We continue our series of interviews with founders and today we've got a real star for you.
iJustGamble is one more former $1,000 HU HT player in our team, a unique individual who just hated to be told what to do. A 7-digit winner who used the money to create the most precious things in the world: memorable experiences.
His life is something almost every rookie poker player dreams about. Read about expensive apartments, fast cars and amazing world travels.
Three consecutive SuperNova Elites. High stakes heads-up player for years, loves battling regs.
Smart Spin: Hey, iJustGamble! Great to talk to you, you are obviously one of those who achieved the poker players' dreams and reached the million of dollars in profit, however we need some question to start with and because some people may not recognize you, could you please tell us how did your poker life begin?
iJustGamble: Hello, nice to talk to you! My first steps were similar to those of a lot of poker players. Well, maybe not exactly...
They say that they got their first free $50 and never looked back, but in my case, it was quite different. After passing the extremely difficult poker quiz, I got all the articles on how to be a nit at NL2, I got my starting capital… Aaand it’s gone. I ignored all
I lost the money, but at the same time, I received something more valuable - the feeling that this game can be highly profitable. I started to believe that.
So, I picked up a second starting capital (still ignoring any BRM) and never looked back :)
Smart Spin: What really brought you to poker?
iJustGamble: Freedom and… money. With the help of the latter, I can say loud fuck you to the world and its expectations towards me. This way of living seduced me in my youth. They tell you one pattern which you “should” follow throughout your life: finish your degree, go to work, get a big loan to buy apartment and pay it off for the next 50 years, at the same time working your ass off, so your only chance to see what
Since I remember, I did not have any issues with learning. I was more annoyed by the yoke and stupid orders from the top. That’s why I try to avoid such situations. Even you irritated me a little, reminding me every day about this interview :D
Smart Spin: My pleasure. But I heard about this attitude so many times and a lot of those people just didn’t make it. Why is that? What did you do differently that you are here with your seven digit plus results and rest of them failed?
iJustGamble: Because I am a dreamer and a really stubborn son of a bitch at the same time. I don’t enjoy writing down my goals, I’d rather be more creative about them and just make them happen.
I’ve got this one dollar bill. I liked to add one more zero to it from time to time. When I wanted to earn my first $100,000, I wrote it down on this bill. When I made it, I added one more zero. It’s my talisman, it reminds me to chase my dreams, reach for the highest goals and never slow down.
Poker is really easy if you are motivated enough and this motivation will be different to every people. One may want something physical - a house,
In my opinion, it’s
Smart Spin: With that
iJustGamble: It was a time when I was already experienced and courageous reg at $500’s, FCD was climbing up the stakes and I also needed to make one step forward. It was a small rivalry with him in my head, a healthy one and based on
We were working in the
Smart Spin: So, how did you make that last step and started your life as
iJustGamble: Imagine a rebellion move. Revolt, riot. Army comes out on the streets.
One group decides to overthrow people in power. Marshals do not want to let it happen and choose the most trusty and the most skilled colonels to help them repel the attack. Power and going up in ranks would be their rewards.
In this history, I was a colonel, a solid $500’s reg, sometimes bumhunting $1000’s. My reputation was spotless, I’ve never declined any action, my golden rule was to never click that button. I just couldn’t let go, even when I was really tired.
Smart Spin: We speak so much about winning and moving up the stakes… But this rule seems like a 'losing money' attitude.
iJustGamble: I can't tell how much I lost doing that, but I would argue about it being
It was also useful when new players were attacking my lobby. Why would they sit down someone who never declines any action? They preferred to battle my colleagues and I had a lot of time to earn money on recreational players. So, taking that into account, you may say that I did not lose this money… because I got much more back later.
Smart Spin: Okay, you are a colonel, there is a rebellion… what next?
iJustGamble: The group of
I decided to help the players at $1,000’s and there were a couple of reasons
Also, I was always a team player, but there was no place in sports for the guy of my slim and frail posture. Heads-up poker is the game for individuals, so when I heard that there is a possibility to work in
Marshals promised me to have a place in their group, only if I help them defend themselves. At this time, when I was furiously fighting with the attackers and trying to gain my spot at the higher stakes, I was living with FCD. His analytical mind and everyday support had definitely helped me to finish my quest. With some very good results :)
Smart Spin: It’s a really interesting story. Did you know those guys from $300’s? Did they really have a chance to defeat regs at $1,000’s? How long did it last, can you reveal some details?
iJustGamble: They were some
I am not playing there anymore, because in the meantime Smart Spin needed more and more attention and all founders stopped playing including myself. But I heard that three of them finally got what they wanted - the invitations to the elite $1000’s HU HT group.
