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Poker with Presence: An Interview With Jason Su

Updated: Feb 16

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Su, who is a seasoned poker professional, mindset coach, and the author of Poker With Presence. I asked Jason some of the tougher questions about poker, and he responded with great insights across a wide range of topics. You can view the full interview here:

Below is a recap of the top ten highlights:

"Trying" to Be Present and How Presence Helps Poker Players

1) People that are thinking about being present aren't actually present. Presence can only be felt in the here and now.

2) Presence is immensely valuable to poker players as it can help them avoid dwelling on past mistakes and worrying about future events. By giving your full attention and capabilities to this moment, your performance will improve and allow you to access a new timeline where many of those imagined events no longer happen.

3) The #1 thing that trips up most poker players is trying to be stoic and unemotional. This isn't sustainable long-term as it leads to an unhealthy build-up of toxic energy. Instead, players need to learn to feel their emotions fully and release them in healthy ways while continuing to make good decisions.

4) Poker rewards presence monetarily. The players that can embrace the inactivity of the game and treat poker more like a meditation retreat than a sporting event typically perform better than those who are consistently in the center of the action.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Poker and the Importance of Mindset and Intuition

5) A stigma still exists in society around poker. A lot of that has been created by stories of people that had an unhealthy relationship with the game. But poker could have just as easily been used in a healthy way since it rewards things like exercise, meditation, empathy, and disciplined study habits.

6) Serious poker players need to avoid letting recent results affect how they feel about themselves and their games. A long-term view that isn't results-oriented is essential for long-term success.

7) Understanding the technical side of the game is important, but it isn't everything. Even as solvers become more prevalent, the role of intuition and trusting your gut is still as relevant as ever.

The Intersection Between Poker, Entrepreneurship, and Emotional Management

8) There is a strong connection between poker and entrepreneurship. Many poker players and entrepreneurs would rather have higher upside in exchange for more risk. Both groups of people typically hate having a boss and like to be more responsible for their own fates.

9) Poker attracts two opposite extremes. Some people play to de-stress from other life commitments and temporarily avoid their feelings. Others come to the game with a meditator's mindset and are eager to be put nose to nose with very challenging emotions and situations.

10) Real presence is not something that you flip on just while you play poker. That would be inauthentic and just something you are only pretending to do to make more money. Embracing true presence is transformative and has lasting benefits that extend well beyond the poker felt to every aspect of your life.

These topics are just the tip of the iceberg. To go deeper and become the player you know you can be, contact Joel Wald today at or book a free 30-minute Zoom call to discuss how PTO Poker can help you achieve your poker goals!

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