Find out which poker training site is the best on the internet
This is InsidePoker’s second poker training site group test. Back in February 2008 CardRunners took the crown, so we’ve included them again as the standard that all other training sites will be measured against.
Since our last test, CardRunners has merged with another training site – Stox Poker – and gone through a redesign, making the site easier to navigate. Much as online poker evolves at a faster pace than live poker, so training sites have had to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to poker instruction.
Daniel Negreanu’s Poker VT (virtual training) site is indicative of a trend of training sites trying to offer something different to compete in an almost saturated market. In fact, in the last three months two new sites – PokerSwat and Poker News – have been launched.
All this competition is in one way good for the consumer as there is an ever-expanding pool of resources to tap into. However, at the same time it becomes impossible to access it all.
While it’s not necessary to be a member of all the major players in the training site arena, it’s certainly worth considering joining a couple. Most sites offer a free trial and the prices, after the initial sign up fee are very reasonable. Also the roster of talented online players attached to the sites means that the monthly fee for membership pales into insignificance compared to the value of the information you can gain.
INSTRUCTOR PROFILE – TAYLOR ‘GREEN PLASTIC’ CABY
The 24-year old finance graduate is one of the co- founders of CardRunners and despite only playing poker seriously since 2003 is one of its most respected instructors. In two years, Caby went from playing low-limit ring games to beating the $ 50/$ 100 no-limit tables consistently. His specialist game is heads-up no-limit hold’em.
Using their ‘dashboard’ system CardRunners homepage is definitely easy on the eye and all areas of the site are easily accessible. The main branches – such as videos, forums, blogs – could perhaps benefit from drop down menus, although it’s clear they’ve decided against this to reduce the clutter on the home page.
Perhaps the biggest draw to CardRunners, apart from the video material, is the blogs that can be found on the site. All members of Team CardRunners host their blogs here, with the most popular being those by Brian Townsend and Ryan Daut. There’s also a forum and a chat room.
Of the roughly 900 videos on the site, some 721 are of the no-limit hold’em variety and around 620 of the 900 are cash game videos. However, the balance is being addressed and there is still plenty here for sit&go players and multi-table tournament specialists. Finding what you want is a breeze, the 15 most recent videos are listed on the video homepage and a preview of the week’s schedule is at the top of the page. As well as content from team CardRunners members such as Taylor ’GreenPlastic’ Caby and Cole ‘CTS’ South, guest pros such as Isaac Baron, Jeff Garza and InsidePoker’s Phil Shaw ensure content quality is high. There are lecture style videos, sweat sessions, videos using the CardRunners replayer and ones where CardRunners pros review subscribers’ hand histories. Content can be streamed online or downloaded to be played at your leisure.
Still as strong as ever and looking more impressive by the month. Due to the diversity of the content, if you’re only going to join one site we’d recommend CardRunners. Leading the way for poker training sites.
Pros: A wide range of videos covering all game types
Cons: Feedback on the videos is sometimes slow
Price : 24hr pass $ 17.99 Gold Member: $ 99.99 (sign up fee) + $ 27.99 a month
10/10 best for all round poker training.
INSTRUCTOR PROFILE – DANIEL NEGREANU
Poker VT’s founder and lead instructor is also one of the most famous pros in the world. The Canadian superstar is as comfortable playing in huge multi-table tournaments as he is in single table high-stakes affairs. Negreanu is a keen exponent of the small-ball style of poker and it’s a strategy that has won him over $ 10m in tournament winnings and four WSOP bracelets.
While there are only four main sections to the site and it’s easy to navigate between them, there are many sub-sections and loading times can sometimes be a problem. Having said that, it is a slick site.
There isn’t a whole lot besides the instructional material itself. There’s a series of Q&A’s with those who’ve provided video material and also the N-SPAT (Negreanu-Swayne Poker Aptitude Test) – a quiz which rates your game and enables you to track your progress. There’s also a games section to sharpen your skills.
For the most part the way the material is presented on PokerVT is different than any other site. The instructor appears in front of you, talking you through the lessons. There are four main sections, two of which are dominated by the ever-watchable Negreanu himself. There is Daniel’s custom course on hold’em which in-hand analysis contains his small ball philosophy. Then there’s Negreanu’s hand analysis section – the best thing about PokerVT. Here there are real-time thought process videos (each around seven to ten minutes long) where real life, live hands are played out with all the participants wearing microphones and headphones and sharing their reasons for their actions. Negreanu also breaks down classic hands.
The training modules cater for beginner, intermediate and advanced players. For online players there’s a dedicated section containing material from Annette Obrestad (she also talks through hands from the 2007 WSOPE and her blind MTT win), Adam Junglen, JC Alvarado and Justin ‘BoostedJ’ Smith. Lastly there’s a section on the mathematics of poker, with Professor Charley Swayne talking you through complex hold’em maths.
