Where to even start to do Upswing Poker’s Upswing Lab justice? This poker course/membership training site has a ton of content. It is not just your standard 6max cash games learning lessons. I am a member of Upswing Lab myself, and wow, there are a lot of strategies that are available to you.
The Upswing Lab covers training lessons for online cash games, live cash games, MTTs (tournaments), play & explains, interactive preflop charts, a section for newer poker players, quizzes, hand history reviews, lessons on how to study your own database of hands, …
It is suited for players of all skill levels which is super rare it today’s poker training ecosystem.
The Upswing Lab is the best overall poker course. It is an all-in-one poker strategy training course suitable for poker players of all experience levels. It includes strategies on No Limit Holdem 6max cash games, tournaments, live cash games, heads-up, and general poker strategies.
Upswing Poker Lab has a monthly subscription model, with 6 months and yearly options available at a big discount.
Honestly, it has so much content that if you are serious about getting better at poker, I would recommend you take a 6-month subscription at least. And if you are unsure if you will like the content, don’t worry. Upswing Poker has a risk-free, 30-day money-back guarantee.
In a hurry? Here is a quick overview of the pros and cons of an Upswing Lab course:
What the Upswing Lab is
Upswing Poker’s Upswing Lab is a monthly subscription course that includes in-depth strategies on various poker games. Under a single subscription, it covers 6max cash games, live cash games, tournaments, play & explains, and general poker strategy.
It has a huge amount of content, and Upswing Poker smartly decided it makes sense to split that into different learning tracks. Those are structured paths for different poker games:
Below this, you can see the Training Resources section. This includes Play and Explains, Preflop Charts, and Lab Directory:
In a nutshell, I can say that the Lab has:
- Massive amount of poker strategy content
- Covers all No Limit Texas Holdem strategy
- In-depth course
- Suitable for beginners, intermediate, and advanced poker players
- 6max, live games, MTTs, heads-up games
- Almost like an encyclopedia of poker strategy
- Deep enough to bring you to high stakes in poker (if you put in time to learn, of course)
Essentially, it is an ultimate all-in-one poker resource. Any questions regarding No Limit Texas Hold’em poker strategy you might have, you will find an answer here.
What the Upswing Lab is NOT
It is not a “pay once, have access forever” type of course. It is based on a monthly subscription, and in exchange for that, you get fresh content added weekly and a new module each month.
While it goes in-depth, it is not as in-depth as a poker course focused only on live cash games, for example. But the online cash games section covers pretty much everything.
How the Lab is structured
The Lab is structured into different Learning Tracks.
Inside each Learning Track, you can find lessons and modules. Lessons are single videos, while modules are a pack of videos that explain specific parts of the strategy in greater detail.
Below each video, you can find useful video notes.
How to get the most out of the Lab
The course is massive, so knowing how to get the best out of it is important. I would advise you first to choose what type of game you want to learn and choose your learning track.
Then go module after module. If you think that you know a lot already about a specific module, I wouldn’t skip it. Still, at least skim through it; maybe you learn something new.
Make sure to study each module in great detail. If you are fairly new to poker or don’t play higher stakes, then really take time and study the module before moving on to the next one.
Often, theory needs to be applied together with the practical work. Make sure to play some hands after studying the module. When you start to see that you are doing things right, slowly move to the next module. It is not uncommon if you spend a week or more studying just one single module. Sadly, just a one-month subscription will not be enough to skyrocket you to the high stakes.
Go in-depth and really critically think about situations.
It takes the best of players years of learning to get to the highest of stakes, where they put in hundreds if not thousands of hours of learning. Luckily for you, applying the knowledge of just some of the modules will make you much better at lower stakes. And once you climb up, keep learning, as the poker games constantly evolve.
There is so much content that it took me quite a while to think of how to structure this review. In the end, I believe I came up with a good solution.
When you first enter the Upswing Lab, you are presented with a walkthrough video. Below that, you have different learning tracks to choose from:
- No limit simplified
- Live Cash Game Bankroll Booster
- Online Cash Game Crash Course
- Advanced Cash Game Tactics
- Tournament Starter Pack
- Advanced Tournament Strategy
Immediately below, you can find information about the newest module added. Below that is a Training Resources Area. Here you can see all Play and Explains, Preflop Charts, and Lab Directory.
The Lab Directory is where you can see all of the game modules by game type.
Not all of the modules of that game type are included for a specific learning track. Therefore, if you want to learn something specific that is not present in your learning track, you will need to go under the Upswing Lab Directory.
Below that, you can find a button with Upswing Lab Extras (preflop charts, Facebook group, downloadable resources, FAQ, and also see what is recent new content).
