The Runchuks Podcast
Online poker legend Bencb on building a successful career

Online poker legend Bencb on building a successful career

September 18, 2020

Bencb won several major online poker tournament series, including the WCOOP and SCOOP. He's also the champion of the largest poker tournament that has ever taken place, where he scored a win of $1,172,360.60 for a buy-in of $102,000.00.

We cover a wide variety of topics, and Ben shares a lot of useful tips and talks about what it takes to become successful.

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00:02:19 Bencb's passion

00:03:43 Working with a team

00:05:36 When and why Bencb789 decided to take the next step?

00:10:04 Building a Skill Set

00:12:31 Why we got into poker

00:19:29 What were Bencb789's first experiences on business and limited time?

00:27:06 Poker is not different from sports

00:28:17 Coaching people, and a different point of view

00:36:22 What it takes to get an edge

00:39:09 Bencb789 Twitter and Marketing

00:46:09 Runchuks Poker Podcast

00:47:52 Giving away too much for free

00:50:24 Not being sponsored and piracy

00:52:43 Making the games harder?

01:02:44 Bencb789 studying ethics and brief journey summary

01:07:32 Ego

01:09:17 Bencb789 about career

01:12:35 Barry Greenstein's quote

01:14:24 Success is not static

01:18:06 Bencb's success in poker tournaments

01:22:13 Sacrifices

01:28:46 Runchuks' thought process on deciding to play the Galfond Challenge

01:30:27 Runchuks and Bencb798 face reveal

01:35:56 What is Runchuks grind and study schedule with having a family?

01:39:05 What do you use to study?

01:45:39 Grab your hands on as much studying material as you can!

01:47:22 Bencb789 presence in eSports

01:51:49 Working in a group and how to find a group

01:56:43 Bencb789 message to the viewers and leadership

02:00:15 Keeping a score of favors and honesty

02:08:18 Asking for an advice

Steffen Sontheimer: From the Bottom to High Stakes Poker [Rebroadcast]

Steffen Sontheimer: From the Bottom to High Stakes Poker [Rebroadcast]

September 11, 2020

At the beginning of 2017, Steffen Sontheimer close to $500,000 in live cashes and flew under the radar of many in the Poker world. But some seemed to notice the rising talent already: "Predicting the breakout year of Go0se.core! Best player in the game right now.", Fedor Holz wrote on Twitter.

Well, Fedor was right. The same year, Steffen cashed for $7.052.324 and destroyed the Poker Masters series in the Aria Casino Las Vegas, when he claimed the Purple Jacket and cashed 4 out of 5 high roller tournaments against the best in the world.

We cover a lot of topics in this conversation. It's always a pleasure to talk to Steffen, he's one of the smartest people in the poker world. I hope you'll enjoy this rerun (the episode was originially published on YouTube in March 2020)


Also, make sure to check out Steffen's Instagram profile "coachgo0se"
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00:01:18 Steffen “go0se.core!” Sontheimer Introduction by Toby

00:05:59 What are Steffen current goals

00:08:00 Why Steffen stopped traveling for Super High Rollers

00:16:30 “My biggest freedom that I have is never setting an alarm clock”

00:18:45 Steffen enjoy online poker more than live poker?

00:21:40 Travelling for High Rollers Tournaments

00:23:23 The pressure from investors?

00:24:53 Super High Roller Bowl

00:28:02 Where is the pressure coming from?

00:31:27 Proofing to himself

00:31:58 Insane amount of work for playing Super High Rollers

00:35:05 Natural confidence

00:39:05 Fedor Holz influence

00:40:35 Steffen first High Roller Tournament

00:43:48 First live tournament and Fedor Holz story

00:44:57 Steffen Hand against Nick Petrangelo on first High Roller Final Table

00:46:59 The German High Roller Team lead by Fedor Holz

00:56:43 The Content Hiding Mafia

01:00:02 Crushing without a group and LLinusLLove story

01:02:38 Will Steffen stream again?

01:04:39 Does Steffen plan to move up the stakes?

01:06:33 It will be possible to make 3-4 bb/100 on NL200 Zoom for the next 5 years?

