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Pros and Cons of Drag The Bar vs Other Training Sites

lets improve Drag The Bar

As some of you know, I am a poker affiliate as well as a pro player. Sometimes I have to do research on other websites, search terms, etc. Recently I was thinking about updating our information on online poker-training websites and I thought I would check out existing articles on the web first, to see what opinions were already floating in the ether. I found many quality pieces, but one that jumped out at me was this piece written by HowToPlayPokerInfo. HtPPI rates over a dozen sites in their article, and squarely in last place on their list is Drag The Bar. I decided I'd blog about this and explore their analysis, contrast it to my own, as well as perhaps highlight some ideas about how Drag The Bar can improve their offerings and Make Drag The Bar Great Again!

First a Little History

Drag The Bar is one of the longest standing poker training websites in existence. Hunter Bick and Dusty "Leatherass" Schmidt were instrumental in getting DTB to excel and thrive in the early years of the training website era.

No doubt Hunter's presence and participation across the web in popular forums as well as Dusty's popular books on How to Treat Poker Like a Business were great at bringing brand recognition and awareness of DTB. Then, additions of popular coaches like BlackRain79, hotjenny314, and Stosh McConnell really helped cement DTB's position as a top tier training authority.

However, as the years wore on, over 4 dozen poker instruction websites came into being. This dilution of the market caused inevitable failure of many sites and less market share for those who could remain standing. Ultimately, DTB's Hunter Bick, having close ties to Winning Poker Network (remember, Dusty Leatherass is a sponsored pro there), sold Drag The Bar to WPN. In a bold and surprising move WPN did away with the paid poker training model and made all content on DTB free for the masses. This was great, for a time at least

Unfortunately, and this is just my assumption here, a free training site with no profit motive is not fully staffed or cared for. As some of you may know, I am the forums moderator and chief spam zapper. Let me tell you, this site was overrun with spam. It is my opinion that it got so bad that it choked off real discussion and lead to a mass exodus from the forums. Once the forums died off because no one could get questions answered (they were never seen due to the rampant spam) DTB fell by the wayside even more.

I would like to see that fixed.

Lets Start With the Positives

DTB has a lot going for it. First and foremost, it is freaking free! Training sites have a wide range of pricing. Some are very cheap or free like $3 a month at Poker Warmup and free like Drag The Bar. On the other hand, as some of you may painfully be aware, sites can be quite expensive. For example, sites like PLOQuick Pro are $500 to join, although you will receive lifetime access. Even worse, there are sites like My Poker Coaching who are 59 euros... A MONTH!

Now arguably, a site charging $500 a month produces more content, and has perhaps pros who are more en vogue and currently basking in the limelight of poker stardom. But many of us can't afford such crazy prices. Which leads to a second point, Drag The Bar still has some great coaches.

Earlier I mentioned Stosh McConnell and hotjenny314. They both still regularly produce content for DTB. For example Stosh just released his 64th video, one in which he plays NLHE cash at America's Cardroom. Hotjenny314 is Katie Dozier, aka the wife of Collin Moshman. Sometimes he sneaks into DTB and records a video on her account, like this recent video involving SNG 2.0 games, lots of post-flop play, and quite a few hero calls.

I suppose another pro would be that supporting DTB is essentially supporting WPN. If you like WPN, and the huge tournament overlays they endure on a weekly basis, then being a member of DTB has some small synergistic effect.

Now on to the cons...

Lets assess them how the article I cited before rates the sites it reviews. They assess the following qualities:

    • the type of training
    • the activity of their forums/community
    • the quality of video and content
    • how often they produce content
    • how accessible the content is (i.e., downloadable for offline viewing)

Of those I have already stated that I believe Drag The Bar does well enough with the quality of content, at least insofar as the quality of the coaches producing it. I do however think that the quality of the videos is lacking. It seems like sometimes the cards are difficult to read and that is a result of low quality video encoding. I'd like to see that fixed.

The types of training is varied among NLHE and Omaha for the most part. Which makes sense given they are the two most popular games. Sit and Goes and Multi-Table Tournaments are also covered with decent frequency and detail. So I'll go ahead and give them a passing grade here. I do however think that a slight increase in the volume of content could be helpful. I won't complain too much though if that doesn't happen given that DTB is free, so long as the quality issue I mentioned above is rectified.

Activity in the forums and the community is a definite fail. I touched on this above. The forums were overrun with spam. It was bad. I removed thousands of spam posts, and I wasn't the first to take a crack at it, just the most thorough! However, now that that is done, there are a few sparks of life in the forums. Not a lot though. Definitely not enough. We need more interaction at DTB. Hopefully those of you that read this will be inspired to sign up for and participate in the DragTheBar Forums. I will do my best to help with posts and encourage more posting as well. With just a little effort, I think we can revitalize the community. Oh yeah, commenting on videos and letting DTB know what you liked and disliked would also be quite helpful.

How accessible is the content? Well, not as accessible as it needs to be. The content is still flash based. Which is an issue for Chrome users since the browser doesn't have native support for Flash. This can be rectified with the proper plugins or even swapping to a different browser. But Internet users on the whole do not like to download things like that or to deviate from the browsers they are comfortable with. They just expect things to work! I think DTB could do a better job of informing players of how to make flash work on Chrome. I also think that DTB could simply find a new way to embed the videos. HTML5 perhaps?

HtPPI's Cons

I'm not the only one who found fault with DTB's current situation. Here are some thoughts from the article that inspired this post. I'll just quote it in their own words:

    • As a new player, it is difficult if not impossible to know which videos to watch or learn next when the content isn’t organised into a course or series format. There are over 1500 videos dating all the way back to 2009 so one could easily get lost in all of this poker content. There are content filters but they still return an overwhelming amount of content.
    • In order to watch the videos, you have to turn on flash player. Apple moved away from flash as early as 2010 and Google sees flash as a ‘major hindrance’ for good design and web usability. It’s unclear why they are still using flash player in 2018.
    • Overall the site is little clunky, loads slowly and need some tender love and care.

Parting Words

As you can see, they share many of the concerns I do. This website is not beyond redemption though. It just needs some more love. I hope the owners of DTB will take this to heart.You probably feel similarly to what I do. But hell, maybe you do not. Either way, I invite you to join me in the forums to discuss this and make suggestions and/or to post comments on this blog post doing the same.

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