Lyle Bateman: Managing Editor of Pokernews Canada
Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 005
Lyle Bateman on social media:
Today’s guest on Chasing Poker Greatness is Lyle Bateman. For those who aren’t familiar with his name, Lyle is a contributing editor at PokerNews Canada. He began writing for the magazine after he was discovered by then Chief Editor Lane Anderson. Lane saw a blog post that Lyle had written — which he’ll tell you about during our conversation — and asked him if he’d be interested in writing something for PokerNews. The rest, as they say, is history.
Lyle has a long list of articles published, going all the way back to 2013. He specializes in covering some of poker’s biggest events. He’s written on just about all of the world’s top live and online tournaments.
He’s an avid online poker tournament player himself and conducts his own poker stream on Twitch.
Lyle is most certainly one of poker’s greatest ambassadors. It’s easy to see that he has a genuine love for being around the game as well as mingling with many of the world’s greatest players as he does his job.
As we talk today, Lyle will share stories about what got him into poker, why he actually sold the first big tournament ticket he ever won, and the strange way his life has gone from working in insufferable heat in Africa to working in insufferable cold in Canada.
He speaks about why he prefers tournaments to cash games, what it’s like to be a part of the press covering live tournaments, and why he likes to have an audience watching when he plays himself.
You’ll also hear some interesting, insightful, and unique advice from someone who is intimately involved with the professional poker world, yet not a professional poker player himself.
His unique viewpoint from somewhere in between inside and outside the game reveals a perspective that few people have.
Also, *HINT* … if you’d like to get more (or less) coverage when playing live poker tournaments, this is an episode you do not want to miss.
Lyle is an amazing guy to talk to, and very easy to listen to as he moves from one story to another.
He’s also someone that you just might be talking with yourself one day as you get closer to your goals while Chasing Poker Greatness.
And so without any further ado, click any of the icons below to listen to my conversation with the incredible Lyle Bateman.
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Brad: Hey there, friend-oh, and welcome to Chasing Poker Greatness. I’m your host, Brad Wilson, founder of poker training site, enhanceyouredge.com. And I am absolutely thrilled to have you with me here today. From over the top TV tournament personalities, to the nearly anonymous online grinders cashing out thousands of dollars a week, to the leaders of poker media. We are going in search of insights and advice from the world’s best poker players and ambassadors. You’ll hear words of wisdom and words of warning. You’ll look at what keeps them coming back to the table, and what they do in their downtime. You’ll be able to examine how they think, how they deal with the ups, the downs, and almost endless repetition that comes with playing one hand after another for days, weeks, months and years. Some of them have shaped the game, some of them have grown the game. Some of them have changed the game. All of them have one thing in common. Each of them in their own way has achieved poker greatness. Today’s guest on Chasing Poker Greatness is Lyle Bateman. For those who aren’t familiar with his name, Lyle is a contributing editor at Poker News Canada. He began writing for the magazine after he was discovered by then chief editor, Lane Anderson. Lane saw a blog post that Lyle had written, which he’ll tell you about during our conversation, asked him if he’d be interested in writing something for Poker News, and the rest, as they say is history. Lyle has a long list of articles published going all the way back to 2013. He specializes in covering some of pokers biggest events. He’s written on just about all of the world’s top live and online tournaments. He’s an avid online poker tournament player himself, and has his own weekly poker stream on Twitch. Lyle is most certainly one of pokers greatest ambassadors. It’s easy to see that he loves being around the game itself, as well as mingling with many of the world’s greatest players. As we talk today, Lyle will share stories about what got him into poker in the first place. Why he actually sold his first big tournament ticket that he ever won. In the strange way his life has gone from working in insufferable heat in Africa, to working in insufferable cold in Canada. He speaks about why he prefers tournaments to cash game, what it’s like to be part of the press covering live tournaments, and why he likes to have an audience watching when he plays himself. You’ll also hear some interesting, insightful, and unique advice from someone who is intimately involved with the professional poker world, yet not a professional poker player himself. His unique viewpoint from somewhere in between inside and outside the game, reveals a perspective that few people have. Lyle is a great guy to talk to, who’s very easy to listen to as he moves from one story to another. He’s also someone that you just might be talking with yourself one day as you get closer to your goals while chasing poker greatness. And so, here’s my conversation with Poker News editor and poker industry Ambassador Lyle Bateman.
Brad: Lyle, welcome to the show, my man. How you doing?
Lyle: Thanks very much. I’m doing good. How’s how itself?
Brad: I’m hot. I’m hot. I’m wondering about global warming. And when it’s going to stop. I need, I need cooler air.
Lyle: I agree with you, but it gives you come to Canada in the next, I don’t know, three, four weeks, we’re going to get as cool as you need to get frankly, I think. There, there is global warming, but unfortunately it also means it goes the other way. And we get we would get weird, weird, weird winters last few years.
Brad: Yeah, I’m not super interested in the cold either. I’m very particular. I just want perfect weather all the time. It’s, that, it’s that that’s not too much to ask for right?
Lyle: No, I don’t think it’s, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for. I’m sort of the same way. Although I must admit, I spent like five years in Africa in the 90’s doing work in totally non-poker related stuff. And one of the things I hated about that, was that it was always the same weather all the time. It was like, it was like always 32 to 35 degrees Celsius. And
Brad: What is that Fahrenheit?
Lyle: That’s like roughly 100. Let’s call it roughly 100. Yeah.
Brad: Ouch. Yeah, it’s high.
Lyle: And yeah, it was constantly it was constantly that. It wouldn’t, it didn’t matter what, what time of year it was. It was, it was gonna be, it was gonna be that temperature. So, it was just, it was just really boring I found. That said, I’m not really thrilled when it comes down to minus 40 here. I don’t need that kind of excitement in my life.