01:08:57 Motivation to keep playing and browser game

01:15:36 The difference from NL2 to NL500 is the same from NL500 to NL10k?

01:18:06 Steffen plan for 2020 and taxes

01:21:14 Decision to settle down

01:23:23 Achieving Super Nova Elite

01:30:37 Multi-tabling now and then

01:37:51 WSOP or UEFA Euro for 2020?

01:40:36 COVID-19 canceling WSOP?

01:44:17 Steffen toughest online opponents

01:50:02 Meeting a poker celebrity for the first time

01:52:54 Meeting Phil Ivey

01:54:05 Meeting Gerard Piqué

01:56:01 Meeting Kevin Hart and Usain Bolt

01:59:15 Runchuks meeting Russell Westbrook

02:00:59 Runchuks meeting Phil Kessel

02:02:20 Becoming a celebrity

02:06:03 And becoming a role model too?

02:07:56 Blackjack Degen stories

02:11:05 Test-drive in Las Vegas desert

02:16:43 Where Steffen is going towards to?

02:19:39 From the bottom to the very top and remaining a down to earth guy

02:23:46 Steffen on social media

Fedor Holz - Striving for excellence [Rebroadcast]

Fedor Holz - Striving for excellence [Rebroadcast]

September 4, 2020

Fedor Holz is one of the most successful poker tournament players in the world. He played a key role in assembling "the German team", we discuss how Fedor keeps aiming at bigger goals, his approach to improvement, his mental game tips & tricks, and much more.


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00:00:00 Introduction

00:01:43 How Fedor Holz built his team

00:07:35 The desire for constant improving

00:11:40 Never settling down

00:13:15 Finding a way to play higher and higher

00:16:31 Bringing his friends to the (High Roller) party

00:19:28 The Rat Race

00:20:21 Playing Zoom $500 with Steffen Sontheimer

00:21:49 Sinergy and applying knowledge

00:25:14 Importance of a healthy mental game

00:27:44 When you follow what you want to do, then you're happy

00:30:40 Have a group of people to help you reflect

00:32:34 Taking a 5 months break… And then $2k to 1 million dollars

00:38:01 How the value of money changed over time

00:45:38 What do you actually want to do?

00:51:37 How do you spend your day and why?

00:55:17 Boredom is one of the most important drivers of creativity

00:58:50 Absolute love for getting better

01:04:37 Advice for those starting right now

01:05:44 Not enjoying poker anymore

01:07:22 Want to change something? Try the extremes!

01:09:26 But don't always try the extremes

01:10:07 Aligning YOURSELF to what you want TO DO

01:13:01 Only aiming to be the best

01:16:37 Fedor's poker course: The Pokercode

01:21:42 What Fedor wants to change in the world?

Lee Davy on interviewing poker greats and on alcohol addiction

Lee Davy on interviewing poker greats and on alcohol addiction

August 28, 2020

Helping overcome alcohol addiction and interviewing poker greats like Tom Dwan, Andrew Robl, Jason Koon, and  Timofey (Trueteller) Kuznetsov. That's what we talk about with Lee Davy, whom many of you know as the guy behind the mic on "I am High Stakes Poker" interview series. He is a great poker journalist and he's helped a lot of people recognize and overcome all sorts of addictions.


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00:00:00 Intro

00:02:37 Quitting alcohol

00:07:11 Getting into the poker industry

00:10:26 Helping people to deal with addiction

00:16:40 Timofey 'Trueteller' Kuznetsov

00:19:35 Realizing you have an addiction

00:27:04 Pressure to take sides

00:34:15 A Species in Denial

00:39:41 The 1000 Days Sober

00:47:09 Meaning and purpose

00:52:49 In The Zone

00:55:01 Stimulus and response

00:58:47 Interviewing Tom Dwan

01:01:45 Dealing with negative feedback

01:05:02 I Am High Stakes Poker

01:11:14 Shame and purpose

01:18:24 Alcohol connections

01:26:53 The Inflammation Spectrum

01:30:57 It's only complicated if you believe so

01:34:26 Value of alcohol

01:40:16 How to work with Lee Davy

MMAsherdog on the best poker players and how to improve at poker

MMAsherdog on the best poker players and how to improve at poker

August 21, 2020

High Stakes online poker crusher MMAsherdog talks about how to improve at poker and discusses some of the best poker players in the world including Limitless, LLinusLLove on the Runchuks Podcast. 



