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Poker training websites teach players new skills.

Poker training sites attempt to teach proper poker strategy to their members mostly through the provision of videos produced by winning poker players. Much of the content is dedicated to online No Limit Texas Hold'em games, but there are a few sites devoted to live poker and other formats besides NLHE.

Overview

Poker training sites typically maintain a roster of professional poker players who are paid to create material. The most prevalent format for these training tools is videos of usually less than an hour in length.

Most of these websites operate according to a subscription model whereby users pay a stated amount every month to get access to the content. There are a few that instead charge a one-time fee and a handful of others that are completely free to use. At the paid sites, customers can typically sign up for a free trial period to sample the materials available without having to spend any money. Most training sites also have a small selection of videos that anyone can watch without obtaining membership.

In order to appeal to a broad user base, the larger poker training firms usually attempt to bring on board a diverse roster of veteran players who specialize in different types of games. For instance, a site may retain the services of several individuals who have demonstrated the ability to beat micro-stakes NHLE cash games while rounding out their offerings with a few videos about high-stakes poker, Pot Limit Omaha, and multi-table tournament strategy.

The frequency with which new content goes live is very important because the ever-evolving nature of the online poker landscape means that the tactics and strategies required to become successful change quickly. The most popular training destinations upload new videos several times per week.

Prominent Poker Training Sites

There are dozens of poker training sites in existence. There are significant differences in their target audiences, pricing, and areas of specialization. Some of the most noteworthy of these sites are:

Advanced Poker Training
Main games: NLHE cash (9-max and 6-max), SNGs, and MTTs
# of videos: N/A, site is centered around playing and analyzing practice hands
# of video producers: 12 coaches featured
Pricing: $39.97/mo, $24.97/6 mo., $239.64/year, $499 lifetime
Free Trial:  None, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee

Tournament Poker Edge
Main games: Tournaments
# of videos: 1,800+
# of video producers: 32
Pricing: $39.95/mo., $99.95/quarter, $299.95/year
Free Trial: None

Jonathan Little Poker
Main games: MTTs, NLHE cash games
# of videos: 40+
# of video producers: Most videos are produced by Jonathan Little
Pricing: Different price per product from $49 - $997 each
Free Trial: 1 free video    

RedChipPoker
Main games: Live poker (cash games and tournaments)
# of videos: 240+
# of video producers: 10+
Pricing: $5/week for “Core,” $50/month for “Pro”
Free Trial: 7 days

RunItOnce
Main games: NLHE cash games, PLO, tournaments
# of videos: 3,900+
# of video producers: 100+
Pricing: $24.99/mo. for “Essential,” $99.99/mo. for “Elite”
Free Trial: None

Types of Videos

The format of videos presented at poker training sites varies considerably. Perhaps the most simple is a straight recording of a game play session with audio commentary from the player. Also common are hand history reviews wherein the video maker goes over previously played hands, explaining his or her thought process for every critical decision. In some cases, coaches review hands played by others in order to identify any errors made. Abstract, theoretical videos present high-level concepts away from the tables to firm up viewers' fundamental poker knowledge.

Sophisticated filtering and search capabilities let users drill down to the particular videos they're interested in. In most cases, finding videos produced by a specific instructor or dealing with a particular format of game is easy to achieve through the use of drop-down menus. At some sites, customers can download videos to view later.

Other Training Resources

Videos are the most notable of the tools offered by poker training sites, but they are by no means the only one. Strategy articles, blogs by successful players, and community forums are frequently accessible to subscribers at no additional charge. Furthermore, many video creators are available for private poker coaching at stated hourly rates.

History of Poker Training Sites

In the early days of online poker, from 1998 to the early 2000s, quality video training material was scarce. Most serious players honed their skills by reading books, discussing hands with others, and participating in poker forums.

The Moneymaker Boom, which began in late 2003 after Chris Moneymaker won the Main Event of the World Series of Poker, caused an explosion in the population of internet poker players and a consequent demand for training material. Hoping to capitalize on this trend, high-stakes poker pro Taylor Caby launched Cardrunners.com in 2005. This now-defunct company was the first modern online poker video training site. It used a subscription membership model and presented videos by a team of well-respected pros.

Several competitors entered the scene in the next few years, including PokerXFactor and StoxPoker in 2006 and today's market leader Deuces Cracked in 2007. The industry became large enough for a few low-cost, niche training sites to appear, catering to specific poker disciplines. Examples of these narrowly focused sites are SitnGo Grinders, which deals with SNGs, and Grinderschool.com, which targets aspiring micro-stakes cash players.

In the wake of Black Friday in April 2011, the overall size of the poker training market declined, leading to the failure of several organizations. Daniel Negreanu's training site PokerVT became moribund in 2014. In 2017, several prominent poker training venues closed down, including CardRunners and PokerXFactor, while Phil Ivey's site, Ivey League, stopped adding new content.

Impact on the Online Poker Environment

Poker training sites are widely credited with causing a marked improvement in the ability of the average internet poker player. Thus, they're often blamed for the fact that today's games tend to be tougher to beat than those of a decade ago. It's difficult to precisely identify whether or not training sites are the main cause of this phenomenon. It's likely that poker forums, books, and other educational resources played a significant role as well.

By popularizing the idea of watching poker videos, training sites may have paved the way for the current generation of poker streamers. These individuals broadcast their online poker sessions live usually for entertainment rather than instructional purposes. Twitch.tv is one of the main sites for this type of live streaming.

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