To be the best at anything in life, learning from the best is usually a pretty good start. Unfortunately, we don’t always have access to these individuals. Imagine firsthand being able to learn golf from Tiger Woods, basketball from Michael Jordan, or football from Tom Brady.
Well, Doug Polk is their equal in the poker world. Fortunately for the aspiring poker player, he has a poker training site called Upswing Poker and the Upswing Poker Lab is where he fills you in on all of the poker strategies he uses to crush his opponents!
A common theme amongst poker pros/savants/experts in their respective fields is that they don’t always translate into great teachers. After taking Upswing’s Poker Lab Course we can unequivocally say this isn’t the case.
Doug Polk and Ryan Fee take you through their course from beginning to end, starting with most basic of concepts, systematically putting one more tool in your poker arsenal at a time all the way through to the most advanced concepts. This course alone can take a complete amateur poker player and turn them into a crusher almost overnight.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Who are Upswing Poker
- 2 Poker Lab Modules
- 3 Upswing Poker Lab Core Strategy
- 4 Upswing Lab Advanced Strategies
- 5 Other Upswing Lab sections
- 6 Upswings Hand Chart Viewer
- 7 Upswing Poker Lab Cost ($25 off with this coupon code)
- 8 Upswing Vs Other Poker Training Sites
- 9 Poker Lab Testimonials
- 10 Closing words on Upswing Poker Lab Review
Who are Upswing Poker
Not only do you get to learn from Doug Polk, but also his Upswing business partner and fellow poker crusher Ryan Fee. They are pokers version of Lennon and McCartney.
Upswing’s course is a comprehensive guide that is a combination of the skills they have both attained over countless hours studying in the lab and on the felt crushing the highest nosebleed stakes possible both live and online.
In this review, we are going to specifically review Upswing’s Poker Lab. Upswing also offers excellent courses on PLO, Tournament Poker, Heads Up Mastery, and Mixed Games if that is your forte.
The Poker Lab is going to be the best starting point for your Average Joe, or anyone simply trying to improve their No Limit Hold’em Poker game. The nice thing about the Poker Lab is it also has a section that brushes up on Tournament Strategy. Basically, you will be getting a little bit of everything with this course. This course is guaranteed to create a well-rounded poker player.
Let’s take a deeper look at what you can expect to find in the Poker Lab
Poker Lab Modules
The course is broken down into 6 Modules meant to be consumed in this order:
- Lab Core Strategy
- Advanced Lab Strategies
- Live Poker
- Plays And Explains
Let’s take a look at what you get in each module…
Upswing Poker Lab Core Strategy
Upswings Poker Lab is awesome because it starts with the basics and progressively works its way up to the more advanced concepts. Each concept builds upon the next. The course is formatted in a way that is easy to navigate and follow. You can easily go back and rewatch segments, or easily skip ahead if you already find yourself competent in certain areas.
In this module alone you will find 27 Video Lessons with corresponding text covering each topic. Let’s take a look at what exactly this module covers…
Terminology – This is going to be a section mainly for new players, but is good for even the most advanced player to brush up on. Here you will learn all of the essential terms from the various positions on a poker table, to the various kinds of bets and more.
Matrices – Knowing what a hand matrice is and how to properly use one is HUGE! A large part of being a winning poker player is properly ranging your opponents on hands. A hand matrice is how we build and visualize these ranges. Here Doug will teach you how to understand a Hand Matrice and how to properly apply it.
Ranges – This is a perfect example of how Upswings course pieces itself together like a set of building blocks. Once you have a good grasp and visual of what a 40% BTN opening range is, for example, we can then start to construct our opponent’s range of potential holdings. In this section, Doug will show you how to properly apply this in game. He also delves into some more advanced range concepts such as Capped Ranges, Polarized Ranges, Linear Ranges, and Merged Ranges.
The Four Categories – This particular concept is a staple and unique to Upswing Poker. It is a great example of Doug Polk and Ryan Fee’s genius and a brilliant way to simplify every spot you’re in at a poker table. As you can imagine by the title, they break down all of the holdings in your range into Four Categories, with a general guideline on how to proceed with each categorical hand.
It really brings what you have already learned up to this point full circle, as your hand is going to be categorized by some of the basic terminologies:
- Value Bet – A hand to be bet or raised to increase the money in the pot for value
- Check/Call – Hands not strong enough to value bet, yet too strong to fold. These are hands we either check back the flop with or check with the intention to call a bet
- Bluff – Hands not good enough to call with, but make sense as a bet or raise to make our opponents fold a better hand
- Air – Hands so weak we check with the intention of folding to an immediate bet
Doug will give you examples of each categorical hand and examples of their application in game.
These are just 4 of the 27 topics covered in this module alone. The remaining 23 Topics include:
Concepts, Preflop Introduction, Raise First In(RFI), Raise First In(RFI) vs. 3 Bet, Playing vs a First Raise In(RFI), Deviating From the Charts, Postflop Introduction, Betsize, The Value of Position, Single Raised Pots as the PFR, Single Raised Pots as the PFC, 3 Bet Pot as PFR, 3 Bet Pot as PFC, SRP as PFR on the Turn, SRP as the PFC on the Turn, How to Play the River, Ranges Quiz, Game Elements, Bankroll Management, Game Selection, Software, Mental Game, Tilt and Mental Biases
Once you get through all of these sections in the Poker Lab 101, you still have 5 modules to go! Talk about a wealth of content!
Upswing Lab Advanced Strategies
Upon completion of the core modules, you can move onto the advanced strategies which will add higher level thought to your poker game.
Poker is a complex and as a result is very difficult to teach but in my opinion (particularly as the topics become more sophisticated), Doug and Ryan have done an excellent job in taking difficult concepts and making them easy to digest.
