New Book by Lance Bradley Reveals 50 Top Pros’ Secrets for Poker Success

May 20th, 2018 by CardsChat News

What does success mean to you? That was the question poker journalist Lance Bradley posed to dozens of the most accomplished poker players across the globe. The answers are as wide ranging and intriguing as poker world itself.

"The Pursuit of Poker Success" by Lance Bradley

What do poker pros who win consistently have in common? Lance Bradley knows, and he shares their stories in his new book, “The Pursuit of Poker Success.” (Image: D&B Poker)

“I wanted to confirm my suspicion that there is no answer, that everybody is going to define it differently,” says the author of the soon-to-be-released book, The Pursuit of Poker Success: Learn from 50 of the World’s Best Poker Players.

“If you’re going write a book about how people pursue success,” Bradley said, “I need to first know how each defines it.”

For someone like Fedor Holz, it means the pursuit of enjoyment. For others, success is simply putting food on the table. Over the course of 50 interviews, including bracelet winners, Poker Hall of Famers and triple crown winners, Bradley learns what makes the greats tick and how they managed to achieve their version of poker success.

Bradley himself is something of a poker success — even though he’s never been close to a final table where his own chips were in play. He started covering the WSOP as an independent poker blogger who went on to become editor of Bluff magazine before taking the reigns as president and editor-in-chief of Pocket Fives. In February, he won at the American Poker Awards for being the 2017 Poker Journalist of the Year.

CardsChat spoke with Bradley to talk about success, his new book, and who stands out in a field of standouts.

Author Lance Bradley (Image: D&B Poker)

CardsChat: As former editor at Bluff magazine and current editor in chief at Pocket Fives,  you’ve seen firsthand how many poker books have come and gone. What’s different about your book?

Lance Bradley: This book is a little bit different than anything out there now, and that’s because it’s not a strategy book. It’s not going to teach you to play suited connectors in late position. What it does is take a deeper dive into 50 of the best players in the world, and it’s got nothing to do with strategy, more to do with the things they’ve done in life that have allowed them to be successful in a tough field.

I wanted to get into the nitty gritty of the things these people do on a day-to-day basis that allow them to be one of the elite.

CC: What did success sound like across the wide spectrum of players that you spoke to?

LB: Cash game players don’t have a scoreboard to point to. They don’t have a Hendon Mob, or a GPI. So their definition of success is, “did I go home with more money then I started with?” Not everyone who is a cash game player said that, that but it was a common theme.

The other common theme was, “am I getting better at poker?” The thing that I love about that answer is I then get to ask them, “well how do you know you’re getting better? How do you know you’re not chasing this idea that you’re getting better, when in fact you’re actually not getting better?”

It was just interesting to hear the different answers people gave for how they define success. But there’s always some variation of “I want to make sure that the competitive side of me is being fed.”

Everybody had a little bit of that in their answer.

CC: You mention that every poker path is different. Who had the craziest, or unlikeliest path to success?

LB: One of the few players I had never interviewed before this book was Adrian Mateos.

I left the interview with him completely mesmerized by his answers, because he had decided at 14 or 15 that he was going to be a professional poker player, and he pursued it the same way that a 14-year old who decides they want to be a doctor would. They start reading advanced biology books and learning as much as they can about their future field. Adrian did that.

Unable to play for any stakes that meant anything, he jumped into forums and whatever content he could find and started messing around with decks in his bedroom and figuring out what to do on different flops.

The pure focus that he had from teenage years… It was just remarkable to see a 14-year old able to have that much focus on something they actually can’t do yet for any meaningful stakes.

CC: Did you pick up on any differences between the new school and old school players you interviewed?

LB: What I really discovered is that the people in the book that are old school, the Erik Seidels and the Jen Harmans, they were smart enough to figure out they need to learn from new school players. And there are also a lot of new school players who realize that players that have been playing live for so long have something to offer, so they’ve learned from them, too.

Rather than finding any big differences, I found two groups that wanted to learn from one another.

CC: Let’s talk about the standouts. First, if you were picking someone as your business partner, who would it be?

LB: There’s some really sharp minds in there. I’m a really big fan of Fedor Holz has done with Primed Mind.

I talked with Brian Rast a great deal about non-poker interests. I think he has a really great mind for business.

