The Runchuks Podcast
Jennifer Shahade on chess, poker, and podcasting

Jennifer Shahade on chess, poker, and podcasting

November 20, 2020

Jennifer Shahade is a 2 time US Women’s Chess Champion, she’s a PokerStars ambassador. She is also an author, speaker, and host of The Grid, which received the award for the best poker podcast this year.

We started off by discussing the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, and what made it click for the wider audience. We talked about how games like chess and poker mold us – what we learn from these games, and what makes them beautiful. We also talk about Jennifer’s own podcast, its underlying idea, and where she’s going with it. 


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00:00:00 Intro

00:01:51 The Queen's Gambit

00:09:15 The chess boom

00:11:01 What chess teaches us about life

00:22:34 Learn to lose

00:29:51 A privilege or a curse

00:34:25 Garry Kasparov on The Queen's Gambit

00:39:59 The next big poker movie

00:43:46 Community and culture

00:48:17 Women in chess

00:52:48 What makes a movie appealing to a wider audience

00:58:47 Molly's Game

01:00:00 Getting stuck in the game - a blessing or a curse

01:06:08 Achieving balance

01:07:44 Sticking with the game because of sunk cost

01:13:26 Teaching chess

01:17:51 What makes chess beautiful?

01:24:03 Limited time to make a decision

01:28:51 Memorization and pattern recognition

01:32:17 Chess end-game and poker river

01:35:20 Is poker beautiful?

01:40:38 The Poker Grid podcast

01:49:41 Favorite podcasts

01:54:06 Learning from the guests

01:59:57 169 hands

02:08:01 Choosing guests

02:14:21 Having fun

02:18:36 Blindfold chess

02:21:13 The goal of The Poker Grid


If you enjoyed this episode, you might also like my conversation with GM Vladimir Kramnik (14th World Chess Champion) -

David Sklansky on poker, gambling, cheaters, and more

David Sklansky on poker, gambling, cheaters, and more

November 13, 2020

David Sklansky is one of the top authorities on the topic of gambling, author of several hugely successful books. He coined several commonly used terms - such as semi-bluff, implied odds, effective odds. Many of the poker theory concepts that David came up with 40 years ago are still relevant in your games today and maybe forever. He has rubbed shoulders with many of the greats in the industry. Poker players, casino owners, businessmen. In this conversation, David shares some great anecdotes from his encounters with Bob Stupak, Steve Wynn, Donald Trump, and many more. And we also talk about some big stories about cheating and collusion in live games throughout the years. David lifts the curtain up on what’s been happening in Vegas in the 70s and 80s when the gambling industry there was still pretty much a wild-west. 

Here are some of David’s books:

The Theory of Poker Applied to No-Limit -

Geeking, Grifting, and Gambling Through Las Vegas -


Seven-Card Stud for Advanced Players -


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00:00:00 Intro

00:02:36 How David Sklansky got into poker

00:10:57 The math and theory of gambling

00:18:10 Bob Stupak – the legendary casino owner

00:24:07 Trump - The Game

00:27:03 Ignorance

00:31:05 The Stratosphere Tower

00:37:23 Gambling exploits

00:44:13 The Theory of Poker

00:57:18 Logic and common sense

01:04:16 Thinking outside of the box

01:15:24 Smart people making mistakes

01:20:54 Think beyond the obvious

01:26:17 Covid research

01:27:47 Father

01:35:08 Finding exploits

01:40:43 The crooked games

01:49:33 Crooked WSOP champions

01:51:33 Mixed games

01:58:39 Cheating in poker

02:05:45 ROI on tournaments

02:08:19 Gambling ideas to find creative solutions

02:17:09 Solving problem of innocent people in jail, and other ideas

02:25:40 Larry Flynt story

02:33:22 Who was cheating and who was not

02:37:47 Collusion

02:40:35 Game selection

02:42:25 Cheating business

02:58:35 Poker Hall of Fame

02:59:41 All it takes is one chapter

03:01:44 Please don't ever say the word EV to me

03:03:19 Algebra and logic

03:11:39 Is Doyle Brunson still a winning player?

