Note: This interview was released at the beginning of October. Celebrating the great release of Smart Coach, we'd like to remind you who is the main person behind that tool!
Not that long ago, I heard a question about the skill level at $100 Spin & Go's and its comparision to the Heads-Up Hypers games. What do you think, how difficult are these games? How experienced and skilled are players at the highest stakes of Spin & Go's? Well, I am sure I would never guess it. They felt that playing $100 Spin & Go's was similar to playing $30-$60 HU HT.
And frankly, that shocked me a little. Not because it was another proof of how soft these games really are. No, until today, I've never used this answer as an argument to play Spin & Go's. When I got the answeer, I just imagined the monstrous gap of knowledge between someone at the $100 Spin & Go's and someone at the high stakes HU HT games.
I had the pleasure of watching Coach Dat Coach and the amount of knowledge being shared was truly unbelievable. When you see the top Spin & Go players paying close attention to everything that is being said, you know that this is pure gold. And at that moment the one thing I wished most was that I had the opportunity to share the story of our founders.
Now I can do it.
Former $300 HU HT and $25/$50 HU Cap player. Always three steps ahead of his opponents.
Welcome to the newest series of interviews which will be done exclusively with our founders.
And the first one to be introduced is FCDplayer, actually quite "new" to the game of poker. In 2013 he was one of the low stakes players, but two years later he's been battling people at $300 HU HT and $25/$50 HU Cap games. That year he also got placed amongst the highest Sit & Go earners.
In Smart Spin, he is one of the fathers of the LeakFinder project and soon he will introduce a new groundbreaking form of coaching... Are you interested? Learn more from my interview with him:
dolareq: Hello, FCD! You are one of our founders and I've got so many questions to ask you! Well, let's start with something simple. Why are you the wonderkid?
FCD: Hah! Good start. I’d like to be able to call myself that. But the truth is that I’m a regular guy who does what he loves. It’s the people I interact with that are wonderful. They are all outstanding personalities, great poker players and friends.
dolareq: Yes, I was joking... but only a little. The truth is, you are quite "new" to poker, in 2013 you played only at $30 stakes and in 2015 you were one of the top Sit & Go earners. Is this what you had in mind when you started playing poker?
FCD: Sure… Expensive rides, bling and golden teeth have always been my thing ;)
At the beginning I didn’t think I would get to the top. But I was always thinking about what I could do in each moment to get there one day. Money was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to compete with the best, to be their equal at least. That was my major goal.
dolareq: You are a former chess player, when and how did you pick up poker?
FCD: I played chess just for pleasure, but it was chess that led me to poker. A mental challenge and still you can get good money? Why not! I took my first steps into the game in high school where I played Full Rings. Games were so easy back then that I got to NL200 with an astonishing bankroll total of 25 BI's, which seemed OK at the time. Then came the first bad day, when I lost half of my bankroll and I decided to hang up my poker hat. I got involved in poker again at university, about 6 years ago. For about 3 years I studied finance full time, which still left me free to play poker half time, and over the last 3 years I have played poker full time. Now I deal with 2 cards all the time.
dolareq: Ha, so you were once a regular human being, with bad habits and only dreams to get there. But you left... Why did you come back? As I heard, you were about to become an IT engineer. To be honest, it's not a bad market, why did you risk it and went back to poker?
FCD: I was interested in math and physics as a kid. After our final high school exams most of my friends chose between construction, architecture and informatics, since I sucked at drawing- I went for the latter. I quickly realized that poker and Java are really territorial, and I had to get out of that threesome. It was time to choose… It was not a particularly difficult choice. Let’s compare the options. You spend all your days in front of the computer, coding, and the compiler becomes your best friend… No, thank you! I’d rather deal with people… well, maybe online, but it’s still better. The competitive aspect, not to mention the money, scores points for poker as well. And so, with a little heartache, mid-sized bankroll and great hopes for the future, I quit programming and dove into the world of 2 cards.
dolareq: And what stakes did you play at that time?
FCD: As far as I remember I played 30s at the time. Then I moved in with ytrer, whom I met at an integration trip, since we both studied at the same university. We were playing a cash game for spare change, and we read each other even before the first hand, based on the way we looked at cards. A few months later we met to analyze poker, and then we lived together and conquered HU CAP games, which entered the lobby fresh after our house-warming party. Over a year, we played up to 10/20, and I was becoming more serious about beating HU Hypers. Then I met iJustGamble through a charity called „Szlachetna Paczka”, organized by Banis. ytrer went on a trip around the world and played on the go, and I moved to a new apartment, where along with iJustGamble we kept conquering HU Hypers. I didn’t manage to get as high in the stakes as I wanted to because while I was grinding $300's, Smart Spin was created. That’s how one story ended and another began.
dolareq: Playing $300's is like a whole other world. What memories do you have from such high stakes?
FCD: It was a great fun. I treated them rather as a temporary spoke in my poker career ladder than super high stakes. Of course money involved was important, but it wasn't a gist. Suprisingly players weren't that solid and most of them were avoiding longer sessions. There were players with such pitiful excuses that it was funny. Headache was a standard one, but there were many, such as screaming wife, hand ache or dry eyes. Of course the main reason was simple: everyone wanted to grind fishes, but only a few players wanted to defend the lobby. Besides the problems with scheduling reg wars, it was the biggest fun in my whole poker history.
dolareq: How big of the swings are we talking about there?
