Long hours at the poker tables means nice paydays for many BPC pros. But the training continues as they fine-tune their games and constantly look to improve. But what sets these players apart? What is their mindset like and how do they overcome downswings and “bad days at the office?”
From across the globe, here are their stories and insights. These card sharks offer knowledge and tips to get your game together.
Hometown: Tartu, Estonia
Game/Stakes: NLHE HU; NL200-3,000
A few years ago, Lauri Enn was close to quitting poker. He started playing professionally in 2009 and did well for several years. Then in July 2014, the winning stopped. By December 2015, he was desperate and ready to call it quits.
By chance, he came upon an ad for BestPokerCoaching.com and decided to give it one last chance. Now thoughts of giving it up are in the rearview mirror. His keys to victory? Discipline and consistency.
“I think I’m quite disciplined and if I do something I want to do it well,” he says. “You have to be consistent and never give up. Also discipline is very important: follow the lines you have been taught by your coaches and play only the games you have an edge in.”
Enn’s journey with BPC has led to several nice moments including: his first time reaching a $10,000 month; then winning 26 buy-ins from an opponent; making $10,000 in a week; and finally reaching the CFP HU record for the best month and finished the 60K program.
Of course not every day at the poker tables goes as planned. When he has a tough day, Enn likes to be alone for some running, which really helps.
“Also sometimes I go the easier way and just drink one or two beers to relax a little,” he says. “About tilt, now the good thing is that my play doesn’t go too much worse because I think my base is quite strong thanks to BPC coaches. So even if I don’t play my A or B game during tilt, I still play better than my opponents and make money. And if I hit stop-loss, I just close the tables and prefer not to think about poker all day.”
When not playing poker, Enn enjoys time with his wife and two children, 3-year-old Hugo and 6-month-old Martha. His wife serves as a motivating force and is supporting him 100 percent. His hobbies include running, and he has completed eight marathons so far. A month ago, Enn discovered cross-country skiing and after some training decided to participate in his local Tartu skiing half-marathon.
With BPC, Enn has a goal to reach to high stakes (NL5,000 and higher) this year.
“You should have goals in everything you do and a plan how to get there,” he says. “And dream big. Really big! Everything is possible.”
Hometown: Cesis, Latvia (currently living in Riga)
Game/Stakes: NLHE 6MAX; NL200-NL2000
For this young poker phenom, persistence is key – along with hard work, a thirst for winning, and finding the right sources of knowledge.
“But most importantly,” he adds, “having a meaningful reason for trying to become successful in the field in the first place. Many seem to overlook the importance of doing the right type of work versus just spending time doing what can technically be classified as studying, but in reality is just wasting time.”
For Atvars, the quality of the practice or training is critical. Players waste time engaging in poor discussions on poker forums and watching poor quality videos. Atvars says this applies to average or worse coaches, a “dangerous trap” since assessing a coach’s competence can be difficult.
“Even people who have had awesome coaches can fail miserably if they aren’t smart and hard-working enough and expect great results,” he says. “What is often overlooked is how much intellectual effort it actually takes to get real value out of a coach.”
Atvars offers these tips in selecting a coach:
- Ask the right questions.
- Focus on fundamental concepts rather than specific knowledge such as “is this a call or a fold.”
- Learn how to fish yourself, don’t be satisfied with being given a fish.
A successful event that stands out for Atvars was reaching a $50,000 month. What made it special was that he managed to match his coach’s best month, and no one he knew reaching that score in the same games.
In his spare time, Atvars spends time with his girlfriend, hits the gym, and plays video games. He also enjoys a night out with friends for a few drinks. When it comes to going on tilt, Atvars has a simple solution – just stop playing.
“I believe tilt generally only affects how I feel and not really how I play in too noticeable way, with some rare exceptions,” he says. “When I’ve had a rough day I don’t do anything in particular. I tend to do whatever I would’ve done had it been a great day at the table – maybe procrastinate a bit more than I normally would. I also find myself being more open for going out for a drink or two.”
For success in poker, working hard to attain knowledge is essential.
“At the end of the day, the single most important factor for any kind of success in life is intelligence,” Atvars stresses. “It just simply is the most fundamental quality to have. Find ways to boost it and more doors will be open for you than you can physically open in your lifetime.”
Hometown: Novosibirsk, Russia
Game/Stakes: NLHE and PLO HU; NL400-1,000, PLO400-1,000
Personal reflection and listening to others – these concepts have been Rylan’s keys to victory.
“I always listen to people who are better than me in some area,” he says.
To improve his game, Rylan follows coaching and advice from those he respects, but that second aspect, personal reflection, is also a key to his success. That success recently included winning $15,000 in one day. His regular reflections include:
- daily meditation
- writing daily plans
- constantly finding a way how to improve
After a tough day at the tables, Rylan finds it helpful to simply takes a “free day” and does things that don’t involve thinking about poker. His interests include traveling and sports.
Reflection comes in handy in dealing with tilt also, and Rylan faces the problem with daily meditation. Some players don’t have the desire and thirst for knowledge to improve.
“You have to enjoy the process,” he says. “Without it, it is close to impossible to put in the hours.”
Hometown: Cardiff, United Kingdom
Game/Stakes: NLHE HU; NL1,000
Finding a regular routine and listen to coaches. These are some poker words to live by for Scott, and this advice has worked well for him.
“Each of [your coaches] have things to teach you,” he says. “Get good habits and then be consistent every day.”
His routine involves getting up early each day to spend 30 minutes or an hour watching a video before heading to the tables. Success takes time and those seeking instant results will get frustrated and disillusioned.
“I think people think results come instantly and get disheartened, and quit when they are close to making a breakthrough,” he says. “I had many months where I was putting in a lot of hours and was only winning $1,000-$4,000, but each month you get a little better until eventually you are producing huge months.”
Scott’s biggest win was taking nearly $4,000 off a player in about an hour. He recommends that players work to see improvement in their knowledge every month.
“I think a lot of people just sit there and watch a video without challenging themselves while they watch and expect to know everything the first time,” he says. “There were some videos in the BPC library I easily watched 10 times because there was so much information there. But I was always honest with myself and knew I didn’t know everything from a particular video, so I just kept watching it over and over and you still won’t get everything. But each time you just remember a bit more.”
When away from the tables, Scott has a unique pastime to take his mind off the game. He goes salsa dancing every week.
“I took it up because online poker can be a lonely experience,” he says. “Meeting up with friends once a week and dancing is a nice way to change things up and forget about poker for a night.”
When you’re ready to shuffle up and deal, remember the advice and experiences of these BPC pros. Follow your coaches’ advice, remember what you’ve been taught, and shake off those pesky setbacks. Whether raising or folding, it’s always important to stay in the zone.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications such as PokerNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.