Many poker pros play the game for a living because of the flexibility it allows. If you feel like going to Cancun for the weekend, and you’ve got the cash, then go. If your friends are heading to the EPT Grand Final in Monaco, you can go too. Just be sure to get some Euros first.
Yet, one player who is embracing a strict, structured regimen has been having resounding success. Jonathan ‘Gil3000’ Gill just hit $1 million in career online tournament winnings and scored his first PocketFives Triple Crown, an award that requires a person to win three $10,000 prize pool tournaments across three sites tracked by PocketFives within a week.
“I believe the majority of MTT regulars turned into professional poker players because they saw it as an easy way to make money and a way to give themselves as much freedom and time off as they choose,” Gill said of the profession. “I became a poker professional not because I felt I had more natural talent than the majority, but because I felt I could outwork them.”
“I’m a very determined individual with a need for clear structure and goals, willing to work as hard as I can to achieve them,” he added. “I give myself set working hours five days a week, making sure I strike a balance between self-study and group reviews and then putting it all into practice on the virtual felt. I never want to look back and regret the opportunities that presented themselves by being under-resourceful. This is what keeps me going on a daily basis.”
His rigorous schedule consists of a two-hour group review three days a week from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Then, he starts registering for tournaments, usually ending around 10:30 pm. After his playing time has concluded, the Triple Crown winner spends at least an hour reviewing hands he marked during the day. He talks with friends about them, crunches numbers, and heads to bed by 4:00 am.
On days when he doesn’t play poker, his life is mostly devoid of the game. Quite literally, he takes a day off.
“I need the time off because I’m drained from having this routine,” Gill said. “I believe it’s very important to give it 100% of your focus rather than diluting the time multi-tasking. This means I get the recovery time I require to be ready to go again the following day.”
Is he a hermit, then? “I always try to plan something with friends in advance on Saturdays, then midweek make sure I have a day off to do something with the girlfriend, again planned in advance,” he said of managing a social life. “It’s helped me realize how important it is to utilize time correctly, not necessarily on days off, but also when studying and grinding. The more resourceful you are, the quicker your progression will be.”
Gill’s largest online poker cash weighed in at $74,000 and came after final tabling the Sunday Million in February of last year. He has stockpiled over 3,300 in the money finishes in total.
“I’m in a better position than most to give myself clearer short-term goals that lead to long-term progression,” said the Englishman. “I think a lot of people think they study enough, but never really know because they don’t record how much time they spend on hand histories, reviews, or grinding. I have a 75/25 split in favor of grinding versus studying that I look to hit every month. Planning means I’m able to make sure I hit this target and not live month by month presuming I’ve done enough.”
Gill, the lone ranked online poker player in Northfield, was studying marketing in university before his poker career took off. It’s there that structure became instrumental to his life.
“I lived a very unstructured life simply because I was too laid back,” he said. “It wasn’t until my final year that I felt interested in the topics we studied. I believe being so unstructured before playing poker made me realize it was time to get my ass into gear. I wanted to do something that I enjoyed and thrived doing. Poker was exactly that and I recognized I would never be able to get by continuing my laid-back approach.”
The crowning jewel of Gill’s poker career, at least so far, is his first Triple Crown. He had been gunning for the award for two years and finally took it down after wins on 888, PokerStars, and iPoker for just over 400 PLB Points. It was the 123rd Triple Crown by a UK player.