Brad: Yeah. I’m like a 70, 70 degrees Los Angeles. Perfect weather all the time type of person. That, that’s the dream. So, let’s, let’s start this thing off. Could you tell the audience how did you get involved in Poker News Canada?
Lyle: Well, it’s kind of, it’s kind of an interesting story. I guess it ties all back to the whole writing thing. I only really been in poker for a few years at that point. And I decided I was gonna drive to Montreal for the WPT Montreal in 2014, I believe it was.
Brad: What was your capacity in poker for those two years?
Lyle: At that point, I was basically just a low stakes grinder online. I rarely played live at that point. I’d done a couple. I was working on an IT job where I traveled to the UK a lot. So, I played some live tournaments over the UK, including with I don’t know if you know, Neil Channing and Black Belt Poker, but I played one of his live events. Had some fun with that. But I was really, I was really like an artist. I was I was very much, I didn’t really have any involvement in the industry at the time. And I wasn’t even really playing big games, right? I was playing like $100 buy-ins live and like $1, $2, $5 buy-ins on stars and things like that, right? So just kind of on a lark. Now, I’ve actually been to WPT Montreal in 2013. As just sort of a trip, I decided, it was one of those things I’d been in poker. I think I started poker in 2010. I started playing poker in 2010. So, I’d only been in it like three years. It was kind of one of those lark things, where I thought it was better than it was. And I thought, well, you know, I can go play the WPT, right? It’s just you know, it’s just no tournament. So, I went out to Montreal in 2013, and actually won myself a ticket to join the to play the main event.
Brad: What was the buy-in to that main event?
Lyle: That one was 3000.
Lyle: For, for 2013. The day before the tournament, I had a change of heart and I decided I was going to sell the ticket and take the cash, rather than playing in a tournament that was like 30 times the biggest buy-in I played prior to that.
Brad: What was your thoughts? What was your thoughts on when you wanted to sell?
Lyle: Well, basically, I came down. Initially, when I first got the ticket, I’m like, great, I’m gonna play a WPT. And then I’m looking at this, and I’m looking at this ticket. And it’s like a face value of 3000. And that’s more than I’ve ever wanted in a poker tournament in my entire life at this point, right. And I’m thinking I can go play this, but I can easily sit down and halfway through day one, I’m out with zero, right? And this is worth, this is worth bupkis. Right now, this is worth three grand to somebody out there who can actually take it and maybe go deep in the WPT because they’ve, they played this the size of it before. So, I actually decided that I wasn’t ready to play that size event. And so, I went out, I found somebody to buy it, and I sold it for was that 3300. So, it’s 3000 plus 300. And I sold it for 3000. So, I gave them basically, they got a free, they got a free, the free admin fee out of the out of the deal. So that was my 2013 experience. And I actually left pretty happy with the whole experience thinking okay, you made, you, you won a big tournament, you just won the most you’ve ever won in poker for three grand, pretty happy with the experience, that was great. And I decided right down, I was going to come back the following year. So, when I made that decision, I was like, okay, how am I going to do this? And as the summer kind of rolled on, I’m thinking, I think it’d be a fun, sort of a fun thing. If I do like an entire trip with it. And I leave medicine at my car and I drive all the way across Canada to Montreal, which is like 330, 500 kilometers. I think it is one way.
Brad: Oh, man, we got to do all these. What’s a kilometer to a mile?
Lyle: Kilometers, so that’d be, that’d be like 2500 miles probably. I would I would guess five eights, five eighths of a mile equal one kilometer.
Brad: So, it’s very far.
Lyle: Yeah, it’s a, it’s a.
Brad: It’s a hell of a drive.
Lyle: Yeah, let’s, let’s say, let’s say Colorado to New York.
Brad: Right. Okay.
Lyle: For an American audience kind of kind of thing. Or Montana, Montana to Boston kind of thing. Montana to Detroit kind of, kind of area. But I know those are different distances. But you know, that’s the sort of, it’s a cross across a large chunk of the country and.
Brad: Right. It’s super far.
Lyle: Yeah. And I planned, like a five day, I planned like a five-day trip. And it worked out that I got there basically on exactly the fifth day because I’m driving through Northern Ontario. In my little sports, in my little cheap sports car. It’s blizzarding, like crazy. And this is early November.
Brad: Perfect weather for a cheap sports car.
Lyle: Yeah, exactly. So, so I’m like barely making, I’m like barely making 30, 40 miles an hour down these back, back highways in, in Northern Ontario. Tried to get through. So, I did finally make it and I played. I won another ticket that year as well. And I played the event and I busted on the first day. And I wrote up a kind of a funny blog about the whole thing that the entire focus of the blog was, if you’re going to go on the biggest poker trip of your life, you probably shouldn’t start with the worst decision of your life, which was to drive across Canada in November, in a cheap sports car.
Brad: They have planes in Canada, right? Did like,
Lyle: Yes, they get.
Brad: It was an option.
Lyle: Yeah, it was an option. And that’s how I got there in 2013. But for some reason, I decided, you know, I wanted to I wanted to try this service lane. Anderson was the editor at the time, for Pokers Canada, and he happened to catch my blog and thought it was quite a funny thing. So, he had me sort of beef it up a bit and write, write a lead article for Pokers Canada, and that was my that was my kind of foray into being a writer for Poker News Canada.
Brad: So bad decisions pay off, I think
Lyle: I just hit it off. That’s
Brad: That’s the moral of the story.
Lyle: That’s the moral of the story, bad decisions can pay-og. Even in poker, you don’t always have to make good, good, good decisions for it to pay off.
Brad: That’s true. That’s one of the saving graces of poker, actually. It’s a, poker can be a very confusing, mental thing, where you do something and it works out, but it’s absolutely the wrong thing. And then that wrong thing gets reinforced. And then you continue to do that. And then you get crushed over your life. And you wonder, what am I doing? Without ever analyzing whether the initial decision was correct or not.
