Jaime Staples: OG Poker Streamer and PartyPoker Pro

Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 069

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Jaime Staples on social media:

Today’s guest on CPG is one of the most popular Twitch streamers in the world and PartyPoker sponsored pro Jaime Staples.

As of this episode’s release, Jaime has cashed for over $1.5 million in combined online & live poker tournaments with no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Today’s conversation with Jaime is gonna travel to some uncomfortable territory as we have a frank discussion about invisible suffering hiding in plain sight all around us. Unfortunately, this is an area where your humble podcast host has infinitely more questions than answers, but that doesn’t mean it’s a topic unworthy of dragging into the light.

It does beg some uncomfortable questions, though:

If you catch Poker Greatness, what can you DO with it that helps alleviate the suffering of your fellow man?

And what do you do if you realize that there are some problems much too big for any one person to tackle alone?

Perhaps this conversation will set up a future Philosophical Friday discussion with Duncan on moving beyond a zero-sum game into the realm of * gasp*… non-zero sum games or win-wins.

If this intro feels like you’re getting set up for something heavy, don’t worry too much… we’re also gonna spend an ample amount of time diving into the wide world of everything poker.

And if you happened to miss my earlier episode with Jaime or a very early episode with his brother Matt… I’d highly suggest checking out those Greatness Bomb dripping conversations as soon as you’re done listening to this one.

Now, without any further Ado, I bring to you one of the most thoughtful and noble poker ambassadors in the world… Jaime Staples.

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

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If this is your first time on the Chasing Poker Greatness website, be sure to check out our groundbreaking poker courses to help sharpen your strategy and profitably implement solid, data-proven solutions to your game today:

Transcription of Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 069: Jaime Staples

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Brad: Welcome. Welcome. Welcome my friend. As always, this is Coach Brad Wilson, the founder of chasingpokergreatness.com. And today’s guest on the Chasing Poker Greatness podcast is one of the pioneers and most recognizable faces in the world of twitch poker streaming, Jaime Staples. Jaime and his younger brother Matt, who’s a former chasing poker greatness guest himself or party poker sponsored pros. And I want to say a couple of things straight away. I had never met or interacted with Jaime in any way before he and I had this conversation. And it became painfully obvious to me as our conversation went on as to why he has such a massive following. The man is as authentic and as genuine as it gets. He’s a man who cares about having a positive impact on the folks he crosses paths with, and wants to leave poker in a much better place and he found it. In my opinion, these are the folks we ought to be championing and supporting as much as humanly possible if we truly want poker to survive and thrive far into the future. In today’s episode, you’re going to learn why you are destined for failure if money is your sole driving force to improve at this game, how younger brother Matt really began working at Poker Staples Worldwide, how a big public failure involving a prop bet with Bill Perkins has caused Jaime to examine the root causes of unhealthy lifestyle decisions, and much, much more. So, without any further ado, I bring to you a man after my own heart, who won me over as a fan for life through a single interaction, Jaime Staples.

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

Jaime: Thank you very much for having me on Brad. I’m doing well.

Brad: Very good. Very good. Hanging out in Canada. Playing on the party poker, right?

Jaime: I am, I’m actually in Edinburgh right now. I’m from Canada. But I’m in Edinburgh, Scotland during the lockdown situation. So yeah.

Brad: Is this your permanent residence in Edinburgh?

Jaime: Just temporary. My fiancé’s from the north in England. And she’s got to do like a surgery on her ear. So, we’re waiting to get the surgery done and was like ready to go before we can start traveling again and stuff and then COVID happened, so now we’re kind of, we’re here until I can get rescheduled. So, probably for the next six, eight months I guess.

Brad: Is she okay? She’s doing okay without surgery?

Jaime: She’s fine. Yeah. She’s not, it’s not an urgent thing. She’s always had hearing issues. So just some, some surgery to help that basically.

Brad: Yeah, you better be careful if she can hear better might impact your relationship in negative ways.

Jaime: Yeah, that could be a problem. She was with someone completely different. And now, now we’ve got problems Yeah, yeah.

Brad: She’s like, who are, I don’t like you. I can hear what you’re saying now. And yeah, I just don’t like it that much. So, I want to ask you first, tell me the story of how you got into playing cards. How’d you get into poker in the very beginning.

Jaime: So, I was 18. For going back to the start. I wanted to be Tiger Woods. But I was coming to the realization I wasn’t going to be Tiger Woods. I didn’t have the natural ability, the work ethic or the resources to make it happen.

Brad: Trifecta of

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: Not going to make it.

Jaime: Exactly. So, I was kind of just like, not sure what my life was about. Just graduated school, partying a lot and I found poker because my friends would play on Zynga, and they would compete on the Zynga leaderboards, and I was like fifth on the leaderboard. And my brother Matt had more chips than me. And I was like, well, this isn’t going to fly, right? Like I am an 18-year-old kid, I think I’m the best. I was mad

Brad: How old was Matt the time?

Jaime: Matt was maybe like, I don’t know, 13 or something. 12, 13. I think everyone was playing play chip poker back in the day. So yeah, I started like learning and trying to just figure out what the deal was with this game, I made me over my way over to real money sites to play free roles. Eventually, I made some deposits. Three $100 deposits in the beginning. And yeah, just kind of fell in love with it, man. Like, the thing that made me so angry about golf was that I seemingly wasn’t going to be able to accomplish my dreams, no matter how much I wanted to. I just didn’t have the capacity. And poker was so amazing, because I was like, wow, I can pre-compete with my brain, right? Like, I don’t need to be six foot three and extremely strong and hit the ball 330 yards and have wealth behind me. I can just start by playing $1 tournaments and, and try and be smarter than my opponents. And that’s all it takes. So that was really appealing. The idea of being able to make something of myself and, and seeing guys like, you know, people on Poker after dark, right? Or the big game, PokerStars big game, I think was happening at that time as well.

Brad: What year is this?

Jaime: This is 2009.

Brad: 2009. Okay.

Jaime: Yeah, but 10 years ago, and, and then that was kind of it man. Like I just started playing and those three $100 deposits, the last one stuck, and it kind of built from there.

Brad: Did you ever go to school? Were you, what was your life situation? What it would look like when you got you know, fully immersed in the poker world?

Jaime: It was kind of a slow sliding scale into poker, I would say. Like, I thought I was a pro way before I was actually a pro. You know what I mean? Because I was living at home and like, you know, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do. So, I kind of just fell into, this is the only way I make money. Now. I don’t have a job, but like I seem to keep making money at this. So yeah, that was my start. And I remember actually quitting my job at the golf course with I think about $2500 to my name, just living at home with my parents, 19 years old. I was like, okay, well, I’m a poker pro, told all my friends like, hey, I play poker for a living now. It’s no big deal. Like you can, you know, you want any tips. Like I was that guy.

Brad: I can hook you up. I know, I know it all.

Jaime: Exactly. Exactly. I was that guy. And pretty soon, like three or four months after, I’d have like 10 bucks’ lefts, 12 bucks, something like that after my, my third deposit, and actually spun it up from there. I remember, I remember playing two cent, five cent cash game with my $12. And I was watching Schindler’s List of all movies while I played poker.

Brad: Uplifting.

Jaime: So, this is a very, it’s a dire situation, right? I’m watching a tragic movie. I’m down to $12. And I had such a feeling of failure. And I was crying. So the only time I’ve cried from poker, but I was crying. And it wasn’t completely from Schindler’s List. It was Schindler’s List. And my own failure as a poker player is the combination is really sad moment. And it turned around from there, I don’t know, I just managed to, out of, I don’t know, I, the stubbornness of not wanting to fail publicly in front of my friends, in front of my family. I just started really kind of working hard and working at it the right way by learning. And I managed to sort of scrape by, from that $12 to actually having a bankroll again.