And then of course there’s Jason Sommerville, who went from making YouTube videos for fun to basically owning the top Twitch streaming empire in poker.

So it would be one of those guys for sure.

CC: Which player would you go to for life advice?

LB: Geroge Danzer is a guy who took a step away from the game recently to get a bunch of things figured out, like what he wanted to do if it wasn’t going to be poker, where he wanted his family to live. I think there’s a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from that.

CC: Who would you go to for poker advice?

LB: It got to the point during the interviews where I had to tell the players, look, if you tell me that Ike Haxton is responsible for your success, then we’re going to have to find a different way to write the chapter, because everybody keeps telling me that.

There’s one quote that is word for word between two people that goes, “and then I met Ike Haxton”. They all talk about it. You can draw a chart of their success, and there’s this upward trajectory, and then they meet Ike and it increases by five.

I’m convinced that he doesn’t get enough credit for the impact that he has had on some of the best players in the world right now.

CC: Everything you own is on the line in a high-stakes poker tournament. Who are picking to play on your behalf in this tournament?

LB: It’s probably one of two players, either Stephen Chidwick or Adrian Mateos.

I talked about Mateos earlier, but I really walked away from that interview completely stunned by the focus that he had when he was a teenager.

I looked it up today, and between Phil Ivey’s last tournament win and his most recent one, about 1,200 days, and in that time Adrian Mateos has won $12.1 million. I think he’s probably one of the two or three best tournament players in the world today.

As for Stephen Chidwick, he is thinking about the game right now at a level that is pretty unique and different from even some of the experts and GTO (game theory optimal) maniacs.

The Pursuit of Poker Success is available as an e-book and in paperback on June 7.

14 Responses to “New Book by Lance Bradley Reveals 50 Top Pros’ Secrets for Poker Success”

  1. Pugaddict01 says:

    rule number 1 – bluff a lot lol

  2. sneh007 says:

    Good 🙂

  3. Poker Orifice says:

    Sounds interesting. Thanks for the article.

  4. pirateglenn says:

    This is a superb article, well written and very relevant to today’s player. I will be purchasing this e book when it is released.

  5. acidburnfx says:

    Interesting point between the new school and the old school (besides that, we already had a battle here in the forum). The game has changed a lot, however, there is always something we can add.

  6. manolo salazar says:

    First of all, Congratulations CC for the interview. It is so clear, interesting and make the readers get exited while are reading this article.
    About the author Lance Bradley and his book what I can say is that he talk about something really important in poker nowadays is that the new school has learned a lot of the old school and the old school is updating its knowledge and adapting its game for the modern poker .

  7. cwdignus says:

    I really enjoyed this new approach to a poker book … it’s actually a book about success. poker in the case is the medium in which the interviewees succeeded in obtaining their form of success

  8. Smokewood says:

    Looks like a good 1.

  9. PsychoVas says:

    Seems like a very interesting book. I think I’ll try and get it!
    It would be rally nice to find out how people dealt with the game, appart from odds, value charts and strategies.
    Great job on the interview roo!

  10. ammje says:

    I seems interesting, I have never read a poker book, I may have to read this book, very good interview thank you.

  11. akmost says:

    Nice interview!This book concentrates, as I can imagine , the mindsets of some winners in life. No matter what everybody makes for living , you can tell that some people out there are passionate and real dedicated. Poker is a profession where you spend so many hours of your life and you are not sure if you will get paid for all that endeavor! In a regular job you know that you will get paid for your working hours , in poker you never know when a big score will come! It will be interesting to give a shot to that book!

  12. joeisi says:

    Very nice article. This is definitely a book I would pick up in the future. I liked where he started with what defines success. Everyone has different motives for playing and different goals. We all want to win when we play but we all have different motives important to recognize that.

  13. migesan says:

    Very nice, you are invited to the Belgrade Book Fair:) I will buy it for sure, only to translate it and for a year I may find myself in the new edition of this book 🙂

  14. wilmer907907 says:

    The success as well as the writer Lance Bradley says, is very difficult to define, but according to the sacred book “THE BIBLE” does not say that to be successful you need among other things:

    Have a healthy fear of God, Choose good friends, Do not take revenge, Work hard, Master the language so you do not condemn me with bad expressions.

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