Lyle: Yeah, 100%. That’s, that’s huge with poker.
Brad: So as a contributor, as an editor at Poker News Canada, could you tell, tell me, what’s one of the favorite stories that you’ve covered, so far?
Lyle: There’s quite a few actually. I think one of the favorite pieces that I’ve written myself was, back in I guess it probably be 2015 or so, when the RFID tables were first starting to become big on the live stream tables and the live, live TV tables. There’s a lot of questions about how that whole technology worked, and about the security and things like that. So, I actually sat down and did a fairly in-depth, have come, I come from an IT background. Anyways, I was assistant, a system administrator, Unix system administrator for 30 years prior to, prior to coming into the poker world. So, it was sort of that sort of tech area was, was right down my line. And I did a pretty deep introspective of how the RFID works between the cards and the tables. And how it’s pretty much impossible for it to be a security issue with the way the low frequency RFID stuff works. It’s like literally impossible for anybody else to pick up cards. And that’s, of course, what everybody was concerned about initially was that you’ve got this, quote unquote, cards that are broadcasting quote, unquote, their, their, their values to the table, quote, unquote. So that’s one of my favorite ones that, one of my favorite ones that I’ve done. I think one of the favorite ones that we covered in the magazine that actually wasn’t mine, but it was, it was, it was Lane’s the former editors. He met, he did one of the funniest pieces I’ve ever read on the GTO application of throwing things on the 888 online client, you know. You’d like to throw them the cake and things like that. And he had this like, dead, straight face, serious article about, about when is the good time to throw the cake? And when’s the good time to throw the, throw the? And we know, what does it mean, when somebody drops, drops all the chips on you? What does it mean when they throw a trophy at you? Well, it was it was hilarious, really well done.
Brad: On the app that I play PKC poker, you can also throw things and
Brad: There is actually like, there are things you can learn from people who do throw things in a very serious way.
Brad: I found that, typically, people tend to start throwing things and when you’re taking your time when they have a good hand. For the most part, they don’t mess with you when, if they’re bluffing, which is kind of parallel to live poker in that, whenever somebody starts talking, whenever in a big pot, that typically means that they are relaxed. That they have a strong hand.
Brad: When they go stone faced, they’re more likely to be bluffing. Of course, you know, it varies from player to player. The more experienced guys can talk when they are bluffing. But if you’re playing recreational players and they start getting animated and talking, they, you can be pretty sure that they have a good hand.
Lyle: Yeah, they probably does.
What is up you future star of poker, you. Coach Brad here and I just wanted to take a moment to let you know about PKC poker. If you’re sitting there wondering why? Why is coach Brad promoting this PKC poker app thing? Allow me a moment to explain my why. Battling in cash games has been my livelihood for the past 15 years. It’s how I survive and put food on the table, which makes it imperative that I either test out or seek qualified opinions on all the poker platforms on the market. One juicy fine can mean the difference between a meh year and an amazing family vacation in Hawaii kind of year. With that said, I’ve tried almost all the major poker apps on the market to date. And despite the hype about amazingly juicy games, I’ve come away from the experience unsatisfied. I was just never able to find amazing success against seemingly weak competition. And in one specific case, was getting outright destroyed by passive villains playing more than 50% of their hands. What the heck was going on? After many evenings sitting in the bathtub, wondering if I had lost it, I finally dug into the data and learn something that shouldn’t have been too surprising to you. These dudes were colluding and super using their pants off. So, I swore off those free money, decentralized, devil apps and decided to go back to my more familiar streets of ignition. It was then that I was contacted by a good friend of mine, who turned out to be the Vice President of worldwide operations at PKC. Him and I had a long in depth conversation about security, the ecosystem and the future direction of PKC. And he managed to convince me to give it a shot. That shot turned into an incredible six months with an hourly rate, that’s about five times what it would have been playing on any other US platform. As it turns out, I didn’t forget how to play. I just needed a level playing field to return to my crushing whites. I have no doubt that you, my community, my audience is going to play poker somewhere. And I want to be damn sure that you don’t go through the pain and frustration I felt by messing around with any poker app besides PKC. This is why promoting PKC is a no brainer. I love my community. And I want to put you in the best position to succeed at this game that we both love so much. So, if you’d like to join me in the streets of PKC, simply head to enhanceyouredge.com/PKC and get your invite code to play. You must have an invite code and you must be 21 years of age or older. One more time that’s enhanceyouredge.com/PKC. Best of luck, and now on with the show.
Brad: So, how does one go from being this guy that’s writing his, his article about making bad decisions, to being a poker news candidate, contributor, to now being the editor? How did that happen?
Lyle: Well, I spent, I mean for I don’t know, for the last three or four years, I’ve been like a part time contributor to the magazine doing mostly tech articles. But I also do a lot of the live reporting. We do Canadian, we do a lot of the Canadian live stops. For like Deerfoot poker. We were just in Winnipeg for played out poker championships in early September, that we covered. So, I’ve been doing a lot of that as well. And Lane Anderson was the editor prior to, prior to me up until May of this year. And a few years back, he started a side business, where he’s basically running a social media marketing company as well. And Poker News Canada was one of his clients initially at the start of a side of the business. But it has grown so much over the last few years, that he was just unable to sort of keep up with that News Poker Canada. So, he gave that up earlier this year. And as I was sort of senior, the senior contributor at that point, I just kind of assumed, I just kind of assumed the role afterwards. So
Brad: Very nice. Congratulations.
Lyle: Well, thank you very much. Thank you very much. It’s a, it’s, it’s actually quite good. I’m hoping that we can, I’ms hoping that we can expand the live coverage a little bit. Now, it’s something that I’m going to be focusing on for at least, at least for the next year or so where I don’t really plan to have anything else as my main, as my main focus. So, I’m hoping that we can sort of expand live coverage. There’s a few extra places I’d like to be able to get into and work with. But yeah, I’m excited about how we’re gonna talk about how things are going to move, move forward.
