Congrats to my partner in Healthy Poker, Paul Gibbons who just shipped event 1 of the Chicago Poker Classic for $US100k. Healthy Poker, Get your life right, get your head right, Ship it!…See it really does work
Healthy Poker really enjoyed this topical piece from Michael Binger first published in Bluff.
Why do you sometimes make plays you know are bad? Why do you sometimes fail to make a play you know is correct? What is it that causes you sometimes to play your A-plus game, making all the right moves and running the table; while other times you play “good,” but pretty much ABC poker; and still other times you just shoot yourself in the foot?
Understanding the answers to these questions can be just as important as analyzing how to play certain hands. And the key to answering these questions lies in your mind… that complicated jumble of thoughts, emotions, intuitions, and computations that sometimes works so smoothly and slightly malfunctions.
Improving your mental function and clarity of mind when you play can help you:
(1) See a nonstandard play that is better than the standard play.
(2) Execute a play that you know is right.
(3) Make the correct read for those big decisions in which there is no a clear-cut (deduced through logic) correct play.
Before I give you the magic recipe for improving your poker mind, I’ll discuss each of these three points.
During one of the preliminary events at last year’s World Series Of Poker, I was the big stack at my table with about $250,000, while the next biggest stack (NBS) had about $200,000. Everyone else at our table was around $100,000 or less. I raised in middle position with Ah-Kh, and only NBS called from the small blind. He was a fairly straightforward player. The flop came down 8h-6h-3c, giving me the nut flush draw and two overcards. NBS checked. The pot was about $20,000. The automatic play is to continuation bet. This is not really a bad thing to do, but I feel that checking here is better.
First of all, I think that NBS often has a small to medium pocket pair when he calls me from the small blind. He could have flopped a set (or overpair), and betting out here would more or less commit me to playing a big pot if he check-raised… after all I’m not folding my hand! Second, I disguise my hand by checking… if a heart rolls off, he will be less likely to believe I have a flush. Third, he could easily have hands like A-Q, A-J, A-10, K-Q, or K-J, all of which I have in bad shape. If an ace, king, queen of hearts, or jack of hearts falls on the turn or river, he could make top pair and lose a big pot to me. Basically, when I bet and he folds, he will be folding mostly hands that I have dominated; so I don’t mind giving free cards to him.
Meanwhile, when I bet and he calls or raises, I will usually be at best 50/50 to win, and will have committed to playing a big pot. Not my favorite scenario when I have a comfortable, big stack. It’s true that by betting strong on the flop, I might get him to fold a small pair. Still, I think that this equity is outweighed by the other considerations — the pot control when you are beat, the extra bets you get when he hits a losing top pair, and the deception value when you do hit your flush, and he has a hand he wants to play, like 9-9 or something.
Anyway, in the hand I checked, a black ace came on the turn, and NBS called big bets on the turn and river with A-10 offsuit. I raked in a big pot that I would not have won had I taken the automatic play of betting the flop. I should emphasize that my play was very situation and player dependent. By the way, I went on to the final table in this event and took third place.
For many hands, you might be able to figure out the optimal play, but the real trick is execution. For example, there are many times in a tournament when you have a perfect opportunity to steal or resteal the pot.
Let’s say a weak-loose player limps in, several straightforward players limp behind. The action is to you, and you have not played many pots lately. Before you even look at your cards, you think, “Wow, this is a perfect time to steal the pot. Everybody is weak and they will give me credit for a big hand. Plus the stack sizes don’t allow them to fool around calling big raises.” Then you look down at your cards and see 9-3 offsuit. When you are really “on,” this does not deter you so you raise and take it down. But when you are feeling tired or weak, you tell yourself you’ll wait for a better spot and pass up this perfect opportunity to chip up without much risk.
Finally, there are those really key hands in which there is no correct answer. The decision is so close that your intuition, guided by keen observation and intellect, must decide your play. Often this is when your opponent has put you all-in and you just cannot decide based on betting patterns and hand ranges. When you are really “on,” your intuition tells whether or not he is bluffing.
What is the magic formula for improving your mental function so that you can more clearly see all of your available plays, correctly execute those plays, and have the laser-sharp read to call your opponents’ bluffs and fold when you are beat?
Being physically healthy is the key. Better physical health leads to better mental health, which leads to better decisions. Eating well, getting enough sleep and getting exercise every morning before the tournament are crucial for me. During the WSOP last year, I rarely went out partying when there was an event the next day. Most days I tried to get seven to eight hours of sleep, had a good breakfast in the morning, and then either went to the gym to exercise or the pool to swim laps. In particular, regular exercise is the single most important factor in my success.
