When it comes to working with his students, BPC coach Jozef Dora hopes to provide much more than a series of decisions and A-B-C steps to remember about poker. For him, it’s much more about helping players to think about their actions and develop their thinking processes about the game.
He hopes they take an improved mindset to the tables and are able to figure out correct moves and plays based on strategy and sound reasoning.
“Discussing the logic behind the action is crucial because when we can ‘fix’ or upgrade the logic, our actions become better,” he says. “Also, coaching is the best way to get a second opinion that is more objective.”
The 29-year-old was born in Poprad, Slovakia, and now lives in Bratislava. He’s been playing poker for a decade and hopes to help BPC students learn from his success as a fairly new member of the Zoom 6-max coaching. Those looking to see increased profits might want to get on board.
Like many players, Jozef began playing poker while at college. He noticed a few guys playing regularly in the dormitory and was soon part of the small-stakes action. It was the first time he’d ever played live poker with “fancy plastic cards and chips.”
The young player learned the rules on the Internet and began watching shows on TV like the World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker. The lights and big money fascinated him and he began dreaming of his own success on the felt.
“I got excited every time someone won over a million dollars in a tournament,” he says.
“I was fascinated by making such amounts of money in an unusual way as playing poker. It still sounds like fun.”
And while he may not have been at the tables in front of cameras, Jozef continued to play the game for the next 10 years and find success. He studied regularly and continued to improve. The game supported him financially, although with smaller amounts of money in those days. Poker wasn’t his sole profession, but kept adding to his income. It was a nice life, and always kept him happy.
“During those years I had times when I played for a few months, then I took a break for few months,” he says. “I treated poker as a hobby. I have never really invested a large amount of money into poker. I basically built my bankroll from as little as €10 deposits. When bad streaks hit, I gave back some of my profits but still cashed out a part of my winnings as a profit that I could keep and spend.”
All that changed in 2016 when Jozef decided to take the game more seriously and seek out even bigger profits. He’d always liked watching videos about poker to work on his game. But he realized he wanted more and needed a personal coach with more experience to help him reach a higher level.
After joining BPC, the Slovakian began working with Asimos at 10NL stakes. He quickly found out that he had to unlearn some mistakes he was making that continued to hold him back.
“Thanks to the coaching from Asimos, I also developed a new thinking process about the game that was invaluable,” he says.
During those two years, his results fluctuated but he continued to learn. After experiencing some bad runs, at times Jozef just wanted to give up. He worked through those tough times, however, and always found enough motivation to get back to the tables. That cycle of struggling and learning proved to be a big part of his poker education.
“Every time I did that, my game improved,” he says. “Then finally we reached the 25NL stakes and thanks to all that work. This year we moved to 50NL where I was very successful without any significant downswings and slowly started taking shots at 100NL, where I play regularly now.”
While he’s still not a full-time poker player, Jozef certainly stays busy. He works a regular 9-to-5 job, but his winnings at the table are nice and add significantly to his income. He works during the day and then plays or coaches other poker players in the evenings.
Poker may not be his only job, but his day job is also something he loves. Jozef calls it his “dream job” and works in investment accounting – basically reconciling and reporting large amounts of money held in investments.
“In the future, when the winnings from poker significantly outmatch earnings from my regular job,” he says, “I would like to switch to working fewer hours or part time and see how that would go.”
Poker has certainly been good to Jozef. The financial stability is nice and the extra money is always good. This year, he and his girlfriend were able to buy their own flat and then renovated and furnished it.
“Other than money, there is an aspect of being active that is a positive as poker is a game of a huge amount of small decisions,” he says. “So we train our minds to think and focus, which is a good skill to have even outside the poker table.”
After so much time at the tables, Jozef is now bringing his poker wisdom to other players. He got into coaching after there was an opening at BPC in July for an assistant zoom poker coach. Asimos recommended Jozef and the position was soon his.
“I decided to try it because it is a good way to learn and improve myself as well as help others.” he says.
When offering some strategies and ideas for 6-max students, Jozef tries to tailor his advice to individual students’ style of play. When working with a player, he reviews hand histories and real examples of how that person plays and then discusses the actions in that particular hand.
“The strategy is to say what a player could have done differently and why,” he says. “I believe it helps a player to find more optimal solutions to poker decisions.”
Much of his work involves working with a group of students all at once where anyone can share hands and scenarios. He then helps lead students in breaking down the situation and alternative courses of action.
When not playing poker, all things finance interest this young poker player. He loves keeping up with financial markets in general (stocks, indexes, forex, and others). Other hobbies include riding his bike, self-development books and videos, and video games on his computer. After purchasing a flat, he and his girlfriend have plans to start a family sometime in the future.
But after working a full day and then playing and coaching at night, Jozef says there isn’t much room right now for other hobbies and pastimes. He likes playing video games, but doesn’t get much time to sit at his computer to play many other games beyond poker.
“Poker is my biggest interest, and there is not enough space for other things right now,” he says.
Like his students, Jozef has some of own poker goals beyond just seeing his students improve and increase their profits.
“My main goal is further development, and basically find how far I can get with the game,” he says. “For 2019, I would like to go up to 200NL to 500NL and possibly higher as long as the games are good.”