Detox Files #8: Are You Maximizing Your Resources?

Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast: Detox Files Episode 008

What Are The Detox Files?

Founder and CEO of Poker Detox, Nick Howard, joins the Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast to sit down with Coach Brad Wilson and share consults, advice, and poker guidance for players (current or aspiring) who are looking for a path forward in the game and striking a healthy balance with their overall life. Every poker player experiences anxiety, downswings, uncertainty, frustration, and doubt in their poker journey. The man who has helped countless players detoxify these elements from their poker mindset joins up with the CPG pod to share these enlightening sessions and consults.

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One of Nick’s on-contract coaching for profits players has a major problem:

He feels like he has no choice but to move back into his unsupportive parent’s home where his mental state and online poker results historically suffer.

Listen today as Nick helps his player navigate a particularly dicey and emotionally charged situation by letting him know he isn’t making full use of the resources at his disposal.

Click any of the icons below to find the CPG pod on the platform of your choice. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy my conversation with Nick Howard from Poker Detox on the Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast.

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Transcription of Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Presents: Detox Files #8: Are You Maximizing Your Resources?

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Pokers legendary champions, next generation stars and tireless ambassadors of the game, sharing their wisdom and guiding your journey to high achievement on the Greenfeld. This is chasing poker greatness with your host, Brad Wilson.


Brad Wilson  (0:32)  Nick, what’s happening my man?


Nick Howard  (0:35)  Hey, Brad. Other intro, same day


Brad Wilson  (0:38)  Same day. One more intro. Right now we have Arya. And why did you choose this as a unique entry into the catalogue of the detox files.


Nick Howard  (0:51)  This is another player on my contracted coaching for profits team. He was struggling for a while he had a home life that sort of went downhill while on contracts, his parents became less and less supportive of, of his career. And he was really struggling with the frustrations of having to move away for a certain amount of time and then come back home because he didn’t have enough money to basically establish permanent autonomy. And so we tracked this pattern for a while. And it was clear to us that when this kid is away from home and set up in a stable environment, he performs very well. And when he goes back home, all the old patterns creep in and self sabotage is is evident. So this console starts off at a, at a stage in his pattern where he’s about to have to move back home again, he just had a, a one month stint in Greece, where he was able to get hooked up with a friend from our MTT stable. And he, he really loved it there. And he did well there. And now that time, at that residence is coming to a close, and he’s about to head back to London to live with the notorious parents. So what we focus on is, how is this pattern perpetuating like it is, and how do we get out. And there’s a really nice progression of lethally injecting hard love logic as to what’s really going on here and the excuses that are being made that that allow this pattern to continue. And then eventually moving towards a resourceful attempt at a resolution. But I really think that this one would not have been possible if the trust levels were not established. And there’s a lot of context behind that, like, I’ve known this kid a while. So I feel like I’ve gained trust just through the reps of, of being there for him in the past and supporting him through these, these cycles that he goes through. But ultimately, I think it comes down to this, this quote, I tweeted this the other day, I only tweet when I’m drunk. Now I realized, I just just realized that but uh, I did like some, I think I called it 13 thoughts from 2020. That was the tweet, which is just like, a completely arbitrary number of thoughts. And it’s just a testament to me being drunk enough not to care if it’s neat. But one of those was, never give advice until someone knows that you care first. And I think it’s so huge because we have a tendency to think that the right logic will penetrate and have an impact. But this is not how people are experiencing reality. And if we actually start to embody higher levels of empathy, we can see that the more important thing is that someone feels like you have a genuine interest in their safety. Before you try to deliver uncomfortable wisdom, that is going to require that they make significantly uncomfortable life changes if they were to adopt or integrate that suggestion. So I think this is not something that I could have done in a free concert. And I was grateful that I had the background trust with this player to be able to go to this level, because you can hear me actually, in the early stage where I deliberate going down this channel of are we going to have a very truthful combo here. Are we going to beat around this and allow this thing to just this elephant in the room to continue. So you hear me in real time actually deliberating whether or not I have what I’m doing there actually is as intuitively as I possibly can. I’m trying to sense into whether I have the proper trust levels to be able to say what I’m about to say.


Brad Wilson  (4:53)  It stood out to me as a hard truth and honest conversation. I’ve noticed this with my students as well, the more impact that I can have. It’s directly related to how much they trust me, and how much I care about their poker career and about their growth. And like you just said, you can’t have this conversation with somebody you don’t have high levels of trust with, which is one of the reasons why it makes this an awesome detox files episode. And number two, if you’re listening right now, and you want to learn how to be more resourceful in your own life, or maybe escape some loops, where you feel stuck, like there are no other options, this episode is just gonna give you some amazing tools for navigating these problems that you experienced in your own life.


Nick Howard  (5:48)  That’s definitely a huge upgrade from this one is how fast I was able to step back. From the situation that seems so impossible to him, how do I solve this problem, this logistical problem of not having enough money to move out of the house. And what we get to is a resourceful plan that we put into effect, just to try to get him reaching out to his network a bit more. And no guarantees. But um, I guess we’ll we’ll wait for the reveal at the end to let them know how it turned out. Because we do convince him to do something pretty vulnerable. And pretty daring, on this call, at least it was way outside of his comfort zone. So I’ll see you for the outro. And, and we’ll give you the big reveal.


Arya  (6:41)  Here’s the thing, I thought I wanted this conversation to end with having like a, either a permanent solution, or a plan that will finish at a permanent solution, because I’m fed up of doing this, talking with you like once a month, trying to figure out like, where the next place I can like get shelter, like temporarily for because like the moving around is not going to help like stability at all. So I made it clear, in my post on the unlimited group, I said something like, if I have somewhere between like, three to 4k in my account, then I’m fully set. Because at that point, I have enough money that I can cover my rent and expensive enough for enough months that I won’t have the financial burden, like pressuring me in game, provided that I’m in a good environment that will allow me to get to 200. And they’ll want to get the toys in and out and start winning some buy ins like then I’m adding enough money into my life role. That money now becomes a non issue. And I’m basically out of the I’m out of the trap of not really having anywhere to go.


Nick Howard  (7:57)  Let’s focus there, I really feel like this has a ton of potential to take a slightly different angle than you might perceive. And I’m just gonna highlight the two angles. Yours seems to be I want to get out of this trap. And I’m fed up with the constant moving. And I believe that to be the reason why I’m still oscillating on the edge of success. And that may be true. So let’s hold it as a valid logistical concern. Obviously, it’s not optimal for you to be having to move as frequently as you are like we can make very valid logistical arguments for why that is not optimal. And what I’m more interested in is getting you to a point where you could actually sit with the idea of what if I couldn’t solve that? What if I like what if you knew that you were going to have to do this for six more months before you found stable ground? My initial expectation based on the way you’ve been describing it is that would be extremely frustrating for you to hear. And it seems like the way you’re trying to design this path is I’m done. Like this is interesting. I just did this in personal therapy. Actually, this was a it wasn’t a logistical thing, but it was a psychological mode that I went through where I was doing a lot of this compassionate work. And I was analyzing a lot of it. And then I came into therapy one day and I was like, Yo, I’m done analyzing compassion. I’m just done. And it seemed to be an upgrade. And maybe it was but it left the door open for my therapist to say Do you see how that in itself is an overcompensation and still a defense mechanism for something you haven’t dealt with deeply and, and accepted? And I was like, Damn, that’s, that’s a fucking good hook. Like, I didn’t see what I was. I didn’t see the level of Stress the extra level of stress, I was causing myself by needing to be done with analysis. So if I relate that to your example, I do think we need to find stable ground. And I think it would be helpful, potentially, if we could relax the urgency around doing it. Because I think the urgency might actually lead to distortion or overcompensation that causes us to have poor judgment in our options. Does this make sense? Yeah. Okay, so I’m not saying we don’t need to find stable ground, I do think it is the best logistical solution, I want to do it from a place that honors the possibility that it’s not time yet for you to be stable, because maybe there are more, maybe the timing just isn’t going to allow it. And if the timing doesn’t allow it, maybe we can get maximum value, maximum value out of the catalyst right in front of our face, which is the frustrating nature of life on the move, and how we can sort of relax into that without needing to hold these arbitrary assumptions that it’s not okay. So let’s start there. Why does Why is it not okay, for you to continue to move around? It’s clearly not optimal from the poker landscape of changing internet and getting set up and the routine. But it’s not impossible, by any means. It’s not the thing that’s standing in the way of you sticking the landing on higher stakes. Not not in itself, I wouldn’t say.


Arya  (11:30)  I agree, actually, I don’t really think the issue of the lack of, okay, so you phrase it perfectly moving around as not optimal. But it’s not so much of an issue that that will be holding me back on it in and of itself. And it’s not moving around so much. That is the destructive part it is that it’s my association with being in my hometown under the control of my parents as viewing that as rock bottom. And it’s like I’m boomeranging back and forth, not moving around, going to country by country, living independently on my own dime. And just dealing with like, some of the logistical stress with moving and sorting out internet, it’s moving away from my home environment into a better environment, and having to move back there, which I associate with moving backwards in progression.


Nick Howard  (12:35)  Awesome. So the core association that is putting unnecessary stress on your situation, is the feeling or belief that every month, it’s like you have to take a step backwards,


Arya  (12:49)  knowing that I don’t have enough money in the bank to basically like move out for good. And knowing that they have that stress of in a week’s time, I’m going to have to go back to my parents, and then I’m going to be back in square one back in January after


Nick Howard  (13:03)  right? That’s where I want you to focus that part. Because not having enough money in the bank is not actually the belief causing distortion. That is a trail that leads to back at my house at square one. So not having enough money in the bank leads to the core resistant situation of being back at home and the Association of that being back at square one. And feeling trapped, maybe I don’t know what words you would want to apply there.


Arya  (13:38)  But I understand that I understand that not having money isn’t the core issue. It’s not wanting to be back at home. But money is the key to getting out of there.


Nick Howard  (13:49)  Right. And what I’m trying


Arya  (13:53)  to say, knowing how futile like an alternative for maybe some people would be if their home situation wasn’t like fucked up enough to repair the home situation and get it to a point where it’s livable and make that situation comfortable. Like it would require far too much time. And therapy not just on my behalf but on like, my parents behalf as well. Like too much counseling to like, Yeah, I’m pretty sure we’re past that. It’s uh, yeah, like it’s not happening. So


Nick Howard  (14:27)  all I’m trying to do with what I’m framing this, but the way that I’m framing this is to clarify the order of the belief work. Because if we didn’t have an issue with moving around so much, I think we would actually have more money by now. In other words, my my prophecy would be that the constant threat that you’re under, of knowing that you have a limited amount of time and II Each new place is actually causing some unconscious distortion that you’re not aware of and some logistical distortion too. They go sort of hand in hand, I would say. But it’s not all logistical. And it’s not all stress coming from belief systems, they’re actually energizing each other. And what I want to do is get controllable factors on the table. And if it turns out that we are going to have to keep moving around for the next few months, we at least alleviate as much of the associated stress by associated immune like this feeling of always this feeling of having to get up and leave, and maybe even go back home to the parents house as taking a step backwards. I don’t want you at your parents house, I think we should be able to find another option where you’re not there. But it seems like you don’t want to be moving around constantly, even if it’s away from your parents. And I guess what I’m saying is what if that is going to have to be what the next three to six months looks like?


Arya  (16:06)  Let’s go along with that. I just want to say I don’t like if that’s going to be my reality and have to accept that. I don’t mind that. I don’t mind having to move around. I don’t.


Nick Howard  (16:18)  So specifically moving back home is what sucks.


Arya  (16:20)  Yeah, that’s the only part that sucks or the either the fear of that being a possibility. But not so much. Because every time since I had to move back from Cheltenham, when Coronavirus hit, which I obviously couldn’t have predicted. You know, when I was in Greece, and now that I’m here, it’s, it’s less so a paranoid fear that I’m moving back home and it’s my I’m on a time limit, and I will be moving back at some point. Unless I went on, like the world’s biggest heater while I was in while I was in Greece made it to like 500 now and had like, eight 9k in the bank, then we wouldn’t have this problem. But like that, that would be to just unlikely that hasn’t happened. So there’s no point talking about it.


