Scott Long: Co-founder of Ante up Magazine

Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 007

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What IS UP my friend, and welcome back to another episode of Chasing Poker Greatness!

This is your host, founder of Brad Wilson, and today I’m going to be talking with co-founder, publisher, and business operations manager of Ante Up Magazine, Scott Long.

Scott and his partner, Chris, worked together at the St. Petersburg Times, which was Florida’s largest newspaper publication. 

In 2008, when they were told a project they were both passionate about wasn’t going to get the funding they thought it deserved, they decided to quit their good-paying jobs and risk it all by going out on their own.

Ante Up Magazine was born and they haven’t looked back since. 

Ante Up is a unique poker magazine, aimed squarely at the recreational player. Rather than just covering the big tournaments and pros, Ante Up gives recreational players real and relevant information about the games they play. From getting more out of weekend home games to finding the best places for organized amateur games, Ante Up caters to the vast majority of poker players who aren’t professionals. 

Over the years, Ante Up has spawned several other features and events that have taken things farther than Scott ever thought he would go. Ante Up publishes a weekly podcast hosted by Scott and Chris, runs regular poker cruises, and even hosts their own poker tour. 

Scott has proven to be one of the most influential poker ambassadors in the industry. His views from inside and outside the game, and especially within the recreational player community, give him great insights into the game, how it’s played, and the real people who play it. 

As we talk today, Scott will share how and why he and his partner decided to create Ante Up, what it was like in the beginning, and why they’re still around when so much of their competition has disappeared,

He talks about the dangers of making too many assumptions and how he deals with failures. 

You’ll hear what he values the most and what, to him, embodies poker greatness. He’ll speak on the importance of adapting as you grow, why they call him the short stack ninja, and the concept of card destiny. 

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

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Transcription of Chasing Poker Greatness Podcast Episode 007: Scott Long

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Brad: What is up my friend and welcome back to another episode of Chasing Poker Greatness. This is your host, founder of, Brad Wilson. And today I’m going to be talking with co-founder, publisher and business operations manager of Ante Up Magazine, Scott Long. Scott, and his partner Chris, worked together at the St. Petersburg Times, which is Florida’s largest newspaper publication. In 2008, when they were told a project, they were both passionate about wasn’t going to get the funding they thought it deserved, they decided to quit their good paying jobs and risk it all by going out on their own. Shortly after, Ante Up Magazine was born, and they haven’t looked back since. Ante Up is a unique poker magazine aimed squarely at the recreational player. Rather than just covering the big tournaments and pros, Ante Up gives recreational players real and relevant information about the games they play. From getting more out of weekend home games, to finding the best places for organized amateur games, Ante Up caters to the vast majority of poker players who aren’t professionals. Over the years, any of his spawn several other features and events that have taken things farther than Scott ever thought he would go. Ante Up publishes a weekly podcast hosted by Scott and Chris, runs regular poker cruises, and even hosts their own Poker Tour. Scott is proven to be one of the most influential poker ambassadors in the industry, his views from inside and outside the game, and especially within the recreational player community, give him great insights into the game, how it’s played, and the real people who play it. As we talk today, Scott will share how and why he and his partner decided to create Ante Up. What it was like in the beginning, and why they’re still around when so much of their competition has disappeared. He talks about the dangers of making too many assumptions and how he deals with failures. You’ll also hear what he values the most and what to him embodies poker greatness. He’ll speak on the importance of adapting as you grow, why they call him The Short Stack Ninja, and the concept of card destiny. So, without any further ado, I bring to you my conversation with Scott Long. 

Brad: Scott, welcome to the show, my friend. How are you doing?

Scott: I’m doing well. Thank you. How are you, Brad?

Brad: I’m doing very well. Full of energy. Ready to get this show on the road, have a lot of questions after you know doing my research and just things that I want to know. And I feel like my audience wants to know as well. Or at least I hope. If not, then they just tuned out. So before starting Ante Up magazine, you had a long and distinguished career in journalism. But still creating a poker magazine seems like a very daunting challenge. Let’s kick things off by you telling us your why behind creating Ante Up magazine.

Scott: Yeah, sure. It’s actually kind of a story that most people told me they found pretty interesting. My business partner, Chris Cosenza, and I were editors at the what was then called the St. Petersburg Times Newspaper here in Florida. In 2005, more than 14 years ago, we’re so old. The newspaper hired an intern who was very tech savvy and encouraged the newspaper to start exploring podcast, podcasting. Now, these days, everybody knows her podcast is almost everybody has her own podcast, but 14 years ago was a pretty, pretty brand-new thing. So, we were kind of on the cutting edge of that. So, Chris volunteered us to do a poker podcast. And within the first month or so some really, really horrible episodes, we ended up getting emails from folks around the world are like, well, this is pretty cool. And when they kept at it for a while and really turned the show into something pretty good. We think on segments, guests. We got our act together. And three years later, we went to our bosses and said, hey, we think there’s something here I want you to put some more resources in it. And they’re like, no, we need to focus on the newspaper. So, we quit. Couldn’t make enough money, obviously off the podcast. But what we did notice was that at the time, none of the poker magazines out there were covering Florida poker and we had probably 30 some poker rooms back then. And the reason they weren’t covering it was because of our really, really horrible walls here according poker. You can only max bet and poker back those $2. So, you can imagine what the games were like back, back then. So

Brad: I remember those days. I think the very first time I played live poker was at the Daytona Racetrack. It was $2, $2 poker on every street.

Scott: Yeah.

Brad: Going back to that conversation with your boss, how are you feeling? What were you thinking when he told you that he wasn’t going to invest the resources that you asked for?

Scott: Yeah, I think we knew that was probably a possibility. Obviously, we were disappointed. You know, at that point, I kind of I was able to see the writing on the wall, I knew the newspaper industry was close to falling off a cliff and that they needed to kind of reinvent themselves with new technology. And I thought this was a good way of doing it. But, it’s also a very traditional newspaper there. So, I knew that they’re not big on taking chances.

Brad: Sure.

Scott: I wasn’t surprised. But at that point, we were so amped up. We knew we had something here, that’s when we knew we had to figure something out. So, let’s start doing our research and thought we’d the magazine would make sense covering Florida poker. And it turned out it did. It was hard to beginning, but turned out it did. So

Brad: I’m sure it’s very difficult in the beginning, as pretty much everything is I think. Were either of you all married at the time?

Scott: Both. Yeah.

Brad: What did your wives think about 

Scott: Those were tough conversations. I can’t speak to Chris’s conversation with his wife. But I don’t really remember how that went now. But I can guess but, but definitely remember how mine went with my wife. My wife is very smart, very intelligent, probably a little less of a dreamer than I am. So, but she’s the one that kind of brings me back down to earth wanting to be brought down there. And she had a lot of really, really, really good questions about that day and made me and Chris go back and kind of really do a little bit more research, dig around, make sure that we had the answers that she was comfortable with. And ultimately, she was. So, we certainly appreciate having supportive wives. I don’t think you can do this. Without it. You know, part of me is envious of people that are, that make these decisions younger in life when they’re not attached. No, no spouse, has no kids, no bills, really. And then it’s much easier challenge. But you know, when you’ve been married 15 some years, or however long we’ve been at that point. And our mortgage and all that kind of stuff to liquidity a decent paying job and start a somewhat crazy idea. You need that support at home. So, we’re very happy that both of our wives ultimately were supportive of it.

Brad: How long did it take you all to replace that income with Ante Up magazine?

Scott: Oh, wow. I would say it was probably a good year, year and a half before we took our first real paycheck. You know

Brad: That’s going to be a tough year.

