Matt Affleck: Sustained Poker Passion For Over a Decade

Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 083

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Today’s guest on the podcast is MTT wizard and coach Matt Affleck.

Matt has over $4 million in live and online tournament cashes in his career with no plans on slowing down anytime soon.

Just a few of his career highlights include:

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A gold medal victory in a $3,150 SCOOP even for $550k.

A $264k victory in the $2,500 main event at the Coco Poker Open.

And a $139k victory in a $1,500 event at the Wynn Fall Classic.

Matt was very easy to talk to and his pure passion for the game shines through bright and clear. It’s easy to see why he’s been able to sustain success such a high level of success for as long as he has.

Also, to give you a little more perspective as to how Matt operates, here’s a little behind-the-scenes tidbit: After we stopped recording Matt wanted to pick my brain on some different coaching techniques and methodologies and we ended up talking shop for maybe another 30 minutes after the recording stopped.


I only mention this because, in my humble opinion, this is the trait of a human being who pursues excellence in whatever venture they dive into. If you truly want to draw from a deeper well in the avenue in which you’re Chasing Greatness, finding folks who are already deeper into the forest than you and asking their opinion is one of the most impactful things you can do to expedite the learning process.

With that said, today you’re going to learn:

A Greatness Bomb from Matt on efficiently using solvers to improve your MTT game.

Wise words on how to structure your off-days so that you can maintain your energy levels.

A hilarious story about the odd place in which Matt was sitting when he won his SCOOP for over $550k (Here’s a hint, there was no celebration).

And much, MUCH more!

So without any further ado, I bring to you longtime MTT crusher Matt Affleck.

Click any of the icons below, sit back, relax and enjoy my conversation with Matt Affleck 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 083: Matt Affleck

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Brad: Welcome my friend to another episode of the Chasing Poker Greatness podcast. As always, this is your host, the founder of, Brad Wilson and today’s guest on the show is MTT wizard and coach, Matt Afflect. Matt has over $4 million in live and online tournament cashes in his career with no plans of slowing down anytime soon. Just a few of his career highlights include a gold medal of victory in a 30 $150 scoop event for 550k. A 264k victory and the 20 $500 main event at the Koko poker open, and a $139,000 first place finish in a $1500 event at the Wind Fall classic. Matt was extremely easy to talk to and his pure passion for the game shines through bright and clear. It’s easy to see why he’s been able to sustain such a high level of success for as long as he has. Also, to give you a little more perspective as to how Matt operates, here’s a little behind the scenes tidbit. After we stopped recording, Matt wanted to pick my brain on some different coaching techniques and methodologies. And we ended up talking shop for maybe another 30 minutes after. I only mentioned this because in my humble opinion, this is the trait of a human being who pursues excellence in whatever venture they dive into. If you truly want to draw from a deeper well in the avenue with which you’re chasing greatness, finding folks who are already deeper in the forest than you, and asking their opinion is one of the most impactful things you can do to expedite the learning process. With that said, today you’re going to learn a greatness bomb from Matt on efficiently using solvers to improve your MTT game, wise words on how to structure your off days so that you can maintain your energy levels. Hilarious story about the odd place in which Matt was sitting when he won his scoop for over 550k, here’s a hint, no celebrations were allowed, and much, much, more. So, without any further ado, I bring to you long-time multi-table tournament crusher, Matt Afflect.

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

Matt: Good. Doing, doing very well today. So yeah, everything as well. Had a good day yesterday. And

Brad: Why are you doing so well today?

Matt: I had my biggest online posts Black Friday score yesterday. Pretty confident that’s the biggest on high score. So yeah, we won a big tournament on ACR yesterday. So pretty happy with that.

Brad: How much we rake in?

Matt: I won 200 like, ended up being like a 200k prize pool. 30-35. So

Brad: It’s not bad. That’s not bad.

Matt: Yeah, yeah, it’s pretty, felt pretty good.

Brad: I could imagine. So today, today is just a free roll like we were

Matt: I was supposed to play today. And I’m like, so I started whenever I have like, really good sections are normally end up. At first, I thought it was a, I wasn’t focusing after winning the day after. But it’s really, I think just like an energy thing because your, your best sessions end up normally being your longest sessions. And it’s just like an energy drain. And so, whenever I have a really good session, I’ll normally just take the next day off. Just for an energy standpoint. I just find I normally don’t, I’m not able to put like a full focus session. And so, normally I do play Fridays. But yeah, now we’re off today. So

Brad: Yeah. I had a, an interview with a good friend of mine, Adam Creek, and he talked about the adrenaline dump and how it can stay in our body. And it just feels rough. Like it feels a little foggy, a little sluggish the day after, and I have to assume that, you know, as you’re focusing more and more, and the intensity ramps up, which let’s be honest, I have to imagine, focus and intensity are much higher when you’re at a final table than like with 1000 runners left.

Matt: Yeah, of course.

Brad: It’s got to be a big use of resources than a big adrenaline dump when, when it all ends.

Matt: Yeah. And I was actually talking to Elliott Roe, and it was kind of like I asked him, like, you know, I’ve noticed just Mondays. Like, I find that A, my results aren’t good, and B, like, kind of my session cooldowns like, I just kind of write like, I didn’t focus very well today. I will say, you know, what it’s like, obviously, it’s like maybe harder to focus after I win money, like a little content, maybe like that. He’s like, you know, it’s probably just energy. Like,

Brad: Yep.

Matt: Sunday’s are very, very long day. So now I take my Mondays. Mondays are an off day that I take Saturday’s off before Sunday’s, just for that whole energy aspect of playing online tournaments. It’s a, you know, a  long grind. So

Brad: For sure, and I think that speaks volumes as to like where you’re at in your poker career or where somebody is when they’re consciously aware of how they feel where their energy levels are at from a day to day basis and kind of see those patterns. One of the, one of the things that I’ve noticed, when I play cash, interestingly, is that when I get stuck four or five buy ins right out of the gate, my sessions are historically longer, than if I win five or six buy ins right out of the gate, right.

Matt: Yup.

Brad: And this is so contrary to like all poker literature, everything you read. And at some point, I just kind of realized that it’s almost as if I feel like I’m a fighter, when I’m down four to four or five by ins. It’s like, I’m walking down the street, and somebody just pushed me down on the ground. And like, now I’m going to fight. And it actually makes me focus more. And I still feel confident that I’m not tilting, but I have more energy. And so, I’ve learned that, just embrace that feeling whenever it happens for me, I’ve set four to five buy ins, my focus ramps up. I’m not just pumping off stacks or anything, just use it, play an extra-long session. And, yeah, increase the average length of your sessions, if that’s how you feel.

Matt: Yeah, I’m kind of the same way. Whereas like, in tournaments and stuff whenever I’m in a downswing, like, I’m motivated to play more.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: I, a lot of people, like take time-off and stuff. Like I study more, I play more, it’s like, it’s almost like a, you need to work harder. Like, you need that type of mentality. Like yesterday, session didn’t start up too well. I think it was in like, four by ins in this tournament in the first like, hour, you know, busted a couple other like, you know, 100 and 200 you know. It was like rebounding and stuff. And like, oh-uh, this is going to be, like let’s kick it, you know, get to be an expensive session, and then kind of just kept grinding, was feeling good. I’m like, on my break, somebody. Yep. I’m feeling good. And playing well, like, hasn’t gone too well, so far. But just keep grinding, you don’t know what any of these, you know, 12 tournaments, one of them could, you know, work out. It’s just putting yourself in the opportunity. So

Brad: Yeah, man. It’s, I love that. And it’s, it’s just so different than like the ivory tower advice that is typically given to poker players. And yeah, I used to feel bad that I was that way, that my body felt that way. And that was how I constructed my sessions. But as I’ve matured, some, I’m just like, just lean into it, man. It’s just energy.

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: Like, if you have a surplus of energy, use it. You’d be a fool not to use the surplus of energy.

Matt: Yeah, no, I completely agree. And I had to, like, Tuesday, and I’ve gotten a lot better at this in the past, where I woke up, kind of went through my morning routine, and I was just like, I’m not feeling it today, which is something I normally, I’m not someone that takes time off a lot. I’m a five day a week player, pretty much every all the time, don’t take like a month off. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a month off of poker in 12 years or two weeks off, three weeks off type of thing. And I was just like, I don’t have and I used to in the past with like, whatever, I’m going to play through it today. And then, but like Tuesday, I’ve gotten better. I’m like, you know, I don’t have the energy today. And it’s going to lead to probably suboptimal results. So, I took the day off, kind of took care of myself, came back Wednesday like a coaching slash the I do content for poker coaching. And yesterday was like, the first day back and I was just like, felt very fresh, like renewed energy and stuff. So, it’s something I’ve gotten better at and just being aware of what my energy levels are. And also, like being aware, when they’re lower, like I need to fight through it, and then potentially when they are lower, like taking the day off, if it’s if I’m not going to be able to.

Brad: And this is specific, you know. It’s like specific to the player because some people are looking for any excuse to take a day off.

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: And so, they rationalize, oh, my energy, I don’t really feel like it. You know.

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: That’s a that’s a whole different ballgame than what we’re talking about. So, don’t like if you have a problem with volume. Don’t just be like,

Matt: Yeah, 100%. Yeah, I

Brad: Take all the days off now. No, we’re not talking about you. We’re talking about like, basically, it’s a mindset problem too, when you play and your energy levels are low, and then you start performing under your capabilities. Then you start, you’re like, hmm, I knew I shouldn’t play today. And then results, maybe don’t go your way. And you’re like, God, you start having this, like self-flagellation, that makes you feel worse. And just overall, just not a great place to be when your energy levels are low. And you’re, you’re not on your A game.

Matt: Yeah, I had it like about maybe two and a half months into quarantine, like, I’ve been playing five, six days a week, you know, 12 hours, every day, and I was fine. Like, I hit that mark. I’m like, my energy’s not there. I’m taking the day off. And then the next day, it still wasn’t there and ended up being like, probably like, three days off that I took, and it was just like, came back and like, wow, like, you don’t realize it until like, probably after the fact how much you needed it.

