Bryan Paris: $12M+ in Online Poker Cashes & 2ND Human Ever to Hit $10M

Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 063

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Today’s guest on Chasing Poker Greatness is Bryan Paris.

Bryan has over 12 million dollars in online cashes (And was the 2nd human in poker history to crack the 10 million dollar mark) and has been crushing the poker tournament scene for the last 14 years.

Bryan was incredibly easy-going and easy to talk to … It’s quite apparent why he’s racked up 35,000+ followers on Twitch and had hundreds of viewers from day one of streaming.

In today’s episode, you’ll learn:

A clever and effective tactic to make sure you have an edge when you’re moving up stakes.

Why the thought experiment “The Prisoner’s Dilemma” means really bad things for the future of online poker.

Why the folks in the USA who thrive in this age of online poker are built to last.

And much, MUCH more.

Without any further ado, I bring to you the great Bryan Paris.

Click any of the icons below, sit back, relax and enjoy my conversation with Bryan Paris on Chasing Poker Greatness.

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Transcription of Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 063: Bryan Paris

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Brad: Welcome, welcome, welcome my friend. As always, this is the host and founder of, Brad Wilson and today’s guest is multi table tournament Crusher, Brian Paris. Brian has over $12 million and online cashes, was the second human in poker history to crack the $10 million mark, and has been crushing at the poker tournament scene for the last 14 years. Brian was incredibly laid back and easy to talk to. It’s quite apparent why he’s racked up more than 35,000 followers on Twitch and had hundreds of viewers from day one of streaming. In today’s episode, you’ll learn a clever and effective tactic to make sure you have an edge when you’re moving up stakes, why the thought experiment, the prisoner’s dilemma means really bad things for the future of online and live poker, why the folks in the USA who thrive in this day and age of online poker are built to last and much, much, more. So, without any further ado, I bring to you the great, Brian Paris.

Brad: Brian, welcome to the show, sir. How you doing?

Brian: Great. How you been?

Brad: I’m doing very well. It’s good to have you. Where are you located at right now?

Brian: I’m in Harlan, which is right near Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Brad: Very nice. Lot of online poker options.

Brian: Yeah, and all the sites are available here. It’s a, that’s the original reasonable jurors for online poker access. But you know, there are other great reasons to be here as well. But yeah, it’s a good place to be for now for all.

Brad: I could think of a couple great reasons. So, let’s start this show off by telling me the story of how you started playing cards.

Brian: Yeah, sure. So, I’ve always been the gamer of sort of, you know, growing up. I played a lot of magic. But I was, I’m 35 now so I guess the game was invented, but I was like seven or eight. And you know, I got into it pretty early. And I played that a ton growing up, all through high school. And then my senior year of high school, some of my friends started a home game for poker. This was 2002. And so, we played a bunch of weird variants of like baseball and Chicago and stuff like that. And we play a little bit of Nolan Hold’em, you know, because it was in the for the moneymaker boom was like just kicking off like right after that. But that was my first experience was in this home game with all my friends. I was the second-best performing player in the game, one guy won all the money. He didn’t actually want to go any further than I was like even, I was like a second-best player ever. And I’ll just get crushed. But then so I went off to college and I was playing for fun, you know, while going to school I was playing for fun, but also, I was winning because it was pretty easy back then. And so, I guess I was just kind of in the perfect time and place. Like I turned 18 in the year moneymaker won the World Series so I was just like perfectly situated to jump right into online poker from like its boom phase and just kind of go with it from there.

Brad: What was so appealing about the game back then that made you want to invest so much time and energy into playing cards?

Brian: It was the fact that I like, I mean I already enjoyed card games you know. Now they’re here was one that I can play and make money and it’s like holy shit. I can play online, I can play a card game online, I can make money. It’s like this everything I always wanted to do. It was, it was just really perfect for me so I that very naturally gravitated towards it.

Brad: And when did you start seeing some success? Like when did it turn into a viable thing you felt you could do?

Brian: So, I mean if you think that long like, so I was a freshman in college. I had my first 8k MDTs for like nine months into my freshman year. And before that I had some smaller scores and stuff but I was always constantly making money to you know, pay the bills and pay my rent and whatever when I was going through college. So, I guess the first time I thought I could really go pro was after I graduated. You know I worked a real job for like maybe six weeks but I was still playing on weekends and you know, I was making more money on the weekends and I made the job and then I win to package the PCA with all expenses paid and I had enough vacation time or whatever so I was like fuck it I’ll just quit you know. Start playing poker for a while and it doesn’t work out all this good all just you know fiber job again and it worked out. So,

Brad: What was the job? What was your first job?

Brian: It was this sort of like financial like vulture type company where they would like call around the smaller companies and make offers to buy them out. I would like, when my, I was employee basis. I would basically cold call people and ask them for like their CEOs contact and don’t have the time to. Who the fuck are you, like why are you asking me about this? What are you talking about? There’s not the most fun job. I’m sure I could have worked my way up and done some sort of, you know, finance murder acquisitions type shit. But it’s, I never really like, been in naturally like an office lifestyle, I guess. I’ve always been very individually minded.

Brad: So, you quit your job, you start playing poker, what did your life look like back then? Like, what was your aspiration as a professional card player?

Brian: So, I was just one of that one big score, I guess. I mean, I mean, I want to do professionally for a while I want to travel, I wanted to go to big tournaments and everything. And so, my early years playing a big role is spent looking for that one, like, of course, to sort of kickstart the bankroll. But even though I never had a score above, maybe 30k, until like, three or four years into my career, I still managed to, you know, string together enough, like 10k scores to keep traveling. And, you know, I was with my fiancé at the time. And we met while traveling and studying abroad at Cambridge. So, travel and all this sort of a, an integral part of our relationship. So, it was, yeah, it was nice to be able to fund that sort of like traveling poker player lifestyle with the game from an early get, from an early time.

Brad: She was cool? She was cool with the online poker?

Brian: Yeah, we were both young, you know, I met her I was 21. She was 20. And, you know, I never, like really had we, I never really had to work a real job for a prolonged period of time. So, I guess we never experienced like, normal working adult life. So, we didn’t really have the like risk assessment properly baked into our reality at that time, but it worked out just fine anyway. So, you know, I guess basically, because I was able to be successful from the get go. And I’ve never really had any problems with like covering expenses and getting us a nice lifestyle. It’s never really been an issue for us.

Brad: So, tell me, when you think about pain in your poker career, what’s the first memory that comes to mind?

Brian: Probably Black Friday. That was rough.

Brad: Tell me about that.

Brian: Yeah, so I had the first three and a half months in 2011, were the best of my career by far is crushing like 350k in four months or something. I had a stretch. I remember documenting pretty extensively, when I cashed 10k or more 14 days in a row, or 13 out of 14 days. It was during that full tilt, like double guarantee week or whatever. So, I was just crushing. And then I had a lot of money on hold till I had like 200k there or something. And they dropped the hammer on Black Friday, and all my wholesale money offers and, and so I think that was really the first time when I went from just like, crushing to just like busto in the span of, you know, a month or something through really no fault of my own. I mean, I didn’t properly risk manage, like I had other money I should have been more careful with but I always just sort of assumed I was getting the tilde money within a reasonable time span. So, I think that was by far the hardest part of my career. The biggest setback like I went from having just this massive APR one deal on top of the poker world to just like nothing in the span of a couple months. It was, it was very difficult to sort of motivate myself to rebuild from there.

Brad: Do you remember where you were at when you got the Black Friday news?

Brian: Yeah, it was in my house. My apartment in Southern California like Laguna Niguel, which is in Orange County. And I remember hearing it and I was like, oh, well, I thought like, I mean, obviously, that’s like really bad news. But we didn’t, we didn’t know like the extent of just how bad it would be, you know. We thought maybe they’d shut down for a little bit and a comeback or, you know, we thought they’d shut down, but at least we get paid. So, I remember my plan at the time, I was like, well, that sucks, obviously. But what I’m going to do is I’m going to stay here, I’m going to play the World Series of Poker, which I played every summer, and then I’ll relocate to like Canada or whatever. So, I just sort of assumed that I’d be able to relocate my way out of it. And, you know, I did relocate, but I didn’t get the photo money back for like three or four years.

Brad: When did the full tilt money come back? Was it with when stars bought full tilt?

Brian: Yes. Or pocket out or whatever, and they did the settlement. And then they paid out all the balances. I think it was in like mid-2014 when I got paid.

Brad: Yeah, because you be absolute poker. They paid out eventually. But it was like,

Brian: I still haven’t got paid from them. They owed me like 15k or something.

Brad: Oh, there, he, there was an opportunity

Brian: When I filled out the form and everything that I’ve asked them that they like they are holding there for some reason. I don’t know.

Brad: Really? Wow, that’s interesting.

Brian: It actually reminds me I should, I should have emailed them again. It’s been a little bit.

Brad: I think it was like two or three years ago back whenever you could apply.

Brian: I definitely applied right away. I remember someone came in twitch chat and was like, oh, should you be paying? I was like, no way. How is that possible? I mean, I just wrote that money off forever ago, you know. I never thought I’d see that. And then I fill out the whole thing. This, they have my bi-report on file, there’s an email.