Nick Howard  (17:09)  I mean, there’s a few different ways we could go with the conversation, one would be a very uncomfortable assessment of let me just think for a second. Because I don’t want to, I don’t want to focus on issues that don’t help. And I do think there are other patterns going on that potentially caused you to underperforming Greece in ways that you weren’t aware of not at the poker tables, but let’s just fucking throw it out there. I’m okay with however you react to this. So just give me your most honest reaction and know that it’s safe if this triggers you. Because if whatever you react however you react to this, it’s going to lead us to a thread that actually heals What the fuck is going on a little bit more. So just know that whatever emotions arise for you, when I say this, it’s safe. And we’re here for positive reasons. What are the chances that a more logistically and emotionally equipped human being could have found a another alternative while in Greece, other than moving back home while they were in Greece? What’s your first reaction to that? Or what does it feel like? The probability is of that in your mind that you did everything that you possibly could to avoid having to go back home once you got the news that you only had three or four weeks in Greece?


Arya  (18:37)  Really don’t know. Honestly?


Nick Howard  (18:41)  Like, you don’t know what the probability was that there was more potentially me. Yeah. Okay, cool. So this is like a big question mark that like, I don’t really know what I could have done more. But I don’t know what I don’t know, even


Arya  (18:54)  I’m trying to think of now. I guess, like, the only blind spot I had was, I just sort of accepted my fate and moved back and didn’t really consider the idea of staying there for longer.


Nick Howard  (19:09)  Not necessarily Greece, but any other alternative. How much of a hunt was there for alternatives to going back home, you say like you except


Arya  (19:21)  in my mind, there was only one alternative, which was like rent my own apartment in grief, or another country, likely one of the neighboring Eastern European countries where rent is likely cheaper, which would have been a bit of a logistical problem. I would have ended up being in an EU country for longer than three months, I would have had to apply for visas, etc. But the issue that I couldn’t get over was, I would still need more money than I had to be able to do that without a dangerously high risk of Boom.


Nick Howard  (20:01)  Okay, so it sounds like you’ve picked an option that can’t work, because you don’t have enough money yet. What about all the other potential? And I’m guessing your mind is gonna say there are none. But how much attention was paid to sending out flares to the the entirety of your network? Again, round two style, because timing had shifted. And seeing if there was any way you could slide in. Was that a portion of the process? Or was it more accepted my fate? I don’t want to be a burden on anybody that I’ve already asked before. I’m going back home.


Arya  (20:37)  I think you’re vastly overestimating the, like scope of my network.


Nick Howard  (20:44)  Maybe? Or are you under estimating? Because you don’t want to ask certain people?


Arya  (20:51)  I really don’t have that many friends. Blunt as that sounds?


Nick Howard  (20:59)  Well, there’s 50 people on the team 30 of them live in Europe. How many of them? Did you ask for help not to live with? But just like, have there been conversations. And I’m being I’m going down this path, because like, this is actually the core, I think of what keeps you stuck at home, is a lack of resourcefulness around actually pulling triggers in directions that are very uncomfortable. Because you don’t have money, right? Like you clearly are not in a place where you have the money to get rent somewhere. Yeah, so the only logical solution here is we come up with uncomfortable routes that request favors.


Arya  (21:45)  I did have a conversation with Dimitri, about possible options. And that was it. I, I guess that’s not really much for any one person on the team. 


Nick Howard  (22:00)  But he would be the best one, because he is where you were at?


Arya  (22:03)  Yeah.


Nick Howard  (22:07)  I don’t want to harp on this. And I do think it’s actually at the core of your pattern is that if I put a gun to your head, you would have found another place to go besides your parents house. There isn’t that existential incentive. And I think the most honest thing we can do together in this call, is admit that that’s true that you currently do not have enough incentive to find alternatives. Because I don’t believe that you I don’t believe you would die. I don’t, I don’t believe that you would likely pull that trigger, as opposed to finding another alternative. To going back on.


Arya  22:51  

If you put a gun to my head right now, I’d probably just panic. I’d go I don’t actually know what will be an alternative in that. If you teleported me a month, a month into the past when I was still in Greece. And I was I knew I was only going to be there for a week and a half more. I don’t know what I could have possibly done.


Nick Howard  (23:20)  You know anybody who has this resourceful skill set, where you always wonder how they land on their feet when they don’t seem to have any money. I asked that because it’s a route we could go down that makes it more visceral. Because I remember friends that always didn’t have any money, but they always seem to be on the couch, not in my place. But just all over the place. If that doesn’t line up at you, we can go down a different direction. I’m not saying that’s a noble character to strive to. I’m saying it’s that’s what resourcefulness is when you have no better option, no better option. So I’m trying to trying to expose a pattern that has kept you rationalizing for what you say is accepting my fate. And the reason that’s getting a bit more abrasive is because you are going through cycles of moving out moving back in without seeming to have consciousness or awareness over how Okay, not that you’re okay, this is what’s so sick. Like this is the sick psychology of it. I know you’re not okay with moving back home. But you must be more okay with it than getting uncomfortable in the direction of finding other options. And in your mind, I get how all those doors seem closed. This is what distortion does. And it says I don’t have I don’t have friends. You underestimate how many friends I have. Victim statement. I get it that you want that to be validated. It makes it easier for you if I validate that sentence. Well now what am I supposed to feel bad for you aria that you’re fucking 23 And you have Three friends, that’s not even true, bro. I know that’s not true. Because there’s 50 guys on the team that know you to some extent 10 of which you probably have solid relationships with. I’m not saying those are guys that you can move in with. But I’m not buying the sob story, basically. And I like this combo, I love you so much, dude. And this is giving me a chance to fucking like, actually spank your ass a little bit. From a friendly perspective of like you got, you got more to give in this in this dilemma. So like, from my perspective, there is a lot more you could do while while you are in any one apartment, other than accept the fate of going back home, we just have to figure out what that looks like. Because you’re in your mind, these doors are closed, it’s like I get you’re dealing with the grinding pressure, I get that you’re dealing with the logistical, trying to lock into the logistical schedule. And if there isn’t a priority put on finding a new place to live, we’re always going to end up back home unless we stick the landing with an unreasonable amount of binds one that you said etc. So, what would it look like? If you didn’t know what to do? I love this question. Let’s pretend we’re back in Greece with no real option doesn’t seem like we have doors that are open. What would it looked like? For someone who didn’t know what to do? And you can say, well, that somebody might would just have more friends that he could ask.


Arya  (26:39)  Yeah, I don’t think that that would be, it would probably be someone who have the much better ability to me to just check their ego at the door, and just basically, brute force and go down the list of like, every single person in detox list of like, every single, close friend, and then failing that acquaintance, and just asking for any type of support.


Nick Howard  (27:09)  What’s the resistance that comes in there immediately, when you think about going back through your Rolodex? Like if you had to designate for hours in Greece, to reiterate that whole process of going back to the Rolodex and asking those? Is there a lot of resistance to that?


Arya  (27:26)  Yeah, I know where it’s coming from. Because there’s not a lot of there’s not much resistance from that, from the guys in detox. I just feel like it’d be fairly unreasonable to expect anyone from detox to be able to host me did a massive amount of resistance to doing that with anyone that I know in real life because it would damage my identity.


Nick Howard  (27:51)  Cool. So it’s, it’s embarrassing, or whatever you want to call it?


Arya  (27:55)  Yeah. It’s really been embarrassing. I don’t talk about how much money I make or don’t make. People just know that, oh, I’m, I play poker, and I make an unknown amount of money. And I’d know nothing about what he does. And that would kind of shattered the perception that people have made it would. Well, you know, you know how it is. That’s just very ego driven. And it’s a fear of embarrassment. And it’s why I romanticize the idea of voice over quality. The reason why when I moved to Cheltenham, back in February, I didn’t tell anyone in my hometown, I literally didn’t tell a single friend, I just one day went and cut myself off entirely from my whole family and friends, and just did my own independent thing. And while I was in shelter them planning to cut them off permanently as well. I know that’s not a healthy thing.


Nick Howard  (28:56)  How much were you going out? In Greece? Or I guess my more direct question would be, was there any attention at all put on networking in Greece? I guess I’ll simplify this thread. resourceful people make friends fast in the New City that they’re in. It’s not that hard to make friends as a tourist, everybody loves the tourist because you’re the unicorn. I mean, you could argue that people don’t like people from UK, you guys do some pretty annoying shit. But I’m just the drunkenness that I hear as my tourist stories. Everybody hates people from UK when they travel. But um, you know what I mean? Like, there was that avenue there was there was more that we could have potentially done with networking while in Greece. Now. I’m going to give you one that I’m going to hold you accountable to, and I’m going to step in, because I know you’ve been trying really hard, and I want to help provide a solution. But you got to have some skin in the game. How about to ask? Not necessarily to live with any of the players in A team, but we open it up to detox. applaud this call. They can listen to the plight that you’re in. And the the ask is designed creatively to offer value. And this is my resourceful mind thinking. You give a percentage of your profit splits away up to a certain amount for the next three to six months or toward a certain profit goal to anyone on the team that can help hook you up with a room. So now you’re giving people incentive to extend to their network is saying, Yo, I got a poker buddy. I can vouch for him. As part of our community has been with us a while I’ve met him in Maga even he’s trustworthy. What can you do? Does anybody have a room? Throw these flares out? May you have to give up some of your future profits to do this? Yes. Is it a better option, rather than moving back to your parents house and being at Ground Zero and probably going bust? Absolutely.


Arya  (31:01)  Not, I learned something very valuable from what you just said. And that is a resourceful person has a much more powerful network, because they’re not just leveraging their own network, they’re leveraging the network of the people. They’re leveraging every other network that is connected to them secondhand by people that are directly in their network.


Nick Howard  (31:21)  It’s even more direct than that, though, a resourceful person is resourceful because they find a way to offer value. Okay, and leveraging somebody else’s network is a is an extension of that skill set.


Arya  (31:37)  So you’re saying that earlier, I was in a victim mindset, and that


Nick Howard  (31:42)  you’re playing small with your resources.


Arya  (31:44)  That was an assumption that I was making that I don’t have value to offer info, I am not resourceful.


Nick Howard  (31:50)  Right? So all I did was I expanded the scope of your resources to imply territory, okay. I said, Okay, well, you’re doing the poker thing, all you need is a little more time. So let’s leverage, let’s leverage against time, you can’t pay anybody anything right now. But you need in a room, you need an opportunity to live somewhere. So let’s use your future implies as a poker player, which will come to fruition if you can establish said room or apartment. And that’s how we’re going to be able to offer value, you can have a piece of my future profits, if you can help me out, get just get set up anywhere in Europe. I think this is the path. I don’t know if I don’t know how it could fail with how good our community is. Especially now that you’re offering value. It requires that you’re comfortable potentially moving in somewhere where you don’t know your roommates or where you don’t necessarily like the city, but I don’t think that’s something that you really have a luxury to prefer, right? Yeah.


Arya  (32:54)  Yeah. also forgot to bring up. I was gonna bring up the fact that I spoke to Chico, as you know, Yan jagah. And Laurie, we’re going to be organizing moving into the detox grind out. I talked to Dziga. about possibly joining them. He said, I’ll talk to Jana Nari. And Jung said, Yes. However, because of Corona, that is thought of that’s been like indefinitely paused. Which is sort of a shame.


Nick Howard  (33:30)  You’ve had a lot of bad beats. I’ll give you that.


Arya  (33:34)  Okay, yeah, but no one likes someone who just complains my bad beats.


Nick Howard  (33:40)  Well, it’s just not effective. Yeah, that’s all it’s not really about a judgement of it being cool or not cool to complain. It’s just like, you’re not going to be effective in that. In that mindset. Yeah. And you certainly aren’t able to contribute?


Arya  (33:57)  Sure. Yeah. If I had some sort of timeline on on on when that was actually happened, that would really help. But as it seems, it’s that just seems really unlikely to even put a timeline on on something that whole world doesn’t even really no, like,


Nick Howard  (34:13)  let’s just have zero expectations on that for the time. Yeah. So that we can be pleasantly surprised. Okay. How much time do you have in Leicester where you are right now?


Arya  (34:25)  Less than a week. Okay. Oh, yeah. around a week.


Nick Howard  (34:29)  And worst case scenario, you have to go back to the parents house for a week. Or not a week, but like in a week, you’ll have to go back to the parents house until you secure other housing. Yeah, you can go back home though. So we’re not homeless, right? Yeah,


Arya  (34:45)  cool. I will never be I will never be truly homeless and maybe that is the issue that there will always be the source of the safety blanket of having The option to move back into my parents. So I guess like the only way to, like simulate that gun to the head thing would be to intentionally like destroy my relationship with my parents so badly that that wouldn’t be an option. And maybe I could get myself out of that hole. But like, I don’t think anyone, me included could ever, like, voluntarily put our hands up and say that self destruction is going to be the key to success.