More and more studies are finding a strong link between regular exercise and higher mental function. People who exercise have faster reaction times, better computational speed, more accurate responses, improved memory and better awareness of their surroundings. What a perfect recipe for better poker! Regular exercise has also been shown to prevent some of the mental decline associated with old age, and reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
As a bonus, rigorous exercise also makes you feel better. A 2004 study by Georgia Tech found that strenuous exercise causes the body to release anandamide, which is a naturally-produced cannabinoid (similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana) neurotransmitter that is believed to increase feelings of well being and pleasure. The prefix “ananda” comes from the Sanskrit word for “bliss” or “delight.” This is the origin of what is commonly known as “runner’s high.”
Personally, I am almost always in a much better mood and functioning at a higher level after I’ve gone to the gym or swam laps in the pool. In fact, true story: I was sitting in front of my computer this morning trying to write this article and getting nowhere. So I went down to the pool, swam a mile (35-40 minutes) and came back and pumped out the article rather quickly.
So try living a little bit healthier every day, and find the time to exercise before you play poker. You will find yourself in a better mood and making better decisions in poker and in life.
Alanis you would hate this because it is actually ironic. I have just become a partner in Healthy Poker.
Healthy Poker is a one-stop place for poker players looking to accelerate their lives in every way. We offer everything from tax planning, and life coaching to mindset coaching and specialist advice and coaching on fitness & nutrition for optimal performance.
Why is it ironic? Well, I am out of shape (read fat), have been treating my body and brain like an amusement park and have had some well documented battles…read as beatings from the tax office. So in summary I am exactly the kind of person that Healthy Poker would describe as an “ideal customer”. This is not me but it may as well be:
Now that I am at the helm of Healthy Poker I simply cannot present myself as I am today. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the pinaccle of the poker world and by far the greatest concentration of poker players in one place (Vegas) and at one time…It is paramount that Healthy Poker has a prescence during the WSOP and therefore it is paramount that I present myself in a manner that befits and represents our ideals at Healthy Poker. In simple terms I need to live it if I am going to sell it.
And from the perspective of a serious poker player if I am going to do anything except flush my bankroll away when playing at the WSOP then I am going to need to be in shape, physically, mentally, emotially and a whole lot of other areas ending in lly that I can’t think of right now.
I know you have heard this all before (The Hawk Weight Loss Bet etc.) but this time it’s a need not a want that I can rationalise away…
I will be blogging here on Healthy Poker Live and a variety of other poker sites and forums etc…
(to avoid any advertising bans on these sites we will talk exclusively about getting in shape to play)
…with the focus being on my work with a variety of Healthy Poker professionals and specialist advisors to get me in mental and physical shape to make a serious run at this years WSOP…basically I will be trying to practice what we preach at Healthy Poker. Hopefully the content will be of interest and help to not only the many poker players who struggle with fitness, balance, mindset and other impediments to optimal performance, but also to the people who just want to live a happier, healthier life.
We will kick off with physical fitness and and why we need a quest to get back in shape in time for the WSOP.
Thankfully it wasn’t always this way, but I should have seen the warning signs, or did I see them and just subconsciously choose to avoid them? The jeans that didn’t fit anymore, that my sports psychologist gave me a copy of a book he wrote called Scientifically Slim, or that it had become increasingly difficult to reach around and wipe my bum (and I am pretty sure my arms haven’t got any shorter), and you should never be on a first name basis with both the Crust Pizza and the McDonald’s delivery guys…the sad part about this is that I don’t even like McDonalds!
I’m not really sure how it happened, one minute I looked like this…
…and the next minute I look like…
…My vanity prevents me from putting up a fat pic just yet, but let’s just say I don’t look like that guy anymore.
The link between physical fitness and mental performance has never been stronger, so I am getting off my sizable bum and doing something about it. I have engaged Singapore’s leading fitness guru Andrew Jacobs (Jayco)…
…and he is helping me put together a program to get me in shape for June and the WSOP. So in the coming weeks you can join me on my journey which will include:
- Initial Professional Assessment (including the before pics…as much as my ego hates this)
- Initial Training Regime (details posted here for anyone who would like to follow the program)
- Progress Reports (lots of pics and videos)
- Pre Vegas June Review (the after pics)
Then we will conclude by posting a program specially designed by Jayco to keep us sharp during the WSOP (The World Series Workout). Understanding that players will be sedentary for up to 12 hours a day and in some cases sharing hotel rooms, Jayco will show us how to get the most bang for our exercise buck with a short, sharp program that can be done anyware…even inside a hotel room.
