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ALL IN with Evan Jarvis: Ali Imsirovic

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  • In this episode of ALL IN, Evan Jarvis dives into the mindset of poker professional Ali Imsirovic.

On this episode of ALL IN, Evan Jarvis catches up with Ali Imsirovic, one of the hottest young players in poker right now. The two discuss work ethic, obsession, motivation and legacy.

Following this interview, Ali began an unprecedented hot streak that has the whole poker world talking, so you won’t want to miss this deep dive into the mindset and approach of a future champion.

Find out how Ali got his start in the game, how he rebuilt his bankroll after being robbed at knifepoint, and how he exploits GTO players both live and online. Evan and Ali also swap stories about how they got started in poker, before waxing poetic on the merits of the World Series of Poker Main Event.

Show Time Stamps

0:15Intro: Ali's heater since the recording of this episode
5:45Team Gripsed takes on the Punta Cana Poker Classic
6:36Evan's dream and Ali's win in Punta Cana: "I had a dream that Ali was at a final table and he was texting someone saying, 'runaway chip lead with 8 left.' And next thing I knew we were all celebrating together."
13:19Introvert vs. extrovert: "I guess the reason I was more introverted...I wasn't around people a lot, but I was playing a lot of basketball, and it was very competitive, very cutthroat."
23:27Cash Games vs. Tournaments: lifestyle: "A tournament lifestyle is super-hectic...but they're still a lot of fun, I enjoy them a lot. In cash games, things are a lot more static...I feel like the tournament lifestyle is more individual."
31:06Cash Games vs. Tournaments: profitability: "I think in the long run, tournaments are more profitable. But for a living, you want to do both, for sure."
33:46Sponsor: Gripsed Poker Training
34:25Ali's trophy win at Hard Rock: "It was just very relieving, I finally won a tournament, I don't care how much money it was. I got this trophy."
41:23Ali's early experiences with poker: "My dad would play poker with his friends and I'd go to these small games. He wouldn't want me to play...so obviously that made me want to do it even more."
43:30Rebuilding his bankroll after being robbed at knifepoint
48:20Evan's bankroll double up online and the power of daily study: "I'm not rushing to get to the highest stakes, I want to be doing it right before I move up. I want to have a strong foundation."
51:54GTO play vs YOLO exploitative/intuitive style: "Trying to do just one of those is, I think, a clear mistake. Like if you watch Charlie (Carrel) play, he's not playing even close to GTO, he's just exploiting everybody with their live reads and their tendencies...and he's crushing the highest-stakes games."
53:27The role of solvers and software: "I do think not using solvers at all...is going to be a mistake. Because you could be trying to exploit somebody in a way that if you don't understand how exactly you're exploiting them, it doesn't exactly make sense."
55:32Betting as a language and exploiting GTO play: "If you know how your opponent is going to interpret your bet, you can make the perfect bet. If most people are using solvers, then by studying solvers you know how people are going to understand your actions to be."
57:16The benefits of international poker experience
57:47Ali's top-three software picks for under $400
01:00:46Sponsor: 888 Poker (Use the promo code "ALLIN" when you make your first deposit)
01:01:33How much should you deposit for your first time playing online poker? "I think $50-$100, just play $3 SNGs and $2 tournaments...it's very easy to hop on a stake you shouldn't be playing, while if you only have $50-$100, you care about it more."
01:03:50The role of the Gripsed community in Ali's poker development: "I just watched everything, every single video you have. It was definitely more on an exploitative mindset, which I think helped grow my exploitative mind in poker."
01:05:59Evan on setting up his first HUD: "Knowing which stats to use and having a HUD which was really in-depth...I had a pretty transparent view of how (my opponents) approached almost every street, which was super-powerful."
01:08:20Ali's prop bet: "I felt like I needed a little bit of motivation, so on Twitter I laid an open challenge to everybody."
01:12:39Ali on goals and motivation: "Being one of the best live players is a little more appealing to me. Just being able to compete with the best is definitely a goal of mine."
01:15:11Ali on legacy and his parents' work ethic: "We just had nothing. My dad was working 3-4 jobs...the amount of hard work they put in to get us here, it was just really inspiring."
01:16:48Ali's frustration with lazy & lucky tournament players: "It's just annoying, especially when a tourney player wins something and they think they're the best."
01:18:25Evan's poker motivation: "It kind of embraced my natural skill-set. I learned at a young age that if I could be really good at a game and really outsmart people and outplay people than I could actually avoid having to 'work.'"
01:23:13Ali's 12-13 hour daily grind: "It's definitely a sacrifice for your social life...but it's a conscious sacrifice."
01:24:29How poker affects emotions: "You have to be detached from feeling. The amount of money you're betting...even if you're doing it wisely, is still extremely stressful for the human being."
01:26:44Evan defines addiction vs. obsession: "Addiction is when you know a behavior is negative for you and having harmful effects, but you're unable to stop the behavior."
01:27:46Ali's $100 million dream scenario: "I would say a mix of feeling successful and relaxed at the same time. I'm at peace with everything I've done and the steps I've taken in my life."
01:30:02Ali reveals his love of anime, coffee shops and travel
01:33:19ALL IN with Evan Jarvis is now in the PokerNews Podcast family. The entire PokerNews Podcast family of podcasts is now available on audioBoom.
01:33:51Ali's advice for beginning small & mid-stakes players: "If I had to sum it up in one word, it'd be efficiency."
01:37:25Evan on the big score "come-down": "If you don't have the right character in place...you can find yourself in this spot where you're really confused."
01:38:42Ali on non-financial goals: "I just care about getting to a higher level, and playing with people that are better than me, and try to get better than them."
01:40:37Two different kinds of players: those who care just about the money, and those who want to get better
01:42:41How the WSOP Main Event compares to other tournaments: "It's like nothing else, especially if you embrace the whole experience. It's so special."
01:45:33Ali tells a bad beat story (but for good reason): "When I busted (the Main), I guess it's slight sadness, but there's zero tilt. I was just so happy to play it."
01:48:54Evan's most influential books

Follow Ali Imsirovic on Twitter.

Learn more about podcast host, Evan Jarvis, on his coaching site, Gripsed Poker Training. Follow Evan on Twitter.

Subscribe to ALL IN with Evan Jarvis on iTunes. The entire PokerNews Podcast family of podcasts is now available on audioBoom.

Be sure to complete your PokerNews experience by checking out an overview of our mobile and tablet apps here. Stay on top of the poker world from your phone with our mobile iOS and Android app, or fire up our iPad app on your tablet. You can also update your own chip counts from poker tournaments around the world with MyStack on both Android and iOS.

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