Gareth James is a great coach and player that focuses on poker tournaments, both live and online. Learn more about his upcoming in poker and what makes him a unique coach:
Where is your original hometown, and where do you call home now?
I was born in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, but moved to the UK when I was just three months old. I moved to Leeds to study Music when I was 18 and then I spent six years living and teaching in London. Home is now back in Leeds.
Where specifically are we most likely to see you playing cards these days?
PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, PartyPoker and some small live events. I played some side events in Las Vegas during the WSOP last year so maybe I’ll be back this year.
When and how did you start playing poker?
A friend of mine, who had an account on Ultimate Bet and seemed to be making a lot of money, introduced me to the game. I started off playing the smallest stakes like 1c/2c no limit and some occasional MTTs. I managed to grind up $1k bankrolls on a few sites playing one tables SNGs, which gave me enough to start playing MTTs. During university we also started to host home games.
When and how did you decide to play poker professionally/seriously?
After becoming a coach in 2012 I was still a full-time Music teacher so it was difficult to play professionally per se. In 2014 I switched my focus to finding a balance between Music teaching, poker coaching and actually playing. I guess I started taking things seriously in 2010 after shipping a $2 turbo tournament on PokerStars and an $11 reg speed on Full Tilt (see below).
What do you consider your proudest poker achievements?
Shipping an $11 MTT on Full Tilt pre-Black Friday that paid for a trip round the world where I visited Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and The USA. As a qualified teacher, I feel proud to have coached so many up and coming small-stakes MTTers. I currently have over 20 students in a Skype study group who regularly discuss hands and support each other’s development.
When and how did you start coaching others?
I started coaching in 2012 when I started making videos for another training site. My coaching really took off towards the back end of 2014 after I hosted a free webinar, upped my presence on social media (@GazelligPoker on Twitter) and started streaming via Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/gazelligpoker.
What is your coaching specialty? Do you consider yourself a ‘specialist’ in any games?
I am a small stakes MTT expert and focus on regular speed 6 and 9 max tournaments. I believe I know what it takes to beat these games and share the skills and knowledge to start crushing. As a qualified educator I believe I can break the important concepts down and ensure the learning is matched to the student’s current level. I teach a low variance approach, which can be difficult in MTTs, but my main focus is on ensuring we have hand equity and fold equity rather than relying on hand equity alone.
For example, I’d sooner shove wide where our opponent might fold and we have decent equity if called, rather than having to have the best hand at showdown. Two ways to win is obviously so much better than one!
What is your goal in providing coaching through Red Chip Poker?
I would like to share my passion for teaching and poker tournaments with a wider audience. I would like them to enjoy tournaments as much as I do and give them the skills to make them successful. I love how everyday is a school day as I find there is something else to learn in this wonderful game. I’m looking forward to learning as much from the members as they do from me.
Please share a coaching success story with us:
A student of mine recently chopped the Sunday Million on PokerStars, although I feel a better success story is a Greek student who was on a severe downswing when he started lessons with me, and together we have developed his skills, knowledge and discipline to get him back to winning ways. I always stress how important it is to study away from the game and his dedication to improvement has got him back on track to success.
Do you have a professional career/background outside of poker?
I am a qualified Music Teacher and I continue to teach Music privately including lessons in guitar, singing, ukulele and piano. I love the balance between sharing my passion for Music with roughly 300 young people during the week and then grinding and coaching MTTs the rest of the time.
What are your favorite hobbies and pursuits outside of poker?
I love playing and watching many sports including football (soccer), cricket, tennis and squash. I also like to read and write songs. I have a project studio where I record songs and training videos.
Do you have any results on Hendon Mob, etc.?
Rapid Fire Fun Questions
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite starting hand: TT (My favourite number is 10)
Favorite poker room: Winamax.fr and PokerStars.fr when UK players could play on them, now Full Tilt Poker for the great software
Last song you listened to: Something by Taylor Swift (it was on the radio, not in my collection. Honest!)
Waffles or pancakes: Pancakes
Favorite drink: Apple and Mango juice
Favorite thing to cook: Chilli
Do you have a lucky object?: Nope.
Favorite board game: Scrabble
Want to ask Ed your own question?
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