The WSOP is 3.5 months away…is there a bracelet with my name on it? Who knows, but I do know there will be a size 34 pair of jeans waiting there with my name on them.
If you are interested in joining the Healthy Poker Challenge please fill in the contact form on the front page of www.healthypoker.com
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that deals with knowledge. What do we mean when we say we ‘know’ something? When Carl Jung said ‘I do not believe in God, I know…’, did he mean the same thing as I do when I say ‘I know that 3 plus 4 are seven’, or ‘I know that object is blue’.
There are two interesting tracks in Epistemology relevant to Poker. I will cover just one now (and very briefly). The second is skepticism which I will get to another day.
It has to do with two different ‘kinds of knowledge’ – conceptual knowledge (know about), and practical knowledge (know how).
Lets quickly take losing weight. We all (conceptually) know about losing weight – fewer calories and more exercise (broadly). Some of the fattest people could probably reel off the calorie count of half the items in the supermarket. It does no good.
‘Know how’ is the ability to do that which we ‘know about.’ What becomes interesting is someone who says, ‘I know HOW to exercise, I just don’t’. We should treat this skeptically – KNOWING HOW to exercise is more than just knowing what to do at the gym, it is KNOWING HOW to get your body to the gym.
Take a Poker parallel. I may ‘know’ that I can check-raise bluff this river profitably – villain never has more than a pair. But, if in the moment, I freeze, ‘wait for a better spot’ or otherwise chicken out, do we really know HOW TO check raise bluff rivers? If we can’t overcome the anxiety (of putting in a lot of money with no hand), or the habit (of sitting on the couch rather than going to the gym 3-4x per week), can we accurately say we KNOW HOW rather than KNOW ABOUT?
The second point is that conceptual knowledge can be the enemy of personal change. This is important, because you could say that CONCEPTUAL KNOWLEDGE is the bedrock or foundation of practical knowledge. In fact, it can be the enemy of PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE. How many times do we wave off advice, ignore criticism, or opportunities to learn and change thinking ‘I KNOW THAT’. I see this in my programs on personal effectiveness (time management) – people ‘know about’ time management (because it is pretty simple), but they suck at it. They let the fact that the CONCEPTS are simple get in the way of the hard work of applying them.
When it comes to personal change, improving, learning, growing, KNOWING ABOUT is the booby prize.
I have only just started to work on looking after my brain after spending too many years abusing it. Some great tips here to keep your brain in shape which will ultimately help your poker and all other areas of your life. http://www.menshealth.com.sg/health/keep-your-brain-shape.
Stop taking your grey matter for granted, says Dr P. Murali Doraiswamy, chief of biological psychiatry at Duke University’s School of Medicine in the US. “You can add 10 years or more to your brain’s useful life just by paying some attention to it.” If that doesn’t sound like a fantastic return on an investment, then well, you may have already lost your mind.
Exercise Your Brain
Just as exercise builds endurance, bolstering your neurological connections creates a reservoir of stamina that you can tap later in life. Here’s how you can bulk up your neurons.
1. Study another language
In a 2007 study at York University in Canada, bilingual seniors kept the worst effects of the condition at bay four years longer than those who’d never ventured beyond their native tongue. Learning a second language appears to increase the density of grey matter in the areas of your brain that govern attention and memory, says researcher Ellen Bialystok, PhD.
During your commute, play some language instruction CDs, such as one from Macmillan’s Behind the Wheel series (www.macmillanaudio.com or download the MP3 version from www.audible.com). Then reinforce your lessons by signing up to social networking sites that let you interact with native speakers. Finally, rent a movie once a month in the language you’re studying and watch it without the subtitles.
2. Workout regularly
Vigorous workouts can boost your brain’s error radar, say researchers from Illinois Wesleyan University. They discovered that men with high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were significantly better than their less-fit counterparts at identifying mistakes on a test. “Fitter guys can absorb more oxygen into their blood,” says study author Jason Themanson, PhD. “This appears to improve the functioning of the brain’s cingulate cortex, the source of error-detection abilities.”