Scott: Yeah, we were taking some money out. We were able to take some money out to kind of, you know, pay back what we invested in the company. But an actual paycheck was probably a good year and a half. So again, I mean, it’s helpful to have that support at home. You know, we had to lean on both the spouses at that time, and savings and had to dial back our spending and fun, all that kind of stuff.

Brad: Yes.

Scott: I was here by the amount of time that we had to put in to get the business going. I’m like, I think back to those days, and I don’t remember how I even had time to go out for dinner back then. So that helped a little bit. We weren’t spending as much. But, yeah, it was. It was lean. No lies.

Brad: Anytime you all wanted to quit, give up the dream.

Scott: No, I don’t think we ever wanted to quit. I think we, you know, anytime you do an endeavor like this, no matter how much research you put in and time, and I think we did a lot of research and put asked all the right questions and, and had what we thought a good plan. But once we started, we realized a lot of the research we did was based on bad information.

Brad: What do you mean by that?

Scott: You know, just things that we you know, we did the calculations on revenue, but then we found out that, I’ll give you a simple one. You know, no one pays rack rates for advertising. We didn’t know that. We just you know, we said we you know, we go to Walmart, do you want to buy a tube of toothpaste that is $3 on it, you walk up, you pay $3 for it, right?

Brad: Exactly.

Scott: It’s different in the media world. The media world, there’s a lot of negotiations and deals and things like that. So, a lot of our projections were based on rates that were ultimately proved not to be reliable.

Brad: Nonexistent. So basically, what you’re saying is that, for me as an entrepreneur, never, never go to somebody and just pay the rate. Always enter into a negotiation.

Scott: I would say that. I would always say, ask, negotiate a little bit. You know, once we’ve gotten established and we’re, we’ve been able to be a little more firm in our pricing. But when you’re, when you’re starting out, and you’re new, you know, people want to take a chance on you in the end. It did take us a while for us to realize that to get, I hate to say to swallow your pride because that’s, that’s a little more dramatic than it is. But to understand that you got to get somewhere before you can start, being picky and choosey, and I’m on the entrepreneurship advisory board for my, my alma mater. And so, one of the things I tell the students there and other people is that, one of the biggest things you’re going to learn a business is that no one, not even your mom, is going to love your product as much as you do. So, once you get past that, and you’re able to understand that and accept it, then you’re able to make some of the decisions with your business that you need to get it off the ground.

Brad: And as far as brand ambassadors, you’re the man, right? You’re the guy. You got to talk about it. I think that’s something, a mistake that I see a lot of people make is like, they’re shy or bashful about their thing. But nobody, nobody will love your thing as much as you do.

Scott: Right.

Brad: That’s just the facts of life.

Scott: Yeah. So, it’s two things. I mean, one, you have to have that passion. I mean, if you’re right, yeah, you can’t, you can’t sell your product you don’t believe in and you’re not, you know, making it sound great. At the same time, like I said, you also have to be realistic about what people’s reaction to it is, you know. One of the toughest things for us, I think, is that we, there are a lot of scenarios where we know our product can really help a poker room or a casino and our product more than other ones are using can help it. But so, if you don’t get that that sale, then it’s frustrating because we feel like we don’t understand why that is, but there’s so many reasons and decisions that go into how people spend their money, and everything right. So, it’s not always based on what’s logic.

Brad: And it’s a good feeling, though, I would say. To be so passionate about your product to know that it can help a business and be disappointed when you miss a sale, right?

Scott: Oh, yeah.

Brad: You’re not sleazy. You’re not scummy. You know it’s going to add value. And you’re genuinely disappointed, because you missed the sale. And you know that it could have been a mutually beneficial relationship.

Scott: Yeah, absolutely.

Brad: I feel a little bit of that, in my own life. I’m learning. I’m learning and growing in my own my own poker experience and entrepreneurial experience. So, a year and a half in before you get a paycheck, and you can replace your income. What was the breakthrough?

Scott: Wow, that’s a good question. I think it was just, you know, it has to build. I don’t think there was like one big, it wasn’t like we signed one big huge client that at that point that made all the difference. I think it was just a slow build. I think that’s kind of the other thing that I think people kind of lose track of when, when the review of entrepreneurship is watching Shark Tank, you know, you don’t always get that big, big sale, that big investor that makes it work. Sometimes it’s just grinding every day.

Brad: Were you all self-funded?

Scott: Yes. Yeah. We both were the only two investors ever. So, we, in fact, actually, we made a pretty conscious decision that we didn’t want to seek out investors, even as we grew. You know, we had people casually mentioned that they might be interested in doing that. But we made a pretty conscious decision that we’d worked for other people our entire lives. And we’re kind of happy now. The only people were working for are being our clients. So, and as soon as you take that money from someone as an investment or value, you’re working for them again, so and you lose that complete control over your product and your company. And I think what’s interesting about that there were some companies that started the same time we did. Some that have spectacularly flamed out, some that went on

Brad: Bluff magazine.

Scott: Let’s get gobbled up by bigger people, common as, people start them are having a great life now. And we’re somewhere in between, and I’m quite happy being somewhere in between, you know, versus flipping a coin and one of those other two options, you know, sure would be nice that somebody came in gobbled us up, and we’re living in a big mansion, now still doing this. But the risk of it being the other way. And, you know, having to go back in the workforce and start all over. And much rather that we did the slow and steady wins the race model. So, I think it was wondering, was it a big breakthrough? It just took that long to build up the name and the brand and the business too.

Brad: As they say, humans often greatly overestimate what they can get accomplished in a year, and greatly underestimate what they can get accomplished in 10.

Scott: Very, very true. Absolutely. I mean, I just, even today. I’m like, I’m 47 now and we started this thing back when I was 36 and you know, I wake up every day and I’m like, yeah, September 17th, it seems like I was just, you know, trying to get a project done the internet and time for St. Patrick’s Day, like it’s September already. So, things move quickly. Time moves quickly. You know, it’s 24 hours a day. They don’t, I don’t think they drag on anymore. And the more of the challenge is keeping up with the demands of everything you need to. And so, you know, when you set like a goal out if we need to do something in three months. That’s difficult, I think. Yes.

Brad: It is.

Scott: Everything is important takes more than three months. It seems like these days, though.

Brad: And when you’re setting goals, and reevaluating your goals, whatever your poker goals might be, or just life goals in general, you often find there are hurdles, there are things that come up that you didn’t anticipate, that you have to deal with before you can get to the next thing. And I think that’s always going to be the case. You guys, though, tell me, what would you say, would be your greatest failure at Ante Up magazine?

Scott: Oh, boy, I used to have a really good answer for that. We’ve had some big ones. Well, again, I think probably the biggest one is what we already talked about is just making so many bad assumptions at the beginning. But we’ve tried a number of different products that haven’t worked out. We’ve tried some that worked out great, like our Dania Poker Cruise was fantastic.

Brad: What is a failed product?

Scott: We tried to do some, one example I can come up with, we tried to move out of out of the poker market into the general gaming market, we’re more of the revenue is. And we were going to do some regional gaming guides, an idea that was a home run a couple years ago. Our ad sales guy thought was a homerun, we all did. And ultimately, we just couldn’t consult people on the concept. So, we didn’t invest a lot of, we didn’t lose a lot of money in it. We invest a lot of time that we lost in it. But then again, if you’re not investing time in new ideas, you’re never going to know where they work out or not. So, I never really consider them failures, I consider them education you know, we learn from them. And then sometimes we’ll come back from things that didn’t work out. And two years later, I’ll come up with a new idea that I think might make it work. Or it can be combined with another idea that didn’t quite work out or didn’t get off the ground, and make it work. So as long as you understand one of the lessons or why it failed, or why you think it might fail. It’s never really a failure, I don’t think so.