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00:00:00 Intro

00:01:27 limitless

00:06:10 Chinese poker market

00:08:30 limitless vs LLinusLLove battle

00:11:42 Reg Battles

00:17:30 RunItOnce Heads-Up Legends Showdown

00:21:15 I'm a max EV player

00:23:53 VeniVidi1993, Joey Ingram and poker publicity

00:26:46 Poker is not dead

00:30:23 Making the best of what you got

00:34:13 Being lazy at school and successful at poker

00:37:23 You have to really like what you do

00:39:04 Does MMAsherdog enjoy studying poker?

00:42:49 Different winning strategies

00:45:46 Play a good strategy perfectly than a perfect strategy poorly

00:48:54 Using an RNG

00:53:47 Telephone game

00:55:48 Wasting time

00:58:18 More on using an RNG

01:02:06 Dealing with swings on High Stakes Poker

01:06:51 Switching off after the session

01:09:49 A fresh perspective from a coach

01:12:16 Discussing strategy

01:17:20 Playing high stakes and Bill Perkins games

01:19:59 Bill Perkins: Die With Zero

01:24:18 Money and happiness

01:28:47 Value of time

01:30:30 Get things done

01:33:34 Negreanu vs Doug Polk

01:45:18 Twitch streaming

01:46:21 BluffTheSpot channel

01:47:21 Playing against celebrities



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David Reichelt - mobile game creator who generated over $75 million in revenue

David Reichelt - mobile game creator who generated over $75 million in revenue

August 14, 2020

David Reichelt is a mobile game creator who made Color Switch, which has over 250 million downloads and generated over seventy five million dollars in revenue. 

We talk about his journey, how he created 40 unsuccessful games before finally hitting the home-run, where does he find inspiration, persistence, passion, and about his creative process. This is not one of those making a mobile game in a day type of story. David shares a lot of useful tips. It is quite a wide-ranging conversation and whether you're exploring a new hobby, are looking for creative ideas, or just want to broaden your horizon or find a new passion in life, there's definitely something here for you in this interview. And of course, we also take a look at the poker industry and the trend of making poker more fun. Online poker sites recently borrow a lot of ideas from the gaming world and in many ways, they are competing with EA Sports more than with the online casinos. 

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00:00:00 Intro

00:01:33 Don't show the same trick twice

00:05:23 Beauty of magic

00:07:08 Richard Turner

00:09:05 Nicholas James Vujicic

00:09:49 Kitten vs Monkey mindset

00:12:51 The most wealthy place on Earth

00:13:23 Passion

00:21:12 The number one indicator of a long life

00:25:35 Runchuks Newsletter

00:26:51 Steven Spielberg - Ready Player One

00:29:30 Getting into the games industry by accident

00:31:24 This is the game that's going to make it

00:35:03 Shift in the approach

00:37:26 Tearing ideas apart

00:40:26 Staying motivated after 40 failures

00:45:31 What people thought about a game design career

00:51:52 When the sample is big enough

00:56:49 Look at things in different ways

01:01:57 Designing a game to last 40 years

01:04:26 The need to switch off

01:06:29 What makes a great game

01:13:11 What makes people get back and play more

01:21:01 Changing games

01:25:27 Resistance to change

01:29:35 Waking up at 4 am

01:33:48 How does David's day look like

01:35:33 Working with a team

01:39:01 Went to buy a $10 gadget and bought a piano

01:42:45 Where is the app and game trend taking us

01:46:19 Virtual reality in video games

01:51:03 Heart attack

01:53:46 Virtual reality in movies

01:54:53 Finding direction in life

01:57:30 Color Switch 2

02:00:14 Game Design course

02:01:19 Social media

02:02:10 Color Switch brand

State of poker - Mason Malmuth

State of poker - Mason Malmuth

August 7, 2020

State of poker, online poker tournament structures and guarantees, private games, regulations, ethics, and Mason's new book "The History of the World from a Gambler's Perspective" are some of the many topics we discuss in this conversation.

