Ross Jarvis: The times are a-changin’

PokerPlayer Editor Ross Jarvis talks about the power of confidence in his latest blog                                                                                              

Welcome to the all-new website! Everyone on the PokerPlayer team is very proud of it and special mention must go to Tim Farthing, Dave Woods and Nick Pryce at People Like You Publishing who worked their asses off to get it launched and looking as good as it does. Keep checking back for exclusive features and interviews and we will also be getting some top pros in to write blogs for us starting next month. We’d love to hear your feedback – good or bad – so drop us a line at or on Twitter @PokerPlayerUK.

I used to house a regular blog over at that was always well received, but, like most poker players, laziness and a lack of inspiration eventually caused the new posts to come to a standstill. Well, no more! I’ll be blogging on every fortnight on my own poker career, what’s happening in the poker world and lots of other important topics such as craft beer, Mixed Martial Arts and Candy Crush Saga. Incidentally, Vanessa Selbst tweeted this week that she just completed all 440 (!) levels of Candy Crush – as if being the world’s most successful female player ever wasn’t enough…

 Anyone that knows me will be aware that my poker results have been terrible in 2013. It was a real shock after three years of grinding out a good, consistent living at stakes anywhere from $1/$2 to $5/$10. I remember in January having such confidence that 2013 would be a bit of a breakout year for me where I really pushed on. I had some specific goals that I wanted to reach including £70k in total profit, 750,000 hands online and much more travel to live tourneys in Europe. Instead, at the start of October I was down around $20k for the year and played absolutely terrible for much of it. I deserved to lose. I was running a little below EV but nowhere near enough to justify the losses – or, more regularly, break-even sessions – that were constantly occurring. It’s quite a shock to the system when you are used to winning, and this nine month downswing was enough where I nearly quit the online game indefinitely.

Luckily, I was appointed Editor of PokerPlayer in March and it’s a role I have loved so far. I sincerely hope that the quality of the magazine is on the up and that the readers enjoy receiving it every month. Still, despite all this there was a constant nagging feeling that I just wasn’t a winning poker player anymore. My ego was battered and, while this is likely irrelevant, I didn’t want to be the Editor of a poker magazine if I couldn’t win at poker. It didn’t seem right.

Turnaround turmoil

At its lowest point my online bankroll was down to $1,000. I hovered over the withdrawal button quite a few times – it seemed like not playing poker for a while would be a relief. Thankfully I never withdrew and, after a $10k month I’m back to a healthy bankroll now and playing better than ever. After being in the game for a little while I think poker often comes down to two things: confidence and hard damn work. If you have both of these you will do well. Daniel Negreanu took a lot of abuse online when he made his now-infamous tweet, ‘I win at poker because I believe I can. That may sound absurdly simple and silly, but at the core, that’s really the reason I’m able to win.’ You can punch holes in the logic all you want (and to be fair to Daniel it is impossible to fully get across a message in just 140 characters) but his implied meaning that confidence is critical rings true for me. When you are confident in poker you make more correct, close calls and are willing to bluff in good spots when before it was just so easy to give up and check behind.

Give Ike the mic

One of the best blogs I have read all year, from PokerStars Pro Isaac Haxton, touched on this subject some more. You can read it here:

In it, Haxton goes over the importance of never giving up when times are hard for you in poker. It’s inspiring stuff from one of the best players in the game and his retelling of the Doug ‘WCGRider’ Polk story should give hope to every player out there. I hope to get in touch with Haxton in the near future and speak to him on this subject for PokerPlayer magazine.

Let’s be honest, there’s no chance in hell that 99% of us can ever get to the level where we are battling it out in the nosebleeds as winning players. It takes certain intangibles and talents that you must be born with to play like Haxton, Isildur or Phil Ivey. But there’s no reason whatsoever that, with a lot of hard work and confidence in your own abilities you won’t be able to reach the stage where you are playing and winning at a decent level. It’s within the grasp of every player that first learns the game. Sometimes all you need is a good reminder that no matter how bad things are going right now at the table it can all turn around quickly. They say football is the beautiful game – but I’d rather be dealt two cards any day.

Ross rambles

 1) Go and watch Captain Phillips. It’s brilliant – Paul Greengrass may just be the best director in the world and Tom Hanks is phenomenal.

2) UFC 166 was brilliant. Diego Sanchez vs Gilbert Melendez is one of the greatest MMA fights of all time and well worth seeking out.

3) I don’t understand the hype for Five Guys burger, it wasn’t that good. Electric Diner in Notting Hill is one hundred times better.

4) Beer of the fortnight: Big Wave, Kona Brewing Co.

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