Brad: And probably beneficial to hit that emotional stumbling block of almost going broke, you know, the Dunning Kruger effect is full on where you’re very new to a thing and you dramatically overestimate your ability to be successful at a venture that, you know, I’ve been a professional poker player now for 16 years, and I still learn every session. I’m still growing. And that’s reality, right? Like in the beginning, you think you know everything, and then you get smacked down. And then you realize, okay, well, maybe I need to examine what I think I know. And then try to grow from there. After you almost went broke, what did it look like? Like, were you just playing the two cent, five cent cash games? And when did you start streaming? Like at what point is streaming enter the equation.

Jaime: So, streaming was four or five years later.

Brad: Okay.

Jaime: And I did end up actually going to school. As I had this sort of poker thing going on the side, like my bankroll would fluctuate between 4k and 12k. I’d play live cash games and play tournaments and like its kind of there. I lived at home, I didn’t have any responsibilities, I didn’t have any rent to pay. Like it was easy enough to survive and kind of just like figure this thing out.

Brad: Sure.

Jaime: So, but when I, when I was at that like very small bankroll, like sub 100, I signed up to training site with a credit card, and I was smoking at the time. So, I had cigarette addiction at 50 bucks in the bank account, half a tank of gas, but I use my credit card to sign up for a training site, right, $30 a month free trial, and I started watching videos like three hours of videos a day, and then I’d play the rest of the day. Just sitting at home, kind of like a loser. But I actually built that

Brad: What were you thinking? What were you thinking while you’re watching these videos?

Jaime: I can’t, I can’t fail. Like, I don’t want to be the guy that studies as a poker pro and wasn’t a poker

Brad: Resolved your

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: One of your, your, you wanted your real life to mesh you know your self-image and everything that you said.

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: You wanted that to be the person instead of feeling like a failure. Cool.

Jaime: Absolutely.

Brad: It’s a good driving force.

Jaime: Yeah, man. I mean, I don’t know if this is a common thing but it feels like it might be at 18 years old. You know, you lose your life passion as I from 12 to 18, golf was all I wanted to be and do. That’s all I thought about. So, when it’s gone, you’re just kind of like flailing around through life like what uh, what am I supposed to do right?

Brad: Super common. Yeah.

Jaime: Yeah. So, so that was kind of the situation like and I actually played 20 cent, 40 cent, eight game and like built the 12 up to like 40 and then sort of mixing in some like sit and goes at the hundred and then 300 and then things like $200 score and $2 tournaments and then it started to grow from there really. I don’t know. And I don’t think it was ever under like three or 4k once I hit it from, from that point on.

Brad: And as you’re watching it, like did you continue watching the videos? Did your process for self-improvement stay the same? Did you backslide? What did it look like after you had started to gain ground and footing?

Jaime: So, I’d like to say that I, I learned how much I didn’t know but I don’t think I was mature enough yet as a person or in my learning process to really take that on. I think I legitimately got a lot better at the game. But I think my, my mental game and my knowledge of where I actually was in the world of poker was not there yet. I was just too young, not developed enough. So, I’d watched these videos and I picked up the strategy but there was a whole missing part in terms of bankroll managements, work ethic, and like I just thought I was better than everyone when I clearly wasn’t. you know, it is very irrational.

Brad: Yeah, that’s pretty standard for beginning poker players. I thought I was better than everybody else too. That’s like, just, because I was better than most people back when I started playing in 2004 just by nature of folding preflop like that was, it a very easy way to get an edge. Or was it like cutting, bleeding edge poker player. So yeah, so what happened? Why’d you start streaming? Like when did that enter the equation and you’re like yeah, I’m going to give the streaming thing a shot.

Jaime: So, kind of fast forward four years of playing small tournaments online like fifty dollars

Brad: You dropped out of college?

Jaime: I was, I was in college university at the at the time. Yeah. So, I was playing like 11 to 55 selling action for one nines and two fifteens. Playing 1-2 live cash games and making decent money you know. But I knew I wanted to give poker a real shot. I didn’t want to kind of just float by the small to mid-stakes, make enough money to live my life but not build anything from it. So, I decided I wanted to drop out of school and really give it a shot. And when I did that, I also wanted to participate in the industry as a whole. Like to me if I’m going to dedicate my whole life to this project over the next you know, couple decades if this is what I am as a person, I want it to be bigger than just what can I achieve with my poker results. I want to grow the game and help it improve and make it a better place if I can.

Brad: Why did, why did you have this aspiration? Because I think it’s, you know, it’s really amazing and awesome to be able to have this 50,000 foot view of what you want to accomplish in the world of poker. Why were you so dedicated to helping the community?

Jaime: Well, I would say that some of it is selfless and like making an impact on a lot of people is something that drives me. I don’t know where psychologically that comes from. You know,

Brad: I’m saying that

Jaime: Is, is the fear of, of it all. I don’t know

Brad: Yet.

Jaime: And then some of it is selfish, you know. Some of it’s just purely, you know, death of a salesman like you want to be liked. You want what you do to be

Brad: Validation.

Jaime: Back to it. Yeah. So, I think it’s a combination of both those things that drove me to have that as a target and a goal. And to be frank, like when I first got into poker, the driving force wasn’t like, can I have $2 million? It’s like, can I be those guys on TV? Can I be those, those people? And to be those people, it’s not $2 million. It’s to live a lifestyle. So that I understood was also achieved through collaborating with the industry and trying to grow the game. So

Brad: Yeah. That, that is a greatness bomb, too, by the way, because all the things you’re saying are in alignment with all the things I know about goal setting, and achievement. You need emotional goals, you need a strong why and money is just not enough. It’s not, money will not pick you up when you are completely crushed. Money will not motivate you to get out of bed. And you know, do a six to eight-hour stream or a six to eight-hour grind. Whatever it is, it needs to be deeper than that it needs to be personal. And when it becomes personal, that’s when you have that fuel that is necessary to embark on a career in poker that is a, an unforgiving and ruthless game at times.

Jaime: Absolutely. Well, and you hit on a point that I think is really, really important for our game over the next decade, which is money is not enough. It perhaps was enough, right? It maybe it was enough for poker to be what it has been for the last, I mean, I don’t know 100 years, but really in the boom the last 15 years that we’ve had it. But if all that we’re striving to achieve is a dollar amount to the bank accounts. Well, that becomes more and more difficult every day. People are good at poker, right? And it’s hard to make good money, it’s still out there. The dream is there. But there needs to be a bigger why than just, this is your route to get rich, because that will continue to diminish. We need to figure it out. We need, we need tournaments that have prestige and are important and we need cash game leagues and communities that carry significance with our community if we want our game to thrive.

Brad: I agree.

Jaime: In 2030 and 2040.

Brad: I agree. It’s one of my, one of the things I’m most passionate about is, you know, how do we improve the experience of poker? How do we get out of this wild west fiasco that we have to experience as poker players and bring poker into the mainstream and make it a fun, enjoyable experience, right? Like in what other sport or competition do the competitors pay to enter a tournament, get paid back with their own money? All the sponsorship, all the content that’s created off the players back they see not a penny of that in revenue. Like why is this our fate when bowling championships have massive sponsors and compete for free to win a prize that is prestigious? It’s really crazy to me that the poker world, nothing like this has popped up and I guess Black Friday kind of stunted all of the momentum in the US market which stunted the global market and advertising and innovation you know, there, without extra money to throw around, it’s hard to innovate in the in the poker world. So, I think that’s a massive deterrent. But I’m with you like, actually, I’ll ask you this question, question like what’s your poker utopia? What does it look like in a world where Jaime Staples reality of poker is what everyone experiences?

Jaime: So, I think the goal of making money and being a professional on poker from winning in the games needs to continue to exist. Companies are doing everything they can to take it away, to maximize short term profits are so short sighted in their approach. It really needs to continue to thrive because without that dream, it’s really a shell of the game. But I think if you ask most poker professionals what they want, they want lower rake, they want larger guarantees, and these to me are iterations on a faster horse. And I think we need to create an additional target for, for poker players to play for. And there’s two choices in my mind. There is the chess route, which is, emphasizes the strategical game theory intellectual pursuit. And then there is the esports and gaming side, which is emphasize the gamification and the, the enjoyment aspects. And, and we can develop both right? Both can exist. But to me, there’s no one in the industry that is taking the approach of the gamification and eSports type approach that poker needs. So, an example I would say is, you know, you open up any phone app you have, any game on your phone, right. And if you go through the tutorial process and stuff like that, there’s all these things that you work towards as a player of this game that has no strategy, you just click buttons. And that’s all you do.