Nick Howard  (35:25)  Okay, here’s what I think is a incentivized proposal. And you can tweak this, but this is just what feels good to me. So I’m, I’m just going to sort of spit ball, that’s okay. You offer 10% of your personal profit split share from the first $25,000 that you are able to cash out to anybody who can put you up somewhere for like a even a one month period, and we can play with it. If they put you up for longer, they’re entitled to more of that piece of the pie. If three different guys end up putting you up for in a different place for three separate months until you get on your feet, they split that pie. But it feels like a good incentive to me to put a profit number on the percentage that you’re going to pay from future profits towards whoever is going to be able to hook you up and then prorate it so that the people who who gave you apartments for a larger piece of the pie, get a larger piece of the pie. Something like this. And you can you can play with it. But I would like to get that statement out, like in the next 24 hours so people can start looking for you. Because time is essential.


Arya  (36:50)  Okay, what do you feel like? This seems like the best opportunity to oh, there is one other opportunity. There is one other possibility, which is I have the option to move back to Cheltenham or I guess, another UK physio of my choosing. And do what I did back in February, which is get a part time job. The reason why this option actually kind of worries me in the current climate is I don’t know about other countries, but in the UK specifically. First, and cities are going on a random immediate quarantine and lockdown. Where benefits have been starting to open restaurants are open cafes are open now. But first and fitties if they have a spike in an infection rates get shut down immediately. And if that were to happen with no notice, and I would move to a city and then two weeks later just lose my job that would just be devastating.


Nick Howard  (37:55)  Yeah, I would like to not have you have a part time job here. Only because you’ve you’ve shown from Greece, and with your time, just recently a leveling up your studies that you can perform when you’re in a secure location. Yeah. And so I would, I would think it’s almost a step backwards for if it’s not absolutely mandatory, if you can be creative enough to find a way to offer value to get around having a part time job. I think it can be a cool alternative. And it’s never we’ve never had to think about it like this. But I think this is a great opportunity to set precedent for guys in your situation in the future to be like, hey, like you don’t have any money and you don’t want to live at home anymore. Why don’t you establish some degree of confidence with previous performance in the form of like data that you can show that you’re a good bet. And then with the relationships that you’ve leveraged through that through the detox community, and whoever else is just interested in investing in you create a cool proposal and habit sacrifice more upfront than feels reasonable to you. Because it does suck that you’re going to have to give up more of your profits to be able to secure this for yourself. But it is what it is, bro. It’s this or bust the way I see it. It’s this or purgatory because the the home life doesn’t map to happiness. There’s just no two ways about it at this point.


Arya  (39:32)  I’m very, very clear on that being true.


Nick Howard  (39:34)  So there’s a couple of options like the one that I said is one way of doing it. Another way of doing it, which would be failsafe would be Hey guys, I have X money I’ve realized I need 3k to be able to set up sustainably. If you would be willing to invest any amount of money I would put it in a pool and you could have a portion of my future profits. proportional to the amount that you invested in this 3k pool. That’s another option that would allow you not even to need a handout that would allow you just to get a place on your own dime by leveraging your implied value to the team.


Arya  (40:15)  Question. Yeah. If you agree that I have enough of a track record from my performance and chose him and grace, that I can perform well, in a good environment, with you, on behalf of detox, be willing to prove that and I provide, like, you get a you I pay you back with my profits with interest?


Nick Howard  (40:48)  No, and normally, because I have to worry about an additional dimension of precedence, which is what do you mean, precedents would be, if I give it to you, now, I expose the company to an obligation if we want to remain fair to give it to every player who’s demonstrated some sort of, and that actually would put a level of financial liability on the company that I don’t want to take on? I’ll throw 200 towards the pool, though. Okay, you know what I mean? Like, I have to look at it from the perspective of if everybody asked me what you just asked me, Would it be fair, these are the, these are the optical dimensions of of the side of things, so no, I can’t do that. Okay. And I don’t think that’s going to be necessary. And that’s also your easiest option, which is why you prefer it. Because you already know that I’m not going to reject, like, I just rejected your ask, but not because I don’t want to give it to you. I’ve rejected it on policy. But like, you, what you’re trying to get over here is like, I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but like, it’s a deep rooted fear that that when you reach out to connect, and yet when you reach out to try to connect on a human level that you’re going to face rejection?


Arya  (42:08)  Yeah, well. I can’t say I haven’t dealt with that problem before in my life.


Nick Howard  (42:14)  So I think it’s a great challenge to do it like this.


Arya  (42:21)  I feel like I prefer the second option, rather than the first because it would just be a lot. There’ll be much less fine print to deal with in terms of what would be a fair amount of profit to give if somebody hosts Me, and My thinking is simple. Yeah. And so maybe if I just say, if I can pull together money from people who are willing to invest in me, and then fuck it, and I just I really don’t like being a charity case, which is, I mean, I’m kind of It’s a stupid way to frame it. Because I’m, I’m, it’s not a charity case, I’m offering value by a return on investment.


Nick Howard  (43:04)  Keep going. So why do you frame it like that? Because it is optional. The framing is hot.


Arya  (43:14)  Like if it makes


Nick Howard  (43:17)  this is so interesting to me, like, I love this more than I love anything to like, just investigating why you why you choose these frames. This is what life is all about to me is like God damn. Like, I remember what it’s like to feel like you have no choice. And all I stand for at this stage in terms of like, my passion for mindset work is like being there in the moment where somebody wakes up out of a frame and actually sees that it’s optional, but you don’t seem to see that right now. So I love this call. Let’s keep going.


Arya  (43:51)  Well, I literally just fed it that if I framed it as not wanting to be a charity case, but it isn’t actually, why should it be framing for charity case? Because it’s actually correct to frame it as an investment because people are like putting feed money towards me. And I’m going I’m offering a return on investment with a certain percentage chance of risk. No different than any other investment.


Nick Howard  (44:21)  But what is the emotional fear that causes you to choose the frame of I don’t want to be a charity case, because that is the frame that allows you not to ask


Arya  (44:28)  exactly. If I frame it as I don’t want to be a charity case, then I won’t ask. And the fear, really, that I’m trying to avoid if if I do ask and people go Why have I been in a team for almost two years and still hasn’t performed? I’m not going to invest in them. And I’m basically trying to, I’m trying to avoid rejection of actually putting myself out openly and honestly and facing rejection. So


Nick Howard  (45:00)  Do you would Okay, here’s the million dollar question. I learned this from the salt for why guys, they love this question. Would you stake yourself here? Would you invest in your own pool here?


Arya  (45:12)  Yes, but I’m dealing with the information of my life perfectly. Other people are dealing with imperfect information about my life only thing first and facets of my life.


Nick Howard  (45:27)  So what is the facet of your development that would need to be on display for you to feel like you are getting a fair depiction of your current implied value?


Arya  (45:42)  I don’t know, like a part of me that shows that I’m an AIS character, and that I don’t have a history of like theft.


Nick Howard  (45:50)  So honesty?


Arya  (45:53)  Not that I don’t think I haven’t demonstrated honesty. I just don’t really feel like I’ve like, an opportunity to demonstrate that.


Nick Howard  (46:02)  But we’re talking about what you know that they don’t. And you’re saying, you know that that would be a non issue, the depth department. Now talk to me about the edge department? What do you know that they don’t know that your graphs aren’t going to show? Because if Marin Nellie posted this tomorrow, and said who wants a piece? And he posts a $400,000 graph? Pretty sure he’s getting investments. So let’s talk about the technical side, what do they not know about your current implied value as a player?


Arya  (46:35)  My sample size of performing well, in a good environment is small enough that I could see some people having doubts around whoever I could actually perform.


Nick Howard  (46:52)  Is that doubt? Reasonable?


Arya  (46:57)  Well, I’m operating with the sort of mindset,


Nick Howard  (47:00)  well, what is the sample size that we were going to be able to show them that says that there’s any reason to believe that you can do this? I don’t really care about like, anything less than the last six months. So like everything before 2020? I don’t even care about, like, what does 2020 look like so far? Does it look like shit? Or does it look at all? Like, it doesn’t have any potential. And then I think the other aspect of it is, I know, the breakout month you had in Greece, and how big that was for you, and how the logistical shift of being free from the parents house allows you to get to catch your stride like I saw that unfold. Because we were working. We’re working together personally during that time. And the other executive saw that, but the team didn’t see that necessarily,


Arya  (47:59)  um, I had quite a few people actually reach out to me maybe like five or six people like personally, in DMS, like congratulating me on like, getting a degree from from my, like, results that I that I managed to produce in that, like, one flat like, five, six week period.


Nick Howard  (48:24)  Alright, let’s do it like this, just because I think it’s going to be the most open ended and therefore the most balanced. And I don’t want anybody to feel like I’m casting this as an obligation on a team to help you because ultimately, it’s something that you need to convince them on with a creative and accurate frame. Okay. I guess what I’ll say is, I think this could be a very cool addition to company structure for players who end up going through life situations that were unexpected. I mean, you’ve been with us from an earlier time where we didn’t really have as strict requirements on vetting people’s financial security, which we sort of do now. At the same time, I still would take a kid who was living at home, because he doesn’t have any expenses. Your situation is unique because your home, your home, life devolved on contract. And it created some urgency. So all I’m saying is, I think there is a cool opportunity here to potentially have a player whose situation has financially devolved prove himself worthy of investment to a team that operates as a brotherhood on all other fronts. Now, this is not an obligation for us to give you a handout. It’s an opportunity for you to be able to sort of present your, your financial implied worth and give the rest of the team much chance to make a little extra dough and contribute to somebody they care about. That’s a win win. Your job is to find the right frame. That doesn’t pinch the graph at the point where it makes it look like you’re a winner. And you’re not. If you don’t actually have a graph that looks like at all promising that you could be a winning player. Well, then you need a fucking really creative frame,


Arya  (50:26)  I can I can show you my graph of the year.


Nick Howard  (50:30)  Don’t show me let me upload the video. If you don’t mind, I’m going to put it in main chat. And I’m going to I’m going to say something just very short. Similar to what I said here, that I’m not asking for anything except for you guys to watch this video. And tomorrow, you can post your proposal with whatever you want to say about your graph in your frame.


Brad Wilson  (50:58)  You’ve heard me talk early and often about how improving your awareness while you’re playing cards so that you make better decisions in the moment and notice trouble spots that merit deeper consideration is one of the most valuable things you can do to make more money on the felt in my conversation with the only four time WP T Main Event champion ever there and Elias he told me that his ability to shut out all of the distractions in the world and fully focus on making great decision after great decision is his superpower he most attributes to his success and you cannot improve your awareness at the tables without being fully present. When you learn how to stay fully in the moment on the Greenfeld, you can finally have a clear path to becoming the absolute best version of yourself. Which leads me to Jason Sue, Jason is one of the foremost authorities on the planet when it comes to playing poker with presents. As a matter of fact, he even wrote the book on it. Here’s a direct quote from Nick Howard at poker detox on Jason’s ability to help you stay focused, quote, Jason’s work is a new paradigm in poker and performance. In quote, these aren’t just empty words, Nick is put his money where his mouth is by hiring Jason to coach of the poker detox crew. And as a loyal listener of chasing poker greatness, you know, by now that I would not be promoting anything I didn’t 100% believe would improve your poker skills and your life. So if you want to master your emotions, and perform at your peak with presence while doing battle in the arena, you’d be doing yourself a great disservice if you didn’t check out Jason’s work at poker with One final time, that’s poker with Nick, so what stood out to you from this conversation related to how ARIA was seeing his options, and how a resourceful person would see their options.


Nick Howard  (53:03)  The simplest way to put it would just be that he was limiting them unnecessarily limiting his options, because he was uncomfortable asking for help. Didn’t want to be seen as a burden or a charity case. And so that caused a rationalization that I just don’t have enough friends. And that was the first really difficult point of the conversation because I had to decide whether or not I was going to call him out on that. It’s a difficult thing. It’s like a, you know, it’s a tender thing. But it wasn’t even true. So I felt okay about like, exposing, it’s like, Dude, you have, you’re on a team, where I know, my team’s community is super positive and super charged with with compassion to begin with. We uphold that standard like vehemently as vehemently as we can without overstepping the boundary, I would hope. But, um, for him to say that, as a member of this team, really exposed me that he’s not letting He’s not letting the love in, at all into his life. Like there’s, there’s people who you have not asked, or have not asked in a resourceful enough way, which is another thing that we could talk about that’s important, but like what we came to was a very creative ask, you know, not just like a desperate ask, but like, how, first of all, do I deserve this opportunity from someone who would be willing to help? And how can I prove that I deserve that opportunity with tangible facts? And then how do I ask in a, in a way that doesn’t come off as entitled, and that is actually vulnerable, because that’s important.


