15 Upswing Poker Coaches and the Skills They’ll Help You Master

By Geoff Fisk
August 27, 2020

Upswing Poker stands as one of the most comprehensive poker training sites available in the modern era of poker. Founded by poker pros Doug Polk and Ryan Fee, Upswing Poker offers extensive study materials on virtually every imaginable poker variant.

The Upswing Lab stands as the main course on the Upswing menu. The Lab offers hundreds of hours of courses on No-Limit Hold’em, from beginning strategy to advanced, solver-based techniques.

Upswing Poker also offers standalone courses on Pot-Limit Omaha, heads-up poker, mixed games, Short Deck Poker, and multi-table tournaments. The training site truly offers everything a player could need to find success at the poker table.

In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at the 15 coaches on Upswing’s roster, the standalone courses and course modules they instruct, and the poker skills they’ll help you master.

Doug Polk

Doug Polk

Study focus: No-Limit Hold’em, Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em, mental approach and mindset

Upswing Lab Modules: Most of the 29 modules included in the Lab Core Strategy section of the Upswing Lab. Topics include: Ranges, Raise First In (RFI), RFI vs. 3-Bet, Playing vs. a Raise First In, The Value of Position, Micro Stakes Bankroll Building, Lab Member Online Cash Review, and several others.

Standalone courses: Advanced Heads-Up Mastery

One of the co-founders of Upswing Poker, Doug Polk established a reputation as one of the world’s best No-Limit Hold’em players before announcing his retirement from the game in 2019. Polk and fellow Upswing co-founder Ryan Fee launched their poker training site in 2016, and since then Upswing Poker has grown into one of the most comprehensive collections of training materials in the world of poker. The Lab Core Strategy section offers hours of video training courses from Polk himself.

READ MORE: Our review of Upswing Poker’s Advanced Heads-Up Mastery

Ryan Fee

Ryan Fee

Study Focus: No-Limit Hold’em cash games, database management

Upswing Lab Modules: Ryan Fee and Doug Polk are your guides through the Lab Core Strategy portion of the Upswing Poker Lab. This section contains 29 different modules, designed to build a solid fundamental No-Limit Hold’em strategy from the ground up.

Fee, a cash-game specialist, also appears in several courses from Beyond Core Strategy, the advanced courses from the Upswing Lab. Fee’s modules in the Beyond Core Strategy section include Mastering Database Software, which is a must-watch for online players.

READ MORE: Our review of the Upswing Poker Lab

Fried Meulders

Fried Meulders

Study Focus: 6-max NLHE online cash games, advanced solver-based poker strategies

Upswing Lab Modules: Graduating to the Beyond Core Strategy section of the Lab introduces you to online cash-game specialist Fried Meulders. Known as “mynameiskarl” on PokerStars, Meulders has a well-forged reputation as one of the best regulars in the PokerStars Zoom 500NL pool.

Those games are some of the world’s toughest, and the training materials produced by Meulders break down the solver-based approach that’s put him in the top echelon of cash game players. Modules include Intro to Solver-Based Strategy, Advanced Pre-flop Strategy, Single Raised Pots Button vs. Big Blind, Single Raised Pots Blind vs. Blind, and four different modules covering 3-Betting strategy.

Upswing Poker could easily offer any of Meulder’s modules as standalone courses, and they’d be well worth the price. An Upswing Lab subscription is all it takes, however, to access eight modules and more than 60 Play & Explains from Meulders.

Nick Petrangelo

Nick Petrangelo

Study Focus: Multi-table tournaments

Standalone courses: Winning Poker Tournaments

Watch any high-stakes poker tournament show from the modern era and you’ll see Nick Petrangelo as a ubiquitous presence. Petrangelo’s live tournament earnings stand at $17.5 million as of August 2020, and that’s not counting his equally impressive online tournament resume.

Petrangelo’s standalone course, Winning Poker Tournaments, offers advanced training for players looking to achieve success in the realm of poker tournaments. Petrangelo teaches you how to use solvers and apply the outputs to build a winning tournament strategy.

Winning Poker Tournaments also comes with pre-flop range charts for six different stack sizes and multiple different strategies.

READ MORE: Our review of Upswing Poker’s Winning Poker Tournaments

Mike Finstein

Mike “Piano Mike” Finstein

Study Focus: Live No-Limit Hold’em Cash Games

Upswing Lab Modules: Mike “Piano Mike” Finstein offers content geared specifically to live poker cash games. The Live Poker section of the Upswing Lab features five modules by Finstein.

Ryan Fee joins Finstein for modules like The Upswing Poker Live Approach, A Deep Dive Into Live Dynamics, and Bayesian Adjustments Live. Members of the Upswing Poker Engage group on Facebook frequently reference Finstein’s modules as some of the most popular in the Upswing Lab.

Alex Millar

Alex Millar

Study Focus: 6-max NLHE online cash games, advanced solver-based poker strategies

Standalone courses: Advanced Cash Game Strategy

Alex “Kanu7” Millar shows a profit of more than $4.5 million in tracked high-stakes cash games on PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Millar’s Advanced Cash Game Strategy course aims to lift your cash game strategy to the next level, using the same techniques Millar used before retiring from the high-stakes scene.

Millar covers topics like GTO vs. Exploitative Strategies, How Hard Should You Exploit?, Theory of Betting, and Frequencies & Sizings in his can’t-miss standalone course.

