Nick Howard: Founder/CEO Poker Detox, Elite Coaching & Staking

Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 028

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Today I’m going to be speaking with renowned high-stakes online cash game crusher and coach, Nick Howard.

Nick has been one of the prominent coaches in the poker world for going on 10 years now.

He was once one of the most sought after coaches at Run It Once and has since moved on to form his own private coaching and staking company, Poker Detox.

After experiencing extreme suffering and considering giving up the game forever, Nick surrendered to a larger purpose and made it his life’s mission to develop more simplified strategies than the GTO based ones so that other folks wouldn’t have to go through what he did.

In order to put his money where his mouth was, Mission #1 was to take a small group of losing players and turn them into winners within a year … not an adventure for the faint of heart.

They were successful, to say the least, and have since become the core of Poker Detox.

Nick speaks with conviction as he shares his journey through inner turmoil, how he used that pain to drive him forward and create something new, and why he feels that it is absolutely essential that he shares what he knows and what he’s doing with those who want to learn from him.

If you feel like you’ve been struggling, or that you’ve hit a wall you just can’t seem to get past, Nick’s words could be the catalyst that sets you on a new and easier path to poker greatness.

Thanks again for joining me. And now…Nick Howard on Chasing Poker Greatness.

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Transcription of Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 028: Nick Howard

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Brad: Yoh, what is happening my fine feathered friend, and welcome back to another episode of Chasing Poker Greatness. I’m your host, the founder of, Brad Wilson, and today I’m going to be speaking with renowned high stakes online cash game crusher and coach, Nick Howard. Nick has been one of the most prominent coaches in the poker world for going on 10 years now. He was once one of the most sought-after coaches at run at once and has since moved on to form his own private coaching and staking company, Poker Detox. After experiencing extreme suffering and considering giving up the game forever, Nick surrendered it to a larger purpose and made it his life’s mission to develop more simplified strategies than the complex GTO based ones, so that other folks wouldn’t have to go through what he did. In order to put his money where his mouth was, mission number one was to take a small group of losing players and turn them into winners within a year, not an adventure for the faint of heart. They were successful, to say the least and have since become the core of Poker Detox. Nick speaks with conviction as he shares his journey through inner turmoil, how he used that pain to drive him forward and create something innovative and new. And why he feels that it’s absolutely essential that he shares what he knows and what he’s doing with those who want to learn from him. If you feel like you’ve been struggling where that you’ve hit a wall you just can’t seem to get past, Nick’s words could be the catalyst that sets you on a new and easier path to poker greatness. Thank you once again for joining me. And now, Nick Howard on Chasing Poker Greatness. PS, no, Nick doesn’t have the cheapest voice in the history of mankind. For some reason, his microphone malfunctioned. And he begins our conversation in quote unquote, God voice. Once we catch on to what’s happening, he becomes regular old Nick Howard, again. 


Brad: I wanted to start off our talk, you know, you, you’re a very empathetic guy. That’s the sense that I get, you think a lot about suffering. And poker, there, there is a fair amount of suffering. And one of the things that makes you stand out is, you know, trying to bridge the gap to end that suffering. So just talk to me about your journey in the poker world, what led to Poker Detox, and trying to alleviate that suffering.

Nick: The empathy that I think people sense in the way that I deliver my content is definitely the product of me having gone through a lot of futility in the poker career, I would say. And most of that was due to my own stubbornness, which is I think, what has been necessary for me to tolerate the type of redundance that I see occurring in the learning part of this industry, the paths people take.

Brad: Can you go into the redundancy?

Nick: Okay, so futility and redundance, in my mind sort of go hand in hand, it would be the equivalent of you banging your head against the wall, on a certain path, thinking that it offers a solution that it doesn’t. So that was the waking up moment for me was actually realizing that, not only did I not have the capacity to understand GTO and enter practically and implement it, but also that it wasn’t even the most intelligent way to go about playing poker. And I think those two things are necessary in combination for someone to wake up and start doing things in a more intelligent way, a more incentivized way. I really like to play with the language around what incentive actually means because a lot of people don’t understand the word incentive. A lot of people in the real world don’t even understand what EV is. But when you’re on a learning path that isn’t incentivized, it’s not going to produce the most plus EV path. So, when you’re looking at something like a complex system, a complex landscape like poker, and especially a complex strategy, like GTO the tendency for the analytical mind is to think that this is the magic pill. When solvers came out, it seemed like everything was going to be golden now. The lights came on in the poker kingdom, and like, suddenly, we had all the answers. But in fact, it was the beginning of a really brutal period of suffering for a lot of people who have a high preference for the analytical plane, where I would say the other plane, the, the other half is the intuitive plane. So, for anybody who thought poker could be solved strictly analytically, they probably endured the same type of futility and suffering that I’m fond of. And there’s exceptions to this too, guys who are just savant type, geniuses, Jungleman comes to mind, maybe someone of that level of intelligence can have a high analytical preference for a GTO, complex strategy and be able to get away with navigating the game just in that way. But I wasn’t that smart.

Brad: I spoke with Jungle, right, like I had him on the had him on the show, we talked about it. And I don’t think he even got involved with solvers until 2015. I think that that was the point when he was, he was not winning at poker and finally got into solvers. But it wasn’t until 2015, I think that he even started exploring that area.

Nick: Well, I think that’s when they became mainstream beginning of 2015 or so. And maybe he’s not, you know, maybe I shouldn’t use him as an example of someone who is like that, but there certainly are players who are extremely winning, who gravitate towards a very strict theoretical GTO

Brad: Oh, for sure.

Nick: Studying PIO solver grid strategy, I would say. And that’s not to say that he is not useful, it is. But what I started to realize, after burning myself out with complex PIO work was there was a way to do simple PIO work. So, the journey was from thinking I had to play tons of mixed strategies, which massively increases the scope of the game tree, and also makes it nearly impossible for you to implement the strategy accurately. Because how are you supposed to know that this hand is supposed to be checked 37% of the time.

Brad: Well, how do you, how do you do it? How do you check 37% of the time in real time?

Nick: You could roll, which is what people are calling using an orangey these days. But even that requires that you actually know the accurate solution.

Brad: Yeah, that you know the solution in real time.

Nick: And I don’t, I don’t buy that I call bullshit on that, like I would, I’m open to that being possible. But I find it hard to believe that anybody studied enough grids, that they could accurately implement a rolling system. Because if I change one thing, if I change one variable information, or one bet sizing or one card on board, it just seems like infinitely impossible. I talked about this one other time, when we were filming in, in Brazil, somewhere on YouTube. But basically, I had a total burnout where I was like bedridden for a week. And during that time, I said it was like legit, the first time I ever prayed in my entire life, which was a pretty desperate moment for me. And I remember the exact prayer was something like, it was twofold, it was, I need help, like in the most genuine way possible, I need you to help me. Because I don’t have the energy to get through this. And I don’t have the intelligence to navigate this. And the second part of it was interesting, ir was the words use me. It was like, if you give me this, I promise I will create a path for others who are in the same situation to be able to navigate this. So that was sort of my, I guess that was sort of my personal vow in that moment of like total fallout. And things changed relatively quickly after that, I don’t know really, if it was grace, or if it was just me making a decision that I was going to become more valuable to intuitive wisdom. But I changed my style pretty dramatically right after that. And I started doing things that I think if you pulled back from the situation and took a bird’s eye view would make a lot of sense. But I just couldn’t see it because I was just way too close to the whole process, stuff like just the fact that I needed to start calling more on rivers like something as simple as this were. Really, I owed that to the fact that bovada had exposed whole card function at the time and I was able to go in and actually start to piece things together manually that, you know, whatever. However, I thought the pools were operating, it seemed like I was getting blocked off a lot of rivers. I remember that being sort of like my first epiphany. So, it was a series of small awakenings like that in terms of the strategic observations I was making that that then led into me having a lot more humility around what I knew. I think I started to say, okay, everything good that’s happening is on account of me saying, I actually didn’t know what I thought I knew. Which led me into a much more objective approach. And a lot of people would call GTO objective. And that’s where the confusion is. What I started to realize was, the thing that matters is if we can get vision over how the pool is actually operating. GTO never gave that. GTO gave sort of rigid understanding of how to navigate an optimal world. I became fascinated by how can I gain objective vision over what’s actually going in going on in the market, if I can understand how the market is actually performing. Well, assuming it’s imbalanced, that should allow me to create a very simple strategy on how to exploit it, or at least a much simpler strategy than, than GTO. So that’s how my company basically started. I began to come up with creative ways to use PIO solver, along with mass data population analysis, to sort of map the imbalances of the pool. And the really funny thing was, I’m not good with tech at all. So, I had this idea, but I don’t have the skill set to actually do that. So, it took a while for the right people to come forward and say, we have faith in, in this idea, or this vision that you have for how to create a new methodology. And we also have the capacity to operate the tech side of this.

Brad: Who are these people? Where do they come from?

Nick: So that’s a funny story, the first guy, his name was Steve Cordy. He was a student who reached out former chess player who was really struggling. It was during the transition period after I was leaving run at once, coached there for three years, I think I left in 2016 or so. And I had put out this first, my flagship company course it’s, it’s no longer even available, because it’s outdated, but it was called PIO Unlocked. It was a simplified way to navigate PIO solver, teaching people how to no block. Basically, teaching people how to scoop 80% of the value of PL using 20% of the time, typical parado. And Steve had initially messaged me, and he said, look, man, I’m in a bad way. I really need this to work. And it’s an expensive course, there was two parts of it. And he said he was going to have trouble paying for either part one or part two. So, I set something up with him where I was like, look, test out part one, if you like it, we’ll talk about part two cetera. I forget exactly how it went. Steve ended up emailing me every day, for 60 days straight after purchasing part one. And it stood out to me because it was the only guy who really utilized the little copyright on the bottom of the pack that said, I will answer all questions about this.

Brad: Right. Yeah.

