Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Here is the last part of the interview with Jerry Yang. If you missed the first 2 parts please go to the last 2 weeks posts. Enjoy.

AJ: The other things that allot of successful people have in common is gratitude. I know after you won the championship you actually went back to Merced, California and you opened up your restaurant. Why go back to Merced? Why not live it up in Las Vegas? And I know you have allot of charity work that you do, so talk to us a little about why come back to the community, why the charity work, things like that?
JY: You know in regards to the Charity like I said earlier I had always been very poor, very hungry and hopeless as a little boy. When I went to the World Series in 2007 I made a pledge to God and in front of ESPN T.V.  I said if I win I would donate 10% of that mainly to the Make a Wish Foundation, The Ronald McDonald House and also to the Feed the Children. So that is exactly what I did. Immediately after my win I donated the money. For a few reasons: Number 1) you know I won $8.25 Million, you know that’s allot of money. I could spare a few bucks for other people who are in greater need than I am and that in itself is a privilege and a wonderful honor to be able to do something like that for people who are in need. Mainly because of what I have seen in my life, what I experienced in my life as a little boy, to be hopeless and to be hungry, so I want to give something back to the community that’s important to me. But going back to the community, I grew up In Fresno, and Merced is very close by, and I have friends and relative in Merced. I wanted to go back. I mean I can pretty much live anywhere in the world right now A.J. I could be in Hawaii right now, but why Merced or why Fresno? Because that’s my roots, that’s where my family is and my community. People that I grew up with. So I wanted to go back and be myself if you will. Be the true Jerry Yang and show people around me that hey you know what? he has not forgotten his roots, and that is why he is back here to support the community. Not just the community but if you have read and followed me I have done charities pretty much through the country. I have personally raised more than $800,000 mainly for under privileged kids across America and you know I intend to do even more in the future.
A.J.: God bless you. That is awesome. That is just amazing. That is basically what prompted me to approach you that day in your restaurant. I was just waiting that day for food and reading the articles and that is the inspiring story that I saw and I think the readers of my blog will totally relate and I think this is a really really good thing that you’re are doing.
JY: Thank you.
AJ: ok so now you won the championship. You mentioned allot of the people blow the money in a weekend, make lots of money in one week and blow it the other. What does it take to take the opportunity and the notoriety and convert it into a successful business like you have in your restaurants.
JY: You know I, even though I won the money in a very short time, a few weeks, it was hard work for me. And I treat every single dollar that I earned from the World Series as the last dollar that I have. The reason I went into business is because I want to instill some beliefs, in my children that you know what even though your father has allot of money, nothing comes easy. You still have to work. I used to tease my friends; there is no free lunch in America. And so you have to work hard for what you have. Just because you won allot of money doesn’t mean you’re gonna go and gamble with it or not to take good care of it. I never want my children to go through what I went through, and hopefully their children don’t have to go through what I went through. So I want to teach my children about working principles. Work ethics and hard work, and believing in yourself. And that nothing is free in this world. You’ve got to work hard for what you have.
AJ: What is your definition of success?
JY: My definition of success is being happy. Just being happy. And I guess the word happy is very broad, but I think if you are happy in every aspect of your life, you know weather it is your relationship, weather it is your religion, weather it is your career, weather it is your relationship with people around you, your children, your wife, your friends, you know and you live comfortably and you are happy in general to me that is success.
AJ: Well said. Many people believe that success and wealth is dependent on luck. Many believe it takes money to make money, or you have to have friends in the right places or be in the right place at the right time. What in your opinion does it take to become successful?
