Are Training Sites Good For Poker?

Erik Seidel and Taylor Caby join in the big debate

YES: TAYLOR CABY

CardRunners owner and Full Tilt pro
Poker training sites are tools for improvement that anyone who is not playing at the very highest stakes can benefit from. But we would never claim that you can just watch videos and beat poker. Our videos teach you how to think about poker, and that can be very useful.

People say that the training sites make winning at poker more difficult [for established players]. Yeah, they make poker more difficult for people who don’t study or work on their games. But that’s true in any industry. If you don’t continually educate yourself and keep getting better, you’ll get overtaken by people who will.

When people tell me that training sites are bad for poker, what they’re really saying, is that the sites are valuable for players who want to improve. So many people tell me that I am hurting the game, but that’s the kind of thinking that helps our site to grow.

The funny thing is that when I hear people complaining about the information being given out by training sites, the complainers tend to be people who used the sites themselves. Then, helped along by what they learned, they got good, turned pro, and stopped watching the videos. Now they complain other people are getting good.

I think people should stop focusing on whether or not a site is good or bad for the game and start focusing on what they can do to improve their bottom lines. If you think a site can help you, you should join.

NO: ERIK SEIDEL

Eight-time WSOP champion and Full Tilt pro

So many players have given away information that it allows people to develop very quickly without paying their dues. As a result the playing field has become more level and the game has got tougher. It used to be that you got good by playing against the best players, putting in your 10,000 hours, and figuring it out. Now there is an accelerated course where you watch videos. I’ve always been uncomfortable about teaching. The little that you get up front, you cost yourself on the back-end. You have to face the people [that you instructed] and they talk to other people. I find it a mystery as to why world class players are so anxious to give away information that can only come back to haunt them.

The payoff is ego, and [the instructors] become self-promoters. Many of the people who train, teach specifics that you need to apply to given situations. The truth is that the game is much more creative than that. There is no one thing you should do all the time. But a lot of people don’t have the time to learn poker for all its subtlety or they may not have enough intelligence to figure it out. It used to be that players had to make their livings by playing tournaments and side games. Now there is a whole subset of players [whose] game is about promoting  themselves and convincing people that they are great players.

You don’t hear Phil Ivey telling people how great he is and offering advice. He just goes out and plays poker.


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