Nick: We had a Dropbox group where it was mostly group discussion. And it was efficient, because I would post some stuff there. But this guy was on another level of interested, I would say.

Brad: Pareto, he’s the 20%. Today, he’s a 20% that’s doing 80% of the outreach.

Nick: He wasn’t enough.

Brad: Yeah, for sure.

Nick: And nor, what I remember most clearly about this situation was that I was living in Playa Del Carmen at the time. And I would wake up every morning, and there would be the next email, I would have replied something the night before. But it just didn’t stop. And I was getting borderline, I saw myself getting borderline frustrated, like, you know, this guy, it’s a bit entitled what he’s doing to keep to keep going.

Brad: Yeah.

Nick: But the other half of me looked at it. And I said, no, this guy is offering a lot of valuable information with his questions. His questions were intelligent, and his questions, were pushing the boundaries of what I actually knew, currently. So this relationship actually transformed into us, eventually going into, I guess, you’d call it a partnership where he became the lead engineer on the next product that I put out, which people know as night vision, he was the guy that was able to sort of bring my vision to life of using population data combined with PIO solver frequencies, to create a pack that showed people how to exploit the pools. So that was a full circle moment me because I felt like there’s times in life where you know that you want to be a certain type of person who’s living from a certain philosophy and for me, it was like I want to offer value without expectation and return. And I saw how close I was to betraying that philosophy, when he was emailing 60 days in a row, and it was taking hours and hours of my time to, to help this guy out. At the end of that process, what came of it was a new product that sort of organically developed from me just treating this guy as someone who actually had value to give, I guess, and not someone who was just taking my time on that product. And that product probably did a half million dollar in sales.

Brad: Wow.

Nick: So, I’d say I got my money worth back from the time spent with him. But I guess the bigger point is that, so much of the stuff that I’ve been able to produce content wise, or yeah, I would say, the tech side of things, and also the innovations in my methodology, just in terms of the ideas that I have come from pinging off the student base. So, I know people say that, like, teachers aren’t best from students. And it’s, it’s sort of a cliché, but I’m a strong believer that unless you have your ear to the ground, constantly, as a coach, you’re missing something, and you’re probably missing something really important. And I think a lot of people don’t do it enough, because they don’t see the immediate value in listening, or giving without expectation. But I’ve had that, that was probably the best example I have of a time where I did that, that solidified in my belief system, that this is how it works. And it’s, it’s led into a more inclusive understanding of how business operates. Good business, in my opinion, is what I would call a nonzero sum game, which is win-win. It’s all about aligning incentives, and figuring out what people actually want. And not subscribing to the belief that I have to take something in order to get what I want. I’m much more in the framework these days that a developing business is most incentive, the most incentivized path is to figure out what the other competitors in the industry want, and find a way to align incentives. And I think there’s not a lot of people taking that because it requires a really broad scope. So, I know that covers a lot, but I want to hone in on that point that potentially the biggest advantage that a person in any career has, specifically poker because of how much of a mindfuck, the variances and, and all of this is to be able to have a very, very long-term vision of what the actual end game is. And for me that’s developed into how can I exit this whole competitive paradigm of thinking that it’s us versus them, it’s me versus the opponent. And on a more business savvy scale, it’s me versus the other companies who are staking players. It’s not how I’m looking at it anymore. And a lot of people would say that makes me vulnerable. But from a 10-year perspective, I think that’s our biggest advantage is looking at this as a nonzero sum game.

Brad: So, it’s very interesting that, that you bring this up because like I told you in the pre interview, like I interviewed Fador Holtz, today, I’ve done, I’ve done this is number three, on my slate, and one thing that Fador said was, you know, his crew of 10 people living together, talking about poker. At one point, they, the 10 of them were 10 of the top 100 poker players in the world, right? And we’re talking about how like one plus one doesn’t equal to one plus one equals five, right? So, like, there’s this combined, you know, when you, you allow people in, and you get their experience and their life wisdom and all of these things, it just stacks on top of each other. So it’s like me and you, we go play poker, I spend 40 hours a week, I distill my knowledge, we talk about it for an hour, I’m delivering that 40 hours to you. So now you’ve played 80 hours, then you get 10 guys, you get all this experience very, very quickly. It allows you to rapidly grow. And like from a business sense. It makes all the sense in the world that that Poker Detox is succeeding by stacking the collective wisdom on top of each other.

Nick: And aligning incentives. And I think that’s, it’s become my new passion. I mean, before we came on, we both agreed that we really love talking about the mindset side of things, but my new version of mindset,

Brad: Tell me, tell me aligning incentives, like what is this?

Nick: Sure. So, so it’s one plus one equals five. Basically, value arbitrage is another way to put it. If for instance, one of your friends owns a fancy restaurant, one of your friends owns a yacht, and the other one has 20 perfect 10 models that he’s friends with. You guys have a lot of incentive to go to a restaurant near a large body of water and bring the girls, you get what I mean? 

Brad: Yeah, sure.

Nick: You can have a better time if you combine the assets of people who have different expertise. So when you actually subscribe to that philosophy and go all in with it, and it requires a certain amount of faith, which is why I think a lot of people say that they’re on board with this win-win nonzero sum game philosophy, but it’s very, very hard to put your money where your mouth is, because you’re constantly offering value upfront without expectation, and you’re constantly taking risks that would make you feel vulnerable, from a more limited perspective. So, what you said is interesting, because like, you know, we can see very clearly how, if you have 10 really good poker player, friends all exchanging information, that information is compounding, and you’re getting a lot for what you’re giving. And this is the hardest part is extend that into the future. Now, where does that end? Does that end with you guys being the top 10 players in the world? Maybe, but maybe it also ends with your information getting leaked to the entire community. And now poker becomes saturated. That’s a perspective that most of the community collapses into at some point along this trail. And it’s a very dangerous assumption to collapse into. And I think it’s one that actually lacks a full perspective of the situation, because here’s where I’m coming from on the full scale. And this is kind of, I guess, you could say this is full circle. I’m well aware that the result of aligning incentives for the next five years with competitors could result in the poker market becoming saturated. But I’m also fully aware that if that happened, whatever develops from that, from having a new network of people who are thinking extremely logically, around how to navigate a market incentive, ends up being so much bigger, and so much more helpful to civilization, not, not just the poker industry. So, it’s about being able to make that extra leap in your head that, okay, it doesn’t just stop, if poker dies, it doesn’t stop there, as long as you’re at the leading edge of innovation in a market that requires, that requires that you understand how to follow incentive. The guys that are at the top, when poker dies, are going to have so many opportunities to make a lateral movement into something that’s going to be so much more helpful for people in general. And for me, at this time, in my company that looks to be something along the lines of performance Psychology, being able to make a lateral movement into other performance arenas, eSports, even professional sports like stuff like Moneyball, data scraping these other markets and saying, you guys are doing this wrong, we have proof that the incentive is to do this strategy, not this strategy, or we have proof that this player has a mindset issue. And if we could just correct this, he would be way more lethal. This is the scope that I’m sort of looking at, and it’s why I’m unafraid of the era of, of sharing information, which I think is well upon us.

Brad: And it’s, you know, it’s like it’s, it’s an abundance mindset or a scarcity too. It’s like, there’s a lot of scarcity in poker, right? There’s a lot of scarcity mindsets of never share information, never talk to anybody. I mean, I’ve played high stakes live against guys that just refuse to talk poker, like, you know, not that they’re not there. They’re awesome human beings, but like they would refuse to discuss poker strategy. Let me circle back. Because the mindset and the performance, I think this is a big passion of mine. And so, there’s the Marianne Williamson quote, right? That’s very famous that, you know, our greatest fear is that, you know, we’re not weak, it’s that we’re powerful beyond measure. And it’s always struck me as like a sort of an odd quote, but listening to you talk about self-sabotage, and just the mindset of somebody that’s going through that. Could you expand and dive into that?

Nick: I love that quote, by the way. When I first saw the opening for this new direction of methodology, like, several months before I actually got the balls to start my company, which took a lot of balls. For me at the time, I wasn’t, I wasn’t prepared to make that leap. I was very afraid of exposing myself in that way, and, and going all in on something. The thing that really made me do it was that I felt like, I was seeing something clearly that I almost was afraid, I was so scared that I, that I actually knew this thing was true. So, it’s very similar to the quote, it’s like, imagine if you knew, just for a second like, imagine if you actually knew that afterlife was real, something, something this intense. Like imagine if somehow God came out of the sky or whatever it would take for you to be thoroughly convinced that you were going to have 1000 more lives and this was just one of them. That’s sort of what that quote means to me is like you are power, you are infinite. And you are only experiencing a shred of your potential. When I saw how fucked in the head this industry was three years back in terms of the, the way that they were going about problem solver

Brad: What do you mean by just like fucked? Like, what are the like

Nick: Can redundant futile attempts to come up with solutions that were far too complex and not incentivized against the market.

Brad: Why are, are human beings inclined to this direction to like, want absolute solution?

Nick: So, if you think about what was happening before 2015, if you would read forum posts, it was just field players and, and some guys who understood this theory better than others, but we were very much in a lights out environment in terms of how does this actually solve this game. That environment was riddled with insecurity, it still is. But this would be the equivalent of a dictator coming out in a time of mass depression, and saying, I have the answer. Lights are on. GTO solvers are here, follow me. And that’s what happened. A lot of people basically latched on to that from a very insecure place, and try to use it as the magic pill or the band aid. And it covered things up for a while. I think I was one of the first ones to burn myself out with the approach. And when I’m talking, when I’m talking about having that waking up experience that like this is wrong. Like a lot of people. When I’ve named the company Poker Detox, it was because I literally came to the conclusion that it was like the entire community was hallucinating in the wrong direction. And I thought the entire community needed like a detoxifier. Come to find out that when we test that name against the market, 80% of people think that we’re trying to help people who have a slight oversight, but you get the point. So, the, the fear that I had, at around that time, when I saw that we had to go a different direction was that nobody else really seems to be seeing this. And if they are, they’re not speaking about it. So, I’m going to have to pioneer this in one way, shape or form.