Jason McConnon

Image credit: Jayne Furman for PokerNews

Jason McConnon

Study Focus: 6-max NLHE online cash games, advanced solver-based poker strategies

Upswing Lab Modules: Single Raised Pots OOP (out-of-position), Check-Raising From The Big Blind, Probe and vs. Delayed C-Bet On the Turn

One of the online cash game specialists on the Upswing coaching team, Jason McConnon crushes the games at stakes up to $100/$200. McConnon’s modules are based on his extensive experience with solvers, and his detailed insights into his own study habits and thought process are a must for players who want to take their game to the next level.

McConnon specializes in breaking down common but complex spots, including big blind check-raising strategy.

Daniel Merrilees

Daniel Merrilees

Study Focus: 6-max NLHE online cash games, advanced solver-based poker strategies

Upswing Lab Modules: Reintroduction to Multi-way Pots, Raising on the River

Daniel “DANMERRRR” Merrilees is yet another online cash-game specialist, and Upswing Lab members get access to the mind of this highly successful mid- and high-stakes player.

Merrilees’ debut module for the Lab, titled Reintroduction to Multi-way Pots, takes a deep look at a button vs. small blind vs. big blind spot, using detailed analysis derived from Monker Solver outputs.

Moritz Dietrich

Image credit: Alin Ivanov for PokerNews

Moritz “Mo” Dietrich

Study Focus: Multi-table tournaments

Upswing Lab Modules: MTT Advanced Pre-flop Guide, Betting on the Flop, Probing from the Big Blind, Check-Calling on the River Out of Position, Check-Raising Flops as the Pre-flop Raiser, How ICM Impacts Your Flop Strategy.

Moritz “Mo” Dietrich joined the Upswing Team in 2018, bringing with him a multi-table tournament resume that includes more than $2 million in cashes.

The addition of Dietrich allowed the Upswing Lab to update the Multi-Table Tournaments section with six new modules, with Dietrich breaking down his tournament strategies over hours of content.

Daniel McAulay

Daniel McAulay

Study Focus: Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em, 6-max NLHE online cash games, multi-table tournaments

Upswing Lab Modules: Heads-Up 101

Much like Upswing founder Doug Polk, Daniel “dougiedan678” McAulay represents the rare kind of poker player that seems to be good at every format.

McAulay grinded out a well-earned name as one of the world’s best heads-up players throughout the 2010s. McAulay’s heads-up prowess is so impressive that he was called on to take on artificial intelligence supercomputer Libratus in a 2017 humans vs. AI heads-up poker challenge.

McAulay has recently taken to studying and playing six-max cash games a multi-table tournaments as well.

David Yan

David Yan

Study Focus: 6-max NLHE online cash games

Upswing Lab Modules: The Art of Simplification

The Upswing Lab’s newest coach debuted with a module titled “The Art of Simplification”. The material in Yan’s first Upswing module focuses on taking complex solver-based concepts and refining them into simplified strategies.

The resulting strategies present a simple yet effective way to approach cash game poker in 2020. Yan is a PokerStars Zoom 500NL winner, and brings that resume to the table for Upswing Lab members.

Dylan Weisman

Dylan Weisman

Study Focus: Pot-Limit Omaha, mental approach, and mindset

Standalone courses: Advanced PLO Mastery

Upswing Poker extensive strategy materials include extensive coverage of games outside of No-Limit Hold’em. Dylan “iheartco0kie” Weisman teaches as one of two Pot-Limit Omaha experts heading up the Advanced PLO Mastery standalone course.

Weisman’s materials include not only in-game strategy, but also a multitude of lessons on healthy mindset and mental approach needed to play poker at the highest level.

READ MORE: Our review of Upswing Poker’s Advanced PLO Mastery

Chris Wehner

Chris Wehner

Study Focus: Pot-Limit Omaha

Standalone courses: Advanced PLO Mastery

Chris “bluffmast” Wehner joins Dylan Weisman as one of the masterminds behind the Advanced PLO Mastery standalone course. Wehner’s study approach comes from his firm status as a cash-game grinder.

Wehner started on the bottom rung on the stakes ladder, but in his career has climbed from $0.01/$0.02 all the way up to his current stakes of $10/$20 and $20/50.

Jake Abdalla

Jake Abdalla

Study Focus: Mixed Games

Standalone courses: Mixed Games Mastery

Jake ““JLlama” Abdalla presents two things on his official Upswing page that pretty much say it all about his poker acumen. One is a PokerStars graph displaying more than $1.4 million in high-stakes cash game earnings. The other is an account of playing Phil Ivey heads-up, and winning.

Abdalla takes his place among the Upswing coaches as the teacher behind the Mixed Games Mastery standalone course. His course prepares you for success at the highest of stakes in the world of mixed games.

READ MORE: Our review of Upswing Poker’s Mixed Games Mastery

Kane Kalas

Kane Kalas

Study Focus: Short Deck Hold’em

Standalone courses: Master Short Deck Hold’em

Kane Kalas’ Short Deck course offers the opportunity to learn poker’s newest popular game variant from one of the best.

Kalas’ standalone course breaks down nine-handed, six-max, and heads-up Short Deck strategy, with a focus on the unique ante-based betting structure used in many Short Deck games.

READ MORE: Our review of Upswing Poker’s Master Short Deck Hold’em



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Geoff Fisk poker author
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Geoff Fisk

Geoff Fisk’s infatuation with poker began as he watched Chris Moneymaker go on his legendary run to win the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event. Geoff took his first shot at online poker in 2006 and continued to grind it out on the virtual tables for the better part of a decade, before taking […]

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