Brad: Yep. And I’ve said it many times on this show. But it’s like you’re lifting weights, right? You do a rep, you can’t, you do five reps, you can’t get another rep no matter what you do. But then you put the weight down, you take a minute break, and then you can get some more reps, like poker’s the exact same, sometimes you just need to take a break so that you could do more reps. And there’s no, you know, there’s no shame in that. It’s just how we’re made as human beings.

Matt: Yeah, kind of, it took me a little while to get over that. I was like, sometimes I would take a day off, I’d feel like oh, I’m lazy. Like this is like, why am I not working today? This stuff, and it’s a, it took it took some time to like, get over that. And then now it’s like, okay, I realized, you know, looking long term and stuff that it’s just,

Brad: Why did you feel that way?

Matt: Managing, um, I know, I’ve always tried to been like, I’ve been a person that’s really never taken a lot of time off of poker. Like I can, maybe like, two weeks or something for like a vacation or some days, like the longest I’ve ever taken off. And I’ve always been, you know, a five day a week grinder, trying to play 40 hours a week plus studying this stuff. And it’s just kind of like, if I’m, I’m a scheduler now, like schedule my week out and stuff. And like, oh, I’m supposed to work today. Like, I’m taking today off now. Like, sometimes, like, you know, and then now it’s kind of, alright, I realize it’s, you know, I put out a lot of energy, kind of like, this is probably not like, some people are going to take this example, the best way or the wrong way. But if you look at like, NBA or anything like that, like a team on a night, a back to back on the second night is not going to play as well as the first night.

Brad: Of course.

Matt: It’s just a simple energy factor. And it’s kind of like, in poker, it’s not physical. I mean, there is physical energy. But this like, mental energy is like, probably, as much as like, for example, maybe like a physical athlete puts out there like mentally, like it’s the same type of like,

Brad: Expenditure,

Matt: But like, yeah, expenditure on the brain.

Brad: Yep. And I’ve talked about on the show before, too, about chess players, and how chess players when they play a tournament, that’s extremely intense, they burned like five or 6000 calories a day,

Matt: Yeah. Like that.

Brad: Just sitting right across from each other, right? The same thing is true in poker. Like this is, I always used to feel weak when I would end a session. And I’m like, my brain is made of mush. And like, I can’t really communicate, and I’m just physically exhausted. And I used to think, man, I’m so weak, like, why can’t I just be like Nano Noco, and just play like 12 hours a day, and 20 tables and like, just be fine and a normal human being. And I just realized, like, he has some sort of genetic blessing that allows him

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: To do that, and perform in that way that I just don’t have. And we have to work within our own capabilities as human beings. And just don’t feel bad, if that’s your physical, you know, if that’s your genetic makeup, basically.

Matt: Yep, no, 100%. And I’m very, like, grateful. And I’m happy, like, I’m one of those poker players that like, loves to play every day. Like I’ve seen over time. You know, there’s a lot of poker players that are, it’s just like a means to the end of them. They don’t enjoy it. They don’t like it. They don’t have fun doing it. They look miserable. And it’s like, that’s like, not me. I’m just excited and fun, more interested in the game than ever, right? 

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: And stuff. So, it’s, like, very happy, happy and like, grateful for that. Because I don’t think there’s a lot of players like, there’s a lot of professional players, but I don’t think like a lot of professional players have that like 100% passion where they like, just love it.

Brad: I agree. They don’t. I think I’m one of them that doesn’t just love it every single day in the cash game arena, showing up and like playing 1000 hands of six max that I’ve played millions and millions and millions of hands up over the you know, it can, it can become a grind and when your returns start becoming diminishing, where it’s like in the beginning, you’re like, hell yeah, I’m a work

Matt: Exactly.

Brad: I’m going to, I’m going to do everything I can, I’m obsessed, I’m immersed. And then you reach the point where like, okay, I’m a pro and I’m making money, this is great. I don’t have to work another day of my life. And then at some point, it’s like the returns, you don’t grow as much as you used to. It’s like you improve deeper in the decision tree. That’s like, cool for increasing your win rate, a nominal amount, but doesn’t really make a massive difference. I think, just the experience of learning and growing is something that is really undervalued in by professional poker players like learning new games, learning new theory, trying different, you know, style is going, going to MTTs, learning pot limit Omaha, that sort of thing.

Matt: Yeah, and kind of what you said is why I made the decision to just like, I ended up now just specializing in tournaments, and I used to play a lot of cash. I played a lot of live cash, post Black Friday, I didn’t move out of the country, I just started playing live cash for probably, you know, four years, five years. I went through spurts in the last couple of years, why switch to like, six maximum on cash, you know, eight tabling that, and I just didn’t love it. And it was kind of that I think, personally for me that cash game, there’s a little more monotony where it’s like kind of the same situations pop up over and over again. And it felt a lot more, I didn’t get that excitement level. And I tried to switch to cash because I think it makes a lot more sense where like, the stakes I’m playing, my hourly is going to be roughly about the same playing cash and tournaments. And obviously, you have to have a lot lower variance in cash games. So, it makes a lot of sense. Like, why would I have played for more variance

Brad: And the stable, stable schedule too.

Matt: Exactly and I love being able to like for a while I was playing like three hours in the morning, I would take a break, I could make lunch, walk the dog, play two more hours, three hours at night. But it was just, I could keep it up for like, a week or so, two weeks. And then it was just like, I burnt out a lot quicker. And I just didn’t enjoy the grind as much versus I just found out like I’m like, you know, I’m going to screw that like mentality. It’s just I love tournaments. And I love the, the situations are always changing,

Brad: Yup.

Matt: You know, you need to know like studying like six different startups, studying different, you know, situations all the way. Like, I’ve been doing a lot of like ICM study lately. And it’s like, it seems interesting, because it’s never, it’s not something you can like, implement straight into your game. It’s like you have to understand the ideas and be able to like apply it to the game because there’s never going to be the same two situations twice in any situation with ICM versus with stack sizes and payouts and stuff. And so, like just all these situations that are constantly pop up and they allow for really like creative thinking. It’s just what intrigues me in tournaments that the fact that and they that adrenaline rush, you know, the excitement of the tournaments and I do love like, I think live caches great. Like I wouldn’t go to playing like on my six max that I still once pandemics is over and stuff like yeah, or go and play live cash for a couple weeks and stuff like I do enjoy life cash because you can play deeper. It’s more, you got the social interaction. It’s a lot more interesting that way, I think because you don’t have to play robotic like you would online and stuff. So yeah, a

Brad: Lot more unknowns with live and then there’s more information you can use to make your decisions.


Matt: Yeah.

Brad: I love the social aspect of it, too. I didn’t play a ton before pandemic. I think I’d taken like four years off because I live in Atlanta. So, it’s like a dead zone here. I you know, I moved to Atlanta because I met my wife and we got married and it’s like, okay, I have online poker. And I’m just going to stick with that. What I have found though, is where the passion is going to, yeah, with playing and grinding every single day. I am passionate about coaching. I am passionate about helping guys and seeing them make the gains that were happening like earlier on in my career. That’s something that really pumps me up. And also, when I take time off to you know, make the podcast, create content, do coaching. I find, oh yeah, this is cool. I’m going to play a few hours session. I kind of look forward to it, because it’s not something that I’m doing every single day. So, it just feels a little different if that makes any sense.

Matt: Yeah. So, I started coaching, I got back into coaching last year, and it’s really, first I found out like coaching helps me a lot.


Brad: Yup.

Matt: It helps identify some weaknesses in my thinking, it helps my development as a player. And it’s also a skill like I’m working on. Like coaching is like a, it’s a skill and it’s, it’s difficult like I’m not probably the best tournament coach right now. Like I’m working on improving, improving, improving it. Something that is, I’m always asking my students for like, feedback. You know, I want honest feedback and in terms of, and I think it’s very, it’s a difficult skill to take a complex situation and being able to describe it in a very simple and understandable context.

Brad: Absolutely. And I know that in, in my world, in the cash game world, there’s extremely complex things that need to be broken down in a simple to understand way that is extremely difficult, which means I get to think about them a lot. And how do I want to teach this? How do I want to describe this in an understandable way? And we just had, I just had Kevin Rabidchow, on the show and released his episode today. But, you know, he, he said in there, high stakes, a high-level crusher does not mean high level coach. Like,

Matt: Exactly.

Brad: Just, just because you hire Phil Ivy and pay him $10,000 an hour to coach you, does that mean you’re getting $10,000 worth of value? Because coaching and playing are two different skill sets, and you could actually be not the best poker player in the world, but being amazing, amazing coach.

Matt: There’s like, I think there’s, there’s people that I watch stuff where I’m like, okay, I think I have an edge on this player and stuff, but I think they’re very, very good coach, like on various, you know, sites, whatever videos I watch and stuff, but I think they, certain people are like, very, very good coaches. I agree with that.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: They might be, they might be like a just average drag, but they’re an extremely effective, good coach.

Brad: Right. Because like, like we just said, simplifying complex ideas to explain to other people is a lot of work and requires a lot of thoughtful reflection by the coach. And I’m using Phil Ivy as an example. I’m not picking on Phil Ivy, but it’s like, why should Phil Ivy even take the time to break down his complex decision-making process in a way that is understandable by us mere mortals, right?

Matt: yeah.

Brad: Like it’s a waste, waste of his energy and a waste of his time. So, he’s just not going to spend any, any, any time doing it. Which means that he’s probably not going to be a great coach, which takes nothing away from demand.

Matt: Of course.

Brad: It’s just where you’re going to spend your energy, you know?

Matt: Yep. I completely agree.

Brad: And, yeah, so I, I went, this is not how the show normally start. We just started out talking and went down a little tangent. But normally, we start out by me asking you, what’s the story of you playing cards? Can you tell me that about your journey?

Matt: So, it’s nothing too exciting, kind of the standard that you’ve probably heard many times on the show, but I mean, I was in high school when moneymaker I think was on, what year was moneymaker? 04?

Brad: 04, I believe.

Matt: 05?

Brad: Maybe 03. I think 05 is possible man.