Brad: I love that. I love that mindset. It resonates with me a lot. And it can be applied to your poker game too. For, I always tell my audience, my guys, like, try something out. And if it works, then great. If you have a theory, and you apply it, and it works out, then great. You get to use it forever. If it doesn’t work out and you get crushed, then you just proved the theory wrong, and you move on, but you learned something. With every failure, you always learn. And the only way to not have failures is to not try anything that is risky or bold. So, I very much suggest that people do fail. I mean, when you just look at the marketing aspect, most marketing fails. Your job is to find the marketing that succeeds. And then double down on that. 

And you can’t find that if you’re not constantly experimenting, constantly testing, constantly iterating.

Scott: Yeah, I love when we’re very honest with potential clients, you know. Our focus is really on poker rooms and casinos. But you know, we do have over the years, we’ve had a number of people with poker products and training, and classes and all kinds of stuff like that come to us. And early on, we took whatever dollar we could get, right. But the poker market has changed over the last 11 years that we’ve been in business. And so, we’ve kind of watched that change and kind of understood it, in some ways better than other folks. So, you know, so then we go, you know, now when we get that occasional inquiry from somebody that just starting out where we were 11 years ago, right? And, and I tried to be as honest with them when they contact us and I’m like, you know, I don’t know whether we’re your best, best marketing partner. And I try to give them some tips on whether I think they should go for that. But someone says someone say, you know, I want to try it out. And as long as their mentality is what you mentioned, it’s like, you know, hey, I want to try everything and see what works. And I’ll go back to it. I have no problem cashing that check. But, you know, I do have a problem taking money from folks that that I know, just were not the right partner for him. That makes sense.

Brad: It makes absolute sense. You’re a good guy, and not knowing too much about the origins of Anti UP magazine and stuff like that, I get the sense that you run the show with integrity, which is the most important thing, in my opinion, especially in the poker space. There’s a lot of snake oil salesmen. There’s a lot of BS, a lot of those, those magazines, for instance, that no longer exist. A lot of lying to consumers, and they’re advertised, people that are advertising in them. That it’s, it’s very reassuring, and makes me feel good. I’m hearing these things about Anti Up magazine.

Scott: Thank you very much. Yeah, it’s really important to us to be that way. So, like I said, probably more lucrative not to be that way. But

Brad: Not everything’s about money. And I think honestly, it’s more lucrative to act with integrity, because it’s sustainable.

Scott: Yeah, it’s the long game, right?

Brad: We are playing the long game.

Scott: Yeah. You know, you know, here we are 11 years later, and we’re still working at home, traveling the world and you know, we’re not rich, but we’re more able to pay the bills and do something we like. And it’s because we didn’t, you know, didn’t go down that more aggressive route early on. So, you know, I am sure there’s folks out there that look at us and say, hey, we’re home finder realize our potential. And that’s, that’s a fair question to ask. And it might be, might true, but we feel good about where we are right now with how we’ve built our company and what our values are.

Brad: That’s awesome, sir. That’s awesome. Let’s switch gears for a second. You know, the name of this show is Chasing Poker Greatness. And you’ve had the opportunity to report, speak to, interview talk to a lot of the stars of the game. What would you say? What is poker greatness mean to you specifically?

Scott: What poker greatness mean? Mm hmm. Probably I think the answer I mean, people hate this, when you talk about poker strategy, when people say it depends. But, but that’s, you know, that’s really the right answer, right? Because every poker player is different. Every poker player learns differently. Every poker player has skills that they can pull off the other poker players can’t, you know. You don’t want to take somebody who’s naturally a passive person and try to make them aggressive poker player, that’s not going to work right? So, I think it depends on poker greatness. We actually had an interesting discussion on our podcast a couple weeks ago, that there’s always been this kind of debate over ROI, the Hendon mob, and reporting sites like that, only reporting on your winnings and not your buy ins and your losses.

Brad: Yes. Yes.

Scott: So it paints an incorrect picture of you as a poker player, right? So, you know, just because you’ve won $6 million, doesn’t mean that you’re a profitable player. You could spend 10 million winning that 6 million, and somebody else that’s listed on Hendon mob with $25,000 in winnings, could have done it with one buy in, right? So, so part of that discussion was really one, why does it matter? And two you know, it depends. And part of it is some poker players love the limelight. They love being on TV, they love the endorsements, but there’s quite a few out there that don’t actually, and that’s what’s interesting about our game. You tend to think that all poker players are salesman or saleswoman.

Brad: Not to see.

Scott: It’s love to be in the in the shadows, you know, cash and check, right.

Brad: For sure. And it’s an intangible thing, this thought of greatness. And I guess more so, what does it mean to you personally, when you think of poker greatness? Who’s the first poker player that pops in your head?

Scott: Ah, that’s going to be Doyle Brunson, I think. I just think he’s done everything. How can I say everything right? No one’s ever done anything, right? But I like you know, he came, you know, he was a poker player back before. It was cool to be a poker player back when it was super dangerous to be a poker player on top of that. He was able to get through all that, right? And then oh, and then became a successful author. And has kept himself relevant all these years, you know? And think about it. I know some people might question that because he’s Doyle freaking Brunson, right? So, his name  can go anywhere. But there are a lot of players when we first started getting involved with this game back in the moneymaker boom, like everybody else did that. We don’t hear from anymore. We don’t see. We don’t know where they are. So, to be able to stand that test of time, it’s not just built on the fact that you know, he wants two world titles it’s that he comes across as a genuine guy and kept himself relevant you know. He’s had an online site for a while. He’s an author. He made it on TV at times. But the stand the test of time in this game, I think that’s where you get into greatness. I mean, we talk a lot about the Hall of Fame. You have to be 40 years old to get in it. And I’m not debating that at all. But I’m curious whether there’s two folks that get in the hall, either are now or will get in the Hall of Fame in the future right around that 40th birthday that flame out spectacularly by 45 or 50. And years later, no one remembers who they are. So, longevity. That’s probably, that’s the long, long way of saying longevity.

Brad: A 500-word answer, meaning longevity.

Scott: I mean it in that order sometimes, yes.

Brad: I mean Doyle, Doyle makes all the sense in the world to me. I love Doyle. Super System was the first book that I read that resonated with me, way back in 2003. And like you said, Super System was not written in 2003. It was it was published way before that, way before the moneymaker boom, and to be around, to be on high stakes poker, to be on Poker after dark. And he’s in his 80s now. I do think that that is, it’s pretty much the epitome of poker greatness, right?

Scott: Yeah. And, you know, part of the point I didn’t make is that the game has changed so much in 11 years. I’ve been involved with 14 years. I’ve been involved with it. It certainly has changed a lot in the last 60 years or so, Doyle has been a part of it. And its game that we all know, this, we need to adjust with it as it changes, you know. You can’t keep playing the same game you played when you learned. So, and now the game is so much more mathematical than I think it was in the past. So much of it is designed in people’s minds where they know the right play at the right time, because they can calculate that math quickly. That some of those players in the past when it really was a play, the people without the cards kind of game never really adjusted to that. So, I think it’s important that that you have the skills to adjust. And I love nothing more than that, again, I’m an older guy, not 47, I’m not old, but I feel old when in time I’m at the poker table, right? And then all of our world champions are 20, in the 20s. Now, except for this last one. But I love when I’m watching one of my tournaments, and there’s a player at the table that’s 60s, 70s, and is right in there mixing it up with those young kids and being successful at it, because that’s somebody that I know has changed his game, and been able to change his game. And probably that means he’s going to be able to continue with changing his game as long as he plays. And when you’re talking about greatness, again, that goes back to it, there’s just being able to this poker is going to be completely different five years from now than it is now completely different. I don’t know what’s going to be like, but I know it’s going to be, it’s probably going to be different.