03:17:25 Bob Stupak running for mayor of Las Vegas

03:26:49 US elections

03:32:49 Floyd Mayweather story

03:38:03 Morris Chestnut story

03:41:37 What David got from poker

03:45:36 Maybe you better call a doctor

03:48:35 Steve Wynn story

03:54:28 Carl Icahn story

03:58:29 One good thing about not having a real job

03:59:18 Solving problems


If you liked this episode, you might also enjoy some of the following:

Mason Malmuth - David's long-time friend and colleague. We had a very interesting conversation about Mason's latest book, where he looks at some key events fin history of the world through a lens of gambling -

Richard Turner - The legendary card mechanic, card magician, and card cheat. Richard shared many personal anecdotes about his life, his career, his encounters with the mob, card cheats, and much more -

Michael Franzese - Michael used to be a high ranking member of the feared Colombo crime family. At his most affluent, he generated 5-8 million dollars per week from legal and illegal businesses and became one of the biggest moneymakers in mob history. Michael is the only high-ranking official of a major crime family to ever walk away without protective custody, and survive -


Dr. Roman Yampolskiy on how is artificial intelligence changing the world

Dr. Roman Yampolskiy on how is artificial intelligence changing the world

October 30, 2020

Dr. Roman Yampolskiy is one of the leading experts on the topic of AI safety. In this podcast episode we cover a wide variety of questions - such as - what is AI, what is intelligence, how does the future look like, how it affects our lives, what does it mean to be human, does AI have emotions, does it perceive art? And we also discuss the dangers that AI, the bots, and the real-time-assistance pose to the poker industry.  Is the future of online poker is at risk and what can be done about it?


Dr. Yampolskiy:

Twitter -

On Controllability of Artificial Intelligence

Roman’s Arxiv

Roman’s Google Scholar Page - Intelligence Safety and Security -

Artificial Superintelligence: A Futuristic Approach -



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00:00:00 Intro

00:02:18 What is AI?

00:07:35 How AI is going to affect poker

00:13:11 What can poker sites do to combat AI and RTA

00:17:06 Online poker bots

00:22:53 Will online poker find a way?

00:29:42 AI affecting careers

00:31:52 Explainability

00:38:01 Human decision making is biased

0:41:17 Human-level intelligence

00:44:59 Art and Artificial Intelligence

00:49:32 Can humans understand a higher level of intelligence?

00:51:12 Recommendation algorithms

00:58:17 False beliefs

01:03:52 Dangers of recommendation algorithms

01:08:12 The point of no return

01:11:14 Do we know what we really want?

01:16:53 Removing humans from the equation

01:18:58 How far are we from the technological singularity

01:22:30 Optical illusions

01:24:41 Is poker a special game?

01:29:09 Can we mitigate the risks of AI

01:36:03 The meaning of our life

01:40:57 AI in politics

01:47:33 What's the best outcome?

01:50:21 Our fate is in the hands of a few scientists

01:52:37 Neurolink and other fascinating applications of AI

01:55:46 What can we learn from AI?

02:00:38 Roman Yampolskiy on social media

Adam Carmichael on mindset and performance

Adam Carmichael on mindset and performance

October 23, 2020

We discuss a wide range of topics focused on the mental game of poker, achieving peak performance, optimizing your mindset, and achieving success in poker and in life.

Adam is a mindset and performance coach, make sure to check out his YouTube channel:










00:00:00 Intro

00:01:30 Overcoming 2020

00:07:48 Variance and probabilities

00:19:27 Emotional vs Rational conversation

00:30:47 Emotions

00:39:48 Small trigger, huge tilt

00:41:59 Labeling the emotions

00:43:16 Zoom out to solve problems

00:47:38 Graph building business

00:54:21 How to stop checking your graph

01:05:47 Rewards

01:18:28 Days off

01:24:53 Flotation tank

01:27:52 When poker is your life

01:32:51 Value of time

01:38:41 I wish I worked more. Really?

01:42:24 Poker gives me freedom

01:47:28 There's always a way

01:52:05 Long-term thinking

Nathan Gamble from poker kid to WSOP glory

Nathan Gamble from poker kid to WSOP glory

October 16, 2020

Nathan was 12 years old when he started playing poker in his father's regular game, fast forward less than two decades and now he has 2 WSOP bracelets to his name. His is a fascinating story. We talk about him growing up as a kid playing an adult game, college years, Nathan's 4 years in the military, him being kidnapped as a teen, and of course the WSOP glory. Eventually, we get to the topic of the Galfond Challenge and poker on Twitch. There is a lot in between, I won't give you spoilers. Hope you enjoy it and please leave a comment about your favorite part!


