Interview with Jason Somerville

JcarverMy guest today on The Mental Game of Poker Podcast is without doubt one of the most driven, hardworking and enthusiastic minds playing the circuit today.

Jason Somerville is a WSOP bracelet winner with over $5 million in earnings. His caliber is so high that Russell Thomas, 2012 November Niner, asked him for coaching before the final table. He one of the great new ambassadors for the game, and sacrifices some EV by playing a reduced schedule to work tirelessly for Ultimate Poker. Amazingly in 2014, he is one of the few openly gay high profile players.

In this show we discuss:

  • How his ambition and drive now includes an emphasis on happiness and fun.
  • How being honest with himself has been freeing and helped him grow as a player and person.
  • The incredible methods he used to get Russell Thomas to prepare for the 2012 main event final table.
  • His experience becoming the first high profile poker player to come out as gay.

Jason really is one of the easiest guys in the world to interview and I could talk with him all day. He’s one of those rare individuals who has figured out how to be informative and entertaining. You will learn a lot from him today.

If you want to learn more about Jason, check out his website, YouTube channel, and follow him on Twitter: @JasonSomerville

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Interview with Elky

ElkyThe mental game is like a muscle. If you push yourself mentally, whether it is to face your fears or develop a new skill, you can adapt and grow stronger. My guest today on the Mental Game of Poker Podcast is a true example of this.

Bertand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier is very much like my recent guest Jason Mercier. Like Mercier, he wins everything. Like Mercier he has a reputation for running well. And just like Jason Mercier, most people don’t realise how hard he works to get where he is.

ElkY is a world champion Starcraft player, a former SuperNova Elite and one of the few men to hold the Triple Crown. In today’s show we discover:

  • How he developed an incredible work ethic after living in Korea as a teenager.
  • Why the pressure of playing Starcraft professionally prepared him for the mental pressure of playing poker.
  • The importance of pushing his own personal boundaries and why fear motivates him.
  • His philosophy that if you push yourself to the limit, there is no downside to losing.

If you are at all interested in the hard work vs talent debate, ElkY is a great test case. The amount of hours he puts in, his ability to learn from his mistakes and his insistence on pushing himself past his comfort zone are all trademarks of a concept called deliberate practice – the cornerstone of becoming world class.

I urge you to listen to his advice if you are struggling with motivation or dealing with pressure at the tables.

If you want to learn more about Elky, you can follow his blog, website, or follow him on Twitter: @elkypoker

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Interview with Chris Moneymaker

PokerPages PhotoMy next guest on the Mental Game of Poker Podcast really does not need an introduction. Without 2003 World Champion Chris Moneymaker, poker would not be the industry it is today. Not only did help spark the poker boom, he has been a tremendous ambassador for the game.

What you may not know is that he is perhaps the first poker player to put me on tilt. Find out how he out-mental gamed this mental game coach on the golf course, and much more.

In this show you’ll discover:

  • The pressures that Chris faced becoming a world champion of a game he hardly knew anything about.
  • His constant battle with staying focussed in long tournaments and when he is card dead.
  • How he has worked on dealing with bad beats.
  • Having to swallow his ego to ask other players to help him learn the game after he became a champion.
  • And yes, how he put me on tilt on the golf course.

You might learn a lot from what Chris had to say about how he dealt with bad beats. I can’t say I fully agree with some of the specific techniques he uses, but his overall strategy of really trying to understand his own tilt I completely advocate.

If you are struggling with bad beats, you can still get The Mental Game of Poker 1 and 2 for free using PokerStars FPPs and on audiobook.

If you want to learn more about Chris, you can follow his blog, website, or follow him on Twitter: @CMONEYMAKER

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Interview with Jason Mercier

Jason-Mercier_EPT_High-rollerWhat is the point of working hard on your game if you are going to get unlucky? Of course, fixating on the things out of your control is only going to make matters worse. The only thing you can do is double down your focus on the things you can control.

Jason Mercier is one of the most prolific poker players in the world. He is about to surpass $10 million in live tournament cashes, he has previously been a Supernova Elite, he has two bracelets, an EPT title and a string of other huge results.

He also has a reputation for having had more than his fair share of ‘run good’. However you’ll learn from today’s show the real reason for his success is surely his phenomenal work ethic.

You will discover:

  • How finding the balance between rest, exercise and poker is improving his performance
  • What he thinks about his ‘run good’ reputation
  • How he handled a $2.1 million downswing
  • The method he has always employed to ensure that he learns from his mistakes
  • How his tremendous work ethic was developed at a young age and how it has prepared him to deal with burnout and downswings

Many successful people have said that “the harder they worked, the luckier they got.” This sentiment rings true with Jason. If you are struggling to deal with variance, you would be much better off trying to emulate his work ethic than trying to will the cards your way.

If you are struggling to deal with variance pick up a copy of The Mental Game of Poker 1 and 2, you can get them both for free using PokerStars FPPs and on audiobook.

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Interview with Vanessa Selbst

vanessa_selbst_berlinIs it possible to play in the zone all the time? Vanessa Selbst doesn’t think so, and nor should you. In the latest episode of The Mental Game of Poker Podcast I get to speak with the most successful female poker player of all time fresh off the back of a $1.4 million winning trip at the PCA.

We have a very high level discussion on how she manages her energy to make sure that rather than playing he zone all the time, she works hard to play in the zone at the most important time. We discuss:

  • How she manages mental energy and the mental value of late regging.
  • Knowing when not to play in a tournament and how to avoid burning out.
  • How she maintains her passion and enjoyment of poker through rough periods.
  • Where she stands on the hard work vs talent debate in poker.
  • How she sets goals and how she judges them a success or not.

This was a really enjoyable show with one of the true top performers in the game today. If you want to learn more about Vanessa, you can follow her blog, her website, or follow her on Twitter: @VanessaSelbst.

Vanessa mentioned she enjoyed my first book (the half she read at least) – if you want to get your hands on a copy of either book to further your mental game or your understanding of the zone, you can get them both for free using PokerStars FPPs and on audiobook.

Stay tuned to The Mental Game of Poker Podcast, I have three more great guests confirmed, including Jason Mercier later this week. Make sure you subscribe to the show on iTunes so you don’t miss them.

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