Elliot Roe: Hypnotherapist and Mindset Coach of Poker’s Elite
Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 016
Elliot Roe on social media:
My guest today is mental game expert and hypnotherapist Elliot Roe.
Elliot is the master of helping folks:
– Identify and extinguish their fears on the green felt
– Clear and focus their minds
– Remove their own mental roadblocks
– And achieve their goals … regardless of how audacious they may be.
Elliot has worked one on one with more than 200 individual poker players including:
Future Chasing Poker Greatness guest Fedor Holz – former #1 ranked player with more than $32 million in winnings
Former Chasing Poker Greatness guests Jonathan Little, Matt Berkey, and Jeff Gross.
2017 WSOP Main event champion Scott Blumstein
Super High Roller champion Brian Rast
Former #1 world-ranked player Alex Foxen
WSOP $50k high-roller winner Ben Heath
And the list goes on.
They all credit Elliot with helping them to manage tilt, remain calm and focused during some of their most stressful moments of their life, and create a healthy, sustainable mindset that allows them to continue to evolve and compete at the highest of high levels..
Elliot also produces two podcasts, one of which, The Mindset Advantage, was specifically created to help poker players improve their mental game.
He regularly publishes highly informative self-help and mental game articles on his own blog and, as if all of that wasn’t enough, he created the guided mindset enhancement app Primed Mind.
During our conversation, Elliot reveals some of his most successful techniques for conquering your fears, changing your thought processes, and even how to analyze your own mind to figure out where your worst mental-game issues are coming from.
While there isn’t much in the way of strategic x’s and o’s in this episode, I’m going to make a bold claim and say that Elliot’s wisdom on dealing with your emotions while playing poker is more valuable than any single piece of strategic poker advice you’ll ever receive.
As the greatest poker player of all time Chip Reese once said when asked about what separates him from the living legends he battled against on a daily basis:
“Some players have a better A game than me but the difference is their D game is a lot worse than their A game, whereas my A game and D game aren’t that different.”
Elliot’s genius lies in guiding folks to do just that … elevating their D game so that it looks very similar to their A game.
And now, without any further ado, here’s my conversation with Elliot Roe on “Chasing Poker Greatness”.
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Brad: Thank you so much for joining me here today on Chasing Poker Greatness. I’m your host, founder of enhanceyouredge.com, Brad Wilson. And today I’m going to be speaking with a man who has a client roster that has racked up more than $80 million in poker winnings. My guest today is mental game expert and hypnotherapist, Elliot Roe. Elliot is a master at helping folks identify and extinguish their fears on the green felt, clear and focus their minds, remove their own mental roadblocks, and achieve their goals regardless of how audacious they may be. Elliott has worked one on one with more than 200 individual poker players, including future chasing poker greatness guest, Fador Holz, former chasing poker greatness guest, Jonathan Little, Matt Berkey and Jeff Gross, 2017 World Series of Poker Champ, Scott Blumstein, Brian Rast, Alex Fox and John Van Fleet, the list goes on and on and on. They all credit Elliott with helping them to manage tilt, remain calm and focused during some of the most stressful moments in their life, and also to cultivate and create a healthy, sustainable mindset that allows them to continue to evolve and compete at the highest of high levels. Elliot also produces two podcasts, one of which, The Mindset Advantage, was specifically created to help poker players improve their mental game. He regularly publishes highly informative self-help and mental game articles on his own blog. And if all of that wasn’t enough, he also created the guided mindset enhancement app, Primed Mind. During our conversation, Eliot reveal some of the most successful techniques for conquering your fears, changing your thought processes, and even how to analyze your own mind to figure out where your worst mental game issues are coming from. While there isn’t much in the way of strategic X’s and O’s in this episode, I’m going to make a bold claim and say that Elliott’s wisdom on dealing with your emotions while playing poker is more valuable than any single piece of strategic advice you’ll ever receive. As the greatest poker player of all time, Chip Reese once said, when asked about what separated him from the other living legends he battled against on a daily basis, quote, some players have a better A game than me. But the difference is their D game is a lot worse than their A game. Whereas my A game and D game aren’t that different. Elliott’s genius lies in guiding folks to do just that, elevate their D game to it looks very similar to their A game. And now without any further ado, here’s my conversation with Elliott Roe on Chasing Poker Greatness.
Brad: Elliot, how are you doing my man?
Elliot: I’m good. Thanks for having me on.
Brad: It’s my pleasure. I’ve been looking forward to it for the last couple of weeks. And to start us off, I like to start at the beginning. Typically, I think that’s a pretty good place to start. Can you tell me the story of how’d you get into helping poker players improve their mindset?
Elliot: Well, the long story or the short story?
Brad: We got it, we got an hour and a half here. So, let’s go.
Elliot: Well, it all started with me having a fear of flying. So, I was working at the time in renewable energy, had a fear of flying. And I was recommended to see him, a therapist. And she managed to resolve my fear of flying in an hour. And it absolutely blew my mind. Because I was at a stage where it wouldn’t take long haul flight. So, sort of refused holidays and things like that. And suddenly, I didn’t have this issue any longer. And the way that that worked was she sort of got me into this very deep relaxed state and started talking about my fear of flying. And a memory from childhood came up of being around three years old. And being shown a picture of a small jet and being told it was sort of linked to my grandfather’s business and his business partners had died in it. And what had happened was, I’d sort of linked it into my mind that planes really dangerous. And this wasn’t a memory that I actually remembered at the time going into the session. Afterwards, I felt completely different about flying. I spoke to my mom and said, I have said, hey, this memory came up, is this real? And she said, yeah, of course that’s real. That happened. And I was like, oh, wow. So, something I couldn’t remember had come up in a session. And I didn’t have a fear of flying anymore. I then sort of decided I’d learn hypnotherapy thinking I’d help friends and family, did a course, and sort of started doing that. And then as I was working with friends and family, people would recommend people and it just started to build. So, I started becoming sort of successful with hypnotherapy, and decided that sort of looking for performance might be a good idea. And I started helping some golfers and one of my friends works in the poker industry. I’ve never played poker at that time. And she said, hey, if you’re helping golfers with stress, I think there’s poker players can really do that somehow. So, I put an advert on two plus two, and basically said, hey, I don’t know if this will work, but I’m willing to do it for free, who wants to try. And I started working with people for free, they started having good results, and I got good testimonials. And then I started charging. And then I got lucky and everyone want everything for if. I’m really from that point forward, you know, it just sort of grew and grew and grew. And, you know, I’ve managed to work now with some of the most successful poker players in the world and helped some of them on their journey to reaching that point, it’s just been a lot of fun.
Brad: So very surprising result from going from free, helping folks for free to, you know, being, being the mindset coach, too. And who are these poker players that are ultra-successful?
Elliot: So, I mean, Fedor Holtz is probably the most well-known.
Brad: Haven’t heard of him.
Elliot: And I helped with the main event. Brian Rast, Matt Berkey, John Van Fleet, Alex Fox, and I’m going to embarrass people by missing them out apologies, anyone.
Brad: It’s a who’s who, right?
Elliot: It’s up to I mean, you know, it’s been really, really good. It’s something ridiculous, I think, is over 100 million in cashes over the last five years now, which is obviously, a pretty huge amount of money to have your clients were in. And it’s not that many people. So, it’s been extraordinarily successful. And a lot of them have been kind enough to mention me when they’ve had their successes. And obviously, that’s increased the number of people reaching out to work with me as well.
Brad: And, to get, so reading your testimonials and just being a human being, we first think of like hypnotherapy, there’s this woo-woo aspect of it, that can turn people off. So, we only have 90 minutes. But I’d like to get into the mechanism, right? Like, how exactly does it work? As far as your specific example of uncovering this memory that happened when you were three years old? Like how does the process work? And then what helps people moving forward?
