Doug "WCGRider" Polk - World's #1 No-Limit Holdem Player
My name is Doug Polk. I'm in charge of strategy here at Upswing Poker.
These are the strategies I've spent years developing to get me to the top of poker. Rather than browse the web and shift through the abyss of poker strategy we've assembled all the good stuff, right here.
I've played games my whole life. My online screen name "WCGRider" comes from the game WarCraft 3 where I participated in the national qualifier for the World Cyber Games.
My parents raised me to be a free thinker and decide for myself. I happen to be the kind of guy that is dedicated to success, so I would pick something and focus my energy to make that happen.
At 18 I found poker and started playing obsessively. I started out with only a $20 bankroll and played very low stakes.
Things weren't always easy. In fact back in 2007 I was on the brink.
It was at this time when I met Ryan Fee and we became good friends.
Initially I started out mostly playing full ring No Limit Hold'em Cash games.
At 19 I decided that poker was something to pursue full time. I dropped out of college and moved to Las Vegas to pursue my passion.
As I moved up to $5/$10 and $10/$20 I gravitated more towards the six handed games.
Eventually I fully graduated to heads up. I focused on that for a couple years, taking on all comers. Eventually I was out of opponents to play, except one: Ben Sulsky.
At the time Ben, AKA Sauce123, was considered the best player in the world. I looked at his game, and while I thought him to be a tough opponent, I thought I had an edge.
We set up a challenge, 15,000 hands at $100/$200 blinds $20,000 buyin No Limit Heads Up match with a $100,000 sidebet.
Things went... well
I won in convincing fashion.
After my victory over Ben in 2013, I had reached the pinnacle of the game. Players were resistant to play me. Occasionally I still got action, sometimes all the way up to $400/$800, a game with a $120,000 buyin, the biggest online.
I decided to seek action else where.
Our approach to poker is unique in that that we can easily apply the skills from one game to another. I was already a big winner in Cash Games, with some due dilligence I was setting my sights to do the same in tournaments.
Beginning in 2014 I started playing live tournaments. After hard work and a long year and a half of grinding I have to date had over $4,800,000 in tournament cashes. Additionally in 2014, In just my first year of playing a large slate of tournaments, I won my first ever World Series of Poker Bracelet.
In 2015, I set my eyes once again on a new challenge. Carnegie Mellon, a Leading University in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning offered me a challenge: To play their heads up poker bot for 20,000 hands.
I took on the top computer program in the world in the game that was my stomping ground, Heads Up No Limit Texas Hold'em. This challenge was going to be a giant experiment in Artificial Intelligence and I was going to be on the forefront to help its development.
It was a grueling two weeks, playing eight hours a day, all streamed live on twitch. At the end of it all the humans prevailed. The computer was no match for us and I lead the way to a large victory for humanity. They might have taken over chess, but we still have a fighting chance in poker!
"Man, this guy just never seems to go on tilt..."
I would say I am one of, if not the, most distinguished Poker Players in the world. My resume proves it and I'll be sharing it right here on this blog.
I Grew up in Philadelphia. In 2006, After watching the WSOP on television I decided that poker was exciting and worth pursuing. I was a senior in high school at the time. I went to the bookstore up the street after school and started reading.
Eventually I discovered the community of online poker players. Back then information was scarce and scattered. I really wanted to learn from A to Z an introduction of how to approach the game.
I learned what I could and started playing $.1/$.25 No Limit Hold'em Cash Games with a $300 bankroll. I focused 100% of my energy on poker. I would wake up and grind an hour before school, surf poker forums all day in class, come home and play poker until I went to sleep- every, single, day.
In the course of the year I had moved up to $2/$4 and had a low five figure bankroll. I was so grateful that I decided to give something back. Like I said when I first started playing I really wanted an introductory guide- what's going on here and how do I start? Over the months leading up to 2008 I started writing a book and released in early the next year, for free. It was an introduction to poker strategy and everything anyone needed to know to get started. The information is definitely dated, but you can check it out here.
The next year I went to college. I was completely absorbed in poker and saw no reason to do anything else. I took a leave of absence [which I am still on ;)] and pursued my passion full time. I had sort of gone all in on poker so I dedicated 100% of myself to succeeding.
By the end of 2008 I had moved all the way up to the $10/$20 No Limit Games and had a six figure bankroll.
I was thrilled. I set out to achieve a goal and little by little, succeeded. Nothing could prepare me for what happened next though...
I flew down to Costa Rica with some friends for a vacation to cap off a great year. Pokerstars was hosting a LAPT tournament down there, a tournament which I didn't even intend to play.
Luckily the hotel we were staying at was land locked and there wasn't much of a beach to go relax at. I decided I might as well play the tournament as all of my friends were.
Best. Decision. EVER.
