Doug "WCGRider" Polk - World's #1 No-Limit Holdem Player
What's up guys, my name is Doug Polk. Here at Upswing Poker Ryan Fee and myself are in charge of creating the poker strategy content that goes into our training courses.
In our courses (The Postflop Game Plan and The Lab) I teach you the strategies I've spent years developing to get me to the top of poker. Rather than forcing you to browse the web and shift through the abyss of poker strategy, we have created the most efficient way for you to learn about poker and improve your game.
For those who may not know anything about me, here is a bit of my background:
I've excelled at strategy 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 pick something and focus my energy to achieve excellence. Here at Upswing, that means you benefit from me pouring my soul into all of our poker training content and courses.
Initially, I started out mostly playing full ring No Limit Hold'em Cash games and eventually started making enough money to support myself. 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, but it was not an easy path!
Even though today people see me winning at the highest stakes things weren't always so easy. In fact, back in 2007, I was on the brink of quitting poker because things were just not going well and that was very stressful (I'm sure many of you can relate). My poker career really turned around when I met one of my fellow Upswing partners, Ryan Fee. Through our friendship and his great poker mind, we were able to bounce ideas off of one another and push each other to dramatically improve at poker.
As I improved, I moved up to $5/$10 and $10/$20 I gravitated more towards the six-handed games. It was an amazing feeling to have gone from the verge of quitting to having a six-figure bankroll. After playing six-max for a while 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 because no one wanted to go heads up when they considered themselves outmatched. The only person who was willing to take me on was Ben Sulsky. (By the way, much respect to Ben who is still one of the very best players in the world at multiple forms of poker.)
Things went well.
I won in a convincing fashion.
After my victory over Ben in 2013, I had reached the pinnacle of the game and thus almost 100% of players were unwilling to play me.
Our approach to poker is unique in that that we can easily apply the skills from one game type to another.
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 $5,000,000 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.
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 of helping 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 had prevailed. The computer was no match for us and I led the way to a large victory for humanity. They might have taken over chess, but we still had 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 everything I know with you right here at Upswing. If you are a low to midstakes no-limit holdem player I have made The Lab exactly for you. Check it out here.
If you are looking for the most advanced Heads-Up training course ever made on the face of the Earth... then check out my Advanced Heads-Up Master training here.
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 and went to the bookstore up the street after school and started reading.
Eventually, I discovered a community of online poker players on TwoPlusTwo. Back then information was scarce and scattered. I really wanted to learn an A to Z introduction of how to approach the game.
I learned what I could and started playing $0.10/$0.25 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 then surf poker forums all day in class. Afterwards I would 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 bankroll in the low five figures. I was so grateful that I decided to give something back to the poker world. 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 it in early 2009 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. However nothing could prepare me for what happened next.
I flew down to Costa Rica with some friends for a vacation to cap off a great year. Pokerstars was hosting an 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 known online under the screen name “JNandez87” on Pokerstars. I began my poker career in 2006 with small stakes Sit & Goes and quickly transitioned into NLHE cash games. For the next few years, I dedicated myself to putting my hands on every strategy video, poker book and forum post I could find to improve my game.
It wasn’t easy as I ran 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 increasing 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 a new professional into my poker game and mindset. These were easily the best investments 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 purchasing quality training courses online.
It paid 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.
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 three 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. 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 to 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 off it to this day. I’m very proud of this as it gave me a chance to impact other people’s lives for the better.
My plans going forward are to continue learning, playing and teaching 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
Fernando is the lead coach for the PLO University training course
Hey guys, my name’s Pratyush Buddiga and I play under the screenname of Shane Gamble online.
I’ve always loved competition from the time I was a little kid. I watched the National Spelling Bee on ESPN when I was eight years old and decided I wanted to win. Four years and a lot of hard work later, I did. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and something I’m still very proud of to this day. I realized that if I set my mind to anything I could accomplish it.
Next on my list was the AAA Travel Challenge---a “geography/travel” competition for high schoolers. In my sophomore year of high school, I won the nationals for that too. Competition was in my blood and I hungered for more.
Unfortunately, the rest of high school and early years of college failed to provide me with that spark. Competing over grades or in classrooms wasn’t nearly as exciting as contests where there was an outright winner. Luckily, during my junior year at Duke University, I made a fateful decision that would lead me down a completely new path.
I decided to do the Duke-in-New-York program which sent 20 or so students up to New York City. We would take a few finance classes and then interview/network with Wall Street bankers.The program was a disaster for me in many respects because I didn’t like the atmosphere, missed my Duke friends, and generally wanted to leave as soon as I got there.
The semester was extremely easy academically though as we were supposed to focus on securing our future careers. I had no interest in this and began playing poker instead. I had watched Chris Moneymaker win the Main Event on ESPN (sound familiar?) a few years before that and had dabbled in home games and a bit of online but never took it too seriously. That semester was different. I became obsessed with the game and played nonstop.
