers was considered an authority in poker, and competed and achieved a high level of success including third place in the 1987 poker World Championship.

Bob played just about every kind of poker known to man, and traveled all over the world doing it including England, Sweden, Malta, and Nepal. His favorite poker game was pot-limit Omaha.

In 2006, Bob wrote a book on Omaha called “Omaha Holdem Poker” and was honoured by numerous poker publications as an outstanding player for his poker form.

In 2012, he published the book No-limit Holdem Poker, and is regarded as the leading authority on poker rules working as a consultant in this space for multiple cardrooms.

Bob passed away on May 13, 2022.

Betsperts has acquired Poker Coach and aims to continue to provide a well-written, engaging, accurate, and educational knowledge base that will improve your interest in, understanding of, and behavior when playing poker.

How to Hire A Poker Coach

Poker is one of the popular games in the gambling space. Over the years, the game has evolved, and new trends continue to affect how it’s played. As a player, not keeping up with these trends or constantly learning to improve yourself is a sure way to put yourself at a disadvantage when playing.
But do not fret.

With easy access to poker learning materials and a large pool of poker experts to get coaching from, learning how to play poker or improve your skills in the game is now easier than ever.

But is getting a poker coach a good idea for every poker player? Does it guarantee success? And is it worth the investment?

Yes and no.

The viability of getting poker training is dependent on several factors. In this article, we will cover the basics of poker coaching to help you determine whether or not poker coaching is viable for you. So stick around.

What Does a Poker Coach do?

In any sport, players get coached to help them attain peak performance. The same applies to poker. As a beginner or even intermediate player, having a coach is one of the ways you can quickly master the game and become an expert.

A poker coach is an expert game player willing to teach other poker players at a fee. They will help analyze your gameplay, provide feedback on what you’re doing right and wrong, help you fix your weak areas in the game, and ultimately provide you with invaluable poker insights to sharpen your skill.

Is it Worth Getting a Poker Coach?

Every poker site will advise you to get a poker coach. But is it worth it, or is it just for the hype?

Getting a coach would not be worth it if you are a novice poker player. Instead, you will get more value at this level by joining a poker community or poker training site where the cost is significantly lower.

However, if you are stuck at some level in your poker career and want to improve, then, by all means, get expert help.

Let’s admit that you must constantly learn and improve your knowledge if you want to improve at something. It is no different with poker. Getting a poker coach is a good investment, and here’s why;

It helps to take the guesswork out of the learning process.

There’s so much poker knowledge online, and trying to filter out what’s accurate and what’s not can be a real headache. Even worse is that learning through trial and error can significantly deter mastering poker and could cost you money!

Having an expert poker player to guide you is a smart way to avoid guesswork, focusing only on what works. A poker coach will guide you to the right sources and break down complex information you need to apply in your gameplay.

Honest and real-time feedback

Making mistakes as you learn to play poker is inevitable. But getting real-time feedback on such makes the learning experience more effective as you get to rectify what’s wrong quickly. That is why you need to ensure that you’ve got a committed coach by your side(more on how to get the best coach below).

Help with learning poker math

Mathematics is core in poker playing. You will need it to understand the probability and odds associated with your win rate and help you determine whether to call a drawing hand or know when to bluff.

All these are key to becoming an excellent poker player, but understandably, not everyone is good at math’s. Getting a poker coach can help sharpen your math and, as a result, increase the odds of you becoming good in the game.

When is the right time to hire a poker coach?

For most people, playing poker is just a fun activity they enjoy while spending time with friends. However, serious players looking to build a career out of poker will consider getting professional help.

It is important to note that poker coaching is an investment, an expensive one for that matter. Like any investment, you need to determine its viability before dumping your money into it.

With that said, only go for professional poker training if you already have a solid foundation and would like to advance your skillset for more winnings.

How to Find the Best Poker Coach for you?


As aforementioned, investing in becoming a poker pro is an expensive investment; hence you need to take the time to find a suitable trainer.

First, begin by laying out what type of poker games you want to play and the goals you want to achieve as a pro player. Doing so will help determine the type of coach to work with.

Second, note that so many online poker experts offer poker courses and even one-on-one training. However, not all of them will be worth investing in. So before you narrow down on one, curate a list of options. You can join online communities, research, or even ask friends for referrals on the best coaches they know.

Third, vet the options you get from your research.

