Doug Polk And ‘JNandez’ Feud Reveals An Ugly Truth About Poker Training

Martin Derbyshire July 26, 2018 5367 Reads
Doug Polk

There will be no real winner coming out of the Doug Polk and Fernando ‘JNandez87’ Habegger feud on YouTube this week.

The reputations of both Polk and Habegger will undoubtedly be tarnished by the various allegations.

Publicly airing his dirty laundry regarding one of poker’s most popular content creators could serve to raise Habegger’s significantly smaller social media profile. His motivation may even be just that. He could very well be leveraging Polk’s immense following to sell a few more subscriptions for his JNandez Poker PLO Mastermind course.

But ultimately, going public with allegations that Polk’s Upswing Poker fudged revenue numbers to keep from paying him his fair share won’t do it. Instead, it will damage the image of poker coaching and the poker training business in general — something that is much more likely to hurt sales over the long haul.

A truth about the business of poker training

The truth is, Habegger’s allegations, and Polk’s defense against them, unveil a truth about the business of poker training neither side really wants the public to know. Which is that poker training is a business, first and foremost.

Those in the business of teaching others poker strategy want it to look like their sole motivation is helping people get better at playing the game. When in fact, what’s really driving them is the almighty buck.

Habegger claims Upswing owes him close to $100,000 for the course he ultimately quit on. Polk revealed financials showing the short-lived course did close to $1 million in sales. Plus, that Habegger has already been paid out over $200,000 in accordance with the revenue share agreement between the two.

Unfortunately, both only serve to show just how big of a business poker training has become. Plus, they completely dispel the myth either side are in it for anything more than money.

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Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach

The old idiom those who can, do; those who can’t, teach, doesn’t really apply here. In poker, it’s those who have done can now trade in on their hard-earned success for the kind of stable income a skill game with a significant element of luck can never provide.

People might think these poker players turned coaches were born to teach. That they want to share what they’ve learned playing the game out of the goodness of their hearts. Think again.

This description might fit the average high school English teacher making $58,000 a year. But it doesn’t match gamblers who exploit edges for a living. Nor those who leverage the success they’ve had into a seven-figure revenue stream teaching.

The knock on coaches and training sites inside pro poker circles has always been that making people better at poker is tantamount to killing the long term viability of poker as a profession. Or at least its profitability. Of course, poker pros who say this publicly are criticized for being selfish.

The pot calling the kettle black

This Polk-Habegger feud makes that criticism seem a little like the pot calling the kettle black.

The content on Upswing Poker, Habegger’s PLO Mastermind course, and many other training sites will likely help you improve your game. It might even be worth the hundreds or thousands of dollars you’ll ultimately pay for it.

Just don’t be fooled into thinking the people behind it are in it for anything more than that. Instead, allow this very public feud over money to serve as an indication of what most coaches and training sites are really about.

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