And under that, you can find All of the Lab Modules from newest to oldest. Thankfully, you can use the search functionality as there are a ton of modules, and each of them is a few hours.
In total, there are hundreds of hours of videos for you to learn from. Remember, if you aren’t sure about where to start, you can always message email@example.com, and they will assist you.
In this review/guide, I will show you all the different learning tracks. I will also focus on the Upswing Lab Directory, as that is where you can find all of the modules. In The Upswing Lab Directory, I will go into bigger detail of each section and specific modules that I found the most interesting.
But let us start with the learning tracks first:
Upswing Lab Learning Tracks
As you can see in the image, there are several learning tracks to choose from.
Tracks represent a structured learning path that teaches you the skills needed to beat a specific game type.
Each of the tracks is built from existing modules. The Upswing Poker team hand-picked the modules to ensure you are studying the right thing and in the proper order.
Remember, you can find all of the modules for a specific game type under the Lab Directory section if you think something is missing in the learning track lessons.
I kept these learning tracks overview intentionally clean, and if you want to know more about modules and sections of specific game types, scroll down to the Lab Directory overview section, where I go into greater detail about many sections and modules.
1. No Limit Simplified
No Limit Simplified learning track has dozens of modules and more than 20 hours of training videos.
This learning track is meant for people new to studying poker strategy or players struggling at the lowest of stakes. It is my favorite section of the Lab. Simply because I love it when the learning material is tailored toward beginners in poker. Poker is a very complex game, and having simple-to-understand content is crucial at first.
I really like the simplistic approach of The 4 Categories of Hands video. It is crucial for beginners to grasp how poker strategies are formulated and to get into the right mindset regarding the building your poker strategy and the video does just that.
In this learning track, you will have modules that will guide you all the way from complete beginner steps to slightly more advanced, but still beginner-friendly concepts.
There are too many modules to list them all, but some of the most important ones are:
- 4 categories of hands
- Thinking of ranges instead of specific hands
- Raise first in (RFI) and playing against RFI
- 3-bet pots
- Bet sizes
- Bankroll management
- Micro stakes bankroll building
And much more. Here, you are introduced to 4 categories poker strategy, but the section doesn’t end here. There are many videos on how to move on from the basic Four Categories strategy, so it is a perfect starting point if you previously purchased Upswing Poker’s beginner course – Postflop Playbook.
My personal favorite in this section is the module on Micro Stakes Bankroll building by Doug Polk. This module alone has more than 15 videos.
You will learn about how to study and find leaks in your own strategy with the help of tools.
I also found the videos of hand sample reviews on NL5, NL25, and NL50 very valuable.
2. Live Cash Game Bankroll Booster
This learning track will make you a stronger player. You will learn battle-tested strategies that crush live cash games.
Here you can find many modules, with dozens of hours of videos.
The most important modules:
- advanced live poker strategy module
- live dynamics
- lab member live cash hand review
- costly live cash game mistakes
3. Online Cash Game Crash Course
Online Cash Game Crash Course is the beefiest learning track. More than 75 hours of videos will keep your brain busy for months.
Master all of the lessons, and you will become a shark that everyone fears to play against at the tables.
Amongst others, here you can find lessons about:
- advanced preflop strategy
- button vs. big blind play
- blind vs. blind
- probe and delay c-bet
- turn c-bet
- 3-bet, in position, and out of position 3-bettor
- 3-bet as in position and out of position caller
- how to improve with the help of a database software
- PioSolver crash course
4. Advanced Cash Game Tactics
This learning track is intended for experienced and advanced poker players. It will teach you how to navigate complex poker situations. You should finish the Online Cash Game Crash Course first.
The most exciting modules:
- single raised pots out of position
- limped pots blind vs. blind
- donk betting
- Turn C-bet: Overbetting
- Raising on the river
- 4-bet pots
5. Tournament Start Pack
Are you new to poker or new to tournaments?
This learning track will brush up on the fundamentals of poker strategy. if you are a cash game player who wants to start playing tournaments, then this is the learning track for you.
The most interesting Lessons:
- the tournament starter pack module
- ICM Basics
- playing 1-25bb stacks
- 3-bet pots
- lab member MTT Review
I have always enjoyed MTT review type of videos. I would usually make a decision first in my head before the poker coach would say his thought process.
And by no surprise, the MTT hand review of a lab member is the one that I was excited to watch. One of the reviews is for a $22 tournament, so it is very beneficial for micro stakes players (there is also a $500 tournament review for experienced players :)).
6. Advanced Tournament Strategy
Are you already playing tournaments but struggling to get many final tables?
The Advanced Tournament Strategy learning track is perfect for players who are not new to poker but want to increase ROI.
With more than 40 hours of strategy videos, you will be ready for any tournament situation.
