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Jonathan Little on Next-Generation Poker Coaching
When it comes to blogging, writing books and coaching, there aren’t many many players more prolific than Jonathan Little.
Over the last few years Little has certainly developed quite the catalogue in all things related to the business of poker. He even currently has four of the top ten best-selling poker books on Amazon.
With almost $6 million in live tournament earnings, Little also has the credentials to back it up.
PokerListings caught up with Little at WSOP APAC to chat about the business-side of poker coaching and how it affects his game.
PokerListings.com: You are super busy when it comes to coaching, writing books and blogging. What do you get out of it personally that keeps you so committed?
It’s just nice to help people. I was helped a lot in the poker community coming up.
I studied a lot on TwoPlusTwo and met a lot of poker friends. They were always happy to give information and I’m the same way.
I want to help people who have a desire to get better and are willing to put in the time to get better.
PL: Your intention from the start always stemmed from wanting to help people?
Basically, I looked up to a lot of people and they helped me. Then eventually there were a lot of people who ended up looking up to me and so I helped them.
PL: So is it completely a passion project or you treat it like a business?
Over time I’ve learned to get better at marketing and, I mean, I make money from it.
But there’s definitely a value for the people who are part of my coaching programs or webinars.
It’s a win-win for everyone.
PL: In the past, say 20 years ago, there were a lot of professional poker players who thought it was a negative to divulge strategy information. Do you not agree with that in some ways?
I think that because of the internet you can pretty much get any information that you want if you dig deep enough. I know that I wasted a ton of time trying to find stuff.
Do I really want to make people waste 1000s of hours of their time when I can just consolidate that information and make it easier for them? I’m happy to do that and help in that way.
PL: As a professional poker player, you don’t think there is a trickle-down effect that makes the games tougher for yourself?
No, not really. The thing about it is the most people who are learning a lot from me are those who are having trouble beating mid-stakes games.
They are going to learn enough from me to beat middle-stakes and then if they want to come gamble with me, I’m more than happy to play with them.
It probably does hurts the small and mid-stakes a bit, but not the high stakes that I play at all.
PL: To spend so much time on the business side of poker you must enjoy it. Do you have a preference between playing poker and teaching it?
If it comes between just purely playing for not a lot of money, say I had to grind 5/10 no limit, then would I rather be teaching people than playing that. But if it was between teaching people and playing high stakes tournaments, then I probably would rather play poker.
PL: Is there an aspect of your coaching, be it books, webinars, coaching videos, that you enjoy the most?
I kind of get in the zone where I switch from one thing to another.
I wouldn’t say I enjoy any of it much more than other parts, but at some points I get burnt out doing the same thing. Because if I make say training videos, then I make eight hours of training videos per day and just grind them hard.
Or if I’m writing a book, then I write a book in two weeks and after that I’m ready to be done for a month or two.
Maybe I like doing the webinars the most.
I host a webinar roughly once per month. It’s really good for the students because they get to go online and ask questions. It becomes a big classroom format, then everyone benefits because they are getting the answers to lots of peoples questions.
PL: Have you found that writing these books and coaching players has sharpened your own game?
Yeah, definitely. I’ve found that teaching people forces you to find answer and if people ask you good questions, you are going to find holes in your own game.
Then if you find holes you have to fix them if you are a good coach. I know that when I wrote my first poker book Secrets of Professional Tournament Poker I learned a ton just along the way trying to define some spots that I actually wasn’t so sure about.
PL: You are very honest in a lot of your blogs and on Twitter about your results and are comfortable talking about playing bad and running bad. Is it important to you to be honest?
I think that most people are deceived by social media, thinking that all these poker players are great and they win all the time and that’s simply not true.
A lot of the time they are unhappy, depressed and losing. You never really see that. You always hear about the people winning and you don’t hear about the people just grinding it out and breaking even for a long time.
I just want to show people that losing is part of the game.
I’ve even put out two video blogs in Australia and they were kind of sad. But that’s how life is sometimes and you have to be okay with that if you are going to be a professional poker player.