Free Poker Strategy Articles

A collection of poker posts written by poker players for poker players

Good Play Makes Good Stats… (by: Mpethybridge)

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“Good Play Makes Good Stats; Good Stats Do Not Make Good Play”

The title of this article seems to be ridiculously obvious, but a lot of people don’t get it. In the stats thread on 2+2, the most common question I get is: “What should X stat be?” Even if you assume that the player asking this question assumes we are talking about the standard 2+2 tight/aggressive style of play, the question is evidence that the questioner believes there is a style of play, a set of perfect stats, that will make them a winner. If you think this, you are thinking backwards; good stats do not result in good play; good play results in good stats. Your focus always should be on making the right play at the right time; good stats follow from a series of good decisions.

Here’s an example. I get a lot of posts in the stats thread from people whose VPIP/PFR stats are roughly 14/7 or so, and they usually have a small, but positive win rate. They ask me, “I should raise more PFR, right? My PFR should be about 10 or 11?”

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What To Look For In A Poker Coach

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There are many things you should be looking for when choosing a coach. First and foremost, is this a person who is a winning player? Nobody who is losing, especially over a large sample size, should be coaching others. They may have some nice ideas, but the cliché “those who cannot do; teach” doesn’t apply all that well in poker.

Next, you want to make sure that this person works well with you. That they are patient, articulate, and work well with your learning style. You also want to make sure that this person is available for the times that work best for you. If you work during the day, and can only do coaching sessions at night, and they work all night, u might want to find a different coach or different hour set to work with. Lastly, you really want to make sure that goals are lined up. You want a coach who not only understands what your poker needs are (let’s face it, some people need work on the whole package, while others just need certain tweaks), and is able to focus on that. Having a coach who teaches two levels underneath you is as useless as one who teaches advanced topics to a beginner.

Keeps these tips in mind when selecting a poker coach. Coaching should be a pleasant and eye-opening experience. If you need any help in this area, or wish to speak further, please feel free to email me at

What To Expect From Coaching

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This can be split into 2 parts; what you will be expected to have for coaching, and what to expect from coaching.

1. What you will be expected to have for coaching:

– A headset
– PokerTracker/HEM (or similar tracking software)
– Time to play
– The ability to think and be open minded

2. What to expect from coaching:

– To gain a greater grasp on concepts
– Increased profitability
– Ability to plan through hands, hand read better, and bet-size

*Please do not expect to become a top-tier player overnight*

While every student comes with their own background, strengths, and weaknesses, it’s not plausible to believe that any player can become a top-tier player after one session (no coach can truthfully offer this). Coaching is a way to detect leaks, patch them up, and increase knowledge overtime. Now certain players will need less time than others to get to their “goal-level” (the level they wish to get to with the help of coaching), but 1 session usually is nowhere near enough. Be prepared to learn the intricacies of the game, increase knowledge in all areas, and become a winning full-ring player!

If you have any questions, or wish to set-up a coaching session, please feel free to email me at

First Poker Coaching Session

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The first coaching session with me is a very busy one. We will go for 1 hour, and it’s basically me trying to get a better picture of you as a poker player. We will review your PokerTracker/HEM, both in terms of stats and how you use your HUD, your general play-style, and talk a little bit about yourself so I understand your goals in poker. This is the only session where I 100% would like to ghost you for a small session. I like to watch you play for about 20-40 minutes, just so I can see some real-time thought process. This alone will generally give me a good idea on types of learning sessions that need to happen in the future.

As with any type of learning, there will be homework. Don’t worry, it’s not hard! I like to begin all sessions with a 3 hand review and general review of the last coaching session. So really, your only homework is to play poker and remember a few hands (see, not that bad, right?). This is a general overview of how I do the standard first session (obviously it can be re-worked if you feel something else would work better for you). If you have any questions, or wish to set-up a coaching session, please feel free to email me at

Poker Coaching Application

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If you are interested in poker coaching from me, please copy/paste this info into the message below and fill in the blanks. This process saves us time and helps me know a little more about you and your situation. I look forward to working with you!

1.) Name

2.) Location (I don’t need your house address, just general location)

3.) Poker Background (Years playing, stakes, style, etc)

4.) Poker Goals

5.) Availability (when coaching sessions would be best for you)

6.) Any leaks you know of?

7.) General PokerTracker/HEM stats?

8.) What would you like from coaching?

9.) How do you think you would learn best from coaching? (ghosting, lessons, getting ghosted, etc)

10.) How did you hear of me?

11.) Any other information you’d like me to know?