EDIT: Sorry this is so long I'm watching the first World Cup match and just rambling. My bad...
Does anyone else find it quite hard to judge how good your coaches were from an informational perspective?
I've had probably 10 coaches in my career and I can say who's good/bad but most of those judgements comes from how professional they were/how much they wanted me to improve/etc, etc. If you got me to rank them in terms of how good they were at teaching (or how much good stuff the taught me) I'd have a ton of trouble differentiating them. And I think from this is where a lot of the trouble comes from, right now students assess coaches and I think they're really not in positions to accurately do so.
Absolutely right. You can see great examples of this with breathweapon... A guy on 2+2 who said he beat 2/4 for 4 ptbb / 100, but would coach SSNL guys for like $100 / hr. His coaching thread is full of glowing reviews about how he is great, amazing value, did so much for my game........ except then people looked into him and he's actually a 6 ptbb loser at .50/1 NL. Thread here:
Often there's an attribution error here as well. The kind of guy that's gonna pay for coaching is also the kind of guy who is going to work harder on his game than the average player. So you sign up for lessons with breathweapon who sucks and is a fraud and a liar and you get better at poker, wow how is this possible?? It's possible because you actually got better on your own and are mistakenly giving him the credit.
So with that in mind, coaching reviews from players should count only towards those intangibles: he explains things well (whether or not they are wrong things), he's a nice guy, he cares about me getting better.
There are some cognitive biases at work here. The big one I don't remember the name for, but it's basically if you spend a lot of money on something you are a lot more likely to think it's good, even if it's not good. There are a lot of studies confirming this tendency- it's just something your brain does to make you feel better, you're not cognizant of the fact that it's doing it.
Also you admire the guy which is why you hired him in the first place so you're more likely to think well about him.
Otis, would you think Isildur is qualified to coach, being as he's got a negative graph on PTR? (Assuming he's not got any other strikes against him.)
Absolutely 100%. I'd take coaching from that guy all day long. He's made millions on euro sites, just because he hasn't been able to beat Phil Ivey or Jman doesn't mean he's not in the top .1% of players in the world. It's also worth noting that while he is down $$ his PTBB / 100 is positive. PTR is not everything, the guy has an extremely impressive poker resume.
But there's a big difference between isildur and tubasteve. I think it's likely that tubasteve never ever won any significant amount of money at poker. He's certainly never shown any evidence to the contrary, and when I watched vids he made in the past I was kinda shocked at times. Again, sorry to single this guy out but someone started this thread about him so he's our example.
I think people have misunderstood my points here: what I think is the most unethical thing here is selling coaching from people that have been falsely labeled. Bio info should absolutely be more up to date and more thorough to give people a clear idea that they the guy actually has some poker credentials. This isn't done right now because it isn't necessary- people will pay the money and as long as the coach is a nice guy and attentive people will generally think they received value whether they did or did not.
Something like "tubasteve probably never made a lot of money at poker and he doesn't earn any money at poker now but he posted a lot on 2+2 and made a semi-famous name by spending a lot of time talking poker with noobs. Decent MSNL players that have watched has vids are at times totally baffled but on the other hand he is definitely attentive to his clients and they generally really like him." Maybe this bio is unfair, and he killed the games in 2008 for 6 ptbb, if this is the case it should totally be shown too, it counts (and IMO the games weren't aren't soooooooooo much worse now than they were then.) Then you can better decide whether that's worth $90 / hour.
More of a poker resume should be in the bios. With money. And winrates. You can say "Oh I want my privacy", but when a guy is paying me $200 / hr to tell him how to play poker I think my privacy rights should take a back seat. Guys who are crushing the games generally don't have a problem showing some graphs to prospective students. Guys who aren't, and a lot of coaches aren't, obviously scream for their privacy. Screen names don't need to be divulged, any DC higher-up can verify of course. This step alone would eliminate all the major coaching frauds and scams that have ever come out from breathweapon to Jason Ho to many others I'm sure I'm not thinking of.
This vetting is so very important because of the adverse selection problem that you get with coaching.... basically the fact that people who make a lot at poker are generally less interested in doing a ton of coaching, but a ton of people out there that suck at poker see the opportunity to make some long pooh-bah posts, get some internet fans and then make money selling their time. $90 / hour is a lot of money to anyone that can't win at poker.
To be a good poker coach you have to be a good poker player. Good poker players have won money at poker and generally they still do.
I know people take offense to posts like this because there's not a lot of dissent on these forums at all but I really don't think they should be offended- I really think these suggestions could help people do a better job selecting coaches (and I know it's already happened, I've received a lot of PMs here and elsewhere feeding my huge ego and saying I'm awesome) and make DC a better site.