Brad: That’s awesome, man. I’m excited for you. It’s strange how life gives us these little opportunities based on just something kind of silly, right? Just a blog post.
Lyle: A hundred percent. And I mean, if I was thinking about this, my life kind of goes in weird, in weird patterns. I mean, I mentioned to you that I spent five years working in West Africa for, before we moved when we were chatting. And I’ve, I’ve got these periods in my life, where if you sit down and you know, at age 23, if you’d have told me that 10 years later, I was going to be sitting in Lagos, Nigeria, running a computer room for a seismic processing company. I’d have thought that was the most absurd thing that you’d ever suggested to me yet. 10 years later, there I was sitting there. At 33, when I left Legos, if you’d have told me that 10 years later, I’d have been working as a, in a military training site in Canada helping to train British soldiers, I’d have told you, you were insane. And that was the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard in my life. And yet, 10 years, later there I was sitting, I’m sitting in the, and that’s not working for the, working for a defense contractor and helping train British soldiers at the military base here. And once again, if you know in 2010, you’d have, you’d have told me that 10 years from now you’re going to be you’re going to be editing a poker magazine, I’d have told you that was the most absurd thing you could have possibly said about me. So, my life goes in really weird, in really weird ways where I have no idea where I’m going to be in 10 years-time, because 10 years ago, I had no way to predict it, that I would have been here.
Brad: And I think that’s the sign of living a pretty good life. It’s exciting. You have adventures, no stagnation. Moving forward, I, you know, that that’s something that I can appreciate. So, what would you consider as a poker player, your greatest poker success?
Lyle: My greatest poker success? Well, we talked about the, we talked about the WPT tickets that I won.
Lyle: That’s, that’s gonna be, that still actually is my most, my most profit in, that I’ve won from a poker tournament in raw dollar values. The most reason for that is that I play very low. I tend to play very low stakes, poker, whether it’s online or in live settings. So, I’d say right now if, my probably my most proud achievement is the one that I’m actually working on at the moment. In November of last year, I started an account on well, I hope it’s okay to talk about other poker sites. But I started an account at about, which is a very sort of fun, recreational type, type site. And as a lark, I started playing some of the free roles, built up a tiny bankroll and thought, hey, I can, I can actually freeroll this. Fast forward to September of this year, and right now, and I’m sitting on like a 230-euro bankroll, that I’ve freerolled entirely from zero. And I’ve sort of moved up from that sort of nano, micro stakes, into the kind of low middle one euro, two euro, five euro, buy ins, at the time, and I’m hoping to keep, I’m hoping to keep plowing up. And I’ve been streaming, I’ve been streaming that whole thing, too. So, at the moment, that’s probably the thing I’m the most, I’m the most proud of being able to do.
Brad: That’s awesome.
Lyle: Because in the past, I’ve largely been a breakeven player. I play poker as a, as entertainment, if that makes sense. It’s a, it’s a game that I like to play. And it’s an activity that I like to spend time doing. And especially when I was working at other things, if I was spending 100 bucks a month on Poker, and I wasn’t winning anything back from that, I was okay with that. Because, you know, I would look at my friends and they’d spend 100 bucks a month on golf.
Brad: Right. It’s their hobby.
Lyle: It’s a, it’s, it’s entertaining. Yeah.
Brad: Absolutely. And I just, by the way, we’re gonna have to edit all that part out
Brad: Because there’s no, no talking about other sites.
Brad: No. Just kidding. I’m just kidding. I don’t care. I could care less. So, I don’t play a ton of live tournaments. My, I mostly play online. And I play cash games when I do play live.
Brad: But I did play a live tournament a few months ago in Cherokee. And one of the things that change, because I don’t play them often at all, is all of the guys walking around with their iPads and the chip stacks and taking the pictures. Is there anything like as a player, there’s this like, as a player, maybe there’s this intimidation factor? Looking at these guys? Are there anything like, are they approachable? Like, what is the, you know, is there anything that players miss as far as the interaction with that that team specifically?
Lyle: Yeah, and I’m actually I’m actually a good person to talk to about that, because I’ve actually got both sides of the coin, right?
Brad: Right. Exactly.
Lyle: I’m one of those guys that actually ran with my iPad, at live tournaments. I’m also one of the guys that sits at the felt place sometimes. Yeah, I mean, we’re totally we’re totally approachable. And when we’re doing live reporting, our purpose is to be a fly on the wall, generally speaking, right? So, we don’t want to interfere with the action in any way. We don’t want to bother a player while he’s playing. Or while she’s playing. We don’t want to be at all involved. We want to be completely separated, observing the action and then recording it so that we can take it back and tell, tell the world, tell the world what happened. That said we love interacting with players when they want to interact with us, and when it’s not affecting play at the hands. So, I mean, joking around with players in between hands. That’s what makes, that’s what makes doing the job fun. And you know, so I would say yeah, if you’re interested in if you’re interested in getting to know us better come and chat with us. And you’re probably you know, it’s, as a player, I know it can sometimes be intimidating. But I would, I would say, two sides from the player side, if you don’t mind attention, feel free to come talk to us and introduce yourself and you’ll probably get slightly more coverage than you would have got otherwise, okay? If you don’t want attention, i.e. for some reason, you don’t want people to know you’re there. You’re just shy. You don’t want, you don’t want somebody watching you, pull me aside quietly say, you know what, I not, I’m a little socially awkward. I’d rather you not, I’d rather not take my picture or whatever. 99% of us tournament reporters will honor that happily. And the 1% that doesn’t, is going to get crapped on by his boss, most likely.