I was lucky enough to become friends with a group of poker players that included Pius Heinz, Michael Gagliano, Daniel Strelitz, Brian Yoon, Niall Farrell, Sean Ruane, and a few others all before they became mainstream poker names. They helped take me from a breakeven low stakes player to a good mid/highstakes MTTer.
That was my status through graduation and the following years as I embarked on my first few years as a pro.I was coached by Mike “Timex” McDonald and lived in Waterloo with him in between traveling the world for poker. It was a great experience and I learned a lot. The best moment was winning the 2014 Fallsview Poker Classic $2500 event just down the road in Niagara.
I still had big ambitions and while I had played some very high stakes tournaments, I knew I wasn’t quite good enough to play high rollers regularly. Then something quite fortuitous happened. I was tabled with Doug Polk in the 10k 6max. Doug was being chatty (big surprise right?) and I took the opportunity to grill him about hands at the table like a straight-up fish. It was embarrassing for everyone else at the table I’m sure but hell, there was no Upswing at the time. How often do you get to pick the mind of someone like Doug?!
After the WSOP ended, I messaged him asking for coaching. He was hesitant because he hadn’t done that for tournaments before but eventually agreed. The next two years were a complete whirlwind as Doug basically taught me an entirely new way to think about poker and apply it to tournaments. It blew my mind---I mean, I didn’t even know what a double delay was! Doug is an amazing coach and his ability to explain things clearly completely revamped my game and helped turn me from a run-of-the-mill MTTer into a high roller regular and climb as high as #2 on the Global Poker Index. It was also extremely lucrative financially with many deep runs and scores capping off with a win in the $25k highroller at EPT Barcelona for $700k.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to learn from some of the best guys out there: from Pius and that entire crew to Timex and finally to Doug, the best NLHE HU cash player of all-time. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
Now it’s my time to be the teacher. I’m excited to be here at Upswing and help teach you what Doug taught me and open your eyes to a new and better way of thinking about tournaments. Let’s get started!
Pratyush is the lead coach for the Tournament Master Class training course
I realize this will break some of your hearts, but I have to come clean. I am “mynameiskarl” but my name is in fact not karl.
Hi Upswing Poker! I’m Fried Meulders, an online poker pro from Belgium, “known” as mynameiskarl on Pokerstars.
I won’t be offended if you’ve never heard of me before, that’s what this is for.
I have been playing 6-max NL Hold’em cash games on Pokerstars professionally since the start of 2012. I have played more than 3.4M hands with an average stake of over 500NL and been beating the games with a winrate of over 3.7bb/100 hands.
Before I played poker, I grew up playing that nerdy card game Magic: The Gathering.
It, just like poker, is a skill game with a random element. It teaches you to make the right decisions based on the limited information you have. It teaches you that a decision is right or wrong based on the process used to make that decision, and not based on the outcome. It teaches you to be less results oriented; something most of humanity is suffering from.
(BONUS: it also “protects” you from being distracted by the fairer sex and all that)
Very useful skills for life in general I’d say, but more in particular: a perfect starting point to move on to poker.
I was lucky in a sense to only really get to know poker in my last year of college, so I was still able to finish my degree as an engineer in computer sciences.
Somehow, I managed to overcome shitty bankroll management and establish myself at 100NL of some “untracked euro sites”. This was mainly done through stumbling upon a Belgian poker forum with an awesome community that was very helpful and didn’t hold back on giving advice on poker hands. Some of these guys are my best friends today.
I think at Upswing, we all hope the Facebook group & forum can be that kind of community.
After college, I started working as an IT consultant. Grinding that during the day, grinding poker during the evenings. Rinse & repeat. The dream was to play poker for a living, but I wasn’t there until I went for it at the start of 2012. Rolled for midstakes and never looked back.
I was never a big multi-tabler, so I loved the convenience of Zoom poker when that was introduced on Pokerstars. And that’s what I have continued playing.
Ever since these “GTO solvers” (most famous examples are Piosolver and Simple Postflop) were introduced, this has been my main way of studying the game. This means I will try to approach the game form a GTO-perspective, but this doesn’t mean I’m afraid to make some exploitative plays to exploit the leaks my opponents display.
I am still playing the same games for a living, but I was very honored when Doug asked me to be a cash game coach for this website called UpswingPoker.com.
So that’s where we are now. I am active in the private Facebook group, answering some of your questions. I will frequently make Play & Explain videos, most (or all) of them at Zoom 500 on Pokerstars. And once in a while you’ll get a bigger Module from me, where I zoom in (pun intended, obv) on a specific aspect of the game we all love.
Hi, I’m Matt “Checkmate” Colletta. I am the President of UpswingPoker.
For business inquires I can be reached at [email protected] but if you are having technical issues, like trouble logging into your account, please email [email protected] This is the fastest way to get assistance.
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.