Lessons that I enjoyed the most:
- advanced tournament strategy lessons
- advanced preflop guide
- probing from the big blind
- check-calling on the river
- bounty tournament strategy guide
- How to Win the WSOP Main Event
The bounty tournament strategy was a real treat.
Bounty tournaments play differently than standard tournaments, and a whole new layer of strategy is needed to crush them.
These are the strategies that I would never have figured out myself, and having people way smarter than me teach me how to play them properly is invaluable.
I can’t describe how good it feels when you are playing a tournament and you know exactly what the right move is that will make you the most chips.
The Training resources area is where you can find Play & Explains, Preflop Charts, and Lab Directory.
1. Play & Explains
At the start of the play and explain section, you get listed all the coaches making play and explain videos.
This becomes handy as there are several hundreds of play and explain videos. With the help of filters, you can quickly find videos only of your favorite coach. Moreover, you can also filter videos by game Type (HU, Cash, MTT) and by stakes (low, mid, and high stakes).
For even more precise filtering, you can also use search functionality.
You can find coaches playing as low as NL10, and $10, $20 tournaments, so real micro-stakes. But if you desire some high-stakes explanations, then don’t worry. There are many NL2000 cash game videos and even $25,000 tournaments.
When I was just starting in poker my favorite videos to watch were climbing in stakes type of play and explains. And I am glad I saw some series like this in this section as well :).
2. Preflop Range Charts
Here you can find preflop charts for:
- Online Cash Ranges
- Live Cash Ranges
- Tournament Ranges
- Advanced SOvler Ranges
- Advanced Tourney Ranges
- Heads-Up Ranges
This is not just your standard download PDF preflop charts. It is an interactive online web app where you can quickly select the action before you, your position, and see which hands should be open, which fold, and with which hands you should 3bet.
I was pleasantly surprised by the speed it shows you the chart. I would not be surprised if someone would be using these interactive charts while playing (please don’t do that, I am quite sure it is not allowed), that’s how fast you can find the right chart.
You can also download the advanced solver ranges and use them in the Upswing Lab Range Manager software. Upswing Lab Range Manager is available only for Windows devices though.
Upswing Poker also has an Upswing Mobile App available in the App Store (iPhones) and Google Play (Android), so there is no excuse not to practice Online Cash, Live Cash, and Tournament charts on the go.
If something is unclear on how to use the preflop charts, there is also a Preflop Chart Guide that is available to Upswing Lab members.
3. Lab Directory
Lab Directory includes all of the modules for a specific game type.
Because of a better blog post structure I will make it a main header, as there are too many subsections.
Lab Directory is the area with all of the modules packaged inside each game type.
Learning tracks don’t include all the modules, as there are too many. To see all of the modules, you must enter the Lab Directory section and choose your game type.
This is the bread and butter of the Upswing Lab course. I am confident that if you want to study any specific thing about cash games, you will find a video about it in the Cash Games section of the Lab course. It is far from a random collection of videos, though. Everything is packaged into logical subsections and modules, making it easy to find what you seek. And remember, you can use search functionality as well.
It is hard to tell how many hours in total are in this section (more than 100 hours), but I would say it is enough learning material that will keep you busy for months.
The section goes into such depth that the Cash Games section is split into 5 subsections:
- Preflop & Flop
- Turn & River
- 3-bet and 4-bet pots
- Heads Up
Plus, the Preflop Charts section.
Now, let’s go a bit deeper into five subsections. First, with General Strategy.
The General subsection has more than 15 modules. Each of the modules is several hours long.
Here, you can find everything about blockers, multiway pots, overbets, improving by studying your database, GTO, deep stack play, and costly mistakes…
I loved the Overbets module. The idea of overbetting was a bit distant to me. It is not just about betting hugely when you hold absolute nuts; it is about understanding why you are doing it and in which scenarios.
And that is exactly what this module is about. Next time, you will be ready to get that extra 50 big blinds pot that you would have passed on if you hadn’t gone through this module.
Preflop & Flop
The preflop foundation is mandatory in poker to be a great player. Here, you can see solver-based preflop ranges. Those are the optimal ranges but don’t worry. There is also a video about when you should be deviating from solver preflop ranges.
If preflop ranges are a must, many poker players aren’t that good with flop actions. This module gives you all the info and data on how to approach flop situations in an optimal way.
If you are unsure of whether to bet, call, or fold on the flop, here you will find out how to construct a range that is betting the flop, what is giving up, and what is checking.
It also teaches you how to use a solver in flop situations.
You can also find videos about 3bet pots in different postflop situations and the optimal approach to them.
Not sure about check-raising? There is not just one video but a whole module about it.