Brad: That is, see that’s awesome information. And something that I’ve always wondered. So basically, you know, if you want people to, if you want them to give more updates on your chipsets on Poker News, go talk to them.
Lyle: Go talk to them. Be friendly.
Brad: If you want to, like be anonymous, then go talk to them, like either way. Go talk to them, like, start that relationship and that conversation. I think that’s awesome information there. As a poker player, I know that maybe you don’t play as much poker as a lot of the guests on the show. But what would you say is the most high impact thing you’ve done to improve your poker game?
Lyle: Oh, that’s a tough question.
Brad: Or a counter question is, what is your process for regularly improving your game look like?
Lyle: So, regularly improving my game, I generally spend, I’ve got, one of the reasons, one of the reasons that I chose to be a streamer, is because I can get a community of people that I consider to be relatively good players, playing roughly the same games that I’m playing. So, it’s not like we’re, you know, it’s not like we’re in different worlds. And we can, we can talk out hands together, to sort of figure out after the fact, was that the right move? Was that the wrong move? Is, you know, what’s the situational, what’s the situational factors here to, to maybe make it a good move here, but not a good move in other spots? You know, those sorts of things. So that’s probably my main focus is a while I’m streaming and after streaming, getting together with a couple, specifically, a couple of guys on my stream, and just chatting about, about how we think things went and we chat about their hands and my hands, and you know, all of it. So, it’s, and I think that’s probably a common answer from a lot of poker players. You’ve got a group of friends that you trust their opinion on poker, and you all try to improve together by analyzing, by analyzing the hands,
Brad: I would say, I would say it’s a common, it’s a common way, it’s how, you know, I grew as a poker player in my, in my early days. Finding a community, finding that tribe that loves poker as much as you, that can just talk about poker for 12 hours straight and never get sick of it, and loves the strategy aspect. Those kinds of people are gold, as long as they are actively improving. And they’re not just talking about poker, and they’re, they have a good thought process. Because on the flip side, you get somebody in there that has bad thought processes and is not actively improving the information, the feedback they give is not going to be that valuable. And it can actually hurt you more than it helps.
Lyle: Yeah, no, I couldn’t, I can totally buy, I could totally buy that. I’ve actually been a by part of what I’m, I’ve been sort of cultivating a couple of relationships as well with some of the streamers and ambassadors with Unibet, since I’ve been playing there so much. And I’ve been getting a ton, of sort of assistance from guys like Ian Simpson and Darren Carney, which I’ve just totally grateful for, because I’m sort of, sort of feel like I’m in a spot where guys like that shouldn’t even really want to talk to me about poker. Because no,
Brad: Here, here it goes. So, here’s the other side of the coin, right? I’m a, I’m a poker coach, and I have my community and I talk to people about cards all the time. And I’m a cash game player, and I’ve been that for the last 15 years. It’s my sole source of income. It’s what I do. And from a poker perspective, poker can be solitary. And from a cash game players perspective. What’s my goal? Like, what’s my goal in life as a cash game player? It is to take other people’s money, period, right? It’s cutthroat. It’s ruthless. And as a human being, I’m not super cutthroat and ruthless, like outside of the poker table. So that predatory element has worn on me and I found that I get, I just I get such fulfillment, giving back and talking to people no matter what stakes they’re playing. When they asked me questions, I want to answer. I want to help them. I see a younger version of myself trying to come up into the poker world. So, I’m grateful for giving, giving my time back to those people. So, look at it that way, that those people talking to you, that’s their fulfillment. And that’s their blessing that they’re giving to you. And I think it’s a win-win for everybody involved
Lyle: Hundred percent agree with that and I just, I’m just super grateful that the guys that have been taken an interest in, in what I’m doing so.
Brad: Yeah, I would say that the poker world in general is way more generous than it gets credit for.
Lyle: I agree 100% with that. I know the, I know some of the charity stuff that goes on behind the scenes that nobody ever really talks about. But there’s like huge amounts of money that just get one out of the poker world and then just get handed over to charity in various ways, right?
Brad: Massive, massive amounts of money. What would you say is your biggest failure in your poker career? What’s the time where maybe you hit rock bottom or you felt miserable? Let’s get in the misery business for a minute.
Lyle: Okay. I burned myself out. Probably the 2015, 2016 timeframe. I started doing a stream called Anything But Hold On, where I was doing mix game. Mixed game streaming is basically everybody else was doing hold on right there. There’s a whole bunch of people, it was you know, Jamie’s, Jason Somerville, Jamie staples, all those guys were doing tons of hold’em streams at the time. And I thought, well, nobody’s really doing anything else. So, I was doing studs and rods and badugi, and all sorts of fun stuff like that. And I was having a great time with it. And I did two seasons of stuff, probably 60 or 70 episodes over those two seasons. And I just burnt myself out like crazy doing it. That’s what I got.
Brad: What do you feel? What are your thoughts?
Lyle: Well, in part it was because I was doing it while I was also working full time at the military base doing that training. So, I basically come home for full shift and I sit down and I do five or six hours or seven hours of streaming. And I turn the stream off, I go to bed, I’d wake up, I do the whole thing, I do the whole thing again, and at a certain point, I just got to where I was, I just couldn’t look at the poker table. Again, I just couldn’t look at the stream, I couldn’t look at the poker table, and I just kind of walked away from, it’s kind of walked away from it. And I sort of feel bad about the fact that I sort of walked away from it because it was actually developing something that I quite enjoyed. But I was just to the point where I was super exhausted in my real world. And I couldn’t, I just couldn’t, I couldn’t, I couldn’t keep up both things that I was doing and make both of them worthwhile. So, one of them had to give and it was the it was the stream that ended up, they ended up giving. But I do regret stopping that and not coming back to streaming for like three or four years.
