Poker is a mental sport. If you want to get good at most sports, hiring a coach will help you improve. Today though, there are many resources you can use to improve before you need to pay a large hourly for 1-1 poker coaching. There are high-value free YouTube videos. There are training sites where you can pay a monthly subscription fee for access to videos. There are solvers you can purchase for the cost of a few hours of 1-1 coaching. You can reach out to other players at a similar skill level via poker forums and see if they want to collaborate to review hand histories. Before you invest money into 1-1 coaching, you should exhaust other resources first and build up some fundamentals.
You wouldn’t hire a coach having never touched a basketball before. You can watch countless free videos on YouTube on how to improve. Then you can work on the drills you find, play pick-up games at your local gym, and practice. Get some fundamentals down and exhaust those resources before paying the high hourly for 1-1 coaching.
Once you have mastered the fundamentals, it’s almost always worth paying for 1-1 poker coaching. The main reason is that coaching is typically under-priced. You can take what you learn and apply it for the next 5+ years of poker. It doesn’t take many insights from a top player to help you get back the cost over that timeframe.
If you pay $200 for a 90-minute coaching session, you may figure some things out that you implement for your next 5,000 tournaments. If you play a $20 ABI, you will put in $100,000 in buy-ins over these 5k tournaments. To get back your investment, you will need to increase your ROI by $200, which is .002%. So, if you had a 15% ROI, you now require a 15.2% ROI. for that coaching session to be breakeven. You’re then freerolling the information learned for the rest of your poker career.
Now what is critical here is the information you learn in that 1-1 has to be information you were unlikely to get any time soon on your own. If you were a week away from getting that same information for free, then it will end up being -EV. To maximize the chances of your 1-1 poker session being long-term profitable, come to the session with a list of questions you want to be answered by the coach.
It is also worth noting that if you decide to pay for 1-1 coaching, at some point, there are diminishing returns. Your first three sessions with a coach are likely much more helpful and valuable than your 7th or 8th sessions.