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Poker Stories Podcast with Chance Kornuth

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jan 02, 2019

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Poker Stories is a long-form audio podcast series that features casual interviews with some of the game’s best players and personalities. Each episode highlights a well-known member of the poker world and dives deep into their favorite tales both on and off the felt.

Age: 32
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Live Tournament Earnings: $6.5 Million

Top Five Tournament Scores

Date Tournament Place Winnings
Jan. 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $10k Main Event 3rd $641,140
Jan. 2016 Aussie Millions $25k High Roller 1st $553,392
July 2014 Bellagio Cup $10k Main Event 1st $526,224
June 2010 WSOP $5k Pot-Limit Omaha 1st $508,090
Feb. 2016 EPT Dublin €25k High Roller 2nd $404,052

Chance Kornuth was just one semester shy of graduating from college when he decided to plunge headfirst into life as a professional poker player. He earned his first major taste of success in 2010, when he won the $5,000 PLO event at the WSOP for his first bracelet and $508K. The Denver-native continued to take shots with his bankroll, and found success both live and online.

In 2014, he won the Bellagio Cup main event for another $526K. A year later, he finished third in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $641K. He won the AUD$25,000 high roller at the Aussie Millions for $553K, and an event at the EPT Grand Final for $398K, and made several final tables all over the globe along the way. Most recently, he won his second WSOP bracelet, taking down an online event last summer for another $341K. In total, the 32-year-old has racked up nearly $6.4 million in live tournament earnings.

Kornuth now runs Chip Leader Coaching, a premier training program for mid-stakes MTT players who want to take their poker career to the next level. Site instructors include notable poker pros such as Nick Petrangelo, Joe McKeehen, Ryan LaPlante, Alex Foxen, Ryan Jones, and Ryan Leng.

Highlights from this interview include the difference a new haircut can make, using pennies for poker chips, dropping out one semester before graduating, dominating the Bellagio nightlies, stealing Adam’s aces, taking over dad’s online poker account, winning the first WSOP bracelet, the PLO palace, learning to treat poker like a job, staying out of the seven-figure club, why he decided to train poker players, winning and losing $450k pots, the importance of shot taking, Ben Lamb running bad at credit card roulette, helping JohnnyBax at the final table, his heist car, weighing dog crap for cash, giving a rebate to impress a dealer, and why live tells still matter.

The Highlights

On The Importance of Taking Shots at Bigger Games…

“I’ve always wanted to play higher and have a chance at some bigger scores. And when I stopped getting into some of the bigger cash games, I started playing the tournaments. When you’re traveling to these stops, having an extra tournament to play (the high roller) is plus EV. I had a lot of luck in them very early on. I think [shot taking] is really important. When Phil Galfond played Phil Ivey heads-up for the first time, I think he had like $600,000 in his roll and bought in for $60,000, or something like that. You just have to take risks like that. Risking a decent percentage of your bankroll to play a big game and try to run up your bankroll was probably the right play. So, I did start to take shots, and risk larger percentages. You don’t have to risk 10 percent of your bankroll ten times in a row and go broke. You can risk 10 percent of your bankroll, and if you lose, go back and grind it back up at the lower stakes.”

On Why Live Tells Still Matter…

“The one that I’ll use the most, or that I always see, is when someone looks at their cards before it’s their turn and then immediately looks away. Well, okay that guy is folding. If you know the button is folding and you’re in the cutoff, well now it’s your button. There’s so many instances of live tells like that. A lot of situations where you get to take a plus EV action, where you would have to check and have zero EV otherwise. Now that guys like Charlie Carrel and me and some of the other non-GTO guys have had good results, I do think that people are more interested in live tells now. Or, at least a lot of the higher-stakes professionals are better at being balanced and hiding their live tells. A lot of the live tells I’ve picked up is being self-aware. ‘Oh, I do this when I’m weak. I wonder if anyone else does that when they’re weak?’ You know? Plug in my own live tell and look for it in others.”

On Treating Poker Like A Job…

“That was the time in my life when I thought the money was going to be easy forever, and I didn’t really put in as much volume as I should have. It was more just playing, as opposed to getting good at poker, being dedicated, and treating it as a job. Now, it’s a much different monster. The edges are smaller and you actually do have to treat it like a job. You have to improve, you have to stay ahead of the game.”

You can check out the entirety of the interview in the audio player at the top of the page or download it directly to your device to play on the go from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.

Catch up on past episodes featuring notables such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, Nick Schulman, Barry Greenstein, Michael Mizrachi, Bryn Kenney, Mike Sexton, Brian Rast, Scott Seiver, Freddy Deeb, Chris Moneymaker, Maria Ho and many more. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to get the latest episodes automatically when they are released.