John Cosgrove Teaches by Day and Crushes by Night

John Cosgrove teaches grade school and has been handing out lessons on the felt in the last few months.

The PocketFives New Jersey Rankings underwent a shift over the summer as many of the top grinders went to Las Vegas to play live tournaments. As a result, some new names moved up who were not near the top at the start of the year. One of those players is John ‘Selurznug’ Cosgrove, who is currently number three with a string of five-figure results from May through July serving as the catalyst for the boost.

Cosgrove earned over $50,000 combined over the course of two PokerStarsNJ Sunday Specials and an 888NJ Ultimate Warrior which jump started his rise toward the top. He admits variance played a large role in him walking away as a winner that many times and Cosgrove says he’s always trying to get better each day.

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“I’m still fairly new to poker so I constantly make adjustments and learn something new every week. Just recently in the Big Stax 500, I made, quite frankly, the worst play of my poker career so I clearly have a lot to learn,” said Cosgrove. “I think the three scores happening in succession is most likely variance and not just a couple of adjustments I’ve made recently. But, I have been reviewing hand history’s with my friend who crushes the high stakes cash games online and that has helped me to think about spots a little differently.”

Cosgrove saw an increase in his overall ability to play on a consistent basis thanks to a transition in his day-to-day profession. In the 2015-16 school year, Cosgrove was teaching full-time but this year is in a working in a substitute role. Cosgrove figured out an effective routine for balancing play and poker when he was teaching full-time and that has carried over to his current lifestyle.

“When I taught full-time my routine was something like wake up and go to school, get home and take a nap, wake up and do the nightly session, go to bed and repeat. That was back when I was playing mid-stakes and taking some shots. In general though, balancing poker with teaching is pretty easy, especially since I have three months a year off.”

As someone who teaches younger minds how to better their physical health, Cosgrove believes that doing a routine before playing is beneficial and recommends other players try to see how it works for them.

“I only think exercise helps me at the poker table if I did a routine before my session. Maybe it helps my overall posture or whatever by I mainly do it to activate my mind and get everything in flow. I would advocate trying a workout routine before a poker session and see how you like it. Also, I want a Varidesk because sitting is the new smoking and that is the thing I hate most about poker, sitting.”

Games have always been a part of the health and physical education teacher’s life as Cosgrove used to play Call of Duty on a regular basis before he found the competitive and strategy-based world of poker.

In the three years since he first started playing, Cosgrove has improved his game and that is reflected in his surge up the NJ Rankings. Cosgrove attributes this, in part, to his group of friends that have a variety of playing styles that manifest themselves into Cosgrove’s own play.

“I wouldn’t have the success I’ve had without my poker friends. We all started playing poker just shy of three years ago and my friend K has turned into the micro-stakes crushing nit who won’t take a shot both in poker or of alcohol, R is an aggro spew cannon who will five-bet all with K5o and S is the ‘ultimo.’ Having this variety of friends/players to discuss hands with helps more than anything.”

Now that he is among the elite in New Jersey, Cosgrove knows there is a lot of work to be done and formidable opponents to overcome before he takes the next step to hit number one.

“I never thought I’d achieve this high of a ranking, to be honest so I’m more than satisfied with where I’m at. I was never too concerned [with the rankings]until I broke top 10. Now I guess it’s all about seeing how long I remain but if I have anything near the downswing I had this winter then there is no chance [laughs]. I think there are unstoppable forces ahead of me in spot #1 and #2. Spewy is just on some other level I guess, I never have any idea what he’s doing and Coles is the best so good luck me.”