I won the tournament, knocked a huge item off my bucket list, and doubled my bankroll all in one fell swoop.
Afterwards I treated my friends to a vacation in a resort down in the jungle in Costa Rica.
The next year I moved out to California to play online, learn and grow.
Over the next five years I moved around between California, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Mexico, Australia, and Asia playing online poker at the highest stakes.
In 2014 Doug talked me into playing live tournaments. He said there was a ton of value and we couldn't miss out.
As usual, he was right...
I went on to cash for over $2.5 Million in tournaments that year.
Now I am finally starting what I really set out to do back in 2008- creating a comprehensive explanation of what poker is, how it works, and just simply whats going on here.
Doug and I will be showing you how we see things in everything from poker strategy, tournaments, news, and the general goings on of the gambling world as a whole.
My name is Fernando. I’m know online under the screen name “JNandez87” on Pokerstars. I began my poker career in 2006 with small stakes Sit-and-Goes and quickly transitioned into NLHE Cash Games. For the next few years I dedicated myself to put my hands on every strategy video, book and forum post around poker to improve my game. It wasn’t easy as I ran run up decent bankrolls multiple times, just to lose it all back in tougher line-ups. Around 2010 I found my niche by playing full ring NLHE “Rush Poker” on Full Tilt Poker. When Full Tilt closed its doors, I decided to move to Pokerstars where I discovered the great game of Pot Limit Omaha (PLO).
As the game was relatively new and increased rapidly in popularity I saw an opportunity in being on the cutting edge of PLO strategy. In 2011 I turned Pro and decided to focus solely on playing PLO. My entry point was $1/$2.
Right when I dedicated myself to being a full-time professional poker player I had a $15’000 Bankroll. I spent the first $2,500 buying a Pot Limit Omaha strategy book called “Advanced PLO Theory” by Tom Chambers and another $2,500 getting coached by Mental Game Coach Jared Tendler.
Yes, you read that correctly: I invested 33% of my bankroll as new professional into my poker game and mindset. It was easily the best investment I ever made.
Throughout the first two years of my career I invested most my winnings getting coached by more experienced Pot Limit Omaha players and quality training courses online. It payed off! By 2013 I was able to play up to $10/$20 ($2000 per buy in) against tough competition on Pokerstars.
In the meanwhile, I scooped a WCOOP Event on sunday and won my first Online Poker Bracelet, for a hefty $179,741. Check it out here: https://www.pokerstars.com/en/blog/online/wcoop/2013/wcoop-2013-pushing-shoving-deals-and-drama-as-jnandez87-wins-event-43-215-nlhe-141834.shtml
Mid 2013 I decided to let my game be reviewed by Phil Galfond in a training video. I was nervous as one of the best PLO Players in the world would let me and the whole world know what he thinks about my game. In a 3-Part Video Series Phil was praising my game left and right. I was so happy and surprised at the same time. It was one of the best moments of my poker career for sure. As a follow up I had the chance to work for Phil’s company for about 2 years and create PLO training content. It was a great experience!
In late 2015 I shifted my attention to streaming live on Twitch.tv and my own brand “JNandezPoker”. I mainly played PLO $2.5/$5 on my channel and broadcasted it to the world. To kick things off in style I started a challenge where I would turn $20’000 into $100’000 within 100 Days on Stream. After 96 intense days full of streaming and grinding I finally succeeded!
In 2016 I turned my attention mainly to playing and coaching over 50 Low-Mid stakes PLO players. I gained a lot of experience when it comes to making poker theory applicable and understandable to a wide variety of people. I turned many break even or losing players into successful Pot Limit Omaha Players who make a living of it these days. I’m very proud of this as it gives me a chance to impact other people’s lives for the better.
My plans going forward are to continue learning, playing and teaching of Pot Limit Omaha. My current results represent a lot of hard work and dedication I put into my career.
My mission is to produce the very best content that is out there, when it comes to Pot Limit Omaha. You can count on me!
Fernando aka JNandez87
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I’ve been playing poker professionally since about 2004.
Being a true gamer at heart, when I found Poker – it was love at first sight.
However, my first year playing poker was pretty rough… I would hold my own in small stakes home games with friends, but always ended up losing my deposit when I took my game to the tougher online poker sites. (I know lots of you can relate)
But there was always a belief deep down, that there must be some way, some method, by which I could make consistent profits playing poker…
I was right.
Here’s how… I found a community of pro poker players at online forums and other poker educational resources. My eyes were opened to real poker strategy. It was at this moment poker went from a hobby to a career.
I was able to pay my way through college, and make a few million dollars over the last 10 years. (Don’t even get me started on taxes..!)
My goal here at UpswingPoker is to help transform at least one hobbyist poker player into a self made millionaire.