148 – Patrick Howard – A Data-Driven Approach to Playing Poker



This week’s guest is Patrick Howard, lead strategy developer at Poker Detox, an elite coaching and staking company for poker players, joins the show to discuss a data-driven approach to playing poker.

We’ll discuss how he got started with poker and how his background in physics helped him to develop a data-driven methodology. He will explain common patterns that he has witnessed in low- as well as high-performing poker players and how mindset comes into the picture.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[00:04] Welcome to the show…

  • 00:17 Patrick talks about his background in Poker and how he got into the industry. For the past couple of years he has been the lead coach at Poker Detox, which is the company of his older brother Nick.
  • 00:38 Patrick has a background in physics through which his methodology in poker became very data driven. He uses this approach to teach people how to take exploits  where the data is showing that people make reliable mistakes. His other focus is simplicity.
  • 04:12 Our intuition reliably pushes us into the wrong direction when it comes to this data driven approach of playing poker. Patrick also explains that in general, a more aggressive approach brings more results compared to a more passive approach.

[08:51] It’s destabilizing in the beginning when you are teaching people a data-driven approach because it’s the opposite of everything they have ever learned in their career up to that point.

  • 09:30 Elliot asks Patrick if it makes a difference if he teaches people who are new to poker vs people who have already played it for years. 
  • 10:55 It’s definitely harder for people to make money playing online poker. However, are you using the tools that are available creatively in order to get an edge over your competition?
  • 11:40 It’s important to have a belief that poker is beatable in order to put in the effort to learn to make it beatable. If one believes that there is no money in poker anymore, the subconscious will block them in doing the hard work that is necessary. 

[12:28] Patrick talks about patterns that he has seen in low- as well as high-performance poker players. For example, he has seen that low-performers actually focus on things that do not matter. They are constantly getting lost in really unimportant concepts and they do not focus on fundamentals.

  • 18:22 Patrick calls himself very lucky having had many hypnotherapy sessions with Elliot back in 2018 when he started to play poker (again). He felt that Elliot had helped him to overcome the mental blocks he had back then.
  • 20:15 Patrick remembers when he was dealing with a lot of shame and feelings of being irresponsible when  he lost money at the table. Elliot helped him to reframe this thought pattern with a very interesting question.

[23:14] Patrick’s course is trying to create an environment that streamlines that path to high stakes poker and takes as much of the uncertainty out of it as possible. There are three facets to it, which Patrick explains in more detail in the podcast.

  • 26:30 In terms of high stakes you can make a really good living playing cash games online in 2022.
  • 27:01 Elliot asks Patrick what he is looking for in students signing up in his program.

[30:32] Wrapping it up…Thanks for checking out this episode!

Key Learning Points: 

  1. “If you play a strategy that’s data-driven it’s actually quite counterintuitive.”
  2. “Sometimes you don’t need a strategy that’s more accurate than your opponent’s strategy. It’s just as good to have a strategy that’s just as accurate, but far simpler.”
  3. “You can still make a very good living playing cash games online in 2022.”


Follow Patrick Howard on Twitter

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Interested in working with a Mindset & Performance coach on your poker game? Send a message to support@pokermindcoach.com and our team will work to find the best option for you. 

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About the Author Elliot Roe

Hi, I'm Elliot Roe... And I Help Poker Players Squeeze Every Ounce Of EV From Their Poker Skills and Abilities. Over 7500 poker players have downloaded my Mindset MP3s to boost their focus on the table and to relax and recover post-session. I have personally worked with hundreds more on mastering their emotions and the tabling and developing the “Pro-Athlete Mindset” needed to be successful into today’s games. Creating a strong poker mindset has been the “secret weapon” of the high stakes elite for years now, and I started this site to bring that edge to any player willing to work on that area of their game.

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