“I think this might be the only podcast I’ve ever done.”
After 80 minutes of enthralling conversation, this wasn’t the biggest takeaway fans had from Brandon Adams‘ recent podcast with poker legend Tom Dwan, but it certainly was one of the more surprising.
The pair naturally spent time on poker, including Dwan’s origins and mental approach to the game, but also touched on the election, the US economy, and the status of legalized online US sports betting.
You can check out the podcast episode for yourself below.
Dwan on High Stakes Poker
Having recently played in every session of the new High Stakes Poker, Dwan reminisced about his first experience playing on the show.
“The first few times I played High Stakes Poker, I think my no-limit game was quite a bit sharper than most peoples. And the gap was pretty big. So I was able to get away with playing a bunch of hands. Plus it was fun and obviously, it was my first time playing on TV. I was trying to play more hands and everything worked out.
“When I was bluffing, it would work out. When I had it, people would pay me off. I just ran really well. Now a lot of people’s no-limit games are sharper; I haven’t played much no-limit lately so my game isn’t super sharp. But these are deep-stacked games and sometimes, people use goofy sizes.”
First Taste of Live Poker
Dwan said that his first experience of live poker was at the Vic in London, which hosted the European Poker Tour stop for the first five seasons. He subsequently went to the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure where he encountered Jean-Robert Bellande.
“I was watching him playing $25/$50, and in a single-raised pot, he called 20k in a 70k pot with ace-jack on a jack-high board.
“I thought to myself ‘what is this idiot doing’! And then he won the pot! Coming from online where this never happened, I started thinking: ‘maybe I should start learning about this live poker thing’!”
Dwan the Student
With over $3m in live earnings according to The Hendon Mob, Dwan admits his transition from online to live had a learning curve to it.
“Back then it wasn’t easy to get high-level poker education. I knew I had played more hands in the last year than the guys [at the table], and there were certain strategic things or concepts that I knew better, but I tried to learn from a lot of the people playing live stuff that they knew that I didn’t.”
“Back then it wasn’t easy to get high-level poker education…”
This included live tells, an alien concept to an online crusher, as well as the problems that boredom has on a live player at the table.
“Things like where you don’t get a hand for an hour, so you bluff it off. Because you’re not multi-tabling at home more comfortably.”
Dwan says that if someone came up with a new game, he’d be good at it. But the learning process was the important part.
“How good you were at a new game wasn’t important day one, but it’s how fast you learn and pick up from other people.”
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The Future of Poker
Before the pandemic, Dwan had switched his attention to live short deck with some “pretty big” short deck games going on for a while. However, his days of grinding for an entire day may be behind him.
“Over the last few years I don’t feel as sharp after 20-30 hours as I used to, but I also haven’t played that many long sessions. So it’s probably part of it. I’m more out of practice. I used to have those much more regularly.”
As well as playing, Dwan still keeps an eye on legislative developments, especially in the United States. He believes there is an opportunity for sites to expand, as long as they police bots and cheaters “aggressively.”
“I think there’s a large opportunity coming with the US opening up”
“People in the US love poker and they haven’t had an easy way to play since Black Friday. I think there’s a large opportunity coming with the US opening up. If sites police it well, I could see there being somewhat of a golden age. Maybe not quite as much as the first…”
Dwan repeated the concept of a “golden age” on numerous occasions, especially as part of the wider legal gambling space that poker could be a part of.
“Sports over the next few years…it’s pretty unlikely it doesn’t play out. There are different scenarios where it could be bigger or smaller. But with poker, a lot depends on how aggressive the operators are on how to level the playing field, and there’s not one answer.
“Hopefully it happens, but we’ll see. It’s still undecided, but if it happens there could be a really good spot for poker in the next few years”