Elliot: Well, I guess I’ll start with that in explaining what hypnotherapy isn’t, is the stage show, or the thing is on TV that most people automatically link to when they think of hypnosis. So, they’ve seen their friends dancing on stage, or whatever it might be. That’s not what hypnotherapy is. That’s predominantly a stage performance, with some social pressure and really good audience selection. And that’s how they can do those shows. What I do is hypnotherapy. And this is sort of works on virtually every body. And what you’re looking to do is to make the subconscious mind more dominant than the conscious mind. So, let’s say we take an example of a fear. So, my fear of flying or an easy one, to describe it a fear of spiders. So, everyone that you know, you know, the spider isn’t dangerous. However, there are people who have a big fear of spiders, so they know it’s not logical, but they are very terrified. What we do is you get to a very relaxed meditative state, the subconscious becomes more dominant in the conscious mind. And you can track back those emotions to where they’re coming from. Because if your subconscious didn’t know why it was afraid, you wouldn’t be afraid. So, we bring up that say the emotion of you know, imagine seeing a spider. How do you feel? Oh, my heart’s racing, I feel tense, I feel a pressure in my chest. Okay, when else have you felt this way? 5,4,3,2,1 What’s the next memory and these memories will start to come up around that subject. And then eventually, and with fear spiders, almost always the same one, you end up with an initial sensitizing event, which is the mom or dad overreacting to seeing a spider when the child was kid. So evolutionarily, were designed to create fears from that sort of thing. So, you know, if we’re in the jungle, and it’s 50,000 years ago, and a tiger jumps out, a baby doesn’t know it’s dangerous, except for the mother’s reaction to the tiger. So next time a tiger jumps out if you’ve escaped, you’re going to have the similar reaction to the parent who’s overreacted. And with the hypnotherapy, all we’re looking to do is understand what the subconscious is using as its material to run your program. So, it’s a bit like, instead of trying to fix a computer through windows, you’re going to the actual code that’s running the computer, and you’re trying to make adjustments to that code. And that’s what I’m really looking to do in poker is, let’s say a poker example would be someone who really, a live cash player who struggles with getting three bet. So, someone gets overly aggressive or overly anxious, if a player keeps three betting them at the table, we’ll go into this state, we’ll get them very relaxed, start bringing up memories, they’ll nearly always bring up being bullied as a child, if that’s something that triggers them. So, we then resolve the bullying issues. So, we help them understand that they were safe, they got through it, etc., etc. And then as we’ve resolved the bullying issues, they go back to the table. And the three betting is something they can adjust to, rather than having an emotional response to it. Does that make sense as a breakdown of the concept?
Brad: Yeah, that makes tons of sense. And I guess, you know, emotions in poker. A lot of people will talk about studying and focus on the technical aspect of PO and Sims, and what are you doing said spotter, or, you know, whatever. And the emotional impact of poker, poker is an emotional game, and humans are driven by emotions. So that makes so much sense that dealing with aggression, and the way you react to it emotionally is tied into some sort of earlier experience. And I’ve never thought about things in that way.
Elliot: Yeah, and it really is in every part of poker. And I think this is why it generates such an edge for the players who have worked on their mindset. And this isn’t just with me, there are other mindset coaches as well who work on this sort of stuff. But the reason it generates such an edge, is because it doesn’t matter how much you study, if you’re not able to actually perform the lifts, the decisions in the way that you started them. So, you know, if you’re finishing your sessions, and you’re saying, well, I should have played it a different way. But I got emotional. So, I got over aggressive, more study can’t help that problem. Because you already know the answer, you already know what you’re supposed to do. So, you actually have to work on the mindset so that you’re able to actually apply what you know, effectively. And that become, I think it just becomes an enormous edge in a field where most people aren’t really working on their emotions effectively.
Brad: And going back to another thing that you said, as far as parents, like I’m a parent myself, and just the impact you can have on your children and their subconscious from an early age. That’s terrifying. Number one is, it’s pretty terrifying being a parent myself. But yeah, like, we’re all born with emotions, right. And this is something that I’ve, you know, read about and thought about, we’re born with emotions, but we don’t always know how to deal with our emotions, or how to manage them. It’s a learned skill, something that you can learn over time, right?
Elliot: You’re born with emotions, but you’re not really born with very many fears. Most fears are picked up. So, most anxieties are created at some point. So, you know, I think babies are feared of fear falling, and they fear loud noises, and pretty much everything else is a learned fear from somewhere in life. And those fears are usually what drives those emotions. Though if someone gets scared or anxious, that’s where the aggression can come from. Because they’re being defensive, if that’s how they’ve learned to cope with aggression in their early life, or other people shy away to aggression. So, you’re really just looking at what’s the program that’s kicking in? What’s the evolutionary, you know, how is my body trying to protect me in this situation. And although it’s not life and death at the poker table, it’s wonderful at amplifying any emotions, anyone has. So usually what I see is the person with confidence issues at the poker table has confidence issues in general life, the person who’s, goes on manic tilt and rages at the table also has road rage issues. You know, I believe you’re bringing your issues to the table. And poker just amplifies it, rather than poker actually creating the emotional problem.
Brad: Yeah, bubbles to the surface. And there’s a lot of pressure that goes on with playing, especially in a live setting. There’s social pressure, there’s just tons of pressure that it, like you said, amplifies the emotions. One thing that I’ve noticed as far as my students and talking to people is where, I would just imagine is a problem that you, you likely deal with it is seeing spots and not being able to pull the trigger, not getting out of, out of your comfort zone. Can you speak about that at all?
Elliot: Well, again, I think it comes down to people being willing to apply their technical knowledge.
Elliot: So, there’s going to be a fear of failure there of some kind, some kind of anxiety, where do they truly believe the maths or not, you know, they’re trying to take a level of control, which they don’t really have, that you hear about people trying to, you know, minimize their variance by playing in a different way. And often times, they’re just playing a low, at a low win rate. So, they’re not actually really reducing their variance.
Brad: No, they’re increasing their variance.
Elliot: Exactly. But it feels to them like they are, because they’re playing it safe. And really, that, you know, that’s the sort of thing when it comes to working through with the emotions. We’ll be, I’ll be talking to them about this, we then go into the therapy and sort of saying, okay, why can’t you pull the trigger, and you’ll probably find there are other parts of their life where they will see, you know, the girl they didn’t ask out, or whatever else where they hold themselves back in certain situations, usually because I mean, fear of success and fear of failure is just an enormous part of this. If you don’t try your best, it doesn’t feel like a full failure. Because you can always tell yourself, if I’d worked harder, if I’d done what I know I’m supposed to do, I would be wildly successful. So, holding yourself back in some way actually protects the ego, we’re law. The best examples of this in poker, I guess, would be choosing not to do the study, you know, you should be doing, or like you say, making plays that you say, well, I knew the right play, but I decided to do this. And, you know, it’s my own fault. We’re not working on your tail. And as we work through these things, they’ll often talk about being you know, clever at school, but then choosing not to study for exams. And they’re choosing not to study because they’re comfortable, they’ll get a B, just going into the exam. But if they study and they get a B, they’re going to be really hurting their ego, because they thought they were really clever. But if they got the excuse, well, if I studied, I would have gotten A, and it’s just this sort of cycle continuing into their professional life. And people see it in other things as well as poker.
Brad: I believe that for sure. And, you know, we all want to live up to our self-image that we have in our, in our own mind. And what I see like with, you know, I see a path, right? So, in poker, you have many decision points, you can go, you can bet 1/3 pot, you can bet 66% pot, you can check race river, like there are these decision points. And I know that in my career specifically, I’m always curious. And I’ve always been willing to take a more or less conventional path with my decision making. And sometimes I completely blow up and end up doing, like, finding myself in this ridiculous situation where I just get absolutely crushed. And I try to tell my students like, that’s okay, it’s okay to get crushed, right? But if you learn from that, and you say, okay, well, maybe this didn’t work out, like how can I tweak this, but if you never take the chance to explore another option to see, you never test an experiment, then you’re never really growing. And a lot of that is controlled by fear. Like you said, you’re afraid to fail, you’re afraid to look stupid, you’re afraid to feel stupid. And I believe that pretty much anybody in poker can be served well by removing those fears. So, you’re only one man, you’re only one human with 24 hours in the day, right? What are some things folks can do on their own, that are listening to this show to start the process of improving their mindset?
