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!