Mason is the founder of TwoPlusTwo publishing company and an author of several books. His latest book looks at the history of the world from a gambler's perspective. It's a great read, a novel take on some of the events that defined the course of history. 

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00:00:00 Intro

00:01:40 The History of The World From a Gambler's Perspective

00:04:34 Defining gambling

00:07:16 Self-weighting and non-self-weighting strategies

00:10:17 Expert gambles

00:11:44 The battle is lost, if you pursue the normal strategy

00:15:54 Francisco Pizarro story

00:18:34 General Robert E. Lee semi-bluff

00:23:44 Gambling in the real world

00:29:33 Probability of getting aces twice in a row

00:32:41 Cat joins the podcast

00:33:28 Selection bias

00:35:31 He is a great craps player

00:36:34 How do we define who are the best poker players

00:42:06 GTO player vs Exploitative player

00:46:05 Multi-tabling

00:53:13 A good poker game

00:58:38 Rake and bonuses

00:59:52 Antes to balance out luck and skill

01:03:35 Online poker room regulations

01:04:41 Competition in the online poker market

01:06:29 Rake is a big threat to poker

01:08:48 Problem with rebuy tournaments

01:12:28 Tournament prize guarantees

01:14:42 Big private games and selling action

01:17:09 How is selling action and rebuys perceived by a new player?

01:20:48 More problems with rebuys and guarantees

01:24:25 What's best for poker in the long run… Or for me

01:26:39 Must move game

01:39:00 Private games held in casinos

01:42:00 TwoPlusTwo - the beginnings

01:53:32 TwoPlusTwo contributing to the poker boom

01:55:15 TwoPlusTwo podcast

01:56:18 TwoPlusTwo competition

02:00:14 Creating a better environment

02:08:06 Communication between management and players

02:10:03 Competition is good

02:13:07 Poker police and cheating scandals

02:15:32 Richard Turner

02:16:30 The new book will bring new people into poker

02:18:22 Leon Trotsky

02:21:51 History from all over the world from many periods

02:23:16 The role of Luck

02:29:07 Jack Johnson World Heavyweight Boxing Champion

02:32:58 Wyatt Earp gambling story


GM Robert Fontaine talks about Chess and Poker

GM Robert Fontaine talks about Chess and Poker

July 31, 2020

Chess and poker - what do these games have in common. In this interview Grandmaster Robert Fontaine talks about how he got into chess and shares useful advice for those who want to learn how to play chess. We explore why the popularity of chess is booming, what it takes to reach the top, look behind the scenes of the major chess tournaments and of course explore the parallels between chess and poker and which lessons from the chess industry could apply to poker.


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Time stamps:

00:00:00 Intro
00:01:17 How Robert Fontaine got into chess
00:04:39 FIDE rating system
00:06:07 Chess tournaments
00:08:43 8 to 6 job
00:09:32 Playing the first chess tournament
00:14:30 Finding out the opponent's level of skill
00:17:39 What to focus on when first starting to play chess
00:22:22 What it takes to maintain the GM level
00:25:39 Chess is booming
00:29:24 Streaming and giving away information
00:35:41 Time pressure
00:36:28 Public available database
00:38:44 Poker and chess parallels
00:40:12 What separates a GM from a top-level GM
00:43:31 Chess time variants / poker variants
00:46:53 The huge gap between GM levels
00:51:12 Learning from better opponents
00:53:32 Analyzing the game together with the opponent
00:59:13 The difference between chess and poker
01:03:25 Chess lessons that apply in life
01:06:03 What keeps the top-level players motivated
01:08:51 AI changing the way top-level GM approach the game

GM Vladimir Kramnik on AlphaZero and achieving excellence

GM Vladimir Kramnik on AlphaZero and achieving excellence

July 24, 2020

GM Vladimir Kramnik talks about AlphaZero, the evolution of chess theory, how to achieve excellence, and his journey in chess. A lot of ideas we discuss apply not only to chess but also to poker and life in general. Vladimir is one of the most talented World Chess champions of the modern era and some of his insights are invaluable. 