Elliot: Well, one of the sort of techniques I tell people to try it, if they’re not realistically going to be able to do sessions with me, is have a think about the issue that stands out to you at the table, write down a few of these issues. So, let’s say it’s Rachel. So, you get bad B, and you overreact and become very aggressive. And perhaps you become obnoxious at the table, some people do. Once you’ve written that down, then write down how that feels to you in your body. So, what does it feel like when you go into rage? And you know, typically, people say, hearts, my chest feels tight, I can feel my adrenalin go, whatever else it might be, then start to think about other times in your life who felt the same way as far back as possible. So, start building that narrative as to okay, how easily do I get triggered this way? And where could this be coming from? And, you know, typically, with rage till is usually injustice, you know, someone feels they’ve been treated unfairly. And the person can come up with memories of childhood where, you know, they, the teacher, said that they don’t know they had done something wrong when they hadn’t done it, and they got in trouble, whatever it might be. But these things are really serious to kids. As an adult looking back, it might not look serious, but as a child, you know, being found guilty as it were for something you haven’t done can be really emotionally difficult. So, start writing down those, those memories. And then the final stage of the process is start looking at those memories through your adult eyes and reframing them, rather than seeing them in the way you’ve been seeing them. So rather than Mrs. Jones was so unfair, I can’t believe that she thought I’d thrown the painting class or whatever it might be, start to see it as Mrs. Jones was a stressed out 40-year-old dealing with 30 kids. And she’s just lashed out in the classroom, and she’s just trying to get through her day. And as you start to see the realities of the situation, rather than seeing it as this, you know, the world is picking on me the way a seven year old child would see the situation, it starts to take some of the emotion out of this. And then, you know, if you do start to come up with a lot of these things, and you’re struggling to make change yourself, then definitely take that information and find a therapist that you want to speak to, and start working through this stuff. So, I think that’s important. Another thing that you can do, you know, everyone can meditate. I have the prime diet, primed mind, primed mind. I can’t speak today with quick show, worked on with Fedor, that’s got a lot of poker, poker specific meditations in there. And hypnotherapy. Or you can use as other apps, there’s calm, there’s headspace, just for, just for meditation. And I genuinely believe meditation can really help you control your emotions. If you’re not looking to take the therapy path, it is definitely should be your first stop if you’re struggling with mindset, it should be meditation.
Brad: It sounds, so that process, sounds familiar to the Work of Byron Katie, I think that was, it’s another sort of self-reflection, dealing with emotions and understanding the narratives that surround your life. Another process. And as far as letting these things go, when you get to the bottom of them, what happens if you get to the bottom of it, you let it go, and then you still struggle? What’s the next step there?
Elliot: It probably wasn’t the root cause.
Brad: So, you just find it, find it
Elliot: Didn’t find the right thing. So, so, what you’re looking for, there is always a reason why the subconscious is doing something illogical. So, it always thinks it’s helping you in some way. So, if you find the correct root cause and truly resolve the issue, so within a hypnotherapy session, typically these, these resolutions are actually quite emotional, most of my clients are crying during the sessions when we release those emotions and sort of work through it. And an over potentially benign stuff. So, things in childhood at school, which they would never think it would make them cry, going back to it and working through it. But there’s so much trapped emotion. And that’s why the subconscious is creating this irrational or illogical response. So, these are things that are very difficult to work through on your own to that sort of level. Most people hold themselves back from thinking about the very uncomfortable things that have happened to themselves. It’s just the way we are. We defend ourselves from the nasty feelings, the difficult situations. But it is possible. And as I say, certainly as a starting point, it’s a very good starting point. But most of the time, it makes sense for poker players, especially if you’re playing mid to high stakes, to find a professional to work with through these things. Because a small percentage change in the way that you can control your emotions at the table can create a dramatic difference in the results that you create.
Brad: And in your just life in general.
Brad: In all situations that where you’re dealing with some sort of rejection or failure, whether it be in business, relationships, whatever it is, there’s utility across the board, right?
Elliot: Yeah. And I mean, one of the things that you mentioned as well, being a parent, you know, obviously, I’ve picked up on this, I’m a parent as well, and we’re very cautious. And we’re still going to mess things up. And you know, still not be perfect parents. But if you know, you have large emotional issues, and you’re planning to have children relatively soon, I would say, working on your emotional issues so that you’re not lashing out perhaps in the same way your parents did. Or you can deal with the stress in a different way that is very, very useful as well, you know, that’s not poker specific. But really worth considering if you’re, because being a parent is, it’s a stressful situation, as you’re probably aware of right now
Brad: No, I just let them wander into traffic, and I just hope it works out so that you know, they won’t be afraid of cars for the rest of their life. Yeah, and as far as EV goes, I know that poker players like EV, and they like investment and they like return on their investment. So just from a sheer poker sense, I would imagine that the EV with going through these hypnotherapy sessions, you know, it’s got to be, got to be Plessy V for, for the most part, if you’re playing mid to high stakes at first started
Elliot: On stakes, I mean for myself, probably, you know, it’s going to be high stakes and nosebleeds that it makes sense. But there are as I say, there’s other people out there doing this.
Brad: Like, there’s just so many, so many benefits to a lot of therapy in the world, even things such as taking care of your body physically and getting massages and releasing stress and acupuncture. There’s just so much value. And I think the way that a lot of people look at it is this sort of like a luxury expense, right? It’s like a luxury to go through these things. But really, it’s an investment and very valuable in the long term.
Elliot: I think, especially if you’re in a game, so a sport, I mean, the people who I’m working with, as I say, professional poker players, traders on Wall Street, CEOs of companies, entrepreneurs, in a lot of these situations, the money’s very polarized. So, the people in the top 1, 2%, are making virtually all of the money. So, if we look at poker, I think according to Google, there are 100 million poker players, you know, who knows how serious that Google responses but there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of people playing poker. Most of the money is probably made by the top 30 players. If you look at forex trading, nearly everyone fails at forex trading. There’s a small percentage at the top who make all of the money. People who start their own businesses, most small businesses fail, there’s a small number of people who make all of the money. And you see these themes where, you know, it’s, it’s not shocking to me that a number of the people who’ve made a lot of the money over the last few years have been working on their mindset with me or someone else in poker. If you read Tim Ferris’s book, Tribe of Titans, but no, it’s not. I can’t think of the name.
Brad: Some Tools of Titans or
Elliot: Tools of the Titans? Yeah. I think he says 80% of the people he interviewed mentioned that they have a daily meditation practice. And nearly everyone I meet who’s highly successful, has a personal trainer and works out multiple times a week. These are people who’s their time is really, really valuable. And they’re investing their time and working on their mindset, meditation and working on their physical body. They’re doing that for a reason. Without it, it just makes sense to copy the most successful people in the world like that.
Brad: Yeah, why wouldn’t you?
Elliot: Think it’s completely rational to me, you know, and there are other people who, you know, they’re not quite reaching that level of success. And they’re like, well, I’m too busy to work out. I’m too busy to meditate. It’s like, well, this guy running a billion-dollar company can make time to exercise and meditate. I promise you, he’s got more going on than you have.
Brad: What’s this story of? Was it Gandhi? I think Gandhi had a lot of pools on his time. And his people are like, you know, he was meditating an hour a day, and they’re like, you can’t, you can’t you just have too many things to do. You’ve got too many meetings, too many people to talk to. He said, oh, well, if that’s the case, I need to meditate two hours a day now.
Brad: Because, you know, it’s, it’s the focus. And as far as meditation goes, you know, there’s a lot of information, a lot of data now, that shows just how impactful and beneficial it is to the brain. 20 years ago, when folks were doing it, there wasn’t this data that they could look to, but they did it, and they felt it. And like that is enough, just do it, you will feel the results, you will feel your awareness improving in certain situations where, you know, you’re just kind of flying by the seat of your pants, emotionally.
Elliot: I mean, it right now, it’s not really just beat one. You know, if you’re doing anything competitive, and you’re not choosing to do some kind of mindfulness exercise, you’re costing yourself money. Even if you’re doing well, more likely than not, you can be more successful if you do these things, because, as I say, there’s just so much evidence for that.
Brad: Right. And just happier. You know, I think, I think this is the success is great, the money is great. All these things are great, but just a happy life and a life of fulfillment. I mean, at the end of the day, I think that’s, that’s what everybody is looking for.