Brad: It had to be, it had to be you I think. Because, like, you know, you’ve mentioned like, the dogma, you know, the dogma of GTO and how people like we’re worshiping it. And it’s like, the solution, the end all be all right, like, only the people that are there that have these pain points, can figure out that it’s not right on the outside, it’s like, you know, that they don’t have that belief system? Does that make sense?

Nick: Yes. And it’s funny, because when you reach a certain level of awareness around your ego, you see that it’s very silly to start to say things like, well, all this happened for a reason, because I had to go through the suffering so that I could have empathy, and then break out of the spell, and now be the coach who leads the new direction of MDA. In a sense, I could say that is a story I could tell. But as soon as I tell that story, it puts me back in this martyr like identity that’s super inefficient for navigating future circumstance. So, it’s both. It’s like, yeah, maybe, maybe that’s how it had to be. And maybe there’s a higher intelligence preparing you for whatever your journey is in the future. But objectively speaking, I am the product of the circumstance that has occurred before, and I am operating with some form of intelligence that allows me to navigate incentive toward the future. That’s about all I can say.

Brad: Well, I think it’s hard for me to express I guess what I really mean is like, you can come up with a solution, because these are your problems. This is your pain, this is your suffering. So, it puts you in a position to have empathy for other people that are struggling with this exact pain of dogmatic GTO belief, whereas somebody else who isn’t dogmatic in their GTO belief, like how can they solve that pain for these other people, right? Or what, what motivation do they have, you know?

Nick: So, in that sense, I believe that I would not be able to have gone the path that I’ve gone, if I did not develop patience for others who were going through the same thing and I guess that’s the empathy that you that you refer to. The virtue of, the real virtue of empathy is his patience for a teacher at least. So, I have a very keen sense of where someone is available to an upgrade. And when they’re operating from stubborn enough intentions, that it’s just time to step away and let them actually burn themselves out in the way that I did before they come to a level of availability, where they’re open to admitting that they might be wrong about something. Because thinking back, I wouldn’t have been able to get help from my future self, I don’t, I don’t believe that. If I came back and said, Nick, in three years, you’re going to be doing things completely different. And a lot of the belief systems that you subscribe to are going to have burned to the floor, I would have said, go fuck yourself. I had to hit that wall. So, the community is divided into people who are currently available to taking a different path without having to hit a rock bottom. And people who actually need that, in order to make a trajectory shift. That’s the first thing I think I sort of look for in a student. And there’s no real problem with either. One path is just far more painful and a lot less necessary. I could go on about that for a while. But I’ll just say briefly that like, my favorite type of student is the 25-year-old who seems that who’s in pain, but says, I don’t need to go through what you went through. Just tell me what to do. I like that guy, a lot.

Brad: Trust your experience,

Nick: No, I just think he’s smart. I wish I had his humility back when I was 25. So, I want to go back to this point you made about you know, what is what is creating the mindset, deficiency of the community like what really is going on? Because you can, first of all mindset gets a bad rap. It’s underrated still, like, Elliott Road, he’s clearly doing something amazing. And yeah, a lot of guys work with him or have worked with him. But it’s pretty hard to sell a mindset product.  It’s pretty hard to put a mindset podcast out and have it get as many hits as a strategy podcast, or, you know, some sort of slander case that Doug Polk presents. And I think it’s a, it’s twofold. It’s, the community is interested in distracting themselves from what’s actually important. And there’s also not a proper language yet for conveying how important mindset actually is. And I think a lot of that has to do with, we don’t even really know what’s going on. If people actually saw the extent to which they are diluted when they’re at a poker table. People actually saw the, the extent to which they are distorting information, that they’re, that is in front of their face, I think we’d have a different conversation about mindset. But the problem is that everybody thinks they’re seeing things clearly, or more clearly that much more clearly than they actually are. So, I’ll give a quick example, that should connect with 90% of the audience. That explains what goes on at a very, very deep, subconscious level, that causes the mind to parse information in a very distorted way. And it has an immediate impact on your win rate. So, if you haven’t been interested in the conversation yet, this is points on your win rate if you listen to this. Pick a situation on the river where you’re facing a bet from a villain. There are two primary types of personalities in poker. And these are both imbalances. In balanced archetypes, you could say. I’ve yet to meet somebody who’s perfect, that would be a bot. So, let’s just start there. Guy one is risk averse, when he faces a river bet, his main form of tilt is that if he’s in an emotionally distressed state, say he’s down a few buy ins, or say he’s even, even or up, he constantly looks at a large river bet, and says, it is extremely scary, that this bet requires me to call in order to win the pot. And even if the technique that I’m operating from determines that this is a plus EV call, I’m folding, because it is more important for me to protect myself from the pain of being shown a better hand, than to make a plus EV call. So, what I’ve started to frame this as I’m working with Matt Hunt, to create what I think is going to be the most potent mindset seminar that the industry has been offered yet. We’ve put this in the frame of an algorithm, a bot would never have that week. Because a bot is not operating from a malfunction and its coding. It would just see plus EV call. It doesn’t go through that emotional process of plus EV but I’m scared that I might get shown a better hand so all rationalize for folding. So that’s guy one. Guy two is, for lack of a better word. Let’s just call him the dejan for fun. The dejan loves to gamble, and the dejan also hates to get bluffed generally speaking. I subscribe to this archetype so I feel comfortable just shaming it. When the dejan faces the bet on the river, he will rationalize that even if it is negative EV from a theoretical lens or you know from a technical end, something drifts him towards wanting to call because the pain of being shown a bluff is more important, it’s more important for him to avoid that, that he could be getting blocked than it is for him to make a slightly negative EV call. So, he rationalizes for a negative EV call. Because the worst fear of his is that he could be getting bluffed. If you understand these two major archetypes, it’s, it’s the bulk of getting through the door of understanding why mindset is so important. Because this is happening constantly to various degrees. Everybody’s operating from various biases. And these are just the two major types, like they manifest in a lot of different ways across the game tree. But if you don’t believe what I’m saying is real. I assure you, the data suggests that it is. And you’re probably someone who’s under this delusion, if you’re dismissing this right now. So, you might turn the video off right now and come back to this three years later when you hit burnout. But I’m telling you right now, if you’re dismissing the information that I just conveyed, you’re making a big mistake in terms of efficiency, because it’s very, very real, and very few people are actually aware of it.

Brad: It’s such a key insight too, into the failure GTO because you run into these archetypes in your poker journey. And if you try to use a balanced strategy versus either one, so let’s say I need to be bluffing 45% here versus the archetype, the dejan, he’s going to call every time. So all you’re doing is giving him money, right? Like and then against the other guy. If he’s not calling enough, then you need to be over bluffing, right? You don’t need to employ these balanced strategies. And like, the thing is, you’re playing against human beings, with emotions, with biases, you’re not playing against a bot that’s calling the river 37% of the time, you’re you know, that this is the, the fundamental problem in my mind that that’s always existed with GTO, is that you face these extremes more often than not when you’re dealing with human beings. And this causes you to, to leak money all over the place by trying to employ a balanced strategy when you’re just going to get killed.

Nick: And it’s so hard to convince someone who has that fear that they that I need to remain balanced, so I don’t get exploited. The entire reason that the community followed the GTO dictatorship, was because we were in a defensive posture to begin with, we were afraid. And when you’re afraid, you take the defensive option. If you just switch that for a second and say, well, you’re the guy who’s currently playing GTO because you’re afraid of getting exploited. But have you actually considered that you’re in an unbalanced market. And the actual incentive of an unbalanced market could never be to play a theoretically optimal approach, it would be to play an exploitative approach that most guys can get there. But then the next objection they have is that will never stain itself. If I went exploitative, I will get re exploited so quickly that it will make me wish that I never changed my strategy from this quasi optimal, which spoiler alaert, you can’t even implement. Because since you have mindset deficiencies, if you’re risk averse, when you think you’re calling 37%, you’re actually only calling 29. You know what I mean?

Brad: Of course, yeah.

Nick: Unless you’re perfectly rolling, or whatever. So, this has been the hardest thing. And I think it’s why we still don’t have as much attention, as I believe we will in two or three years where it’s just like the, again, any other industry where we weren’t data scraping the market, you’d get laughed off the stage. But for some reason, people are still not interested in data scraping, poker, and then creating simplified, exploitative strategies that actually deploy against the imbalances of the market. And it’s because mostly, they get caught in this objection that says, this will never work, the opponents are too observant. And that’s when we have to have the discussion of what are your true intentions because I could show you how to make a quarter million a year by doing something very simple that 80% of your opponent’s probably won’t respond to. And for the 20% that do counter you, I can show you how to disguise your strategy a little bit more. So, it has greater resilience. We can have that conversation. It’s not a black white thing, but this is what the human mind does, the major malfunction of the human mind is to encounter a concept that it is afraid of. So, in this case, that would be, I can’t get exploitative with my strategy because I’ll get re exploited. For most people that’s lights out end of conversation. It’s like a fit. It’s like a fear of failure, traumatizing thought.

Brad: Because, because I’m an exploited of scale, right? Like, if you are taking an exploitative strategy, your opponent has the option to exploit that strategy. Like that’s where, like, if they notice the unbalance, then they can take advantage scabbard, they’re crushing

Nick: That, that is the thought.

