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Essential Pro

Brad Wilson


When I was a teenager I was obsessed with being the best spades player in the world.

I would sit in my English class while my teacher was explaining gerunds (To this day I still do not know what a gerund is) and obsess over the various strategies of the game. There was no money involved in being the best spades player in the world. As a matter of fact it wasn’t even a quantifiable thing as there is a fair amount of luck in the game, but it’s good to have aspirations.

Spades is also a game where having a strong partner is a necessity if you want to maintain a high win percentage. To say I was a spades snob is an understatement, I would only play with people who I knew wanted to win as desperately as I did.

The very best of my spades partners was a guy who was a couple of years older than me whom I had met online, Jason. We became as good of friends as you can be with the internet as a buffer and played spades together pretty much every single day until I graduated high school.

As much as I had hated high school, I didn’t feel the need to rush back in for more schooling so I took the “year off” plan (Which has now lasted 15 years). I bounced around at a couple of crappy jobs and was currently stationed at Applebee’s when Jason came to visit me in November of 2003.

He had headphones around his neck and was wearing Oakley’s with bright yellow lenses ... he referred to them as his “poker gear”. He told me he was on his way back home from Foxwoods casino and handed me a printed out piece of paper.

I looked down at the sheet, scanned the names, and found that he had finished in 21st place in a poker tournament for $1,946. He told me that he had made enough money to buy his car outright, had been playing poker for a living for the last 6 months, and genuinely thought I could do it as well.

The idea of spending my time and energy making money just by playing a card game for a living was just about the most awesome thing I had ever heard, and I knew instantly that this a risk that I was going to take.

I asked Jason if he would teach me everything he knew if I moved to Florida and he instantly agreed. I think he was almost as excited as I was, as he made me promise that I would take it seriously.

Just like that I had another card game to obsess over.

I told everyone my plan and everyone tried to talk me out of it … a couple of them even laughed in my face. There was no dissuading me, this was a chance that I knew in my heart of hearts I had to take.

I bought “Hold ‘Em for Advanced Players”, “Caro’s Book of Tells”, “Caro’s Fundamental Secrets of Winning Poker”, and, my personal favorite, “Super/System”. I showed up for work 45 minutes early every shift and read poker strategy until I had to begin working. I worked as often as I possibly could (My personal record was 12 shifts in a week) until I had saved up my very first poker bankroll, $3,000, by March of 2004.

Once I had my bankroll I quit my job, told my family goodbye and that I loved them, and moved away from everything I had ever known to begin my journey towards becoming a professional poker player.

To prevent this bio from getting too long, I will sum up everything that happened once I arrived in Florida:

- I talked about poker strategy for hours and hours every single day with Jason.
- I ran really good in my first month playing $5-$10 limit on daily “cruises to nowhere” and doubled my bankroll.
- I lost my wallet which had half of my bankroll in it along with all of my forms of ID.
There was at least one occasion where I had my entire bankroll in front of me on the table playing $5-$10 no limit … I happened to win big but sometimes wonder what would have happened had I lost.
- I deposited $75 on PartyPoker; turned that $75 into $1,000; and then hit a tournament for $15,000.

After 6 months in Florida I moved back home with more money than I had every had in my life by a factor of 5, and became a professional $15-$30 limit hold ‘em player on PartyPoker.

The rest, as they say, is history. With the exception of coaching students and creating content poker has been my sole source of income for the last 13 years.

- I am currently playing $500 NL - $1,000 NL on Ignition/Bovada.
- My style is centered on adapting and exploiting the tendencies of my population.
- I believe that understanding people’s inability to achieve randomness and their tendency to fall into predictable patterns is the key to maximizing your poker potential.
- I believe that PIO solver is a great and wonderful tool if you are solving using accurate data. If you are solving using poor assumptions and apply those solutions on the felt then you are in for a world of pain. uses cookies to give you the best experience. Learn more about our Cookie Policy