Brad Wilson  (54:48)  I want to add something here because I relate to aria in a lot of ways, and one of those is my home life, my relationship With my parents is not amazing? It’s not great. It wasn’t very great growing up. And going back to detox files, number five, when you were talking about the type a performer and solving problems, basically, the problem is not sitting with this emotion, this pain, this feeling that you’re really trying to cover up. Are you coming from someone, and maybe I’m projecting but somebody who hasn’t had an amazing relationship with their parents. Rejection is a very hard thing to deal with. And oftentimes in life, what I’ve done is tried to limit that feeling of rejection, by not putting myself out there. Because I never dealt with the emotional consequences of feeling rejected by my parents. And it’s just a, it’s a very powerful thing that happens subconsciously, without us really realizing what’s happening. And Arya, in my opinion, could just be trying to avoid the pain of feeling rejected from folks that he admires folks that he respects and also limiting his resourcefulness. In the process,


Nick Howard  (56:29)  one follows the other. And I do think he saw this, at some point during the concert, like there was definitely an acknowledgement on on his behalf that allowed us to actually start to introduce a possible solution. He saw that like he was doing this because he doesn’t want to face the rejection of it. And so yeah, he was definitely operating from a defense mechanism that caused him to behave in a very permissive type way, I guess. And by permissive, I mean, like, he wasn’t even asking yet. The pain


Brad Wilson  (57:02)  of rejection, the pain of rejection was more than the joy of getting out of this situation.


Nick Howard  (57:09)  Perfectly said he did not have enough emotional leverage to ask. So what ended up happening? So as we left this call off, he was going to create that proposal, I was going to upload the call to the main chat of team. And I did what I said, I asked them in the way that I outlined how I would ask for them to just listen to the call, read his proposal. And if they thought this was a profitable investment, to just help one of our brothers out, and I even said, like, I don’t even care. If you guys don’t want to help Arya, I want this to become a typical pattern, that is a possibility for players on our team to try out if they need help, I want future players to be able to know that this is an option. And that this is a community where we can be asking regularly, and these aren’t desperate, asks again that, you know, let’s put some creativity around it and make sure that there’s actual value to be to be offered. So I frame it like that. And I was talking to, to RA on the side through private chat, because I wanted to post these two things at the same time. I wanted to post the video and then have him post his proposal immediately after. So he’s getting this setup with me on the side. And I remember, he showed me his proposal at first and he was like, he wanted $4,000 for this package that would have been the amount that would allow him to move out on his own. And one of his stipulations was something like a minimum of $500 investment if you want to buy a piece of the package. Everything else look good. But that part to me was just like, I had to say to him, Listen, back to just networking optics, you’re not in a position where you have the luxury to declare the minimum amount that somebody wants to invest in you. So I told them lower it to 200 as a minimum piece, and he does and he posts his proposal right below immediately after I post the link to the consults so people can listen. One minute goes by after the posts were made, and he messages me saying one of the players just bought my entire package. All $4,000 sat there and I said for that. Damn, that’s a profound company moment. And I hope it’s a profound insight. I think I said to him, I hope this shows you how much you underestimate your potential.


Brad Wilson  (59:44)  Yeah, for sure. Most things in life I have learned that seemed daunting, difficult, impossible, have been much easier when I have actually tried it and gotten out of my own way and dealt with the fear I’ve just executing and trying and seeing how it turns out. So, thank you. Thank you for this call with ARIA Nick. I loved it. It resonated with me in many, many ways. And I appreciate your time and your energy.


Nick Howard  (1:00:18)  Yeah, thanks, Brad. And I really hope this inspires someone listening who’s been waiting to ask and, and probably overthinking it, to just put something on paper and put it out there to your entire network. Because you never know. You never know until you try. You never know. And you’re probably undervaluing yourself, assuming you can actually put a decent proposal together that can express why you might be a good bet. Or even forget money for like, how about why you might be a good friend, why you might be someone who is beneficial to be around on a more regular basis, because this doesn’t have to be about asking for a loan, this can be about offering your time in a compassionate way that that brings value or efficiency efficiency to somebody else who already has a developing project. If you get creative with this, you’re gonna find entry points where you can really step into your potential by offering services to people that are in need of them. There just aren’t enough vulnerable people asking, there’s people who are asking from a place. This is this is actually a really important thing that I think needs to be included. You got to ask from a truly vulnerable place. Because the defense mechanism of fearing rejection can either manifest as not asking at all, or asking in this, this, asking in a weirdly entitled way that tries to make it look like you have more resources than you do. That’s a mistake. Don’t go around trying to front, like you’re some blue chip prodigy that somebody would be lucky to be able to pick up as a draft. when really you don’t have that much to offer, you just have this truthfully honest resource that you can offer. It’s a bad look, to overcompensate on the ask. And it’s almost as ineffective as not asking at all.


Brad Wilson  (1:02:20)  Well, it’s could easily be self sabotage as well. It could be saying, Hey, Nick, my minimum is 500. Nobody buys it. I told you, nobody would buy it. I told you that I was gonna get rejected. It’s a combination of their own fears.


Nick Howard  (1:02:36)  And it manifests in these really subtle ways that wouldn’t be seen as wanting, yes, you’ve to fail. But like, really, it’s not that anybody truly wants to fail. It’s that. Like you said, there is such a fear of rejection that will rationalize for these,


Brad Wilson  (1:02:53)  we need an out. We need, we need a reason for why somebody rejects us. And maybe that reason is we just ask in a weird way. And then they say no. And we’re like, feel okay,


Nick Howard  (1:03:04)  that’s exactly it. At least they didn’t reject me personally. Yeah, they rejected the the weird ask, at least I can say I didn’t get the opportunity that I didn’t want to get in the first place didn’t really want to get didn’t really want to end up in that place of vulnerability where I might actually have to put my potential on the line. Anyway, this is a really meta topic that we could probably do an entire episode on. But I hope that we’re sort of scratching the surface of this and giving people something to think about, because a lot of this is a process of just self inquiry. And like, you know, why haven’t I been asking? Or why have I been behaving in weird ways when I do decide to muster up the courage to ask why can’t I just honestly say, where I’m struggling and where I could potentially be offering other people value? And why can I just leave it at that.


Brad Wilson  (1:03:53)  But for the record, it doesn’t always have to come from someone who has not much to give, because I can still spot the same patterns of behavior in other folks and the one that really comes to mind. I wrote a blog post on it was Phil Galfond and not championing run at once poker as as well as he could. His project not promoting it not saying that it’s better than GG it’s better than party. It’s better than stars play here. Because these guys don’t didn’t get it right. And I got it, right. Like even somebody as successful, as powerful as Phil Galfond can fall into this trap.


Nick Howard  (1:04:37)  I think a great meta consideration, kind of like we ended the last one for people to really sit with is when I fear rejection on the ask, Have I actually seen where that rejection comes from? If you expand your awareness around that, what you’ll Find every time as you are being rejected by a person who uses judgment as their own defense mechanism, because they feel threatened by something they have not resolved yet. And if you can see it from that level, that you’re only being rejected by people who feel equally threatened, then we can end this cycle of abuse, where we reject each other, and never give each other the benefit of the doubt. What comes from that is you seeing that compassion is the only incentivized response, you ask. And you don’t get caught up in the rejection as if that person has some power over you, and just declared that you’re unworthy. What you see is that that person who harshly rejected me if they do choose to do so, in a mean way, is actually dealing with similar issues of fear. And I can, I can fly above that energy with compassion, and continue to ask on. So there are ways to get above the clouds of this type of defeated. Success barrier. And, as usual, I think with the theme of this entire catalog, it requires more compassion, not less


Brad Wilson  (1:06:11)  and more vulnerability as well. If you look at two pictures, just basic psychology, one, somebody’s angry, another, somebody’s crying, who’s vulnerable, you automatically have more empathy, and connection with the person who’s crying and vulnerable.


Nick Howard  (1:06:33)  Yeah, so be honest, don’t compensate. And if you do compensate, forgive yourself as soon as possible. So you can get back on the horse with the next authentic ask and run through your whole network. This isn’t. I said to somebody the other day, this isn’t like a lock. This is like flopping a set when you have these type of asks. I mean, this one turned out good. You know, one minute went by, and he got what he wanted. But um, you got to run. You got to run the sim. Sometimes you got to let it iterate down to 1%. Which might take a while.


Brad Wilson  (1:07:05)  Yep. ENS. Cool. Thanks. We’ll close with that.

Robbie: Hey, nice to meet you, friend finally. All that virtual talk back and forth, great to put a face and a voice with the name. How you doing?

Brad: I’m doing very well. Same goes for me. Super pumped to have you on the show. Interested in hearing your story. I know the audience is gonna love it. 

Robbie: I hope so.

Brad: So, let’s start out by just telling the audience how you got started playing cards, how’d you get in this niche?

Robbie: I started playing cards when I was about eight years old. My dad taught me. You know, he always loved playing cards, and he loved playing poker specifically. You know, it’s, this is a you know, a much more innocent time, I guess. You know, I had one of those little video poker machines, you know, draw poker, that sort of thing. You know, anytime I could get my hands on, like, you know, Nintendo or Gameboy, like a Caesar’s Palace game, or I could do the gambling type of stuff. I always had like a pension. I was like that sort of thing. We lived in LA growing up. And, you know, it’s four and a half, four-hour drive to Las Vegas. And this was you know, mid 90s, early 90s. When that was the family vacation capital of America, the universe that, you know, my parents, though, they said we go for the weekends four or five times a year, we’d go play in the arcades. My mom would go play slots, my dad would go play poker. And you know, we would just play you know, 25 cents, you know, amongst ourselves, myself, my brothers, you know, five-card draw. And then my dad taught me style, that sort of stuff. So, he originally taught me when, I was a he taught me when I was eight years old. We just play for fun, no stakes or anything like that. But I was always drawn to it. I loved it. You know, a little kid, put a little kid in Las Vegas, you know, pure Vegas before the whole corporate stuff kind of went in and it really was, you know, a playground and I loved it. My dad used to come back and say, hey, look at this wallet, a bunch of $100 bills, I learned later that it wasn’t always wins. Sometimes it was an ATM. But this poker thing is so cool, I love it. And that’s how I got into it. Industry, industry wise was significantly lighter, you could say like, product of the moneymaker boom that, you know, like a lot of people out there, in terms of me starting to play in my own home game with my buddies. And, you know, fast forward just a little bit because you know, sort of busy having a life getting married, and you know, kids, all that sort of stuff. But in 2009, so really, almost 10 years ago, I just, you know, on a whim with a buddy of mine started this blog called the We liked the name, it wasn’t taken, the domain was free. And he was like, well, I know, web mastering and you know how to how to write and you know, how about poker. So, let’s just put it out there. This was, you know, a lot of blogs were going out at the time. You know, I don’t want to get the whole story just yet. And you may have some questions about it. But that’s sort of how I, you know, I dipped my toe into what, you know, what you call the poker industry in the poker world beyond just sort of little home games you know, for the first time.

Brad: I, I certainly do have questions. And I want to say too, that the 90s going to Vegas, for the family vacation of pure version, it was at least pet post mafia version, right?

Robbie: Yes, it was. Very sanitized, we used to get a lot of like, brochures in the mail, like, you know, come to the Mirage, come to Treasure Island, and my parents play, you know, so that comes to state, you know, they’re very happy to just get you there. And then you know, and they treated you a lot more nicely, it was much easier to get these cups, breakfast compass, and just to make sure you were there. And it was just a really affordable, cheap family vacation destination. You know, circus, circus was in its heyday, they had the brand new adventure dome at the time, you know, the Treasure Island was much more about pirates, rather than the sirens, you know, a very different time. And, you know, I gotta say, like the those who did that, I don’t know, if it’s the same people doing the marketing today. Or, you know, their successors, but the people who are going today and spending all the money at the clubs, and in the pools and all that other sort of stuff. It’s the same. It’s, mean, you know, it’s the kids who are growing up in the 90s, and got used to this idea of going to Vegas. So, you know, we just grew up little. Dare I say, you heard it here first, maybe 10 years from now, something like that. When all of us grew up a little bit more and have our own kids. Maybe we’ll see the marketing message change once again, for Las Vegas. We’ll see.

Brad: Yeah, it seems to be something that changes every, every few decades or so. Yeah.

Robbie: Now, you got to reinvent themselves. Sure.

