James ‘SplitSuit’ Sweeney on Poker Training: Building Your CORE and Going PRO on Red Chip Poker

By Paul Seaton
March 15, 2023

Poker training courses differ not only from site to site these days, but within the same poker training specialist a number of different ways to improve your game will exist, too. One of the most popular sites for anyone looking to improve their poker game is Red Chip Poker. Over recent years, they’ve tailored their poker training to reflect the changes in the game.

Red Chip Poker CORE

Working on Your CORE

We’ve already broken down the recently updated Core 2.0 A-Z poker course and to get to the heart of the matter, we spoke to James “Splitsuit” Sweeney, the man behind its creation. The CORE course on Red Chip Poker has an incredible 200 poker training lessons, each of which is tailored to players’ needs.

“The original goal with CORE was to deliver on a request we’d gotten for years: a clear syllabus for learning poker,” says James. The team spent weeks crafting a syllabus and meticulously creating a linear structure for teaching poker knowledge. We essentially threw every concept we could think of at a board, ranked them by difficulty and importance, and got to work building out each lesson.”

The result is that players who benefit the most from CORE are new to intermediate players, because the material is designed to both build and backfill poker strategy.

“Advanced players will get the most from PRO – which does include full access to CORE – but if a player is newer to the game or looking to fix leaks, we highly suggest CORE.”

PRO is definitely the product of choice if you are serious about upgrading your poker game, and to that point you can read our Top 10 Reasons Why Red Chip Poker PRO Membership is worth it.

Red Chip Poker PRO

Helping Poker Players Interact with Learning

The CORE Course is highly interactive and encourages players to put the lessons they learn into immediate practice. Making the course hands-on was an inspiration throughout the design process.

“This was something we were adamant on adding to CORE from the beginning,” James tells us. “One of the most complex aspects of poker is that playing one or two sessions doesn’t offer a great feedback mechanism for specific spots/knowledge. Quizzes acted as a great way to offer players a chance to prove their knowledge of a concept without risking money.”

Red Chip Poker can call on some big hitters to back up their training, with Ed Miller and WSOP bracelet winner Chris ‘Fox’ Wallace both guiding players through lessons in both cash and MTTs. Does James think players will end up choosing one or the other or does the course help players balance both?

“Given that CORE is meant more for new to intermediate players, we tend to suggest they focus on one: either cash games or tournaments. Both formats are quite different, and trying to learn both at the same time isn’t a great idea. That said, quite a few skills and concepts will transfer between the two formats flawlessly, especially the underlying math.”

Overall, it’s best to pick one format and really dive deep on that, instead of bouncing back and forth between the two, James explains, having himself always adored cash games.

“I prefer the additional stack depth that cash games offer as I think the dynamics are far more interesting,” he says. “I also love the flexibility that cash games offer. With a tournament, you might play 20 minutes before busting, or multiple days if you run deep. My schedule between work and family just doesn’t allow for that, so cash games just check all of my boxes.”

James Sweeney

Visualizing Improvement

The Red Chip Poker CORE training package isn’t just great value with so much included for the price, but the user interface is really clean. With 95% of poker players being male. We wondered whether Red Chip Poker catered for the adage that men prefer visual stimuli when putting CORE together.

“That’s interesting, as I’ve never thought about the visual component from a male vs. female point of view,” James admits. I just think clear and clean graphics are important for helping someone be able to follow content more easily. We spent a lot of time working on the art style and UI/UX and we are still making tweaks to flatten as many barriers to access for students.”

Hand analysis is easy to do once anyone actually starts, but many players leave this until last. The CORE course specifically helps those who struggle to dive into this area of self-improvement.

“Most players struggle with hand analysis for a variety of reasons. Just a few of them are:

  • They don’t have the prerequisite knowledge to analyze a specific spot yet.
  • They didn’t write their original hand down very well. (GIGO)
  • They don’t have a community to bounce with and get lost in their own head.

With CORE, we put the HH deep dives later in the structure to ensure the student had enough prerequisite knowledge to analyze a hand well. And the HH lessons also have links to related concepts for additional study or review.”

CORE also caters to anyone who wants to improve how they write down the poker lessons they learn, how they save them for later analysis, and this is especially important for any player not having tracking software to do this work for them. They also have a very busy group where students can interact with each other.

“Our Discord is quite active with over 4,000 members and players analyzing hands regularly. So even if you get stuck while reviewing a hand, or just want a wider range of opinions on a spot, the Discord group is the perfect place to do that.”

Red Chip Poker CORE

Looking to the Future of Poker

Adapting to each new poker era, such as GTO play, is vital to any poker training business. Push/fold and range charts are nothing new, but with the recent changes to poker, has this meant a full overview change or just weeks to this side of the CORE content of the course?

“Over the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of effort making updates to CORE, especially as it relates to both ranges and also GTO content.” Describes James. “For instance, we added a totally new level to the beginning of CORE to help players develop solid preflop ranges. And we’ve also created our GTO Ranges App as a by-product of this work.”

READ MORE: Red Chip Poker GTO Ranges App Review

Red Chip Poker are currently conducting their own annual review, which will allow them to revamp, update, and upgrade content focused on GTO findings. CORE was built from the beginning in such a way that they could continuously update the material to ensure it doesn’t become outdated. It’s a plan that is helping so many players improve, which James tells us is still the biggest plus of all.

“I’m most proud of the team for launching CORE as it was a huge undertaking, in both time and money. But I’m also quite proud of the students that we consistently hear from that have directly leveraged things they learned in CORE into actual success at the tables. Hearing that players who have struggled for so long have quickly turned the corner and are now more confident in their good decision making – that always puts a smile on my face!”

You can purchase CORE now, or if you’ve completed the CORE Course via Red Chip Poker, then maybe it’s time to go PRO.



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Paul Seaton poker author
Written By.

Paul Seaton

Paul Seaton has written about poker from all over the world, and has interviewed the most well known poker players in the world in the pursuit of the perfect poker stories. Having worked events such as the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour, Paul has worked as Editor of BLUFF […]

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