Brad: I remember. I mean, it was blood on the streets. I remember there was a UB reg, who I assume was plugged in to the corporation, whoever even the corporation of ultimate that was and he was like buying up people’s account balances like 40 cents on the dollar. Like, it was just, it was a very weird time to be a poker player.

Brian: I remember having many offers on my hotels account and contemplating them very deeply, you know, 80 cents on the dollar 80. But I’m glad I didn’t. You know, I was very tempting.

Brad: For sure. And maybe if you could have gotten paid immediately would have been worth it.

Brian: Yeah. Like to help me rebuild faster.

Brad: Yeah, for sure. And you mentioned that it was really hard to get back in there, to get back in the arena. Can you tell me about going through that and what led you to eventually reinvesting yourself full time in a poker?

Brian: It wasn’t, I mean, it wasn’t so much hard emotion. It was more just like my game got fucked up during the off time. Because like when I, when I was when everything was going for Black Friday, I was just firing on cylinders. I was really on top of stuff. And then, you know, when they came back, it was hard. Like I was able to sell action on the people’s do marketplace pretty easily because of my situation, you know, it’s like, the perfect situation to sell action, right? It’s like, I’m bust. But it’s through no fault of my own. Like, I made all this money. I was really good. So, like, I had no problem selling action.

Brad: When you say bust, like, what, were you like, legitimately very close to

Brian: I was, I was like, Dustin, I was down to like, you know, 10k or whatever.

Brad: Wow. Because I have like, I have like 303, 50, you know, going into before Black Friday hits and then Black Friday hits. And I have like 100 of it on stars or whatever I was able to cash out. But then I go to the World Series. And I’m just thinking the whole time during the series, like I’m just going to fire hard, because I’m going to get all this other money. And I’m like playing really well. And I’m crushing. I’m just going to fire everything. So, I was down like a decent amount of the World Series. And then the Black Friday, do you say it’s in the full tilt, money’s all gone all of a sudden. It’s just like, holy shit. I go from all this money to just like, nothing. I mean, I was a lot younger back then too. So, I could have managed the situation in a more conservative fashion, obviously, but I just sort of like, blindly assumed that the photo money would be coming back a lot before it actually did. Yeah. So, you just went to the WSOP with no reservations to plan your

Brian: Back then, I was like, you could, you could dust a role and just rebuild it. I mean, there’s just, it’s hard to like, adjust from this. Like, because on the day, on when Black Friday hits, everything changes, right? The reality fundamentally changes. But for me, I was still sort of stuck in that earlier reality, or I’m just like a crusher, and I need to be playing everything as high as possible. Because

Brad: I mean, there was, it was shocking. There was, there was shock. I remember thinking like, it’s going to be okay. It’s not going to be that big of a deal. But it was just like the shock of the situation. You know, the reality hadn’t fallen on me yet. And it took a while for the reality of the situation to be like, holy shit, like, it’s not going to, it’s never going to be the same again.

Brian: They’re paying off the rest of the world balances like at the beginning, but then, you know, took them two months with their license pulled. So, I just sort of assumed I could relocate and they pay me my balance as soon as I changed my address to Canada or whatever. But yeah, obviously. And then, of course, the market fundamentally changed, right? Like once the American market was gone, the whole market shrunk by whatever percent and things got tougher, changing trajectory for sure.

Brad: Yes. Everything, everything really hinged on Black Friday. So, you start selling action, you start rebuilding. Do you remember your first score, like when you first started you know, getting your feet back under you again, after the debacle of Black Friday?

Brian: Yeah. 2013 is when I really started to piece it all back together. I had a really good first half of 2013 online. I crushed, I think I chopped the Sunday 500 heads up in January 2013 for like 50k or something. That was my first post Black Friday, like fully rebuild score. And then from there, I was able to string together a number of scores in the first six months in 2013. I think I went on a decent size either like 150k or something like that. So that was enough to rebuild and then in the summer of 2013 we moved here. And you know once I moved here, I started off pretty well. From here. It was a nice, a nice life adjustment for us to move to Amsterdam.

Brad: What do you make of online poker the landscape right now that

Brian: Hard to say because there’s so much going on this year with the Coronavirus and like the economic devastation and everything. It’s just hard to start, hard to know what is like an organic trend of online poker and what is all these like extra things coming in, you know?

Brad: For sure.

Brian: I don’t know overall, it seems like there’s some positive stuff like parties try and kind of hard to expand their guarantees and stuff GG network is blown up. I mean, they’re really expanding the game to a lot of parts of Asia. So, they’re, they’re definitely responsible for like a lot of growth. So, there are reasons to be optimistic. And you know, the virus obviously gave us a huge influx of new money. I don’t know how much it’ll stay, but it’s very hard to predict going forward. But I was cautiously optimistic before all of the disruptions of this year and so far the disruptions of this year have largely benefited online poker. So, we’ll just kind of see where it goes from there I guess.

Brad: Yeah, I mean it’s definitely tough to gauge in the US market because we don’t see anything, right? Like I had never heard of GG poker before Daniel Negreanu became like their Ambassador but apparently that’s where all the action is, right? Or just a ton of it.

Brian: I was, I was sponsored by Natural Lane, which is a skin of theirs for like two years but then they had to leave in other ones for regulatory reasons late last year. But it’s a very, it’s been a very fast-growing network for the last two or three years.

Brad: I’ve heard their rake on cash game. Can you talk, speak about their rake on cash game? Because I’ve seen some really bad things

Brian: About that. I don’t know. I, we played up the keys. So, I honestly don’t know the details about their cash games.

Brad: Yeah.

Brian: But I’ve heard that they base your rate back on like how much of a fish they think you are.

Brad: Yeah.

Brian: Which sounds does to some degree as well, like actually what I’ve been using once on stars, they’ll give me these like rake back challenges, you know, where they basically offer me like 40% rate back for a period. There’ll be like if you know, the next like 4k, regular old, the new back 1600. And they give you these, like special offers or whatever. So, a lot of sites are engaging with that sort of behavior. And it might be, it might be positive in the long run, but they should at least be transparent about it.

Brad: Yes. There’s very little transparency.

Brian: Yeah. GG is definitely like, there’s some stuff. Yeah. You know, you don’t know everything about like, what’s going on. So, I’m not really sure. But it’s definitely growing really fast. And there’s a lot of new Asian players coming in on the on the network.

Brad: I mean, this is the problem, right? Like with no regulation in the US, and no structure, no anything like they made the Wild West just even Wilder.

Brian: Yeah. It was very chaotic. Extremely wild.

Brad: Like I mentioned in a podcast recently, the, it reminds me of like a wasteland from like Mad Max, that it’s just like, every man for themselves, everybody. Like, it’s just, it’s really tough. And I do think that online poker would boom, again, if they got legalized and regulated in the US, but that’s a giant if, right?

Brian: I agree. I mean, if they can start advertising it on ESPN during NFL games, or whatever, like they used to do back in the glory days, I think we could we could definitely see a second boom. It’s just a big F, like you said.

Brad: And the money. Like when somebody can just whip out their wallet,

Brian: Right.

Brad: And use their debit card to deposit. I mean, that’s, that’s how, that’s how Poker Bros runs, right? Like that’s, that’s the only reason why Poker Bros is a thing in the US, and they just crush their players with rake. But that’s how people get money on and it’s very, very easy. You don’t have to learn how to use Bitcoin, like,

Brian: It’s insane to think that the sites even have as much traffic as they do with the massive hurdles that are required for payment systems. I mean, the traffic could easily just like five acts if you got rid of those.

Brad: For sure. And then maybe ACR would crash and never come back if traffic 5x I guess.

Brian: They need better servers. Yeah, that’s, that’s a mystery to me. Like, I don’t remember back in the day, and like 2004, 2005 on Party Poker, Party Poker servers crashing during tournaments, like ever. I never remember that happening ever. And that was 15 years ago. I’d love to see historical stats on that sort of thing. If anyone ever come to mind kind of doubt they did. When did they start tracking like traffic and everything?

Brad: I have no idea.

Brian: No idea either that eventually it’d be interesting to look back and kind of see like how many how many concurrent players they had back then compared to now. I wonder what it was.

Brad: I’m sure it was just a ton because Party Poker is like the big, it was like the first Black Friday,

Brian: Right.

Brad: Back in 2005 or 2006.

Brian: Yeah. I wasn’t, I wasn’t really quite on party. I was more on stars then. So that, that one didn’t really hit me as much because I was still in school. I wasn’t playing quite so seriously at that point. But I do remember that shaking up the landscape.

Brad: For sure. It was the number one platform in the world. And it was just, it was massive. And that was the first time that it was like I, that should have been a wakeup call to me. That’s like, hey, these guys can just disappear like these guys can, you’re not secure in thinking that you can go to bed at night, wake up, log on and play online poker. But you just kind of, you know, again, I was God, 23 years old, so I knew

Brian: It’s a hell of a thing. I mean, right now you don’t even know like if you’re going to be able to travel to another country or the streets are going to be run with tanks. You don’t even know what that was going to happen tomorrow. So, there’s a lot of now’s a great time to throw out your normalcy bias for sure.

Brad: Yes. It is a weird, weird time that we are living through.

Brian: That’s correct.