Brad: I think that’s very natural, normal feelings. I’m, I experienced that myself. Now that I’m fully invested into growing Enhance Your Edge. And I have my team, and I’m doing these podcasts episodes. And I’m creating three pieces of content on Instagram and YouTube videos and I stream three days a week and managing, you know, 10 people and writing articles, and have all these other projects that I’m also juggling, ad creation, and just all these things that when a few months ago, before I started being fully involved in all this, I can wait, I wake up in the morning, my whole days planned around playing cards. I play my five hours. I go to the gym. I meditate. I take care of myself, all these things. And now the thought of playing five hours a day is a little, it’s not a good thought. It’s not something, it’s not something that I look forward to or have tons of motivation to do. And you know, the reality is, in a poker sense, this is the reality. Poker is very mentally exhausting. It’s very mentally draining. It requires a great commitment. You have to take care of yourself, mentally and physically. And if you’re doing it at the end of a long day, if you’re doing it when you’re tired, it’s gonna it’s going to wear you down. You’ll get burnt out. I think that’s just a normal emotional response, because of how mentally taxing the game is.
Lyle: Yeah. No, I agree with that 100% and I would add to that, that streaming poker is about twice as mentally challenging is just
Brad: Absolutely. I agree.
Lyle: People don’t realize how tough it is to actually be a streamer and play at the same time.
Brad: Talking is, talking is exhausting. You know, poker is a game of data collection analysis, adjustments. And when I play, I play my four tables and I go for about two and a half hours, fully involved and then I take a break. I go to the gym. I do something, then I come back and finish it. But afterwards, I feel my, like my brain is mush, right? I feel like I just need to sit on the couch, I need to watch an episode of some TV show. and just completely get away from poker for a number of hours. And when you’re streaming, not only are you doing all that, you’re also interacting with the audience. You’re verbalizing your thought process as you’re typing. It’s just an added layer of things that you have to do on top of the all the other things. So yeah, when I’m, when I’m streaming, I mean, it’s tough. It’s doubly tough than just playing cards.
Lyle: Yeah. Yeah, 100%. 100%. I think that’s part of what, what, what burnt me out before. And I’m trying to mitigate that this time by being a little bit more cautious about how long I’m on and well, and also the fact that I’m sort of doing it as my main. I mean, granted, I’m working the job as Poconos candidate editor as well. But it’s all poker related. So, it’s pretty easy to kind of all fit it in without one side stressing the other side, if that makes sense.
Lyle: Much easier than it was back in the day when I was, when I was working, working on the military base. So
Brad: I believe that sir, I believe that 100%. What is what some common poker advice you hear given that you completely disagree with?
Lyle: So, one of the things, I’m pretty much exclusively a tournament player, I dabble a tiny, tiny, tiny bit in cash. But I’m almost entirely a tournament player. And I think one of the, one of the things that I find, at least at the levels that I play, is that the current poker theory tends to be too willing to get your chips in the middle, in a tournament sense. The reason I say that is because in a tournament sense, you, and of course, let’s, let’s clarify that I’m talking about tournaments in the purest sense, i.e. a freeze out, freeze out of that, where you where you’re one and done, basically. So, so not
Brad: Not a reentry or
Lyle: Yeah, not a reentry. You can’t, you can’t rebuy, you can’t, you know, you can’t restock your chips. You’re, you’ve got your chips, and that’s what you got. Those, the last chip in your stack is super valuable. And it’s super valuable from the moment you sit down at that table in my mind. And I tend to think that people are too willing in tournament situations to put that last chip on the line. I will counter that however, by also saying that I fully understood, I fully admit that I’m probably far too cautious about putting that last chip in the middle. So, it goes both ways.
Brad: I would say in a tournament setting, it’s probably better to be far more cautious than the other way.
Brad: Far too willing to just get the money in. Especially when you know, you can just say chips and somebody brings you, you know, throw some hundreds at them. And they bring you some more money, right?
Lyle: Yeah. But I also think that poker, poker tournament is, poker tournament play is as much a bankroll management game as it is a card game. And I mean that in the sense that if you’re playing, if you’re playing at the levels that you should be playing at based on the bankroll that you have, you’ll almost never go broke playing tournament poker, because you will have enough buy-ins to withstand the down swings, that will then eventually turn around and give you the, give you the up swings to come back. Now, obviously, that’s, you know, obviously, statistics can kick you in the butt sometimes. And you know, you might you might go through your 100 buy-ins or you 200 buy-ins or whatever. But yeah, it’s something where I, so there is, when you look at it in a long term, and a long term way, it actually is more similar to cash than many people think. Because even when I do get my last chip in, and it doesn’t work out for me, I know that that’s just one iteration, over thousand iterations of that particular tournament that I’m going to potentially play over the next two or three years, right?
Lyle: So, it still is, there still is that long term rebuy kind of option. It’s just that the revised that the next day in an exam. Right?
Brad: Right. Exactly. And the variance, the variance in tournaments is pretty massive.
Brad: And I think that’s, that’s a major, major difference in tournament and cash and one of the, there are multiple reasons why I’ve, I’ve migrated more towards cash games, but I enjoy quitting what I want to as well.
Brad: I know that I’m a very schedule-oriented person with a regimented lifestyle. And I’m, you know, I’m an, I’m an old man. I’m getting older, right? I remember the days when I would sit at the live poker table and always be the youngest kid at the table. And now, unfortunately, I’ve set some tables and been the oldest player at the table, which I guess just has a tendency to happen over time. But I’m in bed by 10pm, I wake up early, do my stuff, get ready, get prepared. In a live tournament, I can’t just leave at 9:30 and let myself blind out until the day ends.
