Training may be a real asset to poker – Being a great poker player has a lot in common with great training at the college level. I wanted to know if poker players could learn from a great basketball coach.
The trainers at the elite level all seemed to have very similar traits. They can recruit and, most importantly, they can train.
I remember watching a coach undergo his basketball practice session, and I thought, how could the players take such strong love. The trainer I watched was Al Kayo Willis the new coach at the University of Alabama Huntsville or UAH.
Coach Willis is so tough on his players that I don’t understand how they won’t get out of training or quit. It’s brutal to watch. I even saw him try and make his players run on the floor if they ran near the bench.
Some of the stories about Bobby Knight are similar. He gives strong love and demands perfection. Coach Willis takes the team to a national championship match in NAIA basketball.
I remember watching the University of Tennessee basketball team. If a player flips the ball, he must leave the game to refocus. A player can return only if his replacement made a mistake. Tennessee has a great program under that coach.
The same discipline and quest for perfection makes great poker players. If they want to be the best, they need the same traits. If Coach Willis or Knight coaches you, I promise you’ll be a great player. Maybe a poker player needs a coach.
I have sat with students to show them how to play the perfect poker and the results have been amazing. Teaching poker with strong love can make you a winner. I remember my son Jaden playing his first home game. A hand appears where he has an ace, but if he loses, he is out of the game, so he folds and his opponent wins the hand a bluff.
The table joked with him, giving him the nickname “Aces.” I never really told him he was making the right play. He based his decision on the simple fact that he couldn’t lose. I coached him before he started playing – who starts to play and when to fold – but I forgot to tell him the most important lesson: Always play to win.
Patricia Chavira is a freelance writer and social media consultant who specializes in games. He has been playing poker professionally for over 10 years.