There are few poker players in the industry who have put as much work into cash games as PokerCoaching.com coach Brad Wilson. Whether it be providing live play & explains from online, high stakes cash games or conducting private coaching for students, Wilson’s drive to uplift fellow cash game players is rivaled only by his dedication to his popular Chasing Poker Greatness podcast. When considering who Wilson has interviewed in the poker industry, it is likely easier to ask “Who hasn’t Wilson interviewed?” Phil Hellmuth, Eli Elezra, as well as our very own Jonathan Little, the Chasing Poker Greatness podcast has provided a number of poker players and industry members a platform to promote the game.
Along with continuing to provide premium poker content to his listeners, Wilson has also been dedicating time to PokerCoaching.com’s latest project: the Advanced Cash Game Course (ACGC). In preparation for the release of the ACGC, Wilson was kind enough to take the time to share with me his thoughts on his podcast, career, as well as the landscape of cash games.
Cash Games and Brad Wilson’s Most Memorable Poker Hand
Discussing his tenure as a professional cash game player, Wilson adamantly shared how he felt blessed not only in regards to his success but also the experiences the game of poker has provided him.
“I’ve been blessed enough to have battled legends & endboss-types fairly regularly (and lived to tell the tale) as well as forge relationships with tons of influential folks in the poker world through the podcast.” Wilson said.
Despite primarily being an online cash game player, Wilson has also acquired an immense amount of experience playing live, high stakes cash games. Dwelling on his experience playing the best at the nose bleeds, Wilson shared the main differences the high stakes have with the low ones.
“You have to bring it every single session and you can’t give anything away,” Wilson shared.
“The regs you’re playing against are humans who are at the top of the poker food chain. They’ll remain comfortable and clear-headed under massive amounts of pressure and maintain discipline & focus regardless of how their session is going.”
“When they make mistakes, they’ll invest enormous amounts of energy analyzing that mistake off-the-felt in an attempt to never repeat it. If you play against them regularly, they will lay awake at night breaking down your game & finding holes they can exploit.”
While Wilson’s experience may sound like somewhat of a cautionary tale, he assured readers the high stakes are not completely devoid of profitable competition.
“There are far more weaker, recreational players at high stakes than I think a lot of people realize, so you really need to know how to be opportunistic and maximize your EV when you find yourself in really profitable spots.”
Playing Bruno Mars In A High Stakes Cash Game
Along with the sharks and fish that come with high stakes cash games, Wilson has also gotten a chance to play with celebrities of note. On the Chasing Poker Greatness YouTube channel, Wilson shared the most memorable hand of his poker career, which took place at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.
“I was just sitting down playing the regular $10/$20 game that I always played, minding my own business when in walks Bruno Mars,” Wilson recalled in the video. “He was going on a world tour, and wanted to blow off some steam before spending two years on the road.”
Taking part in a poker marathon that went through the night and into the next day, the session eventually led to an incredibly memorable hand played between Wilson and Mars.
“I straddled under-the-gun to $40 and everyone folds to Bruno who opens to $200 on the button,” Wilson said. “I looked down at 5-5 and decide to flat Bruno’s raise. The flop comes down J♦-9♦-5♥. I check with my bottom set and Bruno grabs $400 very quickly and throws it into the pot.”
After 16 hours of playing with Mars, Brad had an inclination that he was holding a strong hand.
“I wasn’t super concerned that he had a set, but I knew he had a hand that he wasn’t going to let go of easily,” Brad said. “I check-raise to $1,400, and to my surprise and excitement, Bruno after 2 or 3 seconds of thought grabs two stacks of white $100 chips and pushes them into the middle.”
Being re-raised by the pop star for $4,000, Wilson deduced his opponent had a hand he felt he needed to protect. Not wanting to scare Mars away by ripping it, Wilson flatted the raise and prayed for a blank on the turn. After the 2♣ creeped across the board, Wilson checked and was delighted to witness Mars flick in a pink, $5,000 poker chip. After hollywooding for a minute, Wilson moved all-in for $8,000 more.
Executing a perfect check-shove, Wilson’s move did not amuse Mars whatsoever.
“Bruno cuts loose with a stream of words I can’t say in this video, and then starts analyzing the hand out loud,” Brad said.
While Mars contemplated a number of holdings Wilson could potentially have, he asked the poker pro if he would be willing to run it twice. As Wilson remained stoic, Mars exclaimed “I know him, I know he’ll run it twice.” Eventually, Mars made the call, and saw the bad news.
“He asks ‘What do you got?’ and I said ‘I’ve got a set’ and he said ‘Dammit! I’m drawing dead.’ I just said ‘Nice hand’ and the dealer burned and turned and then shipped me this $30,000 pot. As Bruno stood up to leave the table, he said ‘Hey Brad, do you mind throwing me a $10 chip for valet?’ So of course, I did and then he disappeared into the night.”