Brad: Right. That’s the

Nick: 99% of people buckle under the pressure of that thought. And they do not map past it. But there are intelligent ways to map past it. And even if you didn’t want to map past it and say, Well, I have solutions, if I see that my opponent starts to counter me, I can start to do some things more balanced against those guys. Even if you did nothing. Most people don’t understand that for a player who’s trying to get from small stakes to high stakes as fast as possible, and just secure a six-figure income and get out of that first level of Maslow’s hierarchy, where you can actually wake up and breathe in the morning, you can follow a very, very simple approach, a very simple exploitative approach and not care who exploits you. And there’s enough unintelligent investors in the market, that you’re going to do just fine. And you’re going to have a low energy strategy that allows you to pump a lot of volume. And once you have six figures in your bank account, maybe then let’s talk about diversifying your strategy a little bit, and trying to figure out how to increase the resilience of it. If you even want to go play 5-10 and 10-20. So many people are overestimating the strength of SSML, MSL pools, and they’re not putting enough value on how much better their lives would be if they could just start making six figures in any way possible. And there’s simple ways.

Brad: And players are not going to take advantage of your inefficiencies in the way that they should, as often as they should. It’s just a fact of poker, and the guys that are, are not going to be playing mid stakes for very long, right, they’re just going to keep moving up and up. And so, you’re protecting, you know, you want to protect the, the thought is you want to protect yourself. But there’s nothing to protect yourself from, it’s very, very minimal.

Nick: And it’s so important to come down hard on that point, I think because, again, like this is a paradigm crushing moment, for a lot of guys, if you get this, you’re afraid that you’re going to get exploited. But every single person is afraid. So, no one’s changing. You’re the guy who’s rationalizing for not changing, because you think people are gonna change. But everybody’s subscribing to the same belief system as you and no one’s interested in changing. It’s not that they’re not interested, it’s that they’re actually paralyzed. So, you’re afraid of a market capitalizing on you when the market is actually much more static than you perceive it to be. And the other part of the equation is, you think you’re way more special than you actually are. You think that people are actually sitting there taking tons of notes on you, in exactly what you’re doing, and they know exactly your bed sizes in your lines. Like, I have empathy for this, because I know how convincing that distortion is. But it’s also highly unintelligent and highly distorted. So, we need to, we need to be able to have a conversation, I think about how irrational some of the philosophies of the current poker industry actually are. And if that conversation can’t be had with an open mind, it turns into a troll fest where you trigger someone, like this conversation triggers 80% of people, you’re probably going to, it’s probably going to be a controversial podcast. I’ll probably get flamed. But that’s how you know you’re delivering information that’s actually potent. Once you understand how emotions work in terms of the mind, and the trigger points that it has around things that it’s sensitive and fearful of, you start to realize that if you’re not delivering content that’s controversial, you’re probably not saying anything of value, because you’re not triggering the fear of someone who’s stuck in a rigid paradigm doing something the same way. So full circle, if you’re not available, constantly available, to taking a new strategy, if you’re too conclusive, and the entire community is too conclusive. They’re all just interested in following the same path, or whatever path they’re on. You’re putting yourself in a very rigid paradigm that has a very low potential to actually scale towards higher accuracy.

Brad: In my mind, so I actually don’t see a difference in GTO and exploitative strategies. I actually think that they’re all GTO. And I think that some of the strategies folks view as exploitative,

Nick: Thanks for that.

Brad: Think they’re made without correct data. Like they’re just they’re strategies made without, with, with poor data, like the better your data gets, the better your decision making process is. And like if you’re good at picking up all these bits of data and putting them into the puzzle, and coming up with it, like, you know, it’s exploitative, but it’s actually GTO with the information that you’re given and using against this specific villain in this specific situation.

Nick: The reason that that falls on deaf ears a lot of the time is because people don’t understand what’s actually going on, going on inside the inner workings of a solver. If you want a really thorough explanation is check out the permanent Instagram story that I left up on the Poker Detox Instagram account, it’s called GTFO. It basically explains, in two minutes, how a solver is actually arriving at an optimal solution. It is maximally exploiting itself in alternating iterations to try to arrive at an equilibrium. And if you actually deconstruct that, then you say, well, a solver is nothing more than a maximally exploitative robot facing off against itself. So, a solver is very keen on how to exploit, it’s all that it does. It’s just all you see, when the solve gets down to point 5% accuracy is the actual equilibrium solution. You’re missing the entire point, if you think that’s all it is interested in.

Brad: You’re not taking into consideration the opponent. The opponent is itself playing maximal, max, maximum exploitivity, which no, almost, okay, no human beings are, I’ll just say, I think I can make that blanket statement.

Nick: Which is really the fascinating part is like, think about if you pull back from that for a second, that poker players are not considering the opponent. Again, parlay that over to any other performance industry. And think about how ridiculous that statement would sound. The entire like, if you were a professional boxer, what do you think you’d be doing in any other moment where you weren’t training, you’d be watching film on your opponent, your trainers would be doing it for you. So it’s just, it’s fascinating to me that we’re where we are, in terms of like, the ridiculousness of the, the major paradigm that we’re stuck in, and how, how ridiculous it is that we project so much onto the table, onto what we think is going on, like I said this in a seminar, and it’s one of the major thesis points, so I guess I’ll just bring it up now. If you actually understood the degree to which you are projecting on your reality, at the poker table, you would be haunted by it. You’d be so hot, if I could put you face to face with how much you’re distorting the actual reality of the situation. And how much what you think your opponent’s thinking is actually just a projection of your own mind. Like, that’s a meta concept. But it’s one that’s worth setting with what you think your opponent is thinking is largely a projection of your deepest fears or what your strategy is, this is constant. This is rampant in the industry with, with listening to guys analyze hands, going up quick tangent, because I think this is just an awesome concept. We recently did a team trip in Asheville, North Carolina, it’s something I do with my CFP players, if you hit Division Two, you get to be on these retreats. And there’s an exercise that my team runs. We’ve recently labeled the King of the Hill; King of the Hill is an exercise where we put a reverse situation up on the TV. And it’s a reverse situation where you’re facing a bet. So same type of situation, as I outlined before, where you’re prone to either going risk averse, or deejaying, and calling or whatever. And for every hand two of my players have to face off and give their best analysis before giving their answer. The player with the best analysis stays on top of the hill, he gets a point and he faces off against the next player on the team who tries to knock them off the hill. So far, in a way what you see here is the guys who are not providing accurate analysis are the guys who are deviating from objective observations about what’s happening. The player is using this bet sighs he’s on the cut off. This is a four-flush river texture, that is objective analysis that’s up that’s observatory. I think that’s the right way to say that. The alternate approach is to say, I just feel like he wants me to fold here because I, I feel like my range looks like this and he would never expect me to do this. That trend, which there’s versions of it. I just gave you a pretty bad one. A pretty, pretty inaccurate one. If you’re, if you’re operating from those types of projections, that’s the first indicator that your way to geared towards this objective analysis. So, the entire mindset module that I’m creating is basically operating from the thesis that I’m trying to help a player move from subjective analysis to objective analysis. I don’t care what strategy you’re currently using. Our goal is to get you to be able to detect when you’re, when your strategy or your way of analyzing a hand starts to drift towards a subjective approach. Because as soon as it drifts subjective, you’re locked in to whatever the bias is, that’s preventing you from changing or interpreting the situation in a way that would allow you to behave intelligently. So, it’s why we’re calling the seminar Think Like a Bot. Hybrid AI is probably going to be the umbrella company to poker detox, and it’s going to allow us to basically start to speak to a wider audience of people who are interested in data scraping and performance based industries and actually doing what the data says, Think Like a Bot is the way that we decided we want to explain this to the industry, because really, what you’re doing when you’re using objective analysis is you’re starting to perceive things like a bot would. You’re no longer perceiving things like a bias, emotional human would. And I think that’s the major shift that is, is the shift that gives you the most win rate is if you can become unemotional, under pressure.

Brad: Yeah, like, objective and subject of, it’s just, you can hear it, you can sense it, you can have awareness of it just in hand history analysis, from, say, your closest friend, or like, you know, since I don’t have stable, and do retreats in Asheville, you know, your closest crushing poker friends that are giving objective analysis versus somebody that you’re playing against that saying, well, you know, I thought that he thinks about me, and like it just, you know, it’s like, they’re telling a story to themselves that they want to believe. And they actually believe it, right?

Nick: So, thanks for bringing that up. Because I’ve said this before, I really wanted to be able to say this, on this topic, specifically, elegant stories are being told, the guys that are most convinced by their stories are better storytellers, in general. And it’s hard to read through a bullshit story if you’re not well versed and sensitive to the assumptions that are being delivered in that story. All you got to do is go on a forum. Like, I don’t do this much. But it’s kind of fun for me these days to go on a forum and see how many people are just trying to get their elegant story validated by the other guys on the forum who are more weak minded, and like, it sounds intelligent, but it’s really, really silly. There was one part of the King of the Hill thing that is important to emphasize. So, when a player is actually projecting on their own, when a player is projecting methodology, they’re basically behaving as though they know what the opponent’s thinking. That’s the point at which the subjective drift occurs, you don’t actually know like, but a lot of people who tell elegant stories think that they know, it’s like so out of their realm to believe that they might not actually be right about that assumption. And so, here’s I think, the full picture of it, that helps some people and maybe for 10% of viewers, this will like wake you up right away, you have these ideas about how your opponent’s playing, in any given spot. Imagine how many times you do that per session, is all situations are different. So, imagine how many of those stories you’re telling. And let’s consider each of those stories sort of a judgment, that you make a value judgment. Try to picture how unlikely it actually is, in a landscape as complicated as poker, that your specific collection of arbitrary value judgments, actually overlaps with the incentives of how your opponent is actually thinking, like, just try to picture how lucky you would have to get as an individual to arbitrarily match the incentives of a market without using a data driven approach. Like you think you’re that special that you just have, like this clairvoyant capacity to read minds basically. That’s what people are basically trying to argue, but they’re not thinking about it from an inclusive enough perspective. So, it doesn’t seem that ridiculous to them. And here’s the funny part is I have met players who just like, either you want to say they have really good intuition, or they’ve randomly stumbled into a set of value judgments that perform well against the way the markets playing. Sure, those outliers exist. But if you don’t have good results yet, it’s probably not you, buddy. So, you better get on with a data driven approach and actually humble yourself.