Matt: Yeah. So, I was in high school, watching the friends and stuff, started playing, you know, little home games, with friends in high school, $5 tournaments, you know. Got $1 we’d be you know, our friends would get some money online somehow and be begging him to give me a transfer, $1 transfer and stuff and I’d be grinding one cent, two cent online and stuff. And then, kind of throughout high school, it just kind of grew where it was, like, started out as $5 home games. Then it was $10. Then it was like $100 little cash game. And then by time like, junior, we were playing there, you know, $25, $50 sit and goes at lunch. Then we were gambling, you know, it was kind of, just kind of grew throughout high school.

Brad: How important was it that you were playing with your friends?

Matt: Looking back at it now, it was like, so the group I was playing with, there’s like five professional poker players.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: And like, some of them like they’re not like household names, but like three of them have, like over a million dollars in earnings and stuff like that. So, it’s a pretty crazy looking back at it now. And it was like, yeah, it was just like fun playing, gambling, playing cards and stuff with friends. It was good. 

Brad: This is the same, it’s like the Fador Holtz effect. When I had him on the show, and we talked about, you know, he said he lived with, there was 10 people that he lived with in Germany, and they did not start out as super high-level crushers. After a year, all 10 of them were in the top 100 MTT players in the world, right?

Matt: Yeah. Yeah.

Brad: It’s not a coincidence, you know. It’s not a coincidence that I’m sure you and five of your friends are pros. Now, because you, you basically you built each other, you helped each other out, you gave each other wisdom. You studied together, you grew and you just can’t really you gain so much experience in such a short time. When like one of you will put in so many hours, learn an important lesson and then teach it to everybody else. There, you can’t really put a price on the value that you gain.

Matt: Yeah. So, by the time High School ended, I was going to, I got into, I was going to go to University of Washington, I grew up in Seattle. So that’s kind of where I was wanted to go to school. And I remember having the conversation, I guess, kind of with my parents was like, I was working at a grocery store, you know, pushing carts, bagging groceries, all that type of stuff. And it was like, kind of me making more money playing poker than I am $10 now, and I don’t remember what my bankroll was at the time. Like, I had no bankroll management. So, at that time, but I probably had, like, you know, 5000 to 10,000. I had one I think one tournament for 10k on party at, but by that time, and so I was like, I want to like enjoy college, I don’t want to have to have a job and stuff. So, I would prefer like, I probably like, I think I’m going to I want to quit my job before I go to school. And ended up like, semi convincing them to do that. I was able to quit my job playing poker. I got one, one big turnover for like 10k at that point.

Brad: What do you mean by semi convincing them?

Matt: Like they were like, okay, more like, okay, you can focus on school and stuff. Like, I’m like, my, that was my argument. Like, I wanted to see you know, I can focus on school. I want to be you know, enjoy college, not have to worry about like, the job while I’m there. And so

Brad: Was that genuine or disingenuous?

Matt: It was like, it was, it was genuine. It was it was genuine. Like, at this point my parents had known like, you know, I was, oh, I’m going to borrow my parents car to go to my friend’s house you know, and that was going to the casino to play three six limit hold’em and stuff. So, it was the, they knew poker was like, a serious thing. And that was kind of the first point of like, Okay, this is not like, this is a serious hobby, not like, you know, and they knew about poker, but I don’t know if they still they thought I was like a degenerate gambler or anything at that point. Yeah, so, but by the time like, freshman year of college, I was 20. Like, I was probably at like the $27 sit and goes like,

Brad: What year was this?

Matt: Maybe the 16, 06, 07 probably. So, I was like a second go grinder. And I would play MTTs too. But yeah, I basically through college was grinding sit and goes like, I was a good student in college with all my classes. Wasn’t like skipping classes for poker or anything like that. I had like a 3.8 GPA and stuff and would go to go to classes, do my work and stuff, but I would also like schedule my stuff around poker.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: So

Brad: Did you, did you graduate? You got your degree?

Matt: Yeah, I graduated. So, freshman, sophomore year, I’m still grinding poker a lot. And then junior year was kind of my big breakout online in poker and had a huge win. I wanted, that was the year in 09. I won a scoop of that, that year. And

Brad: How did that change things?

Matt: I had like a 35k bankroll, 30k bankroll, 100 or $200 satellite to 2k scoop again, then tried to sell action to a couple of friends. I won to scoop event for, back then they were massive. So, I won a huge scoop event at that time. That was junior year of college.

Brad: How much was the core?

Matt: Ah, almost 500,000.

Brad: That’s an okay day.

Matt: Yeah. There’s actually a funny story about this. I lived in a fraternity and our, you can imagine the internet situation in a house with 65 guys in it. And, like day one, I only remember kind of how the tournament went. But on day two, there’s probably you know, 27 left, 18 left on like that internet went out at our fraternity. And I remember, like, basically spent like, one minute, to see if I can get it fixed. And then went full on run to the library on campus, which is like, probably three quarters of a mile, half a mile. And like,

Brad: Why didn’t you take a car? Why are you running?

Matt: Well, it’s like parking on campus. And all that stuff is just like going to take way longer.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: And so, it’s probably like, you know, seven, I was winded. And in the library, you could rent these, like private study rooms, basically. So, I rented one. And I grinded the whole thing in there. And I won 500,000 in the library on campus, while there’s other people like studying you know. I don’t even know what day of the week it was if it was a weekday or weekend and stuff. And I just remember walking home, walking back to the fraternity with this shit. I mean, it’s probably the shit and big grin on my face while I’m walking back and stuff.

Brad: Yeah, you just won half a million dollars.

Matt: Yeah, I called my mom she didn’t believe me, like, texting friends in the fraternity like, let’s go get everyone ready, we’re going out.

Brad: Like did you, did you break any library rules? Any yelling in the library?

Matt: No. I was like, I was very close the laptop. There’s a few fist pumps and it was like, alright, let’s go. Get out of there. So

Brad: Wow, that is great story. So, your life got a, I would imagine that’s, it’s not life changing money, but it’s life altering

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: As far as tournament poker career. Yeah. 

Matt: I was 21 years old, with way too much money for a 21-year-old.

Brad: Yes.

Matt: And I wasn’t like ever, like, go out and buy and do stupid stuff like that, like, kept grinding. But like, went to the worlds here. That was the first year I played World Series. That summer was the year I got 90th in the main event, or 80th, somewhere. That was the first year I played the main event where I was chip leader at with on like, day four, the main, ended up getting 80th. And going into senior year, I pretty much knew that. So, when I went into college, my freshman year, I was going to be a finance major. Or accounting, somewhere in business. And guys, my fraternity were getting $25,000 signing bonuses from Goldman Sachs to take a job because they just wanted to hire everyone they could in 2006. 2010 was pretty much the bottom of the financial markets and 

Brad: Different world.

Matt: There was like one there, there’s 1000 people applying for one job. And I had spent my summers playing poker rather than doing internships. So, it was just at a severe disadvantage there. And so, I was kind of like, okay, I’m probably going to give this a try after college.

Brad: You’re just running and running good across the board.

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: What did your mom say, by the way, when you told her you won half a million?

Matt: I don’t even know if she believed me, I think. It was like, oh, wow, good job, you know. I think she was, she was excited. But like, she’s like, you won how much? How much did you win? Like, oh, like half a million and stuff. I don’t even know how, like, it’s, it’s like, we, we grew up in like a very kind of, I don’t know if I I’m going to say it, normal, but like, you know, both parents worked. We had goo,. I was very fortunate growing up and stuff in the situation I was growing up with and stuff, but like, that type of money is like, I don’t think my parents like, they don’t they, don’t know that type of money, at all. So, it’s like, um, I don’t think it was like, kind of like, it’s something I don’t think ever really hit them type of thing.

Brad: Hard process.

Matt: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Brad: It’d be hard to process for my family if I was 21, and think for half a million dollars. I mean, that’s, that’s something that we think about, like pro athletes getting a signing bonus or something when they join like an NFL team, right?

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: It’s a lot of money for a 21-year-old. Did you, were you responsible? Did we hold on to the money? How did the poker career go?

Matt: No. I mean, it went well, but I was playing a lot. So, my favorite thing about online poker was playing EPT satellites, Saturday mornings. And so cool. Like, going into senior year, I had won a satellite, the EPT Barcelona, of where the tournament overlapped with like the first week of the semester. And I remember texting one of my professors who had had before. And I think at this time, he knew I played poker. And I was like, I’m going to be out of the country. I’m going to miss the first three classes. Don’t drop me from the class I’m in and he’s like, well, we have a, we have a midterm, the fifth class, you’re not going to pass it if you’re not in the first three classes. And I’m the type that, yes, it will. So, what I would do is like, like 10-hour flight to Europe, I studied for seven hours. I had all the slides, read the books, all that stuff came back, got like a 90 on the midterm kind of like a few to him and stuff. And that’s kind of like senior year I had one. I set up my classes in business school, we could do, you did two, two hours twice a day, twice a week for your classes. And I set it up where all three of my classes were on the same day. So, I think I didn’t Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays. So, I only went to class two days a week. And it was Mondays and Thursdays because Martin Luther King Day. See, there’s no classes on the Monday, and I had won a satellite to go play a PBT Deauville and I had set it up where I left after my Wednesday class, went, flew to Paris that night. This Monday was the holiday and then I missed the Wednesday classes and I was back for the Monday. So, I went on a 11-day trip to France, played an EPT event and missed one day of class during college.

Brad: That’s pretty good. Pretty good schedules.

Matt: Yeah. So, I was kind of scheduling stuff. I graduated senior

Brad: Why did you, why did you love the EPS? Why did you want to play in those?

Matt: A, they were really soft back then. The tournaments were really soft. It was just kind of cool. Like I would wake up on a Saturday morning. I remember like, what’s one of the cities they used to play? I don’t even know where it was. like I would play satellites, these tournaments, right even knew when they were sometimes, like, obviously, I know, like Barcelona and stuff. It was like,

Brad: Sure.

