British poker player Jon Clark got his start in poker like many his age did. He was in the latter half of his teenage years in college when he was introduced to the game by friends. Clark took an extreme liking to poker and the rest is history, as they say.
“For me, my poker journey started when I was at college,” Clark told PocketFives. “I got introduced to the game by a group of friends, of which no one really had a clue what was going on. We did however start building a love for the game and would find ourselves playing on multiple occasions weekly.”
Today, Clark can be found regularly in the streets of the virtual poker world, playing as ‘luckyfish89‘ and battling with some of the game’s best. He had a huge 2018 that included a PokerStars SCOOP title to the tune of $169,850 ($104,935 plus $64,915 in bounties) and then closed out the year with another six-figure score in December. The latter was a 19th-place finish in the partypoker MILLIONS Online event that rewrote the online poker record books. Clark scored $109,175 for that finish.
Clark described he early days playing poker as a “healthy addiction,” saying that he and his friends got into the game before they were old enough to go out to local pubs, so it was poker that provided them an outlet for fun. Clark added that he didn’t really know what he wanted to do in life and that he bounced between a few jobs. He found that poker would be what he really wanted to do.
“Eventually, we discovered there was a poker club in our town and things progressed and the love for the game continued to grow,” Clarke continued about his early time in poker. “I got to a level where I was making a small amount of money playing low buy-in tournaments. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life at that stage, but I believed that I had it in me to progress to a high level and pursue a dream.”
He was all in on poker, but then the club he was playing at got shut down.
“That’s kind of where I started panicking a little bit,” Clark said.
A friend showed him the online poker ropes, a friend who was doing fairly well online and Clark felt that if his friend could do it, he could as well.
“A stage came where our club was shutdown, which caused a bit of despair, leaving me with no idea on what I was going to do,” Clark said. “One of my friends from college, ‘Jareth3542,’ had been having some success in the online world, something I hadn’t really tried out yet.
I started asking him a lot of questions and it got to a stage where he started staking me at micro stakes.”
Clark’s start in online poker was a little slow to start. He said he wasn’t making much money at the beginning, but it was enough to get by and enough to keep him in the game. At the time, he was still living with his parents.
His friend was involved with BBZ Staking and Coaching, getting staked by their team. After a handful of months staking Clark online, the friend helped Clark get into the stable.
“I started at the very bottom, playing $0-22 buy-ins,” Clark said, “I was by far the weakest player in the group and had a lot of work to do to have a chance of survival in this industry. We were receiving group coaching Monday through Friday and this is where I started getting a much better grip of the game. After adding one-on-ones to my schedule with the likes of ‘bigbluffzinc,’ ‘Niet2maar3,’ and ‘BanicIvan,’ my game really started to progress and my buy-in limits were increased. Within a year I was playing weekly 1K buy-ins, EPTs, etc.
“All of those guys had an impact on my progression,” Clark said. “Notably, though, it is Jordan Drummond (bigbluffzinc) who has helped me the most over the years. His coaching techniques and ability to articulate his thoughts in such a way have been huge for me. I don’t think you will find many people out there with a better ability to coach this game.”
Clark has more than $2.4 million in online tournament earnings, highlighted by the two previously mentioned six-figure scores, and then in the live realm he has $185,369 in earnings.
The PokerStars SCOOP event Clark won came in 2018. It was in the SCOOP-18-H $1,050 NLHE Progressive KO, Thursday Thrill SE tournament that attracted a field of 1,344 entries. Clark battled his way to the final table where he wound up facing ‘owilson25’ in heads-up play. Clark started heads-up play with about one-fourth of the chips that his opponent had, but he fought back to get the victory. This win was a big success for Clark and put his name in some headlines around the industry, but it was another victory that Clark views as his breakthrough.
“Notably, my real breakthrough moment in poker was when I shipped the PokerStars Thursday Thrill in 2016, for just shy of $100K,” Clark said. “For me, this is one of my most memorable accolades in my poker career and really gave my future and confidence a huge boost. Winning the Thursday Thrill SCOOP in 2018 for just shy of $170K is my fondest poker memory and finally getting my first six-figure score after being so close on several occasions. The feeling of winning an event of such prestige was unbelievable.”
Clark has now been with BBZ for more than four years and he’s worked his way up through the ranks to become a coach himself.
“Over four years after joining the stable, I now find myself in a position where I am hosting two of the weekly group sessions, with as many as 30-40 people on the call on some occasions,” Clark said. “For anyone who wants to take their game to the next level, I would strongly advise getting involved. I also offer one-to-one coaching to the guys in the stable, as well as externally.”
While the coaching he does is certainly to help others advance their games and hopefully enjoy the same career success that Clark has had, Clark also believes that becoming a coach has helped to improve his game. It’s turned him on to new ways of thinking, new tools, and more.
“Running these coaching sessions was the point which really encouraged me to get my act together with the utilization of poker tools, such as PioSOLVER and MonkerSolver,” Clark said. “I was a bit of a late bloomer with these. I have been studying a huge amount in these areas this year and it is having a big impact on mine and my student’s ability.”
One of the things that is very much evident when you speak to Clark is his truthfulness. If you’re looking for a poker coach, you’re going to want someone who has the ability to tell you the honest truths. In the end, that’s only going to help a student progress. Clark’s honesty came from him realizing himself that he needed to improve, to get with the times of poker, so to speak, and that’s now a lesson he looks to teach to those he coaches.
“To be honest, I think I only got by without using these tools in the past as I was doing so many one-on-ones with Jordan,” Clark said. “For many people who don’t use these tools on a regular basis or at least have a top-tier coach or work with guys who do run simulations, the strong likelihood is that they will fall behind and wither out. This game is forever evolving and if you don’t stay ahead of the curve, your days will likely be numbered.”
After much success in 2018, Clark is looking forward to enjoying more of it in 2019, of at least giving it his all to have another great year. He’s specifically excited for the PokerStars WCOOP series that is on the horizon.
“I am looking forward to tackling the upcoming WCOOP and am aiming to go that little bit further than last year, where I picked up a third-place finish in the 2K PKO for $67K,” Clark said. “I tend to rise to the bigger occasions online and I have no doubt that I will be in the mix for some big prizes. Poker has helped me evolve as a person and I am very grateful for finding such an opportunity in life in which I thrive to improve daily.”