Chasing Poker Greatness
When Wilson isn’t creating Live Play & Explains for PokerCoaching.com members, he can be found hosting the popular Chasing Poker Greatness podcast. Since publishing his first interview in 2019, Wilson has conducted over 200 interviews featuring professional poker players and individuals within the poker industry. Along with interviews, the Chasing Poker Greatness podcast also features the weekly Tactical Tuesday segment, where Wilson and his business partner Jon Chai break down different strategical aspects of the game. Discussing his podcast, Wilson does not shy away from acknowledging the positive impact the production has had on his career.
“The Chasing Poker Greatness podcast has benefitted my career in really too many ways to count,” Wilson said. “As a matter of fact, we’re doing this interview right now because I had Jonathan Little on the podcast & he offered me this exact gig (being a PokerCoaching coach).”
Reflecting on the plethora of guests he has had on his hit podcast, Wilson shared how he has not only enjoyed interviewing some of the world’s best but also how he has been impacted by guests who discuss topics outside of poker.
“Having poker killers like Jason Koon, PokerCoaching’s own Jonathan Little and Justin Saliba, Phil Hellmuth, Daniel “Jungleman” Cates, Josh Arieh, Jon “Apestyles” Van Fleet, and Andrew “LuckyChewy” Lichtenberger on the podcast was obviously incredibly exciting and a huge honor for me.”
“Alternatively, episodes that dove into dealing with heavy, non-poker topics (Aleeyah Jadavji & cancer, Fergal Nealon & raising money for Ukraine) also have a very special place in my heart.”
Having a platform to conversate with legendary poker players and discuss impactful topics has provided a lot to Wilson, but above all, he most appreciates the community the podcast has created.
“The biggest benefit, however, has almost certainly been the growth of my Slack community, Greatness Village,” Wilson shared. “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to form so many incredible, lifelong relationships in Greatness Village and can’t really imagine my life without it.”
Poker Coaching and Brad Wilson’s Advice To Aspiring Pros
Since joining Team PokerCoaching, Wilson has helped countless students improve their cash game abilities. Although his instruction usually centers around poker, Wilson appreciates how his teaching can connect with other impactful topics.
“My favorite aspect of poker coaching is how dynamic the gig is. It doesn’t ever really get old because humans seem to have an uncanny intuition for falling into emotional, physical, and psychological traps, myself included!” Wilson said.
“Ultimately, I would say my primary responsibility is identifying the most valuable levers in my students’ poker games and then guiding them through the trouble-shooting process. A lot of times the highest leverage conversations will be poker specific (strategic or tactical) but other times they can fall within the realm of mindset or performance.”
Wilson offers plenty of instruction on three-betting ranges, exploitative strategies, and building a winning cash game strategy, but often times he finds the biggest lessons fall outside of the scope of poker. To fully correct leaks and errors within a student’s game, Wilson is a firm believer that achieving peak performance as a person can be the first step in correcting issues at the poker table.
“If you really think about all of the potential mindset and performance leaks that exist in the realm of humanity, you’ll quickly realize what I mean by dynamic due to just how many potential failure points exist. I’ve had countless conversations about relationships, marriages, parenting, sleep, nutrition, physical fitness, breathwork, and meditation during coaching sessions because resolving those issues had much higher leverage than resolving some kind of tactical poker leak.”
Reflecting on what has brought about his success as a poker coach, Wilson makes a point to acknowledge the flip side as well. Although he has assisted many students in improving their game and becoming winning players, Wilson highlights his failures and the benefits they have had on his instruction and career.
“While poker success is the fruit of my labor, failure has a very important function as well”, Wilson shared. “Failure shows me where my coaching blindspots/biases are which forces me to closely examine my weaknesses so that I can address those weaknesses and ultimately become a better coach moving forward.”
Taking away all the lessons he has learned through the successes and failures of his poker coaching career, Wilson is always willing to provide knowledge to aspiring professional poker players.
Brad Wilson’s Advice To Aspiring Poker Players
When asked what advice he had for aspiring cash game pros grinding it out in the $1/$2 and $1/$3 streets, Wilson touched on the importance of looking inward.
“Take responsibility for your career & your results. Don’t blame your opponents for making “bad” decisions. Instead, take responsibility for your own poor plays,” Wilson said.
“If you aren’t willing to recognize your “great bluff” was actually just torching money because you targeted a villain’s range then rarely folds then you end up sabotaging your progress & ultimately cap your potential poker career.”
Along with holding oneself responsible for their decisions at the poker table, Wilson also urges recreational poker players with higher aspirations to seek out capable people.
“If you find that you’ve stopped progressing as a poker player then either seek out a coach/mentor or join some kind of mastermind with poker players with similar ambitions”
For those of you who haven’t joined yet, the PokerCoaching.com Discord is always welcoming new members!
Get Ready To Learn With Brad Wilson Through The Advanced Cash Game Course!
A special thank you to PokerCoaching.com coach Brad Wilson for taking the time to share more about his cash game career, the success of the Chasing Poker Greatness podcast, and his experience as a veteran poker coach. On behalf of the PokerCoaching.com community, we are looking forward to the lessons Wilson has to share on using exploits in cash games, included in the soon-to-be-released Advanced Cash Game Course.
For cash game players eager to start learning with Wilson ahead of the release of the ACGC, be sure to check out his most recent Play & Explain class, exclusive to premium PokerCoaching.com members!