JY: I have to say hard work. In my country and in my culture people believe that your life is predestined. That means we believe that your life is actually been written down on a piece of paper. That there is nothing you can do. I wrote this in my book also. That your life has been written down. Every event in your life, weather bad or good you have no control of it. I disagree with that, and I have been getting allot of criticism (laughs) especially from my very own people. But I have to say hard work. And part of it like I said earlier you have to associate yourself with successful people. Especially people who have the same dreams, same career, same desires as you. By learning from them and become a master like them, that will help you get further even more and faster. But you need to work hard. I also believe in being in the right place at the right time too, and most people don’t believe in that like you, right, for example in 2007, I could have chosen to play day 1, day 2, or day 3, but I didn’t. I chose the last date which is July 7th and maybe for some reason, that was, I did the right thing. I was at the right place at the right time so you know little things like that. But the bottom line is you need to work hard and you cannot let people discourage you. You got to really want what you are hoping to achieve, and do everything in your power to achieve that. And you are gonna fall, you’re gonna fall sometimes here and there, but so what? Everyone goes through that. And you are going to pick yourself up, and you keep on moving and you keep moving until you reach it. That to me is the true character of a successful person is not giving up.
AJ: That is huge. One of the things that we both have in common is working with children. What advice do you have for children today who are inundated with so much negativity, on television on the media, to make them realize that opportunity is everywhere and they can be successful no matter what their background is?
JY: You know you’re right. With internet, with T.V. with radio I mean you hear profanity everywhere. You hear it I mean people. I mean bad examples everywhere.  I can only speak for myself. Like I said I came from a very poor background. My father was working minimum wage putting food on the table. I didn’t give up and one thing I really want to stress is education. Whether or not you become a poker player, education will help you be a good poker player. The first thing to do is to pursue your education first. Education is the foundation of everything you do in life. You’ve got to know how to read and write. You’ve got to know how to communicate with people. So it does not matter what career you get into. Education is the first foundation that you got to have. Go for it. Like you said just do it.  Get an education and from there decide what you want to do. Nothing is impossible in this world if you work a little extra harder everything is possible.
AJ: Thank you. That is awesome. You mentioned you have a book coming out very soon. Can you tell us a little more about it?
JY: Yes my book is called From Refugee camp to poker champ. All In. The Jerry Yang Story. It’s just about my life as a little boy in Laos. You know it talks about my scape from my village to the Mekong River. Try to cross the Mekong River to Thailand. And surviving the refugee camp in Thailand for almost 5 years. And coming to America. The day that they called my father’s name to come to America A.J., that was the happiest day of my life. After I won the World Series and Norm and Chad and one of the commentators asked me you know how is this compare to any day of your life? And I said this day can never be compared to the day that they called my father’s name to come to America. So but to make a long story short when I flew over San Francisco and I saw the buildings and the cars, I mean everything. I thought America was heaven. And I said Wow I will never be hungry again. When we landed in Nashville, Tennessee, we were placed in one of the poorest projects in Nashville, Tennessee. And I realized wow, poverty exists everywhere. There were drugs. People doing drugs this and that. I mean gun shots. I mean I was shocked. I was sad. I said this can’t be America. I didn’t envision America to be like this. So again I went to school. And try my best and graduated from high school as a valedictorian in my class. And went to college and got my degree and got my graduate degree and so again going to the point I said earlier if you put your mind to it and work very hard you can do it.
AJ: fantastic, and if people want to get your book do they go to your website: ? Or is this going to be available on amazon and Barnes and Nobles and places like that?
JY: Yes it will be in bookstores in July. It should be in Barnes and Nobles and Borders but people can order from Amazon or they can go directly to my website

