There was a lot of discussion this year about the WSOP final table players getting coaching. If you already invest time and energy into coaching, this makes 100% sense to you. If you’ve never considered taking poker this seriously, this may seem like an abstract idea. It’s a game of cards, right? You are dealt 2 cards, some betting happens, sometimes you see 5 community cards, etc. Who needs coaching for that?

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The truth of the matter is that poker coaching can be an extremely valuable endeavor, and even moreso for the final table of the WSOP where millions of dollars are on the line. One misstep or bad play can send you to the rail and you’ll miss a likely once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for financial independence and permanent notoriety in the poker world. So what does coaching entail?

Traditional poker coaching involves a student and coaching working 1-on-1 to find leaks, fix leaks, and improve everything from fundamental to advanced strategic elements. But for an event like the WSOP final table this coaching can be much more intense. Often times there will be multiple coaches involved and concepts will range from the very mathy (solving Nash equilibriums for HU play) to the mental side of the game. It was said that in previous years one of the final tablists set up training sessions where coaches would model each player at the table, current chip stacks, and they’d mock up the final table play every day. This kind of coaching, coupled with in-depth analysis from the world’s best coaches, is invaluable and allows a player to feel much more confident when the big day comes.

This year, Jorryt van Hoof was said to have 2 coaches, a strategic coach and a life-style coach. In my opinion this is the best bet. A strategic coach helps you fix your own leaks, find and exploit the leaks of others, and get the mathematical elements of tournament poker ingrained. A life coach is going to help you manage the stress, improve your diet/routine to maximize happiness, and ultimately help you play your best when the time comes. The combination of these two coaches is extremely powerful and I think a must-have for such a special occurrence.

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You may also be wondering how this works. 1.) Get $10k. 2.) Run like God for 7 days and finally make it to the final table. 3.) Get a coach. 4.) Ship millions. Easy enough, right? Completing step 2 is the toughest, but after that getting a coaching is pretty simple. Sometimes coaches/camps will contact you and offer their services. The normal deal in such a situation is usually coaching and training for a % of your winnings. And coaches that you’d want to help you between July and November would usually charge $300+/hr, this can easily turn out to be a good deal for both parties.

Other times you may need to reach out to a coach. Here is what you are looking for:

  1. Proven track record of winning in MTTs
  2. Solid ability to teach strategy (the best players aren’t always able to effectively teach their strategy)
  3. Ideally someone who has been in a similar position before so they can help you manage elements such as stress, post-win opportunities, etc.
  4. Someone with a lot time to give you between July and November

This isn’t to say that coaching is necessary for every final tablist. If you are already a world-class player and already discuss high-level poker other similar level players, you don’t need formal coaching. But if you managed to luckbox your way to the final table, coaching would likely help a ton. Think of it this way, if your confidence is higher, your stress will be lower, and you’ll have one less hurdle when the cards are in the air. And remember, a good mental coach can go a long way when it comes to preparing for such an experience, so consider getting one of those as well!

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