Brad: Going back to online poker, when you think of joy in your career playing poker, what’s the first memory that comes to mind?

Brian: Meeting Shaun Deeb heads up in the Sunday roll in 2009 was my first big score because like I was saying before, I always had these like 30k scores, but I never had, like the 100k score that really like gives you that solid foundation to build from, you know, as an MPT player. So, in summer of 2009, I got heads up against Shaun Deeb. And the Sunday rolling hotel. At first it was like 83 or 90k or something like. That was very big. And he always thought I sucked back then because I wasn’t very good to be fair, but like nobody was and he was the best at refugees. But he always thought I was like, especially bad. And I was. I was very weak and like mini back then. But I got to the final table with him. And then I was playing really hard and like aggressive that day because I’d like recently made some evolutions in my game. And we wound up getting heads up and I had a lead. I was up 3.2 million to 2.8. I remember the stacks very well. And I offered him an even shot because I knew he was better than me. He just typed lol Machado, will then Fuck you, buddy. So, it took me 30 minutes and I beat him and that was just like the best feeling ever.

Brad: What did it feel like when you took down?

Brian: It was just so like, vindicating, you know. And it was like in the middle of the World Series. All my friends are there watching because it was the middle of the WSOP in the summer or in the backyards and like shitty rental house in Vegas we were staying at. It was yeah, it was great, man. That’s like why you play the game and stuff like that.

Brad: So, you had like a live twitch stream going just all you guys.

Brian: Yeah. Everybody’s standing,

Brad: Everybody’s standing behind you, cheering people on.

Brian: Earlier version of the twitch stream.

Brad: The more primitive version of Twitch.

Brian: Exactly.

Brad: What’s the most unexpected thing that’s come from your poker journey?

Brian: Probably moving to the Netherlands. And that’s pretty random, right?

Brad: That is very random.

Brian: Grow up, and then click on move to the Netherlands and I’m 25 that’s what we did. So, I mean, I thought I did especially now it seems like a great time to be abroad. And you know, the just pass on all the recent stuff like the quality of life and you know, this, like walkable nature of the cities, everyone rides bikes and stuff. It’s just like a really different lifestyle. And it’s really good for raising kids especially. So, I think that like the happy accident, but I wasn’t moving over here, because of Black Friday is actually wrong with being like a very interesting life change, and I think has led to a lot of positive developments.

Brad: Do you have kids?

Brian: Yeah.

Brad: Do you have kids though, or

Brian: They’re almost foreign too, just as it

Brad: Has it affected poker at all? I assume no. Just the same. I mean, yeah, my wife is full time mom, which helps a lot, because that way, we, you know, we can work together to deal with the kids, so she can take the majority of it. So, my poker has changed some like my, I can’t just like fire obsessions as casually as I used to, like, during the day or whatever. But so, I’m a little bit more regimented about like when I’m playing versus when I’m not playing. Whereas back in the day, I could just kind of open my laptop and then start playing whenever I want. And then I also started the twitch stream around the birth of my son in 2016. So, it sort of made you get a little more serious about like the business and the things and having other income streams as well.

How has twitch been as far as generating other revenue streams? Like, tell me about the, your twitch journey.

Brian: So, I wanted to start twitching because I felt like I was the second person or I was going to be the second person that would have 10 million in her cashes. But I felt like, nobody never heard of me, despite that. And I was like, well, it seems kind of silly, like maybe I should try to raise my profile a little bit. Maybe you got like a sponsorship from a site or whatever. And I asked him, I was like, kind of a good way to reconnect with a lot of my friends from back home, you know, because I had a lot of friends who played poker with me until Black Friday hit and they weren’t at the level required to justify like leaving the country, you know, they’re pretty big commitment to like, move abroad to keep your career going. And so obviously, you have to be very sure of it to do that. And I had a lot of friends who were playing poker, but they were playing it at a high enough level to justify that or whatever. So, it was sort of a way to reconnect with them as well. It’s like you guys can watch me play and kind of see how the game works. Nowadays, we can just like hang out online, if you’re bored or whatever. So that was a motivation for me as well. When I started to blow up pretty fast, I had like 300, 500 viewers right off the bat, like pretty consistently. And it was it was there’s a lot of hype around the screen when I first started. So, it was pretty easy for me to like, really dive into it. Over time, things slow down, and especially I got the natural a sponsorship, I had to start showing all my action on the GG network rather than the other tables and I guess people are more interested in seeing some other stuff like stars is just like more naturally showable on stream. So, my viewer numbers have dropped off a little bit over time. But now that I’m focusing more on the streaming deep runs, they’re back up to being pretty good again. So, I guess it’s, it was like a lot of momentum at first, it went really well. Definitely read my profile, I got some announcing games, I got some sponsorships and stuff. And you know, now that we have two kids, and now that I’m trying to like, study more to stay more on top of the game itself, I haven’t been streaming as much but it’s still a nice outlet and still has pretty good support when I do fire it up.

Brad: For any listener who wants to start a Twitch stream poker stream, what wisdom could you share with them?

Brian: Consistency is the number one thing and you got to be ready to like really grind it out because it’s a you know, it helps to build a following if you’re on every night consistently, you know, talking to people, making friends and stuff. People come back and they fall into habits, you know. So, the most important thing is consistency. And the other thing you really got to do is find some sort of angle because there’s just a bazillion poker streamers now especially like way more than when I started. So, it’s important to have an angle I had a pretty easy angle, I was the second person who’s in 10 million cashes or whatever. So that was like a cool thing for people to follow.

Brad: Who was first?

Brian: Norman.

Brad: Norman?

Brian: Yeah. I’m actually like number 10 all time or something. I have a whole bunch of people lead far base and stuff because online high stakes nosebleeds have just like blown out like that GG stuff we were talking about, you know, they’re playing these. They’re running 25ks every day, like you’re not going to keep up with career fascism. People are playing 25k every day. But it was cool with their second when it was available.

Brad: Yeah had Apestyles on and he was

Brian: Oh yeah. He was the best.

Brad: He was saying how the, they were fired the 25ks pretty much every day and like multiple bullets. And guys, you know, the player that the tournament was built around with fire like 300k in these silly tournaments and stuff. I think he won like, like he had added 4 million to his resume in like two months.

Brian: That was surprising. I mean, that’s kind of why GG is successful though because like they know a lot of the Macau guys like personally, they’re willing to do shit like, well, for an entire series of 25ks just a cater to this one guy, you know. I mean, that’s like that’s just kind of this type of stuff you have to do nowadays, I guess to keep the action going, especially at that level is one super wave open, keep a lot of those tournaments alive.

Brad: Yeah. When super wave makes it profitable for, you know, the other, I don’t know how many handed you play on GG poker, whether it’s standard eight, nine.

Brian: I think eight for those higher stakes one’s appraisers.

Brad: Yeah. The other seven players are profitable poker players when that guy is sitting down.

Brian: The rake is miniscule about the whole 2.5k. Plus I don’t know what it is off top my head, but I’m sure it’s a very small percentage compared to what Reagan’s for most MVPs.

Brad: Yeah, that’s typically how it how it works. It’s funny, the higher stakes you play, the less relative rake you end up paying.

Brian: I mean, in some, in many ways, the like, upper mid stakes are the templates, right? Because if you go to the true nosebleeds you get, you get whales and you get these like Silicon Valley Tech CEOs where like, they just want to play a lot of money. Like they’re not, they’re not necessarily good. So, it’s actually like, the upper mid stakes, especially online. That’s kind of the toughest thing you can be in like, let’s go to go to the very top is actually a lot easier to start up a bankroll and the connections to get there.

Brad: Yeah, I mean, because there’s the barrier to entry is so massive, right? Like to 25k I mean, the barrier to entry is just huge. So, you have either the crushers or people who are good at raising money and selling action,

Brian: Right.

Brad: And that side of the game. And then you have some whales who drop in so shallow player pool and typically weaker, whereas the higher upper end of mid stakes, you got a lot of people that can afford to play in those tournaments. And so, the fewer of those just by nature, stronger. That’s why, you know, it’s always, it is kind of ironic to me how, you know, you play 500 no limit, there’s tons of rags, you move up to 2k. And like, the games are just as good or better at 2k.

Brian: Oh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Very much. So, people are surprised, you know.

Brad: Yeah.

Brian: You get the very highest games. And those are like a million-dollar tournaments in Vegas or whatever. Like that tournament’s got a bunch of maximum, but you have to have a million dollars to get in there. And you have to like not be losing so much against the riders that you’re still beating the field. It’s not it’s a tall order.

Brad: Yeah, for sure. What is your process look like for regularly improving your game?

Brian: I study a lot of, I do a lot of DTO poker, which is the training app. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. I’m sure you have by now when you’re doing a bunch of therapies and stuff, but so it’ll just show you how you can dive deep into spots. There’s like 40 different spots you can choose from with different like positions and blinds, and you can just run a whole bunch of them. And so, like that’s a very convenient way for studying when you have kids, especially because I got to take him to the playground, I can bust out my phone, I can learn a bunch of things while they’re playing or whatever. So, it’s super-efficient in that regard. And then for deeper study, I get coaching from BBZ. Like I tried to do once a week during sleep, I dropped the ball a little bit, but we do some coaching and content together. So, I definitely like do a lot of studying with him. And then I’m also in a few like discord Jackson stuff, where we share Sims and stuff like that.