Brad: Its probably going to be different depending on the arena that you play in whether you’re playing online, it’ll be different in six months to a year.

Scott: Oh yeah. Absolutely.

Brad: I can guarantee because that’s the arena that I battle in. And I just, I’ve seen it over and over and over again. And what you mentioned about the older folks, you know, Doyle, its adaptability and its humility. And I think that this is something that gets lost on a lot of poker players, to humble yourself enough to say, to ask the simple question it, you know, am I doing enough? Has the game changed? What do I need to do to keep up? What work do I need to do? I see a lot of folks, I’ve seen it both ways, you know. I’ve seen the old guys that stick to their guns never adapts, never change, and they always flame out. The game passes them by and they don’t even realize what happened, right? They believe they’re so convinced that they know the right way, that they refuse to adapt, and they always get crushed. It always happens. And you know, you’re 47, I’m 35. I look at those lessons, because I’ve seen them firsthand. And I always ask myself those questions. I’m always asking myself, am I doing enough? What do I need to do to get better? How do I improve on a daily basis?

Scott: Yeah, you have to. If you don’t, then you’re just not going to survive. You have to continue to think about it. Many people say you have to continue to study and work at it. But studying, work at are different for everybody. But you I think you need to, you have to have the mindset of every day trying to learn something new.

Brad: And what is your process look like for regularly improving your game, specifically?

Scott: I, one of the funny things that Chris and I have always said for last 11 years is, because people will come up to us all the time. And they’re like, oh, wow, people asked at the poker world. They asked us what we do for a living and they’re like, oh, wow, you must play a lot of poker, and our long-standing joke has been that we’ve quit our job to start a poker magazine to play less poker. It’s really the truth. You know, we had the beginning of starting the company. We didn’t have the time to play anymore. And now we’ve kind of, our lives are different. We’re in different places now. So, you know, Chris has got hobbies outside of poker. I’ve got a lot of hobbies outside of poker. So, I generally really only play when I’m at my events now. Still happy with my level of play at them. Still cash pretty regularly in tournaments. So really, my kind of adjustment and how I continue to get better is just being involved in this poker world still, you know. You know, we talk to our strategy columnist, or read their columns when they come in the magazine. You know, obviously preparing for our poker cast every week. We do a lot of reading, you know, and then you know, when I’m on site at events, I talk to players a lot. You know, they’re interested in talking to me about Anti Up and what’s going on. And I’m also interested in hearing their poker journeys and watching them play and hearing them, tell me about it. So, I become a better player just because of being in this world.

Brad: And you touched on the podcast too. And in my conversation with Jackson Lasky, he mentioned that the most high impact thing he does is teaching other people, because it forces him to learn.

Scott: Oh absolutely.

Brad: And grow as a player himself. So, just doing your poker podcast, I would imagine, you can’t help but grow, especially when you have a deadline. And you don’t want to sound like a freaking idiot.

Scott: Well, yeah. One of the features of our podcast that’s most popular is the end of it, when we do what’s called hand of the week. And one of our, it’s always a hand from one of our listeners, and most of our listeners are just like us recreational players. I assume we got some decent players that listen to us. But most of them are our recreational weekend warrior kind of players, so and they send a hand into us and ask us to break it down. And anytime you’re breaking down a hand and you know, there are people listening to you talk about it. So, it’s not just Chris and I, at the poker room, or in our living rooms talking. We’re talking to, well, a thousand people. How do we play this? This hand, you do have to slow down your thought process and think, and not that I worry about looking stupid, because I look stupid on the show all the time. But you don’t set out to look stupid, right? So, you want to try to think it through and make sure you make the, understand everything that’s happening at hand to be able to communicate it to the folks. So, that’s probably the biggest thing for me, is that once a week for 14 years now, we’ve taken a hand and really slowed it down. And that part of the podcast takes 20, sometimes 30 minutes to talk about a hand that was over in two minutes.

Brad: Sure.

Scott: So, I think it is really amazing how much you learn from that. And then have somebody else to bounce it off of you know, it’s not just me talking to a mic and hopefully people listen. It’s me debating with Chris about how we would play in, our styles have always been different. And so, it’s always interesting on hands when we agree, because we worry if something went wrong. We’re not supposed to agree, because we play completely differently. But having that challenge, you know, when you say, hey, I would have raised the 4000, then having somebody immediately say no, that’s horrible. Why would you raise they are and reopen the betting? And then, then you have to defend your idea. Or you have to acknowledge, hey, you know what, that’s a good point. You’re right, and I was wrong on that. That’s probably a better way of playing that hand. So

Brad: You need that, that challenge to challenge your thought process, to challenge your motivations, to challenge your why behind each and every action that you take. And if you can’t verbally explain it, then it probably means that you got some work to do. And that’s a big part of the decision tree.

Scott: I’m always envious, because most time I’m traveling by myself. But Chris, Chris doesn’t travel very often. Of course, I got friends everywhere I go, but I am envious of the folks that really take their poker more serious than we do, that they do travel and play a lot of places. And they do that with bodies. Because when you think about it that at the table and you make a bad mistake, maybe you raise wrong there or too aggressive against a player that played back at you, or whatever it is, it’s obviously important to stop and try to process that as quickly as possible. And try to make any adjustments to your game. But to be able during that break, to go find your buddy and say hey, oh my god, I played this hands so horribly and to go through and have them give feedback immediately and maybe give you that different way of looking at it. I think that’s got to be a great benefit. So, I am definitely envious of those folks. And I know there are a lot of out there.

Brad: Its massive, massive value having somebody to bounce those ideas off of. I know that I wouldn’t be the player that I am today had I not had my own, my friend who played at a high level, teaching me and constantly questioning everything, like to the level that most people would be super annoyed, but I just loved it. I love being challenged on every decision that I made, because it forced me to think deeper and go deeper than I otherwise would have.

Scott: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, even in poker, in life, you know, talking to folks that disagree with you, one of two things is going to happen. Either your opinion is going to be reinforced, or you’re going to see a different way of looking at it and may change your mind and make yourself a better person going forward. And so, there’s no other number or anything to be scared of, of having somebody question you or challenge you on those things, I think.

Brad: 100%. And another little side benefit. I’ll tell a quick story. Because it’s my show I can do whatever I want. I tell the quick story here. I was playing in the Bay Area at the Matrix Casino. And I went there with my friend Tango. We both played the 10 and a quarter, no limit cash game. And we’re playing and before we got into the game, we had, there’s a player milling about, and Tango said his name’s Zack. And Zack is super aggressive. He’s like, yeah, you’ll love Zack. He’s super, super crazy, super aggressive. I would get it in preflop for 5ks and Zach with queens, and wouldn’t even think twice about it. And you know, these things happen. It’s just like, okay, like, you know, I just, we have the conversation is like, okay, go sit in the game. About 30 minutes in, I get queens. And Zach three bites me, I for bet him. He shoves. And I asked that how much he started with. And he tells me 5000, and like tangos at the table. I look at him, and I just smile. And I call and we run it out twice. And the first, he asked me if I had a pair. I’m like, yes. He’s like, okay, the first board just completely bricked off. He had nothing. The second board, the flop was like jack, ten, eight. And he’s like, I have a pair plus a straight draw. And then it bricked out, and I scooped it. And after the end, I wouldn’t talk to take it on like wow, like that’s pretty serendipitous that you say those exact words and then the exact situation happens.

Scott: Bogus crazy like that, isn’t it?

Brad: It’s very, very, very odd.

