Brett Richey: From Bobby's Room Battler to Running a Startup
Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 218
Today’s guest on the Chasing Poker Greatness podcast has racked up $1.5 million in live MTT cashes and is well-known far and wide for being one of the elite nosebleed mixed game poker players in the world… Brett Richey.
Brett’s poker journey as a professional poker player lasted for well over a decade, where he’s accumulated a treasure trove of Greatness Bombs, life lessons, and stories that he’s going to share with you today.
While poker will always hold a place that’s near and dear to Brett’s heart, for the past 7 years he’s been living and breathing in the world of his web3 blockchain startup in the sports betting niche, Blitzpick.
In today’s show with mixed game crusher Brett Richey you’re going to learn his poker origin story, all about his love for mixed games, lessons he learned from poker that he applies to his startup, and much much more.
So now, without any further ado, I bring to you OG elite mixed game crusher Brett Richey.
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Welcome, welcome. Welcome my friend to another episode of the chasing poker greatness podcast. As always, this is your host the founder of chasing poker greatness.com Coach Brad Wilson, and today’s guest on the pod has racked up $1.5 million in live in TT caches and is well known far and wide for being one of the elite nosebleed mixed game poker players in the world. Brett Ritchie Brett’s poker journey as a professional has lasted for well over a decade where he’s accumulated a treasure trove of greatness BOMs life lessons and stories that he’s going to share with you today. While poker will always hold a place that’s near and dear to Brad’s heart. For the past seven years he’s been living and breathing in the world of his web three blockchain startup and the sports betting it niche blitz pick. In today’s show with makes game Crusher, Brett Ritchie, you’re going to learn his poker origin story all about his love for mix games, lessons. He’s learned from poker that he applies to his startup and much, much more. So Now without any further ado, I bring to you one of the OG elite makes game crushers. Brett Ritchie.
Brad: Right. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. Whatever it is how you doing, man?
Brett Richey: Good afternoon. I’m doing well, Brad. Thanks for having me on.
Brad: Yeah, it’s my pleasure. It’s my pleasure. So typically, first question on the pod, always a doozy. It is about your journey into the world of poker, and then out of the world of poker or maybe quasi out of the world of poker. So what is your journey into the world of poker look like?
Brett Richey: So I started poker, I played like a boy scout camp, you know, five card draw or whatever growing up, but I was in college, and two main things. Rounders was like a popular DVD back then. And then McManus wrote this article for Harper’s Magazine, fortune smile, which then I think became positively Fifth Street a book. But he was a journalist that was like, had a 2k stipend to cover the World Series main event back in like, oh, one or something. And he took 1000 of it. One a satellite into the man. And then final table, he got like fifth. And he wrote it was TJ kludi versus Chris Ferguson, whatever, they were heads up, and it was just really cool. And like he made it seem like, you know, these guys are these great grizzled gamblers. And it was just, it was just a cool article, and I love Rounders, so started playing in college.
Brad: How old were you when you watch Rounders, and then read the Jim McMahon
Brett Richey: So is early 2000s. Yeah, somewhere in there somewhere. 1920. And we started playing in college, like it was a little bit before the TV boom. I remember the one year they think ESPN aired it, but without whole cards. It was the year before moneymaker. So I still watch it not to steal I was into poker slightly before moneymaker. And in I was in Amherst College in Worcester, Massachusetts, which is this really small school, but it’s in the same town as UMass. So there were like enough players at our school, always fair game. So we were like, join up with some people at UMass and in play, and so I actually, junior year I called my dad during winter break. I ran up like a $2,000 bankroll or three 3k as like, I’m dropping out of school and I’m moving to Vegas to be a pro poker player. My dad was like, Okay, I don’t just graduate. I don’t care what grades you get. Spoiler alert. I did not get very good grades. The rest of the way but I did graduate. And I wasn’t that good, but I could, I could tell how rapidly I was progressing. So I didn’t even try and get a job. I was like, I’m just going to be a poker pro. Or, you know, try that out. Like I had a degree right, so I knew that I had fallbacks if it didn’t work out. And so I moved to Boston, and I would drive to Foxwoods play like 2430 hours straight 9090 minute drive, and then drive back to Boston without sleeping. Hotels are expensive at Foxwoods, too and I didn’t think about like getting one in nearby area but either way And I’d play the 510 killed limit Hold’em was popular then there’s a little bit before the no limit boom. And then I made it into the 2040 game, which was the highest limit Hold’em there. And then the bigger games at Foxwoods were 75 150 stud and Hae mix games. So pretty early on, started playing mixed games because I wanted to play bigger, and then also started playing online back then too, which was definitely like a wild west kind of experience.
Brad: What was it about Rounders and the Jim McManus article that kind of grabbed you and pulled you into the world of poker.