Brad: Yeah, we got the DJs, and all the club atmosphere and all that stuff. Right. Which is not me, by the way.

Robbie: These things apply today to a club in my life, believe it or not.

Brad: Unfortunately, I have, in my opinion, you’re not missing very much. I’m not a club goer. I’m not a big drinker. And the heat crushes me, so Vegas, I haven’t spent a ton of time in Vegas personally. I’m an LA person you grew up in the right place for poker rooms.

Robbie: Yes.

Brad: I love LA.

Robbie: Absolutely. That’s been awesome. You know, weather wise, it’s also perfect as well. As one thing, and I live in Israel now, for the last, you know, 21 years. I left, you know, when I was 16. So, I never you know, if I was still living there and be like, oh, it’s the poker capital of the world, even more so than Las Vegas to an extent. So, I sort of missed out on that. I was never a grown up in LA but you know, hearing stories from my dad, it’s oh, yeah, I used to, you know, get off work, you know, and, or finish work and just go for a couple hours to the bike or to commerce. And it’s like, oh, that sounds like I’m romanticizing it, but it really was just cool. That was you know, with a place to play and you know, I say well, that’s one of the, one of the things I kind of miss or regret that I don’t live there, but I’m happy where I am.

Brad: Yeah, it’s, I do love it for poker, but definitely other places to live. So, the name of the podcast is Chasing Poker Greatness, which, to me is, it can be abstract greatness can be an abstract word. So, I would like to ask you, what does poker greatness mean to you?

Robbie: I think just sort of like, it can be compared to any other sort of pursuit. You know, whether it’s an athletic pursuit, tennis, golf, like an individual pursuit of that nature, or, you know, being a musician or any of the arts, so to speak, or even just being a great chess player. It’s something that you sort of rely on, you know, for a mind sport, whatever it is, or even, you know, an athletic sport that requires you know, physical training and stuff. The single minded, dedicated focus to being the absolute best, first and foremost, that you can be. And then you know, if there’s competition in that direct competition, you obviously have got to beat your competitors. You know, I always think of the Kobe Bryant example of you know, he didn’t just rely on his God-given talents, he also went to the gym three, four or five in the morning. And he had his people, his team has image Lakers, whenever they made tapes for him in advance of the opponents so that he could individually scout what their tendencies were like, that was the extent that this man was, you know, plenty of money, and he don’t count all the fans and everything, but he was still till his last game, you know..

Brad: Possessed.

Robbie: Yes, exactly. Obsessed. Possessed. And, you know, just driven to be the absolute, you know, to, to make them squeeze every ounce of everything out of his body, out of his brain, and out of his teammates, and just, just to be the best. So, again, what was the phrase he used in? The question was, you know, chasing greatness? I think, you know, that’s what it means. It’s never ever, ever resting on your laurels, and always striving to improve, even if you’re already number one, you know, it’s up and say, looking over your shoulder necessarily, but saying, okay, how do I even get better? How do I, you know, for poker? How do I examine my plan? What mistakes did I make? And you know, okay, even if I played perfectly, did I maximize? Could I have made even more money? And, you know, what are the newest theories? And how, you know, so all that sort of stuff. I think those are the essential ingredients of what it means to chase greatness.

Brad: That is a great answer, sir. And you’ve given me a softball here.

Robbie: Oh sure.

Brad: Instead of Kobe Bryant, when you think of greatness in a poker player, who’s the first person that comes to mind?

Robbie: Well, the sentimental choice is Chip Reese, but I was never exposed to him, and of pleasant memory. I was ever exposed to him. Personally, I didn’t know him. But it’s all from what I’ve heard from people secondhand, both players as well as other media that I’ve read about him. And what they always said is that his, his B-game, his C-game, his D-game was the same as his A-game. And, you know, I don’t know if it’s possible to define greatness more than that. And it’s like, he knew when he wasn’t running, well, he knew he’s not going to tell he’ll never get, you know, he’ll ever just sort of stay there and try to dig himself out of the hole. He’ll just get up and leave. And sometimes people didn’t, he didn’t even notice he was gone. So that is part of it. And also, part of the reason I would choose him is because he was a master in every single poker discipline. And I think it sort of branches a little bit into a different topic. You know, who’s the greatest poker player, whatever it is, but so many people I look at the, you know, the, the GTO wizards, and I respect them, and they do tremendous stuff. And they’re playing nosebleeds, high stakes, everything, but they’re only playing Texas Hold’em. There are, so there are dozens of versions and variants of poker, and in my opinion, you know, not everyone’s opinion, in my opinion, to be considered even in the conversation of the greatest, you have to be a master at all different variants of the game. You know, Matt just told them that to short that matches PLO, so you know, that that’s the first that you know, he’s no longer with us, but that’s who I would choose immediately, who put me on the spot for who’s still active alive and doing that sort of thing. You know, again, I kind of want to say Phil Ivey for the same reasons, you know, maybe he doesn’t have the, the 50k bracelet, or anything like that, but I still do think that there’s that Ivey Mystique, you know, even at Texas Hold’em at the 25k and up by in tournament levels, certainly in the cash games. And again, they’re not playing but Dougie, but they see, seven stuck with him. He can, he’s still, you know, a master at those games and so many of his contemporaries, and still even newer players today, you know, they’re saying, well, you know, he’s still the man. So, I think that’s the best answer I could give you. The most educated answer based on everything that I’ve read and people that I’ve spoken with.

Brad: Well, I think not just you but you know, Doyle’s word carries a lot of weight with me, Doyle’s opinion. And he said a lot of the same things about Chip Reese. I mean the 50k horse is named after Chip Reese in his memory

Robbie: Yes.

Brad: The all the players seem to respect him especially the, the high stakes players and that goes a long way as well. So, it’s very hard to, very hard to make a counter argument to this too. And Phil Ivey, of course is just a beast and it feels like he’s been around forever busy playing in all the games.

Robbie: Sure. And I believe the story was, you know, when chip Reese first saw Phil Ivey playing, he’s, you know, whispered in Doyle’s ear, you know, watch that guy, he’s gonna be great someday or it was almost like a virtual passing of the torch, as it were. I will mention one thing, and it’s important, you know, you didn’t mention go out Brunson. You know. He’s also in the conversation for the same reasons. But also, one additional reason is, you know, he’s been doing this since his 20s. And he’s in his mid-80s and still doing it. And it’s one of those criteria to be a member and inducted into the poker Hall of Fame is the one of the coolest, what do you call it?

Brad: The longevity.

Robbie: The longevity, playing against the highest stakes competition for you know, just a really super-duper long time. You know, like the Babe Ruth style of like, he just, he just did it for his entire career until his last act, you know. So, there is, of course, something to be said, you know, he’s, and he would also admit, he’s not a player. He wasn’t necessarily in his 30s and 40s. But half a step slower, a step slower. You know, he’s he could still beat the pants off you and me, I imagine, in any game, any high stakes, so he’s certainly merits a mention as well.

Brad: And shockingly, I know this is gonna shock you, you’re not the first person to mention Doyle and his longevity.

Robbie: Yeah, absolutely.

Brad: But it does mean a lot. And apparently poker players aged much better than other activities. Doyle is successful in his 80s going hard to find some NFL quarterbacks that are successful in their 80s.

Robbie: True.

Brad: Throwing, chunking around the pigskin.

Robbie: I mean it is a mind sport at the end of the day. And, and I think even studies have been done that, you know, continuing to play poker, or just the game itself, it activates parts of the brain, it prevents Alzheimer’s, you know, or that, that sort of thing. And when you’re just doing it day in and day out, and you’re so used to doing and, you know, imagine the, the equivalent, physically speaking would be just, you know, running every single day. And when your body is so used to doing that sort of thing, it’s almost second nature, you know. He thankfully is, you know, continues to be well of sound mind, and you know, your body may betray you. But if your mind doesn’t, then you know, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to play, you know, your optimal level.

Brad: Right. And there’s also a lot of study on reading, as well as activating the brain, keeping the brain active and engaged. I would imagine poker with its problem solving, and the analytical side, does some pretty good things to the brain. Tell me about a time in poker that you failed, or that you felt super low about yourself as a player? And what did you do? What happened to overcome that?

Robbie: Well, as a player, there’s this one particular instance that comes to mind. It was last year. I was in Las Vegas. It was for the World Poker Tour Tournament of Champions. I was there to do media coverage. And then I’ll just say, you know, for those who may not know, in the audience, I’m not a professional player, I’m a serious recreational player. You know, I’m not studying math charts or things like that, but I take the game seriously. I want to win. And, you know, I, I tried to learn from play and from watching, and all that sort of stuff. So, you know, when I wasn’t, you know, working, I’m self-employed, so I’m not on the clock or anything when I decided, okay, I’ve had enough work for the day. I went ahead and played. And, you know, for, I don’t know, must have been four days in a row. And you know, these were anywhere from six to eight-hour sessions in the evenings. Every single session was a loser. And, you know, I was, I played, you know, there, one to no limit hold’em, no, nothing super snazzy or anything like that. Even that, though, you know, it may sound funny is slightly higher stakes than I normally play. I live in Israel, and we use a different currency called the Shekel. And we normally play one two checkouts here. So, it’s about a third of the value. So, it takes me that much longer to build up the bankroll, and again, I’m not playing every single day. So, it’s, I’ll get a game once a week in the home game, so it takes me that much longer. So, I don’t feel intimidated or out of my league or anything, but just the stakes are higher than I’m used to. And you know, my bankroll has to be adjusted accordingly, accordingly. Four straight losing sessions, you know, a few $100 each time isn’t fun, especially when you know how long it’s taken you to earn those many hundreds, a little over 1000 bucks, that sort of thing. And it was the last day of the trip. And I found myself like, well, here I am 7500 miles away from home in Israel, and like, I want to play but I just can’t. I can’t I can’t lose anymore. I’ve exhausted the big part of the bankroll that I have brought with me. And you know, what I did is I just sort of like, you know, lock myself up in my room all day and work. You know, it’s just like the most pathetic sounding thing. I was staying at the West Gate. And like, you know, here the city of Las Vegas and all of its poker magnanimity, and the World Series is starting and I’m not sitting and playing poker. I’m sitting and working in a hotel room, and, you know, my flight is, you know, early tomorrow morning. This just sucks. It’s horrible. And you know, that was really, you know, it wasn’t like sitting curled in a ball by a fireplace or anything like that. But as a player, it certainly felt like a failure. And with all that I knew about, you know, there’s short term variants and things like that. It’s not a fun place to be. And frankly, I just didn’t know that I was willing to risk more of the bankroll knowing that if I do lose. How would I feel? I tried to think in advance and be self-conscious and aware of that reality. You know, it’s never good to chase your losses. And it’s hard for me to separate necessarily from one session to the next one, you know. One time fine, two times five, for four in a row. It’s, it’s rough. So, what happened is a friend of mine who lives in Las Vegas, he was saying, hey, isn’t that the Golden Knights were playing? I think it was there. It was the championship. It was game one or two or something like that. And he’s like, you know, after the Golden Knights, can you want to go out for dinner? So, I was like, you know what, that’s exactly what I needed. It’s a great excuse to, to get out of the hotel room. Stop working. I was like, oh, that’s all right. Okay, great. You’re sitting, we’re talking in the restaurant, and you know, he’s gonna, how’s it going, Robbie? Well, you know, you’re good enough. And I can tell you the truth. He says, lay it on, buddy. And I told him everything that was going on. You know, he lives in Las Vegas. He’s a professional player. And, you know, he was kind of definitely empathizing with what I was going through. And at the same time, you know, he’s seen it all before. You know, he knows what it’s like, and I was just so grateful to be there with him in that moment, like you, I’m alone when I’m when I’m there working, you know, my family’s very far away. And it’s just good to have a friend. Especially one who understands everything about poker in a situation like that. And he’s like, okay, so here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna go to the Bellagio after this. I’m like, the Bellagio. You kidding me? I’m scared. I’m scared. That’s all the pros are. He said, Robbie. 1213 is the same 1213 wherever you’re playing it. You just said the Bellagio. Okay, fine. I’ll play my game. You play your game. I’ll stake you. Pretend the money’s gone. And just play. If it goes, okay, no big deal. It’s fine. And I’m just sitting there. I’m like, wow. Like it was it was almost a turning point. I’m changing, you know, going a little longer into your question, then, then perhaps you had anticipated. But you know, that failure here is, you know, a glimmer of love not, not like a legion of like, okay, I need to get an action, that sort of thing. But like, hey, someone believes in me after everything I said. He’s given me a tip. And, you know, he doesn’t care about the money. He’s telling me I shouldn’t care about the money, just focus on the game. And, okay, let’s give it a shot. He gave me $500. And, you know, I said, okay, you know, split it into two 250 is just in case. And I took the two first 250. And within an hour, it was gone. Just a second net flush to the nut flush, you know, on the one hour.