Elliot: Oh, completely. And you know, a lot of that is balancing the emotions. And you know, if you are more balanced and things aren’t triggering you and you’re not having these roller coaster days, where the highs are too high, and the lows are terribly low, and everyone around you is stressed because they don’t know how you’re going to be responding. If you can start to curb that. Life just becomes much more, much more tolerable for everyone and much more.
Brad: For sure.
Elliot: And I guess another thing sort of to be aware of is we’re talking about these very hot, big highs and low lows. The majority of the very successful people I’m working with now are now coming to me with extreme issues. So, what I’ve noticed is the people who are at the very top of the game, be in poker or in business, they’re looking to fine tune. So, they’re looking to go from you know, 95% of everything is good. So they want to get to 97, 98%, 99% and then just keep refining and refining and refining. And that’s something that stands out to me for those people who really are reaching those highest levels of performance. It’s this. They’re not in crisis when they reach out. They’re there, they’re already very successful, they’re already doing well. And they’re like, there’s something that’s slightly off. And I just think if I make this slight adjustment, then that might be a multiplier for me. And, you know, this is something we’ve heard a lot of people say, hey, I don’t want to talk to a therapist, because you know, things are okay. Right? Talk to a therapist, unless things are excellent. And I’m not talking about working with me necessarily. But if things are okay, why not work until they’re excellent. Don’t wait until you’re in a crisis. And you’re going to be using someone to get you from crisis to okay, you’re much better off going from okay, to good to excellent. And, you know, the crisis brings you down to good again, does that make sense? It’s sort of a process over.
Brad: For sure. I mean, I think that you can sort of see the value in these things, too, from a from a person that’s like, Oh, I’m in 95%. But there’s more I have more work to do, I still need to improve. And then there are other folks that are operating at like, 30%, they get smashed. And then all of a sudden, like you said, they’re in crisis mode with no real background, no foundation for working their way through that specific crisis. And at that point, I found that in life, if you’re not prepared for the crisis, when the crisis strikes, there’s no time for preparation at that point, you’re in it. And then you just have to live with the results.
Brad: What’s the most unexpected thing that’s come from doing business with folks in the poker world?
Elliot: I guess the behind the most unexpected thing was the fact that, you know, prior to doing this, I barely played poker. So, poker became a very dominant part of my business, until about two years ago, it was probably 80% of the work I did was specifically poker, and it’s quite interesting, moving into, you know, a subculture, which I knew very little to zero about. And then seeing that this process of resolving emotions, even with virtually no technical knowledge of the game could suddenly change people’s results, like these dramatic shifts in their win rates, and how many tournaments, they’re winning, and all of these things. And then, you know, sort of learning the game to some extent myself and playing for fun now. But that was probably the biggest surprise, is coming into something relatively green. And, and yeah, just being able to see these enormous changes once these emotions have been resolved. And I guess the other thing that stands out on the same sort of theme is almost every different subject that I move into. So, I’ve worked with UFC champions, I’ve worked with Olympians, I worked, like I say, the guys on Wall Street, people with their different businesses that they’re running, all of the problems are virtually identical. The sessions, a poker session versus a UFC session versus a trading session. It’s self-sabotage, it’s fear of failure. It’s confidence issues, it’s entitlement issues, nothing changes, everyone’s the same. It doesn’t, doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, it’s these things are just a human condition. And if you can help people resolve those issues, then their results improve, because it’s these issues, especially the fear of failure one, that typically are holding people back from being their best selves and reaching top of their industry.
Brad: Do you have a mental game coach yourself?
Brad: And what is what is your process for improving your, your mental game look like?
Elliot: So, in terms of, well, a lot of the things that you mentioned, actually, so in terms of my own, I’ve used hypnotherapist every other week for the last seven years. So, you know, I practice what I preach from that side. I have a second hypnotherapist I also use, who we trade out sessions if it’s like a peak performance issue. I use someone else. I also have weekly massages, I have a personal trainer four times a week. What else do I do? Like a form of Reiki that I go to once a month. I basically do a lot of different things in terms of trying to make sure my brain and my mind sets in the right place. And I see it as an evolution and a progression. I will be on this journey, journey forever. I will never reach a stage where I say I’m done. And there’s nothing left to do, because I just don’t believe that’s how things work. And obviously, things are going well, and I’m happy and family life scurried and such. But I just think you can always keep refining and refining and refining. And because I’ve seen that being the case with so many successful people, like I said earlier, I’m just, I’m just copying the people who I’ve seen the most successful. And I’m fortunate enough to spoke you know, I spoke to a lot of people who’ve done very, very well. And there are just these themes and I mean, I keep talking about mindset but they’re the general health and fitness is just such a theme for, for successful people that they, they take their health really seriously and that’s just something I felt, you know, I have to copy this. So, I use my trainer four times a week and I go twice a week myself. Oh, and then I do, there’s like a shop here that does stretching. Started doing that about a month ago, where you just do twice a week you do like just stretching exercises. So yeah, I do, I do a lot in terms of maintenance with myself as well. I just think it’s important.
Brad: It is good that you know, you, you walk the walk, right, you walk the walk and talk to talking. Yeah, you don’t you don’t have a choice. But I mean, what’s, have you tried something that didn’t work out for you, that you stopped doing?
Elliot: The only thing that I was sort of hopeful for, so I test random things as well. There’s something called neurofeedback, which gets quite a lot of good press. For me personally, I went to neurofeedback, I didn’t feel it were very beneficial. And I actually, I rarely ever get migraines. And I had a migraine after a couple of the sessions. And that was something where I’d had some clients who were trying it and they were getting good results. But for me personally actually stimulated headaches. And for me, that was something I didn’t want to continue.
Brad: And again, this sort of process of testing things, seeing how they work. And then if it is obviously providing greater benefit, than just keep doing it. I mean, for people that are afraid of meditation, just try it for a week, just try it five minutes a day, and see how you feel afterwards. You know, that’s, that’s the best way to learn is through experience, experiential learning is the best.
Elliot: And with meditation, one, the big criticism that often comes up with meditation is someone says, I can’t meditate, because I can’t stop thinking. It’s actually the sort of the best sort of meditation is yearly meditation. So, you’re looking to let go of your thoughts. And every time you do that within a meditation, so the thought comes, and then you managed to let it go. That’s like doing a rep in the gym. So, as you become really well practiced, there will be less thoughts, but to some extent, that’s actually less reps, you’re actually doing less reps than the beginner who a thought comes after let it go, a thought comes they have to get back to their breathing thought comes. So, the beginner who thinks they’re bad at meditation is probably getting the best change.
Brad: Yeah, they’re getting the most value.
Elliot: Exactly. So, so those people out there think, Oh, I can’t meditate, you’re probably actually having an enormous value gain. Just five minutes of doing that, bringing yourself back to your breath, back to your breath back, to your breath. It’s a lot of reps a beginner can do. Whereas someone who’s done a lot of practice, they might only get a couple of reps in that five minutes.
Brad: And if you think of focus and awareness as a thing that can be improved just like your body, you go to the gym, you lift weights, you lift more weights, you lift more weights, you get stronger over time, like you said, it’s just reps, you recognize the thought and you just let it go. And eventually your awareness grows and grows and grows. And this spills over to, again, poker and many, many areas in life. Okay, so when you think about joy, in your career, helping poker players, what’s the first memory that comes to mind?
Elliot: There, there have been so many, I guess the first best ones. I mean, the, the Scott winning the main event, was a really fun moment. That was something you know, I was hopeful for, that I would have in my career at some point is having a client win the main event. And that really felt like putting a stamp on things. Obviously, there’s huge variance in the main event. But that was a really fun moment.
Brad: How’d you feel watching him watching at the final table play?
Elliot: Yeah, I mean, it was exciting. You know, there’s a lot of adrenaline, those moments, there was a lot of fun. And then seeing the people come up who weren’t successful poker players who I saw rise really through the ranks. I mean, I think sort of the Fedor story was a ton of fun. He had been successful in line, he hadn’t won anything live before we started working. And then we saw this huge ascension and it was a ton of fun to be part of that journey.