Brad: Right.

Jaime: You earn achievements. Every five minutes you were in them every day, you earned them over a week, and over a month. You have friends, leaderboards you can compete with, you join groups, like poker doesn’t have any of this. When it comes to online poker, and live poker as well, doesn’t have any of this either. There is no aspect of let’s make the game more fun, right, by bringing it into the modern era. To me, I think it’s really important that online and live, we work on those sorts of things, and protect what poker already is, which is the ability to compete against other people and thrive.

Brad: Yeah, I can’t emphasize enough like, my, when I get fired up, when poker sites are anti Pro, this is what fires me up because so much of the game, like you said is aspirational. It is having a dream that I can compete in a game with against other people, and outthink them and generate money over the long term. And so many sites stance on that is basically, you know, fuck the pros, right? And that, to me is it’s so counterproductive. And it’s so silly, and like, keep the dream alive, maybe we have to change some things that make it a better experience, more fun like you said the gamification aspect of it, maybe a mental sport like chess, but like, it’s just such a beautiful game. It’s such a shame to me that it’s being diminished by the powers that be and it feels like there is a better route. I just, I would love to work towards that route in any way that I possibly can over the next 10 years. It’s just having the opportunity to do so.

Jaime: I think it’s, it’s pokers position in a really difficult spot because to the consumer, it’s positioned right beside blackjack and roulette, right? So, it, it is in a casino. And that has some upsides, but it has a lot of downsides socially to the broader world in terms of how they think about it. That doesn’t do us any favors. And we both know how different it is than all those games right? It’s, it’s much closer to, I don’t know investing in the stock market than it is to blackjack. But, but the average person off the street would never think that. And then from a from a gaming side of things is positioned beside like chess, and backgammon. Like it isn’t taken seriously, in the world of gaming as like this is something really fun to do. It’s thought of something different. So, it is hard because we’re in the wrong spots in terms of perception to both groups. You’re absolutely right when it comes to aspiration, and I think it’s just a symptom of so much middle management that can make a change, adjust a number, a revenue number, increase it and that’s the justification. It’s just like, well, listen, I’ve increased revenue for two years, like I’ve made our company a bunch of money, and that’s my job, you know, as a publicly traded company, but unless you’re a poker player, to your soul that understands what this is and how it’s, it’s a lifestyle of thoughts that will never die, you probably can’t understand the justification of like no. Or go that short-term profit and, and this bottom line revenue boost, and instead, stay the course to allow this game to thrive. Especially when you see a decline over the last five years.

Brad: That’s a tough decision for a manager to make, I get that. I mean, befriend the pros too. Bring pros on to collaborate on how to improve the experience. Because the pros understand these things inherently. Like here’s the thing that I don’t really think I’ve ever seen it done, but you know HUDs increase the skill gap from the racks and the pros so a lot of sites fan HUDs. However, when I log on to like a first-person shooter game, like Halo, right and you have a HUD, you have all these numbers that you have to make sense of, what’s the first thing you do? You go through a tutorial that shows you exactly how it works. And you figure it out like oh, this is not that hard after you go through the tutorial. And like why do poker sites not have a built in HUD with just a tutorial that shows everybody how it works. This is like number one, okay, you close the skill gap some because now, people who are not professionals understand the HUD, they see it. And you know, the sad reality is like if a HUD is banned on a site, the pros are going to figure out how to use it without getting caught. This is just going to happen. So instead of, I guess, you know, training, this is another thing. Poker sites don’t offer training typically to help make their players better. If you offer training to the recreational players for free, from say players who are beating the specific platform that they’re playing on, this decreases the skill gap, which by the way, is the platform’s end goal is to decrease the skill gap in any way that they possibly can. So, like this is just super low hanging fruit that I just don’t see executed. Aside from like, you know, back in the day, there was full tilt, and you could buy frequent player points for card runners on full tilt,

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: And everybody had a subscription to card runners, which is like, the exact thing, it’s just we’ve gone so far away from that to the point where it’s like, yeah, we don’t want the pros opinion. We don’t want you on this site. And we’re going to do things our way. And the Pro is going to find a way in. It doesn’t matter what you do. Look at the Jungleman thing. You try to shut the pros out. And, so that you can have all the whales and the fish to yourself, they will find a way in or the whale will find a way for the Jungleman to come in. It’s not like a super leap in logic that like yeah,

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: These games, I’m getting crushed every day. And I feel like shit. So, I’m going to hit Jungleman up on Instagram, give him a sweet deal to play as me on this private club. Like, it’s not exactly a leap, how these things happen. So yeah, it’s just, there are a lot of things that, that need changing. It’s just really hard because the players, as a community don’t always band together. And think kind of short term.

Jaime: Yeah. There’s a few things that you touch on. So, I started with Party Poker, May of last year, so it’s been just over a year now. And there’s a few things that we’re trying to do that address those. I mean, the make, the players better thing I agree with you. The, and our solution is my game, so like analyzes a new players skill. And if they’re like, continuation betting, like 10%, it’s like, hey, you should do this more like 60% like this is, you got a D minus, like, you need to bet a lot more here. Or, you know, if they’re limping 50% hands like you can’t do that. So, it helps them sort of give standard approach to poker, I guess, like not an actual GTO. But you understand what I’m saying? Like a base level of strategy. I agree with you. It’s super important. The, the onboarding, that’s the app thing again, dude. I literally, I just sent this message a week ago before a podcast. I’m like, why don’t we have a tutorial? Why is it assumed that every poker player that downloads party poker, understands how poker works, because they don’t, you know. There’s, there’s thousands of new players coming from twitch every year, that have no idea how poker works. And when they download party poker, they’re just expected to understand what spins are and what cash games are, and what tournaments are and what to do. It’s like, of course, they don’t. In an app, it would say, step one, this is what this is, and this is what you do. And step two, and like try this out. So, I agree, man, we just, were behind the times. It’s been too easy for too long, to make money. And now we actually have to make a good game or a new gamer to pledge it or learn. Yep, absolutely.

Brad: And at the end of the day, though, going back to that to it, like you said, you know, poker is a meritocracy, as well. So, like, if you are better than the people you play against, in a meritocracy, you get the resources, right. And that’s, that’s not something that should be condemned. It’s something that should be celebrated. It’s how it is in almost any other venture. And poker is just such a beautiful example of a meritocracy in action. And with private games, private apps, sites that say fuck the pros, what they’re really saying is, you know, fuck the meritocracy. And we don’t want the money to leave the site. We don’t want to take you know, like PokerStars, it’s like 7% of people make withdrawals. Let’s reduce that to 4% or 3%. And just make it to where the site makes all the money and screw everybody else. Like that’s actually one of the major reasons why party’s gotten a lot of traction in the last few years, right, from stars, because stars sold became more of a corporate entity that’s only worried about the bottom line, and discontinued supernova elite and stuff like that.

Jaime: Yeah, man. I mean it’s I was with stars for a long time. I was with them for four years, right, and, and I enjoyed a lot of the people I worked with. But I think what you say is, is fair, which is like the heart of what PokerStars used to be, right? “We are poker” used to be a tagline they used. Like, it’s just so tragic to look back on that right? Because it is, your right, it seems like all the decisions are ones that are going to increase revenue and like a small way, right? Like, you know, we’re going to pay a slightly higher percentage of the field, or we’re going to increase rate by 1%. These easily measurable and provable things that are going to benefit the business. But there’s no heart in, you know, and that’s kind of sad. But

Brad: Yeah.