Brad: I’m forced to play until 12 or 1am. And then sleep horrible and, you know, not be so good the next day. So, I’ve kind of avoided tournaments. That’s, that’s one of the reasons. There are multiple reasons. But
Lyle: Yeah. I mean, that makes good sense. And, and the, that aspect is does make tournament play, does make tournament play difficult. You sort of have to manage your time, a little bit better. Snap perspective. I think the, probably for me, the reason that I focused on tournaments is I like the extra added, I like the added strategy of the blind levels, and all of that changing. So, the value of your stack is constantly changing over time. And I like that added. I like that added thought process to go into it. I find, find when I have played cash, it doesn’t take me long to just sort of lose my mind to the boredom, if that makes sense. Because it never changes. It’s always it’s always one-two, it’s always you know, $1 small blind, $2 big blind, let’s, you know, let’s raise to five, let’s raise it and it just becomes so routine. And I find myself
Brad: And you stop playing big enough,
Lyle: Well, probably. But I find myself
Brad: Its good too. Its 10 and a quarter game.
Lyle: I find myself losing. I find myself making robotic plays that are not necessarily the best play at the time, simply because I’ve just sort of gotten into the rhythm of the game. Whereas in a in a tournament setting, I’m constantly having to kind of reassess where I’m, where my stack is at, where I’m at. Because it’s always changing.
Brad: Right? It’s a continual evolving problem. versus a puzzle. Yeah, you need to solve the cash games
Lyle: One of the, it’s one of the reasons why I love the mixed game so much, like the high-low, split-pot games, were the ones that I loved the most, games like that. Its because there’s so much going on in the hands to keep your brain active.
Brad: Yeah. I feel that. and I haven’t varied, played, I’ve played some PLO. I haven’t varied my game selection over time, as much as I probably should have. But I always enjoy playing PLO, I enjoy playing the other games, because it’s new. It’s something. It’s different. It’s fresh. It’s new.
Brad: So, should invest more time playing those mix games, even just for fun, not as like an ultra-competitive thing. Don’t have to play ultra-high stakes. If you could, you know imagine there’s a player out there who’s 24-25 years old, who’s excited about poker wants to give it a shot, what’s some wisdom that you could give them in a sit-down conversation?
Lyle: Play within your means. Bankroll management is as much as is probably the most important part of being a good poker player. You can, there’s so many stories of players that are amazing players, and just end up broke because they can’t manage, they can’t understand money. I mean, Stu Ungar would obviously be one of the, one of the, one of the clearest examples of both of those, you know, of both the high and the low. But he’s, he’s by no means the only example in the poker world. So, I think, I think, yeah, try to try to manage, try to manage your time. Don’t, try not to buy into the myth of you got to go broke three or four times before you can make it in poker. I don’t necessarily think that’s true. I think you can I think you can manage what you have. So yeah, I think that would be my advice. Don’t, don’t go crazy. Go treat poker like a business. Treat it like, treat it like you’ve got an investment. And you’re investing that money in a return, that you’re fairly confident.
Brad: And even furthering your education as well. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself.
Brad: Learn, learning and growing. I think that’s something that people don’t do enough of, they don’t invest into themselves and their own knowledge and their own growth. Because, look, the thing is, you’re trying to make it as a poker Pro. There are people that have blazed the path that are that have a model that they can show you, that can help you out on your journey and save you lots of time and energy and frustration. So, don’t shy away from that. Because that those lessons that wisdom is very valuable. Even the relationships you get with those guys, is extremely valuable. So, as it relates to poker, reading materials, if you could, if you could gift these up and coming poker players who are searching for greatness, a book, what book would you choose, and why?
Lyle: So, one of the first books I read in poker was Doyle Brunson’s Super System. Although I think it was actually technically super resistant to. And I will start this off by saying that book is hopelessly out of date, and you probably should not read it. From the perspective of, I’m going to learn how to play good poker from reading this book. I would still recommend it as one of the first books somebody reads as a poker player, because it does give you a very general idea of how to play good poker. None of those specifics work anymore because the game has moved well beyond where, where supersystem was. But when he talks about hand selection, don’t listen to his specific advice about hand selection, listen to his general advice about hand selection. Right?
Brad: What do you mean by that?
Lyle: Well, because that one of the, I think one of the, for me anyways, one of the most difficult concepts early in poker to get over was the idea that I could have a strong hand without it being a pair, or an ace, or, you know, these sorts of things, that, that
Brad: That relative strength versus actual strength.
Lyle: Relative strength versus actual strength. The strength of possession, positional, positionally wise how the strength of your hand varies as how you could do it. And in the in the original Super System stuff, Brunson talks a lot about that. Now, he’s going to be using examples of hands that we’ve sort of moved beyond now, because it’s, you know, it’s an older style of play. But the way he talks about thinking about things like suited connectors and gaff hands and suited hands and things like that are, I think very valuable for a brand-new player to get. And the way he explained it, for me anyways, was very easily easy to understand. So, I actually recommend, actually recommend that as an early book. I’ve lately been getting a lot of help out of very recent one actually Dara O’Kearney’s, Poker Satellite Strategy, which is for satellite stuff. He’s, I think he’s one of the currently, one of the game’s experts on ICM, and those sorts of really tight, really tight spots. He’s one of the game’s best short stack players as well at the moment, both of which are key aspects of satellite play. So, I think he’s actually one of the best people in the world right now to write that book. And it’s an excellent book. So
Brad: Awesome. That’ll be in the show notes. For those of you all, listening that, want to, want to check out these books, both books will be in the show notes on the Show page.
Lyle: that also gives you a nice old school, new school.
Brad: Old school. Yeah, I started out reading Super System, as well. And I tell everybody, I, you know, I’m not a massive fan of hand charts, I’m not a massive fan of preflop starting hands, set in stone. Because situations always change. There’s different archetypes at the table that affect those ranges, there are a baseline strategy that you should always be willing to deviate from, based on the available information that you have. So, I’m kind of anti-hand charts, but I do see the utility in them, especially for folks that are just starting to play, but don’t treat them as like the gospel, right?