Brett Richey: I loved I really liked the sort of skill aspect of it, it was it, those made it seem a little more, you know, the luck was a little more removed, I would say from reality in those. Obviously, with Jim McMahon, it’s like it’s got really lucky to win a satellite. And then final table. You know, as a journalist, there is anybody I mean, that’s lucky for anybody. And then Rounders obviously is like a Hollywood movie, but it was just cool. And I liked the game. And then once I started playing it, I really liked it. I like the it’s a great gambling game because you have a strong element of skill, but also a strong element of luck. You know, no one’s out there gambling on chess, because you’re just I would just get annihilated. But like in poker, you have a shot against anybody pretty much on one day.
Brad: Yeah, anything about the lifestyle, like in Rounders, because I I have said many times, like, one of my questions is about influences and who influenced you to be a poker player and like Mike make D is always my answer, just because I don’t know what it was. But it was like this sort of getting out of the system, and operating and being your own boss and being in control of your own destiny. And having the freedom and autonomy that was like even today is very much appealing to me. And but as you know, 15 year old kid, who saw his stepdad go to work and hate every second of it and be just very disgruntled and unhappy with how he was spending his energy in his life. I realized, like, I don’t know what I want to do in this world. I have no plans. But that path just resonated with me deeply. It was like, Yeah, I could do that.
Brett Richey: Yeah, I was always pretty independent. And I liked that, like the lifestyle appealed to me. Very much. So right at the younger, like, I remember, when I would play at Foxwoods, in smaller games, I would see like the pros playing the 75 150 limit. And like, to me, that was like the pinnacle of a career, like you’re gonna make, maybe, I don’t know, a quarter million a year later than in Connecticut, playing these games. And like, that just seemed awesome to aspire to, in the freedom that you have to do. set your own schedule, like online poker was great for that. Just set your own schedule, do whatever. And then you have plenty of freedom to do other stuff, too. So I that’s what drew me to it. You know, over time, I learned that also, structures not a bad thing, either, right? And then like, you know, I wouldn’t advise somebody, certainly now, but even back then, like, it would have been smarter for me to get a job out of college. And then you can still play poker on the side, which like my parents do. Other people were like, Hey, why don’t you do both? And I was like, I don’t know what you’re talking about. But yeah, I’ve grown to appreciate the benefits of structure over time also.
Brad: Yeah, it’s a big deal. And, you know, as somebody that’s been in the world for a very long time, I’ve put my time in staying awake, up until 7am and 6am and 5am battling. Now I enjoy being a regular human being that goes to bed and at night and wakes up in the morning. I really appreciate that lifestyle. But it’s kind of it’s this weird thing. And I’ve thought about a lot because, you know, I’ve had a lot of people on this show, and it’s just, there’s no talking to your younger self. Like there’s just no, there’s no reasoning, right? The self that was like, just full on bit by the poker bug and just come hell or high water. We’re gonna make this happen. There’s no like negotiation or talking and honestly, yeah, there are things that I would have done differently, but I’m very grateful for what I did and what happened, you know, so I don’t think that I would even really change very much. It’s just, yeah, at that stage of life where you can take risks and the downside is quite low and the upside is going quite high. Yeah, to me, it’s kind of asymmetrical. And those, those are the kinds of risks were taking in my opinion.
Brett Richey: Yeah, I agree. And I was fortunate, right? To, you know, have support, like, I’ve had a college degree. So had poker not worked out. It’s not like, I didn’t have other options. Sure, which lets you be a little more free with how you approach with risk tolerance.
Brad: Absolutely. And what happened, you know, after you didn’t take your job, but you did get your degree, so dad was happy with your bad grades, and your degree. What happened next in your poker journey?
Brett Richey: So I was getting I was living in Boston, I was driving to Foxwoods and then I was playing there. And then and then one of my this guy I became friends with he was from Maine visiting from me and he’s like, You got to check out I played a bit online mostly just got dusted like, you know, put a few 100 on and busted. He’s like, you gotta check this site out William Hill. And it was like a skin of some, you know, European type. It was kind of wild west days, but it was William Hill, like the big sports book. And it was really soft and I ran really hot so I made like, I made 80k In three weeks on there when I had like, you know, maybe a 10k bankroll or something. And so of course, like I thought cash tournaments limit Hold’em. I would one table 50 100 limit Hold’em and make like 10k is crazy. In a day, like, no one knew what they were doing about also, like I ran insanely hot. It’s like, you know, you’re running hot when you get like an ace jack suited or something. And you’re like, oh, yeah, like this is great instead of a god accommodate and get fucked here. So that basically, once that happened, I was less inclined to make this drive to Foxwoods to like play smaller stakes live cash, I still would do it. But mostly I shifted more to online. And I did that for 1012 years, probably.
Brad: Yeah. And battling in the online streets. Cash limit mixed.
Brett Richey: Yeah, mostly, I evolved into mostly mixed like a game and PLO where the cash games I played mostly, I’ve never done very well in tournaments. I think I’m breakeven or like, slightly down over a pretty large sample, both live and online. I definitely lost in the tournaments. I didn’t play that many Sundays, every now and then I would do it. But I didn’t like the feeling of being chained to the computer. And like cash was just, you know, it was better it was it was more consistent. It was more money. Everything about that I liked better. I love the tournaments now actually mostly just play tournaments when I play because I like the competition and the chance to like win a big number on a smaller investment. But what I was doing it for living, I basically just focused on cash. And I would look at tournaments as an entertainment expense, to some extent.