Matt: Estonia, like I’ve heard of it. I don’t really know where in Europe it is. Like, alright, we’re playing this satellite. There was, the one in Poland, Warsaw. First, I was like, I had to look up where Warsaw was. And like, it was quite stylized. I didn’t go to that one. But I probably played like 66 or seven of them. And so, that’s where a lot of the bankroll went, like I was playing satellites, you revised some of the main events and stuff. So, I was playing way out of my bankroll with my poker.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: And I, frankly, probably wasn’t very good at the time. So

Brad: Pretty common, I would say to, for people to hit a big score, and then just be like, oh, cool. Yeah, now, now I’m into five and 10ks, let’s go.

Matt: I think they get stunted my growth a lot. Winning a lot of money early on in poker, I think definitely stunted my growth.

Brad: Can you just kind of talk about that?

Matt: Yeah, I mean, so 2009, I won the scoop event, and then 2010 is when I got 15th in the main event. And at that point, I’m just kind of like, this is pretty easy. You’re just going to get a big score every year. It’s just, you know, it’s just fire. And I was I was firing some EPTs. Like, I was doing well, but just like, travel expenses were just insane and stuff. And I wasn’t at the point in my career where I was, like, you know, very cognizant of that and stuff like the EPT, hold’em. The Barcelona hotel, I think was like, 400 a night or something, 300, and I don’t remember the package, you know, PCA, like, all that stuff. It’s just like, it’s so expensive to travel.

Brad: Yep. I think I was running like, I’m trying to remember what tax probably like 40k a year and expenses. Maybe, maybe more, I can’t remember exactly. But it was really expensive. And when you’re like that young, and like, I guess winning a lot of money, it’s kind of like, this is really easy. Like, why would I study, like just going to play. Just keep playing

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: And it’s going to happen. And at that point, like online poker was shut down, we’re getting, getting ready to shut down, it shut down in Washington State before everywhere else, which was actually somebody lucky because I didn’t really have any money online during Black Friday. But like, I wasn’t playing online then anymore. So, it was kind of that like stunted the growth as well not being able to play online. So, it’s just kind of a combination of just feeling invincible type of thing. So

Brad: Well, I mean, you relatively early in your career, and you just rip off half a million, right?

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: I imagine thinking about somebody like Chris Moneymaker, right? Like he won to WSOP main in his first live tournament ever.

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: And is he a significantly better poker player, when he regs day one, then when he wins it on day five?

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: The answer to anybody in poker is obviously not, right? He’s obviously, obviously hasn’t significantly improved, but then the perception and the media and the portrayal is World Champion, best in the world. You know, like, and I imagined that like, as a human being, it’s hard to not let that kind of go to your head and start being like, you know what, I believe the hype. I am good. I am great at this game, right?

Matt: Yep.

Brad: Not saying that, that happened with Chris. I’m just saying it’s an easy trap to fall into.

Matt: Yeah, I mean, I think to Chris’s credit right now, like I actually think he like works on his game right now. And he’s actually trying to improve and stuff. So, I mean, for someone that’s obviously had a successful career outside of poker, and obviously like a successful poker career, like I think he’s done some stuff since then, as well. Like, I think he works on this game and stuff. So

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: That’s, I think he was like, got coaching from like, wasn’t McKeon, like through chances program. One of the, he was one of the students, I think in chances program for a while and stuff. It’s kind of, kind of cool, like self-awareness, where he just was like, okay, like, I don’t think he’s doing it for the money. Maybe he needed the money. I, I’m assuming he didn’t, he doesn’t play professionally. He probably has a lot of money. He was

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: Working on his game because he wanted to improve.

Brad: More so, this is like the two years following, right? In the year following the win, is he getting coaching? Typically, I found that

Matt: No. No, I don’t think oh, no, I think this is like in the last like, three, three years or something like that.

Brad: Yeah. I mean, it’s tough, right? Like none of my students that come to me that pay for coaching are like coming to me while they’re just crushing everybody’s souls, and like ripping off 20 BBs per 100 over like a 50k sample. No, nobody comes to me when that’s happening. They come to me when they’re struggling, when they’re on a massive downswing and they need help, right?

Matt: Yep.

Brad: Which I think is a fundamental problem of just how folks approach poker coaching and poker education, basically. But that’s just kind of how it happens. We don’t want help when everything’s going our way. We want help with everything’s falling apart.

Matt: Yeah. What you said is actually something I’ve thought about a lot recently, and this year, like online has been, like I’m having my highest win rates. I’ve been studying more than I’ve ever studied. Kind of top of the game, that kind of system I put in place where like, alright, if and when I have like a significant score, for example, now I get to try to implement this system and see if it works. I’m like, like, a certain percentage of that is going to go into like my coaching fund for money to prove like right now I’m probably, I’ve been thinking about for like the last month like thinking about a few people potentially for hiring as a coach. And now that’s probably going to take place and what you said like, I think now it’s like, I tell my students this, like, obviously, like private coaching, one on one, isn’t cheap. And there’s more if you’re like, learning the fundamentals, there’s more efficient ways to get better. And I send students to various online, you know, I sent them to, where I’m a trainer, like you’re going to get way more higher return on investment, go through all the content than first read the, there’s still. there’s a couple of good poker books out there that are, you know, for a $20 investment, you’re going to get a great return on that investment. Private coaching is for that, like next step. And I tell my students, I want you to reinvest in me as a coach, when you win. Like one of my students has won a tournament for like, 5000, like online. I’m like, great. That’s, you know, I think now is the time to like, reinvest in that. I don’t want you to reinvest while you’re like getting crushed and stuff because A, that it’s taking more of a hit on your bankroll. I don’t want to eat into your bankroll as a poker coach, I want to help build your bankroll. And there’s other things going on when you’re in a downswing that I’m not even probably going to be able to help with. So

Brad: Yep, I am going to agree and disagree. So, here’s where I’m going to disagree. Like I agree that they’re amazing resources, right, for much lower price points and private coaching, because private coaching by nature is, you know, you’re buying an hour of an expert’s time. And that’s just going to be more expensive. Then, when you watch a video that’s uploaded on a site or go through some program. The problem is, when you’re scale like that, folks will watch the videos, but not be held accountable to implementing what they’re learning. And private coaches hold you accountable, to make sure you’re studying and learning the right things. And lots of folks can get off path, they study the wrong things that are highly inefficient. They have problems that they’re not even aware that they have. And so, they just start skipping steps. And like private coaching can kind of resolve that. So, I do think like, I know what you’re saying. It’s just, I’ve seen it too many times, where like one of my students right now who’s made the most gains out of anybody I’ve ever coached. It’s insane over the last six months, how much he’s grown as a player. He had all the training, and watched all the videos for a year and was like obsessed and just wasn’t improving as a player. And he just needed somebody to kind of hold his hand and say, no, study this. No, you’re thinking about it wrong. Like this is the priority. When he had that direction, it was just so instrumental to his growth.

Matt: Yep. 100%. I completely, I agree with what you what you say there. And I, I think I given my, my students homework and stuff.

Brad: Yep.

Matt: It was very, very good. And I understood yesterday, I was doing a database review through poker tracker. And we noticed some stuff like explain flouting too much in early position, by law and three betting too much like his three betting stats were higher and really position and later position. And some other things we will go through a history about like your homework this week is to filter your database for all spots in EP where you’re presented in this situation to flat call there, and pull up the hand charts and find out where you’re flattening too wide, because you’re fighting to live there. And so, I’m like, that’s like your homework for this week is to find out and like, yes, we can go through it myself. But this is something that’s a very, this is a task that you can do on your own that doesn’t require like pay me an hourly rate to be like, okay, for this hit, not this round. Like, we have the chart like you understand this like type of thing. And then so we’re going to spend the time going through hand history, identifying new leaks, because early on in the session, it’s all about just identifying leaks. And then build a structure about how to improve those leaks and what type of like getting them on a good study and study routine like that. So that kind of first homework is a good sign of like, I’ve had students were like, I’m like, yeah, I always recommend, like mental game of poker, for example, like when a student comes like, yep, I read it last week, I’ve read it. I’m listening to second time audio. I’m like, okay, like, this is potential here. Versus you have some students, they’re like, yeah, no, I didn’t really do it and type of stuff like you, you can kind of find out how dedicated someone is right away.

Brad: Yeah, we can’t do the work for you, we can show you what the work is. We know it’s like, we can lead the horse to water, but we can’t make the drink.

Matt: Yep.

Brad: And if you’re not willing to do the work, you’re not going to improve, you know. We can’t just force you to improve, right? And I love homework, I give all my students homework as well. And I’ve recently been implementing homework sentence cash games. I’m connecting them together for the homework. So, like, they’ll have homework. And they’ll create this situation where they quiz one another back and forth.

Matt: That’s good.

Brad: So, players on a similar level are interacting, which I think is valuable, as well talking to people who are around your same skill level. But yeah, I mean it, coaching is tough, right? Like, even when you look at a hand history, in a database, I found somebody can pull up a hand history, they can do all the right things. Like I can click through it, and I’m like, this hand was played perfectly. And then I can watch them on video, talking about why they did what they did. And they did everything for all of the wrong reasons. And it’s like, oh, my God. So, I can go through your database, look through hands that are paid, played perfectly, and they’re played perfectly for all the wrong reasons. So, it’s still an issue and still something that needs to be worked on.

Matt: Yeah, so people that have watched my content on poker coaching, and also my students, they get incredibly annoyed by me. Because every single situation like, what are you doing here? They’re like, well, I’m going to do this. I’m like, why are you doing this? Yep. And then it’s like, well, okay, why are you, why are you thinking this way? Like, what when I say this factor, what does that mean to you? Like, I tell my students consistently, I don’t care what you do. I don’t care what the result is, and what your decision is, because you could be making the decision for the wrong reason or the right reason. And I can’t really, like there’s a whole another thing with performance and making the right decision. But what I can do is I’m trying to fix the thought process. And there’s a lot of times like, yes, I agree with you, I would do it. But for slightly different reasons. I’m going to raise here for this situation, because I’m going to three bet ace queen off here because it’s a hand that plays much better at a shallow SPR and plays much better at a lower stacked up, rather than I’m going to three bet for X and Y reason, like just being able to make those small tweaks and teaching them how to make decisions, I think is the important part. Because there’s very few decisions that come up that are the same and being able to, like, the way I know things are clicking, is when a student is able to apply one situation to a different situation, but use the same type of reasoning.