Smart Spin: You’ve got to tell me because I can’t experience it… What is the feeling of buying in for $1,000 to a single match? How did you manage to play for such a huge amount of money, wasn’t it hard at the beginning?
iJustGamble: It was exciting, definitely. Swings were huge, thousands of dollars up and down within
But I like to take this opportunity to compare poker to car racing. You start it with tractor engine’s and grandpa’s barrow combined, not really a technological masterpiece. But later, with enough dedication and a lot of
When you race in the first league, every mistake costs you much more than in the past. Every slide, every wrongly approached corner will add up to your final time. Do professional drivers get nervous at the track? There is a reason why they are called “professionals”. They love it and do it with one thing in mind - to win.
Smart Spin: What does a $1,000 reg do with his life and all this money that he collected?
iJustGamble: I am not really an assertive person, I don’t like to say “no” to anyone, especially to myself :D I like many things and I am not a nit when it comes to money…
I travelled a lot and fulfilled a lot of dreams. Thanks to poker, I was able to sail through
I enjoy spending money, I do not save on cars nor places to live in. I am a simple guy and I like nice things :) A few years back, I thought that this is something I am trying to reach…
But the truth is quite different. I was always chasing the win, being able to be called the best at something And I still do.
Smart Spin: You are living a great life and I am wondering - which of those moments was the most wonderful one?
iJustGamble: It’s difficult to pick the one, some of the memories are very clear; getting first Supernova Elite, first evening with people I was moving up the stakes with, the feeling when you get that perfect flow and show the full domination over your opponent, he starts to sweat and get nervous and at the same time, it builds up your confidence and makes you play a level higher… This is one of the best feelings in this game, I’ve always enjoyed it. Add to it my first trip abroad to PCA and the view from The Cove to Caribbean Islands.
All my trips, everything I experienced, people I met - it adds up to my treasure chests with memories. I just can’t open it and find only one, most precious moment.
However, I always appreciated all people who helped me improve, make me a better version of myself. I cherish every memory I have with them and I am happy that now I can build Smart Spin community with them.
Smart Spin: It’s good that you mentioned Smart Spin because I’d like to know what this project means to you. As I heard, you were the one who got the crew together after you and FCD heard that PokerStars introduces Spin & Go's. What were your thoughts back then? Did you think that you will start building the biggest Spin & Go community in the world?
iJustGamble: FCD is the originator of this idea, he was just sitting in the living room one day and shared the perspective of creating Spin & Go’s
Not much later, we were joined by mine and
It’s already been two years (two years soon!) as we work together. During this time a small, under ten player team, has grown to over 500 member community. We got to know ourselves better and I believe that every one of us changed for the better, both as a human and as a player, and that happened because we always helped each other. For me, it’s one of the biggest values of being in this team, working with these guys. Their dedication and commitment to this project
We meet every week on Monday morning, no exceptions, and we discuss our ideas about Smart Spin. I love it, even though we meet early and I hate waking up to the clock alarms :D
Smart Spin: Working in
iJustGamble: It’s always easier to tell what I don’t do :) I take care on Smart Spin’s image in the social media, I build our community on Twitch, together with killuifuplay we manage our coaching team, I take care of mindset section, I create content on
Smart Spin: What can you tell us about the future of
iJustGamble: One of the many projects we work on at this moment is Smart Backing.
From the beginning of Smart Spin, we met a lot of great people who have created this wonderful community. Now, we want to make it bigger and more accessible to the poker players who want to develop their skills in other formats.
With help of top coaches for cash games, MTTs and PLO, we will deliver the highest quality content for our community.
This project is huge and it will take a lot of time, but soon you may hear a little more about it!
Smart Spin: Oh, don’t be shy, tell us something more! I know that Smart Backing has already secured the top dog for cash games community...
iJustGamble: It’s not me being shy, it’s just me keeping everything secret :) But since you started the subject, I can officially announce the head coach for cash games in Smart Backing. He is one of the top players in the world right now. There is a big chance that while you are reading this interview, he smashes his head against the biggest names in the poker industry, fighting them on PokerStars… or he just sits alone in the lobby, waiting for the action :)
I am talking about the one and only ‘limitless’ - by the way how epic that
Smart Spin: What will happen
iJustGamble: Don’t worry, founders are not going anywhere. We will still keep building our community and actively help those who seek the poker knowledge.
Many projects we currently work on and those which are yet to come up this year will require us to… just sleep less :)