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Brad: Let’s go back to a little earlier in the conversation when we’re talking about the Hall of Famers and guys flaming out.

Scott: Yeah.

Brad: In your experience, have you seen anything that separates those one hit wonders with the pros who can sustain the results over time?

Scott: I would suspect. I can’t say this for certain, but I would suspect it’s a lot what we talked about during the show about having that humility and an understanding that if you’re a pro poker player, that you are on the roller coaster ride in your life, there’s no way around that, right? At least if you’re in the public realm. You know, again, like I said, there’s a lot of folks that we don’t know about that are probably banking, a nice living, playing ABC somewhere in a casino and be happy with it. But the ones in the public realm, and you know you’re on that roller coaster ride. And it’s harder now. Because you know, back right into that boom, there are a lot of money in the poker world, in terms of endorsements, products, all that kind of stuff that you could supplement your income with outside of the table. And that’s tough to find these days only if you can do that. So that means you actually have to win the table. And we all know how difficult that is, no matter how good you are. There’s so much variance in this game. So.

Brad: Especially in tournaments.

Scott: Oh, absolutely in tournaments, especially the extra cost of all the tournaments, and travel, and all that stuff and.

Brad: Right.

Scott: Wear and tear your body. But so yeah, I think it’s that that ability to say, hey, I’m going to go in there, and I am top of my game now. But I know I’m not always going to be at the top of my game. There’s going to be a rough patch I’m going to hit at some point. And instead of getting angry about it, just accepting it before it happens, and then build yourself back up. So, I’m always more impressed with the players that they’ve hit that eventual flameout, which most do, and then I’ve been able to work themselves back. I think the ones that don’t make themselves, work themselves well back. Not all that impressive. I mean, here I am, as somebody that’s my biggest tournaments, get cashes, 2000, $2,200, right? So, I’m not casting judgment on these people that have won 667 figure paychecks and then disappeared. But they just didn’t have that on. They didn’t have that ability to have that longevity, because they just probably weren’t able to accept failure, and accept that this is a game that you’re going to fail quite a bit. Even in the middle of a tournament, even a tournament, you win. Think about how many bad plays you make? How many hands that you could have played better? And then how many times you got lucky because you got to get lucky, right? So, you know, even in that small microcosm of one tournament or one cash game session, if you’re not able to come back from those failures, you’re just not going to make it.

Brad: Mental toughness. Always mental toughness in the poker arena, because you do fail. I’ve never myself played a perfect session, where I didn’t pick out multiple mistakes that I made in the session just doesn’t happen. There’s always room for improvement. So once again, we can sort of go back to humility, right?

Scott: Yeah. I won a, one of my Ante Up events this summer, I won a horse title, which was exciting. That was my big 20 – $200 cash that, but we talked about on the show, and that was probably the most complete tournament I put together, or I just felt like everything was clicking for me. But even in that, there was one hand that I just fell. I played absolutely horribly. And it’s interesting when you get down to the end, and you win, and you’re excited about it, but you still can’t let go of that one hand that I’m like, I’m like, it wasn’t a perfect day. Because that one hand it was so spectacularly horrible. And I’m able to recover from that and continue on. So

Brad: All right, I’ll buy it. What’s the hand? Let’s talk about.

Scott: Yeah, no, I knew you’re going to ask me that now, and I can’t remember it.

Brad: You set it up. You’re the one that set it up. It was not even me.

Scott: I know, I know. I don’t remember the details now. But I remember very clearly talking about in the show that I was like, in the middle of this, I was riding high on it. And it’s a horse tournament. So, it wasn’t like where I over bet, because you can’t live tournament. But probably, you know, on those days, when you feel very invincible at the table where things are going right, then you start, to this is what the difference between great players and good players is that you start to loosen up a little bit and think you’re invincible. And I think those great players always know that they are not invincible. That any hand could be the David and Goliath. So, it’s I’m pretty sure that that situation was a hand like that, where I was probably in one of the stud variations because those are always the money suckers and horse tournaments. And just went to the end thinking that I had the nuts and found out I had not even the bronze medal in the hand.

Brad: How did it feel? After you lost that hand? How’d you recover?

Scott: Well, yeah. So, I think the problem there is that I was playing so well, so early in the tournament, feeling really good. You get that high, where you’re like, okay, I’m going to make it through this. And that one hand like, brings you back down to earth. I mean, I wasn’t below average stack or anything, because I had so many chips, but you’re like, oh my gosh, I just spent four hours building up the stack, playing everything in my mind perfectly. And that one mistake and I’m like, then you kind of want to push that rewind button, and there’s not a rewind button where you go back and I’m like, I just should not have gotten involved in that and or I should have got out of that and as soon as I knew the situation was bad. And you can’t, and that fact that you can’t that’s the toughest thing I think for poker players is really, you can’t go back I’m like, I even played like a little our home game here in my town. Everyone smile against players who are just beginners. It’s just fun. Just can’t get out and talk and have a beer, right? And there are moments in that, or oh my gosh, it’s just so horrible. I wish I could have a back and I look and you look at the player across the table with all your chips right, and you stacking your chips, nothing worse than poker, nothing better poker than stacking chips. Nothing worse in poker than watching somebody else stack your chips. Like, you just want to reach over and grab them and take them back on them, like you don’t deserve those. That was a bad play on my part, and I shouldn’t have made it, and those chips just really nice back, but they’re not. So, you know, I think in that situation, I was able to very quickly realize how bad it was and double down and tighten up a little bit until I got back on my mojo. But

Brad: That’s probably a good a good adjustment to make. It’s easy to get on the slippery slope of trying to chase or get back what you just lost. And you always have to keep in mind that that’s gone, those chips are no longer your chips, your situation is what it is now. So, you have to adjust. And just move forward. That’s all you have control of.

Scott: The biggest, biggest mistake I think poker players make, is that just giving up when they lose a big end. How many times do you see a really big hand, the guy loses it even if you played a well, right? Because that river comes or whatever. And then the next hand, they just throw their chips in on some kind of like eight, six off suit or something and then they’re out. I mean, why would you do that? Why? What’s the scenario where you’re shoving with eight, six, in most cases, almost never. And then, they that was just an emotional thing. You thought your tournament was over? And then you made that, made that statement true. You ended your tournament, rather than buckling down and saying, hey, all right, I’m still in this thing. You know, that chip in the chair? It’s not a method of saying that. That’s true.

Brad: That is the mental weakness, right? They’re just punting.

Scott: Yeah.

Brad: They’re punting and giving up. And I can say with complete honesty, that I’ve always been a fighter. I’ve never, I’ve never wanted to give up. Like, I’ve always wanted to be in the arena battling and doing the best that I can try to be optimistic, moving forward. Regardless, if you if you’re in the tournament, you have a chance. And if you’re not in the tournament, you don’t have a chance. So, all you can really do is make great decisions and the chips will fall where they may.

Scott: Yeah, well, my, a lot of my listeners have nicknamed me the Short Stack Ninja, because I tend to have a short stack a lot, because I’m not very good. But I like that scenario. I mean, obviously I would prefer to have more chips, everybody would, but I think poker for me is a lot more exciting when the you’re on that, that near death and having to dodge every hole like Indiana Jones. And you know, if you miss one, you’re out and to be able to run that gauntlet and get back and build your stack up and get back in it. That’s when poker super fun to me.

Brad: I think it says a lot about who you are, you like a challenge.

Scott: You rise, much bigger challenge, I think at that point, because every decision is magnified, then when you start with 30,000 chips or something, and the blinds are 25-50 or something ridiculous like that. You know, and most discipline hands you the most you’re going to lose at that time is 1000 is nothing right? So, but when you have to make that decision about is this the hand I shove with or not? Or looking around the table and monitoring your way shifts to x and know the blinds are know who’s has more payroll than you are. So, hey, I’m going to fold this Ace now even though I got five big blinds. That’s what makes it really fun for me. I think it’s unfortunate, because you shouldn’t want to be in those scenarios.