Jaime: It’s so good that we have party poker, stepping up to the plate and growing a lot. Even other sites like GG Poker is doing well. You know, in a poker ACR, whenever, whatever site it is out there, trying to provide some competition for PokerStars is such a good thing. And that’s something I think we can all agree on. Even the people inside PokerStars I used to work with said, we love competition. Like bring on the competition, because it’s going to make us better at our job. Everyone wants to compete.

Brad: For sure. And the cream rises to the top. And I think that’s better for the players at the end of the day. The more competition that there is, you know, Full Tilt poker was played with the pros, that was the tagline. That’s why

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: People played on Full Tilt poker to play with the pros. Without the pros, there was no Full Tilt poker.

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: Unfortunately. So bad should happen to poker that kind of left a lot of people with bad taste in their mouth about playing with the pros. However, I think conceptually speaking, like, let’s create superstars of poker, let’s promote them well, and they become ambassadors of the game and grow the game. And that’s just good business overall for everyone.

Jaime: Yep. I agree.

Brad: So, we went off on a tangent. Something that we’re, I’m sure, the listener right now can tell that we’re both very passionate about the same thing and the future of this game. So, streaming, I think that’s where we left off in your story. Tell me about getting started with streaming.

Jaime: Yeah. So anyways, this, this is what happened. So, I wanted to participate in the industry. And that’s what we cut off from right?

Brad: Right. Yep.

Jaime: So, I dropped out of school. And it’s like October. I made it like two weeks into the school year. That’s kind of to decide, pokers a thing. And, you know, if anyone wants to stream poker, like try it out. And it was like, oh, wow, I know what Twitch is. My brother watches Twitch, like this video game thing. I should do that, you know. And so, I put it around for a week like procrastinated, tried to figure out how it went, downloaded the program to stream. And I was playing on a Mac at a time. And I realized, like, I couldn’t delay because I was playing on a Mac. It was only a Windows feature. And so, I messaged the guy. And I was like, hey, you know, I’d love to stream but I can’t because I’m on a Mac and I can’t delay it. He’s like, okay, well I’ll partner you. So, you can stream on delay, because Twitch is trying to grow this industry. Like he didn’t know who I was. It’s just someone that showed interest. So, he partnered me and I had a sub button from like my first stream basically. It was just there’s someone out there with like 70 viewers, the top stream at the time. Jason Somerville had been streaming for two or three weeks, but like once a night four hour shows. I think it was on, he in Nevada at the time. So, I get on and I just started streaming and first stream had like 25 viewers, my second stream had like 40, my third stream got to a hundred late on a Sunday. I was like, oh, wow. And, and by the next week, I went to see my friends. I think I streamed like nine out of ten days or something. I went to see my friends. I said I’m going to get signed as a poker pro. You know, I’m playing this five-cent, ten-cent home game. He’s like, shut up, like, no, you’re not. I’m like, dude, I’m telling you. I’m going to be a star’s pro, right. He’s like, okay, the cocky Jaime’s coming out. But I just, I realized that this moment, like, this is a spotlight for poker in the general gaming world, and this is your opportunity to like, accomplish what you actually found exciting about poker, and become that person within poker. Like this is it. This is the dream situation. Just like grind your face off. And I did, man. I streamed like six days a week for the first seven months, like eight hours, nine hours a day. And then stars hit me up in February and asked if I wanted to join team online. And I announced like early April, and that was, once I had their backing and like some support from them and some revenue, I was able to really do some things to grow my brand, like invest in video editors and, you know, just grow my profile and it went from there, man.

Brad: All the things that people don’t necessarily think about when they think about streaming and content creation, or just all the behind the scenes, annoyances that we all have to go through when we don’t have enough money, generating revenue to pay somebody else to do it. Well, guess what? You get to learn how to edit videos and stuff like that.

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: So pretty awesome that you notice the opportunity that was in front of you. You’re one of the first early adopters to stream poker on Twitch. For somebody out there that’s considering starting to stream today, in this market, what would you, what advice would you have for them?

Jaime: So, it’s a very different environment now, five and a half years later, after we started this. There’s a lot of people streaming. There’s a lot of communities, so it’s not going to be as easy as just being there consistently. And you’re going to make it.

Brad: Yeah.

Jaime: Like, like it was for me. So, I think there’s all sorts of different aspects that people find interesting. And it doesn’t even have to be you’re great at the game, that helps. People love to watch people that are great at the game. But that’s not everything. You could be funny, right? You could, you could stream in times where there’s less competition. You could stream things that are different. You want to figure out a way to create something that makes people choose you over me, or over Lex or over some of my colleagues and party poker team online, like my brother, Matt, or Jeff. So why would they watch you over us? And that’s, you really got to figure out how to answer that question. And if you can come up with something that’s different, like, I’m going to do a bankroll challenge from 100 to 10,000. And I’m going to do it streaming Omaha cash games. And I’m going to give it all to charity at the end. Well, that’s an interesting story, right? Like that’s, no one’s doing that. You’ve got something unique there. And it’s going to resonate with people. Or I’m going to, I’m going to sing a song every break in between tournament’s like this sort of things differentiate you. If you just show up, and you can construct a good range on the turn. It’s like, well, yeah, get in line, right.

Brad: Right. Exactly.

Jaime: So, you need to figure that out.

Brad: You need an angle, need an angle that you’re willing to pursue, that you think will resonate with potential audience. So, your team PokerStars Pro that lasted for about four years. When did your brother enter the equation? When did you move to Party Poker and what brought that on?

Jaime: So, my brother Matt was, I think in a year of university, or is his first year after a school or something, and he needed a job. And I was streaming, you know, 45 or 50 hours a week. And I’m trying to respond to every Twitter message, and every email, and every Facebook and stuff. So, I just like couldn’t keep up on like, Matt helped me. Like do some of these things. Like just be you, the Poker Staples PA man. Yeah, he’s like, okay. So, he, I hired him as an assistant to help me with things, emails and all that. So, he started watching my stream, and we were both in our parent’s basement. He was in the room next door, watching the stream nodding, like helping out with things, like getting lunch for both of us like that sort of stuff, right.

Brad: He conveniently left all this out in our interview in Chasing Poker Greatness.

Jaime: It’s true. It’s true. It is the story he was a, he gets groceries, he’d fill up the tires. I always had a problem with tire pressure back then, like the tires would never stay inflated. So, I got him to go to the gas station, fill up the tires, like this sort of things, right? And we moved to Calgary, we moved in with Kevin Martin. We were also, Kevin and I were streaming. Matt was starting to build this little bankroll, like he, like two cent games, then 10 cent games. He’s like to the dollars and the $2 he’s streaming a little bit and like people are watching like he’s getting a hundred viewers, hundred-fifty viewers, and he just quits like a month into Calgary. I was really mad with him at the time, because he gave me no notice. He was just like, like, Matt, can’t you like tell me, give me a week like I’m disaster here. I need help. And he’s like, no, I’m done.  Okay, all right, man,

Brad: Air up your own tires, bitch. I’m streaming.

Jaime: Exactly. That was it, dude. And then he started streaming full time. And of course, we weren’t actually fighting. I was just like, maybe give me a couple days. But his stream was doing well as the three of us. And he was playing the small stakes, used to be known as micro army, which doesn’t really fit anymore. And he just built up to this, this mammoth channel where now he’s getting thousands of viewers every time he fires up a stream, you know, he just hit a score 450k in the party poker million. Like it’s been a pretty incredible journey from an $8 bankroll to where he is now.

Brad: Humble beginnings, your personal assistant, getting the food, he’s

Jaime: Yeah, he was 18 too, it’s the thing, right? Like he’d never played poker at all. He just watched my stream and he watched Twitch poker, started with two cent games. And this was literally like, less than four years ago, that we were living this life, you know, like, four or five years ago, he started streaming and playing. And now he is where he is. It’s like, it’s crazy to me.

Brad: Yeah, it’s a testimony. I’ve said this before, in my conversation with Matt, that, you know, it’s a testimony that you can do it. The dream is achievable in today, in today’s modern version of online poker, like if you work hard, and you study and you grind, you can make it. And Matt is, you know, just a living testament to that. That he started his poker crew out four years, four years ago.