Brad: BBZ is a coaching group stable?

Brian: He runs a stable, but he also does coaching. I’m not mistaken. I was paying for coaching and then we collaborate on like videos and stuff.

Brad: Nice. How important do you think it is to have a poker coach?

Brian: Oh, it’s incredibly important. I mean, it’s like, unless you’re the type of person who’s just like super detail oriented and capable of looking at your own stats and hand histories that are critical. I mean, many people do now that, it’s just naturally gravitate towards poker. They will have that ability to be honest with themselves and have the ability to like really look into stuff. But for most people, you know, they just kind of play and they just play and like you know, you it really helps to have someone look into your stats and be like, hey are like bleeding a bunch of value here, you’re deviating here, you need to do this, you know, just having a second person who knows like what things should look like and can go through your stats and kind of tell you where you’re deviating and what you can improve. I think it’s very, very beneficial, especially when you consider the compounding returns even a small improvement in your win rate. Over the course of however many hands you’re going to play. I mean, like the returns on studying or getting closer, just like boundless basically.

Brad: Can you explain, basically on the compounding effects. Can you, can you break those down, like so, coaching adds x win rate to your tournament, ROI, and give

Brian: It’s har to give an actual like, but let’s just say you win one more big one for 100, right? Last month, I think I played like 50,000 hands. So, you know, if you want another big one for 100. That’s quite a few extra big ones over the course of 500 bucks every month, over the course of the month. And that’s going to add up that’s just one month. Over the course of the year that’s a shitload of extra bit wise. And I’m not sure exactly how that translates directly into ROI. But with the amount of volume I’m playing, especially, I mean, if you’re not quite as much of a volume right here, you’re not going to see the same return. But if you’re playing any sort of big volume over the course of a large sample of marginal increase in literary, it will yield incredible dividends.

Brad: For sure. And a lot of times too, it’s hard to know what you don’t know.

Brian: Right.

Brad: And I cover this a lot with my students and people that ask me questions about poker. And it’s like, well, if you record a video and send me the video, and I ask you to make timestamps, you’ll make timestamps on the spots you think you’re struggling in. However, when we watch the video back, we’re going to find 10 other spots that you didn’t even think twice about,

Brian: Exactly.

Brad: That are also spots that you need to work on. So just having somebody else who can discern that for you, is so, so, so important. Because

Brian: It’s a huge point, yeah. I find that a lot of intersections with BBZ. I was going to be like, going through hands quickly, and I was like, blast past something’s like, wait, stop there, we got to look at that. And then no, explain why I’m just like, need to be considering another option or whatever. It’s like, I never even would have thought about and without a coach, you’re not going to, we’re never going to hear about that. So that’s a very, very important.

Brad: What do you think the most high impact action folks can take is to improve their game?

Brian: Good question. I guess just finding a network of good players to help you improve and like talk ideas with is probably the best like investment of time, you can get. Like joining a stable, or just like forming a group of your friends. We’re all trying to study and improve as well. I think, I think those are very good. But in terms of like your own, I guess just I want to say I think DTO is one of your best returns on time. It’s not, it’s incomplete, right, because they only solve a few bet sizes, and they only solve for a few particular spots. But if you really dive into a spot, you run 200 hands on that spot, you know, you’ll really get a great idea like which boards you want to do one on, which was one of the big, which words win small, was working on checker is more that sort of thing. So honestly, I think in terms of like return for your time, just like mashing DTO is probably the highest EV, but if you want to get some deeper study, then have having a study group or a coach is going to be very beneficial as well.

Brad: If you were to lose all of your connections that you have in the poker world, today, you’re brand new human, but you have all your knowledge. How would you go about building that network from the ground up?

Brian: I guess. I mean, probably like getting back would be that the easiest thing. But if you’re a completely new person with no connections, that’s probably a little bit difficult. So, I mean, there are some websites you can join the discord communities have you know, like a lot of these website like Upswing, Raise Your Edge, DTO. They’ll have very, like active discord communities that you can join and talk strategy with. And then once you’ve sort of built up a bit of a reputation that way, I guess you could seek backing. But honestly like, working your way up from micro stakes might not be the worst option either if you’re willing to be diligent about it and grind, like a lot of these guys have successfully done bankroll challenges, throwing up like 100 bucks or even up to 5k or whatever. And if you’re willing to like actually adhere to bankroll requirements and actually be diligent about it, I think you can you can probably like compound to bankroll from a relatively small amount within a fairly short period of time.

Brad: Yeah, I think so too. It’s, it’s tough for the new person starting out with no connections.

Brian: Oh, it’s very hard. It’s not easy.

Brad: And I say the same thing. It’s like find a network, you know, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Find those five people, you know, but people are like, I don’t know how to. I don’t know where to get started. Where do I go to find these people?

Brian: People that do this, some of these coaching sites is probably a great starting point.

Brad: For sure. If you know, pay the whatever it is for upswing. Whatever it is for, $40 a month. You just get plugged in into a ready to, ready-made network. And then you just engage people and try to offer value and try to ask questions and people who see themselves in you are more than willing to give you feedback and help you out for absolutely free. I found, when it comes to poker strategy, People are very, very generous in their time and their energy, answering questions.


Brian: Yeah. Part of that is because teaching helps you learn as well, right? So, if someone’s asking you questions, and your kind of like trying to answer them, it can help you make new connections for yourself and help you sort of reinforce the things you need to be thinking about. So, I found that like, coaching actually is one of the best ways to learn, for me.

Brad: Yeah, it is. 100% it is and also for me, I don’t know about you, but when you are a cash game grinder for 15, 16 years, helping people, giving back some to the community is also sorting out and

Brian: Helping like especially like I said, some people who are like in the States trying to make it on the, in this new world with like unregulated markets or whatever, I get extra satisfaction trying to help them sort of navigate the new reality, you know, because I think it’s kind of a shame that the US has been short on producing poker talent relatives, what we could have done over the last 10 years, you know. A lot of the high stakes currently there are some good American high stakes pressures, but most of them started way back in the day. We’re kind of missing a new generation of talent, because of like what Black Friday did to our market. And so, like helping people sort of navigate what’s going on now is something that I get a lot of satisfaction out of.

Brad: The only people that are going to make it through right now through all of the noise, build a name for themselves are going to be amazing. Like they’re going to be world class players, especially in the US market because almost awkward. Oh, yeah, yeah, you got to battle, like you got to battle it at every single turn. And if you make it to the US market, you’re going to come out the other side, a warrior, who’s hardened battle ready. When you moved to Amsterdam, did you find the games, I know the games got a lot tougher like the attorneys you mentioned your friends didn’t move. Did you struggle off the bat?

Brian: Not off the bat. It took until, I think what really happened is when they ban, when they got rid of the supernova elites, everything went to shit at that point, because you know, stars pulled the rug out from under the Superdome, which was a mid-2014, or 2015, something like that. And that was on I went on the biggest downside of my career. And the reason was because all these guys were playing cash or playing sit and goes suddenly, MPTs. And these guys are like way more well studied. They’re way better players, are way more serious, you know, and then also MPT writes back down or just kind of like, pulled over from pre Black Friday and we weren’t like, the whole like solver revolution hadn’t really taken route yet. And like 2013, ’14. So, a lot of us weren’t studying on the same level. So, they sit and go guys, these cash guys come into our hands and just start making them way tougher than they were before. So that definitely cut into my win rate quite a bit. I think that was a huge factor in why I had a downswing from like 2014 to 15.

Brad: Why did the cash games move over to NTTs?

Brian: While they were making so much money as Supernova Elites with the rate back, right? Supernova Leadtek 65% rate back or something like that. It worked out to like over 100k a year and benefits and suddenly started to take that away. And so what that does is it kills the cash games because nobody’s playing the high anymore because they don’t get the rake back and then so the cash guys have to go lower than the rake can also raise the lower cash game so a lot of them just found it more profitable with the cash entirely.

Brad: Sad.

Brian: Yeah.

Brad: The downfall

Brian: I mean, stars wasn’t making that much. I guess the Supernova Lead Paradigm, it sort of locked stars into this thing where like, there are all these like sick rags just grinding it out against each other and stars doesn’t make as much as they thought they should. But the way they did it, they just kind of like, took away everyone’s benefits with no warning, basically. So, it was kind of sketchy the way they did it. I’m sure you’ve heard about that was a while back.

Brad: Oh, yeah, for sure. You can rehash it if you want for the audience if they don’t remember.

Brian: I mean, yeah, so basically, the way supernova league worked was you would, you would play, you would pay a shitload of rake one year, it would set you up for about 100 km benefits or whatever the next year. And then if you’d have to play PL are ready to get in the next year, he been extended by another year. But basically, the idea was, you put in your dues this year, next year you rake. But one year starts basically just pulled out the next year part of the equation. And everyone had already paid their dues, everyone already been playing with paying all this rig with the under the assumption that they’d be getting a huge refund is a supernova elite and suddenly charges us like now, don’t do that. So, like they could have gotten rid of the program that’s their right. But they should have honored what those people have already earned. And they didn’t do that. So that was kind of like pro this whole reaction against stars. And that’s why it stars reputation over the past five years or whatever has really gone to shit. They had absolutely sterling impeccable reputation when they got bought out in 2014, 15 since services tanked.

