Terrence Chan PokerVIP AMA

Posted 2 years agoEdited 2 years ago

Hello everyone at PokerVIP!

For reasons fully beyond my comprehension, Scott and Jon here at PokerVIP think that people would be interested in my doing an AMA for the forum here. Smile

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A little bit about myself: I started playing poker in 1999, randomly jumping into a cigarette smoke-filled 4-8 limit hold'em game (basically the only type that was around then in my area!), then learning more about LHE through the internet and Lee Jones' book. I became obsessed with beating small-stakes hold'em and posting on forums (rec.gambling.poker for those who might remember). I one day got an e-mail out of the blue from a guy named Isai Scheinberg. We spoke on the phone and for a while I did some consulting for his yet-to-be-named idea for a poker site.

By 2002, PokerStars was up and running and my consulting gig was complete. Isai asked me to work full-time for him and so I moved to Costa Rica to become Manager of Support Operations, working directly under Isai and Mark for a little over two years.

At the end of 2004, jealous of my friends who were crushing internet poker and travelling all over the world, I left my job at PokerStars to play poker full time.

In that 2005-2012 era where I played full time, I was mostly playing NLHE SNGs and went back to playing LHE. I found that I was pretty good at heads-up LHE in particular and started playing 200-400 to 1000-2000 on Stars, Full Tilt, and some of the European sites. HULHE was the bulk of my income during these years but the last few years I was not getting any real action and to be frank was getting pretty bored of/burned out on poker.

I was then contacted by Joe Versaci, who knew me from our respective days at PokerStars, and he asked me to come work for him in Las Vegas with Ultimate Poker in early 2013. I stayed there for a little over a year, and of course UP closed up shop about six months after that.

Since then I have focused on my mixed martial arts "career". Most of my day is spent training my body for MMA. I've fought four times as an amateur and once as a pro. I was supposed to fight pro again next month, but that event literally got cancelled this week Sad

I do some amount of +ev ventures (most of which I probably can't talk about), passive investing, and consulting. I also host the 2+2 PokerCast alongside Adam Schwartz every week where we talk about the week in poker.

This is my blog
This is my twitter

AMA!
TChan

Last Post 2 years ago by

TChan

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Posted 2 years ago
What gives you more satisfaction, stacking your opponent on the table, or in the cage?
Posted 2 years ago
Who in the poker world would you most like to go 1-1 with inside the cage and why?
Posted 2 years ago
I read your blog about the online poker pro. It said there would a be a follow up and I was curious if you still thought pretty much the same way. Although becoming a pro is not something I am worried about very much right now, just want to focus on playing and getting better, it is something that I still think about.

So even with all the other sites out there do you still think that Pokerstars changing of the VIP will make it that difficult to become an online pro, should someone want too? Or is it possible that it will open up the poker market =place a lot more and give some of the other sites out there a chance at bringin more players to their sites?
Posted 2 years ago
Is there a pre-event difference in how you prepare your mind, whether it's say for MMA or a long grind at poker against tough opponents?
Posted 2 years ago
jongordon84: What gives you more satisfaction, stacking your opponent on the table, or in the cage?


Oh, definitely the cage. I mean it's impossible to compare what goes into 8 weeks of training for an opponent who might pound your face into the mat and embarrass you in front of your friends and teammates. Then to overcome that person, knowing that he trained just as hard to not have you pound his face into the mat, it's insane.

Whenever I hit a big score at poker, the feeling was almost more relief. I'm talking cash games now. When you play high-stakes cash, especially heads-up, you usually go through some pretty big swings in a long session. When you finally do watch his account/table balance go to zero, the feeling is more like "oh, thank god, that's over. I can go do something else now." I never got super-high from a big win in a cash.

I never had that major tournament victory so I don't know how that would compare but I suspect it's still MMA win ainec.
Posted 2 years ago
Jon-PokerVIP: Who in the poker world would you most like to go 1-1 with inside the cage and why?


Well, I don't dislike anyone enough to want to beat them up really. Obviously there are some really awful people in poker who people would probably want to see punched in the face once or twice, but I don't do MMA out of anger. I do it for the competitive aspect of it, because I want to push myself to see what I'm capable of. That's why I have more or less eschewed these "name poker player vs name poker player" MMA/boxing/kickboxing matches. I would rather fight some hungry up and coming kid that I think is a real threat to me.

That's not to say there aren't at least a couple big name poker players who couldn't beat the crap out of me. There are at least two -- Will Durkee and Matt Hawrilenko. Both were division I NCAA wrestlers and a black/brown belt respectively, and they're both much bigger and more physical than me. They would hand me my ass without throwing a punch. I've trained with them both, gotten tapped out by both, and come out better on the other side.
Posted 2 years ago
Sup TChan, just wanted to pop in to say loving the 2p2 podcast listen every week keep it going. One quick question Mcgregor or Dos Anjos? Cheeky

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Posted 2 years ago*
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Posted 2 years ago
ihadtrips: Sup TChan, just wanted to pop in to say loving the 2p2 podcast listen every week keep it going. One quick question Mcgregor or Dos Anjos? Cheeky

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You not heard the news? Anjos out due to broken foot.
Posted 2 years ago
Ok @TChan I will rephrase

Who in the poker world would you like to see get in the cage with someone like McGregor?

Posted 2 years ago
Do you have any stories about people scamming others out of money?
Posted 2 years ago
Jon-PokerVIP:
ihadtrips: Sup TChan, just wanted to pop in to say loving the 2p2 podcast listen every week keep it going. One quick question Mcgregor or Dos Anjos? Cheeky

Ads :D


You not heard the news? Anjos out due to broken foot.


im gutted like aldo all over again............
Posted 2 years ago
fawltyfelix: I read your blog about the online poker pro. It said there would a be a follow up and I was curious if you still thought pretty much the same way. Although becoming a pro is not something I am worried about very much right now, just want to focus on playing and getting better, it is something that I still think about.