Brad: DVA, based on information, based on the villains that you’re actually playing against, because that’s how you maximize win rate. That’s how you maximize your hourly rate and become the best player that you’re capable of.
Lyle: Yeah. Whether you’re playing cash or tournaments, poker is about exploiting the other people at the table that you’re shooting with. That’s, that’s always going to be the way
Brad: Exactly. If you’re, if your button ranges, say, the top 40% of hands, and that’s what you say, okay, I’m gonna raise a button with my top 40% of hands. And the blinds are two 70-year-old men, that are super overly tight, you should be raising 100% of your button range. Like 100%, without even looking at your cards to exploit the fact that they’re folding too much. If villains are three-betting way too much, then maybe you have to tighten up your opening range. Or maybe you take it to the next step. And you start four betting versus three bets. But always use the players, use that information to your advantage. Don’t just stick to a script and play based on that, because the results are not going to be so great. When you began your poker journey, what’s something that you use to strongly believe, that you’ve recently changed your mind, and what led to that change?
Lyle: When I started playing poker, I was very much of the opinion that you should always get your money in with the best hand. And it actually took me way longer than it should have to figure out that if you always get your money in with the best hand, you’re not bluffing enough and you’re giving away way too much money at the table. If you’re not, if you’re not getting called and looking like an idiot from time to time, you’re not bluffing nearly enough.
Brad: If you’re not holding the best hand, you’re not folding often enough.
Lyle: Exactly. If sometimes, you know, it push you off the best hand, you’re not thinking properly enough about the hands. So that’s probably one of the, one of the biggest things where it used to be, it would be, I would be in a situation where I would never want to put my money in, in a spot where I wasn’t 95% certain I was best. I now see the value of check gray shoving in certain spots when I know I don’t have the winning hand. Because it can be the winning hand when he falls.
Brad: And I can say it from personal experience when I hear over here guys talk about, I. I’ve gotten my money in good every single time today. I never get my money and bad blah blah blah blah blah. Those guys are always short stack.
Brad: Always. They always have seven big blinds.
Lyle: And they’re usually complaining about their bad beat before the bubble.
Brad: Exactly. Like it’s, it just I see it over and over and over again. And there’s a reason for that, they’re not in there mixing it up, they’re not taking risks, like they should be. And realizing their fold equity because actual equity is one thing, and fold equity is a whole another thing that’s absolutely real and should be thought about more. It’s more intangible. It’s not as concrete as actual raw equity. But you ought to be putting a lot of energy and effort into thinking about fold equity and how to maximize the pressure that you put on people.
Lyle: 100% agree with that.
Brad: What is, what’s a project that you’re currently working on that’s near and dear to your heart? It doesn’t 100% have to be poker related. Just something that means, matters to you.
Lyle: The stream I was talking about earlier, actually, this this new Unibet freeroll stream that I’m doing. I call it The Mothership, and we’re, I’m building a fairly small community at the moment. We don’t have a timeout. We have a ton of people that come out on a regular basis looking at like about a dozen regular viewers at the moment, but I’m actually more concerned with quality than I am with, with quantity in this. And I’m, what I want is to build a community of really committed people that are all friends. And when they are not coming out to watch me as a celebrity streamer. There were there were all coming together in a place. And I just happened to be the guy sitting in front of the camera playing the playing the poker, but we’re all just friends coming together and hanging out. Hanging out together. One of the things I love about that is that we also tend to play games together, right? Well, we’ll jump into the same tournament together, we’ll place it and goes together. And, and it’s just, it’s just a ton of fun to be chatting and chat and plan on the tables at the same time. And I really, it’s really near and dear to my heart, not so much from the perspective that I ever think I’m going to be, I’m going to turn it into this massive, massive poker stream. But it’s near and dear to my heart because it’s a group of friends that are very, that we’re all very close and we’re all having a really good time with our poker journey so, so that matters, I think.
Brad: And that is way more important than reaching for fame, and that sort of thing. You know, relationships, your tribe, these people matter. At the end of the day, they matter more than anything else. So, kudos and best of luck on your stream going. I know that you have an emotional reason driving that goal. So, I have no doubt that you’ll be successful in the way that you wish to be successful regarding your stream. I appreciate that. At the end of the day in 10 years when you’re doing God knows what, and God knows where, maybe you’re not involved with poker anymore. What would you like your poker legacy to be? How would you like to be remembered?
Lyle: I like to be remembered as somebody who did good work as writer and as a media person in poker. But also, a somebody who is able to help some people along, get a start, either in the media or in poker itself. Helping them with the poker strategy, helping them with writing, helping them with, with just getting involved. I like to be able to help people. I like to be able to bring people up. I like you’ll give people a chance and an opportunity. So, if I’ve done that, and if I’ve made somebody else successful, then I will consider myself a success, I think.
Brad: Lyle, you’re the man. I love that and anybody that wants to get involved in poker media, I give you absolute permission to bombard Lyles inbox and
Lyle: Absolutely. Absolutely. Come chat with me. Come and chat with me.
Brad: Finally, to close out the show, where can the Chasing Poker Greatness audience find you on the inter webs?
Lyle: capokernews.com is our Poker News Canada site. That’s going to be the, it’s going to be the main focus for that side of things. And I would say elron6900, that’s e-l-r-o-n-6-9-0-0 on twitter will get you pretty much access to everything else. imelron66 on Twitch if you want to go there as well for my for my stream. Well they want to Facebook
Brad: Awesome. All that will be in the show notes as well.
Brad: Sir, it has been an absolute pleasure and honor having this conversation with you. I enjoyed it a ton. And let’s try to do it again in the coming years
Lyle: Sounds like fun. It’s been great to meet you and great to chat with you. I’ve had a lot of fun myself. So, thanks very much.
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