The majority of the material is aimed at beginners or advanced beginners rather than pros or intermediates and is also likely to be more use if you divide your time between live and online play rather than solely online.
Pros: Material is fun to watch and easy to digest.
Cons: Loading times are annoying, fairly new site so not masses of material.
Price: Sign Up fee: $ 149.99
Monthly: $ 29.99
7/10 best for in-depth hand analysis.
INSTRUCTOR PROFILE – JAY ROSENKRANTZ
The fact that Jay ‘pr1nnyraid’ Rosenkrantz took a $ 585k pot off Patrik Antonius in July should alert you that he is one of the biggest winners in the history of online poker. A co-founder of acclaimed training site DeucesCracked.com
While you can quickly ascertain how to navigate around the site, doing that in itself isn’t particularly easy. There’s not a whole lot of information on each page and trying to find an article or series of videos can take multiple clicks.
Has perhaps the best extras of any training site with not only the standard forums and blogs but also a coaching section. Here, both the high profile coaches and other Deuces Cracked members offer coaching, at a price of course.
Deuces Cracked is almost exclusively a cash game training site. The good news is that they’ve got some of the best cash game players doing the teaching. Those familiar with online high-stakes cash games, or anyone who reads twoplustwo, will recognise the names Joe Tall, Vanessa ‘fslexcduck’ Selbst, Jay ‘pr1nnyraid’ Rosenkrantz and Emil ‘Whitelime’ Patel. Another contributor to the site is Tommy Angelo, author of the excellent poker resource Elements of Poker.
The videos themselves are definitely geared towards intermediate and advanced players and those players at $ 1/$ 2 no-limit and above will benefit most. There’s a vast array of teaching materials from standard real-time videos, classroom style lectures and sweat videos between two or more participants.
It’s not just hold’em that’s covered either with plenty of material on Omaha, stud and razz. Deuces Cracked specialises in series dealing with different games and addressing different areas of strategy – for example, the Joe Tall hosted Saddle Up is a series on H.O.R.S.E. looking at game transition and hand ranges. The videos are largely driven by viewer feedback and develop from suggestions on what the pros should focus on.
RSS feeds are available and all one-table videos can be downloaded and viewed on an iPod or similar.
If you’re a competent cash game player and are looking to take your game to the next level then there’s no doubt that this is the site for you. Superb instruction from some of the best in the business.
Pros: Lots of content covering all types of cash games
Cons: Some of the videos are very, very long.
Rating: 4 stars
Price: Yearly: $ 278.40. Half-Yearly: $ 147.90
Monthly: $ 29.00/month
8/10 best for extras and coaching.
INSTRUCTOR PROFILE – DANI ‘ANSKY’ STERN
The 21-year rising star is one of the key names in the PokerSavvy+ stable due to his high stakes play. However, his presence would be justified solely on his reputation as a voracious twoplustwo poster. Stern is renowned for his well-considered opinions on everything from strategy to the state of cheating in the game. One of his posts was even called out as ‘post of the year’.
A very well designed site that is easy on the eye and simple to navigate. A great template that other sites could learn from. It’s simple to find what you want, when you want.
Blogs, articles, a forum and community events such as member tournaments and freerolls form the backbone of the extras on offer from PokerSavvy+. Regular contributors to the articles section include Mike Matusow and the forum has clearly defined areas for video feedback.
PokerSavvy+ has a well-balanced library of cash and tournament videos. Those providing tournaments videos include Justin ‘WPThero’ Rollo, Tony ‘Bond18’ Dunst, Christian ‘charder30’ Harder and Tom ‘LearnedfromTV’ Chambers. Their cash game offerings are not too shabby either, with Dan ‘Ansky’ Stern, Isaac Haxton and Mike Matusow providing some strong content.
All the videos are labelled either beginner, intermediate or advanced giving you a good idea of what to watch depending on where you’re at. As well as having a diverse range of videos each video’s description is comprehensive. Members are guaranteed five new coaching videos every week.
Apart from your standard four tabling tournament offerings there are some great series of videos such as one where all the hole cards are exposed and another focusing on moving up the limits.
We were thoroughly impressed by what they have to offer. Their instructors are not just good players, but good teachers too. Yes – even Matusow.
Pros: No sign up fee
Cons: Fewer videos than some of the other sites
Price: $ 24.95 per month
9/10 best for site design and template.
Yet again CardRunners comes out on top although its clear that the others are closing the gap. While other sites may do some things better, across the board there’s simply no other poker training site doing it all as well as CardRunners.
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