Brad: Yeah, let’s get a Fedor on here. I don’t I don’t know his, his full story.
Elliot: And then, and then the same sort of work with Alex Fox and I, I saw the same, literally the same process happening with the second client and to have it happen in multiple clients almost, you know, when sort of from Fedor being number one in the world, then I think someone else came in and then sort of Alex took over. Doing that twice in a row was an amazing experience. And I’ve, I’ve run well as well, you know, I’m aware that there’s, there’s luck involved, but it has been incredible watching so many people reach sort of the top of the game.
Brad: And I find there’s this interesting correlation between just the type of people that would seek you out in the first place, are likely going to be more successful because they, they’re the type of people that are going to seek you out, right. It’s like people that read baby books, like, are they better parents because of the book itself, or because they’re the type of person that lies the book in the first place, right.
Elliot: And I do really think that that’s something about this result as well. There is something to be said that someone who’s looking to work on their mindset, and we’ll seek out a hypnotherapist to work on their mindset, they’re probably doing everything to be the best they can be, you know, they just are. So, you know, this, the sort of the results I’ve seen, there’s some percentage of it, that the people who are willing to do everything to be the best are the ones who are going to be the best. And, you know, that’s, that’s again, just reality. It’s just copying those at the top. And, you know, now there are more people coming up. And one of the things they’re copying is people working on their mindset in some sense.
Brad: Which is a good thing.
Brad: Especially for you and your business. It’s a good thing for people just in general, and poker players, specifically, because there’s a lot of stress, a lot of pain that goes on in a poker players career. Which leads me to the sort of opposite question, when you think of pain in your career helping poker players, what’s the first memory that comes to mind?
Elliot: I mean, this is actually outside of poker, if that’s okay.
Brad: Yeah, yeah. Just go for it.
Elliot: I’m just going to go for any career. There’s definitely, early on, I worked with quite a few people in fighting in the UFC, a few boxes, people like that. And seeing, you know, people don’t always win. And seeing the realities of people getting injured in fights, they’re not really getting paid enough money to justify the injuries that they’re picking up. And now I’ll actively say, you know, I’ve had fighters reach out and I’m so I’m not really interested in working with new clients in their industry now, just because, yeah, from a moral perspective, like just watching it and seeing how they’re being treated by the companies and things, it’s just uncomfortable for me. So, it was a lot of fun. I worked with some people, had some enormous success, but the sort of the dark side of those sorts of sports is actually really quite dark. And as I say, the money doesn’t really justify what’s happening to people. And that’s definitely from my point of view, that’s when I think of the most painful part, it was seeing people who are like people who are working really hard. Yeah, to have some quite nice, you know, not terrible injuries, but enough, that is not nice. And then not being paid enough or treated well enough by the companies involved in it. So that’s really just the first thing that comes up when you, when I think of discomfort around the industry.
Brad: And when it comes to mental anguish, that has to be such a brutal, brutal profession to deal with mentally. I, we talked about, I think in the pre-interview, about I love seeing the process from you know, Point A to Point B and you know, somebody doesn’t end up, somebody does, you start at the final table, there’s a journey there. There’s a narrative, their stories, of how they got there. And I’ve thought about this so many times, watching professional fighters, that they get in the octagon, where the cage, and they get knocked out in 46 seconds. And they’ve trained for six to eight weeks for this fight. And then they just get destroyed. And what mentally like that has to be just super, super hard to deal with and get over. And especially if they have like a wind bonus, right? They’re incentivized to win.
Elliot: Almost all of them. They, you know, you get half the money if you lose, the most hard-earned money, you’re probably injured. You know, it’s, it’s unbelievably tough. Those sports
Brad: You have, have to be at the top there. You have no choice.
Elliot: Yeah. And that’s one where you really yeah, you do have to be number one in the world to make semi decent money or this good money now. But you know, 10 years ago, it wasn’t even if you were the top. It wasn’t even great money, really. And yeah, it’s just the reality of it. And there is a need for people to be working with on their mindsets in most sports. But as I say, from a personal perspective, it’s something I no longer will, I’ll help clients with work within the past. But I’m not looking for more clients. It’s not something I’m looking to encourage any longer.
Brad: Yeah, there’s a real need to pay these guys more money.
Elliot: Oh, yeah.
Brad: And give them more opportunity because they are the brand they are. They are everything. They’re the lifeblood of all of these operations.
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 to yourself, 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 for my family, which makes it imperative that I either test out or seek qualified opinions on all the poker platforms on the market. One juicy fine can mean the difference between a meh year and an amazing family vacation and why kind of year. With that said I have tried almost all of 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 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 on earth was going on, right? 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 to be on a level playing field to return to my crushing ways. I have no doubt that you, my community, my audience is going to play online 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 for me. I love you, 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 enhanceyouredge.com/pkcpot and get your invite code to play. You must have an invite code to play and you must be 21 years of age or older. One more time, that’s enhanceyouredge.com/pkcpot to get your invite codes. Best of luck, and now on with the show.
Brad: What’s something you feel that folks who are chasing their poker dreams don’t spend enough time thinking about?
Elliot: I guess probably what they aren’t, what the dream is? So, what’s the reason for it? So, what’s their why? What’s their personal? Like?
Brad: How do they go about finding that why? If they don’t know?
Elliot: I think ready to stop breaking down. You know, what do you want out of life? What do you want your life to look like? You know, there are there are guys who I’ll talk to them, you know, what’s your dream? Well, you know, I want to get, I want to play the highest stake tournament. Okay, what do you want your life like? And they’ll say, oh, well, I also want to have a family life.
Brad: Yeah, good luck.
Elliot: Yeah. The problem is that they haven’t necessarily always thought it through that the reality is, if you want to be on the circuit, you’re going to be traveling the world. And it’s not easy to bring a baby and a wife around the world. There are some people who do it, but it’s a lot more difficult. So, it’s just things like that, you know, I’d really think about what’s your true personal poker vision. So, what do you want your life to look like? And then try and fulfill your personal poker vision. Rather than necessarily know a grand vision of, I need to be playing in the high rollers that there are just things that go with that. That means it’s not suitable for everyone in the lifestyle that they want. And its different things are suitable for different ages as well. So, you might want to be traveling the world and doing 100 flights a year when you’re 22. But when you’re 35, it can be a lot less attractive to be tonight flying around doing.
Brad: I’m 35. And that doesn’t seem very attractive to me at the moment, flying around the world. And I, again, in something we spoke about in the pre-interview, my friend, Adam Creek, the Olympic gold medalist, I asked him, how do folks pursued this goal of like being an Olympian, being at the top of their game while also balancing being a parent? And his answer was very simple. You don’t, you just don’t make it work. It’s one or the other. You can’t reach the top of your profession without dedicating everything you have to that profession. I guess you could be a crappy partner, you could be a crappy parent and still pursue that thing. But you’re not going to be ,you’re not going to be the best in the world exceptional at both at the same time.
Elliot: Yeah, it’s very difficult. Yeah. And not everyone wants to hear that stuff. There’s, this I’ve heard it said before that typically, champions have to be selfish, you know, and I think this is why we see when people reach the top of their sports. It’s not rare for people to retire and look to do something else and rebalance their life. Because the other thing to be aware of is it doesn’t necessarily the sort of the success, the getting the X amount of money or becoming a world champion doesn’t necessarily lead to a happy life. And you know, that’s something, I’ve interviewed Fedor on there, obviously, it’s known that he retired after his very significant success 2015, 2016. And he spoke a lot in that interview about, you know, this idea of, it wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t a suddenly everything’s better, and everything’s great. And he’s now much more into community and helping people in new projects and things. And there’s a lot more satisfaction in that. So,
Brad: There’s, there’s fulfillment.