Brad: Yep, take one concept and then apply it to other similar concepts, but not the same. And sometimes my student will do something where I have a different preferred line. And I’ll just ask them, why. Why did you take this line? Why did you bet three fourths? And they’ll explain it, and the thought process and the logic is totally sound. And I’m like, cool. Like, it’s not even something that like I would bother correcting.

Matt: Yep.

Brad: It’s just something that’s they would approach differently than me. But the logic is sound. So, don’t mess with the logic if the logic is sound, the reasoning is sound, they understand the incentives and the objectives. And that’s what they’re working with. We’re going to make different decisions as human beings. Like you and Jonathan Little are going to sit down and you’re going to make different decisions. But that doesn’t mean that either one of you is more right or more wrong,

Matt: Right.

Brad: You just play differently and approach things in a different, you know, a different way.

Matt: So, I just thought of a good example. I had a coaching session yesterday. I was reviewing tournament, super deep south playing like 200 big blinds like early on, and he like opens a skin as a flat and he gets squeezed. And I’m like, what are your thoughts here between four betting ace, king, flatting, ace, king? He ends up flooding ace king, he was saying, you know, this Ranger, Ranger is like pretty strong. It’s linear. And it’s, you know, goes on like, so I’m happy. I’m fine with your decision to fly. I’m indifferent, other than for one thing, you said that he’s three betting a linear range. And I asked him would you rather format here against a linear range or a polar range? And, and so I’m like, if he has a linear range, you’re going to format and you’re going to call by like 10s like eights, ace, queen, king, queen suited. You’re going to get a lot of value from your hand.

Brad: Yeah. Like dominate

Matt: Yeah, exactly. I’m like versus a polar range, that’s like, aces and kings and queens and then a bunch of like, I don’t want to four bet and have ace five fold. Like

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: I want to flatten and keep those hands in. So, then it was like, I kind of like saw the aha moment like yes. Like when I said that he was like, Oh, yes, I should probably four bet because it is a linear rate.

Brad: Exactly. Yep. And yeah, stuff like that. It’s really cool when students can kind of see that this like, oh, ace king has domination value, we’re doing very well versus a linear range, gets a polar range. or just pulling out the bluffs. And when we get it in, it’s not super great. Yeah, it’s, coaching, coaching, there’s, how did it feel, by the way, like when your student has this realization, and they know that they’re going to take it on to the next tournament they play?

Matt: It feels good, like I’ve had, you know, just like playing poker, like I’ve had sessions where I finished up the session like that went really well. Like, I really felt like the student was engaged. I asked good questions. I feel like I provided really, really good value for that student. I’ve had some sessions where I’m like, you know, I felt like maybe I didn’t explain stuff a little too well, you know, maybe it probably wasn’t my best coaching session in a way. But like, you know it kind of where, it’s when you see the light bulb go off, it’s like a pretty good feeling in coaching,

Brad: I would say to like, a lot of times when it comes to content creation, we’re much harsher on ourselves than the audience is or that our students are. There are some times where I have a conversation, like on this podcast, and my job is the facilitator, right? Like, I’m supposed to make you shine and ask the right questions and get the value to provide to the audience. And that is my job. And I’ll close it down. And I’m like, fuck, I just didn’t, I performed poorly. I missed questions. This is, I didn’t do a good job. And I’m like, super down on myself. And then the, the episode gets released. And I’m like, looking at the playthrough percentage, and it’s like, 99.2%. And I’m like, okay, so my perception of the conversation is just totally different than what the audience gets out of it. And some conversations I thought, were super amazing. And way less, right. So, like we can, we’re horrible judges of how we do. But we’re also a human right? And like you said, on Tuesdays when your energy levels are low, sometimes I have an interview scheduled, I have a coaching session scheduled, my energy levels are just naturally low. We’re human beings, that just going to happen.

Matt: I completely like what you just said, like I can think of a couple examples. So, and I think it has to do with maybe it’s like skills we’re not comfortable with potentially. So, I wrote a section in Jonathan Little’s book, and I’ve never written like, other than, like school stuff, and I don’t particularly like enjoy writing. It’s not something that I do. I wrote a section on, like, tournament strategy for the book. And like, I was like, I think this is good, but I don’t know, like, I don’t have anything to judge. I’ve never done anything like this before. And I was like, kind of like I didn’t have confidence in it, because I’ve never done this before. And like the reviews I got, like, DMS or messages I got from people saying, like, oh, your chapter was like, helped me a ton. Like, this was like, like, whoa, okay. Like, exactly what we’re saying, we’re like, I don’t know, if I perform very well. But like, same thing, like some webinars, like I do a webinar for poker coaching, there’ll be 80 people in it, I’m like, yeah, I’m not sure. And then I’ll get feedback. Like, that was great. Excited about him, okay, like, people liked it and stuff. And I think like, I can be like, harsh on myself for and it’s more like, where skills that either A, I’m like, learning because I’m trying to be like a perfectionist almost too much and B, like in poker, you know, where I have high expectations of myself. So, it’s a, it’s a,

Brad: It comes from the magic.

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: What’s funny is it comes from mastery, too. Because like when we know a concept, and it’s just like, as easy as walking, like, it’s just bread, and it’s our bread and butter. We know it inside and out. To somebody who doesn’t know it, like when we explain it, it can seem boring, or obvious or that we’re not providing value, but to them, it can just be earth shattering, and just open up a window that can change everything. And so, I try to keep that in mind to like,

Matt: 100%

Brad: We’re not impressed with this stuff that we know, because we know it so well. So, we don’t expect other people to be impressed either, even if they are.

Matt: Yep, I agree completely.

Brad: Yeah. So, we alluded to the 2010 WSOP, we don’t have to talk about it. I know that it’s not about ad nauseum at this point.

Matt: I was going to, I was going to make the comment you said sometimes I forget question. I said, this is the longest I’ve gone in a podcast without someone asking about the 2010 WSOP.

Brad: Yeah. I wanted to avoid it just for that. Like it’s a thing that happened, whatever it’s been talked about. Let’s learn more.

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

Matt: I think about it sometimes where it’s really, really cool to think that, like, okay, I’m nowhere, I’m not number one in poker. I’m far away from being the best in poker. But like, it’s really cool to do something where like, it’s realistic, that I could be like, top 30 in the world. I’m not top 30 in the world right now, I’m not saying that. But like the potential to be like, something like that. I hope that doesn’t get taken normally, especially today

Brad: Who cares of man?

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: Just, just be proud.

Matt: Like, I played, I played golf, growing up, played basketball growing up, never was going to, you know, A, didn’t have quite the worth work ethic to be like, NBA 0% chance, I wasn’t playing the NBA. Like in poker, like, I’m playing professionally, I’ve been doing it for 12 years, like one of the top 1% players in the world. You know, it’s pretty cool that like, just think about that. And just think that like, growing up as a kid who played sports, like we all have the dream of playing, you know, professional, being one of the best in the world, you know, shooting the shot, and like the NBA finals are, you know, all that stuff. And it’s like, it’s a dream that’s actually realistic.

Brad: For sure. And, you know, have pride

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: In your abilities, right? Here’s something that it will probably make you feel weird, because it always makes me feel weird when somebody contacts me for coaching. And I don’t know, they have a different image of me that I have by myself, right? And it’s like, had God’s big toe on here. Me and Jared Gavin, he’s the one who contacted you.

Matt: Yup.

Brad: And got you to come on the show. And he’s like, he was talking about studying in his career now, thankfully, was it he’s like, man, I’m just, I’m sitting here. I’m talking like, I’m talking to Matt Afflect, about poker strategy. Like, what kind of a world is this? I’m having discussions with him, right? Like, how does that make you feel, as just as a poker player that people hold you in such high regard?

Matt: It’s like, it’s crazy. It’s weird. It’s still like weird going to like a tournament and stuff. And how do people recognize you? Or it’s, it’s very, very interesting. We went, here’s a good story, my girlfriend and I like, it was probably like three years ago, we went to Paris for New Year’s Eve. for like a week for vacation. And we’re on the, visit the Sean sail is how you pronounce it. I can’t, I can never pronounce in French anyways, but we’re like, it’s like, it’s like midnight, and we’re going to this famous macaroon shop. And we’re waiting in line to get seated and stuff. And I feel a tap on my shoulder, it’s these two random French guys. Like probably 25 to 30 they just put their phone up to me. And they go Is this you? It’s the video of 2010 WSOP they atr showing to me.

Brad: Oh man.

Matt: That’s probably one of the funniest, like, stories of like, being recognized was like, I’m in Paris on vacation and like someone recognized me. That’s pretty like crazy.

Brad: Yeah, that’s pretty insane.

Matt: Thinking about that, it’s like, I don’t it’s not like a fame guy. Like, I don’t. I’m not very like outgoing. Don’t like search for the fame, fame or anything like that. But it’s pretty, pretty crazy to think about.

Brad: Yeah. You’re a genuine guy. You’re an authentic guy. And you care, right? And that, that always brings people in, authenticity. People being genuine, people are drawn to that. And then you kind of became like a poker meme. Unfortunately.

Matt: It’s kind of weird. It’s like people will be like, like, I play everything from like, 30s online to like, 200, 300 online and stuff. And like, why are you playing this $30 tournament out of our gaming? I don’t know, I have tablespace, I’m playing it. I like to play. Like, or like I’m playing, people are playing like, why, like, why are you playing this $500 tournament? I’m like, it’s 50,000 up top. And it’s a very soft tournament. That’s like, you know, it’s like people, people think that, like, people they see on like, like in poker, they think like, oh, there’s these, they’re, they’re way different than all of us. You know,

Brad: Right.

Matt: Yeah. Like, no, like, I play online five days a week at home. You know, it’s like a normal job for me. Like I treat it kind of like a job.

Brad: Sure.