Brad: How do we, as a community, is there any way to band together to put pressure on these companies to cut out the bullshit? I mean, the only way to put pressure on them really is to not give them an action, right?

Brian: The problem is, is you get a prisoner’s dilemma, right? Because like, let’s say like, the 100 best regs on the site all say fuck it, we’re going to boycott. We’re not going to play here. Because you guys are like screwing us more than that creates a huge opportunity for the next year. Right? That’s right. They can all jump on and take all the money that the top 100 regs are foregoing by not playing. So, and the other thing is the sites don’t want winning players. They don’t want us.

Brad: Oh. Of course not.

Brian: It’s like an inevitable consequence of running a poker site. They’re not a desirable outcome for assignment, you want a few winners so that you can be like, oh, look at these huge winners, you know, if you want to if you want a dream that people can chase or whatever, but you’d rather have all your winners the luck and not skill, right? You don’t want people who are routinely taking money out of your site, like regs are so, it is very difficult for regs to exert pressure on the poker site, because for one that it’s hard for us to band together. And because of the incentives involved, and for the other, they just don’t care, you know, so.

Brad: Yeah, it would have to be direct players as well. Like you would have to be collecting the rec players. And not just the pros, because like you said, you know, I’ve had meetings with poker corporations, and they’ve basically been like, yeah, like, you know, we don’t want people like you. Like this is, this is like, we don’t want winning players excited, etc., etc. Right.

Brian: Yeah. So, like, it would take someone like Negreanu who could actually influence like, recreational opinion to lead a boycott to make that happen. But he hasn’t, I understand why. I’m not trying to like, say he’s like, you know, a bad person for not doing it. I understand why he hasn’t done it, he’s subject to the same incentives as the rest of us. But it would really take someone with that sort of clout in the community to sort of lead a coordinated effort to make sites change their practices, and I don’t see anything like that happening.

Brad: Yeah. It’s an uphill battle, that’s just likely never going to happen. It’s unfortunate because it puts the players in a situation where they just continually get fucked and what do we do we just eat it?

Brian: Yeah. I mean, we’re all just talking to each other, you know, and that’s the nature of the deal. So just try to get fucked less than we do the fucking I guess.

Brad: What’s, what’s something you feel folks who are chasing their poker dreams don’t spend enough time thinking about?

Brian: I guess, just studying. I mean, that’s kind of a cliché answer. But you know, the thing about poker is there’s no secret sauce, right? It’s like it’s just the combination of all these tiny little details and tiny little decisions that all add up and all these little percentages and all these tiny little 1%, 2%, 3% edges all over the place you can pick up. And you know, the more of those you pick up, the better you’re going to do, the more of those even the table, the worse you’re going to do. And honestly, like, just got to dive into the details and just really consider all of that, as much as you can just always be trying to improve on all the all the little things that you can improve on. The other thing I guess is bankroll management, because everyone talks about

Brad: What do you mean by that, everybody sucks at bankroll management?

Brian: It’s on MTTs people, people will hit a score, and then they immediately move up. And it’s like, they don’t understand just how big of a skill jump the bubbles can be. I mean, I’m guilty of this as well, you know, I mean, I’ll hit a score, and I’ll suddenly start playing like a little higher than I happen. And then you know, I’ll have a bad week or two, and I’m like, wait, I should probably drop back down until I study more or whatever. So I think bankroll management, especially in MDGs is a very common weak point for a lot of players. And that’s something that people should probably be like, erring way more on the conservative side than they are.

Brad: So basically, you have a bankroll requirement, right? You being a tournament, and technically using your bankroll requirement, you can move up in stakes. However, because the skill level is different from where you’re at right now, you need a bigger bankroll to be able to sustain playing it the bigger stake, right? Is that what you’re saying?

Brian: Your stats is going to drop you up, and people don’t always get it, they might even drop so far that it goes negative, in which case, you know, you shouldn’t be moving up. So, I think it’s very important to consider the potential, like the combination of an ROI drop and a higher buy in, in place of variance in ways that people don’t account for I think. And that’s very important to pay attention to.

Brad: How do you navigate moving up then? What’s a good way to go about it?

Brian: Just be like super conservative about it, I guess. Just like, take shots. And one thing you can do is if you, if there’s a tournament you want to play, that’s a higher bind that you’re used to, you can look it up on Shark scope for the previous days and see what the average ability level players in it is. Ability on Shark scope is kind of a flawed metric. I don’t even know exactly what it captures, but it captures something. And so here, let’s say you normally play 55 89, right? All right, I want to play like some 109s or 160s today. What you should do is like look at the tournaments you want to play. And look at the longings of that tournament on previous days and see how tough it is. And if it’s soft, and take your shot, if it’s going to be tough and don’t you know, like, one of the worst things you can do is move on from buyers and target tough targets, it’s like if you’re going to work by and you should at least be making sure that you’re playing on the bigger field, soccer fields, that sort of thing.

Brad: Yeah, that’s the greatest bomb right there. Scope out the games that you’re going to play and to see if the skill differential is major. And if it is

Brian: Yes. Because if someone explained to me this way, which makes a lot of sense, like, think of an $11 tournament, like ever is going to play like the Sunday store, like ever, I’m going to play the Sunday store. It’s $11 tournament, huge field, huge, huge prize pool, like everyone’s going to play it. Then you go up to like the big 22. It’s also a big, big deal to big prize pool, but some percentage of those players from the Sunday store will not be 22. And then you go to the big 44, or some percentage of them won’t make up and so on and so forth. And then every jump, the percentage of players who won’t make it up are all recreations. So, whenever you jumped, you lose X percent of recreational and I think people don’t consider just like how substantial the ramifications of that can be when it comes to your why and your religion.

Brad: Yeah, I mean, it’s classic Pareto principle, where 80% of your winnings come from 20% of the players, the 20% of players are the wrecks, and you get fewer and fewer of them each step of the ladder that you move up.

Brian: Yeah. Exactly.

Brad: What’s some common poker advice you hear that you completely disagree with?

Brian: That’s an interesting question. I have to think about that. I’ll get back to you.

Brad: All right.

Brian: I don’t think I have a good answer, though.

Brad: If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about poker, besides restoring poker in the US? What would it be?

Brian: Lowering rate across the board, I guess. I think they rake too much. And I just don’t see the need for like, you’re not even paying dealers like why are you bringing 90% of them are empty every MTT. That’s absurd. I mean, and like the sites all do it, because that’s just sort of what the industry standard is. And they can get away with it. But like, I just can’t imagine that that’s like what is required or what the like, optimal competitive amount would be if they were forced into a truly competitive free market, you know. So, I just, I just I have to assume that the rate could be lower than it is. And then I guess just making payment processors more reliable and easier with the other thing.

Brad: They don’t have to because there’s nobody forcing them to do it. Right. There’s no

Brian: Break. Yeah.

Brad: There’s no coalition, they’re all going to maximize. They’re going to maximize their earnings as a corporation. That’s what they’re built to do. So, you know, we just can’t, it’s more marketing costs, I would say then was like server costs or anything.

Brian: Marketing costs are probably more of it. And that was like the executive bonuses and stuff like that.

Brad: And research and development, research and developments probably pretty big. Like, I feel like there’s so much room for innovation when it comes to just the type of games that are offered. More innovation as it relates to policing, real time assistance and bots and all of those shenanigans. But it’s expensive.

Brian: And behind the scenes, we’re not seeing all those. We don’t really know. But it just seems like there should be at least more competition on that regard. You know, it’s like science should be able to say like, hey, we’re lowering our rake and like people should flock there. That’s like, not at all the situation right now.

Brad: Yeah, because I think recreational players don’t care about the rake. And that’s it. Again, we go back to incentives. The regs don’t care about the rake. The regs go where the racks are. Therefore, everybody goes to the place and they pay the rake. And that’s just the way it is.

Brian: Right, right. Yeah, it wasn’t working. And we’re tracking a number just like prisoner’s dilemma is in the poker industry. And I don’t really see a good way out of any of them.

Brad: Tell me about the prisoner’s dilemma. Can you explain, it’s a thought experiment?

Brian: Yeah, it’s a game theory concept where basically, you have two prisoners, and they are both promised a deal with a defect on the other one, like a better deal. They defect on the other one, right? So, each one, so there are four possible outcomes, right? Neither prisoner defects, that’s the best outcome, because then they’re neither one of them is going to be charged anything right? If one defects and the other does not defect, and the one who defected gets rewarded, and the one who doesn’t defect gets punished, which is the network’s outcome. But you know, it benefits the one who defects. And you know that there’s two possible permutations of backing. There’s two prisoners and the other permutation is they both defect, that they both can vacillate, that’s the worst, because they both get thrown in jail, right? And so, the way the prisoner’s dilemma works is both people always wonder defecting, because that’s just the way that their individual game theory matrix plays out. So, like even though you would have a better outcome if they cooperated, it’s impossible to guarantee cooperation, because there’s no mechanism for encouraging it to be repeated cooperation, therefore, they defect and you get the worst outcome. And that’s sort of what we see in poker a lot of the time.