Interval training is the best way to improve your VO2 max, or the amount of oxygen your blood can carry and use. Trainer Craig Ballantyne, author of Turbulence Training, recommends choosing a cardio workout – like running or biking – and alternating between 30- second sprints and 90 seconds at a relaxed pace. Repeat for a total of six cycles. Do this twice a week, along with two additional sessions of your regular cardio routine.
Let Your Brain De-Stress
Don’t feel too guilty about shootin’ the bull at the water cooler. A recent University of Michigan study found that people who chatted for 10 minutes before being tested for mental processing speed performed better than those who didn’t. “Social interaction seems to sharpen your memory and other brain functions because you have to process information and gauge responses, such as whether a person is being ironic or honest,” says researcher Oscar Ybarra, PhD. No office gang? Try these strategies.
1. Watch ESPN
A 2008 University of Chicago study shows that not only can playing a sport improve your learning and comprehension but simply watching sports can boost those same skills. “Your brain appears to treat any engagement with sports – either as a player or spectator – as somewhat similar activities,” says researcher Sian Beilock, PhD. So when Cristiano Ronaldo is eyeing the goal before a free kick, your brain is trying to mimic his thought process, not just wondering why he’s so prone to falling.
Tell your wife or girlfriend that you must spend a few hours a week watching sports. Beilock says dedicated players or fans score the most brain-boosting points; watching a game every few weeks won’t cut it.
2. Take regular work breaks
Grinding away at your job may not give you the edge you think it will. Heck, it could blunt your brainpower. A 2009 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology shows that clocking 55 hours or more on the job correlated with lower scores on vocabulary and reasoning tests, compared with working a 35- to 40-hour week. The researchers think stress from overwork can cause impaired sleep and other problems that can slow your CPU.
“Reserve 20 minutes to lie down or sit quietly with your eyes closed, away from any stimulus,” says Richard Best, PhD, a US-based organisational psychologist. You aren’t trying to fall asleep; you’re simply giving your brain a breather from non-stop processing. Your recharged neurons will thank you.
Posted by Jack Welch from our friends at www.pokerheadrush.com
(The WSOP will be here sooner than you can imagine. Not too soon to start getting ready. – JDW) If you were to study all the healthy people in the world, you would begin to notice some character traits and lifestyle behaviors that many of them all share in common. More than likely, your own life could be greatly improved by incorporating all or just a few of these habits.
1. They Eat Whole Foods
If it’s not found that way in nature, they more than likely don’t eat it. Healthy people understand that food is nourishment for the body. They eat for fuel – not for pleasure. They find other ways to make themselves happy other than eating. Healthy people avoid processed foods and artificial sweeteners. They drink water and forget about the sugary drinks.
2. They Live an Active Lifestyle
Healthy people tend to live an active lifestyle. Exercise is usually a staple in their lives. They spend less time in front of a TV, and more time out and about accomplishing things and living life. The difference between being on your feet all day and sitting behind a computer can add up to hundreds of calories a day. Compound that number over a year, or a lifetime, and we are talking about tens or even hundreds of pounds of excess body weight.
3. They Manage Stress Well
Stress is a big aging factor. Some would even argue that it’s the #1 factor that influences your health. So many people eat right and work out, but totally throw their mental health out the door. Healthy people don’t sweat the small stuff. They ask themselves if this situation is going to matter a year from now, and if it won’t, they let it go.
4. They Surround Themselves with Other Healthy People
We are highly influenced by the people closest to us. Surrounding yourself with healthy people tends to make you healthy by association. Not only are you motivated and inspired by your healthy friends, but there’s also a sense of social pressure to be healthy yourself when you’re around them. Who says social pressure has to be a bad thing?
5. They Work at a Job They Enjoy
Does your job make you miserable? Healthy people have a job that makes them happy. We’ve all heard the saying that if you work a job you enjoy, you’ll never work a day in your life. Happiness and health are highly correlated. Healthy people tend to be happy. Not only do healthy people tend to like their jobs, but they tend to live for them. They look forward to getting up every day and living their life to the fullest.
6. They Work on Building Self-Confidence
People with self-confidence look healthy, and they carry themselves well. Healthy people have confidence in self. They don’t worry about what other people think. They project a healthy, youthful personality. They surround themselves with positive people that pick them up instead of tear them down, and they go about their days as if they can accomplish anything.
7. They Make Fitness a Priority
Healthy people never say they don’t have time to workout. Regardless of how busy they are, they find a way to make it work. Being healthy makes them happy, and being happy makes you healthy. Just 30 minutes a day of exercise can add years to your life. It makes you look and feel younger and healthier. There are thousands of reasons for why you can’t work out. They put the excuses away and focus on reasons for why they should.