Brad:  Sayonara.

Robbie: Yeah, exactly. And I’m just like, okay, what do I do now? And I went up, I went to him, he’s playing this game. And I said, you should take this back. He says, I gave you the money. To me, I lost 500 already. You go and you just hit it. Do your best. I’m telling you, Brad, I got down to $22. That’s all I had left. And then, variants shifted. At that moment. I was like, okay, I’m all in and I literally, you know, the typical pack up your bag, get ready to go, it wasn’t meant to be. This was you know, after another hour to two and a half hours into the set. I’m down to 22 out of $500, doubled up. Hmm, interesting. Okay. So back down, control yourself. managed to double up again, a couple heads later. I’m like, wait a minute, I got 88 bucks. 86 bucks. Let’s play poker. I work that thing back to $503. Okay, over the next couple hours, I could do no wrong. I wasn’t playing differently, mind you. And it’s just this incredible adrenaline rush. I paused. I walked away from the table, and I’m just like, feeling. I’m like, this is the most incredible. I’ve never had anything like this happen before. Like, just the rush of being so low and being uplifted so suddenly, but you’re not doing anything different. It’s really just the variants and the cards that are changing. And all of a sudden you feel unstoppable again, I was like, I think I should stop. He says are you kidding me? Your flight is in the morning buddy. You play all night. You run this rush. As long as it takes until you’re tired and you can’t play anymore. I’m like, are you serious? Because I told you already. The $500 for me is gone. I kept playing. I ran it up all the way to $807 and other you know, couple hours later. And I was like okay, my flight’s in three hours. I gotta go pack up and yeah, you know, I gave him back his 500. He says no, no no. 50/50. And we split everything. It was just really, really nice, you know. And I mean, it’s, I love that story, because it shows that, to me at least, that sometimes failure happens for a reason. You know, again, other times here, I’ll lose the 500. But that one really gave me faith, because you know, lows will happen, failures certainly will happen, whether it’s as a player or in other areas of life. But you really have to realize that sometimes those failures do happen for a reason. And you could really learn lessons from it. And don’t say embrace the failure because you don’t want it to happen. But should, it then you should sort of welcome it and say, okay, don’t get down on yourself. How can you learn from this? What can you do about it, maybe something good will come of it. So, there you go. That’s my failure story. I guess, as a player,

Brad: I love that story. There’re so many things to unpack for me, a couple of things. Number one, the first thing is how valuable relationships, community, friendship, friendships are.

Robbie: Yeah.

Brad: As, as a poker player, people that will pick you up, when you’re down. People that will give you confidence, when you’re lacking confidence. I think that is.

Robbie: Its huge.

Brad: Those are two of the very most important things that every player, no matter recreational, professional, at every level, you need those people to help you. And plus, you know, we talked a little before we started the show about me living at commerce, playing high stakes poker 60 hours a week. And I do have some fond memories of giant winning days and winning massive pots. Most of my memories revolve around my friends, going to play basketball at commerce, going to UCLA to play ball, meeting, meeting up with them going to eat Korean barbecue. All of these different things, the fellowship, and those friendships were 100%, the most valuable thing that, that I earned in my time in LA. So, for those of you out there that are missing those relationships, I highly suggest take some actions towards you know, beginning them. Put yourself out there. The world as they say, it’s full of lonely people waiting to make the first move. Make the first move. I think that just, it, there’s untold value in it from just a life perspective and a poker perspective as well.

Robbie: The best ROI you’ll ever get from an investment, that’s for sure.

Brad: For sure. And the second thing I want to unpack too, is all those emotions that you dealt with. Those, that’s those are the things that Chip Reese was able to keep, keep in control, right? That whole emotional roller coaster, feeling horrible about yourself and then feeling on top of the world. Feeling like a loser when you’re stuck and feeling like a giant winner or invincible monster when you’re crushing it. I think that those are the things that he, he was able to dial back, you know. That that’s part of his greatness and a very..

Robbie: Some traits to emulate it. And I will say it’s in a book that I read a long time ago, it’s still you know, stands the tempo. That’s what it is, Stands the Test of Time. That’s the other criteria for all of it. But it certainly does that is The Mental Game of Poker by Jared Tendler. And he talks about this concept of inchworm. And basically, the idea of like every new thing that you learn. It’s hard the first time but then it becomes second nature. And you move on to the next hard thing to learn. That lesson learning at that time, and I feel like that inchworm was moving forward for me. And it’s that much easier for me next time to hopefully, hopefully it shouldn’t happen. But when it happens, to control those emotions at Chip Reese, you know, like you said they mastered that as well.

Brad: Exposure is a big part of the process. How can you control your emotions, if you never, like how can you control your anger, if you never experience anger? How can you, how can you deal with these emotions if you never experienced them? And yeah, but you know, the first time you play you sit down in life table, at least in my experience. Your heart is pounding out of your chest. You’re nervous, you’re shaking, you’re scared. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, an environment that’s different, you know, than what you’re used to. And you just keep exposing yourself to that environment. It gets more comfortable. And then, you know, all of a sudden, I feel very comfortable walking into any poker room in the world. Grabbing me by and sitting down and playing cards with people. You just, you have to expose yourself to these sort of things.

What is up, you, future star of poker, you. Coach Brad here and I just wanted to take a moment to let you know about PKC Poker. If you’re sitting there wondering why. Why is coach Brad promoting this PKC poker app thing? Allow me a moment to explain my why. Battling in Cash Games has been my livelihood for the past 15 years. It’s how I survive and put food on the table, which makes it imperative that I either test out or seek qualified opinions on all the poker platforms on the market. One juicy fact can mean the difference between a meh year and an amazing family vacation in Hawaii kind of year. With that said, I’ve tried almost all the major poker apps on the market to date. And despite the hype about amazingly juicy games, I’ve come away from the experience unsatisfied. I was just never able to find amazing success against seemingly weak competition. And in one specific case was getting outright destroyed by passive villains playing more than 50% of their hands. What the heck was going on? After many evenings sitting in the bathtub, wondering if I had lost it, I finally dug into the data and learn something that shouldn’t have been too surprising to you. These dudes were colluding and super using their pants off. So, I swore off those free money, decentralized, devil apps and decided to go back to my more familiar streets of ignition. It was then that I was contacted by a good friend of mine, who turned out to be the Vice President of worldwide operations at PKC. Him and I had a long in-depth conversation about security, the ecosystem and the future direction of PKC. And he managed to convince me to give it a shot. That shot turned into an incredible six months with an hourly rate. That’s about five times what it would have been playing on any other US platform. As it turns out, I didn’t forget how to play. I just needed a level playing field to return to my crushing whites. I have no doubt that you, my community, my audience is going to play poker somewhere. And I want to be damn sure that you don’t go through the pain and frustration, I felt by messing around with any poker app besides PKC. This is why promoting PKC is a no brainer. I love my community. And I want to put you in the best position to succeed at this game that we both love so much. So, if you’d like to join me in the streets of PKC, simply head to PKC and get your invite code to play. You must have an invite code and you must be 21 years of age or older. One more time, that’s PKC. Best of luck, and now on with the show.

Brad: And so, I heard, I heard through the grapevine, that you being in the media side of card playing and reporting and all these sorts of things that you have a story about one Daniel Negreanu could we?

Robbie: Yeah.

Brad: Expand a little bit. Yeah.

Robbie: Well, yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s a, it’s a personal story, actually. It’s not necessarily to do with poker at the tables, but something that he did for me. He basically convinced me that pursuing this dream of doing what you know, of this poker media career was possible.

Brad:  How? How do you do that?

Robbie: I know how to believe it. Well, he was going, you know, like he’s made very famous in over time. He went to this choice center, and enrolled them and learned a lot from it. And part of his process of learning was life coaching, and or learning how to be a life coach. And, I, you know, I asked him at the time was like, what is it? What does it mean to coach somebody? And you know, just like from a chat that we were having with digital on Facebook, Messenger and stuff. He’s like, okay, I’ll show you. And then he started sort of guiding me through this process of like, you know, what worries you? What’s your anxieties? That sort of thing. And at the time, this is, I guess, 2015 or ‘16 or so, something like that. And I said, well, there, you know, what I would really love to do is, you know, go on a couple of few trips each year and be in this poke. I mean, Israel is like an island when it comes to poker. There’re no poker rooms here. You can’t play online. There’s nothing. You know, that’s one of the hardest., I love living here. But it’s one of the hardest things about living here is the poker, everything is so far away. You know, it’s not like, you know, you just get in your car and you can drive two hours or three hours or seven hours this, there’s nothing here.

Brad: Right.

Robbie: And this idea of me being involved and being ensconced in this poker industry, seemed impossible to me just for logistical reasons and verbal, how would I make a living? Who would employ me if I don’t live there, like that sort of thing. Over a period of, and I’m not exaggerating Brad, over two hours of just chatting back and forth on messenger is Daniel Agrawal. He’s got a lot of better things to do with his time.

Brad: I wouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t. I got no, no, no, I’m not. This is no, I think that helping people when they’re struggling in life is one of the most valuable things that we can do. And in the instance of Daniel Negreanu there, he has an opportunity to help somebody out and serve, serve someone else. And I think that’s very, very valuable. So, I wouldn’t.

Robbie: That I agree. I don’t know about wasting time on me though.

Brad: Oh, come on. We got to, we got to kill this negative self-talk.

Robbie: Oh, No, no. Just self-deprecating. That’s all.

Brad: Yeah. It’s not what I saw.

Robbie:  I’m not one of the positive guys you would meet.

Brad: Oh, no, no, it’s not negative self-talk. It’s self-deprecating.

Robbie: Well, there you go.

Brad: Is it the same? Right?

Robbie: Well, it was like, 10 in the morning or something. And that means midnight in Las Vegas.

Brad: Yeah.

Robbie: That’s when we started the conversation.

Brad: Right.

Robbie: And what I mean, it’s like, you know, he’s got a lot going on.

Brad: Of course.

Robbie: And for him for stop that we’re saying, and, you know, make me the center of his, you know, two hours and quite literally, not answer all my questions at the end, you know, I have to answer these questions for myself, but legitimately, and very, very, really make me believe that the dreams that I really wanted, my dream life was possible. That was what I still consider today. The launching point of me working towards becoming independent, self-employed and doing what I’m doing today full time. And I had it all going on the side and I had the desire, the passion, the enthusiasm, but I didn’t know if I could put that together. And he convinced me it was possible. And I have him to thank for it. So

Brad: That’s, that is an awesome story. And I have no personal communication with Daniel Negreanu. I’ve always watched from afar. I got into poker, you know, 15 years ago, and he’s had his blog, and he’s been big since then. So, I have I have read his stuff. I followed him. I’ve always liked him and been a fan of him. But that’s very personal. That’s an awesome story. And I would, I would, I would say to, as somebody who’s dished out my fair share of solicited and unsolicited life advice to people, I would say that taking-action and moving forward based on him helping you, is also a rare thing. And I think that says a lot about you, as a person. Lots of people want feedback, and they get it, and they never take-action. They just fall asleep at the wheel, which is kind of a waste of time. So, I would say that, it’s likely that Daniel Negreanu also sensed that you were an action taker. You were somebody that was worthy of investing those two hours in, and think about it, he spent two hours talking to you that one night. Look at what you’ve done for the poker community, the poker world over the ensuing years. So that time was actually very, very well spent, in my mind.

Robbie: Oh, thanks for saying that. But I really do appreciate that. And, you know, I used to not tell too many people that story, I’d do it privately, but, you know, I, you know, it’s something in Hebrew, you know, something called how haratah, it is recognizing and being grateful for kindness that someone has done to you, and giving, you know, giving very, very due credit where it’s due. You know, you said the importance of having friends I do, I do believe I can consider him a friend. And he’s just a wonderful person. And the fact that it was him, you know, saying that it’s not pies in the sky. It’s not, you know, my brother or a friend from high school or something like that someone who I know, a friend who doesn’t know poker. This is someone who’s been there, done that gone, broke, you know, done everything there is to do in poker. And I knew I didn’t want to become a pro player or anything, but just pursue that sort of dream. And for him to basically say, well, I believe you could do it. Now it’s up for you to believe that you can do it. It was a huge boost in confidence. And, you know, till today, it still motivates me when I’m down once in a while. I was like, well, you know, other people think that I can do this sort of thing. Keep on plowing forward.