Matt: That’s, that stuff I find is very interesting. And sometimes I don’t know how to respond. Like, I’m playing this tournament. Like, obviously, I’m playing a 3500 WPT. Like, people know why I’m there. But like, why are you playing, like 2-5, 5 to 1500 to win? Like, isn’t this like super small for you? Although my late the 5-10 game sucked,

Brad: Yeah, like, why are you playing it, man? I’m playing, this because you’re here, actually. Yeah, it’s at, Jeff Madsen was on the show and Matt Matros who’s recently on the show. Those two guys are people that I saw on TV early in my poker career. Matt Matros makes like WPT championship final table like 25k buy in first place is something absurd like over $2 million.

Matt: Wow. I didn’t realize that he finally table that.

Brad: Yeah, it was like, very, very early in history here. His bankroll was less than $25,000. He won like, he won like a mega event like a mega seat, and then won his entry into the mega and then five, somehow final tables. It gets there, like 700k straight out of the gate. And it’s like, the perception from the outside is like, oh, this Matt Matros dude, like, he’s baller. He’s big time. And it’s like,

Matt: Yeah, yeah.

Brad: That’s his first, like, his bankroll is 25k. And now it’s 750 overnight. Like, it’s crazy. Jeff Madson, bankroll less than 10k. Like goes crazy, I think of the 2006 WSOP wins like over a million in over like a three week stretch. And then everybody knows who Jeff Madson is, and everybody looks at him and they’re like, you’re just a destroyer of worlds, like, overnight. So like perception doesn’t always line up to kind of the reality in the world of poker because of the variance, really.

Matt: Yeah. I agree. And like I kind of took that route a little bit early on in my career online and stuff and makes me like the thing I thought I was like someone that I actually don’t know personally at all, but I respect that. I watched some of the Twitch streams and stuff and like, all in pav is like if you look at his like, shark scope grab only plays, tournaments and stuff. It’s like, pretty insane. It’s just like, wasn’t like cute shot taking or anything like that. Like, thinking like six years, biggest score was like 40k, and he’s built himself up on stream from playing like $3 tournaments to now he’s playing like 501ks and stuff. And it wasn’t like his graph is not like one big score. It’s just like a steady kind of. So, like, I respect that, like a lot more now. Like the people that have grinded it up.

Brad: Yeah. Because for every for every Jeff Madsen and Matt Madros. And even Matt Afflect, right? There are guys who are at a super high skill level that just don’t get that. They, they get very it doesn’t happen and they don’t get there.

Matt: I can’t remember where I heard this, heard a long time ago. And it makes a lot of sense. It’s very true in poker, there’s a lot of really, really, really good poker players that didn’t make it because of variance. They didn’t have luck early on in their career, potentially, maybe they ran bad and they all right, I don’t want to deal with this variance. I’m going to go, whatever. And then there’s a lot of people that, you know, got lucky early, where maybe they wouldn’t if that luck wouldn’t have happened, like they hadn’t won that tournament, you know, they would have kept some bad habits, would have kept, you know, they wouldn’t have had that cushion that that tournament allowed them that time to build their skills in the game. And so, it’s kind of the timing of the variances almost way more important than the variance itself.

Brad: Absolutely, especially as it relates to like MTTs.

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: And big MTT scores, because, yeah, like, like you said, there are people who really have no business having a poker career, right?

Matt: Exactly.

Brad: They just run good right in the beginning and then just move straight down from there. So yeah, it’s a, it’s a tough industry. You need to, you need to run good when it matters early on, and not taking anything away from like, any of the people that I mentioned, you know, it’s just

Matt: Yeah, yeah.

Brad: Sometimes you just run good in your career like,

Matt: Myself, I had it I ran good early in my career. And it was like, it was a positive and a negative, but it was probably more of a positive because it gave me a lot of cushion for the negative.

Brad: Yeah. You could, you could overcome a lot of mistakes.

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: And losing a lot of money, you had a cushion built in so that you could recover eventually.

Matt: Exactly. 100%

Brad: What is your process look like for regularly improving your game?

Matt: Kind of the last like, two, two and a half years, I’ve really like re dedicated myself. There was kind of the, I look back and not like regret, but like, you know, 2011 to 20, like 15, 16, where I kind of just didn’t work on my game. There wasn’t any online poker, just playing lots of cash, you know.

Brad: I feel you.

Matt: It was super exploitative. And you, you, you, you gain a lot of bad habits that make you a lot of money. They’re not like bad habits, per se, but like, they don’t teach you to be like, those habits are going to get you into bad situations when you play better players. But like, I’ve really rededicated myself, especially like this year, to a lot of time studying, working with solvers a lot, doing kind of like scheduling out my study time. It has helped a lot. And I’m kind of an early morning person-ish. So, like, I normally like to study early in the morning, and it’s kind of like the gym for me. If I don’t do it early in the morning, I’m not going to do it at all.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: I don’t go to, if I don’t go to the gym at like, 9am, I’m not going at 4pm. Like, I’m kind of hungry. I kind of want dinner.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: Let’s just have dinner instead. And then you don’t want to go after you eat. So

Brad: Eat first.

Matt: Yeah. So, I like, I’ll study in the morning, for a couple hours. Get over whatever stuff I need to get done in terms of like schedule. Like I’m like, like I said, like four or five days a week. I know, we started on 3pm with all the American stuff. But in terms of like actual what I’m studying, like, bought of like, solvers. But I’ve it’s took a long time. But I think I finally kind of learned how to use them efficiently in an effective way.

Brad: Yeah. Which is funny.

Matt: Yeah, it took it took a while.

Brad: Of course.

Matt: There’s a huge learning curve with solvers.

Brad: Yes, most people are using them horrendously in ways that are very damaging to their poker careers.

Matt: Yeah. And probably the best way that kind of turned the corner for me was learning to script and running scripts, and learning Excel and formatting and stuff

Brad: What does scripts mean, for the audio?

Matt: Okay, so scripting will be, let’s say I want to run. So, for example, what is a button versus big blinds, 20 big blinds. And I’ll run one setup, where I’ll put the buttons opening range at 20 big blinds, the big blinds defending range, all the various parameters. And instead of just running it for one flop, I’ll run it for 184 flops. And this is something that will probably is like overnight, probably like a 12 to 16-hour process. And what it will do is it will create an Excel report. And what I can do then is sorts the flops by for example, like check percentage, which flops in my checking a super, like it’s going to give me my global frequency. Like you’re going to check 33% of the time in this situation on all across all boards. But there’s certain boards we’re going to check 70, 70% of the time, there’s certain boards we’re going to check 20% of the time. So, like, I’ll start to sort by flop texture and realize, okay, we’re never checking any A sideboard in this situation, because the big blind is rejecting a lot of there asex hands and they just do just have a huge polarization advantage on this board. So not only are we betting always, we’re sizing up a ton on these flop textures. And that way, now I’m starting to have pattern recognition now. And like, which boards my betting the smallest size on, what size with my betting a big, big size on and I’m learning the differences in what type of pattern recognition that I’m seeing. For example, like, I’m always going to be checking back the highest on these low like low straight boards. Like there’s a very clear pattern because the big blind has a lot better board coverage on those boards and the imposition razor. So, we’re checking back a ton on these boards, and just learning that pattern recognition. And then I’ll do it next level is all run button versus big white for 40 big blinds, the same situation. And I’ll have the same flop subset. And now I can compare how does this flop, what’s my strategies change at 25 blinds versus 40 big blinds. Well, now those 40 big blinds, the big blinds has more asex in their range because they’re not rejected at all preflop and so I have to be, I’m doing a lot more like some more checking on like asex boards now at 40 big blinds and learning, now I’m learning the pattern recognition between stack size as well as the position. And so, it’s, I look at KIO as all about pattern recognition. And you see very, very clear patterns in terms of A, how it plays certain spots and B, what types of hands it likes to use in certain situations for like bluffing, etc.

Brad: Yes.

Matt: So

Brad: You’re bucketing in, you’re reading.

Matt: Exactly.

Brad: You’re creating different chunks, and using a heuristic to navigate.

Matt: Yeah. And it’s not like about copying the strategy or anything, trying to find these principles and heuristics that I can actually apply in game.

Brad: Yep. And then you ask yourself, why, right? And then

Matt: Exactly.

Brad: And then you compare PIO to how population is typically responding or how different player archetypes you know, a rec player is going to respond differently than, like a professional player. And then just developing strategy around that. Like, it’s a very intense process. This learning of poker. It’s a hard game.

Matt: And it’s like, I found out now like, I actually really like studying this way. And I didn’t, like studying before because I found, like, watching some videos and stuff. Like, I just didn’t enjoy it really.

Brad: Yeah. Me neither.

Matt: And I, what kind of, I resisted for a while get into PSL because I thought it was going to be this really high learning curve. And I was like, oh, I don’t really want to spend the time right now to like, learn and stuff. And like, once I finally did it, like, doesn’t take that long to learn how to use it, in terms of using it now, learning to use it effectively, like, yes, it takes some time.

Brad: So, greatness bombs here. These are greatness bombs, listener. How do you use it effectively? What can, like from a structural way, step one, step two, step three, what can the listener do to learn how to use PIO more effectively?

Matt: In terms of like, just how to how does it work on a basic level in terms of like setting up, or

Brad: We’ll go beyond how it works. Because I think that information is pretty easily Google-able

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: But, how do you use it effectively and efficiently?

Matt: So, like, I would say, first, would be like to take like that button versus big blind scenario. And let’s say the flop is like ace, queen, five. What’s changing, run it again, for ace, queen, five with a flush draw? How does that change it? Change it to like ace, nine, five. How does it change when there’s not a brought, another brought away card that you connect with? Learn on these little subtle differences that you’ll quickly notice patterns. And what, you want to run extremes. So how I run my scripts is our run button versus big blind. And under the gun versus big blind. And then everything in between, I can kind of just merge the two.

Brad: Extrapolate.