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: Now thousands of people watch him on Twitch, and he’s, you know, building up a massive bankroll, and he’s got all this following, and he’s sponsored Party Poker Pro, like, if you really dedicate yourself to this, I want to always be able to say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Jaime: Absolutely. Well, and I think if I look at Matt’s, the aspects of Matt’s success, like what led him to where he is now, you know, of course, he studied a lot, right? Like he studied, he put in, I don’t know, I’d say over the last five years, I would guess he’s put in an average of like, 30 to 45 minutes a day, over four years. But I think the most important aspect, leading to his success has been immersion. Like, since he first started the game, he was in it, because I didn’t give him a chance to not be in it, right? Like he was working in poker, listening to poker strategy, talking to poker players all day. And with Twitch, it was the same thing, right? He was developing a network of friends and people that will talk about poker. So, it’s just like, he, he was completely in that world from the start. And I think that allowed him to have so much success as to where he is now.

Brad: Yeah. The, the immersive experience is so pivotal to experiencing success, and pretty much anything you do, poker specifically, when I was starting out, I had a friend, we discussed hand histories and strategy all day long. I couldn’t get enough of it. Even, even now, if, if one of my friends wants to discuss like an interesting cash game hand or some interesting theoretical concepts, or whatever it is, I’ll talk about it for hours. Like I love learning, I love growing, I love embracing the curious element of poker, that is just necessary for long term success in this game. And if you’re immersed in something, well, you’re just naturally going to get better. That’s just the fact of life. So yeah, very beneficial that he had you as brother, willing to take a chance on giving him a job to put up some social media posts and fill up the tires. That’s a big responsibility that he flourished through. So, when you think of joy, in your career playing cards so far, what’s the first memory that comes to mind?

Jaime: From a personal accomplishment point of view, ended up winning a tournament, the day I got signed. That was like a ridiculous turn of fate. It was the big one or nine. And, and back then it was like 20k for first, like it was a big tournament. It was actually one of the biggest tournaments on the site back then because the, you know, we didn’t have high stakes poker tournaments every day, like we do now. So, kind of on my launch, when everything was happening, and a bunch of new people were meeting me for the first time to win that tournament, and the day was like, I can’t believe this is happening. But I think there’s something about when people share their happiness of like, I’ve just discovered this game, and I’m absolutely loving it and like you’ve been a help to figuring out like, how to go about doing this and like I’ve run up my bankroll from 50 to 300 bucks. And like, being able to tap back into that beginning, excitement and love flourishing in the game from someone watching the twitch stream, I think is the most meaningful, meaningful experience that’s that that makes me really happy and makes me feel as if what I’m doing is worthwhile.

Brad: Yeah, I’ve gotten the same feedback and it’s some of my most joy filled moments that somebody just watched my YouTube training videos over and over again as they’re grinding their way through the micros and they’re like, you know, we’ve never met but thank you for the videos. Thank you for the content, without them I would not have been able to persevere, push through and be successful in this game. And a lot of times, like if you just release content like that, I don’t get to hear that feedback. But it always surprises me when I get that feedback like, because I want to make an impact, like this is my number one value. Like you said, you want to impact other people, I want to make an impact and that is, you know, that’s the fruit of the labor is when you get that feedback from these people that like that, that’s what makes it all worthwhile.

Brad: 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 WPT main event champion ever, Darren 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 green felt, 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 presence. 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, end quote. And these aren’t just empty words. Nick has put his money where his mouth is by hiring Jason to coach up 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 grave disservice if you didn’t check out Jason’s work at pokerwithpresence.com. One final time, that’s pokerwithpresence.com. 

Brad: When you think of pain in your career playing poker, what’s the first memory that comes to mind?

Jaime: It wouldn’t actually be from specific poker playing because I don’t, I don’t feel as if any poker hand or monetary loss has really been able to faze me in a way where it’s affected my life. I don’t know. It’s, they’re all just poker hands and poker tournaments.

Brad: Sure.

Jaime: And it’s funny and whatever. I think the, after the prop bet, which we haven’t talked about yet, but I did a prop that with my brother, Matt, we had to lose a bunch of weight. He had to gain weight, I had to lose weight. We had to bridge like 171 pounds. And we did it. We succeeded. It was crazy. We won 150K. The second bet, we lost, we took on another bet. And I would say the experience of like, facing a wall, like coming to the edge of where I could continue doing what I was trying to do. And like failing, publicly failing.

Brad: What was the second bet? What was the second bet that

Jaime: The second bet was we were in pretty good shape or decent shape at this point. And the second bet was to like take it all the way, like get sub 10% body fat in a year. And, you know, Matt was already losing quite a lot of weight. And I was at like, like 195 or 200 pounds at the time when the second bet was booked. So yeah, it was quite an undertaking, you know? And, you know, is it possible? Is it not possible? I mean, people get under 10% body fat, but in the time frame we had, it was close, but from my perspective, and from mass perspective, this is another story to the world. So, if we lose 50k but we get close, it doesn’t matter. You know, if we succeed, it’s worth millions. Right?

Brad: Right.

Jaime: That’s, that’s really what we’re thinking. So, this is, this is again a no brainer situation to take this on. And consulted with my trainer and, and like, yeah, you should go for it. Like it’s hard, but you can do it. And about midway through the year, it was like, no, you can’t. Like you, you’ve been going too fast and too hard in this life that you’ve been living like taking on the bet that you’ve done and the streaming, the being an ambassador and actually playing poker. And so, I hit a wall dude. And I just started to, from a mental health perspective, decline in the big way from pure health perspective, physical health decline, and not move forward. I, it is a difficult thing you know, when you build up an expectation of who you are, and as an ambassador in this game, and then you slide backwards publicly. That’s really difficult to deal with. So that, I think that was painful, and not a fun experience to go through. Yeah, it’s tough.

Brad: What, what was the conversation between you and Matt when you realize that you’re calling it? Was that a hard conversation to have? How was he doing?

Jaime: Well, we didn’t, it wasn’t particularly like there was a frank moment where it was going to happen or not happen. I mean, we had conversations throughout the year. So, when the bet first came up, it was a discussion of whether we should try this or not, and that works. And then we would sort of get these DEXA scans and see how much muscle mass we were building and that we were losing. And one of my first DEXA scans, I’ve been working out six days a week, going to the gym six days a week, and I got a DEXA scan and I actually lost muscle mass working out six days a week, and that like kind of broke me at that point. I was like, I’ve been putting in hours. This doesn’t make any sense. Like, why have I lost muscle mass. I called Bill, like, that doesn’t make any sense. I call my trainer and he’s like, no, the scans got to be wrong. So, I don’t really know what happened there. But I was just demoralized, you know, like, I’ve been through too much. And it kind of slid from there. We would call him, we talk every month and like, I’d have difficulty and I started experiencing anxiety and like, what I learned was panic attacks after the fact I didn’t really know what they were at the time, I was just like, why do I feel like this. And, and so I’d update them. But we never had a frank conversation of like, let’s call it. There was a negotiation towards the end, because Bill had side action with Timex and stuff. So, there were side bets that didn’t allow us to buy out. Basically, I think Bill would have given us a buyout price, but there were multiples of action on the side. So trying to figure out if there’s something we could do with time x, but it never came to fruition, and it kind of just faded away, you know. I wasn’t really looking to make it a story like, hey, look, we didn’t do it, you know

Brad: Right.

Jaime: It was just starting to focus on, on other things and get to that story, when we’re ready to tell it.

Brad: Yeah. And what was the response from the, you know, poker community, your, your community when you didn’t make it? And that, you know, a moment of, I’m sure you felt extremely vulnerable, going through that whole thing, how did they react?

Jaime: Well, I think it’s different for different people, you know. Like, like, the very connected and core community are supportive, sort of always in success and failure. So, they’re cool with it. But I think there, there’s still a lot of, I don’t know, disbelief or frustration that, that the, the amazing story, like didn’t end the way that they wanted to, you know.

Brad: Yeah.