Brad: Yeah, I am very much in alignment with you in feeling chained to my computer or chained to a chair in the tournaments. Like, as folks who listen well, no, I just went and played a live tournament may be my third in the last decade. And like the whole time was this inner just monologue to myself of like, don’t want don’t force it. Don’t do anything stupid. Like no, do not cold for the jack deuce off in the big blind. Even if you think it’s good, don’t do it. Because there is this like demon inside of me that certainly wants to punt, always in these tournaments. And yeah, I actually held it together and didn’t manage to not punt spectacularly, anyway. And but yeah, it’s this tournaments are just so different that it’s like a marathon. It’s a war of attrition, where you’re trying to just like survive, and you’re tired, your body hurts. And you’re just trying to make better decisions than your opponents and hope that they kind of self destruct and punts. And you don’t, at least that’s how it felt for me. Whereas in cash games, it’s like, fire up play with intensity. And when your head hurts, you can just quit and go do something else for a little while.
Brett Richey: Yeah, I agree with that. It’s like so what I play. I really try not to like register a tournament if I’m not in the mood to play a tournament because I’ve been in that spot where you sit down and then a couple hours in I’m just kind of like, I don’t really want to be here and and you know, then you can maybe make some more aggressive decisions to either run it up or bust but for the most part yeah, I just played what I want to
Brad: Yeah, I realized you can’t win the tournament with like, 200 people left Hard to get all the chips to just run everybody over, you know? So you played mixed games online for a while, and I’m assuming that you know, 2011 probably affected you Where were you living at the time as you progress throughout your poker career,
Brett Richey: I was in New York City. So like, oh five or six, I moved to New Jersey for a year. Because New York is like kind of strict with their renting. I tried to go to New York City and they were like, as a poker player without like a income, like a job type of income. They were like, kind of strict with who they rent to New York City is very when we I ended up getting a place with three of my other friends. When it did move into New York City. We we paid the whole year upfront, in rent was how we got the place. And then once you have that sort of established, it’s easy to get a place when you have a history of running there. We I was in New York City through Black Friday. You know, I was playing online mostly till then and then after Black Friday for like three years. Then I shifted more to like underground games in New York. Also, along with like, you know, Borgata an AC type stuff.
Brad: Yeah, so you continued battling online after Black Friday.
Brett Richey: Not really. I mostly played live in New York City I played you know, I would play like I played a little bit on seals with clubs. Bitcoin site. You know, unfortunately, I bought about like 100 Bitcoin, which was $100 at the time, and I just snapshot it off in PLOS 33 Bitcoin by NpLS I had three bullets. I busted that in a day, then, you know, Bitcoin ran to 1000 I was like, I’m too late for that. Missed in. Yeah. And inside, you know, I play I don’t even know if I’ve played maybe ACR or you know, some occasionally stuff like that. But, and then WSOP now I’m in Vegas, so they have a site here I’ll play during the World Series, you know, mostly tournaments don’t really pay cash on there. Um, but yeah, I’ve never I haven’t played much since I never
Brad: Feel inclined to just fire up the online cash session randomly in New York.
Brett Richey: Not Really, no, no, I like PLO I’d be they appeal though I’m there. They don’t have MCs, which I have they admits, or a higher study, they only have 1020 or something small, they’d higher stakes, I’d be more inclined to play PLO they have huge games so that’s not an issue but yeah, I don’t I’m just rusty so I don’t know I would I play like the smaller mid stakes PLO I think if I wanted to play you know, three, six or something.
Brad: What about you know, the live mix games in Vegas?
Brett Richey: There’s a lot I again, I don’t I have I don’t play that much poker. I played a bunch during the World Series. But yeah, I don’t I don’t play that much. So what happens next?
Brad: Right. Okay, let’s, let’s get to the we, we’ve, we’re at the stage of the story where you fell in love with poker and devoted most of your adult life to poker. So then, what happened to fall out of love with poker and transition to other things?
Brett Richey: So I would say I still love poker. But so what happened is late 2014, I’m living in Vegas. Or sorry, I’m living in New York City. And I’m over the, like, live grind, right? I’m playing like 7pm to 3am. You know, during the week, my girlfriend, she was working a nine to five normal job, right? So like our hours are basically opposite, which isn’t great. The travel on the weekend to Borgata or whatever is not great, right? It was like I’m making less money and like, less freedom than I had when I was playing online. So it’s it became much more of a grind. And then in some of these private games, you know, there’s like, there’s a fair amount of politicking and like, stuff like that involved, which I’m fine with. But like it’s very gossipy. And I just, you know, I’m just like I just want to play and not deal with with all of this other. Nonsense in and then I’m like, I’m looking at FanDuel and DraftKings at this time. And that looks a lot like online poker to me, right in 2014 is still pretty early on for those guys. And I was like, Okay, I want to be on the, this looks like it could be another poker boom, I saw what happened in the first poker boom, as a pro, like I did quite well. But the people that really did well, were on the business side. So I was like, Okay, I don’t want to be on the player side for this. Boom, I’m going to try and be in the business side. So I actually was both FanDuel and DraftKings had offices in New York. So I went to interview with those guys And I’m like, yeah, it actually probably would have worked out fine. I’m not sure. DraftKings at least FanDuel. I don’t think the employees got anything. But I was like, I don’t really want to be employee 100 somewhere, I guess, because I kind of did my own thing. It felt like I didn’t have much upside if I joined the companies at that stage. So during that process, I was like, because I would be going out with my girlfriend for dinner before I want to play poker. And I was trying to put a lineup in or something and she’d be on, you know, get off your phone. So I was like, there’s not a good like mobile tool for the people that want to play in these contests like to give them a chance. And so at the start of 2015, I raised some capital to build this mobile app. For FanDuel DraftKings users, can mobile optimizer news, things like that? And so we moved to Vegas, because basically, the money would go twice as far and it had like the gambling ties in Vegas. And how did
Brad: You go about raising money for this, this project?