Brad: Yes, this is perfectly encapsulated by that Venetian tournament that ran, I think it was last year where it was like 300k guaranteed, period.

Brian: Right. Yeah.

Brad: And if it goes over, we’re not adding the money to the prize pool. And they met the guarantee, which was very sad, very sad to me. But it just said that like, no matter, and it was the Venetian too, of all places. Like that’s just, you know, Sheldon saying, fuck you guys. I can control everything that you do. It doesn’t matter if I give you value you’re going to show up. And that’s just the way it is. And

Brian: No issue and honestly, I mean, they’re obviously, they’re just like yes, sir. It is.

Brad: Yeah, it is humiliating, right? Like, we can’t even we can’t even stiff it to this one guy. Like, we’re so obsessed with getting some of that going to be

Brian: Public enemy number one of the whole fucking community and we still have about two minutes. It’s a sad situation.

Brad: Yeah, I was, I mean, it doesn’t surprise me. But when I look at that as like a microcosm of just the poker world, it makes me very, very sad for good things happening down the pike, because that goes to show you like, we’re incentivized by value. And that’s it.

Brian: Yup.

Brad: Nothing, nothing else really matters.

Brian: Obviously, we’re lucky things are as good as they are, probably.

Brad: No man. That’s a, that’s a hard thing for me to even digest. If you could gift all poker players one book to read, what would it be and why?

Brian: Mathematics of Poker. Bright as hell. But I found it very useful because it’s not based on one particular game. You know, a lot of the strategy books from that era have aged very poorly. And Mathematics of Poker is just about the game theory superstructure of poker games and how you should think about them and like what you should be thinking about, like maximizing your, your edge, that sort of thing. So, I found that book to be by far the most useful book I ever read about poker. And because they’re just sort of gave me a framework for thinking about like, how I should be breaking down spots and how it should be analyzing them as opposed to just like, you know, reading some book that was like, oh, you should like open kingdoms from here, but not here. Whatever the specific knowledge of the time was back that is a very poorly, but yeah, mathematics has aged pretty well.

Brad: Yeah, I mean, it’s like former Chasing Poker Greatness guest, Matt Hunt said that poker is a mathematical game, and it’s taught verbally, and

Brian: Right.

Brad: Lots of things get lost in translation, when you’re trying to teach things verbally. I’ve had the thought to myself recently, like, why do we say, why do we even say under the gun? Why is under the gun a thing when like, under the gun at nine max is totally different than under the gun at six max, right? It’s just totally different positions. And we still were like, under the gun, under the gun plus one. It’s kind of silly that it’s not just, you know, something else, like the one seat when one through nine, and then you have ranges for one and when you’re playing six Max, you’re automatically starting at four. Right? So, you’re opening the four range. But anyway,

Brian: That’s a great point about the verbal versus mathematically. I mean, humans are generally just like verbal narrative creatures, and poker is a very mathematical game. And that’s why, that’s why it’s so profitable, right? Because the human brain is does not naturally lend itself to like probabilities and mathematics, the way the lipo groups.

Brad: For sure. And Matt made another great point. He said that he has a theory, he can’t prove it, that based on different languages, different languages are going to breed different styles of poker players, because languages are different and how they’re structured.

Brian: That’s really interesting. I never thought of that. But that makes a lot of sense.

Brad: Yeah, like Scandinavians are crazy. And maybe it has something to do with the language and how they, you know, just how they speak and discuss poker strategy compared to different religions.

Brian: As well, Portuguese, it seems to be that there’s definitely like a regional difference based on different countries. And maybe, maybe linguistics is the root of it.

Brad: I mean, seems like it. But who knows? Got, let’s go back to that question. Common poker advice you hear that you completely disagree with.

Brian: I’m just trying to think of like, common advice that I hear, I guess I’m just like, so far removed from like, the beginner scene that it’s hard to, it’s hard to say. I guess just like about like, the very beginner’s thing about not playing bad hands, like a lot of poker is very much about playing bad hands and trying to maximize the number of blinds and the button and stuff like that. It’s like I mean, that’s like super basic, but it’s one of the things that first pops into mind. It’s just, you know, when you’re first learning like a hand chart, oh, you never play like 10 more suited, that’s a trashcan but like, no, there are actually many spots in which you do need to play with a hand and you need to learn to think of things in terms of like, I’m going to play this percent of my hands rather than think of things in more verbal terms. Like you were sort of alluding to what you were saying before.

Brad: So, the main determiner, as to whether or not you put money in a pot is not your hand.

Brian: Yeah.

Brad: This is the breaking it down.

Brian: Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s a good way to do it. Yeah. Range and ditches and stacks and all that are far more important.

Brad: What are some situations where you should be playing any two that you can think of like in a tournament?

Brian: Heads up, some 25 big ones are supposed to complete the small one with an ADU, I think is like I mean, there, there are different sub strategies you can use. But basically, the shorter your stack gets heads up, you switch to 100% pure limp strategy, including your good hands, like your best hands, maybe not some 25 own, you’d have like 15, or whatever, I’m pretty sure that’s the way it works. But the awesome shots too, when you get thrown off, but their response rate was just limpid, like literally 100%. And you have traps in there, obviously, because you’re looking with your best hands as well. And that way that’ll enable you to also complete with like 2-5 off suit, and stuff like that. Because when your hands up, you get the button. So, like you’re the small one in the button, right? So, you, you’re going to have possession posts to play as many hands as possible. So, like, oh,

Brad: And you’re under the gun. Right?

Brian: You’re everything, everything.

Brad: Yeah, it makes sense. Obviously, later formations, smaller people, you have to start playing wider. And when you start playing wider, you have to limp your stronger hands. Because if you only live your weaker hands, then you’re going to be very exploitable. And a lot of things in poker, just adapting to the person that you’re playing against, understanding where they’re falling apart. And then taking advantage of that, right. Like, in some situations, the cards genuinely do not matter.

Brian: Right.

Brad: Some spots are just plus EV. So, your job is to find those spots, and then take action when you find them.

Brian: Yeah. Especially live that can come up a lot, you know, people, that’s part of like studying too is like part of, especially with deeper stacks. And I’ve heard you say this a lot in cash loans is like, something you can do when you’re playing poker is going to catch your opponent like a contradiction, right? Especially in cash, you can catch them in these spots where it’s like, they’ve showed up at the river, and they can just never have the top X percent of their range. And suddenly, you can just put in like this giant overpass and they just can’t do shit about it. And like so sort of catching your opponent, these contradictions where you can really exploit them is like, one of the goals of studying a lot. And yeah, the more you do that, and the more you know, your way around all the game trees, the more you identify those spots, and really hammer people when you’re at the edge.

Brad: And it doesn’t have to be super complex, right? Like

Brian: No.

Brad: In a cash game. You see a player limp raise twice, and then they open raise from early position.

Brian: Right. Right.

Brad: This tells you a lot. Now you can just start three betting them relentlessly because they’ve taken out the best hands in their range, assuming they’re doing it with value by limp raising. So, when they raise, okay, we go after it, right?

Brian: Yeah, very simple stuff and like, and that sort of goes back to what I’m saying about the contradictions, right? Because good players don’t split their ranges like that, because they know that it will trap them in a spot where one of their ranges is too weak or too strong and that they can’t play like balanced strategies post flop. But, you know, if you, if, if you’re more of a more recreational player, you are putting your ranges like that it does open up opportunities for you to be exploitive.

Brad: And even good players, like there are many spots where ranges gets good.

Brian: And like your example is preflop which is very simple, but like the deeper you can do a hand up to get these spots on turns and rivers where it’s like, you check twice and suddenly you just can’t have this entire class of hands or whatever. So, spot, spots like that are going to be very exploitable as well.

Brad: Yeah, those happen deeper in the decision tree. A lot of times in cash games

Brian: Right.

Brad: Where you get to a river and you’re like the way you know, you, you just leave yourself open to exploitation. And,

Brian: You know, these are responses like your opponent and his forex posture and you just can’t do a damn thing about it. And it’s like, you got you guys played a freaking intense game.

Brad: Then you start calling, all of a sudden you start calling the four Xs and their value betting thinner. And then you’re like, oh, God, now that I call with this marginal hand, now I’m over calling in this spot. You have to make an adjustment and like it’s, it is intense.

Brian: That’s just so different because it’s like, it’s, it’s, you get into such deeper study, like it like that spot, you’re saying, but like, all the spots are kind of the same, right? Because these are the 100 big ones. And every spot, you know, when it’s always six people, or whatever, as opposed to MBTs. Or it’s like, sometimes you have 158 months back, in 120 and 130. And you got to like, adjust everything. And he’s requiring a lot more adjustments on the fly. But the repetitive nature of cash spots enables you to dive so much deeper into them and really learn them inside out, I think.

Brad: Yeah, for sure. If you could erect a billboard, every poker players got to drive pass on their way to the casino. What’s the billboard say?

Brian: I’m trying to maximize the EV of the community as a whole and not my own EV here.

Brad: Sure.

Brian: I guess remember not to play too high. Keep your bankroll in mind. That’s probably the number one thing I would give because, you know, playing too high and gambling off your whole role is probably the number one pitfall of poker players.