Brad: And yeah, I mean, it’s some people are better at discerning information, right, like Fador Holtz, for instance. I just talked to him. He’s obviously going to be very good at discerning, discerning information and making these reads in real time, but they’re still quantifiable.

Nick: Yeah. And that’s an awesome point is that if you really broke it down, like Fador just put a course out. And he had a section on it, where he talked about how his life tells work. That might be the most intuitive thing that you could probably talk about. But he’s still trying to dismantle it into data points that he could potentially present to train. So yeah, I think until you get to the point where you’re clairvoyant, and you’re actually reading minds, we need to have an interest in trying to turn intuition into logical data points, that can be prioritized on a hierarchy so that you can decide what’s actually important here. And recently, I’ve started to develop a higher preference for the intuitive plane, as someone who is trending analytical my whole life and some of the people that have just sort of popped into my circle, Andrew Lichtenberger comes to mind, for instance, I would love you to have a conversation with him, because you’re one of the better interviewers out there for sure. He will give you a mouthful on how he navigates intuitively, in a way that is vastly different from the type of methodology that I train with, but clearly effective. And maybe he gains a lot of edge from being in a live environment where maybe his skill set is being able to actually be able to look and see someone and behavior type stuff. But to invalidate the possibility that there is an intuitive aspect of this that we don’t fully understand yet, would be silly. But as a trainer, I got to see what parts of that, could I actually break down into something trainable

Brad: Right.

Nick: It’s both. It’s always both.

Brad: And it’s very hard, especially when you’re talking about intuitive senses. But like, you know, it’s experience, it’s still data, seeing how people react to certain bet, seeing how long people think seeing the looks on their faces. Like, it’s all data, how people react in a pressure packed situation. Some people react one way, some people react another way. But you have to quantify it. And it’s got to mean something, it can’t, you, making up a story that fits with what you want to do, is what I think most people do. They say, oh, like I want to fold here. So, I’m going to make up this story that says the information I’m getting leads me to fold, leads me to over folding, but that’s, that’s not objectively looking at all the data.

Nick: And it’s occurring, because they’re not aware of the root assumption, which the very key words in your analysis, there’s starts with, I want to fold. So, the, the, the interest or preference in folding is the difference between you and a bot, at the root.

Brad: It’s cognitive dissonance, like it’s just, you know, it’s just the

Nick: Preference is the, the precursor to cognitive dissonance. And it’s so important to me to actually be able to convey this in a structural way, which is why I care so much about being accurate with these new seminars. If I can actually show you the sequence of events that causes cognitive dissonance to manifest in a distorted decision. That’s extremely valuable to someone who’s going to stare at it for long enough to actually grasp it. If you’re someone who has a preference for avoiding situations where you might have to press call versus a large bet size, you will head down a rabbit hole of distortion that creates story as to why you should fold and it will it will lean all of your information towards reasons the fold. The scientific way of putting that as you will begin to parse information in a distorted way. So, it’s scary to hear, Berkey asked me on a podcast what’s your worst fear? I said death. He said going crazy. And I don’t think they’re much different, actually. Because if I had to say what my worst fear was, I already kind of encountered it in poker, it was finding out that everything I thought was real wasn’t the way reality was operating. That’s a fucking crushing blow. Like, imagine if you walked outside your house. And someone told you, you see that street over there that you’re about to cross? That’s not actually there. It’s 10 yards further, know how fucking scary that would be?

Brad: Oh, for sure.

Nick: For you to not have navigational abilities anymore. So, poker is a microcosm for that and people are in massive denial that they’re actually seeing it the right way.

What is up, my loyal Chasing Poker Greatness listener? Coach Brad here and I just wanted to take a moment to ask you a simple question. How many times have you heard my guests and I speak passionately about the benefits of poker coaching? You get to expand your poker network, receive expert feedback you can rely on, and have your burning questions answered by a trusted mentor, which brings me to the Poker Power Hour, a series of 100% free live one-hour poker webinars, master classes and hand history breakdowns that kick off each and every Wednesday evening at 8pm Eastern Standard Time. The poker Power Hour will be led by me, Coach Brad as well as some of your favorite chasing poker greatness guests. It will be your weekly guide for helping you plug your leaks, skyrocket your poker growth, expand your network of crushers and inevitably win more money on the green felt. The poker power hour is premium content and live only. There will be no free replays or view on demand. And the content will eventually be released as paid training only. So, head to, opt in to the Poker Power Hour and get for free today, what you’ll have to pay for later. Once again, to catch the Poker Power Hour every single week, head to and join the email newsletter. Now, back to the show.

Brad: The difference in death and going crazy, I actually don’t think there’s any difference. Because all we are if you get to the root of it is awareness. This is consciousness, it’s awareness. Just like if you keep going, if you keep asking the why, right or like, my hand hurts, right? Okay, this is under the assumption that me is separate than my hand. So like what is me, and like getting to the root of it, in my opinion, you know, where we are pure awareness and loot losing the ability to be aware in a way that you find yourself crazy, losing your mind, madness, that is losing yourself, that is losing the only thing that that is you and it’s you know, it’s the equivalent to death, right.

Nick: I’ll go structural here because it’s what I love. From teachings that I’ve sort of connected the dots to in my own direct experience. And when I say my direct experience, I mean, like sitting in a dark room for very, very long periods of time. If I add them all up, like I’ve probably sat longer than most people. And when I’m sitting, what I’m doing is actually investigating my incentives. What I mean by that is, in my direct experience, I’m trying to figure out what is causing cognitive dissonance. If you do that for long enough, and you follow that thread, you’ll arrive at a, at a realization, I guess you could say, that the cause of cognitive dissonance is the assumption of location. If I assume that I’m here, sitting and talking to you, and I’m, I know you’re in Atlanta, and I know that my computer is six inches from me. And I know that my thoughts are coming from my brain, all of those things still imply a deep-rooted assumption that location is present. And if location is present, it means separation is present. And if separation is present, it means awareness is no longer infinite. Awareness is now duality. That is the met, in 30 seconds, that is meditation, that is Buddhism, it’s the recognition that your assumption that you are separate as awareness is the root of all suffering. Easier said than done, because now the journey from there is how do I destroy the assumption of location? Well, that requires an extreme amount of earnestness in your day to day activities to be able to put attention on the fact that I’m assuming again, through a value judgment, that Brad is saying this to me. And now he might be judging what I’m saying right now. And did I do that thing that I was supposed to do over there? All these assumptions that are flooding in and making it seem like something is important, other than remembering that none of its actually occurring if there’s no assumption. This is meta, but it’s also can be verified in your direct experience. If you do not engage in assumption that separation exists, you will cease to have the cognitive dissonance experience, that all these important things that are floating around you need to be navigated or solved or managed. It’s the difference between being in a control-based energy and an acceptance-based energy. Acceptance aligns you with awareness, I guess you could say in a way that makes it clear that the assumption of separateness is actually just an assumption. If you want to go deep down that rabbit hole, you can cure a lot of cognitive dissonance, but most people will reject that notion and not even begin the journey. The assumption that separation and location is the root of cognitive dissonance is the entry point to a real spiritual journey. Most people don’t even really arrive at that point, because it’s a hard point to get to. It probably took me 10 years to distill it down to the fact that I’m separating myself from my experience in some way that I’m not aware of. Virtually ever, it’s just assumed it’s the root, it’s like I want to fold, so I’m going to find a story to tell. So, I can’t believe we, I can’t believe we got here honestly. I mean, it’s, it’s probably more meta than anything I’ve ever talked about publicly. But that’s what’s going on in a dark room, if, if you really want to know what I’m doing, when I’m not, when I’m not engaging like this, I’m going to say this because fuck it. Recently, I had to go on two plus two and make some posts, about suspicions around cheating, going on and ignition, we don’t have proof, long story short, you can go check out the thread if you want. It’s in the official bovada ignition thread. But I was just disappointed, I expect trolls to be active but like, it’s really disappointing to see how many trolls there actually are. And how many posts they have, 10,000, 15,000 posts and the, the empathy that I have for being in such a tunnel for someone to be unable to see that when they’re signing on to go make a negative comment on a forum, they could be using that time to go sit in a dark room and actually investigate why they’re in pain. That’s the thing that I would love to be able to get across to the troll is like, this isn’t the way. Like, I know you’re in pain. But this is not going to provide a solution. You have to investigate this at a core level. Also, the scariest thing though, so good luck convincing people.

Brad: Threatens their identity, threatens. It just threatens all the things that the construct, the story that they tell themselves. And having that threatened, you just react defensively, I think most people.

Nick: The defensive nature of people, resulting in them projecting outward, whether that’s aggressively, or I heard this other thing that says depression is rage turned inward. I think I actually default more towards that understanding how we project is probably what my work will develop into after poker. That’s all we’re really learning in poker is, how is the human mind projecting on its reality in a way that’s making it become stupid, or not make an accurate decision. If you take that into a social interaction, or mapping your life out even, or anything other than poker that could be potentially more useful to the world. There’s a lot of value in understanding the art of projection, the mechanics of projection, it can clean up a lot of confusion in the world if we actually just understood how that mechanism works.

Brad: And let me challenge the people who are watching right now on, on YouTube. Let me challenge you in your day to day life. When you think about these subjective stories that you tell, question how many are true. And the subjective stories could be this person at the grocery store looked at me wrong, therefore, they think that my shoes are horrible, or whatever story it is, like we’re telling these stories all the time, like, over and over and over again, just start developing awareness for these subjective stories, and start asking yourself if they’re true or not. And start just try, practicing and trying to figure out that most of the time, they’re bullshit. Like most of the time, the stories are not true. And if you can realize that these stories are not true, and then think about it in a poker sense, then you, then you maybe have the capacity to say, okay, like I’m looking at this subjectively, like awareness is the first step towards, you know, making better decisions at the poker table. But you have to have awareness. Without the awareness that you’re doing these things, you’re just stuck in the mud.