FCD: At $300's they weren't that big. I was playing pretty much over-rolled and I wasn't checking real profit regularly (I tried to do that once in a quarter, but once in a month was my optimum). It turned out to be $15,000 over in the best month and $10,000 below in the worst. Bigger swings were on HU CAP where the worst session at 25/50 cost me $15,000 in an hour and a half. Fortunately, there were couple of great sessions as well.
dolareq: I can only imagine how much work you put to get there. But what about after work? How much of a ballah are you?
FCD: Let's say I was trying to relax as much as possible after a grinding day. I would lie if I say we didn't party with iJustGamble. We did, a lot to be honest, but it was never put before grinding. I would say these were mostly days after sick grind marathons in an oldschool style - 15 hours of grind followed by a good party. Then grinding the whole next day with remorse just after brushing up. Sweet times ;) Of course it's not the best long term strategy, but people are getting smarter over time.
dolareq: Well, talking about hard work, this is what people are waiting for. How did you manage to get there in such a short time?
FCD: I enjoyed what I did and I raised the bar up high. First of all, I knew what to do in order to become as good as the best in the business. Second, I knew how to convince myself that professional attitude toward playing is the best path for me. And I kept good balance at the time as well, sometimes even too good.
dolareq: No, no, no... you don't get off that easy! Details, details please!
FCD: Every time I failed I would quickly forget about it and move on to a fresh start the following day. I kept my eyes on the prize and what’s matter the most. I didn’t think much about the past, regardless of whether everything was going fine or not. Also if I thought about the future I made it a bright one. Despite appearances to the contrary, it is not that easy to focus on the here and now. Numerous books have been written about this, including “The Power of Now”. Great book, provided that you know exactly what you are aiming for. Otherwise you can spend the here and now bouncing off of walls. Friends were also very important to me, since I value good relationships more than anything. Quite apart from a better personal life, exchanging thoughts is the key to speedy development.
dolareq: You had pockets filled with money, life was good... So why did you turn to Spin & Go's?
FCD: A few factors played a part in it. First, recreational players felt in love with Spins and my favourite games, HU Hypers suffered as a result. I would say that Spin and Go tournaments entered the world of poker with such momentum that all other formats had trouble keeping up. As it turned out later, this was fortunate, as these games let you get the results in online poker if you commit to them (unless your name is Fedor and your last name is Holz; then you better stick with MTT). Moreover, the format is very similar to 1 on 1 hyper turbo games, so I got acclimated quickly.
dolareq: How did you become the Smart Spin founder?
FCD: It’s quite a long story. The seed, of creating something bigger, was sown a long time ago. When PokerStars launched spins, iJustGamble and I would grind HU Hypers all day long. And during breaks we talked about starting a serious project that would benefit players in the community. Adding Spin and Go's to the session, we realized that their level was extremely low. Furthermore, by pumping millions into ads for the format, Amaya assured me that there was enough room in the game not only for us, but also for hundreds and even thousands of other players. Why not take them on this lucrative journey with us? I always enjoyed sharing knowledge with others and in this case I could combine business and pleasure. iJustGamble agreed to the idea and we sat down to think up the name (thanks god we aren’t Spin Angels, it was close..).
dolareq: How did you get others on board?
FCD: It was easy. Quick phone call to killuifuplay, who to our minds was the best HU Hypers player in the world, and we had an extra founder onboard. Then came the time for bakudranski whose analytical skills and determination are second to none. Finally we were joined by Banis, who united us as group working in sync. Two months later we knew he was the right man in the place, and we named him the CEO of Smart Spin. To this day he makes sure the school develops as well as possible. So this is the gist of how Smart Spin got started.
dolareq: What have you been working on lately?
FCD: The last few months passed really quickly for me and I had to divide my time up among several bigger projects. Of course helping our students become better players and people remained our top priority. Then there is Leakfinder, which regularly helps improve our players’ results (big thanks to Blitzkrieg and didIgotpot? for their help). Along with bakudranski and our strategic team we start each day with a meeting in which we sum up past tasks and plan for the future. And since we are busy dreamers, sometimes it takes us quite a bit of time. Even though I realized it not entirely possible, I tried to be familiar with each and every member of Smart Spin, and that in itself takes up much time. For the last 6 months I have been developing a good part of my days to a project that will break new ground in the poker community.
dolareq: Man, don't keep us in suspense. Tell us more!
FCD: It's called Smart Coach and it is innovative software designed to point out players’ mistakes, show how to avoid them and to summarize a given player’s most common mistakes with nifty graphs, so that they know where the mistakes are and how to eliminate them quickly. This brand new product will be made available for our players for free. This way, despite a very large number of players whom we try to help every day, we will be able to offer what is almost individual coaching 24/7 without giving up on a single group training. This prospect has kept me hard at work over the last few months, so I cannot wait for the final release, and we are very, very close.
dolareq: How close?
FCD: Smart Coach has entered the final testing stage and our players should receive working software at the end of October. Fingers crossed!
dolareq: Thank you for this interview - I cannot wait for the Smart Coach!