Brad: Well, it’s really fun to have a mountain of chips and just dominate two. I think both sides are pretty fun. In my in my opinion, at least.

Scott: Yeah, I just have more experience with the other side. So

Brad: I think most people do. It’s quite hard to run up a giant stack in a tournament, it doesn’t happen. Doesn’t happen super often. What’s in poker advice that you hear that you completely disagree with?

Scott: Well, I think probably to some extent, it’s what we just talked about the, there should be a better way to come up with this. But one of the things we do talk about on the show, and I don’t know if it’s advice that people give, but it’s something that I try to reinforce with our listeners is a small blind play, because so many people will chuck that extra dollar in a one-two with the absolute garbage hand or whatever it is in tournament. And when they write us their hands, the weeks they say well, it’s a discount. And I always tell folks, just because it’s a discount doesn’t make it a deal. When you get involved in the hand that you shouldn’t have and the absolute worst position, you end up making a lot. You put yourself in a situation where you’re going to make a lot more mistakes. You know, it’s the position is everything argument is one that I absolutely agree with. And now, you’re now you’re involved in the worst position, just because you thought it was cheaper. You might hit that lottery ticket. And that’s really what it is, right? You know when you, when you got four dues in the small wine, you’re hoping to hit a lottery ticket. And if you’re hoping to hit a lottery ticket, you shouldn’t be at the poker table ever, right? Because poker is not about lottery, it’s about making the best decisions. You can go to the convenience store anytime. You want and drop 100 bucks on lottery tickets if that’s what you want to do so. But when I buy in for a red one to game with a 100 bucks, I tend to walk out of there with more than I came into.

Brad: I will say that I half agree, I half agree with that.

Scott: Okay.

Brad: The part that I disagree with, I am a big believer about getting a good price preflop. Pot odds are a real thing. Post flop equity is a real thing. And you’re absolutely right about being out of position Th.roughout the whole hand, you’re at a disadvantage. However, the part of your game that people ought to work on if they do want to play out of the small blind, when getting a good price and getting good pot odds, is their ability to make decisions and multi way pots, and to discern bet sizes, to discern betting patterns, to discern physical tells just an overall mastery of post flop skills. If you can invest the time and energy into working on that aspect of your game, and I have no problem, limping from the small blind with whatever, but

Scott: Let’s be honest, if you’re going to become a good poker player, you need to be able to play every position, and not give up on hands. So, I absolutely agree with where you’re going with that. Part of my experiences, most of our listeners and readers are recreational players that have those skills

Brad: But Scott, it’s so much fun to play hands. It’s way, it’s way more fun to play hands.

Scott: It is. And it’s not fun to lose all your work for days, though, yeah, no, I was just clarifying that that’s kind of frame of reference, a lot of my discussion with poker is that those are\  the folks that we that we’re talking to.

Brad: Absolutely. It makes sense.

Scott: So now, we try not to tell them not to do stuff, so they don’t learn because you won’t, won’t to be able to learn. There’s a lot of our listeners that don’t want to just become the best player in their home game, they actually want to go on and get those big scores, right? So, I don’t want to discourage them from that. But I want them to be honest about what’s going to happen before they get that skill set. So, we do a lot of stuff on our show where we qualify. Hey, yeah, this is a situation where you can get a little bit out of hand, as long as you have a plan for what you’re looking for, and get away from an after that and not re rewrite a script after it to make it more exciting for you to stay in that hand, right?

Brad: Sure. Absolutely.

Scott: Right. You want to play hands, right? That’s the problem is you, alright, I’m going to get jack, ten. I mean, there’s a straight and then ends up with the middle pair jack, and then you’re like, okay, well, I got a chance of spiking that 10 so I’m going to say in right. And that’s, that’s bad poker at that point. Because now you’re just looking for a reason to stay in when you shouldn’t. So

Brad: I didn’t drive an hour to the casino get stuck in traffic, to fold by four dudes, to not play hands, right? I want to play.

Scott: That’s more of our lesson is that the you know, avoid? Boy, those hands that puts you to tests that are above your skill set at that point. You learn a lot by watching poker too, right? So, I mean, that’s one of the arguments I think people tell me is that I need to play and make mistakes, which we talked about at the beginning of the show, you do need to make mistakes. You learn from mistakes, but you can also learn from other people’s mistakes. You know, when you’re not in hand, if you, and this is a big thing. I think a lot of poker is miss out on the players miss out on it, I’m with them on it, is not paying attention, the action when you, when you’re not in hand, when you folded, and watching that, because at that point, I think you’ll learn a lot more of them. Because when you’re in the middle of a hand, you’ve got to think about what you’re doing and how much you’re going to bet. And if your chips and your cards, when you’re out of the hands, there’s no risk for you anymore, right? So now you can actually sit there and think about if you were in that spot, what you would do with whatever cards they have. And that’s when you really start to learn more. And to your point, you know, poker, you didn’t know what your players do with their tendencies and all that kind of stuff. And that’s where you pick it up more.

Brad: It’s ultra-valuable to pay attention to when you’re not in the hands. You can pick up physical tells, you can grab data points that you use in the future. And to allude to what you were saying about when you’re involved in the hand. One factor that is massive in cash game poker, especially is there’s pressure. And that pressure can cloud your judgment, your emotions can bubble to the surface and override your logical brain. And when you’re in an observation mode, you don’t have that pressure anymore, that pressure is lifted. So, you have a lot more clarity, when accumulating data that will be valuable later on, and I guarantee 100% it will be valuable.

Scott: Yeah, absolutely. One of the things I mentioned not too long ago on a show, we had a listener that lost a huge pot because he didn’t see the flush hit there on the river, tap into is all 100 times right. And one of the tips I gave him mostly because I, my cash game experiences mostly with Omaha Hi Lo, that should my favorite game, is that, and that game you have to always note the nuts are because and that’s the wrong was always out there. So even when not in the hand, I’m watching the board. And every time the flop comes down, I tell myself what the nuts are hot, the highs and the lows. And I continue to do that through the hands. So that way, you’re less likely to miss those things when they hit, and more in tune to the possibility that they’re out there. So that helps you figure out why some people in the hand. Now that works well for Omaha, it doesn’t translate as well to hold them. But it does, I think.

Brad: Yeah.

Scott: And I got, I got a good positive reinforcement from that listener that that was a pretty good tip. So, but that’s something that you learn, that’s a skill you learn way more when you don’t have cards in your hand.

Brad: Sure. Very nice. You have to say, can we just get the casinos to buy four color decks? I mean, like, you know

Scott: Knowing that when the online sites started doing those, and in the first few students, weird because it’s different. There’s no reason it’s weird. It’s just different. And then you start playing with it. You’re like, I really, really like this. And then you realize I shouldn’t be playing with this because as soon as I go into a casino, you’re right. It’s going to be back to black and red. So

Brad: Oh, no, I’m never playing without four color deck online. I’ve stuck my money in thinking I had the nut flush, when I had a spade in a club in my hand and felt like an idiot. And that will never happen to me again. And on the history of poker, not sure if you know this, but in the beginning, all decks were four colors.

Scott: Oh, really? I did not know that.

Brad: But it was too expensive to print them back in the day in four colors.

Scott: Yeah.

Brad: So, they went with red and black. And somehow, you know, let’s get these casinos to put the four-color decks back like it. You don’t miss flushes when it’s four colors, right? It’s just so much easier to me. And I will never talk them into it because everybody associates, you know, diamonds and hearts with red. But I wish we could.

