If you’re not familiar with it, 2CardsCollegeis the largest poker school in the Russian-speaking part of the world. Currently, the school regularly trains over 150 students. You might have seen a link that says “Poker School” on the top of our site. Well, it goes straight to 2CardsCollege.
2CardsCollege is now launching on the global market with such renowned coaches as PocketFivers Apestylesand Assassinatoon its roster. PocketFives talked to the founder of 2CardsCollege, Ivan, who is better known as tannhauseronline.
Ivan started the interview by reminding us, “The times when you could make money in MTTs without working on your game are gone.” So, how do you go about working on your game?
PocketFives: How can a player keep up with new trends?
Ivan: Poker is very dynamic and the play of the “field” changes quickly. What worked well half-a-year ago may not work at all today. One must constantly change their game and adapt it to the new conditions. In the recent past, tournament players who used Flopzilla or ICMizer were way ahead. Today, we are teaching that players starting from an ABI of $10 and top MTT players use CREV as much as cash game players do.
PocketFives: Why do players who used to win consistently stop beating the game?
Ivan: You can very often observe how a player who used to beat the field with an ROI of 40% suddenly starts losing or struggling. This is a reality. I personally know a few top regulars who have played a lot and managed to maintain an ROI of greater than 35% at high limits for several years now. They all have one thing in common: they spend a tremendous amount of time working on their game.
There are still players who continue to win without working on their game. However, this is only a temporary phenomenon.
PocketFives: Can you talk about the pros and cons of existing studying formats?
Ivan: Many believe that studying is just watching a couple of training videos a month, picking around their database once, and watching their friend’s game. This no longer works. It is hard to imagine a professional boxer who “trains” by hitting a punching bag in his bedroom for half-hour a day and jogs in the mornings when he manages to get up early enough. This analogy is not coincidental. All of the best tournament players who make more than $200K a year treat poker as a sport.
The pros and cons of personal coaching:
Pros: a) the player receives the knowledge he needs; b) the player is involved in every phase of training and can ask any question at any time; c) the player picks the time for studying that is convenient for him; d) the player has no obligations to his coach and may stop training anytime.
Cons: a) personal coaching is very expensive and not everyone can afford it; b) it is hard to tell on your own if the coach is actually good; c) it is possible that the player will receive a one-sided point of view on the topics discussed.
Pros and cons of lectures, webinars, videos-on-demand:
Pros: a) low price; b) ability to watch VODs from different players; c) wide variety of the material available.
Cons: a) it is hard to find the material that solves a particular player’s issues; b) you cannot ask a question and receive an explanation; c) language barrier.
Pros and cons of Skype conferences for poker players:
Pros: a) communication with peers; b) division of duties when searching for specific information or making calculations.
Cons: a) generally, there is no organizer; b) low level of quality discussion.
Pros and cons of working solo:
Pros: a) a player inspects his hand history database on his own; b) finding and removing leaks; c) makes his own calculations and digests the obtained information better.
Cons: a) it is easy to pick the wrong topic to study; b) no one can provide you with hints or advice; c) most players do not have enough motivation and discipline to work on their own.
At 2CardsCollege, we have tried to incorporate the advantages of every format of studying. We watch every player and know his strengths and weaknesses and then design the training programs and tournament schedules based on this information.
We arrange lectures from different coaches; a player works with 4 to 10 coaches on average in one year. The players are divided into small study groups based on their level of skill and motivation. Each group has a Skype-based conference supervised by the regular coach. The coach motivates the players, answers their questions, and monitors the quality of hand analysis and discussion.
The players receive homework. The coaches always make sure that it is completed and the results are discussed during the training sessions.
All of that has a monthly price comparable to a single training session with a strong regular. Alternatively, this training is free of charge if it comes packaged with a staking contract.
PocketFives: How much time should a player devote to studying?
Ivan: Studying poker is a complicated process. Not only time and effort are important, but also consistency, correct methodology, and motivation. However, there is a distinct pattern. The more time you spend studying, the more significant the results will be.
PocketFives: Who is 2CardsCollege best suited for?
Ivan: We coach MTT players of different levels: beginners who play low ABI, mid-stakes players, players with an ABI over $40, and anyone who wants to switch to MTTs from other poker specialties.
PocketFives: What are the prerequisites?
Ivan: A player has to have made a profit over at least 1,000 tournaments or 180-man SNGs. Currently, we do not coach true beginners. However, if we gather a substantial number of candidates, we will introduce this as well.
PocketFives: How often are the training sessions conducted and what are their formats?
Ivan: Students get formal training twice a week. The coach assigned to the group conducts the first formal session, which is an intragroup webinar where the students are actively engaged in the discussion. The second session is a school-wide lecture for several groups based on their ABI where players can use chat to ask questions. The students receive homework and are always in touch with their group and the coach via a Skype conference.
PocketFives: How is 2CardsCollege different or better than other training sites?
Ivan: We spend a lot of time designing the coaching team and the training methodology. We always monitor the coaches’ personal results and regularly inspect their graphs. We conduct student surveys asking to evaluate their coaches and conduct informal talks with coaches based on the results.
We hire new coaches, including strong players, who never considered coaching before. We can tell a good coach from a bad one. We also develop our own coaches. Some top students have already started coaching the low-limit groups.
We offer convenient terms of payment. If a person cannot afford paying for training directly, he likely cannot afford moving up in stakes either. We provide both of these opportunities through staking.
Finally, we watch players closely. If someone develops fast, he will quickly move up to another group. We try to give players knowledge, the ability to be part of a strong team, discipline, and motivation.
PocketFives: How long have you been involved in training?
Ivan: Even though our school has only been in existence for one-and-a-half years, I have been involved in training and backing for over four years. As far as poker, I got interested in it about six years ago. I was looking at it as a field with an opportunity to make money and I focused on playing PLO.
I was moderately successful at PLO 200-600. However, at some point I started making more money in my other line of work, so I quit the game as a player, but my love for it did not go away. After a while, I organized a backing fund and started thinking about other projects, which led to the birth of the MTTMarket.com Staking Exchange and 2CardsCollege.