Brett Richey: Just through like, people I knew from poker, I hit up just a couple of people, basically. And they they said yes, and we were good.
Brad: And then yeah, I already had the relationship with the existing platforms to solve that problem for them.
Brett Richey: Yeah, to some extent, I mean, I, I knew both. I had friends in both places. Like, again, I like started the job interview process at both places. Yeah. And then, but very early on, I said, nevermind that I want to do the app instead.
Brett Richey: Yeah, so so we raise money. And then I moved to Vegas, and I didn’t, it was just me. And so I was like, I hired an app development shop. Right, which, in retrospect was not a great move, it would have been better to find a technical co founder. But again, I didn’t, I didn’t necessarily know any better. So I hired this app shop. And they, there was a not a great experience they gave us like, you know, a very, it was hard to get the product I wanted from them, they were kind of going out of business turns out to so they would just save whatever to keep checks coming in, even though that wasn’t the reality. And so we got a very shaky product. I mean, we had something right. But it was it wasn’t gonna go anywhere. And that basically was the money I raised, almost went to that raise, like 200k, or 180, or something like that pretty much went to this app shop. And then one of the investors was like, you know, I still think there’s something here. Part of the reason I started, I was convinced sports betting was gonna be legal. So I wanted to be like the Trojan horse, like prepare for this legal sports betting boom. And so he, he basically loaned us money, to which he later converted to equity, but to hire our own team. So then I found essentially a technical co founder here in Vegas, in spring of 2016. And we rebuilt the app, we hired a couple of people that he he worked with, formerly at both Microsoft and then this other startup out of the Twin Cities where he was from in Minneapolis. And so we launched that app for football season in 2016. It was a cool app, like it were it was what I wanted, it worked. But at that time, the Daily Fantasy really had taken some hits between when I started it, what it looked like this is just Stone Cold rocket ship. Then the government started coming in. And we basically couldn’t get the mobile integration that I wanted, which was you would have like this living, breathing, kind of, you know, organism in your pocket that connects directly to FanDuel or DraftKings. And I think they didn’t want to get kicked out of the stores. Whatever reason, they never opened up the sort of mobile API the way that was, initially, I was expecting, so it was hard to have much of a business there. And then to try and raise money to be like, hey, like, I think legal sports betting is coming, like, let us, you know, keep this afloat till that thing, because we’re not really gonna make much money on this daily fantasy product. It was just not, not really in the cards, I would say. So then in 2017, we pivoted into crypto. And
Brad: What did that pivot look like? And by the way, some of the things that you’ve considered were obviously precious, right, like the sports betting is legalized, most places now and daily fantasy sports is a rocket ship. I mean, it’s like one of the official sponsors of the universe, I think, at this point. So DFS has blown up as well as sports betting. So tell me about the pivot to World of crypto.
Brett Richey: So I was trying to raise money in early 2017 for this app. And like, again, like a lot of my I guess connections come from the poker world to in poker world was very early on Bitcoin and Aetherium crypto world. So like, everyone I talked to you, they’re like, no, let’s do a token we don’t want we’re not doing equity. Like we everything needs to be token. So we basically took that summer to look at the blockchain space, like where can we fit in work in this initial vision, which was going to be like a sports book aggregator was sort of the long term initial goal. How does that fit in with the blockchain space and there were a couple of companies projects agar, one of them a decentralized prediction, market, Gnosis was another one and then stocks which basically turned out to be a scam. So it was a third prediction market.
Brad: So to go back a little bit, so a sports betting market like an aggregator so basically what what does that look like for the listener?
Brett Richey: That so what the original goal was like a kayak for sports betting, right. So like if you’re in Colorado, you would just go to our interface and it would have all the different lines and there’s people doing this like this this exists now this wasn’t some like nobody’s thought of it type of ideas.
Brad: So you’re basically just like, have options at all the books and you can find like the best line and bet on the site that you want to bet on?