Scott: Well, you’ve got two problems. We talked about this on our show, too. I mean, I imagine there’s some gaming regulations problems with that. But even if not, then you deal with players and

Brad: You mean poker players complain about arbitrary random things?

Scott: You know, I know it’s so hard to imagine that right? Never happens. But that’s a real, that’s a real problem. Anytime you’re trying to change anything.

Brad: What’s the argument there? You know, fuck a blue. I don’t like blue. Get out of here blue.

Scott: Like things that the way they always have been. Now I go to the poker TDA seminar every year. I mean, every, it’s every other year. I’ve been to last probably five of them now. And they’re all the same in the sense that the argument isn’t what’s right or wrong. The argument tends to be what are players going to, how their players going to react to it?

Brad: Yeah.

Scott: Because they’ve always done it this way. And trying to convince them that yeah, this is better. The big blind Annie is a huge example of that, right?

Brad: Yeah.

Scott: Absolutely. No reason that we should never, not use the big blind. And now it’s just a beautiful invention. But, you know, the reason, the only reason players can really give you an argument against it is well, that’s not the way it used to be. I’m used to it this way.

Brad: Yeah, that’s a bad argument.

Scott: But that being said, if I’m a poker operator, and my bosses are watching how much revenue I bring in, and you know, I’m doing something that players are uncomfortable with, and they’re going somewhere else, that’s a problem. So, I imagine that that would be the same thing with the before color deck. And the same thing that’s going to be with the, with card destiny, which I think is going to be the next big issue that player is going to have to get past because 

Brad: Well, I want to ask you what was that card destiny?

Scott: Yeah.

Brad: I have no idea what that is. I’ll ask you about it in a second. But I want to touch on one thing. Before I do, before it leaves my brain never to return. Any online, since like, as far as online marketing, online entrepreneurship. Instead of having these conventions, where everybody talks about how the players will react, why not just set one table up with a four color deck and test it? Set up one weekly tournament with the big blind annie, test it with your guys get some exit interviews, ask some questions to your audience and see how they like it. If they hate it, then okay. You say the idea is not valid and we move on. If they love it and that reaction is completely different than what people anticipate the reaction because, like you said before, one of your failures at Ante Up was thinking that moving into the gaming arena was going to be a great move and your audience would love it. But in the end, your audience didn’t accept it. They didn’t love it, right?

Scott: Yup.

Brad: So, at the end of the day, just test these things, run some isolated tests, and then record the results. And if they’re awful, okay, scrap it. But if they’re great, then move forward. I think that would be a lot better than, you know a bunch of people, hypothetically discussing how people might feel.

Scott: Right. And I think the best poker room to do that, I think Aria is a real good experimenter with things and willing to put that stuff out there and try it on small trials and refine it. Matt Savage does that with a lot of the tournaments, he runs as well, too. He does it really well. And there’s also something to be said about being strong. And standing up to the players that complain about it and saying, hey, I understand why you’re upset about it. But this is better. So, hear me out. Give us some time. And this is going to be the future. And that really was the struggle of Big Blind Ante at the beginning. I think I don’t think players immediately jumped on that bandwagon until they actually saw them play a couple times and really understood how much better it was. And, you know, if you’re an operator, you try it for one tournament, nobody complains. And you say, alright, I’m done. I tried it. And it didn’t really try it, right?

Brad: Well, it’s experiential learning too. A lot of people don’t know how they react until they experience something in a live setting. So, let’s go back to Poker destiny. What the heck is that? It sounds like

Scott: Poker Destiny.

Brad: Sounds like a video game, a card game.

Scott: Yeah, we this has been a long standing on her show, too, because Chris and I disagree about that. Chris has always been a proponent of Card Destiny, and I’ve always thought is kind of hogwash. So, the concept really is that, you know, when a card is dealt to the wrong spot at the table, people insist that that card was meant for them, or that term card was meant to be the term card. Or the river card was meant to be the river card. The alternate is that no, it’s there’s complete randomness to it. That card is not seen by anybody knows, no one knows what it is. So why does it matter whether it’s this card or the card underneath that that’s the one that’s going to be the one you play on the turn, the one that’s going to be in your hand. And it was discussed at the TDA seller? Pretty well this year that we’re getting to the card getting away from card destiny and getting more into your do a random card. So, it’s going to make a lot of floor calls. What we use your I think.

Brad: How do, what is it? What is the difference? I’m not understanding it in like, it sounds philosophical, how is it actually actionable? how to tournament directors use this?

Scott: One would be, the one of the new rules this year was inserted. So, you know, on Seventh Street, your card is supposed to be done facedown, right. So, in the past, if it was dealt face up, it had to stay face up. And you could declare yourself all in while they changed it now or that card gets taken back and shuffled back into the deck. And then you’re giving a new 73 card face down, so that way your hand is still fair, in the fact that you’re playing it the way you should which is face down, which is the whole essence of stud, right? That you have three cards down before a card comes up. So, no one really knows that you have, right? So, that would be an example. So, let’s say the dealer throws me my Seventh Street card and it’s a jack of clubs. But he throws it face up instead of face down, right? That’s the card I was destined to get. In the old world, I had to keep that card and then my, how I played the hand was limited because that card is exposed. So, when you talk about random card instead, now you’re taking that jack of clubs, putting it back in the in the stub, shuffling it up and sending you another card so you may get that jack of clubs and may come back to you, and that actually happened in a tournament a couple of months ago as in which was fantastic. But if not, you’re getting a random card and people don’t know what it is now because it’s faced down, so you know what’s the better scenario in that. And let’s say, it’s good eventually going to get to the hold’em that they didn’t want to make a commitment on that this year, but I think we’re going to get there on Turner rivers that are premature, you know, shuffled up, get a new random card.

Brad: This doesn’t happen in tournaments? This always happen in cash games. This is bizarre to me.

Scott: Well, it’s the remedy. The remedy is going to change.

Brad: Like, by the way, my only thoughts on card destiny is I hate it. But I hate, like it you know 

Scott: Players stick with that. Players are really, they really believe that that card was to them, and even though no one knows what it is and no one will ever know what that card is supposed to be and then you get a different card. They somehow feel that the magic worlds of the world have decided that that’s the card as opposed to having and hello high water. That’s the card. 

Brad: Well, we know it contains the word magic. I think that’s when I start mentally checking out

Scott: Exactly.

Brad: You know, it’s all randomness. It’s unknown information. I’m actually shocked that in a cash game, if they prematurely deal the turn, standard practice is to shuffle, complete the action and then deal a new turn. It doesn’t just, the turn doesn’t just stay or the river doesn’t just

Scott: Right. But in those cases, they’ll bring the river card out as a turn and then they’ll shuffle before the river, so that way they keep being getting that’s one of the destined cards, right? So, it was destined for a different spot, and it was destined for the board and people wanted on the board one way or the other.

Brad: Gotcha. Well, I’m on your side. I hate, no, just no. I believe in randomness. 

Scott: Do a random card. You’re doing random, tow random cards in your hole. That’s the only thing you’re doing.

Brad: Right. Exactly. So, if you were to gift the Chasing Poker Greatness audience one book, what would that book be and why?

Scott: One book? Let’s see. I got to get the title right because I confused it. But, Winning Omaha/8 Poker from Mark Tenner and Lou Krieger has always been my favorite book. For Omaha/8 players, obviously not Omaha you play you’re probably not going to do a very much. But that and Winning Limit Hold’em from Lee Jones, I learned a lot from that early on. Again, prefer to play limit. I know. It makes me sound like I’m 77. Right, but

Brad: Yeah, fossil. Limit poker.

