Eggs done in those special pans with inserts are generally called "shirred", not poached.
The perfect poached egg needs no vinegar, otherwise it tastes of vinegar. And no salt in the water.
The whirlpool method does work. Crack the egg into a small dish. Get the water to a simmer then stir vigorously. Immediately drop the egg gently into the centre of the swirl.
Once it has turned white and is a little bit cooked you may add a second egg which will miraculously hold together even though you don't swirl the water.
You should know when they are cooked by feel - just lightly lift from the water to check. If it turns out too hard, you left it in too long. We call it learning by experience. (Not being snotty, just that there are too many factors at stake to give an exact time to cook them).
Ta dah - the perfect poached egg.