Brett Richey: Yeah, like the ones that like if you’re flying from LA to Kansas or something. Often you don’t really care what airline you’re on. You just want to there’s some segment of the market only cares About the cheapest price. So there’s some people that are, they’re only gonna bet on DraftKings or they’re only gonna bet on William Hill. But then there’s other people that are more price conscious that maybe they want to get where the best bonuses, or maybe they want to get. They know they want to bet on the Hawks, but they want to they want, you know, why don’t you get the best line and they don’t want to click through seven different books looking. So it’s all in one place. Right? That was the goal. And then so, but essentially, it was like, to get funding to have that for this unknown of sports betting is going to be legalized, I didn’t do a good job of selling it. Right. And we basically struck out, but everybody’s like, you gotta go into crypto. So we looked at that market. And these decentralized prediction markets looked really interesting to me and they did like raise a lot of money, they were valued at like a billion dollars. They were like, well, if we can bring value to these things, so we would be like a layer two essentially to augers layer one, and agar. And basically you can make a market on anything. So we’re like, are we’re gonna do sports eSports and politics and, and focus on creating these markets. On on top of that, I would say the a lot of the promises from 2017, from a lot of these projects did not come to fruition. So we were left sort of with a we were building on on very shaky foundations. I think Aetherium has come a long way since then. But like the cart was way ahead of the horse back then. So that was a pretty challenging, it’s been a it’s been a pretty challenging. I would say road since then. But actually, I’m the last one from that team standing up a new partner now. And we’ve we’re still doing sports betting stuff. We’re partnered with sport x, this betting exchange out of Toronto that they kind of built what I was trying to build, initially. And they’re launching their own blockchain, hopefully the spring, the SX network. And so we’re building on that.
Brad: Nice. So, I mean, it sounds like a lot of trials and tribulations through this experience in the world of startups in app building.
Brett Richey: It’s like a poker tournament, though, I feel like the ball is still in the air, right? The goal was to like, if you’re still in the event, you’ve always got a shot. And, again, the poker background helped me like there’s been a lot of highs and lows throughout. And I think that’s helped me just stay like quite even keel, just focus on making good decisions. And then, you know, whatever the outcome is, as long as the process as long as I’m happy with the process, I’m typically fine. Like, however, the ball rolls, whether it’s Poker business, or whatever.
Brad: So let’s dig into that a little bit. So you mentioned the process, right? So like, when, in your poker days, what did your process look like for decision making? Just the systems that you had in place to check mental game, regular improvements, all these things? And then translating that into the app world? What is your process look like? There?
Brett Richey: Yeah, I would say I was more of a field player in poker, like I never did any, like deep dives into sims or anything I would play.
Brad: What do you mean by feel player?
Brett Richey: Like, I didn’t study, essentially, much. I did. I did some early on by like, you know, looking up odds on two dimes or something was about the extent of my study, or looking at PokerTracker like, which sort of hands Am I losing within these spots, but mostly, I would just play and I would play every game every format. So I wasn’t like if I went to play dug poker, you know, some specialists in their game, I was going to be at a big disadvantage. But the benefit was if there was a weak player, he whatever you want, pick anything on the site, and we can play it. So that’s why I really like the mix games. The eighth game is, you know, there’s gonna be people that are better than me in a lot of those individual games, but but across the board, I was pretty strong and all of the games and so it gave me a pretty good shot. So really, my process was mostly just playing with with some study mixed in, I took some Knicks game lessons very early on and like oh six from this guy, Rush Ross Georgiev who is dead Rest in peace, but he was a he was a character but he’s a good poker player. And he taught me a lot. How come
Brad: The I’m not gonna say antagonistic relationship with studying but the lack lack of studying, right? Because like, in my career as well, I don’t think for a long time. It was mostly all play and quite minimal study. There was some learning and discussions with my peers, which to me is always classified as study anytime you’re speaking about poker strategy and learning with other human beings and I have like a negative association with study. To begin With so that it’s not doing me any favors. It’s kind of a holdover from school. But how come? Just yeah, how come? Minimal study?
Brett Richey: Part of it was ego, I would say, like, I thought it was better than the people coaching or giving, giving lessons. And that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t have learned something from them. It doesn’t even mean that I was better. That’s just what I thought. But also, for a lot of the games I would play, there wasn’t a lot out there, right. Like I didn’t I didn’t have or I didn’t think to or have the connections to, like get private Sims built for study or something back then. So it’s like something like no limit, or limit Hold’em, which were really popular games that had a ton of specialists that were very good. I was basically like, Okay, I’m not going to this guy is committing 60 hours a week to just no limit. Right? I’m not going to be able to match that commitment, because I’m playing all these other games, too. So I would I essentially, you know, I knew enough in those games to be fine. And like, again, if there’s a weak player, I’ll play them in whatever. But I wasn’t like battling like some of these guys would have these, you know, crazy heads up battles. It no limit or something. And I would just avoid that.
Brad: Yeah. And it seems like did you play primarily? Not the big bet games? Right. So.
Brett Richey: I played PLO a lot. I played a lot of street pillow. And then and then a game, but no limit. I didn’t, you know, I played I transitioned away from like, straight limit Hold’em early on, and then straight to the limit, probably like, oh, 708 By that point, there were a lot of specialists. And I was just like, you know, again, if there’s a spot in the game, sure, I’ll play. But for the most part, I very early on was was on to like PLO and MCs.