Nick: Which I think is the major difference between a trainable player and an untrainable player is that I don’t know what it’s like to not have an interest in this stuff. But I know there’s some people who just don’t enjoy talking about this type of stuff. And if you don’t have a preference for investigating it, you’re probably not going to do it until you have incentive to do it through suffering. So, one way or another, if you’re imbalanced enough, as a human, you’re going to arrive at the point where you suffer enough to wake you up, that this is probably something worth considering. Because the cognitive dissonance will mount to the point where it becomes unbearable, and then you’ll have some serious incentive to consider. But in terms of training a student just to bring it back to poker. If I sit down with a student and he can’t tell me what he’s experiencing, like, he makes a mistake. And I say, you know, tell me where you were at in this hand when, when this hand malfunctioned in the way that it did. If he gives me some sort of lazy, unconscious answer, and I can tell that he’s really not even examining his inner experience, there’s not much that I can do to further that conversation. It’s like, if you’re in a dark room, and I know that room, and you can’t even tell me what way you’re facing in that room, I can’t navigate you to the door. But if even the light is on the slightest bit, and you can say, Nick, I’m looking at this, I think it’s a coffee mug, and I’m like, I know where that fucking coffee mug is, it’s right over here, turn 80 degrees to the left, take two steps forward, you’re out, we can actually have a conversation if the lights are on at all. But the student’s obligation is to give the coach a reference point for his experience. And what makes a good coach is if you have a very large collection of reference points, which is what makes suffering for a long time and working through a lot of different poker strategy paradigms, very useful, once you become a coach is, there’s very rarely a student who says, I’m experiencing this, where I can’t get him at least back on track, to how to navigate towards a correct decision, or how to navigate around that experience to relieve cognitive dissonance. I worked better with the guys who were of a more dejan orientation, who have control issues and want to be super aggressive and always call, those guys I can communicate better with. But I’m getting better with the risk averse guys. It’s been a challenge to try to understand how you can over fold, how you can keep folding, and keep creating a story to tell you to fold. I never understood it because it’s not my inclination. But

Brad: Yeah, me neither.

Nick: It’s been a challenge for me, and I’m happy that my students gravitate towards, like the pool gravitates towards risk aversion, just straight up, there’s win rate for you, if you’re not bluffing the river a lot. Get on with it, because it’s correct. I would say 80% of players are risk averse, as opposed to being on the other end of the archetype. And that makes it really important to be able to understand that type of psychology. And if you take that to the macro, 80% of the world is risk averse. So, mind your incentives, I guess, as my friend Matt Berkey would say.

Brad: It’s, we just human beings are just very fallible. We think in binary terms. We think, oh, I bet the river, I bet 75% of the river, it got picked off. That was a bad play. And when the reality is that it could have been the perfectly correct play, given the data that you were given, it just didn’t work out. And it’s like, move away from like, the book, like thinking about these stories, right? The dejan, the guy that’s over folding, like if this doesn’t lead you towards playing more exploitatively, right fucking now, like what is going to do it, right?

Nick: I love those conversations, though. The best conversation I had all summer was with a guy who didn’t want to move up to five times. But he was a proven winner at two, five, check it out on my Instagram, we kept it up. And the awesome part about that, that conversation was I sat there for 90, 90 minutes or more in Starbucks in Rio with this guy who I had never met. And I took every last objection of his as to why it was not time to move up to five times. And he sat there with me, I was like, what do you got? Do you have any other good reason? Now that we’ve worked through it, why it’s not time to move up? If a player, if a student if a person wants to have a conversation about why they see something in a limited way, I have infinite patience for that conversation. You literally can’t waste my time, because it’s the only thing that I’m actually interested in. I fucking hate small talk. Tell Berkey does every time he has me on pot. I’m like, dude, like, don’t even do an intro because I fucking hate this shit. Like, probably the reason he wants me to come on and do a drunken pod is because it’s going to loosen me up a little bit. But I do a pod with a guy like you who’s open to talking about the stuff that I actually think is substantial. And you got me on a manic rant almost. So, I mean, it’s different.

Brad: Like, see, this is how I get how I get in the weeds, right? Like my curiosity, I go like, you know, believe it or not. For the people that are watching. I actually have questions that are like, completely unrelated to any of this. But it’s like, I love this stuff. Like I love the psychology. I love thinking about how people think about things and they’re in, I think loving these stories. Being obsessive over the stories and how the mind works like, this is sort of a component to playing poker successfully, like just understanding the human mind and how people go about things.

Nick: Poker is definitely a microcosm for life. In my, in my opinion, and so many of the things I learn about life I learned through poker first, that’s been my method, basically.

Brad: Right. I mean, even when you look at, you look at all these issues in the world, and then you think about it that you have a sample size of one, you have only your life experiences in which to make these judgment calls. And so like, as you move forward and say, you know, it develops empathy, like, let’s get more sample sizes, let’s talk about other people’s perspectives that are different than my own, where I don’t feel threatened. And I just hear them out, right. And that, like, I think this is like a natural progression of human beings. Like when you look at everything from a sample size of one, and start making these like capital T truths about oh, like all democrats are the worst, oh, Republicans are scum. Oh, like, like just all these blanket statements. 

Nick: When you actually start to see how any of those value judgments only cause you pain, that’s when you unsubscribe from the judgment paradigm altogether. And it’s a very, very hard thing to put your money where your mouth is for because when you get triggered, the first thing you want to do is make a judgment. But that judgment is going to collapse you into a realm that rabbit holes you and the locks you in, think GTO tunnel, or any other of the tunnels that you’ve been in that maybe many of which you’re still unaware of. Once you collapse, you don’t have the options that you have when you remain inconclusive. As maybe that’s a good way to explain it. When you collapse on a fear-based trigger, or a defensive trigger, you lose options mentally. It’s almost like you’re descending on a ladder. And once you get down past a certain rung, like the next three rungs disappear. That’s what happens when you collapse on assumption. It’s like extremely hard to like get back up. That’s why it’s so dangerous to rabbit holes. The further you go, the harder it is to actually get back out. Like that Batman scene where like, nobody’s ever gotten out of the cave. The 1000-foot fucking

Brad: Oh, yeah. Batman Begins, the first one. Yeah. 

Nick: Right.

Brad: Yeah, I mean,

Nick: It’s up for Bane, he crushed it.

Brad: Yeah, Bane, Bane crushed it, then he came back. Okay, let’s, let’s do a little lightning round action. And then see what the chats talking about. Because they are, they’re talking, I see it scrolling up. If you could gift all poker players one book to read, what would it be and why? Doesn’t have to actually be a poker book.

Nick: I really like Haseeb Qureshi’s book, it was a poker book. And I thought it was an interesting take on how he navigated his career. And I think he used really good metaphors, which is something I think is really important. And a good coach has to figure out how to convey advanced concepts through metaphorical learning. So, I forget what it’s called. But it’s the only book that he ever wrote.

Brad: Creating stories. Creating stories that stick,

Nick: You can get it on Audible too, which is why I read it, listen to it.

Brad: Berkey. Berkey is in the chat, look it up, put, put the book in there. Do some work my man, do some work. If you could wave a magic, this is like pretty obvious. If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about poker, what would it be?

Nick: Awareness. The, the level of awareness that we operate from.

Brad: There would be no poker. It would be a vastly, vastly different game.

Nick: Poker would emerge into something that was more useful for civilization.

Brad: That is a very good point. Because poker in and of itself, its usefulness to civilization is questionable. If you could erect a billboard that every poker player had to drive past on the way to the casino, what would it say?

Nick: Mind your incentives. Dash Matt Berkey.

Brad: What’s something people would be surprised to learn you’re horrible at?

Nick: Anything that requires coordination. I’m hit or miss with spatially; my mind doesn’t operate. If I bought something at IKEA and I had to put it together. I don’t stand a fucking chance, have enough money to delegate that?

Brad: What’s a project you’re working on this near and dear to your heart?

Nick: The mindset seminar is the thing I’m most excited about.

Brad: Does it have a release date?

Nick: We’re going to open it publicly before the World Series. And I’m going to sort of start testing it out on my CFP players before then. It’s called Hybrid AI. Think Like A Bot. And it’s a series of 12 modules that I think create a complete identity shifts in a player if he absorbs the information. So, it’s it’ll be the type of thing that I feel like we start to develop a very close-knit network around, like I plan on keeping in close touch with the people that attend the seminar that actually see the value in it because, like, from the conversation we had today, I know we’ll keep in touch. And it’s because people who are on this tip that actually understand the macro incentives around raising awareness are clearly going to continue to gravitate toward each other in the future, and I think, create very intelligent progress, progress and projects together. So, it’s my way of basically making a lateral movement out of poker and beginning to create this network that I always wanted to create, of like 20 really humble, intelligent people that see the bigger picture and aren’t just concerned with how they’re going to navigate the next poker site that, that goes down.

Brad: And I think that the people that, that pay to come to it are going to be more receptive than not, right. So

Nick: Yeah, and I want to touch on that too briefly. We took all of our public products down off the market two months ago, and it was an interesting decision. For the first time the company was really in, not in need of generating revenue from public courses. I had a pretty nice lockbox score during the World Series, which set us off, you know, in a comfortable way. And I pulled Gabe, my partner aside when he was out here, and we remember, we were outside, in my backyard, it was getting dark. And I couldn’t even really, I didn’t know that I was making the right decision. But it was one of those gut checks where it’s like, if I had a million dollars, just extra, I would stop selling anything, strictly pump the mindset content that I want to pump for free on Instagram, which is what we’ve been doing for the last three to four months. And I would really commit to making an impact on raising awareness in the way that we’re good at doing it, like we have a unique way of raising awareness to the community that I don’t think is a voice that exists anywhere else. And so that day, which was during the summer, I was like, I want all the packs taken off the market, we’re only doing free stuff for at least six months, and then maybe we’ll start selling something again. And the response to our free storm on Instagram, and Facebook has been really, really nice to see that people are actually connecting with it. And when I introduce a seminar, it will basically be like, the way that I’ll frame it is just the truth that’s like, I’m going to continue to put out a ton of free Instagram content. Because now I have a good team that’s able to just chop up clips of whenever I talk about shit like this with guys like you. And if you want something more elite and advanced. And if you want to actually develop a network of friends that are involved in these types of topics that have a preference for this type of discussion, we’re now offering a seminar for that. And it’ll be sort of the entry, the gateway to whatever develops next. And I feel comfortable with that, like for the first time, I feel like that is an authentic marketing plan for our company. We have the CFP side of things, which is our bread and butter. Now, I don’t even really need to play anymore if I don’t want to that’s a huge luxury to have. And the seminar is my passion. 