Jaime: So, I think there’s some difficulty there. But it also comes down to me too, and that I haven’t really completed the story. I haven’t given closure to people on it, because as the date passed, I kind of just streamed you know. I didn’t really tell the story. But my, my plan now is to write a book about the whole experience. It’s still a project I’m working on. The ultimate sweat is not over for me, and it never will be. So, I will tell that story one day, but I think a lot of people need closure on it.

Brad: Let me, let me tell you something, Jaime. Without ever pushing yourself to the limit, you never find your limit as a human being. And if you are not endeavoring in things that have a chance of failure, you are not risking anything, and you’re not growing. So just by the nature of taking on such a challenge, you’re way ahead of the curve, right? Like, you have the opportunity to find something out about yourself one way or the other. And it saddens me that folks go their whole lives without ever really pushing themselves. And they keep themselves small, without realizing it, and they don’t find their limit. And for the listener right now, like make a bet that you think is a high probability chance of failure that you know will push yourself out of your current comfort zone, and make you grow as a human being. Because at the end of the day, that’s the only thing that matters, right? What do we learn about ourselves in these endeavors? So, at least from my perspective, I say kudos on undertaking a challenge that had a chance of failure. And at least you gave it everything you had, when loser draw. That, that’s what genuinely matters at the end of the day. So, I do anticipate this book, though, is that? Is that like high in the sky? Are we, is this like, we working towards this book?

Jaime: We’re working towards it. I haven’t, I haven’t really talked about it at all. It’s just an idea. You know, I’m reading books on how to write and you know, just reading a lot in general and trying to read in the genre I’m thinking about. But to me, I think there’s a setup for a pretty interesting trifecta of success and failure, and then learnings that come from it. Right? You know, and there’s an amazing mentor and guide through the whole thing. And Mike the content, which is good. So, it’s, it’s a pretty interesting story, I think. And I haven’t finished living the story as to write the book. So, we’re going to do that first.

Brad: So, what’s, what’s the conclusion of the book? You got to give it another shot? Like, what’s your idea?

Jaime: Yeah, so the aspiration is come, is to come to a healthy understanding of why and make the choices I make when it comes to food and physical fitness. Right? What, what has caused me to get into a place where I’m unhealthy, and I always have been, and like, how do I escape from that difficulty. And, and I think the first experience was like, a great showcase of what you can do with motivation, and like work ethic, and being diligent in your process, and seeking out experts. And like all of these things, and controlling my environment, led to my success, right. And then there’s all sorts of learnings from the failure as well, as to like what happened there. But I think there, there’s a really interesting, underlying lesson to how to achieve physical health and fitness. And it’s not often following a diet that prescribes you a certain amount of macronutrients, that’s going to get you to a spot where you can follow a plan. It’s not discipline, it’s not work ethic, like all of these things are aspects that are going to contribute to your success. But if time after time, people are failing, there’s something broken in the system. So, getting to the what’s broken and healing that, I think is what’s needed to fix those problems.

Brad: What do you think is generally broken?

Jaime: Well, I think it’s individual

Brad: Yeah. You.

Jaime: For me, I think I’m still, I’m still uncovering that, I would say. But I think I developed a lot of patterns as a young person that weren’t particularly healthy. And I learned a lot of poor coping mechanisms, with sensations in the worlds. So, one of the things I’ve learned about myself as I’m ADHD, inattentive ADHD, right, which is like, my brain is just one stop, right?

Brad: Same. Yep.

Jaime: Yeah. So, it’s like that’s, and, and the way that I’ve learned to cope when I stop, is to eat. That’s how I learned as a kid, right? So, figuring out how to fix my coping mechanism with just sitting and stillness and silence, and being okay, in that instance, not panicking, like a deer in front of a car, like what do I do? Where do I go? Like that, that’s an underlying pain. It’s like those poor coping mechanisms. And the reward systems that I built as a kid with food like that, is my, that has led to my issues, right?

Brad: Yeah.

Jaime: You can control your environment. So, you can control all these small things that put band aids on the problem and help them in the short term. But the underlying pain is still there. You got to fix that if you want the problem to disappear.

Brad: Right. It’s almost like we’re, you know, you search for the dopamine hit. When everything slows down, and there’s nothing going on, I find myself, I feel like I’m addicted to my phone. Like, if there’s nothing happening, I’m just looking at my phone. And if I don’t take the time to say that one day a week, I’m not going to be in front of electronics, I’m not going to play on my phone, then I’m just always searching for that stimulation. Because in silence, I want there to be something. It’s almost as if I’m uncomfortable in in the silence. And so, you know, you can insert phone or whatever, you know, food, whatever your addiction may be. That is really at the heart, like how do we change that behavior like you said, and it’s tough. It’s, it’s,

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: It’s a very tough thing to change because really, you’re seeking a dopamine release, which is the pleasure center chemical in your brain, which makes you feel good. And human beings by nature, we enjoy feeling good. We don’t want to,

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: We don’t want to not feel the dopamine, right?

Jaime: Absolutely, yeah. And when, I think you come at it from a good perspective, and the first bet was really just doing all the small little things that I could to fix that loop, you know. And there was there was success in that. But I think the, the underlying need is, it’s a harder nut to crack, then I’m just going to throw my phone away, and then I’m not going to be able to grab my phone. So, it’s fine, right? Like, there’s a replacement always there. Whereas I feel like massaging the issue, through therapy, through better understandings or practice whatever, makes it so that the, the initial sensation dissipates, you know.

Brad: So, yeah, it’s, it’s awesome. And I am genuinely excited to see the conclusion, because I have a feeling that your tenacity is going to lead you to solving this issue. And you know, reaching a light at the end of the tunnel, and it will be extremely beneficial to your community and the people you have influence over. Because I will assume that almost every human being has something in their life that is fairly similar. And it’s not, it doesn’t mean that you’re weak, right? Like this is the, the misunderstanding, I think, from the general public is like, if you’re addicted to your phone, it doesn’t mean that you are weak, because your phone is designed to take your attention. It’s what it’s programmed to do.

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: So, the fact that, you know, the deck is stacked against us, like, right away. And so like, it’s not as simple as just throwing your phone away, or throwing all of your food away, or whatever folks think is this never that simple. It’s always a much more complex issue that needs time invested for the person, whoever’s suffering to self-actualize, and overcome that issue.

Jaime: Right. Yeah, I really, I find myself frustrated when people come up with really simplified answers for these complex problems. Well, this is, this is what you have to do. It’s simple, you just do this. And yeah, I would love to write that, there’s a lot of masculinity, toxic masculinity built into the narrative of how to lose weight as a man and how to be healthy as a man, which is just like, it’s all about work ethic. And it’s all about discipline. And people build their whole self-worth around these ideas. Like I’m a fit, man, I’m the most disciplined, like, and I just don’t believe that as if that’s the answer for people that are struggling with it. And I hope that I showcase that over the first bat that I have a work ethic and have discipline. And yet I still have struggle.

Brad: Right.

Jaime: So that’s like, I’m excited to tell that story. Like, no, you’re wrong. These aren’t the two aspects that lead to success. They can for short period, but it’s, it’s a bigger issue.

Brad: Yeah, self-discipline is bullshit. Because just by nature, like, we’re not that self-disciplined, and it’s a very hard thing to do every day after day, after day, after day, after day, after day, like I don’t know about you. Every time I read a book that says, like, make a habit. Habits are unbreakable. Once you have a habit, you can, you know, you build up momentum and the habits ingrained. And then you do it every single day. I’ve always found it incredibly easy to break habits, like incredibly easy. I could meditate, you know, 100 days in a row. And it would be incredibly easy for me to just stop meditating, right?

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: Like, I can eat well a hundred days. Super easy for me to just change my eating patterns. I mean, because naturally we were going to gravitate to what’s easier and what, you know, how do we avoid pain? And it’s easy. So, like,

Jaime: The payoff, the payoff is hard to break. We’re not going to skip the payoff, right?

Brad: Exactly.

Jaime: The payoff is like, like that’s the thing but the habit, the, yeah, exactly. I agree with you. 100%. We can, we can cut the habit anytime.