Scott: You do learn a lot of those even that can translate to no limit. I mean, obviously, we talked about Super System. And those books are fantastic. The strategy guide that I don’t know if you can get any more outside of use on eBay. I thought I learned a lot from that. So, there were a lot of books back in the day, I thought that were really good. But I’m really a bigger fan of the fundamental books rather than advanced strategy, because I think that’s most players again, I talked to a recreational audience, right? So, most players in a recreational audience are going to learn a lot much, a lot more from fundamental books than they are from some pro telling them how he or she is one millions. Because, you know, if you don’t have that style play that that pro does, then those tips are probably not going to work for you. But fundamental book is going to work for everybody.

Brad: And I’ve said it a million times, but I’ll say it a million in one. If you want to improve your poker game, work on the fundamentals, work on the decisions that you encounter multiple times every single session. Do not spend 30 minutes breaking down a hand that happens once every two lifetimes. It’s not efficient. It doesn’t do anything to improve your game. Work on decisions that are early in the decision tree that happened over and over and over again. Those are the things you want to master, especially being a recreational player. They’re going to, those are the things that are going to improve your game dramatically over a short period of time, versus worrying about, you know, bet three betting the river in a three bet pot.

Scott: Yeah, one of the things that we always say on our handle weeks are that we try not to be a result oriented. We’re not looking at how we could have won that hand. We’re looking at how we could have played that hand better. But we’ve spent a fair amount of time reminding folks, this particular hand is never going to happen again. You’re not going to have the same seven guys at the table, you know, and had the same cards and on your hand, you’re not going to have the same chip stacks, though this hand will never happen again. So, when you’re analyzing that hand, what you’re really looking for is strategies to play scenarios like that better in the future. So.

Brad: And even if, even if you were in a same situation where everybody had the same chip stacks, everybody had the same cards, same exact situation, the player to your left may not have just lost the monster pot. And now he’s mentally in a different place than he otherwise would be. Maybe he didn’t sleep well at night. Like you know, there are a million factors, that emotional factors that can also change even in identical situations. Mike Carroll calls it the Law of Loose Wiring, where players in identical situations often don’t know what they’re going to do until right before they do it. It’s somewhat of an arbitrary decision.

Scott: Or even if you’re playing with the same group of guys, and I got a lot of casinos where that 10am crew right, is the same eight guys every day.

Brad: Coffee and newspaper guy.

Scott: Exactly. So even if it’s the same guys, you’re right, there are things that are going on in their lives. And they may not be talking about a table that makes them different that day. So, I may have Brad lockdown, I may have you know all your moves and all that. But the night before you, something bad happened or something great happened and next day you’re feeling different. And then you play different. So, you know, you can’t always bank on that. I mean, we’ve had a couple of hands that I think are great where people say I’ve seen this guy make this move 10 times. And so, I knew he didn’t have it. So, I called him with jack high or something, and he turns over to pair, and yeah, so you’ll never truly know what somebody has at that point.

Brad: Stay alert, stay alert, pay attention when you’re not involved in hands, collect the data and use the data. Don’t get lazy. Get off your stupid phone. 

Scott: Yeah.

Brad: Stop watching ESPN. Pay attention to the task at hand.

Scott: Absolutely.

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

Scott: It’s kind of a weird, but we just launched our new website, which needed to be terribly, terribly updated for years. So, we’re excited that that’s finally completed, took us longer than we wanted to. So now we’re in now it’s, it’s we launched it about a month ago, actually. So, thank you. So, we’re still making some adjustments to it. New analytics and deciding where to take it from there. But from there, though, we are going to start working more on regional, highlighting our regional coverage, which has always been our, our calling card. We’re the one true news poker magazine out there. And we do segment it based on regions. So, you know, if you only play in the South, then that may be the only region you care about seeing stuff in. So, we’re going to be working on some new regional guys, that will be digital, you know, obviously, we’re

Brad: So, you have a different magazine for like, how many editions do you have?

Scott: Yeah, right now we have the one print magazine that we always have. So what we’re looking to do now is in a digital version, not a print version, or a digital version, doing five additional ones. It’ll have a lot of the same content, it’s not going to be new content. It’s just going to be packaged differently. 

Brad: Repurpose.

Scott: Yeah. The focus, the folks that, you know, maybe not want to have to sift through 60 pages, they only want to sift through 16. So, and that’s something our advertisers have asked us for as well, too. So, we’ll see whether it works out or, you know, the regional gaming guys or something our advertisers decided that they didn’t like it. So, we’ll see. But, but definitely like everybody else, we’ve been cognizant over the last couple of years that the need to transition away from print to digital and online stuff. And that’s what we’ve been working on. So, and lots of different ways. So, but that’s the biggest way so far.

Brad: Awesome. Best of luck.

Scott: Thank you. Appreciate it.

Brad: That’s a big, big challenge. And I think you guys will do it. Just coming out of this conversation, I think that you all will make the transition very well. And move forward.

Scott: Thank you, sir.

Brad: At the end of the day, what would you like your legacy in poker to be? How would you like your community to remember you?

Scott: I think what we talked a lot about is the fact that we, when we started our magazine, again, it was focused on Florida. Florida poker players in Florida poker rooms. And we realize probably within a year that the niche was in Florida, the niche was recreational players and everyday players, which, you know, I don’t know what the estimates really are. But we’ve always estimated 90, 95% of the poker players, right? So, it’s the vast majority, we could say poker players, right? And the fact that we gave them a magazine that appealed to them, and not pros that we gave them a podcast that appealed to them and our pros, that we gave them poker cruises that appeal to them and not pros Poker Tour that appealed to them and not pros. I think all those things. I, you know, we try not to be arrogant in what we do. We were just happy to, that people keep listening to our show and renew our magazine. But I don’t think you’re going to find too many people that done more for recreational poker, and these last seven years, and then Chris and I have an Ante Up. So, I certainly hope that would be our legacy is that what most players feel special.

Brad: I love that. I love that. That’s awesome. And you’re serving your audience, and you’re serving your community by giving them those spaces that are, you know, somewhat free of pros, because this allows them to succeed, it allows them to thrive, increases their ROI when they go on one of your cruises. And I think that they they’re appreciative of that.

Scott: Appreciate it.

Brad: Final question. Where can the Chasing Poker Greatness audience find you on the inter webs?

Scott: That would be And again, like I said, it’s a brand-new website. So, when you get there, let us know. What do you think of it, what we could do a little bit better. We certainly have more plans to add to it. But we wanted to really kind of reimagine what information we want to present to you on the line. We had a lot of content over 11 years and so we pared back some of it on there and highlighted some other ones. So, again, very, very, we’ve always been a company, it’s been very eager for feedback. And we made a lot of changes and all our products based on that feedback. So, so yeah, definitely check out and let us know what more we could do from the poker community, we’ll be happy to.

Brad: Do you hear that, Mr. listener, that’s your call to action at Give them some feedback so that they know what they’re doing. Feedback is so important, all the way around that. You know, I would be grateful, Scott would be grateful if you head to their website, give them some feedback. And Scott, loved this conversation. Thank you so very much for taking the time out of your life to chat with me.

Scott: Oh, thank you very much for having us. I really do appreciate it.

Brad: And it’s my pleasure, sir. And until next time.


Thank you so much for listening to this episode of chasing poker greatness. If you haven’t yet subscribed to the show, please take a moment to do so on Apple podcasts or wherever your favorite place listen to podcasts might be. And once again,I also wanted to let you know about PKC poker. If you’re on the lookout for a new platform where the games are safe and secure and the action is amazing, head to 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 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 007: Scott Long

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