Brad: Yeah.

Brian: But that’s the most important thing to keep in because you know, as long as you have something to rebuild from, you can always rebuild. But as soon as you bust your bottom dollar, you’re just out of the game. Survival is very important. So proper bankroll management, it’s got to be paramount.

Brad: Proper bankroll management. And also, like we said, networking, right?

Brian: Right. Right.

Brad: Like, if even if you practice improper bankroll management and go broke, you can still get backing.

Brian: Right.

Brad: So, like,

Brian: Always having a safety net of some sort, whether it’s a network or a bank, or you know, whatever, you want it to be very important.

Brad: And the older you get, the more responsibilities you start having. You get a wife, you get kids, everything starts mattering.

Brian: Oh yeah. I used to play way more fast and loose with my roll than I do now, that’s for damn sure. Much more, much more cautious these days.

Brad: You have a lot more to lose.

Brian: Yeah.

Brad: All right. A couple more questions. We’ll call this. What’s something people would be surprised to learn you’re horrible at?

Brian: Surprised to learn I’m horrible at. Chess. I’m not good at chess.

Brad: Yeah, me neither.

Brian: I never learned. I was playing magic my whole childhood. I never learned chess, but a lot of poker players were very good at chess. I mean, I was never really good at it. So

Brad: I’m horrible at chess and checkers.

Brian: The other good checkers either the checkers you can probably learn with a game tree is not too complicated. I think you can learn it with a couple hours of study. But I haven’t played checkers in ages. I actually don’t know how good I am.

Brad: I played against one of my friends who’s basically like a savant.

Brian: Right.

Brad: And he, I had more checkers than him one time in about 50 games in a row at like the Las Vegas airport. And I was like, fuck checkers forever. Like when people say, when people say like, you know, they’re playing checkers, and I’m playing chess. I’m like checkers is fucking hard too man.

Brian: It’s solved though, right? Like you can, I think, I think they solved it.

Brad: Is it? I’m not sure.

Brian: Years ago. I’m pretty sure. Yeah, I think, I think it was one of the easier games to sell checkers.

Brad: Right.

Brian: But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy for a human to solve them to say but it’s, it is, it is a solved game. As far as like the AI milestones thing goes its checkers is one of the songs games. Yes, still very, very difficult. Offer them tic tac toe.

Brad: It is tougher than tic tac, I saw tic tac toe in the fifth grade.

Brian: This is a third grader consulting. X four is a little tougher, but you can you can solve that one too.

Brad: Yeah.

Brian: They get progressively tougher as you move up.

Brad: I was obsessed with tic tac toe. Maybe that’s what led me to my poker career. Loving, just loving games in general and trying to figure out the theory like in you know, middle school

Brian: Kids and stuff. Yeah, that’s very interesting.

Brad: Spades was it for me, in middle, in middle school, in high school

Brian: In spades, is that just like a color shift in hearts? Or is it a different game of hearts?

Brad: It’s different than hearts. But you have a partner.\

Brian: Okay.

Brad: So, a lot determines on like how good your partner is. But there’s a lot of variants too, where maybe it was, but like my first lesson and variants where you get bad cards. You just can’t possibly win no matter what you do. So, I learned to accept that it’s

Brian: Important for life to learn that lesson, honestly. Because there are the spots where you just can’t wait. And you just got to minimize your loss, you know. I think the best transition and the third go is the most, they saw go as well just read the chapter. When they saw AlphaGo, they did that like a year or two ago. They were playing they ran an AI against like the top Go players in the world. And the AI came up with this completely off the wall like crazy strategy that no human player ever tried in thousands of years, and they won like five out of the first six games or something just using this crazy ass off the wall strategy. So, sort of an interesting way AI could the

Brad: Yeah, this is what’s amazing. Like this is the benefit of these games getting solved like poker, getting closer and closer to getting solved. You get to see some of the really out of this world things that the AI is doing, that human beings just aren’t doing at all.

Brian: Fascinating. Fascinating stuff.

Brad: Yeah.

Brian: Like an AI that I did on stream, I won three out of five. But the other reason I was able to win is because it was sit and go forever. The blinds increase every ten hands. So, I was able to just basically play very tight for the first couple levels. And then once the blinds got like 20 things each, whatever, I’ll just aggressively look for flip slots. But um, if you’re forced to play 200 deep the entire time or whatever, it’s just unbeatable, like they had all those heads-up pros go against Libre Office years ago. And they just got smashed. Because you know, an AI 200 big blinds, they can come up with all these. They can just like TEDx pocketers, you know. And they’re doing it with like 3d printing with like a third of a combo. And it’s like, how the hell do you ever like, range them on that, you know, but that they can balance it perfectly. Because they I just calculated so like, it’s just, it’s ridiculous. The deeper the stacks are, the more ridiculous it is. And it’s very fascinating to study.

Brad: Of course. And this, this is one of the reasons why I think bots, when it comes to poker operators and pro players being publican enemy number one, like, to me bots should be public enemy number one, even if they’re. even if they’re not as good as the pros. They don’t tilt, they have no emotions, and they can just grind it out all day long. Like they have infinite stamina and infinite mental endurance. So, they’re going to take so much liquidity out of the poker economy, just for the

Brian: Like, I mean, people can tell, people can stomach getting beaten by a superior competitor or losing to a bot is like a different thing. You know? Like, it’s like, the whole game was rigged from the start if you’re listening to bots

Brad: And I’m sure we are losing to bots

Brian: And a lot of money to pass on.

Brad: Yeah. A lot of people are losing a lot of money to bots, and real time assistance too is another issue.

Brian: It is hard to fight that I mean, you know.

Brad: No. It drives me crazy. Like, I make a bet on the river. And it could be like a trivial spot. And then dude’s like timing down, going into his time back and I’m like, oh, my God, like they’re just constantly going in their time bank and somewhat trivial situations. And it’s like, oh, they’re just

Brian: Running with him on the side.

Brad: They’re just looking it up. Or it’s not that they’re running.

Brian: It’s Copy, right? Like stars, if you open the PIO solver, you have stars open, it gives you this old message you can’t do yells at you. But like any other site, you just fire it up. It doesn’t really care.

Brad: Or you could just run a shitload of Sims that are searchable, and then search them in real time. So, you don’t have to wait on the solver to do its thing. I mean, that’s the real,

Brian: More practical method. Yeah.

Brad: That’s more practical, teaching people how to cheat. That’s great.

Brian: It was not the intent of this podcast.

Brad: Yeah. This is not, this is not the intent, but like, this is what’s going on, right. So, like,

Brian: Yes. Absolutely. It’s hard to stop because you can stop someone for even if you make it effective to stop them from running a software, you know, they can just have their laptop open, and they can be on a cell phone with their coach or their friend. I mean, there’s, it’s unbelievable at some point.

Brad: Yet, it makes me feel really sad. I know that there’s probably always a lot of this going on. But as we’ve gotten more advanced with bigger software and stuff, it’s just gotten worse and worse and worse

Brian: And more and more necessary to be on top of all this stuff yet because other people are doing it you’re just going to get smashed if you’re not if you’re not like studying and at least keeping up with like the learning curve.

Brad: And quite frankly, I’ve mentioned this before, but shootings incentivized,

Brian: Right.

Brad: Because what’s going to happen, ignition going to come arrest you.

Brian: Right.

Brad: Like, are you going to get fined by ACR like, what the worst they can do is lock your money up and close your account.

Brian: Right.

Brad: And so, if

Brian: Our partners are anything, they can’t even put like, put a black mark on your record. There’s nothing.

Brad: No. There’s nothing

Brian: Other brokers on the side, they wouldn’t even know.

Brad: Yeah, of course. A lot of these places don’t even have to know your customer. So, you can just make infinite accounts and get one band who cares, make another just like steady as she goes.

Brian: I mean, it’s the poker is all in the wild west in some ways, but like, I love the idea of your home game, getting held up by some freaking cowboy dude, it’s a little different than like getting cheated by a bunch of bots, you know.

Brad: Has your home game ever gotten held up by a cowboy dude?

Brian: We were playing with that kind of money. I’m just talking about the stories you’ve read in supersystem and stuff, you know.

Brad: For sure. I’ve, I’ve never been arrested, or been in a game that got busted, but I played it out.

Brian: I was always

Brad: Oh, I played in a game for two years, two days a week. And the guy that ran the game pissed me off. So, I stopped going.

Brian: Right.

Brad: He wouldn’t reduce the rake when it was like four handed and it was like impossible to win. So, I was like, fine, like, you don’t want to do that. I’m playing 14 hours, two days a week, then I’ll just not stop coming. And I stopped coming. The next week. They got raided by the police. The police shot somebody, everybody got arrested. It was like a massive, massive news story in my hometown.

Brian: Oh, that’s intense, man. I don’t even know what sort of things going on. Jeez.

Brad: Oh, yeah, it was, I was very fortunate. I ran very good to avoid that happening.

Brian: I got invited to some of that type of stuff back when I lived in LA. I was like, just south of LA. So obviously we’re always celebrity games. I was like SketchUp. I never, I never, I always thought it was to sketch and never got into it.

