The Evolution of Poker Training Resources

This article first appeared in Card Player magazine. For more poker strategy, go to

I own and manage the poker book publishing company, Dimat Enterprises. Between 2003 and December 2009, Dimat published a total of five titles, of which the first three were authored or coauthored by myself. Now, one year later we have published 11 titles and have 12 different authors under the Dimat label. We have at least six more titles planned for 2011. Dimat is just one of many growing companies in the poker training industry which has grown and evolved over the years to meet the demands of poker players.

My interest in poker books really goes back to when I first got the poker bug back in 1998 in Costa Rica. I loved the game and wanted to learn more. But back then, there really weren’t many resources to help you learn the game. Most players basically self-taught themselves which of course made the learning curve much longer. There were a few poker books in the market back then. When I first read The Theory of Poker, I read it like it was the latest John Grisham novel. I couldn’t wait to read what was waiting for me in the next chapter. The book basically gave me a vocabulary to all the things I was learning on my own. I was semi-bluffing without even knowing what a semi-bluff was. I was slowplaying without even knowing that there was a word for it. Players today take these sort of things for granted as you can learn so much faster now by reading poker forums, Cardplayer magazine, poker books, and watching videos.

In 2003, the poker boom was born and the poker training industry exploded with it. First it was the grown of Internet poker forums. TwoPlusTwo and Cardplayer experienced tremendous growth where players could discuss poker with each other. My own website, had over 100,000 monthly visitors in 2004, all driven by the release of a single poker book by the same name.

Next came the extraordinary growth of the poker book publishing business. Publishers and authors developed new resources for the information hungry players around the world. By late 2004, the best-selling poker book of all-time was released, Harrington on Hold’em. It was so popular because it was the first quality poker book on tournament play. No-limit cash games were tackled next. Books started to tackle new topics such as The Poker Mindset and The Elements of Poker. Eventually, we had limit books for newbies, beginners, intermediate players, and even a book titled Winning in Tough Holdem Games.

Poker book publishing has also exploded overseas with international publishers now buying foreign translation right for many titles. Recently, I just signed a deal to have The Poker Mindset translated to Estonian!

But learning about poker didn’t stop with just online forums and poker books. An entire new industry arose with the introduction of online poker video instruction. Pokerxfactor, CardRunners, PokerSavvy, PokerVT, and many others exploded. When I was in college, it was apparent to me that some people learn better by reading books, while others learn better by sitting in lectures. Poker videos appeal to those who prefer to watch and learn from top players while they explain hands played right in front of them.

This entrepreneurial spirit continues today in regards to how people learn about the game. The poker e-book has become an important segment of the poker book publishing industry. Kindle sales now account for around 15% of total book sales at Amazon. The advance of e-book technology also allowed a few companies to create a niche for high-end poker e-books which are sold for hundreds of dollars. This niche market appeals to high-end players who crave information not available to the general public.

I have been working with a new company, Nspired Pursuits, which is taking the poker e-book to the next level. They have released a new app for the Ipad, Poker Coach Pro, based on the content of Dimat’s Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time series. Poker Coach Pro is basically an automated e-book of all the hands from Volume I and II (Volume III will be coming in the Spring). The app is similar to an online poker site where you will see the hands being dealt. As you walk yourself through the hand, you can read the commentary from each author, Rizen, Apestyles, and PearlJammer, as they explain every nuance of the hand. The app is free is try out a few hands, and then customers can buy each Volume for $19.99, sets of hands from specific authors, or just a small sample of hands for as little as $.99. It truly is revolutionary and could be the birth of an entire new way that players learn about the game.

The game of poker continues to evolve, and with it, how we learn about the game as well. In a little under a decade, we have grown from a couple of dozen of books in the market to more than a couple of hundred. We have seen new technologies give rise to new ways that players learn about the game. If you feel like you’ve reached a plateau with your own game, try learning the game from a resource you haven’t tried before or tackle a book of a completely new topic that you’ve never read about.