Matt: Yeah. And so, I’m trying to learn the extremes of like, okay, this spot plays way differently under the gun versus big blinds, you’re playing against a much tighter range versus big blind. And you can learn those two strategies well, and it helps you extrapolate it like I don’t need to run cut off versus big blind if I know how to play button versus big blinds. So, like running at, let’s say, 20 big blinds and then run it at 60. Big buttons. What’s the difference is that’s a huge extreme. Now, there’s a much deeper stacked up. So that same spot if you don’t even want to do a script that ace, queen, five, how does it change, change it to a 60 big blind stack? How does that change the situation? Now, you’re actually learning how to play deep stack versus how to play shallow stack, when there’s some very, like, the biggest principle with like shallow stack play post flop is protecting your equity. So, for example, on that ace, queen, five flop, I might check back a hand like eight, seven hearts with a flush draw, ace, queen, five, two hearts. And I might check back there because at shallow stacks, if I get check raised or even check shoved on, it’s a disaster, because now I have to fold that equity. Versus at like 60 big blinds, I can always bet that hand because I can always call it check race and always call a term bet and make sure I see the river.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: When I’m at 20 big blinds, this is like a very consistent heuristic that you see that any draw that you can’t bet call off, you’re mostly just checking back because your number one goal is to protect your equity. Like that’s, that would be potentially the first thing, the best example would be, you have eight, nine on jack, ten, five. Like that would be the perfect example of a draw, you’re probably going to check back because if someone starts check raising or check jamming with like ace, jack or king, jack, it’s just a disaster to have to fold that hand.

Brad: Yep.

Matt: So, now you’re learning how to play shallow stack versus deep sack and you’re learning that’s an effective use of the solver. The effective use of the solver is not how to play ace, queen, five, it’s what’s the difference. How do I play it when I’m shallow stack versus deep stack? Or how do I play it versus under the gun or versus the big one?

Brad: Yeah. And what are the goals, right?

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: Like, what am I trying to accomplish, and what is a disaster scenario? It’s like on the turn in a cash game when like SPRs four, and we bet in position and billing check raises us and we start trying to figure out if they’re polarized. So, if they have like gutters or if they have like camo draws and then they have sets, this is a hand that I’m not going to go into the hand we broke it down in detail in my group. But basically, the takeaway is villains not incentivized to check their check, raise there with a lot of combo draws, because a bet three bet on the turn that folds out their equity is a disaster.

Matt: Exactly.

Brad: So you don’t want to check, you don’t want to check raise, or you don’t expect those to have a lot of check raise camo draws in their check raise range, because if we shove, it’s just horrible for them, so we can kind of deduce from there, then what that check raise, rains really starts looking like and then start making better decisions with like over bears and stuff like that.

Matt: 100, 100% agree. Like that’s learning how to play situations like that. And learning that’s like a heuristic you can apply. Like, it’s the same SPR like a 20 big blind SPR is going to be like between three and four. It’s like the exact same situation you’re describing on the turn. So now you can use that principle in heuristic also in that situation, on the turn where maybe you started the hand 60 bitcoins deep, but now it’s a four SPR on the flop.

Brad: Right. Yep. And if it’s like if the SPR is much more, and you don’t think that you’re going to get bed three bet off your equity with any like frequency, or if they do bet three bet they can’t just rip it, they have to bet three bet some amount that you can still call, then maybe it starts becoming more appealing to check raise with hands like combo draws.

Matt: Yup.

Brad: So, I know we’ve been going a while already. I’ve, I’ve missed all my questions. But let’s, let’s, let’s do a lightning round here. And we’ll go through it fast. Okay. When you think about joy in your career playing cards, what’s the first memory that comes to mind?

Matt: Pretty cool to see like, I’ve traveled a lot of the world. A young age. For poker, I wish I was a little more like, cultured when I was younger.

Brad: Don’t we all.

Matt: A set up of like being poker, poker, poker, but yeah, like traveling around. Really cool. And then also like, just like recently, like, grinding a lot the last few years. And then like just yesterday, like, probably like, I mean, it’s not going to change my life or anything like this, where we’re having like, biggest score, like post Black Friday, and it’s just like, it’s just they put a smile on my face. And normally winning a tournament doesn’t. But it was more not their money amount. But just like I know, I’ve been like working really hard. I’ve been studying a lot.

Brad: What do you make of that?

Matt: Close calls

Brad: What do you make of winning a tournament not putting a smile on your face?

Matt: I’m not like big on. So, I go back and forth. It’s like, let’s take like bracelets, for example. I don’t have a bracelet. And right now, like I don’t really care about bracelets, like I don’t think it’s like, I don’t think they really mean much per se. But I also don’t know if that’s me like trying to like, deflect, because I don’t have one. Yeah.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: Or if it’s because I actually don’t like, I’ve actually come to a point in my career where I realized, like, yeah, it doesn’t really matter. Like, I’ve had some final tables and had some close calls and braces. But like to me, it’s not like, you know, if I get stuck in a tournament, the WSOP for like, 300,000, am I not going to be happy? Because I didn’t want to bracelet like no, it’s going to be like,

Brad: I remember

Matt: It’s a massive score.

Brad: I remember a 2010 Mr. Matt Afflect that was not happy.

Matt: Yeah, I wasn’t like I wasn’t happy, like at the time and stuff. And, but like, I remember saying in an interview later that night, after a couple of beverages, like I distinctly remember like, maybe this is the best that I didn’t win. Because if I won eight million dollars, maybe I won’t have like the drive and the passion, like there’s a chance I wouldn’t be playing poker right now. Versus like, that left me like hungry, and still wanting more. And so like,

Brad: It’s a good way to frame it.

Matt: Like fueled my passion. Yeah.

Brad: It’s a good way to frame it. I still think you’d take the eight million, personally.

Matt: Yeah. I would take the eight million. But

Brad: But yeah, I mean, I think that’s, it’s funny how we look back to some of the worst times in our life, that are a real struggle, and hard to get beyond kind of in the moment, we’re emotionally devastated. We kind of look at them as turning points for the better. At least that’s how I look at it in my life. I look at Black Friday is something that happened, it affected me in a massive way. But it changed my life for the better, ultimately. And so, we can always kind of look back and frame things in those way, in those ways. But I don’t know. It’s hard to say I guess you’d have to win a bracelet to see if, you, if, it how much it really mattered to you.

Matt: Yeah. I’m, I’m very curious what my reaction would be. Like, I’m actually like, genuinely curious. I have no idea what my reaction would be.

Brad: I’m curious too. Now I, now I want you to win a bracelet just so we can have you back on the show and be like, yeah, we’re just full of shit like does it actually mean, isn’t actually super important in your life. No, I was right.


Matt: Like I’d probably still described like the $55 10k the next day.

Brad: For sure. What do you think about pain in your poker career? What’s the person, you’re getting questions with a straight face.

Matt: The people on the podcast can see that we’re actually looking and like we’re both just laughing at each other as we get through the question.

Brad: No, I want to be surprised on this one. When you think about pain in your poker career, what’s the first memory that comes to mind?

Matt: I mean, the first memory is the main event. Like, because that’s probably like the one moment in poker where I can actually like, remember, like, visually and stuff, like what happened?

Brad: It’s well documented.

Matt: Yeah, that’s part of it. Like, there was a crew that followed me around for like, an hour and a half. I didn’t even know. There was like a PokerStars blog, like Matt Afflect went outside and he sat down on the steps outside the room. I was looking up at an airplane passing by. Like, there’s literally a blog that followed me. I was like, what the?

Brad: They’re like live tweeting everything you’re doing.

Matt: Yeah. So obviously that, for me, that’s probably surprising.

Brad: There’s got to be more painful memories, though, right? Like, what’s another painful memory?

Matt: I don’t know. I love poker. There’s, how to like even the pain. I don’t really view as pain. Like I, it’s all part of the journey. Like I kind of like it’s all, I love it.

Brad: That’s a good way up.

Matt: And I love the downs too. Like, I don’t love the downs. But like, it’s like, once they’re past I’m like, yeah, I love it. Like, I like I’m better off because of it.

Brad: Well, thank God, the 2010 main event happened to you and not a lesser man. Because

Matt: I was wondering, like, what if I just flipped the table? Like, what would have happened? Like everyone’s chips were everywhere. Like, they just couldn’t play like if I can’t play like,

Brad: Are they like bolted down? You probably would have tried to flip it and just like failed.

Matt: Oh, I don’t know.

Brad: I’ve heard of people trying to like rip the cards, but they’re like, not rippable. And so, they’re like, like struggling to rip them in half.

Matt: Got it. I remember that tournament. Final two tables. Like I’ve never had a card rush like I had. Like even before the bus Oh, and I had aces like two or three times ace king a couple of times kings once, like, off the set once I think it was like, they got whole tournament. It was just crazy. Like, it’s like a pretty, it’s just a crazy tournament.

Brad: Yeah. It’s a, it’s one of those things, man, one of those things. Let’s see, if you could gift all poker players one book to read, doesn’t necessarily have to be poker related,

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: What would it be and why?

Matt: Well, I know what the most recommended book is from listening to podcasts is the, Mental Game of Poker, which is I do really recommend. But to recommend a book that, I don’t know,  I don’t think a lot maybe some poker players, I would say like some personal finance books. So, like, The Total Money Makeover, and like, I will Teach You to be Rich, by like, Ramit Sethi.

Brad: Ramit.

Matt: Yeah, really. Learning like, just how to budget and stuff. And like, Paul and I had a lot wasn’t like poker related in terms of like, part of the download was just like, I wasn’t budgeting and it’s like, hard when you’re a poker player, where you’re like, 0h, this $200 meal or $100 meal, it’s like half a buy in or whatever. Like who cares?

Brad: Yeah.

Matt:  But like, ever since like I just fully separated everything and actually like budgeted out stuff. Like it’s been extremely helpful for me and it’s helped my poker career a lot, and just realizing like the opportunity, there’s still like an opportunity cost of money. Whether like today like, like yes, I’m going to celebrate like my, like my journal like when I have like a score will go to a nice dinner like once. That’s how we’ll celebrate it and stuff. Like that money really isn’t like mine almost in a way.

Brad: Yeah, I realized

Matt: It’s like my EV, my EV over you know whether it’s I was below EV and I finally got even, or I was above EV, whatever. But like, just treat it like yeah, treat yourself some, but I think most poker players should do really well with a budget.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: And most, almost, almost more so than like your average American household which almost like every average American household run some sort of budget in a way like I don’t know, I, I never thought that I would be someone but like reading a bunch of first personal finance books in those two books specifically, really opened my eyes to that and it’s really kind of helped my poker career.

