This is the transcript, chapter 3 of 6, for the PaceMakesTheRace Podcast: Interview With The Gambler, which originally published in 2012!
The Pro Gambler’s identity is restricted to us knowing his name is Jeff. This is really great information for today. We trust you will enjoy this series of transcript blogs!
- Getting to know the Gambler.
- Handling Pressure.
- Cushion & Coaching.
- A Master-Mind Group.
- More about coaching.
- Becoming a Winner.
Chapter 3: Cushion & Coaching.
Dave: On that topic, how essential is that cushion to your survival?
Jeff: You look at it like I said – long term.
In poker the best players are going to win money. Short term anyone can win and I really suppose you can say the same thing about horse racing because you can handicap a race, handicapped it great, you have the perfect horse, you made the perfect bet.
Some little 110lb man makes a bad decision and throws your horse behind traffic and you lose a bet you should have won. You cannot control that jockey making bad decisions or the steward making the bad disqualification on your horse. Things like that you have no control over.
Short term, those things can kill you. Long term, you can keep making the right bet and you know that is going to win six out of ten times if you keep making that bet you are going to win money six out of ten times as long as the odds are right.
Dave: Or at least sixty out of one hundred.
Jeff: Right. But forty out of one hundred times you are going to lose money. You really have to be able to survive that.
There is nothing that says “I want it now so I have to lose it the next time, then I am going to win it, then I am going to lose it.” You could get thirty five out of your forty losing times in a row and you have to survive that because it is randomness. You are playing the percentages.
Dave: I agree completely. I think also, historically, it is not a coincidence that horse bookies in the olden days used to go out of businesses a lot more than bookies who were in the sports betting business because they were subject to taking bigger hits.
I think another advantage that you have is that you play a session, you sit down, and correct me if I am wrong, play until you get the money as much as possible. Do you not?
Jeff: I look at it two ways. In one sense, your opponent’s method with the sessions, I have applied that, to a certain degree, towards the way I look at my poker sessions because I do think there is some great stuff in there.
The other thing is that I also try to schedule it like a job which means I know I am going to work “x” hours a day. I am going to put two to three hours of preparation into it whether it is getting coached, reading about theory, going over my own hand histories or, tomorrow I have nothing else scheduled I am just going to play for ten hours.
I pretty much know where my limits are, when I am starting to get tired and that is why I schedule it like a job. If I am getting tired I am not making good decisions and I know ten hours is really my limit to keep my “A Game” there. So ten hours, that is it, I am pretty much done for the day.
Dave: I am sure there are times when ten hours in you are saying “I am doing just fine, the game is good.” and you play a little longer. Then other times at eight hours you say “This is not my day I am done.”
Jeff: Especially when I feel- and I think the key is when you feel you are not on your “A Game”.
If you were to break it down where you have three types of games; “A Game” where you are at your absolute best. You have your “B Game” where you are pretty good and that probably means you are better than everyone else at the table anyway; and you have your “C Game” where you are just like everyone else who is there and you are not making the right decisions.
If I feel my “C Game” coming on, I’m done. I have pretty much learned I cannot correct it on that day so I will just pick up and do something else.
Dave: You have mentioned coaches twice and I am a firm believer in coaches. In the business world I have coaches, in the horse racing world I am the coach, I’m not the coachee, I am the coacher. You mentioned it twice, tell us about the coaches.
Jeff: Depending on what your goals are I would say it is absolutely crucial. If your goal is to play or perform at the top level in whatever you do, you need a coach.
If you look at sports you cannot find a single elite athlete in the world that does not have a coach. Michael Phelps has a coach, Tiger Woods has a coach, there is a reason coaches see things you do not.
In business, people either have coaches or mentors or groups of other people that they talk to and can toss ideas around with. I would say coaching does not necessarily have to be a formal, paid agreement where you are sitting down and playing poker anywhere from $200-$600 an hour for the best coaches.
One of the advantages that the young kids have that came up on the internet is they are all friends with each other; and these guys who travel to tournaments are going to finish the day and they are all going to go out, grab something to eat or whatever or share a hotel room and talk about the hands that they played; and they will toss around ideas like, “Maybe you should have done it differently this way or that way.” That has really the same effect as coaching.
Most people, myself included, do not have access to a circle of top professionals that you are friends with who you can just sit down and talk about ideas and find out how other people would have done it differently.
Dave: You call that a “Mastermind Group” in the business world.
Jeff: And it is the same thing, you see it in the poker world with the young kids.
I have two coaches that I use. One for the technical, fundamental poker aspects of the game. That one will be like, when I travel and I come back from travelling and going over live hand histories, “Why did I play the way I did? What other ways could I have played it?” Trying not to look at the results first because you are trying to separate out the luck from the skill and you are trying to go with the skill part of it.
Dave: Let me interrupt for a second. If I heard you right, what you are saying is “Just because I won a hand does not mean I played it right?”
Jeff: Exactly; and just because I lost a hand does not mean I paid it poorly.
Dave: My audience is horse racing, and I think that is a huge point that people have to get.
When I think of poker I go back to my days as a Blackjack player, and I was tough. There are people in Las Vegas in the 70’s who said I was the best they had ever seen.
Everything you have said thus far resonates really well with me. I had a coach, I know exactly what you are talking about. Until you are at a world class level it is a lot easier to get coaching but once you get to a world class level there are not too many people that coach you, but you still need them.
Chapter 4 coming soon..
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