Amongst others, you can find modules here about:
- Advanced preflop strategy
- When to cbet
- Button vs. big blind
- Blind vs blind
- Out-of-position play
- Paired flops
- Low boards
- And much much more
Turn & River
Turn and river spots are where mistakes will cost you a lot. If preflop and flop are where mistakes accumulate to bigger ones later on, the turn and river are where a single mistake can mean a loss of hours of profits.
It is very good that these two have their own subsection. You should become very comfortable with turn and river spots after studying around 30 hours of video content that are in this subsection.
Here you can find modules about:
- Probe betting and delayed cbets
- How to play turns and rivers after check-raising flops
- Raising on the river
- Multi-street thought process
- Block betting
- Tripple barrel
3bet and 4bet pots
3bet and 4bet pots are situations if you play them correctly, you make a lot of money.
In this subsection, you can several modules:
- 3bet pots as out of position as 3-bettor
- In the position as 3-bettor
- 3bet pots as in position caller
- 3bet pots as out of position caller
- 3bet pots blind vs. blind
- 4bet pots
As you find this review’s trend, all possible scenarios are covered. I love that the course goes really in-depth in 3bet pots. 3bet and 4bet pots very often get huge, and knowing how to pivot around and make correct decisions is crucial.
The “In position as 3-bettor” module has over 4 hours of content alone. So rest assured that if you study these modules in-depth, you will feel comfortable in 3bet and 4bet pots, knowing you are making the right decisions.
Heads-Up plays a lot differently than 6max. Therefore, I am glad I see the separate subsection devoted to it.
Sadly for me, it is too heavily solver-based, so I didn’t enjoy it as much. Maybe that is why I also never really played heads-up :)?
We all have our favorites, and if I would need to choose, I would put the heads-up section as my least favorite part of the course.
I personally wish this subsection would be more beginner-friendly and more engaging.
Nonetheless, here you can learn about:
- bet, check bet spots
- turn probe
- 4bets pots
- Insights from Doug Polk about his win in the $200/$400 heads-up challenge versus Daniel Negreanu where he won $1.2 million
Preflop Range Charts
The huge Cash Games section ends with the Preflop Range Charts subsection. This subsection is the same as the last main section (please scroll down to almost the end to read it there).
MTTs section has many modules, and combined with their tournament preflop charts, you have all the tools to succeed as a tournament player.
There are probably more than 50 hours of tournament strategy videos.
There are too many modules to list them all, but a few of the most interesting ones:
- Playing 10-25bb stacks
- Final table play
- 3bet pots
- Check-calling rivers
- Bounty strategy
- How to Win the WSOP Main Event by Stoyan Madanzhiev
There is also a tournament crash course module and ICM Basics module that will be very useful for new tournament players.
I like that in the one Upswing Lab subscription you get a normal tournament strategy and a strategy for Bounty Tournaments, which has its own module.
This is a nice feature that many tournament-focused poker courses don’t have. If you didn’t know, bounty tournaments play much differently than normal tournaments.
For all of you who plan to win the WSOP Main event, then who better to learn the strategy from than someone who actually won the WSOP Online Main event for $3.9 million? There are more than 12 hours of content by Stoyan Madanzhiev on how he won the WSOP 2020.
Upswing Lab’s live poker section is not as extensive as for example Crush Live Poker which focuses only on live poker. But nonetheless, it still has 7 different modules with tens of hours of videos.
Look at the Live Poker section as a nice bonus and addition to all the other strategy resources. In my opinion, there is still enough of the content in here to transition you from online to a live winning player. It is just not as focused and in-depth, and it doesn’t hold your hand from the very beginning.
If you are a complete beginner with zero online or live poker experience, looking to play live poker only, then my suggestion is to instead go with a Crush Live Poker membership.
Upswing Lab’s Live Poker section is suited for you if you already have some poker experience.
People love the value they get from Upswing Lab. Some report that they are satisfied with how they can quickly train a specific module they were struggling with. Many also became a lot more confident in their Texas Hold’em No-Limit game after joining. One person also reported that it was very beneficial for their live poker games, and they started playing two limits higher than before joining.
The Upswing Lab is one of its kind when it comes to the amount of poker knowledge under a single course/subscription. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve their game.
The course is structured in a way suitable for real poker beginners. As a new player, you will find a ton of value. But not just that, also the intermediate and advanced players have plenty of modules to study. You can choose a specific module or go section by section.
As you can tell, the content of the course is super in-depth, and it covers almost every possible scenario that comes to your mind. It is on you, however, to study these modules. If you do, you will benefit greatly.
The Lab gives you all the information, and with enough practice and studying, you can make it to high stakes by just studying what is in this course. We are talking about 5 figure monthly poker winnings month after month once you get there.