Brad: Yeah, the more blue ocean strategy where the learning curve is not so much and you don’t have to invest so much energy into one game. And likely hourly rate is pretty much higher across the board. I mean, I know
Brett Richey: Lifestyle. It was good. Like, it was like, Yeah, again, like, I have a lot of respect for the top militant guys that have battled it out and reach those that level. That’s just you know, that’s a very, that’s a tough scene, right? There’s a lot of the tools were most advanced there the information, it was so popular that you had more people focusing on just no limit. And so for me, I was like, I don’t, I don’t really need to join that. player pool, I’ll, I’ll focus elsewhere. Like, I felt like I was some bad no limit player. But compared to the top people, it was not something that was going to be profitable for me.
Brad: Yeah, I mean, it makes a lot of sense, right? As it relates to like energy investiture and ROI just makes games it makes a lot of sense. What would you say? Is your the most unexpected thing that came from your journey through the world of poker?
Brett Richey: Um, I would say I didn’t, I didn’t think I didn’t know how good I was gonna get it sort of some of the connections I would make. Like, again, when I started out, I was like, Wow, if I can make it to the 75 150 game at Foxwoods, like that’s the pinnacle of it. And then, you know, I made it to Bobby’s room basically. At some point, so I yeah, that surprised me.
Brad: How did it feel battling in Bobby’s room?
Brett Richey: I never. I didn’t play there a lot. I mostly played online, but I have had, I did play some sessions in there in like 2010 2011. I like I like playing I like gambling and like, I didn’t think you know, I was never like at the elite, the top of the elite. But I would say I was either like bottom of the first tier or like top of the second tier at my peak, which is like very well enough to compete in almost any game as long as there’s some weaker players. So yeah, it was it was pretty cool.
Brad: Yeah! Bobby’s room. And was it like 4k 8k Is that
Brett Richey: I played 1500 3k was the biggest I played there. They didn’t play it for they played bigger. But that that was that was as big as I want. Yeah,
Brad: I mean, 1500 3k That’s pretty pretty. Yeah, it’s
Brett Richey: A huge game. So
Brad: That’s 20 times bigger than it was Pinnacle was
Brett Richey: It’s crazy. How desensitized the money I was that I remember this one hand I don’t even remember the hand The dealer made a mistake in Bobby’s room, and it was like a 30k mistake against me. And like, I didn’t care at all. They were like, oh my god, I’m so sorry. And I was like, ah, like, don’t worry, you know, it’s just random. And like, I really didn’t care.
Brad: Yeah. They could have retroactively fixed the mistake.
Brett Richey: No, it was like, they whatever they did cost me the pot. Like it was the shuffle the card back in or I forget exactly what happened. I see what it was like, it was a again, I don’t even remember the hand. But I do remember that. I bet and I didn’t care at all.
Brad: Yeah, well, I mean, you probably shouldn’t, right. Like, that sort of thing is just, it could go the other way. Like, just,
Brett Richey: That was my thought process. But, you know, honestly, if that happened now, I don’t know if it is. That’s, that’s, it’s like, yeah, I’m not gambling 30k Very often these days, so it’s like, it’s just crazy. You get very desensitized when you’re in that environment,
Brad: One could say desensitized, but one could also say that, like, you just get used to dealing with it, you know, it just, it just kind of is like a football player that, you know, you have to get used to getting hit and tackled just over and over and over again. And then you’re just exceptionally strong, and your body holds up. And I think the same as it relates to risk. You take lots of risk, you get used to it, and then it doesn’t really faze you in the way that it does normal human beings. And that risk tolerance can also, you know, degrade over time. In the same way. When you think about joy in your career, playing cards, what’s the first memory that comes to mind?
Brett Richey: Um, I remember back Yeah, back in New York City, to some of the big sessions, I would have winning, you know, six figures in a day. 2628 years old, is like, I remember just going outside on the street in New York and being like, this is surreal, I would lose six figures in a day too. So it’s not like it was just up only, but I do remember like that just being very surreal. Like, just in cash. Like, I didn’t think some tournament just like wow, like, that’s crazy. Well,
Brad: Do you remember any thoughts or feelings that you had you tell your parents anything like that? Did they have any awareness as to like how big you’re playing?
Brett Richey: To some extent, I mean, I mostly again, like I was pretty even keel, whether winning or losing, although my girlfriend claimed that she could tell if I was if I won or lost by how I would sleep. So there may have been some truth to that. Like, I would be like more shaky or something if I lost, but for the most part, you know, I was very even keel or
Brad: That’s funny. Your conscious is stronger than your subconscious. Yeah. It’s a really weird thought. What about the opposite of joy? When you think about pain in your career playing cards, what’s the first memory that comes to mind?
