Saturday, March 14, 2015

Inspirational Poker Players - Who is Your Hero?

Inspirational poker players
I think it is important to have someone who you look up to in poker especially when you are just starting out. These are people who inspire you to achieve the success that they have and maybe even go beyond. These people have the power to show you what is possible even if you currently have little to no results at all. They also typically display the attitude and work ethic which is necessary for long term success in this game.

My Biggest Inspiration


Nearly all of my play over the years has been online and so naturally my heroes in the early days were almost always online poker players. The overwhelming majority of my play has also been in cash games so naturally they tended to be cash game players as well. The player who inspired me the most was definitely Dusty Schmidt who is better known online as "Leatherass." He was sort of the original mid/high stakes mega grinder on Pokerstars back in the day.

I would read all of his blog posts religiously, drool over his million dollar a year graphs and study and re-study every training video that he ever put out, literally. I actually originally chose to be an instructor at DragTheBar, even though I received offers from much bigger training sites, in large part because he was a lead coach there at the time. Even though it has became cool to bash Dusty in recent years on popular forums like 2+2 because he is a "bumhunter" and a "nit" (have I mentioned how idiotic these people are before?) his impact on almost an entire generation of young online poker players is undeniable. And also, even though I never went on to have anywhere close to the success that he did (although my priorities did change with regards to this game a fair bit) his impact on me was huge.

Present Day Poker Heros


I think there are still many players out there these days who are blazing a path like this for a new generation of online poker players. Doug Polk, better known online as "WCGRider," for instance is now regarded as the best heads up high stakes poker player in the world. I remember the famous prop bets and playing against him at NL25 in what seems like just a few years ago. Randy "Nanonoko" Lew is another great example of what dedication and a great attitude can do for you in this game. He has been a top talent for years in mid/high stakes cash games on Pokerstars and is a long time and very popular member of Team Pro Online.

There are other guys who are much less well known but whose blogs I love reading as well such as Tim Stone. It's become cool to hate on him a bit as well because he uses seating scripts and sometimes types a few words differently than the rest of us. However, this is a guy who has dominated mid stakes cash games on Pokerstars for years and lives a ridiculous life traveling all over the world. Another blog that I love to read is "The Rant" by talented Supernova Elite SNG grinder Aaron Barone. Even though he is an SNG player I still learn a lot from his posts such as his outstanding work ethic and ability to overcome adversity. He is also a good friend of mine in real life so it helps me keep up to date on his current travels as well.

There are many more stories of great poker players these days who can inspire you. I always chuckle a bit when somebody emails me saying that I have inspired them at the micros through my results and blogging over the years. I am flattered by it really because in relation to the people mentioned above I have accomplished very little in this game. However, I am glad that I have had the power to provide guidance to even a couple of you out there. I know that some of the people listed above had a big impact on my poker career. If I can do that for someone else as well, then that is awesome.

Everybody Needs a Poker Hero


I guess the point of this short piece is to say that you should stay inspired by what is possible in this game even during your darkest hours. The reality is that only one person can be the best heads up cash game player in the world. But Doug Polk has shown that with the right amount of dedication and focus that it is possible to go all the way from the micros to the very top of the game. If you play online MTTs then maybe that player for you is Chris Moorman with an all-time best of well over 10 million dollars in cashes.

If you play live cash games then maybe Tom "Durrrr" Dwan inspires you with his amazing bluffs and sixth sense for the game. Or maybe a hardened veteran who blazed paths for all of us like Barry Greenstein or Doyle Brunson is somebody who you look up to. Heck, if you play live poker tournaments then maybe Phil Hellmuth is your man!

Never stop dreaming in this game. Very few of us will ever achieve the results of these people however their power to inspire and show us "what is possible" can have a huge impact on our success. Study what makes them tick more than the actual technical details of how they play the game. Their character, work ethic and ability to see the forest through the trees, to use a tired old cliche, is often what truly makes them great.

All the best at the tables, unless you are at mine :) If you enjoyed this article please "Like" or "Tweet" it below!

Poker star poker hero

25 comments:

  1. Hey Nathan ... if I have W$SD% in Holdem between 50 - 55 % over a sample of 100k hands but I have a negative bankroll ... I am not on plus or breakeven... can I assume that I beat the limit or that I am fairly decent at this limit ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 100k hand losing stretches are pretty rare at the micros and probably should be impossible at NL10 and below for any decent winner. I would say that the chances are much higher that there are some fundamental problems with your game.