Brad: Yeah.

Jaime: Hit a dopamine. Hit the dopamine stone.

Brad: Exactly. Like I can go to the gym five days a week. And then I can say, yeah, this is really hard. And then I’ll stop going. And it’s really that simple. It’s easy to, it’s easy to not do things that are healthy. That’s the easiest thing in the world, at least for me. I don’t know about you.

Jaime: Yeah, absolutely.

Brad: So, let’s move to the lightning round here. If you could gift all poker players one book, what book would it be and why?

Jaime: Man, that lightning round. I can’t answer that lightning. I need to think for a second,

Brad: We have plenty, we, lightning is, it’s a horrible name for this round, because a lot of times it takes a long time.

Jaime: I actually have a good one. And it’s, Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. It’s a fiction book. But I read this with Sam Grafton. He recommended that we, you know, I wanted to read he’s an English major, he’s really good at sort of analyzing English, English literature. And I was like, okay, well, let’s read it together, and we could talk about it. So is, is really beneficial in this book is like a really good arguments against the, the poker way of living and thinking. It kind of shocked me in a way and I didn’t realize at the time, but in hindsight, it’s a dystopian future, like 1984, except everything’s not terrible, everything’s amazing. And everything is plus EV, it’s maximized EV, right? And you realize the whore in this and you realize the danger of this like, forced plus EV, maximalist worlds, that that is in front of you, and that maybe you need a bit of ugly for beauty and you, you don’t always want to maximize everything you might want to experience.

Brad: How do you enjoy success, if you have not experienced failure? Like how, at the end of the day, when you reach your target? How do you get the euphoria of completing a goal, if you have not failed along the way, it is a part of all of our journeys? And if we just accept that, it’s so much easier to keep going, and realize that not only should we keep going, we should have gratitude for the place and the struggles that we are going through. We should be grateful for them, because that makes the payoff much sweeter. And it’s just life. Right? This is just life. This is like me, with my phone, trying to get the dopamine, right, trying to avoid something that feels uncomfortable, and like, it’s just a part of life, you know. We need to, not enough is said about failure and how failures shape us, and how good failure can be in the long run, right? Like, your, your book project would not mean as much to you, if you would have just crushed your bet.

Jaime: Yes.

Brad: It would not be this personal mission. So, the gratitude comes in, okay, I failed at this thing. Now I’m going to figure out why. And when you figure out why you conquered and you write your book, boom! Like what’s going to feel better than that, because of the process and the journey. And I think that, like people overlook that and don’t, they don’t focus on the journey of struggling before they reach success. And it’s all a part of life, right? Like, you know, when I think about the hours that I put in live poker, when loser draw, you know, you run bad, you have really bad days. But to be defined by success or failure on any given day, would make me say that I hated half of my experiences and my poker, which is like thousands and thousands of hours. And how silly of that, how silly would that be for me to say that I hated that, because this is my life. This is my time, if I’m going to spend my time doing something, I better enjoy the experience. It better not just be about the outcome and the result at the end of the day. Because you’re putting your time, your life force into a thing. So, you may as well love it even when it’s not perfect, because nothing’s ever perfect.

Jaime: Absolutely. I agree. 100%

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

Jaime: You need 200 buy-ins for bankroll management. Because I think the, the audience has never considered when that advice is given. It’s almost impossible to give good advice. Good advice when people ask what’s good bankroll management. Because the right answer is Kelly Criterion. Mathematically, we know it, right. We know mathematically the right way, given we know someone’s edge to succeed. So really, if we’re deviating from Kelly criterion, we’re making a commentary on someone’s aspirations, and someone’s lifestyle and the way they live. And so, when I hear someone like Doug Polk say you need to win $100,000 a year, at least in poker, or it’s a terrible pursuit. And when I hear tournament pros say you need 200 buy-ins or 500 buy-ins to play tournaments, and they’re talking to Larry, that’s 35 make, 60k a year and is playing three tournaments every Sunday. It’s a terrible advice for Larry. No, Larry, you don’t need 200 buy-ins, you need 30 and you might have to deposit once a year. But you might have some success and this might become a hobby you actually enjoy.

Brad: Yeah.

Jaime: So, there’s, there’s a complete lack of context and the answer to bankroll management. Pros come at, at it from the perspective of I’m a poker pro in my 20s and I don’t have any way to make money other than poker so I need to be risk averse and grind 40 hours a week. That advice for most people.

Brad: Oh man. I’m so on board with this because a lot of times, recreational will come up to me and they’ll say, well, I read about bankroll, I’m playing like five cent, ten cent, I’m grinding, I’m struggling, I can’t beat it. And I’m like, first of all, I don’t understand the micros. I’ve never understood the micros, why people slog away, playing the micros when they could get a job and save up money and make more money than they’re making in the micros, right? So like, people who have, who make a good living, should not be playing micro tournaments that they don’t care about. Play a tournament that matters to you, that where you are invested in the result, where you feel something, and I think that especially you have money coming in, like obviously don’t go crazy and mortgaged your future. But like play stake that matters to you, because you’re going to be miserable otherwise. Like, if I’m playing a $1 tournament, and first place is like 1500 and whatever, I got to be 30, I’m not going to be happy even with first place. Like, there’s no purpose. So yeah, I’m right there with you when it comes to bankroll management and also to like $1,000 bankroll is easily replaced. So if you have a smaller bankroll, you can take a lot more shots than if you have say a $100,000 bankroll, because $100,000 bankroll is harder to replace. So again, it goes back to, and if you’re in it for the progression, because you know, the proving ground, you want to progress for the micros that you have it’s, you have your own driving force, right? It matters to you to progress. But this is for folks who, you know, they want to have fun, they want to enjoy it as a hobby. And if they hit, they want to feel it and matter to them. So, take your shot. And yeah, don’t worry about it.

Jaime: 100%. And if we talked about this a little bit earlier when it came to the, the industry and this is why I think we need to create additional targets here. Because that, that would make something rewarding for a player to play. And their question wouldn’t be about bankroll management, it would be about budget. Something Bill Perkins says all the time, like, oh, you play poker for fun, you have a poker budget. You know, you know, you don’t have a bankroll management, you have a budget man.

Brad: Right. Yup.

Jaime: Playing for fun. This is your hobby. It’s going to cost money to play golf on the golf course. You have a golf budget, you know. So, I do think it’s worth saying that most people that are new to poker fail because they go too fast, and they’re out of action. It was too expensive. So, there is something to be said for advising newer players to not get too crazy, you know, like, poker is going to be here in a year. You know, you can, you can have a good time over the course of six months. You don’t have to spend all your money in your account, like this week.

Brad: Correct.

Jaime: But, but I agree as well, you know. I think it’s, it’s another interesting one that we got to figure out as an industry to keep moving forward.

Brad: And to the listener right now and 99% of the pros who give you bankroll advice, do not follow their own advice and have not followed their own advice through their whole career, I hate to burst your bubble. There was a long, long time ago, I think Eric Lindgren wrote a book. And in his book, there was bankroll management. And it was how much money he was saving, saving for taxes and all of this advice, and then Eric Lindgren was one of the main you know, he was the villain after Black Friday and all the money got locked up. And as it turns out, his bankroll management practices were not in alignment with what he was teaching. And this is very true for most of the people in the poker community. So, you know, take it, take it with a grain of salt, do what makes sense for you, be pragmatic and logical, analyze your own risk threshold and go from there, right?

Jaime: Absolutely. And another thing that doesn’t make sense, and I’m curious what you think about this, because to me, moving up and down is part of having a bankroll, but that’s part of the game of poker is you have success and you move up in stakes to try and challenge a higher stake. That’s how I play, some people just sit in the grind at their level, but for me, I want to aspire to more. That’s what’s fun. And then if you are not having success, you move down to recoup some of what you’ve lost, gain more experience and then try again. So, when people say 200 buy-ins, like well, that 200 buy ins if you’re never changing stake, right? So, so do me a favor. If you have a calculator at home, you know, you can multiply, multiply a number by 0.01, right? So, go 1000 times 0.01 and keep clicking equal. And that’s 100 buy-in bankroll management, keep clicking equal, where you’re only risking 1% of your bankroll per tournament. You let me know, in three days when you actually get to zero, how long that took, because you should be adjusting.