Brad: And, again, going back to the Olympic analogy, there’s tons of cases of Olympians who get their gold medal. And then it’s like, now what, like, what do I do now? Like it, you know, you get the fulfillment, you get the joy of it happening, and then afterwards, you don’t have a plan. And what do I do now? Like, I win the WSOP main event, and I’m still unhappy. Like, there’s, there’s this existential crisis of like, oh, my God, I’m at the top of the ladder, and I’m still unhappy, like, what do I do with my life. Another thing that I see all the time is playing higher stakes cash games, poker players, a lot of time, times want to be businessmen, and businessmen want to be poker players like that. It always cracks me up when I see like a 70-year-old businessman who’s made millions, millions, and he’s spending his time playing poker. And all these poker players are spending their time playing poker, dreaming of starting a business. And I just see that as lack of fulfillment in self, they’re, they’re chasing something. They’re chasing that fulfillment, without realizing that it’s not, it’s not going to be the thing that, that gives them this joy, and that the success.
Elliot: No, I mean, it doesn’t, it won’t solve any problems it makes for a better life.
Elliot: It’s better to be a successful poker player, than the struggling, you know, well, the two options is much better, you’re at the higher end, right?
Brad: Yeah. For sure. But it’s better to be a fulfilled poker player too.
Elliot: But that’s the thing. I think it’s that fulfillment, just in any part of life, the sort of accepting the external things won’t really make you happy. It’s all about the internal, you know, if you can be happy with yourself, whether you’re struggling or whether you’re exceptionally successful. It’s, it’s that sort of self-love, and being able to tolerate yourself, you know, how do you feel when you’re alone for the day, you know, and if you’re desperate to talk to people, because you don’t like your own company, you know, you should be doing a lot of meditation and you should be talking to someone, you should be working on this stuff. And putting 100% focus into becoming the best in the world and trying to make a set amount of money. Because you think it’s going to fix this way you feel about yourself that won’t fix that. You know, it’s this other effort of like you say, trying to find fulfilment, trying to work on yourself creating the self-love. That’s where you see the people who are most comfortable in their own skin and generally the happiest.
Brad: And creating emotional goals too, what is this money for? What am I working for? Is it to take care of my family? Is it to give back to society? Is it help people? What’s the goal, the purpose of this money, these bracelets? This career in general, is probably something people don’t, don’t think about as much as they should. And what do you think people spend too much time thinking about who are chasing their poker dreams?
Elliot: Other people’s results. Just 100%. Like the amount of people who are worried about how well their friends are doing, or how well some reg is doing in the games? Or the Twitter drama that goes on? You know, well, there’s a lot of malice in the poker community, the wasted energy of the toilet, you know, I think in those sorts of things, especially the jealousy stuff.
Brad: Why do you think that happens? Why do you think they’re, they get so jealous?
Elliot: Well, obviously, a lot of the stuff is like I’ve discussed the entitlement from childhood. It’s a game where you can work incredibly hard, and then not be rewarded. And you can see someone else who hasn’t worked very hard to be rewarded. The thing that players often don’t notice is yes, there might be a fish on a heater who’s doing really well. But 97% of terrible players are making no money at all, and you’re noticing the person who’s an outlier. And I think that’s the situation where you noticed the outliers in poker, and you don’t see the failures. And I think that creates a lot of this, you know, hey, but I’m working so hard. They’re not working so hard. They’re being rewarded. But you know, you’re missing, you’re not seeing all the people who’ve just lost all the money that they aren’t this week at the poker table, because the majority of poker players are losing poker players. That’s how the economy works.
Brad: And stories don’t really get written about the guy that busts in 800 and 92nd place.
Elliot: Exactly. Yeah, no one reads that story. And you know, it doesn’t.
Brad: It’s probably not, probably not a super compelling story. What’s it? What’s it like an actionable thing that folks can do if maybe they are jealous, maybe they are getting involved in the toxicity of social media that you would suggest to help that right away.
Elliot: Maybe you just ask yourself why? Like, why are you spending time on Twitter criticizing people going through forums writing negative posts? You know, if you’re, if you’re doing the negative stuff, really, really think to yourself, why am I doing this? Why? Why am I putting negativity out there? What does this mean about me that I have to say something mean to try and make myself feel better? So that would be the first thing just sort of really question yourself. And then if you’re struggling to stop, I would probably say, give yourself a bit of a break from social media or forums, depending on where you’re doing it, and just decide, hey, I’m not going to use it anymore. And see how you feel after two weeks. And you know, what does your poker game look like? If you’ve been studying instead of spending two hours a day on Twitter? But what changes do you actually see over the year because it’s unlikely there’s very much on social media that’s genuinely going to improve your game or improve your life. You know, from the amounts of comments and things, I, I think there are a lot of people who are spending a lot of burning a lot of hours and a lot of energy on things that just aren’t creating any positivity or gain for anybody.
Brad: A 100%. And again, it’s developing an awareness, just the awareness to ask yourself why, I think can be a very difficult thing, a very difficult question for people to ask themselves. Which, you know, goes back to a lot of the stuff that we’ve already talked about. What some common poker advice you hear, that you completely disagree with?
Elliot: I guess. I mean, it’s, I almost don’t consider it advice it’s so bad. I guess the first one is the sort of the playing through and taking, the playing the crazy hours and not taking any breaks. So, there are some players who you know, will encourage friends or try themselves, they just, you know, try and play 12 hours a day, every day, seven days a week. And I just see this burnout cycle, which is it’s guaranteed to happen. I rarely, I don’t see anyone not burnout when they do it. And they have a really good month financially, they work crazy hours. And they’re like I’ve made X amount of money, and it’s a huge month. So, they try and do it for a second month. And somewhere between the second and the third month of not taking any breaks and working crazy hours. They implode. Because they’re living for poker, and they’ve got nothing else in their life is even more devastating because they connect themselves to their results. So, then it’s like multiplied, and then they spiral down even further. And then usually they have to either move down in stakes, or they have to go and take a vacation for six weeks. And then they come back to the game again, and they repeat the same cycle. And that’s the one that I’ve seen. I’ve seen it repeated a lot. Another one. It was popular more when people were trying to do the supernova elite run, but there’s something called polyphasic sleep. And this is when you try and reduce your sleeping hours. And there were people trying to reduce their sleeping hours down to two hours a day. And I’ve yet to see anyone be successful. And yet to have anyone not have their win rate impacted dramatically, trying to cut their sleep down to a few hours a day. So again, sometimes they see some, some payoff early on, as it reduces sleeping hours. And then as we see it over the month, it just devastates them. So that was another one where yeah, if you think hey, it’s a good idea to try and sleep for two hours a day. I mean, I’ve just seen, devastate people are.
Brad: The Uber man, the Uber man. And
Elliot: That’s the one yeah, that’s, that’s the two hours. Yeah. Yeah. So, so they’re really the main ones is this idea that, you know, it’s working smarter is a lot better than working harder. And it’s quite similar to work with athletes as well, where athletes want to train every day, typically. But, you know, part of my job when I’m working with athletes is teaching them that that’s that day off a week is actually still a working day, that recovery day is the day when you heal, and when you improve. And in poker, it’s exactly the same thing. And, you know, players have to accept that.
Brad: So beneficial to sleep well at night, get enough sleep so that your brain can function because the brain is kind of an important tool. And when played poker, right. And something I talked about this second, I remembered to who but basically the brain about these 12-hour sessions, the brain is an energy hog. Number one, it’s 3% of our body mass, and consumes 25% of our energy. So, think about how much energy you’re consuming, playing 12 hours a day, every single day. It’s no wonder that eventually your brain is, your brain and your body are like, okay, I’m not dealing with this stress anymore.
Elliot: Well, and I think the key part of that is when someone’s trying to do that, everything else falls apart. So, they’re not doing their meditation, they’re probably not exercising.
Brad: The things they need to do.
Elliot: And again, most of the time they’re ordering pizza in, instead of having a decent nutrition. So, all other foundations that will allow someone to be successful, all drop away, because they’re desperately trying to almost take a shortcut, a time shortcut to reach the top. And every now and again, it works out for someone. And it gets widely publicized. And you know, this is how they did it, I worked super hard, this happened. But again, you just don’t see the 95% of people who, you know, tried to cut their sleep down. And it just devastated their bankroll, because people don’t talk about that. That’s not the exciting post to put on the forum. Or as with, and, you know, so when it, when it devastates people, you’ll never hear about it. But when it works out, it gets publicized, it’s a bit like when people take huge shots with their bankroll, you hear about the guys who get lucky. And that’s how they made it to the next stage of their career. You don’t hear about the majority who that huge shot actually changed the quality of their life. And, you know, they, again, they’re not as public when things don’t go well. So, there’s bias in the information that we receive.