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00:03:52 The poker kid

00:08:37 A child among men

00:13:39 Life lessons from poker

00:18:30 The first WSOP Bracelet

00:29:33 "Costa Rica" trip

00:38:32 Playing poker during class

00:43:39 Joining the army

00:48:55 Boston Bombing

00:57:49 North Korea

01:08:41 Life lessons from Poker to Army

01:12:36 Playing poker while in the army

01:17:38 The wedding story

01:22:49 The kidnapping

01:40:09 The book project

01:45:13 War books, movies, and series

01:53:28 Living the history

01:58:44 Post-traumatic stress disorder

02:01:47 Jocko Podcast with Dakota Meyer

02:03:57 Situation in United States

02:09:59 War is always ugly

02:12:02 There's no grey area in any argument anymore

02:17:28 Phil Galfond on Phil Hellmuth

02:25:16 Haters gonna hate

02:32:34 The Galfond Challenge

02:42:26 Chance Kornuth

02:44:35 Twitch viewer numbers in perspective

02:45:52 Getting into games

02:50:10 The individual viewer matters

03:01:17 Full circle

03:03:52 Podcasts


JNandez on achieving success in poker and business [Rebroadcast]

JNandez on achieving success in poker and business [Rebroadcast]

October 9, 2020

This episode originally aired in mid-February 2020. It's a wide-ranging conversation with Fernando “JNandez” Habegger. Topics are listed in the Outline below.


Follow JNandez on Twitter and Twitch



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00:01:01 Runchuks & Toby chatting

00:06:16 Welcome JNandez

00:08:07 Introductions

00:11:16 Expand your poker horizon

00:13:39 Getting into coaching

00:16:43 1-on-1 coaching is not scalable

00:20:31 Success is muli-dimensional

00:25:36 Repetition and feedback are key

00:30:35 Learn from your mistakes

00:31:02 The Galfond Challenge

00:44:21 Variance and different playing styles

00:47:49 PLO GTO play, how to gain an edge

01:04:20 Growing popularity of PLO and 5-card PLO

01:10:51 What's the future of PLO and NLHE?

01:16:08 Short Deck Hold'Em

01:20:13 How JNandez sees poker after he became a Poker Business Man

01:30:54 On friendships

01:35:53 Seasons of Life

01:41:01 JNandez advice for social media

01:45:36 Value of sharing ideas and stimulating conversations


Bill Perkins - Die With Zero

Bill Perkins - Die With Zero

October 2, 2020

Bill Perkins is one of the world's most successful hedge fund managers and entrepreneurs. Now Bill is the CEO of a consulting services firm BrisaMax Holdings. These days, Perkins is recognized for his glamorous lifestyle, high-stakes poker games, and outrageous novelty wagers. He very much lives every day to the fullest. 

Bill's book DIE WITH ZERO is a labor of love project. Bill has been developing the principles outlined in the book since his first job making $16,000 a year in the 90's as a screen clerk for the New York Mercantile Exchange. The principles described in the book are timeless and at the very least will make you look at your life from an angle you might not have considered before. It is full of actionable advice and is overall a very enjoyable read. 

US market:

Get the book DIE WITH ZERO:

Get the book Your Money or Your Life:

Get the book Tiny Habits:


UK market: 

Get the book DIE WITH ZERO:

Get the book Your Money or Your Life:

Get the book Tiny Habits:


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00:01:40 The book - Die With Zero

00:02:44 Wall Street

00:06:41 The goal of Die With Zero

00:10:04 Pivotal moments of Bill's life

00:12:39 Your Money or Your Life

00:17:27 Time is money

00:26:04 Figure out what you want to do

00:30:56 We retire on our memories

00:37:58 Risk-taking

00:49:52 Life on autopilot

00:52:10 The greatest invention of mankind

00:54:03 Aha moment

01:02:52 Questions to ask yourself

01:05:56 Coin flip trip

01:09:22 Step out from the comfort zone

01:13:31 Gifting money vs gifting experiences

01:16:19 Movement is life

01:20:24 Galfond Challenge

01:24:36 Bill Perkins on Poker

01:29:57 Wasted talent

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?

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