Derric is our resident “strategy outside of NL” coach. He offers coaching for Pineapple Chinese Poker, a new and refreshing game that is both fun and challenging. Learn more about Derric’s background (yes, he also played and still plays NL) and what he brings to the Red Chip Poker table!
Where is your original hometown, and where do you call home now?
Lincoln California, outside of Sacramento. Been in San Diego for the past 6 years and recently moved to Downtown San Diego and am loving it.
Where specifically are we most likely to see you playing cards these days?
Ocean’s Eleven Casino – 10/25 NLHE. Tuesdays and Fridays
When and how did you start playing poker?
I started playing in the dorms in college (at UC Santa Cruz). We were doing $5 games in the common room and it would go all night and even all weekend long. I was a true degen and very bad. Over my first college summer, I stayed and all my friends left to go home. I bought a book on how to play limit hold em, deposited money online, and the rest is history.
When and how did you decide to play poker professionally/seriously?
After my sophomore year of college I had decided to take a quarter off to try and play poker at the local casino (underage). My parents were surprisingly supportive of this; I don’t think I would have been looking back on it. I made a little bit of money, but decided to go back to school. My junior year is when I started making a lot of money online, and I knew from there that I could make more money out of college playing poker than any real world job.
What do you consider your proudest poker achievements?
Finishing my book – Quantum Poker – of course. Even though it doesn’t get a lot of hype and attention, I think my Unified Theory of Poker is still the best way to think about poker decision making, even though Game Theory and GTO poker have come to be quite powerful tools for perfecting your strategy.
When and how did you start coaching others?
I’m not sure exactly when. 07 or 08 maybe. I started making videos for Cardrunners as a low stakes guest pro. I was not very good at all. Some of the older videos are kind of embarrassing.
A couple years later, I had a handful of students and was trying to coach alongside playing. I gave it up pretty quickly though, as it never really seemed worth the money, and I never developed any strong long term relationships with any of my students.
What is your coaching specialty? Do you consider yourself a ‘specialist’ in any games?
NLHE and Open Face Chinese. I have done a couple videos on PLO, but I am not the best player to learn from. I consider myself one of the best in NLHE, even though I know plenty of people that are a lot better than me. I’ve spent 1000s of hours studying all sorts of NLHE scenarios, from short stack, to cap, to 6-max zoom, to deep stack live. I would say that is my bread and butter, and where I have made 90% of my income.
With Open Face, I am really more of a conduit for my simulator’s results than some sort of phenom player. I believe in the simulator, look to it for answers, and follow its advice. That has led me to understanding some more abstract concepts and being able to talk about the game in depth.
What is your goal in providing coaching through Red Chip Poker?
With RCP specifically, I am hoping to boost the popularity and awareness for Open Face Chinese and build a community around OFC education. It’s a really fun and addicting game, and extremely complex. And you can make money at if you perfect your strategy.
Please share a coaching success story with us:
Actually, how about an epic failure. I hadn’t coached in a long while, but was approached by a new student who really wanted lessons in playing live poker at a casino near him. He was very serious about studying the game and improving. We discussed the terms and agreed that I would only do it if he agreed to a large number of lessons up front. The kind of advice I give can actually mess up your game in the short run as it is easily misapplied. It’s important to continue an ongoing relationship to monitor improvements and success.
After the first couple of lessons, things seemed to be going fine. He was starting to understand the concept of a range and how to apply it, but was still a long ways from becoming a master. On one of our scheduled meetings, maybe our 4th session, he comes in and says he lost $300 and is done with poker and can’t take it anymore. He completely quit after losing one buy in at the local casino… I was in shock. I told him, “If you’re going to quit after losing one buy-in, then you never even had a chance.” I have not spoken to him since.
I think the lesson goes to show that a) you may think you want something when you really don’t and b) so many people out there really can’t stomach the variance and lifestyle of being a professional poker player. I mean one buy-in…and I know he understood variance too. Some people think being a professional poker player is a glamorous lifestyle, but it’s really just an extremely bumpy road and a constant battle to not go broke.
Do you have a professional career/background outside of poker?
Aside from launching openfacesolutions.com as a pet project, I also recently started an internet marketing agency. It’s growing quite steadily and I am expecting to quit playing poker full time by the middle of 2015.
Being a professional poker player has really crafted me for success in the real world, and I am finally ready to take a leap into business. I’m proud that I have absolutely no corporate world experience.
What are your favorite hobbies and pursuits outside of poker?
Drinking. I love booze. Also, I have a son I am told.
Can you link us to all of the books you’ve written?
Do you have any results on Hendon Mob, etc.?
Since live tournaments are a waste of time and I don’t play online these days, there isn’t much in the way of published results. My results are good, but I’m not a millionaire or a nosebleed reg. Here is a graph from live poker a couple years ago.
What can people do to improve their poker strategy?
The single most important thing you can do for your poker game is frequently and consistently shut down all distractions and run out the math and combinatorics behind a handful of recent trouble spots. Use tools like Pokerstove, Hold Em Resources, and GTO Range Builder to perfect your strategy. And when you think you know everything, go back and relearn it all because there is always something more to be doing. Complacency is the number one killer of the professional poker player.
Rapid Fire Fun Questions
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite starting hand: AA because it makes the most money, but actually JTs or maybe 76s.
Favorite poker room: Ocean’s Eleven. It’s a solid place and the Fat Tire is served at 45 degrees.
Last song you listened to: Gimme da Gold
Waffles or pancakes: Chocolate Chip pancakes, the way my Mom makes em.
Favorite drink: Fat Tire
Favorite thing to cook: breakfast – like sausage, eggs, toast.
Do you have a lucky object?: Yes, but if I tell you then it won’t be lucky anymore.
Favorite board game: Chess. Although Settlers of Katan is a close second.
Want to ask Derric your own question?
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