Brad: That’s true.

Robbie: So better to say what you said, I appreciate it.

Brad: My pleasure, my man. And there is some you know, the word of Daniel Negreanu does probably carry more weight than the word. Let’s just put that out there on record on my show.

Robbie: He’s a good guy. He does a lot of things behind the scenes that people are not aware of and just, you know, more power to him. And no, really, he’s a force for good in general in the world.

Brad: Okay, let’s go from force to good. Let’s segue. You also have a story about Phil Hellmuth. I don’t know.

Robbie: Yes.

Brad: I have no idea where this is gonna go. Whether it’s force of good or force of evil or force of whatever, but let’s hear this story as well. I’m very curious.

Robbie: Okay, so this one has more to do directly with poker. And you know, let’s you know, use exactly what you said. He’s somewhat of a polarizing figure. Someone would, some would say and you know, for all you guys out there who watched all the videos on YouTube, and watch the World Series know his nickname is the Poker Brat for good reason. With all of that, that persona, that larger than life persona, that he is, the man it’s very, very, very much a class act. A tremendous human being. And I’ll illustrate with this particular story. I was given the chance to interview him, you know, just ahead of the release of the Poker Prep book, the publishers D&B Poker shout out to them actually. Just released an article about their story, the D&B poker, just listen on the side. So, Dan and Byron, they reached out to me and said, hey, Robbie, you know, we’ve got this book coming out. Would you like to interview Phil Hellmuth? And I was like, well, yeah, that’d be amazing says, Okay, we’ll put him in touch with you via email. And right away, I started getting to work. And, you know, this guy that interviewed, you know, interviewed hundreds of times, how do I interview this guy, make it new, refreshing, interesting to him, you know. I don’t want it to seem that just that he’s doing me a favor. I want to try to honor him and, you know, produce something good that he enjoys working on. So, I spent a really long time probably, you know, good week, you know, listening to all the podcasts and watching the interviews and reading everything I could. Coming together with a good script prepared, like, you know, way too many questions. I’m like, whatever I can get from him. I’ll get sent in the email. And within three days, every single question was answered. And these were not one-word answers, Brad. These were just like, I mean, I have it up in my interview with Phil Hellmuth on You could read it. These are lengthy answers. He sent me pictures. He sent me everything to make this an outstanding interview piece of content. And he did it. You know, he was like, I’ll get to it soon. Don’t worry. And you know, he wasn’t BSN, like he was just, he cared. And it was just so awesome to see that side. I didn’t know who he was, you know. It was just like, well, I got to meet Phil this way. Amazing. Right? Great. We published the article. And a couple months later, some, you know, for their for the World Series of Poker and you know, at the D&B booth, you know, with all the folks. So, he’s doing the autograph session. So, I’m standing in line and I want to go ahead and you know, buy a book and get an autograph. So, I said, hi, Phil. Robbie’s Strazynski. Robbie Strazynski. He stands up, he shakes my hands, and we’re giving this guy for free says, may start spotted and I’m like, wow, he remembered. Like, I’m legitimately strut. It’s amazing. And it was just a really cool thrill as a fan, someone you know, I’m a fan, just like anyone else. And, you know, he says, I like your style, like your interview style. It’s like, wow. But, you know, he didn’t just, it wasn’t just another interview for him. It just, you know, he made me feel like the center of his world again, also. Very, very cool thing. Great. Okay, that you think the story may end there. And here’s where the aha. This summer. So, this is now two years after the fact that you know that we’ve done the interview. It’s not like, you know, we became buddy buddy, or we’re in close touch or anything. But you know, like, I guess maybe you knew who I was, whatever it may be. So, this summer, I played for the first time in my first bracelet event, and I wrote, you know, just before, you know, a couple days before, I played the $1500 dealer’s choice at the World Series. I wrote the article basically like, trying to hype myself up Rocky style, and like, you know, I’m gonna get this and really, like, I was so emotional. Everything just sort of poured forth, it’s time to play. For the first time after all these years, you know that my first race little bit. I’m standing in the Rio hallways, you know, this is going to be a day before the event happens. And I’m on the phone, out of the Amazon room. Walks through how many of them. The hallways weren’t so crowded, and maybe he’s you know, 50-60 feet away from me. He happens to you know, catch my eye. He was going the other direction. But he walks over to me as I’m on the phone. And I’m like, hold on, hold on one second. So he goes, Robbie, I read your article. I think that’s really, really cool that you’re playing your first bracelet event. Good for you. Good luck. And I was standing there like, oh, wow. It’s like the guy who performs in the coffee shop. And then like, you know, Elvis Presley walks up to him says, oh, good for you. Like, it’s just, it’s unbelievable. Like, he could have recognized me and walk the other way. He keeps all of those things to do something like that. And I say these things that because it’s a story about me and stuff that I’ve gone through. But I say this to illustrate what kind, you know, genuinely nice person, Phil Hellmuth is. And it’s important to me at least to spread stories like that, because what you see on camera is never ever, ever the whole story and unfortunately, sometimes only that bratty side of him comes out because he’s just such a fierce competitor. But you know, beneath that exterior, whatever you want to call it, the man is just, you know, a tremendously nice individual to have to have done that for me, and I very much love that. Like, what, what does he have to gain from doing something like that, you know? It’s just an amazing gesture that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Brad: Again, that is incredible story. And I’ve heard a lot of good things about Phil Hellmuth myself. I haven’t had any direct interactions with the man. But all the stories that I’ve heard away from the poker table, genuinely good guy. That illustrates the level of thoughtfulness that he gave in answering all of your questions. The fact that he remembered you and also is a fan of the cardplayer lifestyle, right? He’s gotta be.

Robbie: He’s gotta be. It shows. There’s the plug for lifestyle.

Brad: He’s a fan. He reads the articles or, you know, he gets the emails or something. Yeah, that’s an incredible story.

Robbie: Yeah, it’s it’s a great feeling. It’s very, very cool. The first thing I did was I called my dad, I’m like, Dad, you’re not gonna believe what happened.

Brad: I was halfway hoping that, you know, you played in the $1500, dealer choice, and he threw some cards at you and yelled at you. But, you know, I’ll accept the happy ending as well. Yeah.

Robbie: That was good. Hopefully, one day, we’ll get to a stage where we get to play at the same table, maybe heads up for a bracelet, and I’ll be that guy who denies a number 17 or 16, or whatever it is.

Brad: That would be a good story. Probably a good article on cardplayer lifestyle. I would get

Robbie: At least one I’ll tell you that. At least one more.

Brad: See how long you can drag this out? Let’s, let’s make this story last like five or 10 years?

Robbie: Yeah, sure.

Brad: So, if you were to gift the chasing poker greatness audience one book, what would it be? And why?

Robbie: To gift the book to them?

Brad: Yes.

Robbie: Okay, well, I don’t know, if you purposely set it up like this. I happen to have a copy right here. So, there’s the book called Pulling the Trigger. Madman is Eli Elezra, right? So, this is the story of his autobiography. The reason I happen to have it is because if you turn it around, see that to me, I translated the book from Hebrew into English, right?

Brad: Because he’s Israeli, right?

Robbie: You know, very proud Israeli. And he grew up here in Israel and moved, chased his dreams in America and lives in Vegas for the last 30 years. So yeah, I mean, I’m, I’m biased. But what can I say. Like, it’s not a strategy. But you know, I like telling stories, as you hear, you know, all the audience hears, I’m a storyteller, and that’s what I do on my site as well. This is just a great story. That’s the story of his of his life. And you know, how he got born in 1960, in Jerusalem prior to the Six Day War, you know. Fought in the Golani brigade bravely. Got injured in battle by to Alaska. And, you know, to try and earn money on the fishing boats there. Some incredible stories there; found poker, fell in love with it, decided to pursue it at the expense of his business, found Las Vegas. It’s an incredible story, just you know, I always said, wow, this ought to be a movie, that sort of a thing. It really is just an incredibly rich story with a lot of little cool stories that are poker related, and not interspersed in between. Also, it’s relatively new. It only came out in January in English. So, you know, it’s one that people are likely not to necessarily have read before you can buy it on Amazon. But if I’m gifting it to you, I guess I’m gifting it to you. So that’s, I would say. Definitely not a strategy book. He does go through some of the, you know, more meaningful hands, it is big. You know, WPT, the Mirage Poker Showdown in 2004, when he won. And other hands that he played against some, you know, incredible players and legends in their own right. But it’s much more in my opinion, at least a book about, you know, the stories and his poker life, his poker career, the ups, the downs, and they were, you know, some tremendous ups and tremendous downs. I think you’d find it very interesting. And you know, as a story book, I think that’s the one to get for the time being.

Brad: Sir, I had no idea. I could not see your desk. I don’t know. It was a softball. The people listening are like, I don’t trust this question.

Robbie: Oh, really? I didn’t know. But I hadn’t here to promote it at any point. But yeah, it worked out so well with.

Brad: If you could go back in time, and give your say, 20 year old self some poker wisdom? What would it be?

Robbie: Start playing online poker now. That’s 17 years ago, that’s what you’re going with. That’s when the going was really, really good. If I could impart everything I know about poker to that 20-year-old guy, I’d be doing a lot better fight.

Brad: What’s worse, like actions taking, right? It’s more like a, you know, there’s a carbon copy version of yourself who’s 20 years old. Right now, what would you tell them? They’re just starting their poker career. What advice would you give them? What wisdom would you share?

Robbie: Again, as a player, right?

Brad: As a player. Actually, as a player and or a member of the community? Maybe not everybody in the audience has ambitions to be one of the best to ever play the game. Maybe their ambitions lie more on the editorial side. Maybe it lies on the story side or some other facet of the game. So.

Robbie: Okay.

Brad: Just speak your wisdom.

Robbie: As a player, I would say, get in as much experience as you can. Again, I’m assuming that this is a 20-year-old, you know, 17 years ago. Not, you know, in 2019, it’s a much, much, much steeper curve. And I know, you know, I’m still true to myself. I know what I was like at 20. There’s certain things I wouldn’t necessarily be willing to do. I wouldn’t, you know, get with solvers and start memorizing math charts and stuff. But knowing what I know now of how that was the golden age for so many people, and so many people I know contemporaries of mine are saying, it wasn’t professionals at all, never word, but they said all the going was so good at that point in time. You know, just from a purely financial standpoint, that wasn’t the best time to be playing. I think in the history of poker, you know, online and offline. And I’d say, you know, for these, you know, whatever it was five or six years, do whatever you can, you know, before the golden goose stops laying the eggs. You know, it’s just, it’s the kind of, you know, the Marty McFly finds the almanac, right? And back to the future, too. It’s like, that’s where I would have wanted to be, you know. From a purely poker standpoint is make yourself, you know, make sure you’re in Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, for all of these big events. You have all of that knowledge that you have now as a 37 year old, and just get in while the getting’s good before everyone starts getting better. And you know, you’re not willing to put in the time in the lab, necessarily. This is the time and then save that money and do big things with it. And it sounds a little bit of a cop out type of an answer, but that is what I would do. I’m just being consistent with myself, right on the head. On the editorial side, it’s something very different.

Brad: So, I agree with a lot of what you said, because I played. I was one of the people that were playing during throughout the golden age of poker. And I will say, that before the golden age of poker, before the information boom, because there is certainly been an information boom, in the 90s, in the 80s. The games were likely to be off the charts super amazingly good, because there are so little information that existed. So, I do think those games were really good. And as a player today, I do think that if you choose well, where you play, you can play in some really good games as well. So, games, there are games that rival the golden age of poker. And a very wise acquaintance of mine, who, I believe it was 2013 or 2014 was the biggest winner in the world track by high stakes db. For the first six months he you know, we’re discussing poker in general and strategy and how, you know, the common narrative is that all you had to do is show up in 2004. And everybody just gave you money, right? Everybody gave you money. Like, basically, we were done back then too, right? Like we should have that even the pros that we knew a lot less. As poker progresses and evolves and grows, there’s always money to be made. However, what has changed is, the money is made deeper into decision trees nowadays than it was back then. Back then, it was made in the earlier the three bets, the preflop strategy, that was where you could you could maximize your edge. And it was relatively easy.

Robbie: Enhance your edge.

Brad: Enhance your edge. There you go. It was relatively easy back then. And there’s always going to be room to profit and poker. The more you grow is just deeper and the decision trees is where you’re going to be able to maximize your wins. So, I will add that on top.

