Online poker isn’t what it used to be a decade or so ago. Back in the day, people could take up poker, put in a bit of work, and they’d already be miles ahead of competition and printing money. As amazing as those days were, we’re way past that era.

At the same time, the poker dream is very much alive, even if not widespread as before. The idea of being able to make money on your own hours, without a boss telling you what to do, and pretty much without having to leave your home is still quite appealing. But, how do you go about pursuing the poker dream in 2018?

If this is a topic you’re interested in, you may have already heard a lot of “horror stories” about how hard is to learn how to win at poker or even that online poker is dead and it is just not worth your while.

I have good news and bad news in this regard.

The good news is that this isn’t quite right – you can still take up poker seriously and make good money off of it. The bad news is that it isn’t nearly as easy as before and you’ll likely need some help to give yourself the best shot at online poker success in 2018.

road to success

Free Poker Resources Aren’t Enough

These days, there really are a ton of free poker resources floating out there. At a first glance, this pretty awesome, as you can learn a lot about the game and really boost your fundamental knowledge without having to spend a dime of your own money.

But, there are also a couple of downsides to it as well.

First of all, if something is free, it means everybody else has access to it as well, so you can’t really hope to gain many insights or a true edge from material that has already become “general” poker knowledge.

Secondly, and this might be even more important, free resources are usually scattered all over the place. So, you’ll find pre-flop charts in one place, 3-bet strategies in another, and then you’ll find a video or two on how to deal with a flop check-raise somewhere else. The problem is, you’d need to have a lot of time and quite a bit of talent to gather all this information from different places and combine them into a meaningful whole. Even if you manage to do it, you might discover that various materials actually contradict one another in some areas.

Investing in Your Poker Career

Paying for one-on-one poker coaching tends to be very expensive and many people are afraid that benefits simply won’t justify the investment. Furthermore, working with a coach requires means that your schedules have to be in sync with one another, and it’s a very real obligation and time commitment you’re making.

Luckily, we aren’t yet at the point just yet where you need to have one-on-one coaching to be successful in poker. Unless you’re someone already posting great results and looking to get involved with really high stakes (which, frankly, if you’re reading this article, you obviously aren’t yet), there is a much more affordable and convenient way to get many of the benefits of personal coaching.

I’m talking about enrolling in poker courses, of course.

These courses offer an organized and methodical outlay of versatile poker knowledge that you can absorb and apply at your own pace. Of course, this isn’t to say that every poker course out there is good, but some of them actually provide excellent value for money, provided you’ll take your time to truly study, internalize, and review what’s being taught.

For example, My Poker Coaching’s Formula for Success offers a tremendous amount of theoretical and practical knowledge presented in a truly step-by-step, organized fashion. The course is meant to take players from being almost complete beginners to solid winners at medium stakes. It covers everything you need to know from understanding when to make a bet, to what sizing to choose, to how to balance your ranges in different situations, to how to exploit weaker players, with plenty of examples for the purposes of practice.

At first, the price of enrolling in poker courses may seem steep, but if you are serious about trying to succeed at online poker, it is really an investment that will produce excellent returns over time.

READ MORE: Our review of My Poker Coaching’s Formula for Success

Is It Really Worth the Money?

One complaint you’ll often hear from people who’ve taken poker courses is that they didn’t really help their game. What you need to understand about serious poker training programs is that they aren’t some miraculous solutions that will instantly turn you into an expert player simply because you spent 10 or 20 hours watching the content.

If you want to get your money’s worth out of taking poker courses, you need to take them seriously, much like you would an academic degree.

Poker education isn’t all that much different to any other type of education. You aren’t paying to become a great player; rather, you’re paying for an opportunity. What you do with that opportunity is entirely up to you.

So, much like university tuition, you need to view the money you’re spending as a means to an end. Most solid poker courses will require a bit of an investment and will provide you with great learning materials, which is really all you can expect. The rest is up to you.

The Poker Dream Is Still Alive

So, while getting started with online poker in 2018 may not be as easy as it used to be in the past, there are still ways for anyone hungry enough and determined enough to become a good player and turn their passion into a money making endeavor.

If you’ve got your mind set to try and succeed, you basically have two options. Either you can invest your time and try to work on building solid strategy yourself, learn to analyze stats, work with solvers, and slowly improve your game or you can enroll in one of many courses, which offer a proven path to success and can save all the time and effort of trying to glean a(n incomplete) poker education from free resources, which may or may not be good.

At the end of the day, to be a winning online poker player and achieve success, you need to be improving faster than you opponents, so be sure to choose a path that fits you best.

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