8. They Smile
Smiling projects happiness, which is directly correlated with your health. Try smiling at a stranger and watch the contagiousness of happiness for yourself. Not only do you get a smile back, but it makes you feel good about yourself. You just made someone’s day better. Healthy people understand the link between happiness and health, and they tend to walk around with smiles on their face, or laughter in their hearts.
9. They Do Everything In Moderation
Exceptionally healthy people don’t withhold anything from their lives. They leave the door open to any and all experiences – but they don’t overdo it. Even healthy people aren’t perfect. They might miss a workout, or they might have a bad meal every once in a while. They understand there’s more to life than just trying to be healthy. So they have a piece of cake every once in a while. So what – it makes them happy, and that’s part of what being healthy is all about.
10. They Practice Preventative Maintenance
Healthy people don’t wait for problems to come to them – they go after problems. Regular checkups are the norm for healthy people. People that live long and healthy lives catch problems before they become so big that they destroy their lives. They discover them early and then take action to prevent them from happening again in the future. Their health is a priority, and they don’t bury their heads in the sand hoping for the best. They take action.
Great article by Alex Fitgerald (Assassinato) from our friends at www.pokerheadrush.com
Before Chip Reese passed away he said something that’s always stuck with me. In his Poker Superstars interview he discussed how it’s very easy for people to be professional when things are going well, but how you only understood who a player really is when things start going bad. As a teenager I liked the message. Nothing up until your first downswing counted for anything. Any idiot can catch cards.
How many names have you seen disappear after a monstrous year? Poker feels very manageable when things are going well. You’re often more open to critique. You take decisions as they come. When things start going bad is the time when people start taking constructive criticism wrongly, start changing how they play, and eventually even how they live. Downswings are the Masters course for a professional poker player. Get out with your sanity, and even your game a little tougher, and you will have earned an A. Crumble, move up to win back your losses, and bust yourself and you will have gotten an F.
The most important thing to realize when you’re losing is how foolish the concept of a downswing actually is. If you’re placing profitable bets, you’re going to be a winner. End of story. To stay in another mood when you’re losing means you’re that same guy who bets on black because it’s “due” after it’s come six reds. Your losing six sessions in a row has nothing to do with the odds on the seventh. If you’re profitable in the game you’re profitable today. The odds do not change against you just because you’re losing. If your play changes that means you’re changing your bets and mentality due to random numbers. Our goal as a professional gambler is to be educated about this natural impulse and be beyond it.
You’ve seen a graph of Google’s stock price progression right? It’s pretty, huh? If you’re only looking at 1/50th
of the graph however you might see a down trend. You might even see a few in a row. Just looking at those graphs we might be cautious, but looking at the graph representation of the long term we know our investment is safe. When you’re fuming about running bad it means you’re looking at one part of the graph, which could mean nothing. It’s natural given how the brain is designed to internalize random data, but it’s not going to help us play poker. We’re not having faith our own life’s graph will show profitable progression. If you’re making correct bets then your progression will always be up, and you can stop worrying about the small trends. You’re never going to be a content professional gambler if you cannot stop.
It’s normal to feel dragged down by variance, but we have to shed it. You’re keeping a running tab of your results, no one else is. The downswing is only existing in your mind because you are giving credit to one recent trend. The past is the past, and your profit is slated to go up if you’re betting correctly. The previous results were made when you were less educated, and you’ve learned from the mistakes now. No amount of feeling guilty, stupid, or angry will get our money back, so let’s just skip it and pretend we never had it. Let’s instead be proud of the lessons we’ve gained and what we’ve learned from them. If you’re still struggling to deal with variance mentally its always helped me to think about it in this way: If we were flipping coins with someone who paid us $55.00 when it came heads and we paid $50.00 for a tails, we would love our lives. We would never be frustrated, even when the coin came a string of tails. Never. This person is so generous to be playing this game with us, shouldn’t they know they’re a loser?
We should be in a good mood when it comes a string of tails, because its all just part of the hustle. It’s just getting our customer all worked up. If they never won they would never come back. We’d be all chess nerds not making a cent. I have to appreciate the times that I’m losing as part of the process. Without my money going out once in a while no money would ever come in.