Brad: For sure. And not a lot of folks that want to be vulnerable, especially in a public forum. Nobody wants to admit failure, publicly on two plus two, they’re just going to sort of go into a hole and not talk to anybody. And it’s very important. A very important thing that you said to is the foundation that gets us to this point, right? I think there’s this thing that can happen to us as human beings like, oh, I’m meditating, I’m working out, I’m kicking ass, my body is in great shape. Now, I’m going to play cards 12 hours a day, and then you start going, and then you’re like, well, you know, I’m already in good shape, I don’t need to go to the gym, I’m feeling good mentally, I don’t need to meditate. And you get away from the things that get you to that point in the first place. And then all of a sudden, you just can’t handle it, and you struggle, and you start falling apart. So yeah, there’s a lot of, a lot of pitfalls in the mental and emotional aspects of this game. That, that the audience and myself loves so much.
Elliot: I think is what makes it attractive. You know
Brad: It falls.
Elliot: Yeah. That the stress the, the emotions, the fact that it does trigger people, that there is that so and that component of luck, that means it’s a viable economy. So, if there was no you know, people say, oh, I wish there was no luck in poker, I got paid for my skill. Best chess, going to play chess, see how much money you can make?
Brad: Yeah, best of luck. Good luck there buddy.
Elliot: That’s truth of it. You know, there’s a few people a tiny number of people who make money, and there’s not money anywhere else, you know, there aren’t, you know, places you can go where there’s 100 people playing chess for $10,000 on the table. And you know, there’s weak chess players playing but poker, you’ll get people sitting down, and because of the luck factor that’s involved, there’s an opportunity to make money and have a career for it. But that’s the thing that people complain about, you know, players complain about the fact is unfair, but it’s the unfairness that actually makes, makes it possible to do have a living.
Brad: Yeah, it’s the it’s the thing that makes the game. It is the one aspect of the game that makes it a profession that has built up a market around it is, you know, the moneymaker effect, right? Like he wasn’t a pro. He got involved. He was an amateur who ran pretty good. And the main event took it down. And then that’s the story that people buy into is that, oh, I’m an amateur, I could play in the WSOP, the main. I could win a satellite I could.
Elliot: I could beat those guys.
Brad: I could beat those guys. Right. That’s, that’s the element that draws people in. And, yeah, sometimes variants is the son of a bitch that punches you in the face and it sucks and it doesn’t feel good. And it’s easy to get negative and feel angry. But there would be no feeling at all. Without that variance. There would be no feeling at all. Without that luck.
Elliot: You’d be working a job.
Elliot: Yes. But every time you play about there being parents in poker, remember, if there wasn’t, you’d be working some other job, you’d be doing something completely different.
Brad: Yes. If there wasn’t luck, then you know, Phil, Hellmuth would have all the money and nobody would even want to play. If you could give to all poker players a book, what book would that be? And why?
Elliot: Oh, easy. Of learning. Fishways King.
Brad: So basically, I took the question from Tim Ferriss, and then you’re giving me a Tim Ferriss guy, right back in my face.
Elliot: Oh, man, like that book for poker, I think is the best non-poker book. It’s the best poker book and it’s not about poker.
Brad: I’ve read it three times, I think.
Elliot: Oh, there we go. Okay, so I’m preaching to the converted here.
Elliot: Yeah, I mean, I just think there’s so much in there about preparing yourself mentally for competition, the subtle edges that you can find in, in anything in the way that you learn and the way that you perform that can give you the edge over the field. And I mean, the fact that he took the lessons that he learned from chess, and then applied them to martial arts to become a world champion in a second, seemingly disconnected subject. I just think it’s such powerful lessons for poker players that that’s a book, I would just say, right away. If you haven’t read it, give it a read, start doing some of the meditation exercises, if you’re not already meditating the relatively simple the ones from that book. Yeah, I just think, for me, that’s the go to answer or for what book poker players should read. I think it will have if, if you’re not really working on your mindset, it will have a significant impact on the way that you view the game and your competitiveness. And I mean, what are your thoughts on it, Brad, if you’ve read it a few, three times? And
Brad: So, number one, my, the thought that was going through my brain just now is I need to read it again. But basically, it just, I love the mental aspect of it, and how to, how to deal with problems, how there’s a story in the book that I remember, because stories stick with, I think, human brains more than, more than other things. And it was about this woman walking down a sidewalk in New York City, and she has her headphones on, and a cyclist bumps into her. And it annoys her. Right? It pisses her off, because the cyclists bumped into her. And so, her initial reaction is to turn and yell something or battle with the cyclists. And in the meantime, she, she accidentally goes in the road and gets hit by a car. Right? And this like reaction, this reactivity that we experience in life, this this feeling that like, you know, it’s like you play poker, and you lose half your stack. And then now all of a sudden, mentally, you’ve lost half your stack, how do I get that back? How do I get back to where I just was? You’re not where you just where you are, where you are right now. And it’s a different situation. And now, you know, you have to let that go mentally, and just move forward. You know, like if the woman on the sidewalk example, didn’t react in the way that she did and sort of had awareness of what was going on, then that could have been avoided, right. And it’s just such a story that stuck with me, as I go about and do just things in my daily life, play cards, have awareness, don’t overreact in these types of situations. Because sometimes if you overreact and lose your mind and do something ridiculous, you can metaphorically get hit by a car.
Elliot: I think the example you use there with losing half your stack is perfect for this. You know, poker tournament’s, how many players in a poker tournament are at some point, the chip leader, like it is a lot. Normally, you know, some of those chip lead from the beginning to the end.
Brad: Very rare.
Elliot: All of those guys think they should have won the tournament. Most of them when they lose half their stack, because it’s going to happen. That’s going to go up and down throughout the tournament, desperately chase to try and get their Chipley back. And the people who are successful like you say, they go, oh, my new, I’ve got this number of big blinds instead, what do I do in this situation? It’s a new puzzle for me to solve. The difference between someone who sees a puzzle and moves to the next hand, it’s just a number of big lines, versus the person who’s become attached to being the chip leader. It’s a dramatic edge. And you know, I think that is a wonderful example you.
Brad: Appreciate that. Appreciate that. I don’t know where it came from. I’m going to give the gratitude to the art of learning and helping me buy the book. It is a really great book, and I do need to read it again. What’s something that the folks listening would be surprised to learn that you’re horrible at? What are we bad at Elliot?
Elliot: I’m just thinking what they’d be surprised on that. That’s pretty wonderful by surprise. I’ve worked in the poker industry. If you see me at a poker table in Las Vegas, sit down.
Brad: Get that Fador Holtz money.
Elliot: Yeah. Like, yeah, sit down if you see me, so I guess probably that would be the biggest surprise in terms of things that I’m terrible at. Currently, what else? I’m dyslexic. So, you know, my, my written English is sometimes a bit of a struggle. So, so that’s probably another one. I enjoy reading. It doesn’t impact that. But, but yeah, they’re, they’re probably the main, main surprise ones, I guess. But certainly, yeah. If you see me at a poker table in Vegas,
Brad: Get on the list.
Elliot: I’m there for fun. Yeah.
Brad: Just take a take a picture of Elliot and give it to the floor guys. Make sure that when he walks in the room, get your name on that list straight away.
Elliot: I’m going to get tilted. But I also probably won’t win.
Brad: Exactly. He’ll be a great sport. Yeah, he’ll lose. It’s like the perfect person. If you could erect a billboard that every poker player had to drive past, what would it say?
Elliot: We’d say you are the casino.
Brad: And why is that?
