Fernando 'JNandez87' Habegger Discusses the 'Modern Poker Experience'
Fernando "JNandez87" Habegger was the guest on the latest PokerNews Podcast (Episode No. 467), where the poker pro and coach provided a lot of food for thought for poker players looking for ways to improve their games — and improve their lives, too.
An online grinder since 2006, starting in 2011 Habegger began concentrating more specifically on pot-limit Omaha, and after enjoying sustained success as a player and coach became a PLO instructor for Phil Galfond's Run It Once coaching site. Early this year Habegger then signed with Upswing Poker to join their team of coaches, where again he's specializing in PLO strategy advice.
However, all you have to do is listen to Habegger talk for a few minutes and you realize that while he's certainly a great resource for learning pot-limit Omaha, he's got a lot more than PLO on his mind, as well as a lot more to share with poker players no matter their game, stakes, or skill level.
Understanding What Poker Means to You
On the podcast the 30-year-old from Switzerland shares his story of building a small bankroll and then making the not-so-simple decision to start playing full-time. After working early on with Jared Tendler and reading poker strategy, he managed to enjoy enough success playing online poker to make a go of it.
Habegger's interests always extended beyond just playing poker, however, and indeed throughout his career he's always taken one or two months off each year to pursue other activities and develop other skills.
Soon he realized a desire not just to be a "performer" or player but also a "producer" and so began coaching others. More recently he's developed what have become very popular YouTube and Twitch channels where he provides a wealth of strategy content.
But learning strategy isn't everything, explains Habegger.
"Strategy is a tool in order to become more successful in player poker, but that doesn't really hit home with people very hard," he explains. "It is more about what does poker mean in your life... how important is it?"
As he explains, answering that question is key to realizing success in poker, however one defines it.
The game "can mean so much," he explains. "It can mean friendship, developing skills, reaching prosperity, and also just breaking free from the fear of not being able to make money with your already existing skill set or with your intelligence."
"I think that a lot of poker players have a great situation, but they don't realize it. They are in a great spot, which means they have time, they maybe have some money, they have resources, and they're not stuck in the nine-to-five, so to speak."
"But they are also afraid," he adds, noting that many players find themselves stymied by the question of "What can I do?"
"You don't have to be the brightest. You don't have to be the richest. You don't have to be the youngest. Go out there and try to experience life in the way you want to — it is possible."
The "Modern Poker Experience"
One place where Habegger perhaps distinguishes himself from other poker players is the way he defines what he calls the "modern poker experience."
While many think of poker as necessarily being an entirely individual pursuit, Habegger's own poker journey taught him that being part of a larger community not only affords the chance to improve your game and increase your profits, it can make playing poker rewarding in other ways as well.
For Habegger, the "modern poker experience" means being part of a network of other players who can serve as valuable resources for those looking to improve their skill sets, find better games, and make poker more enjoyable.
Via his YouTube and Twitch channels and through his coaching, Habegger finds himself serving as a kind of "hub" around which others can build such communities.
"People like to be around people who can enable them to get out of their small little shell," he says. Such people help others to "become more social — or more so become more themselves... [to] turn outwards what was inwards." It's a positive transformation he himself underwent, and now endeavors to help others experience, too.
The conversation covers other topics, too, such as moving up in stakes, improving confidence (both online and live), time management, goal-setting, creating non-poker income streams, and more.
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