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Snapshot of a Successful Poker Pro: Craig McCorkell, Chelsea Fan
In Craig McCorkell, I see a man at the top of his game.
When I talk to him I hear a man that bears a maturity well beyond his years.
I'm not sure how long poker will hold McCorkell in its clutches but in the time that exists he'll win a lot of money and a lot of titles.
He was also just few coin flips away from winning a World Poker Tour (WPT) title a few weeks ago when he finished runner-up to Iaron Lightbourne at Dusk till Dawn (DTD).
It was during this festival of poker that I managed to grab a few minutes of his time. He never ducked - never deflected - never deviated. And it's during moments like these that you realize it's his confidence that underpins everything.
Lee Davy: Where do you get your confidence?
Craig McCorkell: I don't feel confident but even if my opinion isn't always right I want to have a voice and to be able to say what's on my mind.
LD: Have you always been like that?
CM: I always wanted to have a voice. I was in the school council. I wanted to have a say in how we ran the school.
If I had a full-time job I think I would gravitate towards something similar. It's not like that in poker.
LD: Who angers you the most and why?
CM: I guess it would be my closest friends and family. Those are the ones that will irritate you the most.
If you get a bunch of Twitter comments it doesn't affect you because you don't care what they think, but you care what your family thinks.
LD: What's the most physical harm you have ever caused anyone else?
CM: Probably giving someone a bruise with a little punch in school or something. I have never had a fist fight before.
Growing up I was small in school and I had big friends so nobody ever bothered me. I was never very confrontational either.
LD: What type of cowardice do you despise and why?
CM: Not standing up for yourself as the underdog or the little guy.
I don't like it when there is peer pressure to be a certain way, for example, and although it's clear that you should not be that way you aren't strong enough to stand up for yourself.
I don't like that about people.
LD: What is important to you in a partner?
CM: Trust is so important; loyalty is important as well but knowing someone has your back and you have support is also important.
LD: What part of your being are you constantly trying to improve?
CM: At the moment I am attempting to be happier and more positive.
I am focused on poker and making money, but I want also to try to have as much fun as I can while I am doing this.
LD: I took a ride with a taxi driver this morning. He wanted to be a cricket agent but fear was holding him back. What would be your advice to this person?
CM: He may have children who he is responsible for but for people my age you have to do something you are 100% passionate about.
I believe if you work on something you are passionate for then success is only around the corner.
It's crucial to have good friends. He needs to hear one of them telling him to go for it.
LD: Outside of poker what area of your life do you struggle to control your emotions?
CM: Being a sports fan it's hard to keep it in control. This year being a Chelsea fan it's been very frustrating and trying to maintain emotional control when being frustrated is tough.
LD: What has happened to Chelsea?
CM: This year has been a tough one. We have been bad but there is a lot of exaggeration. It's only been two months, for example.
However, I traveled to Porto the other day and to go so far and return so down is tough. It's also frustrating because everyone loves it that we are not doing well.
I get a lot of messages from people who want to revel in Chelsea's poor start to the season.
LD: What makes you nervous?
CM: I get nervous playing big pots in poker. During the hand I may be calm on the exterior but I am nervous on the inside.
I am also shy of public speaking. I did public speaking in school, and I was OK, but if I had to do a best man's speech today I would be dreading that for sure.
LD: If you had 10,000 hours to work on anything what would it be and why?
CM: I would like to say something fresh and quirky but in reality it would probably be the thing that could make me the most money.
It's a very hard question to answer. Not one thing that comes to mind.
LD: Give my teenage son some advice.
CM: Enjoy being your age. 14 is a great age to be. Participate in sports and enjoy being in the physical shape to enjoy those games.