March 14, 2008
You get a coach for your basketball, tennis or golf game but what about for your poker game? With the skyrocketing popularity of poker – an estimated 60-million players in the US alone, it’s not surprising many are now turning to coaches to help give them an edge. Looking to win big, more and more poker players are turning to coaches to boost their game. Search online and you’ll find pages of self-proclaimed experts waiting to critique your play via cyberspace for about $20 a month. Or you can opt for a private, face-to-face instructor like Hector Roman did. He says, “I felt that having a coach, in particular, could help to customize my game to my strengths and improve my weaknesses.”
Roman worked with coach Wendeen Eolis. Eolis says, “We might talk about one particular strategy, we might talk about conduct, we might talk about how to observe people.”
Private sessions run from 50 to 500 bucks an hour. If the group approach is more your thing, weekend boot camps are packing ’em in. Typical cost: $1600 for two days of instruction. Linda Johnson, World Poker Tour (WPT) boot camp coach, says, “A lot of lectures. There are also a lot of live labs where the instructors deal to the students and critique their play, there’s a tournament. ” Participants say the trip is worth it, whether they’re just learning the ropes or perfecting their poker face.
The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), however, says the players’ main concern should be knowing their limits. In terms of coaching, NCPG’s executive director Keith Whyte says, “From our perspective, the majority of the outcomes from poker games are determined by chance and that’s something that no coach can improve.” But coaches say they see real results. Johnson insists, “In the biggest tournament in the world, the biggest prize money in the world, two out of the final two tables were former boot camp students, so lots and lots of successes.”
Players who chose the boot camp run by the WPT are happy with their choice. Now it’s up to them. Anyone can call themselves a coach, so Eolis who’s also vice-chairman of the World Poker Association, says be careful: ask for references – verify teaching experience, check credentials and do your homework.
(Copyright 2008, Four Points Media Group LLC. All Rights Reserved.)