Brad: Yeah, those, those are greatest bombs. I mean, I, coming from like, I’m same as you as far as like a middle-class upbringing and it’s like, maybe even lower middle class to be honest, now that I look back on it and it’s like driving around trying to find like the cheapest gas station. Like, oh, this station’s got it for 10 cents a gallon since it’s cheaper, whatever. Like, when I was playing cards and making money, I never I’m not going to lie and say that I’ve ever looked at the gas station prices because I still haven’t. Because that’s, that’s too,

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: I don’t want to, but, you know, it’s just spending money going out to eat all the time and like never tracking it. And it’s like, who cares, you know? It’s 50 bucks, 200 bucks, lunch is $75, whatever, let’s do it. I’ll pay 500, buddy.

Matt: Yup.

Brad: I’ll start drinking at like noon and rack up a massive bar, bar tab, that only happened one time. Nobody thinks massive alcoholic in my early 20s. But we’re impulsive, right? We’re young, we’re not emotionally mature. Just we’re going to make bad financial decisions. And like you’re, you’re in finance, right?

Matt: Yep.

Brad: Like you got a degree in finance, and you’re young and made poor financial decisions. So, like, anybody can. It’s the expectation, really.

Matt: Yeah. I have one more thing for joy, by the way.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: Like, having a significant other now that like really like, is very supportive of like the poker career and like, understands it. And, like growing like, up and not growing up. But like, early on in my career, like thinking like, will I find someone that, it’s kind of an interesting, you know, profession. And it’s, it’s finding someone that’s very, like, supportive and understands. There’s like tough, very, like, there’s very tough times in the career, there’s very, very good times and being like supportive throughout those. And that’s like, really, really good joy.

Brad: It, man it’s clutch. It can it can make or break you as, as a poker player.

Matt: 100%.

Brad: You, you have to have somebody who understands the variance, understand, has the expectation that there’s going to be times where we have a losing run of two months or three months. In the live poker world, I can’t even imagine the variance there. Where it’s like a losing year is something that, that’s like a thing, and just not get stressed out or be like oh, are you gambling? Are you playing bad? I can’t take it. Like, somebody that you’re afraid to tell how much money you lost at the end of the session. These are not, these are not good things for your psyche, your emotions. Poker is too much pressure as it is without adding that on top of everything else.

Matt: Yeah. Yep. Yeah. Like, also to for like poker players out there, like, first, like, you know, having some of the supportive, but like, something I’m working on too. And I’m trying to be a lot more self-reflective, it’s like realize to like the sacrifices that they make, being supportive, like, like, poker, like, I’ll travel like a week out of the month or something. I’ll go to a tournament or, you know, there’s days like, I don’t take Sundays off. And she works during the week. So, like her days are off days, like Saturday and Sunday. So, like one of her off days, like she knows is like I’m completely off. So, it’s like, a lot of like, sacrifices in terms of their making as well,

Brad: For sure, the emotional bank account can get overdrawn. And we have to make sure that we’re present with our partners. Like, whenever, whenever you’re trying to achieve something that’s very hard, or you’re pursuing an endeavor that is very competitive, and you’re trying to be like a top 30 player in the world. It is by nature, that it is a selfish endeavor. You are going to have to be selfish, right?

Matt: Exactly.

Brad: You can’t have it both ways, you know. My friend, Adam, Craig, I remember asked him on my other podcast a million years ago, like, how does somebody be a world class athlete like a gold medal Olympic champion, while also being a great life partner, a great father, a great friend? And he said, it’s very simple. You don’t. You just don’t. You have to make that choice if you’re aiming to be one of the very best in the world. It’s a very selfish pursuit. And so, recognizing that and being grateful and appreciative to the folks who, you know, are quite frankly willing to put up with our bullshit and willing to take, take the brunt of the sacrifice, be grateful.

Matt: A lot of bullshit. A lot of bullshit.

Brad: It is. It is a whole bunch. Okay, so if you could wreck the billboard, every poker players got to drive past, what’s it say?

Matt: First thing that came to mind was, be more professional. I think a lot of professional poker players are lazy and very, very unprofessional.

Brad: In what way? Can you expand?

Matt: I mean, they’re kind of, I mean, I say this now because I’ve kind of learned a little bit but like, they make the same mistakes I made early on in my career. They say, oh, yeah, like, make sure I hit a big score, you know. Just got to keep playing, you know, put in volume, but like, they’re also like, they don’t want to make sacrifices. So, I think a lot of poker players are, they expect things that they haven’t done anything to deserve. Like, what are they, asking yourself, like, I don’t know where I heard this, but like, what have you done as a poker player that makes you more deserving than the person next to you?

Brad: Yep.

Matt: Like, and the thing I like about poker is the people that work the hardest are going to make the most money. And I’m going to, like, I’m going to outwork you. Like, my days right now are like, you know, not just playing, like I’m spending, you know 10 to 15 hours a week off the table plus 40 hours a week studying, plus coaching, plus you know, like, it’s like, I’m going to outwork you. So, it’s kind of like, I think there’s a lot of poker players that expect they have a they have a disconnect between their goals and what they’re doing to reach those goals. I guess that’s the best way to put it. The disconnect between those.

Brad: Yep. And a why. Like, why, why are you going to make it when other people fail?

Matt: Yep.

Brad: What makes you special? What makes you different? It’s easy for us to delude ourselves and to overestimate skill level, overestimate our importance, all of these things. So, staying level, like you said, being humble, and being a worker. It’s a meritocracy. That’s what’s beautiful about this game, I love that it’s a meritocracy.

Matt: It’s not like eight years ago, where you could just wake up, play, 10 years ago, and just make money. You know, it’s, I know I do like be more regimented in my schedule, and stuff has helped me a lot in terms of just be, being more prepared. You know, just being more professional about it. It’s helped me a lot.

Brad: Yeah, taking care of your body, taking care of your mind. Paying attention to what you put in your body, all of these things, they matter. And it, assuming that two human beings, Adam for Adam, are exactly equal. The dude that’s working out, the dude that’s putting good fuel in his body is going to have an edge over the person who isn’t the version of himself who is not. So, you got to be that guy.

Matt: Not least also what’s the hardest thing about poker, and when I talk to students a lot about is being able to, like recognize, like false feedback.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: We’re recognized, we’re recognizing, and that’s the whole, that’s the challenge, that’s all of poker is being able to ignore the noise. You’re going to get false feedback all the time. And just being able to recognize that you are doing the correct process. And then that’s really all that matters. And as long as you’re doing the correct process, that’s what you can control.

Brad: Yeah. And the, all the noise is so funny too me because it works both ways, right? Like, you could reinforce negative behavior, and then it could give benefits to, you know, it can reinforce negative behavior, and then crush you for positive behavior and make you question your positive behavior. Like it’s really hard to analyze it without biases, and look at it and navigate your way through. It’s just, it’s a tough gig, man. It’s tough gig. Two more questions. What’s a project you’re working on that’s near and dear to your heart?

Matt: Now that I’m a poker player, so like, I mean, I’m coaching which is something I’m getting passionate about and doing a lot of now. I’m doing I mean, pretty, doing a lot with, making a lot of content for them. And then yeah, just I mean, my life’s pretty simple. Like, I mean, I play poker, my time that I’m not playing poker, I’m spending with my girlfriend, you know I’m trying to work in, be more present in be like, in that time with her. I’m a golfer. So, I, something I want to do as a project that I haven’t done. So, I played competitive golf growing up, but nothing where I was anywhere near good. I’m like an eight handicap now. And I’d like to get to the point where I’m actually able to put a lot of time in my game, try to get down to like, scratch and get back into like tournament golf.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: I’m playing like the like Southern Nevada Golf Association, which when they have a lot of like good local tournaments here and stuff. I want to play more like some golf tournaments. I think it’d be cool to play like a for, like the US amateur is going on right now. I’m never going to be able to compete in that, like, that’s the best college players in the world. But if I got down to like a scratch to qualify it, you probably have to shoot like a 67. I t’s like maybe there’s a chance if I have a career round one day, like it just be fun to play the qualifier.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: Like, like, and there is an at that point, like, you know, a nonzero chance if I get to that point where like, I could just career and shoot like a 67 and qualify and get to go play with some of the best nonprofessional golfers in the world or something like that.

Brad: Yeah.

Matt: Be kind of a cool.

Brad: That’d be awesome. I think offense by the way we need you said I’m just a poker player. Hey, man. We’re capable. We can do other things.

Matt: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Brad: We can have things that, projects that are near and dear to our hearts besides just poker. Were hobbyists. They can have, we can have other hobbies.

Matt: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Brad: Nah, I’m just messing with you. But final question, where can the chasing poker greatness audience find you on the worldwide web?

Matt: Twitter. MCmottopoker. MCmottopoker. I don’t post a ton, but I read a lot on Twitter. So, you can find me there on You can find a lot of my content on there. I’m going to put my email out there. If you’re interested in like coaching, you can hit me up on Twitter, or through poker coaching, on the poker coaching web site. There’s links for coaching requests.

Brad: DMs are up?

Matt: Yep. Actually, I don’t know if they are. To be honest. I’m not that sophisticated with Twitter. Some of you, if you tweet at me, say hey, can you I want to send you a DM about coaching or something then yes, I will send you a DM then.

Brad: Yeah. Sure, sure fire way to get more students is make them work.

Matt: Yeah.

Brad: Make them work to find you.

Matt: Yeah. I can weed out the, I can weed out the player pulled in that way.

Brad: Yeah, that is a, that is a good way, create some friction. Man, it’s been great having you on the show. Go enjoy your victories. Spend some time with your lady. Have an awesome rest of your day. Let’s do this again in the near future.

Matt: Yeah, I really enjoyed it. Thanks. I’m not like relatively new, listening to the podcast. But listen, listen to it a lot more in the last like month going back and I really enjoy it. And I think you’re doing good work on it.

Brad: Thanks, man. I appreciate it. Take care.

Matt: Yep. Take it easy. 

Thanks for reading this transcript of Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 083: Matt Affleck

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