      Delete
  2. I only vaguely know Tim Stone from 2+2, and presumed he was universally hated, so thanks for pointing me to his blog. It's a pretty good read. That said, I don't think I could ever have a hero that refuses to spell the word "the" correctly. ;)
    I could write a very long list of poker players I like and respect, or have inspired me at some point. Jungleman amuses me the most for some reason, and I'm also a big fan of Timex, but I've learned more from Felix, Nano, Brokos, Janda and Splitsuit.
    Without wishing to be too obsequious, I have to say that your first book was instrumental to my 2NL success, and it inspired me to get more involved in helping beginners, so you were one of my heroes when I first got started.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good list Arty and glad to help in the beginning for you :) I love Tim's blog, guy prints money every month and lives like a rock star. But some people can't handle all of teh poasts haha.

      Delete
  3. Just one question: Why super man and not Batman? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Batman is cool but Superman is the ultimate hero in my opinion. Just had to :p

      Delete
  4. well dah! you 're my poker hero Nathan!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh come on now. I'm just a micro donk!

      Delete
    2. Hehe, take a compliment mate! Ok then I guess I'll go with "Tony G", the "how to put your opponenets on tilt" player. He's so good at being bad and watching him at the tables is super fun. He is Badass! a purely superior phychollogically player. Plus he's a member of the European Parliament ha, ha! Poker for me is a fun and easy way to make money, although I have to admit if I had a million $ in my bank account I would be sipping coctails in Seychelles and find other ways to entertain myself :D

      Delete
    3. Haha, thanks man. Tony G is a badass for sure!

      Delete
  5. Personally the first player I started following regularly was Tyler Frost aka frosty012, since he is a cash player and his training sessions on the Pokerschool online are pretty good, overall he seems like a nice guy. And of course as you may be aware off I'm a devoted follower of your blog as well ever since I found out about it and had the chance to read your book. To me you two are my biggest inspirations. On another note, you are very wrong... No one is better than Batman ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha thanks Jorge, I guess I am getting outvoted on Superman! Tyler is an excellent player and role model as well. I have read his blog for years. Thanks for the support here on my blog :)

      Delete
  6. Very nice and inspiring article Nathan!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Here's my favorite quote of this blog Nathan: "Never stop dreaming in this game". I won't, ever. I don't care how old I am, health, whatever - I am not going to stop dreaming. I LOVE this game. I do have some hero's - and one of them IS Phil Helmuth. Truthfully, in my not so humble opinion he is right when he's whining in the interview after he's been knocked out of a tournament. He can't believe a player played those cards; what was he/she thinking in calling that bet, etc. The guy is usually right. Plus he has a sense of humor (the baby hat and bottle - that's probably why I like him). Plus he has a boatload of bracelets.

    I also love Antonio Esfandiari - what a story!! Family emigrating to America, Antonio finds poker and a fairy tale ending. I love his breakdown of plays while on TV; super informative.

    I have one other hero, just 'cos he stands for the little guy: Nathan Williams. Nathan writes in a friendly, easy to read format, is clear and concise and doesn't mince words, even when criticizing himself. Great poker mind and is generous enough to SHARE his millions of hands with we who are either struggling to get off the ground, or fix what's broken. That's a real hero in my book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Susan for the kind words :)

      Delete
    2. the favorite quote for my limit games is keep on keeping on like dirty joe would say, , sorry i am too much into movies http://poker.titanbet.co.uk/movies.html

      Delete
  8. Hmm... does choosing the superhero based on his looks count? 'cause my superhero is Liv Boeree. Uni grad, smart and pretty girl, great player... The only problem is that she plays tournaments and I play cash games :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha looks count also. Don't know that much about her but cannot disagree!

      Delete
    2. Thinking better, I admire Phil Galfond. Not only for his results, but for his maturity in thinking. Too bad he didn't update his blog since 2012 :(

      This link http://www.philgalfond.com/poker-and-your-life/ really struck a cord in me.

      Delete
  9. Is it true Leatherass played ~3 mil hands and was BE after ? He is a beast !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know what his current results are or if he posts them.

      Delete
  10. Gotta stick with kid poker Danielle N.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Nathan can somebody pay you to look at a database review and find the biggest mistakes that affect the bankroll ?
    Also if the answer is yes ... how many hands would you need to make an accurate review ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry I don't do database reviews or any kind of coaching at the moment.

      Delete