Brad: Did you face objections from your team? When you pull the products down? Like what, what was the general reaction from folks around you?

Nick: I keep a pretty small team, that’s basically me and Gabe. And I think we both have a lot of faith in each other’s judgment. I think that’s why we work so well together. And it was the type of thing where like we’ve been in bad spots before, it’s like the Joker company is like we’ve been in a lot of bad financial spots, and we always find a way to crawl out of it. So, having a little, little nest egg after the World Series from the score, I think we both looked at each other. And we knew that even if this fails, it’s going to feel really good to do it this way. So, it’s almost like, I think that I think we both have the same value system in that way that we want to do. We want to experiment with business from a place of authenticity. And, and specifically this point, I’m going to be driving home over the next few months because we’re building out this new MTT stable is that like, the nonzero sum philosophy, of really believing that what is best for the player is what’s best for the company, every single time. And if it’s, if you don’t think that’s true, it’s because you’re not being creative enough in aligning incentives, or you’re not looking for a long term enough perspective. That’s really the message I want to get across that, that sets our company apart is we’re not afraid to leave money on the table in the short term, if we think that the long-term return is going to be a healthy win-win for the two parties involved, and I think it’s something that’s way easier said than done, because again, it triggers the vulnerability like to leave money on the table and to potentially do something that doesn’t add up. When you look at it from a six month or even a one-year window it’s hard to do. So, Gabe, and I think align in the sense that we look at things from a long-term perspective, or at least when ideas are introduced, we consider them through a long-term perspective. And I think it’s a testament to how dedicated we actually are to the project. Just the overarching project of like raising awareness in poker, and I think you need that in a, in a partnership. Because if one guy is like, just strictly short term, and the other guy’s thinking in big picture, there’s just going to be constant conflict in the way that you see things. And again, I think that’s a microcosm for the poker player, too, is that the guy thinking in the short term of his career is going to miss a lot of value by not mapping for a five- or 10-year plan. And to close this, I’m starting to believe that the most important aspect of a poker player or a business person is that you actually have to love the game. Like, I almost want that to be the top question on my resume for new applicants is if you do not, how much do you love poker on a scale of one to 10? For poker, not for the money it offers? For the puzzle that you’re solving in front of your face? How much do you love that aspect? And it’s the closing argument of the seminar that that Matt Hunt and I are working on is, if you don’t love the game, you’re going to encounter inevitable cognitive dissonance that might be very hard for you to overcome at some point in your career because you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Same with business, in my opinion.

Brad: And a love for the game, like just me, personally, is something that I’ve always had. And that the puzzle, learning solving these things, it’s just been, that was what drew me to the game in the first place as a 19-year-old kid is like, oh, this is a these are puzzles that I can solve. And I just loved it. And I dove right in and yeah, I mean, the money is a thought, right, like making more money is obviously good. However, doing it specifically for the money and not loving it is a recipe for disaster and the, the authenticity aspect of it. I mean, you know, the number one regret of the dying is not living a life that’s, that’s true to yourself, right. And when you look at the incentives of selling more courses and making more money, like authenticity matters more than that, and it should be a driving force for us being happy, because at the end of the day, there’s a lot of noise. Happiness, is what matters more than all the other things.

Nick: And there’s clearly not a scientific correlation between having more money and being happy. I mean, past a certain point, you could argue. So that doesn’t work as an argument. Like you can’t say that would be happier if I had a million dollars more from selling courses. And just to bring it back, I didn’t take my courses off the market, and think this is going to be a big financial hit, I’d be okay with it. You know, I’d be okay with it if I had enough money, and I was living the authentic life. But I actually think it’s just the way smarter business move to, like, the way that my mind works again, from like the 5, 10-year plan. I just see building leverage through brand loyalty is so much more important. And like this type of shit that Gary Vee spouts and people sort of hear it, it goes in one ear and out the other. But for me, like actually landed, and I was like, I saw this as clear as day that like, if I’m in this for five to 10 years, I really want to have the best reputation in the community for actually doing things the right way. And the empathy thing is a huge part of that. Because I’ve always seen the identity or the vision of the company as sort of like the ambassadors of the industry. I want to be the type of, I want to be the guys in the industry where if a problem is presented, that’s very confusing to a lot of people that were able to step in and say, here’s the argument that we think is most objective. And we have an open mind about it. But this is our current position. And we think this is the safest path for people to go. I like that frame. And I feel, I feel resonant in that frame that that’s supposed to be the developing position of a company like ours, which seems to be way out in front of the industry in terms of how much we value quantified approach, which still baffles me like, again, I can’t I can’t believe that were the guys, the some of the only guys bidding the data approach, where in any other industry, it would just be like a given but it seems to be the way things are and I think the GTO rabbit hole was, was sort of the cause of that.

Brad: 100%. Final question, and everybody that’s watching already knows this. But for the podcast crew that’s listening. Where can the audience find you on the inter webs?

Nick: Go to our Instagram. It’s my favorite place that we have for our content and engagement. We recently hired a new team, and they’re getting better at clipping our stuff. It’s a little 32nd one-minute pieces of advice that I think are really nice to wake up to and just like, give you that boost before you head into your session. I had that vision for our Instagram that like, you know, there’s some guys that I follow on Instagram, like I wake up and like, I really get a boost in bed laying, like with my phone in front of my face on my pillow. Like I can’t wait to see that post that that guy makes that day that’s that perspective shifting, expansive piece of advice and to be able to give that in, to be able to, to, to, to deliver that in the poker context for a community that seems desperate for new perspective was something that definitely really resonated with me, and I’m very happy with the way our team is, is splicing that content. So, it’s pokerdetox at Instagram.

Brad: Check them out. Poker detox. Next the man. Thank you very much. Now, let’s go to the questions. We got questions, guys. I’m no genius or savant, around 130 IQ. But I’ve had quite a lot of success with what you’d call a futile solver approach. My memory isn’t great either. But there’s still a ton of patterns to be exploited. That being said, I do implement a bunch of your stuff and think you make a lot of good points.

Nick: What’s the question?

Brad: I guess that’s not a question. That’s a statement.

Nick: I have a, I have an add on the statement, then

Brad: Sure.

Nick: Pay attention to how you feel. Because if, if the methodology that you’re using isn’t presenting a nice experience inside your body, if it doesn’t feel like you’re expanding every day, and that you’re excited about playing and that you’re having new innovative ideas that seem objective and, and, and smart. It’s very likely that you’re drifting in the other direction, which is the direction of cognitive dissonance, and that will inevitably manifest in distorted thinking. So, paying attention to the inner experience, even if things seem to be going well, on the analytical plane, you seem like the type of guy that has an analytical inclination for the game, and that’s great. But those types of players are usually not as emotionally in touch with how they feel and they might push on too far analytically before recalibrating. So, the, the awareness over the inner experience is very important. I think.

Brad: Mark Kinkman asks, on Insta, you talked about finding out what textures, are the texture where we lose most EV when playing extremely exploitive, exploitatively, example ace, king, seven, single raised pot, blind versus blind?

Nick: That was an Instagram post that we made yesterday. Good look.

Brad: He said, would you recommend to play a pure stab or pure check struts to counter the problem to lose too much EV on those bad textures.

Nick: First, shout out to Salo Roberto, who was the guy that kind of discovered this for us, we contracted him to do some, some PIO solver worked for top division level. And he came with this upgrade that said that when you’re simplifying mixed strategies, a GTO player would exploit you harder if you simplify on a board where he’s at a bigger range advantage. For more context around this, check out the most recent post on our Instagram, you’ll see this ace, king, seven texture this guy’s talking about but the gist is you should be wary of simplifying towards investing money into a pot of the high frequency. So, for instance, just like betting your entire range on the flop, you should be very wary of doing that when you’re at a large range disadvantage. Even if the data says the pool over folds, the players that don’t over fold in that spot are going to be clipping you at a higher rate. So, it might, it might make sense to start hedging, maybe not versus the pool. But if you have an inkling that this guy’s more balanced player probably don’t get out as, as out of line on textures where you’re at a bigger range disadvantage. And this is sort of a door an entry point into how we go about fortifying the resilience of what I would consider a very hard exploitative strategy which we train out at the division one levels. At division four, the players are starting to learn how to conceal their exploits in a way that isn’t as detectable and also is more resilient against players that are playing closer to optimal. So that sort of solved the problem of like, what do you do when people exploit you back? We don’t teach our lower division members that, because our lower division team doesn’t need to know that. We teach our high stakes players that because that’s when it’s relevant.

Brad: Yeah, that’s the that’s the opposite. The opposite of the Pareto principle, right? Teach the 20% that gives 80% of the results and especially to the lower level guys. What’s your stables approximate win rate for bovada nl 1k 2k. If this is something you’re willing to share and have vision over, of course.

Nick: It’s over 10. If you exclude the really weird last three months, where there seems to be an influx of either stronger regs or some sort of suspicious activity going on, and that’s over quite a large sample.

Brad: And you’re leaning towards more suspicious activity is that your inclination?

