PokerUpdate.com contributor Robbie Strazynski caught up with the Director of Poker Communications for PokerStars.com Lee Jones, on why he loves talking about poker and how he is the unofficial Chief Poker Evangelist. Check it out for yourself!
And be sure to stick with PokerUpdate here and on Twitter @PokerUpdate to get all the updates at the 2016 PCA!
Hi everybody, Robbie Strazynski here for the PokerUpdate.com coverage of the 2016 PCA – the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. I’m here with Mr Lee Jones, Director of Poker Communications for PokerStars.
I asked them if I could be Deputy Director of Covert Activities and they wouldn’t go with that, so this is all I could get.
Well, I’ve got to say, out of the (almost) 7 billion people on Earth there aren’t too many people who have the job of Director of Poker Communications. What exactly does that mean? Let’s tell our people here at PokerUpdate.
Jack of all trades, master of none. My unofficial title is Chief Poker Evangelist, so what I do is I bring poker to the world.
To the masses!
There we go.
That’s the message, right? Just like a Microsoft Word Evangelist would work for Microsoft, I am the Poker Evangelist. So, I tell people about poker, or I teach poker, I make videos, you will see me on Lee’s Lowdown segment of the webcast here, and I will be moderating the Q&A sessions that go on here. So, really, my job is to just get poker out to the people, to media such as yourself, to regulators, conferences, and whatever it takes.
Interesting! Like you said, jack of all trades. There’s clearly a lot of responsibilities that fall under your portfolio, but what’s your favorite thing to do? Not in life, but in terms of your responsibilities.
Yeah, I was gonna say: Play Bluegrass Music. You know, my favorite thing in the job is hanging out with poker players and talking about poker. I have the best job in the world because I literally get paid to think and talk about poker.
Well, I disagree, because I also have the best job in the world. I get to interview people about poker.
No, but you see, the cool thing is that everybody can have the best job if they find it for themselves, right?
Oh, that’s true!
So to me it’s hanging out with the poker players, it’s talking about poker, it’s seeing people have fun playing poker, and it’s teaching poker. When the light goes on, and people go: “Oh! There’s a lot here!” If they sit down at the table and they’re thinking: “Oh, this is just another casino game,” or it’s just about everyone flipping their cards over and we run out a board and someone wins and somebody doesn’t, right?
The problem is that so much of what you see on TV is just that. There’s nothing really interesting about KJ vs 99 all in. It’s like, let’s just flip a coin and send somebody the chips.
So, what is interesting about it then?
What’s interesting about poker?
How do you get someone who’s not interested, maybe because they think it’s just another casino game, to be interested.
So it’s a very interesting point that you should ask that, because the last year or so I’ve changed my whole shtick about how I teach poker. I don’t start saying how the poker hands are ranked or anything like that. I look at them and say: “Poker is a game of telling stories.”
Uhh, I love it!
Basically, we tell stories with our chips. You bet a lot, and it means you’ve got something strong. If you don’t bet much, or you check, it says you have something weak. But the beauty of poker is that you can lie.
And tell a different story than the one that’s actually true, right?
Exactly. I explain to them that everything that’s happening is that you are telling stories, you are listening to the stories that the other players are telling, and eventually stories get believed or they don’t.
As a matter of fact, I use this quote that Sam Farha made, and I just think it’s absolutely brilliant.
Oh my God, Raisy Daisy, right?
That’s not it? That’s the Sam Farha line!
No. Sam Farha said: “The person who bets the most wins. The cards are just used to settle ties.”
Ahh!! I identify with that.
That’s really true. What a lot of people don’t realize is that – and I tell this new students – 75% of the hands played on PokerStars never go to a showdown. So three quarters of the time somebody’s story gets believed by everyone else at the table.
Just because they’re betting enough, or telling the right story.
Because they told the right story, and of course, most of the time that story’s true, and some of the time that story’s not true, but it’s all about the stories. Once you get that, and people begin to understand, then betting makes sense, folding makes sense, raising makes sense, and everything else that comes from that. So when the light goes on in people’s eyes, they go: “Oh! This is really interesting!” They stop being excited about who’s going to win the flip and they start being interested in a hand playing out. I’ll often play hands face-up so everyone can see the cards and everyone can understand. I said: “So you’ve got top pair and now you’re making a bet, and you’ve got a flush draw. So it’s not that you don’t believe his story, but you’ve got a story to tell yourself.” Then, suddenly..
The ball keeps rolling.
The ball keeps rolling, and suddenly people get it and go: “Oh! This is interesting, let’s do this again.” As soon as they do that, I go: “Gotcha!”
Oh, storytelling is what we’re all about here.
Well you know, Robbie, we are a race of storytellers. Basically as soon as everyone had a fire and they didn’t have to huddle in the cave, and probably even before they had fire and were still huddling in the caves, what did they do? I mean, they told stories. At first they were informational, like: “There’s good water down that path,” but after a while, they just started telling stories. We have a game that’s all about storytelling. Nothing could be better.
Well storytelling is what we’re all about here at PokerUpdate.com, and there’s plenty of stories that we’re seeing that are unfolding right before our eyes, at the felt, in the tournament room, right here in front of the camera – with wonderful, amazing, fantastic, and interesting people, such as Lee Jones. Thank you so much for joining us, once again here at the PCA 2016. Any last words for our viewers here at the PokerUpdate link?
Come and see us!
That’s right! Whether it’s at the PCA or any of the other great events that these guys put on. Thanks for joining.