Brad: Yeah, that’s a good decision. I’ve played in those too, and they are very sketchy and

Brian: I’m sure you’re making good ass money if you know the right people and you know it’s on the up and up or whatever. So, the celebrities are blasting away but like it’s you got another it’s very underground sort of thing.

Brad: Most of them are 5% uncapped rake. So

Brian: Yeah, that’s a killer.

Brad: Yeah, that’s it that’s how they get you. I play, I play PLO with Gilbert Arenas one time. He dropped probably 60k and was just potting every hand in the dark pot blob pot, pot the turn, pot the river, like in the dark. That game was profitable, despite there still being 5% uncapped rake. But yeah, it’s, most of those places. I mean, you have a legal place to play in Southern California. Like, though, if you’re going away from a legal place to play to somewhere else, it’s most likely just going to be sketchy.

Brian: Something’s going to be on clip, it’s not going to be on the up and up.

Brad: Yeah. What’s your current big goal as it relates to poker?

Brian: I mean, I guess my goals are more like life related than poker related. But yeah, I just, I just kind of want to keep winning, you know. I just want to stay on top as long as I can. So, I guess, I guess just like as many six figure profit years as possible, consecutively, is kind of what I’m aiming for. It’s not, it’s not a huge goal or anything. But it’s nice just to, you know, that the older I get, the more conservative my goals become. And the more I think about this, like security versus like ambition. So yeah, I just kind of keep it going, just making up money to get a house and have my family all situated.

Brad: Any thoughts of leaving poker behind eventually, or you still love the game?

Brian: Not anytime soon. I don’t know what the hell’s I do want to say I love it. And I mean, every now and then I’ll stall like, they’ll not feel like playing and I’ll be burned out or whatever. But one day off, and I’m ready to get back in there. Even now. And I think studying a lot helps with that. Because there’s so many things you learn. There’s so many things you want to try and like, you’ll study some spy like, oh, sweet, I’ve been doing this wrong. Now I can like apply it at the tables the next day. And that process of discovery and application still really speaks to me. So, I have no post poker plans. But you know, it’s always prudent to be like planting little seeds everywhere to kind of see if something might sprout and you can jump somewhere else when you need to. Because you never know.

Brad: Yeah.

Brian: Like, earlier about the recency bias or normalcy bias, it really is prudent to have backup plans because you never know a lot.

Brad: You need to have redundancies as a poker player, because

Brian: Yeah.

Brad: If time has told us anything, it’s that shit can get bad and it can get bad real quick.

Brian: Oh, yeah, very fast.

Brad: Do you have any projects you’re working on that are near and dear to your heart?

Brian: I mean, I got the twitch stream. I do some coaching videos with DBZ. I’ve been doing some private coaching. I mean, I have a YouTube channel as well, but I haven’t updated it in a little bit. So, I mean, I guess the projects have sort of been on the back burner this past year. I’ve mostly just been focusing on trying to get better at poker and you know, being the best player, I can. But I definitely want to invest more energy into the twitch stream over here now that this week is over. So, I’ve added that’s something I’m going to try to try to invest a lot of effort into coming up here.

Brad: If you can buy a book for all poker player. Oh, yeah, we did that. Mathematics of Poker products. Yeah. Do you have any generally, only

Brian: 10% of them agreed. It’s dry as hell, did you ever read it?

Brad: No, I did not read it.

Brian: It’s like reading the agreement dictionary or something.

Brad: Did you ever get that Tom Chambers’ PLO book that was like selling for 2500?

Brian: Was it in PDF form? Or was it like a physical book?

Brad: I had a physical version. I’m sure there is a PDF version as well. But I did have a soft version.

Brian: So, I remember reading some PDF that was getting shared around I don’t think it was that one. It was a cheaper one.

Brad: There are like 10,000 different grids and songs and so many numbers

Brian: How does anyone wrap their head around that man? Hold’em is already just like when you forget you double the number of cards, which makes the game treatise like 64 times more complicated or whatever the compounding effect of that is, not thinking very clearly tonight, but it’s very much more complicated than hold’em. Hold’em is already ridiculous. So, I don’t know how many of you studies that?

Brad: Well, I think that lots of people should be trying to learn new games, right?

Brian: Yeah.

Brad: It’s trying to expand and learns. And I think PLO is probably the second most popular out of all the games to learn.

Brian: I feel like sort of like I missed the boat on it. Like, it would have been great to learn five years ago, ten years ago. But now, I don’t know if it’s worth my time investment alternative is getting better at MTTs. But I mean, it’s a fun game, and I definitely enjoy it, when I did play it.

Brad: That’s always a tradeoff, right? Like I had the same thing where I didn’t fully invest myself in a PLO, and I think that long term, it would have been more profitable. However, it’s hard to pass up an hourly rate that you know, you’re earning in hold’em to dedicate 1000 or 2000 hours into a brand-new game where you don’t know what your win rate is. You don’t know where your skill level is compared to the people you’re playing against. Typically, it’s a lot of unknowns to transition and play a new game.

Brian: Yeah, it’s hard. I mean, the old, it’s always tough to leap into the unknown you value security, five for a draw. I think my first stud previous life, very proud of, maybe not. I don’t talk about studies the game they played in all the old movies, just reading the chapter. You know 5% created by blood draw. I always put five-card draw on the middle school. If you want to watch those movies like the 40s and 50s till five card stud which is just a miserable game. Do you think it’s better it’s five cards. You don’t get to train the men only one of them is phased out. It’s a terrible game that I guess was good enough for movies back then.

Brad: Yeah. Movies. I’ve never seen an accurate poker movie ever. So,

Brian: They’re all peculiar. It’s like if you go, I mean their YouTube videos breaking down the hands from rounders and stuff. They’re betting like 15x pot on the river. And this is nonsense, you know.

Brad: But they had to. Like I had Brian Koppelman on the show. And when I was researching it, he used to annoy me too. And then I started thinking about it, and I was like, man, that’d be a shitty movie scene if like KGB and Mike Ccdee just played heads up for 10 hours straight like

Brian: Yeah. I mean the corporate reality of it, because it’s like way too, it’s not interesting to watch someone play heads up for 10 hours straight but

Brad: Right.

Brian: It is funny as a professional to see the, the way that hands are portrayed in movies here. It’s like not at all what happens but are

Brad: Which makes me question how all the things are portrayed in movies that I don’t know about, that I’m not so immersed in. It’s like

Brian: The thing is back with the media. I think Michael Creighton coined this term or it’s the West treats cause Raina factory, read a story in the newspaper about something you know, and you’re like, wow, they got everything wrong about the story. I know the subject and there’s completely wrong about it. And then you read something about some other subject and you just assume that it’s true, but like actually, they don’t know anything. I mean

Brad: Yeah. They don’t know anything about anything. That’s a good place to call it. Brian, where can the chasing poker greatness audience find you on the World Wide Web?

Brian: I am bparispoker on all the sites, but the sites that I picked the most are Twitter, Twitch and YouTube. So, I haven’t updated YouTube in a couple months because they were doing this whole demonetization thing, but we’ll get back on there in a little bit. We’ll be posting a video of my million when a couple weeks ago.

Brad: What do you mean demonetization on YouTube? What was the deal with YouTube?

Brian: The gambling videos, poker videos got taken down. Jeff Bosky, the ACR pro streamer, youtube guy, he got a whole bunch of videos demonetized. His channel got shut down, deleted. Because it’s like gambling violations or something. I don’t even know exactly what was going on the *inaudible*, I think. But yeah, I’m kind of waiting for that storm to subside. I’ve heard that Jamie Staples and some of the other prominent guys have talked to YouTube and they’ve kind of figured it out. And it’s supposedly not going to happen and going forward. So, I might get back on the YouTube tip, but that is what I was referring to.

Brad: Yeah. Welcome to the poker world. All youtubers

Brian: There’s always a foul of the law somehow.

Brad: Yes. We’re, like the worst part about this is I hate being in gray areas.

Brian: Right.

Brad: I just want to do something legitimate. And I don’t want to lie. I just want to be on the up and up and yet in poker has forced me to just fucking embrace all this solid career.

Brian: If it makes you feel any better, I get the, I get the idea that a lot of the corporate and real world is gray areas as well. So

Brad: It’s true. Yeah. It’s made me examine black and white a lot more like oh, it is black and white, right? Like I get when I when, I think about it, poker is a great version of a meritocracy that’s probably more pure than the corporate and business world, right? So,

Brian: Because the people who work the hardest and the people who are the smartest, just naturally rise to the top. I mean, there’s also the element of luck and like when you got into the game, and who you met and who you knew and whether you get this big score and all that stuff, but I think it is much more of a meritocracy than many fields.

Brad: As, no matter how well you run or how bad you run, when you’re starting out your career, if you just keep running, you will eventually find success if you’re driven, smart, motivated, curious. You can’t help but be successful in poker, no matter how many times you get, you get pushed out.

Brian: Completely agree.

Brad: Man, it’s been great having you on. I’m going to, going to call the show and respond to some of these twitch comments who were calling me a copy of RYE. And 

Brian: They’re all they’re all trolls in there.

Brad: Yeah, that’s Twitch. That’s twitch for you.


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Thanks for reading this transcript of Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 063: Bryan Paris

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