The best way to do this is by reaching out to all the poker coaches on your list. If someone is rude or hesitant to provide the information you need, that’s a bad sign, and you should avoid them. On the other hand, a coach has to be responsive and willing to help. After all, you will be paying for the services and are therefore entitled to quality coaching.

They Play games you want to master

It is a no-brainer that if you are keen on becoming an expert MTT player, you have no business learning from a 6-max cash game player. Instead, your best bet is to find coaches who are experts in the same game type you want to become a pro.

Experience of the coach

As the adage goes, “experience is the best teacher.” And when it comes to hiring a coach, you will not go wrong by getting an experienced player to work with you.

But is it just any experienced poker player?

You have to remember that experience is gained over the years, but that doesn’t mean every seasoned poker player makes a good coach. The key is to ensure that you work with an experienced coach with a good record as a winning player.


As aforementioned, a good poker coach is not just someone that will give you the best strategy but also someone that’s ready and available to provide real-time and honest feedback when needed. Poor communication will leave you frustrated and demotivated in learning poker.

Commitment & ability to teach

Not all successful poker pros make good coaches. Before you settle on anyone, check out reviews from their previous students. If possible, find coaches who provide initial consultation on their program before enrolling.

A committed coach will help you understand the bigger picture in poker playing and not just the basics. They should be ready to go out of their way to ensure you’ve got a good understanding of player types, table positions, seating arrangements, and stack sizes, all of which will improve your advanced poker skills.

Their Teaching Style and flexibility in teaching methods
Believe it or not, the teaching style employed by a coach is crucial. A boring coach takes out the fun from the coaching session, making it hard to learn from them.

On the other hand, a good coach can make the whole learning experience more engaging for you.

It is also important to note that there are three main coaching methods; live sweats, video reviews, and database reviews. A good coach should be able to mix up the teaching methods throughout the coaching period.

Types of Poker Coaching

Hand Reviews

Hand reviews or live sweats are the best way to learn from your poker coach. This method gives you room to analyze hands with the coach so that they can point out spots where you make mistakes.

Recorded Gameplay reviews

Another effective way to learn is by doing a screen recording of you playing online poker and sending it to your coach for review. The coach will then review the gameplay video, record feedback addressing issues, or provide tips for each hand as you play.

The lack of live feedback makes this teaching method a little less effective in poker coaching. In most cases, coaches looking to dictate their schedule will prefer to use gameplay reviews instead of hand reviews.

Database Review

The database review teaching method involves the analysis of hand histories. Your coach will provide an analysis of different poker hands played in different positions while discussing weaknesses or good moves.

How Much do Poker Coaches Cost?

The cost of training will vary from one coach to another. But on average, you should expect to pay anywhere from $50-$200/hour.

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking at a fee charged by a coach;

i) Coaching is an investment that will yield returns over time. If you book four sessions paying $50 per hour, that’s a total of $200 for the coaching. In an ideal situation, if you make $600 per month in profits playing 25NL, you will have recovered the initial investment and made an extra $400. However, this is not a perfect metric to calculate your ROI since poker payouts have many variables that will affect your earnings.

ii) An expensive coach is not a guarantee they are the most suitable for you to get better. You will be surprised to find an average coach charging $150 per hour while a better trainer has an hourly rate of $50.

iii) Aside from the $/hour compensation method, some coaches will ask for a percentage of your profits as payment. This will be a good option if you don’t have the bankroll to afford a good coach. Besides that, it reduces the risk of finding a good coach since they’ll only make money if they offer top-notch training.

What to expect in a typical poker coaching session?

A typical poker coaching session will last for around two hours. The coach will go over your hand histories with you, and help you to improve your game by identifying any leaks in your play. They will also work on your mental game, and help you to develop a better understanding of the game.

Poker coaches often recommend playing online poker because it allows them to see what kind of hands you are getting out, and they can give you advice based on this information.

As mentioned above there are different styles of poker coaching, but here are the most common that you could expect in your first poker coaching lesson;

  • Video review of yourself by the coach
  • Hand history review
  • Live session

Alternatives to Poker Coaching

As aforementioned, one-on-one coaching is not a necessary investment to make for everyone. You can win at poker by learning from online videos and reading materials. As a novice, advanced poker training will not greatly benefit you. Instead, go for generalized learning and build up your skills over time.

Below is a list of some of the alternatives to poker coaching;

Free Options

  • Online Articles – you can learn much about poker from articles like this.
  • Online streams – Some professional poker players stream their play sessions on platforms such as Twitch. Following them could provide a great avenue to learn from the pros without paying a subscription fee.
  • Discussing Hands with Poker friends – your friends may not be experts in poker playing, but analyzing hands together and going through their thought processes could help sharpen your poker skills.
  • Join poker groups – you can also learn poker by joining communities on sites like FB.

