UK Editor's Column: Why the Brits are So Good at Poker?
The Brits are proving they are the real deal once again in Las Vegas, and so far you could not have made this up. Jake Cody wins the triple crown in 18 months, then 3 days later his best friend from school, Matt Perrins, takes down a bracelet in a game he has never played before.
I cannot imagine how amazing it must feel, for two lifelong friends to pull off such a unique back to back like that. They really must feel like they have the world in their hands, and why not? I’ve interviewed both men before and they both struck me as both hard working, and unassuming, young guys.
That 100% is the link with the invading British players. The last two years the Brits have dominated the WSOP and the EPT for those two reasons. Forget DNA or natural talent, what all these guys have in common is that they clearly work very hard on their game, and despite all their success have managed to remain level headed. I’ve seen it in Jake and Matt, as well as countless others including JP Kelly, Stuart Rutter, Toby Lewis, David Vamplew, James Keys, John Eames, Rupert Elder, and many more.
I think factor A (working very hard on their game) and factor B (humility) complement each other greatly. What they also seem to have, which I think is the net combination of both criteria, is a much solider understanding and acceptance of the role of variance in poker. Variance is the factor that allows players to greatly under or over estimate their own level of skill. It is this that stops players from feeling they have to work on their game, or recognising where they have shortcomings, which is what ultimately leads to the downfall of great players.
Obviously these young guys have ran well recently, but the big difference between them and many others like them, is that they most likely are fully aware that they ran well and have not allowed it to inflate their egos.
It also helps, massively in my opinion, that they have all found each other. The fact they get to travel the world (and the UK circuit, and no doubt skype) together invariably means they will be talking poker 24/7 with other great minds. I wager most of them will point to this as the single biggest factor in their development as a player; likeminded friends.
The Americans might not think they are so grounded because they don’t quite ‘get’ the British rails, so over the pond they may have an undue reputation as thuggish. It’s actually something of an ironic contrast, that the ferocity of the rails has a direct negative correlation with the temperament of the player. It seems the bigger and louder the rail, the quieter and humbler the player being cheered.
This just leads me to ponder what the over/under is on Brit bracelets in Vegas this year, I am thinking its 5 (would have said 4 at the start).
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