We talk about chess engines such as StockFish, the new chess AI - AlphaZero, and how those changed the way we approach studying, and understanding chess as well as what might the future hold and we also talk about the draw-backs of blindly following the engines or poker solvers for that matter. The poker industry is experiencing the same types of changes with the rise of the poker solvers and there are many lessons we can take-away from the chess world. 


Vladimir also talks about his journey in chess, the famous match against Gary Kasparov, what it takes to compete at the highest level, how does his preparation look like, his approach to the competition, how Vladimir handles the pressure, aesthetics of chess and his work on creating new exciting variants of chess. 


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00:00:00 Intro
00:01:42 Chess before and after chess engines
00:08:09 Custom chess engines
00:10:46 Using chess engines for preparation
00:12:04 Evolution of chess engines
00:22:15 Kasparov vs Deep Blue - The End of the Human Race
00:24:23 Vladimir Kramnik vs Deep Fritz
00:26:52 AlphaZero deep learning AI
00:33:49 AlphaZero vs Stockfish differences
00:37:25 Experiment with AlphaZero
00:38:57 AI doesn't explain why it plays a certain way
00:41:04 AlphaZero thinking pattern
00:44:29 Drawbacks of engines for top-level games
00:46:46 Keeping chess entertaining
00:50:59 No Castling Chess (a new variant of chess)
00:57:47 How long would it take to engines to solve No Castling Chess
01:02:56 Understanding aesthetics, patterns instead of memorizing
01:06:27 New arms race
01:09:42 Using a better machine as a decisive advantage
01:12:00 Vladimir's style
01:16:45 What all great players have in common
01:20:06 The human aspect of chess
01:26:59 How Vladimir Kramnik studied Gary Kasparov to become World Champion
01:29:58 Playing even better under high pressure
01:31:50 Knowing yourself and knowing your opponent
01:38:39 Slight advantage line vs chance of playing it well
01:43:51 Creating your unique style
01:46:16 Defeating Gary Kasparov without losing a single game
01:58:22 Emotions taking over
02:02:29 The impact of ego
02:08:52 Decisive career moments
02:16:17 Always be ready to learn
02:17:57 Lack of information is not the problem
02:19:25 New chess variations
02:21:26 How humans are going to use AlphaZero as a studying tool
02:23:43 Wrapping up
02:25:28 One final word of wisdom

Maria Konnikova - poker beginner to champion

Maria Konnikova - poker beginner to champion

July 17, 2020

Maria Konnikova is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, The Confidence Game. Her new book, The Biggest Bluff, is out now. Maria started as a complete beginner in poker and while researching The Biggest Bluff, Maria became an international poker champion and the winner of over $300,000 in tournament earnings—and inadvertently turned into a professional poker player. She got mentored by Eric Seidel, Phil Galfond, and several other highly successful poker players and her rapid success is a testament to what can be achieved in poker with the right approach to studies, the right guidance, and a lot of dedication. Maria is also a regularly contributing writer for The New Yorker whose writing has won numerous awards.

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00:00:00 Intro

00:01:20 Outsiders perspective

00:04:22 Mentored by Erik Seidel

00:05:59 Good at studying

00:07:04 Why get into poker?

00:09:17 Most complex parts of decision making in poker

00:11:53 Less certainty more inquiry

00:14:00 Time constraint

00:16:47 Always ask why players are doing what they're doing

00:18:11 Speaking several languages helps

00:21:27 Too much certainty

00:22:58 No expectations

00:24:07 Why the vast majority of poker players are male?

00:35:03 Resistance to accepting women in poker

00:36:38 Women - untapped poker market demographic

00:38:52 Trying to get new players into the game

00:40:25 Erik Seidel's method of teaching

00:44:03 Phil Galfond quote

00:44:44 Once the results started coming

00:46:27 Phil Galfond Challenge

00:47:22 Passion for poker

00:48:20 Winning the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure - Bahamas

00:53:14 Overcoming a big mistake at the beginning of the final table

00:54:44 Maria Konnikova - The Biggest Bluff

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