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Editorial: The best poker schools anywhere and everywhere

Poker SchoolIf you feel like your poker skills have come to a standstill at the low stakes tables and you're looking for a leg up, fear not: dozens of live and online poker schools are lining up to take your money in trade for their own brand of “secret strategy advice.” If you've done your research (or just some searching) then you know you can get a wealth of strategy and game information totally free from online article sites or even from our own poker school page. Apart from the big names that promote them, what makes these schools so different? And which ones are really worth the price?


Watch out for sites like LeggoPoker which is coached primarily by young online players with no major tournament experience and which relies exclusively on non-interactive pre-taped game videos for its lessons. They'll charge you $30 a month for a lot of information you can get for free.

Similar to LeggoPoker in both credentials and design is CardRunners, a simplistic online-pro run site that is heavy on the traditional video lessons but light on ingenuity. It's got a good reputation but has been slow to update. If you're curious you can get a 24-hour trial for $17.99 (ouch!) or $99 + $27.99 for full member benefits.

DeucesCracked is likewise staffed largely by online pros but fares better in being comprehensive with its teaching tools by offering a wide range of multimedia from classic articles to blogs to podcasts and pro videos. Players can get some one-on-one time with coaches for their posted hourly rate. You can also get good free advice from your peers and frequently from the pros in the widely used game forums. At $29 a month it's the cheapest of the popular online poker schools and probably the best value for beginners.

PokerVT is notably helmed by Daniel Negreanu and features “virtual training” with real-time analysis from Negreanu, pro-designed strategies, interactive training modules and poker math tutorials followed by in-depth aptitude tests to ensure retention. You can get personal with the coaches in scheduled forum sessions or get some of your cash back in weekly VT bounties. The PokerVT team is a solid mix of big live and online players. Becoming a member will set you back a cool $127.49 for three months, but for once we think it's worth it.


With the right connections and a lot of cash you can get live one-on-one lessons with some of the world's best major tournament players, but for everyday folks who are serious about getting good at poker the World Series of Poker Academy is as good as it gets. You'll get hands-on instruction from big names like Phil Hellmuth, Howard Lederer, Annie Duke, and Greg Raymer and lesser known but likewise successful online pros like Matt Graham. Many of the instructors, including poker math expert Charley Swayne, are shared with Negreanu's PokerVT school.

The school travels the U.S. giving real-time seminars on tournaments, cash games, and advanced strategies. While Las Vegas and Atlantic City are popular destinations for the school, it's also scheduled to visit Indiana and L.A. later this year. WSOP Academy alumni have already posted some encouraging post-school results including 2009 WSOP cashes. The downside? A single seminar will run you $1800-$2200 not including travel, and as of yet there is no European branch.

Unless you can afford to attend the WSOP Academy without crippling your bankroll, we recommend attending PokerVT which offers a similar but significantly more long-term experience at a fraction of the price.



24-Jul-2009, 19:35

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