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Paul Hoppe - aka "GiantBuddha"

Poker Coach – Paul Hoppe
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Unlike most online poker professionals, I started playing seriously before the poker boom. When my friend began hosting a home game twice a week, I borrowed every poker book in the library. Before my first session, I read an 80 page primer that essentially said, "Play tight and aggressive. Bet when you have it; fold when you don't." That advice served me well. After cutting my teeth in a Dealer's Choice home game, I went on to play mid-stakes Limit Hold'em, Stud, Hi-Lo, and a wild and deep $5/$10 No Limit game. This was live poker, and the games were flush with money from the internet boom. Winning was easy.

My favorite place to play was the Mayfair club, which had been home to Howard Lederer and Dan Harrington, and immortalized in Rounders as The Chesterfield. It was an amazing place to play, but unfortunately got shut down in May of 2000. I wasn't interested in the other NYC clubs, nor in playing online. So I took a break from poker. I played in a few bands, and ran a Taekwon-Do school in Times Square for two years. In 2006, I left the martial arts business and decided to take up poker again. So yeah, I missed the boom.

I toiled away as a small stakes grinder for almost two years, bouncing from live to online, LHE to NL and back. It was at the start of 2008 that I discovered a better way to approach the game: play fewer tables, spend more time studying, and watch lots of videos. I dedicated myself exclusively to shorthanded Limit Hold'em and quickly went from grinding small stakes to thriving in the mid-stakes games.

Aside from my passion for the game itself, I love the freedom that poker provides. The game has changed my life, and I'd like to help others use it to change theirs. With this in mind, I started coaching in the summer of 2008. My background as a martial arts instructor gave me somewhat of a head start in this department, but I'm not one to rest on my laurels. I experimented with dozens of training methods, and I'm still looking for new angles to understand and improve.

Right now I am working on building a comprehensive Limit Hold'em curriculum here at Drag The Bar. It will range from the most basic introductory material to the advanced application of poker theory. I'm also currently pursuing Supernova Elite on PokerStars, and writing a book following this journey. I play mostly $10/$20 and $15/$30, with a mix of Heads Up, Short Handed, and Full Ring. The games are tougher these days, but there is still a lot of money to be made by players who are willing to work for it. I hope you'll join me on the forums, where we can work together to be better tomorrow than we are today.

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