Brett Richey: Yeah, just, you know, big losses, reckless decisions, you know, living an unhealthy lifestyle, drinking a lot, you know, gambling, just just not you assuming. Like, I’m so talented that like, you know, I can afford to like, make these mistakes, because, like, I can just make it back and things like that. And then you realize, like other people, the, the market gets more efficient over time, right? Players get better. And so you gotta keep that, that discipline. Like, if you look at the top players out right now, they tend to be extremely disciplined, you know, like the Zigmond of the world. Like, had their day but for the most part, the guys out there now, you know, they’re almost like, like a hedge fund quant type approach. Yeah, like,
Brad: There’s, I had Steve’s Zola Tao on the podcast. And you know, he had a quote that, like, the candy shop isn’t always open. And like, things change times change. And if you’re not adapting, there’s other people that would love to win six figures in a day and that are coming, right? And they are relentless. And it matters to them, and they’re driven and they’re hungry, and all of these things. And yet staying at the top is quite tough in any industry. And poker, specifically where you’re, you’re directly incentivized to get better through making and generating more money, it becomes especially harder. Yeah. If you could imagine a carbon copy of you who’s getting into poker today, in this day and age. If you could sit that kid down and give him some advice well would your advice be?
Brett Richey: Well, in this day and age, I think it would be important to have another source of income until you until you prove yourself within poker. So my advice would be to get a job
Brad: Where I think young Brett would listen to you, though.
Brett Richey: No young brat would help me to go to hell. Yeah, that’s the problem. I was very stubborn. Still, I’m sure but but um, yeah, but kind of, you know, blaze my own trail, and I’m gonna do what I want without worrying about what other people want to do. But I do think like, it was a different time, though. Like, in the mid 2000s, it was just money falling from the sky, right? Like there was, it was a very forgiving environment. If you had any sort of inclination for the game, and like some sort of money management skills, you really could do quite well, you didn’t need to be amazing. Now it’s much tougher. So I think that the better the better way would be to work and you can still play, whether it’s private games, like if you’re in New York City, if you’re in Florida, you’re wherever the nearest casino is, you start putting that in, right and then keeping track, like, if you do progress, and you build up a bankroll, you know, you can then you can then go pro, if that’s what you want. But like, I wouldn’t advise it, I think that like the poker environment is just not, it’s never gonna be what it was, it’s a much more of a grind. And so if you if you don’t mind being a grinder, like a live grinder, I think, you know, it does give you it’s like a hard way to earn an easy living, right? That’s what they say. So if that appeals to somebody, then you know, hats off. But like, for me, I feel like I’ve spent enough time in casinos that I don’t really, I don’t have any goal of like going back to being a full time professional poker player?
Brad: Well, let’s frame it this way. What? What do you know now that you wish you would have known then, like, specifically as it relates to poker, and gambling in general?
Brett Richey: Um, that’s a good question. I’m not sure. I don’t know if I’ve like, if there’s a whole lot that’s changed. I mean, it’s the same same game, different playing field, I would say to some extent, like I’ve been trading a lot of NF T’s recently, that’s very similar to the poker boom, it’s got a lot of the same kind of characteristics to it. And you know, bankroll management. Making decisions based on imperfect information, I think those are all skills that translate to like a wide variety of industries. So I, there’s nothing I knew, like I had a pretty good grasp on it early on. So I don’t think there’s a whole lot that I would say, I would tell my younger self differently. And as you said, I wouldn’t listen anyway.
Brad: Yeah, that’s the curse of youth, right? We got to make our own mistakes. What’s some common poker advice that you’ve heard that you completely disagree with?
Brett Richey: Mmm hmm. That’s a good question. I don’t know I there’s some advice I do agree with, which I’ll say was just like the best way to get better is to play against tough competition. So like back online, when I was playing MCs, one thing I would do is I would play like 3060. Straight, have those games. So you know what, 510 no limit. Because the specialists at those stakes were still very, very strong players. And then I could take what I learned and apply them in like the bigger mix games. So I think that playing against tougher competition, depending what you can afford, is a really good way to get better. I don’t know if there’s any common I’m sure there is I just can’t think of one off the top of my head like a common bobbing knowledge that I don’t agree
Brad: Speaking of like studying, I mean, that’s kind of that’s pretty much studying right for playing a bigger bigger mix games is just playing folks who are grinding the 1k and l day in and day out and you battle those guys and then take the lessons that you learn with you during the mix games.
Brett Richey: Yeah, so that was more of like the study I would do and again, I would look look at my my results you can look at in PokerTracker, you can see the how you played whatever which hands you’re losing from and which positions things like that. And then I would look at like the just the hand percentages on like two times dotnet. So I did I definitely like studied or like worked on my game. But it wasn’t like studying the way i i assume that the current crop of elite players are studying it was different.
Brad: Yeah, it’s, I think a lot of the elite players kind of study in different ways. Interestingly, These days, there’s a lot of different tools and methods that folks use that exist on the marketplace. So even I think today because there’s options now, there’s a lot of different available options and people kind of go different paths. If you could gift every poker player in the known universe, one book to read that doesn’t necessarily have to be about poker. What book would you give them?
