One of the questions we often get asked is, does an online poker school help my game? There's no set answer to this question, because there are so many different scenarios that it applies to.
Certainly there are more online poker schools around now then there have been in years, and more and more we're seeing professional poker players who got their entire schooling on the Internet. So from a social acceptance perspective, it's certainly a methodology that's gaining traction with the public.
But the best way to address the question is to break it down into two more relevant sub questions, and answer those. From there you can draw your own conclusions.
Does an online poker school work?
The first thing to look at is whether the whole concept of teaching poker over the Internet is at all viable. The answer to this is, definitely yes. And we'll explain why.
Really it depends on where you're going to play. Some of the hottest, most exciting and highest stakes poker in the world is currently played on the Internet. In 2008 the online poker press kept reporting that the “biggest pot ever” had just changed hands online. Once the number crept over a million dollars for a single pot, it stopped being news. It became routine.
So, if your intention is to take on the world of online poker, it makes sense to study it online, and learn it from people who play online. Although online poker observes exactly the same rules as traditional land-based Texas Hold'em, it is a very different animal.
The game is faster online than in the “real world”. The time you have to act is typically shorter, meaning you have to stay far more on the ball than you otherwise would. The cards are electronically shuffled and dealt, which gets you new hole cards in seconds.
Plus, you can't see the faces and body language of your opponents. You have to learn everything you can about them purely from their actions, which if you're used to face-to-face poker can feel like a handicap.
There is absolutely nothing wrong or ineffective about learning poker at an online poker school. In fact, it has several advantages that you might not have thought of.
For a start, an online poker school tends to work around your schedule rather than you having to work around its. This means that you learn when you have time to – you don't have to turn up for classes.
Also, the nature of online training means that you learn at your own pace. You won't fall behind a class because it moves at the same speed you do.
The only thing to be careful about is to check out the school thoroughly before you hand over any of your money. Google it a bit, read what people say about it, and find out who runs it.
Will an online poker school work for me?
Well, there's a question. The fact is, any opportunity to learn is good. It really depends on what level of player you are. If you're a complete novice and you're trying to get better, then an online poker school can be just the thing.
You'll be tutored by experienced players, and you'll learn not only basic rules of the game, but also interesting strategies that you may otherwise not have thought of. It'll teach you to look at the game from perspectives you might not otherwise have come across.
Another major benefit of attending an online poker school is that they usually have unlimited free games on offer, either hosted by a tutor or with a couple of Ais. Your fellow students will be playing there too, so the games are most often well attended and lively.
This provides you with a fantastic opportunity to hone and practice your online poker skills before taking on players for real at an Internet poker site.
If, however, you intend to play the majority of your poker in the real world, the benefit you can get from an online poker school is slightly less. You'll still learn stuff, but there's more facets to the game when you play it in person.