These lessons are hard to internalize because it goes contrary to what we’ve been taught as a kid. In school if you do not have results you are a failure. In the normal world if your job is not paying you currently you are a failure. Some people will even treat you as a failure when things go wrong, or will talk about it behind your back. All of this needs to be ignored however if we’re ever to master ourselves.
Sometimes your paranoia can have other roots than just recent failures and the world’s perception. Oftentimes when you’re running bad you will worry there’s something you’re missing. It happens to even the world’s best players. While sometimes you’re playing your absolute best game and getting unlucky your subconscious is usually trying to tell you something. If you’re just lost in the grind and not paying attention to yourself you have no chance of ever catching your leak. How sad, when one of your biggest downswings could have led to to one of your greatest breakthroughs, but you instead just decided to lose the money.
In order to play well again we will need to feel confident in our game again and quiet our subconscious. Time away from the game can really help us see things in a new perspective. You should take a few days off every week, and a week or more off every few months. Your time off is for your first, but it is also an investment in the business of you as a poker player. Do not waste your investment. Try to get as refreshed as possible in the time you have. Stay as far away from the poker talk and computer as you possibly can. Go to a beach, go to a mountain, go play basketball, just don’t stew around the house thinking about how you’re running.
When your work area looks a little less like a prison cell come back. Go back to the hands and situations that were bugging you. Spend a day just studying, bouncing the hands off your friends, watching videos, and reviewing your hand histories. Be honest with yourself, it’s possible your losses are a sign of a much bigger problem. It happens to everyone.
Hopefully, this work will plug up our leaks in both our technical and mental game. The next thing we need to do is get hyped up to play again. If you’re not having fun anymore what is the point? One thing that helps me is watching poker on TV, preferably something with my friends in it. It reminds me of what I’m aiming for and gets me excited about the game like I’m a fan again. Another more zealous thing I do is write down 10 things that used to be problems of mine four years ago, and then I write my 10 biggest problems today. I also spend time with my family and remind myself who I’m playing for.
The whole process humbles me, helping me temper my expectations, but gets me fired up to play. That’s the mental state I want to be in, always. Finding my equilibrium is the most important part to getting me back on track. After this point, when we’re refreshed, more educated, and hyped up, it’s about finding our swing again.
To find our rhythm again wouldn’t it make sense to go over the basics? Do you think a home run hitter who has taken time off during a slump turns the pitching machine to 95 MPH his first day back? Hell no, his batting coach lobs him a few easy ones first. He needs to feel his arms retrieve their old muscle memory, before his mind starts talking too much.
That being said many players are afraid to move down. Don’t be. One of the most professional things you can do as a professional gambler is move down. You go back to smaller games with all the knowledge you’ve acquired you’re very likely to crush. You also get to prove to yourself there is a backup plan should you ever fail in the big game again. Going back to fundamentals and booking wins can do wonders for our mental state.
In conclusion, the article above explains the basics on how to get an already sound player back on track. A lot more could go into a player losing, such as basic leaks and life management problems, but those will have to wait for another article. This basic mental wash has been enough for me for years to constantly come back winning, and its my belief it can work for many of you too.
I’m the luckiest person who ever lived. I admit I haven’t always felt that way, but I believe it now. After working as a commercial fisherman, security guard, Persian carpet salesmen, Arby’s shift manager, video game reviewer, and freelance writer – all before the age of 20 – I found something that paid “worth a damn.” I’ve played, or thought about poker, pretty much every day since I was 15. I’ve made millions; I’ve lost millions. I’ve lived in Seoul, Malta, Seattle, and San Jose, Costa Rica. I cashed in four continents before my 21st birthday. I was on television in four continents before I was 22. I’ve backed hordes of players and I’ve been backed. I’ve smoked the smoke, drank the drink, and done the deeds. I’ve final tabled almost every major tournament online at least once. I’ve had my articles published and had articles published about me worldwide. I’ve met many great people and more than a few not-so-great. I’ve produced training videos on Pokerpwnage and now Pocketfives Training. I have stayed busy.
I’m currently enjoying a fairly relaxed life with my girlfriend in the mountains of Costa Rica, where I love playing poker more than ever before. PokerHeadRush.com is a new project of mine, constructed in partnership with my life coach – and friend – Jack Welch. The goal is to create poker content I want to see. I don’t want to focus on the huge success stories and convince kids to drop out of school because it’s oh-so-easy to make a living playing cards. I want to examine how the lessons acquired through an entrepreneurial pursuit in professional gambling can improve your life and overall happiness… by helping you focus on everything but the money