Elliot: Because every time you go and play, you’ve got a choice, you can either be the casino, or you can be the gambler. So, you’re either sitting there, and you’re playing the game the way that you know, is correct. And you’re sort of placing your bets correctly, and you’re staying emotionless, or you’re there for fun, and you’re the gambler, and you’re hoping to get lucky. And if you start to see it, that you know, you’re just running blackjack, and you’re not allowed to hit on a team, in the same way that if you’re not, your poker strategy, you’re there, you’re going to follow your strategy. And if you stopped following your strategy, because of emotional reasons, you’re no longer the casino, you’re the gambler. And I think that’s a mindset that when I’ve seen players adopt that mindset, that, you know, there’s a big difference between looking at the long term as a casino, and seeing that you’re looking to make your money over the year, or the gambler who’s looking to make their money in that hand or that session, it’s a dramatic edge that you can take. So, it would be that message, if you’re the casino, you make your money over the long term, it doesn’t matter what happens today, your only job is to play each hand the way that you know you’re supposed to. I think that would be useful for poker players to be aware of before they sat down.
Brad: For sure, just the mindset of you know, not fearing the loss or feeling like lesser of a person, if you have a losing session, which can affect volume. And the amount of time that you play, just keeping in mind, you have the edge or the casino. So, get in there, go battle, the casino doesn’t close after they have a losing day and go mope in a room in a corner.
Elliot: And they also don’t start hitting on a team to try and get their money.
Brad: That’s true. They don’t they don’t do that either. What’s a project you’re working on? I got three more questions here.
Elliot: Project I’m working on.
Brad: Yeah, a project, you’re working on this near and dear to your heart. And it doesn’t have to be business, it could be a charity, whatever.
Elliot: Well, I mean, the biggest, the next major project I’m going to be doing, I’m doing more sort of generic work now. So, helping people with their lifestyles, helping people in business. And I’ll be releasing video courses around those sorts of subjects. So just general confidence, improving your lifestyle, reaching top performance, peak performance, but not necessarily poker specific. So that’s really the next big project that I’ll be doing and people were seeing for me over the next year or so will be a move in that direction, scalable.
Brad: So, you are scaling.
Elliot: Yeah, its scaling. As I say, most of poker has dropped a lot in terms of the amount of work I’m doing now. I’ve released a video course with run at once last year, I wanted to have something out there where if I was no longer in the poker industry, I was still able to help people with what I’ve learned over the last, you know, nine or 10 years.
Brad: It’s very generous.
Elliot: A lot. You know, it’s obviously it’s business as well. But it’s I wanted to have something out there. I’ve done that project. And now I want to make a similar, similar product, but sort of more general. I’d like to stay, you know, with poker to some extent, but I’ve got to be realistic is not going to be as much in the future with me working more with businessmen. And so yeah, that’s, that’s the current project that’s on in the background.
Brad: Well, you did too well, your guys took all the money from poker. That’s, do you have a URL for this project? Do you have a price point?
Elliot: Yeah, I mean, I’ve got so I’ve got a podcast, The A-Game Advantage podcast, you can look it up on iTunes and such. And then there’s also elliottroe.com is my sort of general coaching site, or I’ve got pokermindcoach.com, which is poker specific. So, it really depends. I’m guessing the audience here is probably poker specific. So, the pokermindcoach.com.
Brad: And my mom.
Elliot: She made an elegant road on call.
Brad: And whenever you do launch, you get your URL, and you have all the things reach out to me, let me know. And I’ll be happy to add it to the show notes. I’ll be happy to promote it on all of my channels.
Elliot: Oh, appreciate it.
Brad: Let’s fast forward. And we may have discovered this, but let’s, let’s fast forward 15 years into the future. What are your accomplishments going to be?
Elliot: I mean, I’m going to laugh. But certainly, the first thing is I just want to abroad my children are well, now we have twin goals like that’s number one. So, of being a good parent over those because there’ll be 20 then and I guess I’ve probably got some idea of judging.
Brad: I got some data there some feedback.
Elliot: Yeah, we’ll find out how my philosophies actually work out. Past that point in business. I love helping people. I know I’m in the right job. Because genuinely, if I won the lottery tomorrow, I’ll be doing it for free. So, I just, I know I’m in the right career from that point of view. So, whatever’s happened in my career, I’ll still be working with people so long as I’m capable of working with people that will just continue. I’d like to have a couple of books out and just sort of spread this message of, we’re running programs, like all that’s happening, every stress you have, every fear, every, all of those things, is just a learn program that you’re running. And these are adjustable, you’re not just an angry person, you’re someone who learned to be angry, you’re not an anxious person, you’re someone who’s learned to be anxious. And sort of spreading that message over the next, you know, decade or so, is something that I want to be a part of, and there are other people spreading this message as well. And I just want to be part of that movement, of trying to help improve people’s lives. I mean, if people are out there, I do have an app, Primed Mind, lots of the stuff in this free, I think there’s like 40 sessions in it for free, download it, and try it and see if it has an impact on you. Because as I say, I’m looking to sort of spread that message. In terms of success wise, I don’t know what will happen business wise, you know, things are going well, at the moment, it’s fun, you know, had lots of adventures with people winning different stuff in different sports and poker, and, you know, so that sort of things, it would be nice to see continued success from my clients in that way. But I think the main thing is sort of spreading this message of helping people understand, you’re not stuck where you are. Don’t pretend you’re stuck where you are, if you haven’t seeked help for. And some of these more interesting things like hypnotherapy is a little bit off the wall. Still, I think it’s going to be more mainstream by that point in 15 years. But if you haven’t tried these things, you know it, it can be not particularly expensive. Go and try it. You know, as I say, obviously, I’m more money now. But that was just because I was getting so many people asking to work with me that it was just impossible to continue. So
Brad: Supply and demand.
Elliot: Supply and demand. Yeah, so you’ve got X amount of hours a week, you can work. And I found that, you know, this works well for me, and it means my clients who are playing with, you know, half a million dollars on the table weekly. You know, they get to have sessions when they want to have sessions. But there are plenty of good hypnotherapists out there. There are plenty of good therapists, counselors, people doing see CBT, EMDR is another one. If you’re feeling like you’re in a stuck place, reach out and try these things before you say it’s just how you are. So that’s really the next 15 years and sort of message that I’d like to share.
Brad: And I can’t think of any, any worthy things, any worthier things to pursue. I think that’s amazing. And I’m not going to laugh at your daughters. I have daughters myself. So, I do know that you being you and your daughters ending up basket cases, completely insane. Be good for business.
Elliot: I’d have bigger concerns that might
Brad: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, it would not be good personally, it would not be good professionally. It just would not be good all around. But yeah, our children, they’re, they’re obviously the future of the world. And they have our genes and so we root for them. And we want
Elliot: You just want to feel you did a good job, you know.
Brad: Yeah, of course. You want their happiness and success way more than you want your own. It’s a, it’s a higher goal. It’s an emotional goal, that it’s very easy. And yeah, I think it’s you know, it’s ultra-worthy. It’s one of my goals, too, that my kids turn out okay, that they, they get out of their adolescence and into adulthood strong and confident and way more way stronger, way more confident than I ever was. And just live a way better life than I’ve lived. I think that as a parent, yhat just seems like a no brainer to me. Yeah.
Elliot: Yeah. And it was the same is top of my list. Michelle.
Brad: You’re the man. So final question. Where can the chasing poker greatest audience find you on the worldwide web? And I know we’ve probably set them all at this point. But let’s put them all together.
Elliot: Put them all together. So, I think Twitter is, elliotroe1, @ elliotroe1. Instagram is elliotroe. And then elliotrow.com, pokermindcoach.com. The app is called Primed Mind. And the podcast, I’ve got a poker podcast called The Mindset Advantage Podcast. I think there’s about 110 episodes of that one now. And then there’s a more just general performance one. called The A-Game advantage podcast, and that’s more sort of athletes, business people, the author poker player, but if it’s poker specific audience mindsetadvantage.com, there’s a load of episodes of that.
Brad: Awesome, man. And all of this will be in the show notes for those listening right now. Just such a pleasure and honor having you on here my man. In the next 18 months, whenever that project gets up in the air, please come back on, have another talk and we can talk about that project. And all those details.
Elliot: We appreciate 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 podcasts or wherever your favorite place listen to podcasts might 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 enhanceyouredge.com/PKCpod 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 enhanceyouredge.com/PKCpod. Thank you so much and I’ll see you next time on Chasing Poker Greatness.
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