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Nathan 'BlackRain79' Williams Interview

7,239 Views on 30/10/15

In this interview we talk with popular blogger Nathan 'Blackrain79' Williams about poker, coaching, writing books, and living in Thailand.

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For our interview today we have popular blogger Nathan BlackRain79 Williams who will be answering some poker and general life questions.

Nathan Williams

Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself? 

Sure. I am 36 and I live in Thailand. I am originally from Vancouver, Canada. I spent most of my time in university before poker blew up, getting a liberal arts degree.

And how did you get into playing poker?

It was late 2004 and I was at a small party with a bunch of friends. One guy showed us how to play this “new game” called Texas Hold’em. We each put in $5. I got lucky and won. I found online poker the very next day and started learning the game and playing the fake chip tables.

When did you see your first success?

Well I was a fake chip superstar haha. I amassed millions and millions on Partypoker and Pokerstars. But seriously, after I switched over to real money I had success right away. It probably doesn’t make for a very good story since there were no struggles.
This was during an era when the games were quite a bit easier. That is perhaps one reason. But I think the other is that I was well prepared. I knew everything about bankroll management, a solid TAG strategy and emotional control before I ever sat down and started playing for real money.
I also took my time. I started at the very lowest stakes (1c/2c) and slowly climbed up. It took me about 2 years to reach the NL100 tables (50c/1$).

How did you maintain that success and implement training to improve?

So since I came up during an era before training sites, modern books, coaching and active forums, I had to find ways to improve on my own a lot. I did this by playing a ton of poker and then spending a lot more time reviewing my hands in Pokertracker.

Can you share one major piece of advice that you think sets you apart from the rest in your training regime?

I really think it was the time that I put in at the tables. I have played over 7 million hands now lifetime. There is no way that you are going to play that many hands of poker and not learn a thing or two. I think many people spend far too much time these days talking about the game, watching videos about the game, reading books about the game and not doing the thing that really matters, playing it.

When did you decide to start coaching poker?

I decided to start coaching in about 2011 I think it was. This was shortly after I had signed on as an instructor at a major training site. I found it enjoyable to help people and a nice distraction from the tables. However, I decided to stop coaching in 2014 due to time commitments.

And after that you started to write, you currently have two published books - tell me a bit about that transition?

Yes. In recent years I have released two books. Crushing the Microstakes which is meant for the lower end of the micros (NL2 and NL5 in particular). And then just recently Modern Small Stakes which is also a strategy book that is geared more towards people who have moved on the NL10, NL25 and NL50 games.
Nathan Williams Books
I enjoy blogging and I kind of just wrote the first book as an experiment after a few people suggested it. It took off in popularity way beyond what I ever expected, so I eventually ended up writing a 2nd book as well.

If you had to choose between playing, or coaching and writing what would it be? And which aspect do you see yourself focusing on more in the next few years?

Well as of right now I am basically retired from coaching. I did it for many years and I may again one day but I prefer to put more of my time into playing the game and writing about it these days. I will always play the game because I simply enjoy it.
However, I do like the part-time transition that I have moved to in recent years. I played full-time for over 5 years and it can get stressful and lead to burnout. I also spend a lot of time writing about the game now from keeping up my blog at www.blackrain79.com to writing weekly columns over at Pokernews.com.


Since I check out your blog I know that you’re living in Thailand right now - any plans to come back to Canada or have you found your new home?

Canada will always be the place where I am from but I consider Thailand to be home now. I will always go back to Canada to visit family and friends though.

How long would it take you to take a new player from 1/2c to being profitable in the next few limits up?

A lot of it depends on the player’s dedication to learning, work ethic and discipline. So it is very difficult to answer this question. For some a matter of weeks or months, for some perhaps never.

Do you have any plans for new writing work at the moment?

I may or may not be writing another book at the moment. I do not have any other comment on that haha :)


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