Some of the advances strategies covered in this module are shown below. My favourites are definitely the first set of lessons “How To Play Flush Draws” (as you get 20 easy to follow rules which make playing flush draws MUCH easier) and the overbetting lessons.
Overbetting is my go-to strategy that I found helped me exploit a lot of unsuspecting fish and regs – Doug explains the topic very well and I love his analysis of the 5d3d hand where he gets owned making a 4x overbet shove on the river by a light call down (both players actually played the hand really well).
There are 11 modules in total plus a downloadable resource section which adds up to quite a lot of content for you to sink your teeth into.
Other Upswing Lab sections
The 4 other are the following:
- Multi-table tournaments where you get an intro to playing tournaments, starting hand ranges, ICM and play an explain tourney hands. Good starter pack for anyone who wants to play tournaments but won’t turn you into a crusher in this game type.
- Live Poker where you get play and explain hands, the truth about high stakes poker and the upswing live poker approach. Again, nothing in-depth but enough to get you adjusting to the live poker environment.
- Mini-Courses on hand breakdowns of small stakes play, introduction to being a gangster (red line play), mastering your database and GTO play with Matt Janda (awesome poker player and author).
- Lastly, play and explain videos where you listen to Doug, Ryan and other pros break down their thought process throughout real poker hands. Find out exactly how top players think and analyse hands.
Upswings Hand Chart Viewer
The final part lab is the interactive chart viewer which gives you starting ranges for almost all situations you can imagine. For example, if you wanted to see what hands to raise with first into the pot from the UTG you can select RFI -> UTG which gives you this range:
You can do the same for all positions, as well as facing 3bets from each of the positions, facing raises and cold 4bets. So it practically covers all basis for 95% of the situations you will come across preflop.
I cannot state how handy this is for a new player who has no intuition for which hands they should or shouldn’t be playing. These charts are a great starting base from which to work from.
I walk through the upswing poker lab in more detail in my video review here:
Upswing Poker Lab Cost ($25 off with this coupon code)
When looking at the cost of a poker training site, it is important to think of your Expected Value. One small leak in your game could amount to the cost of Upswings course in losses just over the course of a few sessions. If you can commit to working through all of the content in the poker lab you will exponentially be saving yourself money in the long run and making a great investment in your future.
Upswing offers some different plans, so evaluate which one looks best for your current financial situation and proceed accordingly.
Get $25 off the Lab (monthly, semi-annual or annual) using Upswing Poker Lab discount code “playpoker2”.
Upswing Vs Other Poker Training Sites
As a connoisseur of poker training sites over the years, we can without a doubt say we endorse Upswing Poker here at Howtoplaypokerinfo.com. If you have ever watched any of Doug or Ryan’s YouTube Videos, it is easy to see how passionate and knowledgeable they are about the game of poker. They are extremely dedicated to their craft and very prideful in putting out high-quality content. Doug and Ryan’s resumes speak for themselves and validate the fact that they are well qualified to be your poker coach!
Just this past summer Doug won the $111,000 Buy-In One Drop Tournament in the WSOP 2017 for 3.7 million. Ryan has nearly 3.1 Million in Tournament cashes, and they are both widely regarded amongst the best Cash Game players in today’s game.
As hard as we’ve tried to remain objective and unbiased of our own personal experiences with Upswing, it really is hard to find much wrong with Upswing Poker. Compared to other poker training sites we have used in the past, Upswing doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses. Before you make your decision whether Upswing Poker is going to be the right fit for you, let’s take a look at what a few Upswing students have had to say about the course…
Poker Lab Testimonials
A huge bonus to purchasing The Poker Lab course is that you are also invited to be a part of Upswings private and exclusive Facebook group. Here you can get one on one interaction with Doug, Ryan, and other Upswing team members. I am a member of this group and it is very helpful, especially for new players to the game.
Post your hand histories for review, or any questions and concerns regarding the course and they will be sure to get back to you! It also gives you a chance interact with other Upswing students which can be an incredibly valuable resource in itself.
This post comes to us from Julian, a member of the Upswing Poker Facebook Group…
“I just wanted to say how amazing Upswing Poker is. I’ve been both at Tournament Poker Edge and Run It Once before and both investments paid off for me but you guys are just on another level. I love the systematical approach of the modules rather than giving a bunch of tips in videos on how to play your specific hand. This actually made me understand WHY some of the plays I’ve been already making and that seemed obvious, are actually the best plays, and this way of understanding how the game tree actually works that no other training site came close to before, has given me endless value in the exploitative part of my game. It also blows my mind that two absolute legends of the game take the time to answer specific hand questions here daily. Keep it up, you guys are changing the training site game entirely.
Also, Doug’s Daniel Negreanu references crack me up man, we should definitely all start squeezing K4o more 🙂“
This post comes from an anonymous user of Upswings Poker Lab…
“I must say its pretty satisfying when you take what you have learnt from the Upswing Lab, you apply that new knowledge in game, and it pays off tenfold. Especially when you have deviated from your usual strategies and/or exited your comfort zone in an attempt to play more optimally. It can be a scary thing at first, but thanks to Upswing and their awesome material and content I have more confidence in my decision making at a poker table than ever!“
Closing words on Upswing Poker Lab Review
In summary, the Upswing poker lab is a great opportunity to elevate your overall poker game.
The combination of Doug Polk and Ryan Fee have created an awesome course which will make you a well-rounded poker player (once you put the work in – no poker training is a magic pill!).
If you do decide to jump into the poker lab make sure you take advantage of the $25 off discount:
Get $25 off the Lab (monthly, semi-annual or annual) using Upswing Poker Lab coupon code “playpoker2”.
Best of luck on the felt!
Last Updated: 8 April 2018
Our rating: 5 stars out of 5.