Robbie: Sure. I’ll agree with that. On the editorial side, can I give that answer?

Brad: Yes. Of course.

Robbie: Right. So, on that it’s a funny thing. It’s so you’ve ever seen the movie sliding doors?

Brad: I had a. 

Robbie: I think it’s with the Hugh Grant and Gwyneth Paltrow. And it’s this idea of like, two alternate histories; what happens if, you know you do make that subway train or if you don’t, door slide in front of you.

Brad: Butterfly effect.

Robbie: Yeah, exactly similar type of thing. So, on the one hand, you know, I see now at 37, the way things have gone for me career wise, and everything that happened leading up to this point, making me who I am. And I say I wouldn’t change a thing, right? And you know, you got to accept it and embrace it. And it’s great to realize that everything happened in a certain time and for reasons to make me who I am right now. I would be interested in terms of like a sliding door effect to sort of see an alternate history if at age 20 already then, I was saying you know, I would be one of those people who put up, you know, even the blog that I have now. Like the blogs that didn’t look good that I statically speaking. The media then was very different and you know, anyone who you know, it’s a matter of you know, the right place right time to an extent you know, you happen to be the right age and in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and started a media outlet then. There was also just ridiculous amounts of money to be made and reputation to be earned. You know, in terms of historically, you know, people who’ve been around for 15, 16, 17 years, they’re few and far between that they’re still involved now. But just the fact that you were there then just gives you so much more credibility. You know when Twitter begins, then, you know, immediately get that many more followers just to start out. It’s the, basically, the snowball that you have to start out with, you know. I started in 2009. And, you know, in much more in earnest a couple years later, and then when I became self-employed two and a half years ago, I had to pack them together. Again, it almost parallels the poker thing, like the earlier you were there, the getting was good at the time. If I was doing that already, at age 20, and had a website and had a domain, which was, you know, now, whatever it is, you know, 19 years old, instead of 10 years old, something like that. I would be interested to see, so where would I be career wise, and financially speaking, and what would my brand be? And you know, how many more people would I know? I just be curious to sort of see that alternate history, not necessarily advice that I’d give myself but, you know, I also realized very, very much that even then, you know, you said, you know, what does greatness mean, you have to be fully involved. The reason I wasn’t able to is because I was doing all the family stuff. I got married, you know, 17 and a half years ago, I was 20, right? Had I started the career in the professional path. I don’t know that that necessarily would have happened when it did, because I wouldn’t have the headspace and the ability to, you know, share my life with another person who start having kids and all that other sort of stuff. So, it’s more of like the sliding doors of like, I possibly still would be single if that happened, which is not that not necessarily a bad thing.

Brad: Don’t let your wife listen to this podcast by the way. This is not for Robbie’s wife to listen.

Robbie: That’s fine.

Brad: He’s saying some things right now. He’s saying some things.

Robbie: I told you. I said I wouldn’t change anything. I really wouldn’t.

Brad: You literally just said, I would probably be single, and that would be fine.

Robbie: No. I’m saying is that it’s okay to be single when I want to get married.

Brad: Oh, of course.

Robbie: But it’s just like looking through that mirror into the alternate dimension, the bizarre world of life. You know, I would probably for sure never have moved to Israel, like or moved back to LA like, because that’s what this stuff is. All that sort of alternate history would be sort of interesting for me to sort of say.

Brad: Absolutely. And my parallel in the poker sense would be that I’ve always preferred cash games versus tournaments. And cash game players tend to go under the radar. 

Robbie: Yes.

Brad: They don’t get you know, cash game victories don’t get publicized. Let lesser chance of playing interviews, or getting interviews, especially, you know, if you’re not playing the nosebleeds like Phil Ivey. People, you know, cash game players go under the radar. I would like to see, had I fully invested myself in a tournament over my career, what that would have been, right? I am still, you know, we’re 35, I’m 35, your 37. We’re not super old men, there’s still time, still time for me to invest myself in tournaments. And.

Robbie: Yeah.

Brad: But I would be curious to see my lifetime results. And, you know, the level of, I guess, influence and authority that I would have been able to generate over the last 10 to 15 years.

Robbie: It’s the effect of compound interest, you know, and in a very real sense for both of those things here.

Brad: Right. And yeah, so anyway, I try, one of the quirks we’ll call it of my personality is, I’m naturally an introverted person. And

Robbie: Really?

Brad: Yeah.

Robbie: I’m shocked. Anyone who hosts a podcast like, how is that even possible? Really? Well, good for you, you’ve fooled me. Nice bluff.

Brad: There is so. Introversion is actually not that you don’t want to speak to people or that you don’t want to communicate and that sort of thing. It’s, you know, one to one, this is actually the perfect spot for an introvert because it’s a one to one conversation about something that I’m passionate about. And that is a perfect setup. Getting out. Get me in front of a room with 150 people. Actually, just take me out to dinner with 12 people that I don’t know. And, you know, I’ll be completely invisible, like I you know, I’ll, maybe there’s one person that I connect with, and then I can have a genuine conversation. But I’ll never be like the center of attention type person.

Robbie: Interesting.

Brad: That’s sort of how my personality works. And so, there is some avoidance there as far as you do get attention when you win a poker tournament.

Robbie: Yeah.

Brad: So maybe that, maybe that aspect of my personality is one of the reasons why I have enjoyed cash games that ledger anonymity over the years. Alright, moving on. What’s a project you’re working on now that is near and dear to your heart? It doesn’t have to be poker.

Robbie: Oh, well, I mean, it’s for a very long time and actually was this, you know, and I’ve been, I don’t need that plug, plug, plug. But, you know, this was something I was working on sort of behind the scenes. You know, when he came up to me and Ellie came up to me, and you know, the Hebrew book was released. You know, that was my first really big project in poker. And I was, you know, always having to balance that with, you know, the regular stuff that I was doing media wise, and, you know, compartmentalize and take the time to do that. Once that finished, you know, it’s sort of morphed into, you know, doing marketing for him and all that stuff. But I wouldn’t necessarily call that a project. To be honest with you, I don’t really have anything actively. That is a project right now. It’s a, you know, the content game when you’re doing media, you know, basically, no one wants to see the same newspaper, one day after the next. No one wants to log in to CNN, it’s the same articles over and over. It’s just constantly feeding the content beast, and it very much, I don’t want to use the word grind, because in a sense, that may imply that I don’t enjoy it, I do. I’m not doing, I’m not the only one doing the writing, you know, you have plenty of fantastic contributors. But I function as the editor for my site. So that really is a first and foremost, and always at the front of my mind, ongoing project, for lack of a better word. There is one project, it’s, I wouldn’t say on the back burner, because I really, really do want to do it. Its I believe I have my own poker book in me, just so many stories of the storyteller, that I could tell over the last few years that I’ve been involved, you know, the travels that I’ve done around the world, and tournaments that I’ve covered, and things that have happened to me individually. And again, that tied into my own personal background, as someone who’s Orthodox, Jewish, and living in Israel, and a family man, that’s just sort of my perspective on it, I think that I could leave a nice yarn. I think that the stories would be interesting to people. But I can’t unfortunately, say, you know, maybe it’s a little failure on my part for now, that I’m not actively working on it. It’s just there’s, you gotta keep on hitting those base hits, you know, and then getting on base with the, you know, with the podcasts, with the other forms of media that I’m constantly producing. So, something I need to do, something I want to do. And I’ve told myself I’ve done it, and I have some building blocks in place, like a table of contents. And I know more or less the stories I want to tell, it’s just I got to get around to it. So, I can’t reveal the title. But, you know, hopefully, when it does come a year, two, three years, whatever it is from now, it’s another great marketing tool to have, hey, here’s my book.

Brad: Do we have like a like a Daniel Negreanu bad signal that we can we can flare up and get him on your ass but another two hours to get this book done? Hey Jean Daniel, Negreanu, contact Robbie and make him write this book. No more procrastinating.

Robbie: I will say that there’s a difference between procrastinating and taking one’s foot off the gas pedal. And I don’t think it’s an important distinction to make. Because not that I’m not as hungry as I used to be. But, you know, I feel now that you know, this media gig that I’m doing is the full-time job and I have a responsibility to sort of support you know, my family. from it, I need to be focused on that. I need to, just as a matter of circumstance, whereas up until two and a half years ago, it was always the side gig and I quote unquote, had more drive because I was staying up till ridiculous hours because I only got home at 6:30 and then had dinner and the kids all that stuff. And you know, between midnight and two was the only time I had. So now it’s just you know, a matter of like, you know, kind of kicking myself a little bit, and making sure that okay, it is 10 o’clock, it is 11 o’clock at night. You know, get a chapter written. Do it. You know, so I don’t want to say I’m lazy, it just after a whole day of doing that, you know it, it’s hard to consider it something different. It’s like continuing to work for another two hours.

Brad: So, I will say that like when something’s inside of you, it is a good thing to get it out. It means that you want to, that your body’s telling you hey, get this out of me. And Neil Gaiman, I listened to an interview with Neil Gaiman, who has you know, written Neverwhere, American Gods, Good Omens, are just a bunch of really incredible amazing books. I love Neil Gaiman and I have, you know, had this journal right here because of Neil Gaiman. And when he was writing Coraline, he had a lot of things going on. And it was something that he wanted to, he wanted to write a kid’s book for his daughters, and he didn’t have enough time, or he had so many projects that he was juggling. And he decided that instead of reading a few pages every night before bed, he would write a line. He wrote one line a night, right before bed. And that just that, wow, that just created momentum and it built up, built up. And then after six months, you know, he said he had some chapters going.

Robbie: That’s incredible.

Brad: And then like that, just that small little one line a day, added up over time. And then eventually, you know, he finished Coraline, and it got made into a movie, and it’s this huge, massive success thing. And it wouldn’t happen had he not just written that one line. So.

Robbie: You’re so absolutely right.

Brad: I’m gonna challenge you, you guys. If you got time to write one line of your book, and in six months, you’ll be further along than you think. Right? And maybe you write a paragraph, right? Maybe you don’t write three lines a night, but just making that a practice and getting in there. Because I want you to write your book. I want to promote your book. I would be interested in reading your book. I love poker stories. So, there you go.

Robbie: Thank you. I think I really appreciate that. And now I’m dropping knowledge bombs, but that’s a real good one. Thank you. I really do mean that and I hope I left them

Brad: My pleasure man. And you know worse comes to worse. I’ll get in touch with Daniel Negreanu, and crack the whip, and he’ll make you do it. So final question. Where can the Chasing Poker Greatness audience find you on the inter webs.

Robbie: Sure. So the main place where I’m very publicly active is on Twitter it’s @cardplayerlife That’s just you know, I can directly engage with you guys. I have no problem giving out my email address. It’s Robbie, If there’s anything you’re interested in, in terms of stuff that I write, again on my website, I’m always you know, actively pushing out, you know, new content that way. I have a podcast it’s called the Top Pair Home Game Poker Podcast that’s syndicated on the poker news Podcast Network. You can listen to me there. Facebook, you know there aren’t that many Robbie Strazynski out there so, R-o-b-b-i-e S-t-r-a-z-y-n-s-k-i and always happy to make new friends and broaden my horizons. And hopefully once in a while it’ll certainly the World Series of Poker from there. Feel free to you know if you see me say hello, Phil Hellmuth style and anywhere else in the world you know. I’ve always announced on social media where it is that I’m going next. Whatever next tournament I’m covering so you know that’s basically it.

Brad: Sir, if I’m at WSOP next year, hope to meet up.

Robbie: Yes.

Brad: Have a beer or glass of water. I don’t really drink beer but

Robbie: Same here. Diet Coke man. Way to go.

Brad: Right? Water for me. I don’t drink diet coke either. But just or maybe a very berry hibiscus from Starbucks that works. Alright, man, I love the conversation. Can’t wait to share it and promote it with the world. Thank you for coming on. It was very, very much a pleasure.

Robbie: Well, it’s so enjoyable. I mean, there’s nothing more fun than talking about oneself, but much more fun when someone’s actually taking an interest. I really appreciate it and it’s really, really great, Brad. Thank you. Thanks so much.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Chasing Poker Greatness. If you haven’t yet subscribed to the show, please take a moment to do so on Apple podcast or wherever your favorite place to listen to podcasts may be. And once again I also wanted to let you know about PKC poker. If you’re on the lookout for a new platform where the games are safe and secure and the action is amazing, head to to get your code and jump into the games. You must have a code to play, as well as be 21 years of age or older. One final time that’s Thank you so much, and I’ll see you next time on Chasing Poker Greatness.

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