Brett Richey: Shut up and deal by Jessimae, which is a poker novel. It is beautiful. It’s one of my favorite books. Jesse May, is a commentator on like the British, late night poker shows. But it’s it’s basically a semi autobiographical fictionalized journey of his career in like late 90s. Playing in AC and like, he actually played a lot of the same games, I would play in these, like 75 150 type stakes games. It’s a really, really good book, shut up and deal by Jesse Bay.
Brad: Nice. I don’t think anybody suggested that. And I know I haven’t read it. But I am a big fan of the poker novels.
Brett Richey: Yeah, it’s great. You should definitely check it out. It’s a quick read. I read it again. Last year, and like, in a few hours or something
Brad: Nice. can just fire it up on the Kindle and get in there. Yeah. If you could wave a magic wand, change one thing about poker? What would you change?
Brett Richey: I would, I would get rid of the lines around the states, man, let’s have the US. I’m fine. If you want to ban other countries, let’s have an American site where it’s legal to play and like, you don’t have Pennsylvania walled off, you know, maybe the states really want to opt in. And I’d rather have all 50 But some sort of national framework where people can play I think it’s a healthy activity. Obviously, there’s there’s some compulsive gambling risk to people, but that that applies to the other things that are legal to sports, betting and slots. And poker shouldn’t be legal.
Brad: Yeah, I would say the downside of poker is not as much as sports betting or lotteries. And
Brett Richey: Yeah, that slots. Online roulette. I mean, come on.
Brad: If you could put up a billboard, every poker players got to drive past on their way to go play cards. What would your billboard say?
Brett Richey: Maybe this too shall pass. Right I because I do believe in that. You’d never get too high, never get too low. And, and just focus on making good decisions. And then the outcome will be there. In the long run.
Brad: Yeah, work that inner strife out while you’re sleeping. Any wisdom you’d like to share to the listener? Who’s hell bent on playing poker and going down this road?
Brett Richey: Yeah, I would just say you’re playing within your means bankroll management is very important. I back in like, you know, the mid 2000s. You could it was a much more forgiving environment, you could be a lot more reckless because there was a lot of money flying around there was like, it was easy to get a backing deal. If you needed it, it was easy to get like a loan from a friend. And then, you know, now poker is much tougher. So like those, the it’s just a very different world. So you need to protect your bankroll, you need to, you know, focus on getting better. But also, you don’t need to rush your way to the top, like a lot of people kind of bust if they if they try and move up. And then maybe you take a hit at that stakes where you move up to and then your ego won’t let you move back down to sort of rebuild. And then and then you end up in a really bad spot. So I think patience, really, to me is one of the best things a poker player can have.
Brad: Yeah, patience and discipline. Just systematic decision making, and be disciplined about it. And really good things happen with consistency over time. project that you’re working on this near and dear to your heart.
Brett Richey: Blitz pick where we were in testing right now. It’s basically for sports bettors each better can have their own coin, that so we’ve got kind of a market cap of of different sports bettors and we’re building tools to interact with this sport X on the SX network. It’s basically a decentralized betting exchange like Betfair. And it’s pretty cool. So that’s what we’re focusing on winners right now,
Brad: You know, what’s the utility to the sports bettor in the audience?
Brett Richey: So it would be like, for anyone that’s familiar with Daily Fantasy, you had roto grinders, which was like tools for Daily Fantasy players. And then DraftKings is like the house or similar to poker world you would have Have card runners and then PokerStars. So we’re trying to fit that that helper companion role of the actual betting market, especially because we’re a US company. Like I’m not even going to try and get a betting license. I tried that before we were going to move to Dublin, Ireland, in like the logistics involved in like actually taking bets is is difficult and the overhead is massive with compliance and staffing. So so the utility here is like, I do believe that the web three world blockchain, there’s a lot of use cases for sports betting it’s kind of lagging behind other sectors in transitioning into that world. But our goal is to be kind of positioned there, where we’re the portal if hey, I want to bet on sports on the blockchain, you come to us and we help you essentially get better and find the right place to go bet.
Brad: Nice. So card runners for sports betting basically, that’s yeah. Very nice. Man. It’s been great learning more about you having you on the program. And final question is going to be if the CPG listener wants to learn more about you on the worldwide web. Where do they go?
Brett Richey: Follow me on Twitter, Brett Ritchie, on Twitter. That’s that’s the best place. And then you can you know, see the stuff I’m working on. On my Twitter account.
Brad: Perfect, man, it’s been great having you. Best of luck with Blitz pick and you know, your your seven years down the road now. So yeah, you’re, you’re committed.
Brett Richey: Yeah, we’ll see. Ball is still in the air. That’s how I like to look at it.
Brad: Yeah. When is you mentioned you have like, alpha testing right now. Right. Do you have any anticipating any launch date?
Brett Richey: I would say, um, maybe q2, or q3 kind of depends on when this SX network launches. But sometime in the spring or summer, maybe fall at the latest hopefully? Yeah, it’s we’re close. It might
Brad: Close. Yeah, that is closed. Best of luck, man. Thank you. Wishing you nothing but good things. And yeah, we’ll catch up another time. Thank you for your time and your energy. Best of luck.
Brett Richey: Cheers. Thanks, Brad.
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