Nick: No, I’m leaning towards a very inconclusive position, where I, where I just try to post the data that we have observed so far, you can read the long post that I made on the two plus two thread, if you’re interested in this, I posted it. Two days ago, I opened the investigation, sort of, on my own November 7, got a lot of people that came forward who were confirmed winning regs, that said, they’ve been having similar suspicions. And that’s sort of where it stands. And since then, I just sort of hop in once a day and try to dismantle whatever troll like activity is they’re trying to shame trigger a group of large proven winners who are trying to raise awareness, because it’s not cool.

Brad: It’s so interesting that this is your position, because, like in my discord group, people have talked about this specific thing. And I have had no awareness because I haven’t been playing on ignition, I haven’t checked message boards, just not, you know, out of that. And the typical opinion of your perspective is that you believe there’s cheating going on, like that, that’s what I think the what people are drawing from it for whatever that means one way or the other.

Nick: And I think it’s a really important distinction. And it’s a good example of how a gradient perspective, which is what I started out with, one of my posts initially read suspicious results on bovada ignition, that post will be parsed. When people read that, it’s very likely that someone puts that in a black and white bucket of suspicious means he thinks cheating is going on. But when you operate scientifically, and with a low preference around proving one thing or another be true, which is like you think I want there to be cheating on bovada, it’s our fucking bread and butter for the last two years, like I don’t want this. But I see value in raising awareness, around suspicious results when those results are coming from a collection of very large, proven winners, and it’s disturbed our monthly profit for the last three months. I’m trying to triangulate more points, basically, because I only have, you know, my small network. But if I make this post and 20 guys coming forward with like ridiculous graphs, which we don’t have that type of evidence, yet, we’ve got some suspicious stuff coming forward. But I felt this post is important to make, it’s going to make it, it’s going to give me a certain perception that I’m saying there’s cheating. And there’s nothing I can do about that. All I know is that I’m trying to operate as objectively as possible. And it’s necessary to gather information if you actually care about making correct decisions. So, it’s another situation that was similar to starting the company where it’s like, I’m basically sacrificing my identity for doing the thing that I think is holistically incentivized. And shout out to one of my students, Nate Norman, he sent me a message last night because he saw that I came in and I had to dismantle this one troll. And my forum voice is a very blunt, objective, get the fuck out of the thread if you’re not going to provide value type of thing. I don’t have a tolerance for it at all. And Nate messaged me, and I’ll just read what he said. I don’t know if I have it pulled up. But it was something along the lines of a quote. If we must suffer and suffer, we must, we can at least make sure that we’re suffering for the right reasons. And that’s sort of my approach with knowing that I’m going to be interpreted in a certain way that is not accurate. But having, I think the, the empathy and the, the scope to see that this is the right thing in the long run not only for our incentives, but as a consideration. There was some discussion going on in our executive chat as to whether or not we should make a final post and one guy said, how can you say you have a moral obligation to make this post about what we found from this investigation when you look at the cancer going on in this thread, because it’s just like all trolls rushing and basically trying to like slander our company. People are saying that we’re trying to fucking steal people’s databases so that we can use them for our own mass population. And this is whole, this is like a long con that we’re playing on the community. So, he said, how do you feel like you have morals obligation when you look at how these people are treating you and I said, you’re being distorted by the pain that the trolls are projecting onto you. This is what trolls do. They try to make you feel their pain and what people don’t understand, which is only something I understood when I saw how many silent, appreciative people there were when I started my run at once blog that I didn’t even know existed. I said, there’s always people just who are silent who, who never speak up, but they’re gaining value from this entire experience. And it’s got to be considered and its way more impactful than I think people realize the trolls are always louder.

Brad: And there’s negativity bias. The negative net, the negative stands out.

Nick: It’s louder.

Brad: It’s way louder. Yeah, way louder. Jared Tendler or Elliott Roe, if you’ve got to pick a mindset guy?

Nick: Elliot, all day. I mean, I’ve just massive amounts of x working with him. So, I’m biased. But yeah, I never worked personally with Tender so, Tender it’s not even close for me. That’s not a scientific argument. It’s just transparent.

Brad: Are you pulling your stable from high stakes bovada?

Nick: I moved all my players off of audit temporarily. And that was the practical side of the, the final posts that I made. That sort of told everybody the process our team went through with the investigation. I basically said, we don’t have proof. We don’t even have close to enough proof to call for a public investigation. But if I’ve learned one thing from this, it’s that as soon as suspicious, as soon as suspicions enter the mind of a poker player, especially if he’s already on a downswing. There’s larger incentives in play at that point where it doesn’t the conversation shifts from can we prove cheating to can we prove this player still has an incentive to place another bet on this site. And that’s not necessarily, that doesn’t have anything to do with anything other than his mindset at that point. So, what I was transparent about was that I moved all my high stakes and mid stakes guys off of bovada onto other sites temporarily, to preserve their mindset. And in a model, where there is a nonzero percentage of cheating going on, moving people around when they’re on suspicious, I don’t want to say suspicious down swings, because again, people are thinking that means cheating. But whenever someone’s on a downswing in their mindset seems to be affected. It seems like it’s a good idea to move them to a new site or change their stakes, temporarily.

Brad: 100%. Like, if you’re playing in games, and making decisions, where you feel the integrity of the game is compromised. Even if it is not compromised, you’re still going to make worse decisions, and the emotions are going to affect you way more too.

Nick: And this is something that’s really hard to convey. Because, like, again, you’ll say that and then people be like, Nick, our pull this guy’s off, because he thinks there’s cheating. No, I pulled my guys off. Because if there’s even 1% doubt that there’s sites that the site is secure, it affects my players mindset. And I’d rather than play somewhere else, that’s a that’s an important distinction.

Brad: Yeah, it’s clear, logical. Makes sense. I mean, I haven’t read the thread. So, I don’t understand the blowback for trying to protect players or even bringing up the possibility that things may be awry. This is how conversations get started. And things get uncovered. Just yeah, I mean, if you can, if you can prove the suspicions wrong, like, like you said, That’s fucking awesome for you, your guys get to go back in the games. And you know, they’re playing on ignition, and they have a high win rate. This is the result you want. Nobody wants to result of it, you know, something’s shenanigans are happening. And it’s not possible to win playing in the higher state games on bovada.

Nick: And nobody deserves to get cheated, which is

Brad: Of course.

Nick: I put at the bottom, which is like guys, like if, if posting gives us even 1% more chance of presenting a possible gate situation? How could we ever justify not raising awareness around this? But there’s people who don’t want that. Because they think that it’s an advertisement that bovada games are soft, there’s people that just smell weakness when they see people posting things that aren’t taking a certain decision, like, I’ll end on this, I guess is that you want to learn how to not be affected by trolling, which is probably the thing that has been most valuable to me since I started the run at once blog. There was just one fucker that trolled me for like, a year straight. Like, every time I’d make a post, he would just like derail the blog and try to slander my, my name and in ways that were really unfair. And I never fucking responded. Like, I think it was a year and people would always want people would defend me in the thread and I just I It was hard for me that entire time, I would, I would talk to my girlfriend about it at the time. And I was like, yo, this guy’s like fucking with my head. Like, I feel like I should say something to the troll. And I struggled with that paradigm for a while until I finally made a post, sometime down the road in a clear space where I feel like I had solved this. And I said something like, when I don’t respond to trolls, it’s because it’s the accurate response. That was my statement that I made in one final blog post before I closed that blog. And I think like one of the last posts of the blog was me saying, shout out to Copernicus, which was this fuckers name, said, you’ve truly made me a stronger person. And it was it’s, it’s the truth. Like he made me a more loving, empathetic person, because I actually had to sit in a dark room and understand the pain he was in. For him to think that that was where his time was well spent. And, for me, that was a big empathy upgrade is to, to actually understand that the troll is seeking answers too, he just, for some reason, has trained himself into a really toxic way of trying to ask for help. It’s like in the water boy, when Sandler like looks across the field, and he sees the coach, the head on the coach is like a little baby. Yes, like not intimidating anymore. Like that’s sort of how I see the troll now. And it makes it easier to navigate.

Brad: People’s, the way people treat other people is a reflection of how they feel on the inside. And this is just true for human beings.

Nick: And so, understanding the whole projection thing that we’ve been talking about the whole time, like, you could see how valuable that is here in this situation, which is a real life situation and gives you the capacity to communicate in a way that doesn’t have to compete with someone or prove them wrong. It’s just like, you don’t have a valuable question, or you don’t have a valuable input to the conversation. Please sit this one out. You’re a distraction. That’s what I said to this one guy on two plus two. It’s like you’re a distraction. And I told him, you’re dealing with deeper issues. And what I really wanted to say is, go sit alone in a dark fucking room and light a candle for six months, because it’s probably the highest value option that you have. But I thought that was a little bit much.

Brad: Unlikely they’re going to follow that advice. Nick. My man, it’s been awesome. Thank you very much for coming on. When it gets closer to seminar time, come back on, let’s talk about that. I would love to, to have you back on, we could probably talk for three or four more hours more. But thank you guys, for the ones of you watching and asking the questions. Okay, here’s the final question. And this is it. Do you think mass database analysis will be applicable to PLO? This one came in like after the wire.

Nick: If solvers get more advanced, and we could map the imbalances of the proof of the pool properly, then then yes. And I just want to say, Brad that I’ve done a lot of pods, and there’s a clear separator between guys that prepare themselves for the pod, the podcaster that prepares for people on the other side, we appreciate when you put an effort in to actually understand the types of things that we value on the other side, because it makes like, I didn’t expect this to go this direction. And when I jumped on, I said, I’ll be any version of myself that you want. But you told me be who you actually are, like, be the most interested version of yourself. And we went in the direction we did, but it’s rare that someone takes the amount of care to be able to navigate questions in this way. And I think you’re probably, your top three from what I’ve witnessed, and I’ve witnessed a lot, so I appreciate it. And I really hope that your shit continues to thrive because it’s, it’s good stuff.

Brad: I’m humbled brother, thank you very much. Have a great rest of your day. I’ve enjoyed.


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

Thanks for reading this transcript of Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 028: Nick Howard

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