Paid Options

  • Poker books are inexpensive to get curated information on the dos and don’ts of poker playing. On average, a poker book’s price should be between $20 and $40 for one book.
  • Join Poker training sites – if you don’t see the need to pay hundreds of dollars for poker coaching but have no problem spending a few bucks on training, then joining a poker site could be an excellent alternative. Some sites even provide free videos packed with poker tips and strategies.
  • Buying Poker Training Courses/Programs – buying an online poker coaching course is another great way to crush your learning process. It is, however, quite expensive, and considerable time should be taken before investing in a specific course.
  • Joining a stable – getting accepted into poker stables is another great way to advance your poker learning, and it gives more financial backing to play higher stake
  •  Additionally, poker stables provide word class training to their members to help them become pros and avoid flops since they take their investments seriously.

The best way to learn to play poker is play free poker games. Playing online poker for free allows you to practice without risking any money. You can play against opponents with different skill levels, so you get an idea of how good or bad you are at the game. Playing online poker for free also gives you a chance to try out different strategies and see how well they work. There are no limits on how much money you can win or lose. You can even play with real money if you feel comfortable doing so.

There is no one definitive answer to this question. Some players feel they benefit from professional coaching early on in their careers, while others wait until they have more experience under their belts. Ultimately, it is up to the individual player to decide when the time is right for them to seek out a professional poker coach.

There are a few ways to get a top pro to coach you in poker. One way is to find a pro who is willing to take on students and ask them for help. Another way is to join a poker training site which offers group and one-on-one coaching from top pros. Finally, you can try to win your way into a coaching session by playing in tournaments with high buy-ins and winning prizes that include coaching sessions with top pros.

There is no definitive answer to this question as different poker training coaches have had different levels of success with their students. Some coaches may have a higher percentage of successful students overall, while others may have had more individual success stories. Ultimately, it is up to the student to decide which coach is right for them and their goals.

There are many reasons to hire a poker coach. Perhaps you are new to the game and want to learn the basics, or maybe you are an experienced player who wants to take your game to the next level. Either way, a poker coach can help you reach your goals.

A good poker coach will be able to assess your strengths and weaknesses, and then tailor a training program specifically for you. They can also provide valuable feedback and advice during sessions, which can help you improve your game more quickly.

If you are serious about becoming a better poker player, then hiring a coach is definitely something to consider. It can be a significant investment, but if you find the right person it can be well worth it.

There is no simple answer to this question. It depends on a number of factors, including how much experience you have with poker, how much you are willing to spend on lessons, and what your goals are.

If you are a complete beginner, then poker lessons could be a good investment. They can help you learn the basics of the game and give you a foundation to build upon. However, if you are already experienced with poker, then lessons may not be worth the cost.

There are many great poker training sites out there, but it really depends on what you are looking for and what your budget is. Some of the more popular ones include PokerStars School, Cardrunners, Deuces Cracked, and Upswing Poker Lab. They all offer different things and have different price points, so it really just depends on what you need. There are also free resources like YouTube videos and articles that can be helpful, so definitely check those out as well!

Yes, there are good free poker training sites online. These sites can help you improve your poker skills by providing you with tips, tricks, and strategies from experienced players. They can also provide you with a forum to discuss poker with other players, and some even offer free video content.

There are many great poker coaching apps available that can help you improve your game. Some of the best ones include PokerTracker 4, Holdem Manager 2, and Equilab. These apps allow you to track your progress, see your opponents’ statistics, and get feedback on your play. They can also provide you with in-depth analysis of your hands and help you find leaks in your game. If you’re serious about improving your poker skills, then investing in one of these apps is a good idea.

Verdict: Is hiring a poker coach worth it?

Poker Coaching is a two-way street. With a good coach, your chances of advancing in poker improve, but you must play your part equally. So take the necessary measures to ensure you’ve found a good coach to help you if you need to get one.

Reviewed by

Picture of Austin Harper

Austin Harper

Austin is one of the co-founders at Betsperts and a devoted father of 2. Born and raised in Atlanta Georgia, Austin is passionate about the Atlanta Hawks, Braves, and Falcons. Austin received his Bachelors of Science from Clemson University and gets back for Clemson football and basketball games every chance he gets!

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