Episode 150: Brad Willis

Brad Willis, the head of blogging for PokerStars and the man behind the brilliant writing at Rapid Eye Reality, is a fitting guest for Episode 150. He’s full of stories about the South, home games, and the early days of online poker, as well as speculation about the future of poker and poker media. Turns out he’s also a font of fantastic music recommendations, so be sure to check out the show notes.


0:30 – hello
8:30 – quads in the WSOP ME
46:40 – brad


Day 3 of WSOP Main Event, 1000/2000/200 UTG opens to 4k off a stack of 130k. Folds to Hero (43k) in BB with two black aces. I decided to flat. Pot was 10.8k.

Flop came down A83hhh. Both check.

Turn was the 6h. Both check.

River is the case A. Hero?


Nate put together a playlist of Brad’s recommendations, as well as an additional note about Ellix Powers

Bust by Brad Willis

The Boy They Couldn’t Kill by Thomas Lake

Homicide: Life on the Street. Please, if you liked The Wire, watch the first season at least

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5 thoughts on “Episode 150: Brad Willis

  1. On the strategy hand,
    Andrew, it wasn’t clear to me what you thought about river bet sizing.

    This seems like an awesome spot for a fake blocking bet. Villain is going to be very tempted to value raise or bluff over a weak bet. I think a bet of roughly 1/3 pot is going to work great.

    We can rep an ace or weak flush for thin value and it can also look like a ‘cheap’ bluff in an orphan pot.

  2. Brad’s one of the best guests you’ve ever had on the show. He really nails it, when he talks about what’s wrong with the current state of poker, particularly on tv.

    Why would anybody want to watch it? A table full of mutes, taking a ridiculously long time to make a decision and the game takes so long to finish.

    Production companies are in the entertainment business. Other than in poker, what production companies are making a show that lasts several days without anything interesting happening or being said?

    I guess the nearest thing would be something like a golf tournament, or a Test cricket match (5 day game), although even they offer some kind of physical drama that can be effectively shown on screen.

    With regard to cricket, the fastest-growing branch of the game is T20. A drastically shortened format, that involves both sides just bowling 20 overs each and the game being completed in around 3 hours. This has quickly become massively popular, both with live spectators and tv audiences.

    Who Knew?

    A Tuesday night poker tournament, at a local casino, may not finish until around 3am or later. How many people, with a life outside of poker, are willing to be out until that time? Even if they are, why are they going to enjoy sitting around a silent table for 7 hours with a bunch of callow youths wearing headphones and hoodies? Where’s the fun in that?

    PokerStars should be commended for their recent decision to make life harder for rakeback grinders, but they should go further if they want to rescue a market that is dying on it’s feet.

    Get rid of the cash games. Recreational players have no chance of winning in these. Only offer tournaments and structure the payouts so that nobody is properly rolled for the game.

    Winner takes all! No deals and nothing for second place. Stop offering sponsorship deals to pros that nobody who isn’t already into the game will have even heard of. Spend the marketing budgets on bringing in global celebrities, who will encourage those who have previously shown zero interest in the game to play.

    Then offer more tournaments with life-changing money for the winner. Tournaments that last just 2 or 3 hours. Anyone can bink a tournament, if luck is on their side. Good players will still have an edge, but the structure should still force them to gamble. There should be a genuine risk of even good players going broke.

    I understand that most people reading this will be making a regular living from poker and will think that these are all terrible ideas. You are the last people the industry needs to keep happy though. Games are so bad, because people like you have the ability to consistently beat weaker players. Poker can do without you (or me, I haven’t deposited for years).

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