So even with all the other sites out there do you still think that Pokerstars changing of the VIP will make it that difficult to become an online pro, should someone want too? Or is it possible that it will open up the poker market =place a lot more and give some of the other sites out there a chance at bringin more players to their sites?


Great question. I was wondering how long it would take for someone to call me out for never doing Part 2. I started out writing that post but by the time I felt it was good enough to post, it felt like beating a dead horse.

I think that long-term Stars is not supporting the pros. I don't think that the pros who earn 50-250k/year provide value. I think "old Stars" used to think of these people as partners and now they treat them as competitors/predators. You can see that in both their actions and the language they use (esp Baazov).

To answer the question: yes, I strongly believe it will be very hard to become an online pro. I think we are very possibly talking about the extinction of poker pros as we know them now. Not immediately in 2016, but 2016 could be the first year in which people’s bank accounts makes them realize that they cannot really do this for a living.

Over the next 12-24 months you'll see the elite beasts becoming upper-middle-class pros. Today's middle-class online pro will have to turn almost entirely to live poker or to traditional work. I do think someone will probably try to come in and try to offer a better deal than Stars, but trying to undercut them on rake/rakeback alone is pure folly and I would certainly not invest in any site that had this strategy.

The best case scenario for people who are or want to become poker pros is likely the Alex Dreyfus "poker as spectator sport" model, but I think like most people I'm pretty skeptical about that.

Posted 2 years ago
Jon-PokerVIP: Ok @TChan I will rephrase

Who in the poker world would you like to see get in the cage with someone like McGregor?



Maybe that dude who slowrolled Sam Abernathy.

it might look like this?
Posted 2 years ago
StratoMan: Do you have any stories about people scamming others out of money?


Nothing particularly egregious, I suppose, aside from the typical stories of loans gone unpaid, etc.

So there was a certain two-time WSOP main event runner-up who shall go unnamed, but some people might have heard of him. The year is maybe 2007? Somewhere near the height of the poker boom. Anyway, said famous two-time runner-up approaches a friend of mine and in a very friendly way mentions that he's selling action at par for the main event. My friend, still a little naive at this point, laughs and says that is a great deal and immediately hands over $2000 for 20%. I mean, it's the main event right? He has to be value.

Said player did not even register for the main event, unsurprisingly. Said friend is a little wiser now.
Posted 2 years ago
Is the idea of a healthy poker mindset as important in fighting as it is in poker? Also since we got replacement for dos Anjos what do you think about Conor vs. Nate Diaz?
Posted 2 years ago
MattVIP: Is the idea of a healthy poker mindset as important in fighting as it is in poker? Also since we got replacement for dos Anjos what do you think about Conor vs. Nate Diaz?


I'd say proper mindset is even more important in MMA than in poker, perhaps paradoxically because poker is of course entirely mental. The reason is because I think there's a lot more variance in a fighter on a good day versus a bad day, than a poker player on a good day versus a bad day. I'm talking about pros here more than amateurs. Most poker pros, even if they're not playing great, they're still playing pretty good and better than their opposition. But fighters can totally shit the bed when they aren't mentally strong. The thing is that the buildup is so different too. You might get to fight 3, 4, 5 times a year at best. But if you play poker for a living, you're playing most days. If you're having a bad day, you quit, or maybe you lose a buy-in more than you should. If you aren't ready on fight day though, that loss is going to be chewing you up until the next time you get back in action, and that could be many months from now.

I see Conor finishing Nate in Round 2 or 3. Nate is not drawing dead though; I see Nate by submission as an outlying possibility.
Posted 2 years ago
An interesting stance there on the future of pro poker players. I would say that in 2005 most would have thought by 2016 poker would no longer be a game people could make a living out of but many still do. We shall see what the future holds i guess!

I know back in the day FTP were very free with their money and would give insane patch deals during the WSOP, sign up as many red pros as possible on hourly rates +100% rake back and just try to get everyone wearing Full Tilt merch when any major tournament rolled round. Were they seen as the easy target by pros? Was it just a standard situation to nudge FTP for money whenever something semi-important came up or when there would be cameras around?
Posted 2 years ago
Jon-PokerVIP: An interesting stance there on the future of pro poker players. I would say that in 2005 most would have thought by 2016 poker would no longer be a game people could make a living out of but many still do. We shall see what the future holds i guess!

I know back in the day FTP were very free with their money and would give insane patch deals during the WSOP, sign up as many red pros as possible on hourly rates +100% rake back and just try to get everyone wearing Full Tilt merch when any major tournament rolled round. Were they seen as the easy target by pros? Was it just a standard situation to nudge FTP for money whenever something semi-important came up or when there would be cameras around?


I definitely don't think FTP red pros were seen as easy targets at any point. I think everyone at the time recognized, "hey, if they're giving out free money, why not get it if you can". I think if anything there was surprise at how easily -- as you mention -- people got these deals. Often it was the most random C-list "names", or it was just total grinders playing 1-2 and 2-4; people wondered what made these guys special. But no one thought they were necessarily bad because they were a red pro. There was definitely a period where final tables were worth a bunch and people would play Stars, FTP and the other sites off of each other to try to get a good deal. For some discussion of this, you might want to check outDan Goldman's blog, although I can't recall exactly where he talks about it. But definitely a great read if you're interested in marketing during the wonderful pre-UIGEA/BF days.

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