Brad: Yeah.

Jaime: Adjusting up and down.

Brad: Sure.

Jaime: Your $1,000 bankroll becomes 800 bucks, well, you can’t play $10 tournaments anymore, you can play eight dollars. It’s so conservative, it really is like, you’re going to have to click the button, like 600 times, you’re going to have to bust tournaments to go broke.

Brad: Right. And you always have the option to move down, like, like you just said, like, if it’s 200, and you’re at 203 and then you go to 199. Are you like, instantly you’re like, nope, too little need to go down, have just a tiny fraction of an amount like in cash games. You can say 50 buy-ins or 25 buy-in bankroll, or whatever your bankroll management practice is. And you’re going to be under that almost always. So, at some point, you have a threshold where you’re forced to move down.

Jaime: Yeah, just buy 50 buy-ins again.

Brad: Yeah, it’s like

Jaime: Just back where you were.

Brad: You’re back where you are. So, like it, yeah, there needs to be a more intelligent way to give out some bankroll management strategies. And but it’s, it’s all independent, right? I think that’s at the end of the day, it’s based on each person’s individual situation, somebody with a family and a wife has a lower tolerance for risk than a 21-year-old, who can just rebuild if they lose everything they have. So, the answer should vary based on the person life situation.

Jaime: I think that’s why we have bad advice, because it’s way too complicated to give a good answer to every person that asked what should my bankroll management be? Just so easy to be like 100 buy-ins man

Brad: Yeah. Go away. 100. Whatever.

Jaime: What’s your financial situation? Any dependents? You know?

Brad: Exactly. Yeah. We shy away from complexity and things that are pools on our time.

Jaime: Yeah.

Brad: If you could erect a billboard, every poker player has to drive past on the way to the casino. What does it say?

Jaime: Well, I don’t know if I want them to be successful or not, am I trying to construct a billboard that’s going to help them in the game of poker or not. I guess for the average poker player, it would be something like empathy or considered a lobster or something like that. If you wanted to go arthouse on it, it would be like consider your opponent, right. Consider the people that you’re playing against in poker and in life and the way that they’re thinking about things and approaching things. Of course, you can take a GTO approach to poker and come up with an extremely solid strategy that is sort of unbeatable, but I think a way you can gain further edge and operate well in the world and in poker is to really understand the people you’re talking to. The people you’re playing the game with, right?

Brad: For sure.

Jaime: And I think in life, that’s one of the greatest assets that poker teaches is you go from your hands, right in front of your face. What’s my hand? What’s the board? What’s my hand? What’s the board? So, like what’s their hand? And that’s so valuable in communicating in like a, just a global world. It’s like I think that part of poker makes the world better.

Brad: Have you ever had the thought and this is a little tangent here. We only have a few more minutes. Have you ever had the thought that when somebody crushes you on the river, right, they spike their card and you feel the pain, the agony, the suffering? Have you ever had the thought that there’s somebody else on the other end of a computer that just felt all of the opposite reaction? Relief? Just euphoria, excitement? Has that ever crossed your mind?

Jaime: Yeah, 100% man. I mean it’s, it’s like maybe one of the reasons that I haven’t obtained all I’ve wanted to attain in the game because I don’t have the killer instinct that way. Like I just don’t value the money that much. And then I also recognize that the experience I’m having is going to happen and like I don’t, I don’t deserve it more than them.

Brad: Yeah, you don’t.

Jaime: Like I’m just a person just like them, like we’re all just out there, trying our best and if I take a bad beat, it’s because I took a bad beat, like I don’t deserve to win.

Brad: Sure.

Jaime: I just play my best.

Brad: Yeah.

Jaime: The world happens. That’s it. So yeah, I feel that all the time.

Brad: Yeah, that’s cool. I do the same. It helps me look at, look at running bad just through a different lens. It doesn’t make me feel great. But I do think like us, I guess somebody is excited. Somebody is happy that they want to flip and they’re going deep or whatever it is. So, what’s your current big goal as related to poker?

Jaime: Big goal in poker is, is actually really difficult because I’m learning to balance being a manager of party poker team of mine, being a fiancé, prioritizing my physical health, my stream, and being a poker professional. So, it’s, it’s really hard to balance those things and I’m learning how to do it. And, and I’m struggling to have clarity, juggling. But I think when I look at what I want to get out of poker, is I want to leave the poker worlds, after I’m done with it as a happier and a better place than it was when I got into it. I want to make that impact. And I can do that by becoming really good and winning amazing tournaments and being an aspirational figure. But I can also do that in other ways too, by making decisions within the industry, or directing party poker in a way that’s beneficial for the game. There’s a bunch of ways to do that. But that’s, that’s the overarching goal.

Brad: Awesome. And, and for, as someone who also has ADD, as an adult, I can say that you’re doing exactly what you’re programmed to do. Just putting more on your plate than you can physically handle because you’re always engaged in something.

Jaime: That’s it. Yeah.

Brad: So, any project you’re working on, may not have to do with poker that’s near and dear to your heart?

Jaime: Got to be party poker team online man. I mean, I left stars to join party poker, just scary, leaving the number one to join number two, it’s like, that’s intense.

Brad: You chose to leave?

Jaime: I did. I mean, I had an option to stay and I wasn’t going to lose anything by staying, I was going to continue at least where I was. But then I had an option to sort of take the leap of faith, play on a lesser known site with less attention on it. But the ability to like make decisions as well and try and influence a poker company in a way that I thought was, was beneficial. So, working with the team and kind of selecting streamers that myself and Jeff Gross really like and think are great ambassadors and trying to help them share what the game is about. Like this has been a big undertaking for me. I just learned how to play poker, you know, like I don’t know how I found myself in this position. But it’s there’s been a lot of learning tools to presentations, communicate with it and industry, and be organized and, and mentor and help people. It’s, it’s gone well, and I’m happy that we’re sort of taken on the giants.

Brad: You’re seem to be the type of person that’s always injuring something that’s outside their comfort zone. And it’s very respectable and commendable. Because again, you know, when you get to the end of the day, you’re going to know what you’re made of, and what you are capable of. And that’s something that I hope the listener gets to feel as well. And to end the show, one final question, where can the chasing poker greatness audience find you on the worldwide web?

Jaime: Well, first of all, thanks for having me, Brad. It’s been, it’s been a great conversation. It was a good one man. I mean, I, I talked about some shit in this one man. I opened up so I hope people enjoy it. There’s, there’s some exclusives in there. It really depends what you’re looking for audience, thanks for taking the time making it the end of the podcast. If you like watching online poker, long format, you’re a big fan, come to twitch, twitch.tv/pokerstaples. If you’re kind of like a casual poker fan, I got short highlights on YouTube. You can search me up, Poker Staples there. If you are a fan of podcasts, and you’ve consumed all of these podcasts, and you want an extra one, Weekly Poker Showdown. It’s, it’s not as good as this, I’m telling you. It’s your secondary show. And then on social media, I’m @jamiestaples or @pokerstaples. So really, wherever you are in the internet, I got something for you. It’s your choice, how long or short form you want it to be.

Brad: Things for all kinds of people. And I’ll have all that in the show notes. For the listener, even to the inferior podcast. It’ll be there too.

Jaime: If you want to listen to inferior podcast.

Brad: Thank you for your time, man. And take care and let’s do this again sometime soon.

Jaime: Sounds great, Brad. Thanks so much.


Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Chasing Poker Greatness. If you have yet to subscribe to the show, please take a second to do so on Apple podcasts or wherever your favorite place to listen to podcasts may be. For more content from me, Coach Brad, please visit our YouTube channel at youtube.com/enhanceyouredge and I’ll see you next one.

Thanks for reading this transcript of Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 069: Jaime Staples

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