163 – Dara O’ Kearney – From Ultra-Marathons to Poker Mastery



Dara O’Kearney, born on June 17, 1965, in Ennis, County Clare, is an accomplished Irish ultra runner and professional poker player. He has won several ultra running events and claimed the title of Irish 24-hour running champion in 2007. 

In poker, Dara won the 2008 European Deepstack Poker Championship and has earned over $3 million online and $1 million in live tournaments. He co-authored “Poker Satellite Strategy” and “PKO Poker Strategy,” co-hosts the popular podcast “The Chip Race,” and serves as a poker expert for CardsChat and Tight Poker.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[00:10] Welcome to the show…

  • 01:10 Dara attributes his late start in poker at age 42 to a competitive spirit and career transitions, spurred by the diverse participants at the Irish Poker Open.
  • 03:56 Dara shifted to full-time poker in a year, out-earning his IT job and applying a disciplined mindset from sports to focus only on controllable factors.
  • 06:58 Explaining his financial struggles and risky investment to his wife, underscoring the need to accept poker’s inherent variability.

[11:32] Discussing the transformative role of solvers in poker, emphasizing their value for precise strategy while acknowledging their limitations

  • 15:00 Dara highlights that effective poker strategies need only succeed slightly over half the time, stressing the importance of accepting risk.
  • 17:16 Revising traditional poker tactics, advocating for exploiting less skilled players’ tendencies through strategic bluffing for increased profitability.
  • 19:39 Adapting a strategy based on opponents’ tendencies to capitalize on mistakes.

[22:09] Dara’s insights resonate with GTO skeptics, demonstrating practical effectiveness and discussing his book’s content.

  • 25:10 Navigating the divide between GTO proponents and skeptics, bridging opposing perspectives.
  • 28:30 People often hesitate between betting big for value or bluffing, fearing different outcomes. 
  • 32:25 Focusing solely on survival rather than winning can limit poker players’ success.

[36:41] Dana aims to expand his coaching and training content in the realm of poker.

  • 39:39 Balancing content creation with active play, emphasizing poker’s strategic depth and continuous improvement.

Wrap up—Thanks For Checking Out This Episode Of The Mindset Advantage Podcast!

Key Learning Points: 

  1. Focus on controllables; mindset is key for poker success.
  2. Seek diverse opinions; varied perspectives aid decision-making in poker.
  3. Flexibility beats rigid strategy; adapt to opponent deviations in poker.


Dana’s website: Click here

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