The voice of poker Jesse May talks exclusively to PokerPlayer: “I love to play tournaments, but I’m just no good at them!”

Jesse May has been the voice of poker in the UK since he commentated on the first series of Late Night Poker

I am still so surprised by how fast it’s all going.

Back in 2004 I was quoted as saying that poker was still being cheated as a sport because it – and in particular, the prize money – was still being put up by the players. Can you imagine Tiger Woods and the rest of the golf gang throwing in a few million bucks so that they could play.

Poker’s changing, and changing fast.

There are poker players who are now big stars, but you can’t get ahead of yourself. Poker is still relatively in its infancy. The EPT and WPT are fantastic events and they have major players, but they are suffering a bit because they are so open; the big stars often don’t make the money nowadays.

The media focus has changed.

The allure of the guy qualifying for $1 online to win $1,000,000 has been supplanted by people wanting to see big names winning big money. Demand is going to go to quality rather than quantity. When you are inside poker you want to drive poker, but it drives itself.

I think poker is a long way from having hit its peak.

The growth has slowed down a lot; the game is going into a phase of maturity now. It has all been slightly handicapped by the idiocy of lawmaking in the US. Prohibition, after all, was a tremendous success last time around.

Most Americans who want to play will drift back into live poker.

Congress can’t really continue if the public feels the laws aren’t supported by the people. That’s what killed Prohibition and that’s what will kill this law too. It can’t last, but when it will [change] I can’t tell you.

To be great in a tournament, you’ve got to be fantastic at making big decisions under pressure.

I love to play tournaments, but I’m just no good at them! I was always into being a professional player – which is about making a living a world away from winning a tournament. I still play, but I’m primarily a writer and commentator these days. Padraig Parkinson (Jesse’s most frequent commentating partner) keeps saying he doesn’t know why I don’t play more when I’m so good. That’s nice of him, but I dispute it.

Everything stems from ‘tightaggressive’.

That doesn’t mean to say other tactics aren’t successful, but you have to have mastered tight-aggressive before you start branching out. ABC poker still has a long way to go. There are no style points in poker; it’s all about the end result. Bankroll is so important in all forms of the game, but especially if you want to make a living from it.

One of the big rules of surviving in Vegas is to never mix partying with gambling.

Leave the bankroll at home before you go out on the town. There’s a lot of fun to be had in Vegas without gambling, but there is a rare, killer disease called ‘stripper tilt’.

You do learn a lot about someone’s personality, about their ethics, when they’re broke.

Ethics are important in poker and a very good way to measure these is to observe someone’s behaviour when it’s maybe not going so well for them in life. I don’t think it is necessary to go broke. People often say they weren’t really a poker player until they went broke, but the people who say that are just trying to make going broke look like a good story at the end of the day. If you have gone through it, and I don’t know many who haven’t, it is, as an Old Etonian might say, ‘character-building’.

Absolutely the best piece of advice I can give to anyone in a cash game is to sleep on a game.

To be in action and to be maintaining your A-game, then sleeping on people is the best move you can make. If you’re not getting on well, go upstairs, take a nap and come back to the game – you’ll be amazed how effective it is. Also, drink grapefruit juice with your coffee; it’s a really powerful combination.

PokerPlayer magazine is nearly as legendary as Jesse May but find out for yourself with a digital copy HERE

Pin It

Comments are closed.