AJ: Is there anything else you want to add. I really appreciate you time, and that is all the questions I had.
JY: Not really I just want to thank you personally for giving me the opportunity to do an interview with you. I really want my story to be out there. So people know about who Jerry Yang really is. I also talk about my father who was also involved in the Vietnam War and was fighting along the U.S. soldiers. At one point his platoon actually rescued an American pilot.  In my book we’ll share a little bit about my father and how he helped the American soldiers at that time. So you know I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story and I look forward to seeing you again AJ.
AJ: Thank you for your time.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Now we continue the interview with Jerry Yang. If you missed the first part go to last weeks post.

AJ: Right, I understand. That is a nice Segway into the principles of success. In studying the principles of success and the law of attraction, I noticed success is not an accident. It usually starts in the mind. It is a thought pattern backed by intense emotional desire. Can you tell me if you agree with that and how that factored in your winning the championship in 2007?
JY: Can you paraphrase that again, I’m sorry?
AJ: Yes, allot of people who have been very successful tell me that it usually starts with a thought in their mind. They visualize it. They constantly have this burning desire that keeps the thoughts in their mind, before they actually achieve any success. So what I wanted to see is if that was what you consciously did? Or if you knew you were going to win? And if it was the thoughts before the action that took place?
JY: At some point. I am assuming you are referring to 2007 when I won?
AJ: Yes sir. That whole 2007 where you now have the opportunity to sit at the big table. Was it something that I guess for the lack of a better word, were you just winging it, or was there a plan of action that was very well thought out, and you had this intense desire and the faith that you could win it I guess is my question?
JY: At some point. To be honest with you I came to the World Series in 2007, with no expectation to win what so ever. I was probably one of the least skilled players that year. I remember coming, I met Chris Ferguson (?) who was a poker idol for me and I admire the gentleman and I remember meeting him was really a dream come true for me already. Not just him, I met Spiderman Toby McGuire that same day. Just allot of celebrities. That actually was one of my goals to come to Vegas to meet some these celebrities and poker idols and I achieved that, and I would have gone home a happy man A.J. But to my surprise after day one, we started with $20,000 in chips back then, and after day one I got $99,700 and I thought wow I am really doing good, and I really need to stay a little more focused. And even then I did not expect to win. It was my first year at the World Series and I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know, and there were allot of pressures too, so to answer your question it wasn’t until we made it down to 36 players. That was when I started collecting notes on my opponents. I started to study them a little bit more closely. I knew I would be facing some of them at the final table if I happen to make it to the final table. At that point I knew I had a good shot of winning the whole thing. At that point I made a commitment to really studying the opponents more and to really stay focused and be determined to win. So you’re right, when you go to a game, or a poker game or a poker tournament you have to go in with the mentality of playing to win. With every desire, every pint of blood, ever drop of blood in your body you got to have the desire to win. You can’t have any distractions whether its from family or from wherever it is. You have to be 100% focused and it is really hard to do that sometimes. It is easier said than done. But the bottom line is yes you’ve got to play to win.
AJ: As long as we’re on that, can you kind of take us step by step through that last hand?
JY: Which one, oh the very last hand that I had?
AJ: Yes the very last one that …
JY: yeh at that point I had, I believe I had $104,000,000 in chips, and my last opponent from Canada had about $25,000,000 or so and I saw my pocket 8s. Pocket 8s had been very good to me that year. Every time I had pocket 8s I won that year. I saw pocket 8s and I said I had doubled him up earlier and I didn’t want to double up again so when I saw pocket 8s I said ah this is it. This could be it. So I rose to 2.3 million, and he went all in with these queens of diamond for about 25 million. And I thought about it and I made the call. The flop came queen, nine, and five. So he hit his queen and was way ahead. Fortunately the 7 came on the turn, and I was praying for a 6 or another 8, and the 6 came on the river so I won. 
Amazing isn’t it?
AJ: Yes it is amazing.
Getting back to success and business, Oh by the way Pocket 8s is the name of your restaurant right?
JY: That’s correct.
AJ: It’s a wonderful sushi place in Merced California, I love it. Every time I’m there I am at your restaurant. It is great great food, and wonderful service.
JY: Oh thank you so much AJ. And if you happen to be in the area again please stop by and the next time you come into my town lunch or dinner is on me.
AJ: That is very sweet. Thank you so much. Getting back to the business and success acumen, I wanted to see how much the principle of the mastermind group has played in your success. Allot of teachers state that if you want to be successful you have to surround yourself with people who are either better or more successful than you are. Do you agree with that statement and do you have a mastermind group in business or when you were playing poker?
JY: You know I totally agree with that. I think not just in poker, but in any business in the world, any industry, weather in education, weather in perusing your degree, or perusing a business career whatever it is you need to associate yourself with people who share common interest, people who are more knowledgeable than you are. There is a saying in my language that says “only the student will go to the teacher for help”. It is not the other way around. When you have a need, when you have a desire to learn you have to find a great teacher, and that is how you become better. So part of being successful is to hang around with successful people because unsuccessful people will not get you anywhere. So the same thing with poker, you’ve got to associate with greater player and hopefully they will have the kindness to guide you and to train you and to show you and to coach you , and I found out that allot of players out there are actually very generous. If you can only open your mouth and say I need help with this and that, and if schedule and time permits, they would do their best to help you. And that is how I learned poker. I remember there was a gentleman called Charlie at the Indian Casino where I started to play poker. I mean the guy was so good. I mean he could, he really fascinated me. He could tell pretty much what the other guy had. And that fascinated me so much and I became friends with him and I asked him for help and that is how I became a better player.  So I totally support the statement that you mentioned.THIS IS THE END OF PART 2.  VISIT NEXT WEEK FOR THE CONCLUSION OF THE INTERVIEW. Please visit Jerry's website at:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


 Good day all,
From time to time I meet people who in addition to being successful are doing things that inspire me. Jerry Yang is such a person. You have to hear his story of hardship and life threatening struggles to understand what I mean. In-spite of all the fame he has never forgotten his roots, and is constantly helping his community and charities around the country. He is truly an inspiration:

AJ: Let’s get started. Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Jerry Yang. He is the 2007 World Series of Poker Champion, and I wanted to go into how he has transformed that success into being a great business man, and also helping the community, doing Charity work, everything that you would expect from a great business man and a great person in general.
Thank you for giving me your time today Mr. Yang, let’s start with a little bit of background for people who are not familiar with the poker scene and may have some preconceived ideas of what makes a poker champ. They may think you come from a background of being born with a silver spoon in your mouth and all you do all day is just practice poker. That’s not really your background is it?
Jerry Yang (JY): No not all, in fact I grew up in a very poor family in Laos. As a little boy I was always, always hungry. With very little food I remember I didn’t have any shoes, I didn’t have any balls to play with. Basically no toys. As a little boy I was very poor. Even though my father was an accomplished hunter, there are years where Mother Nature can really do things to you and your family that there is nothing really that you can do. For example there was one year where a whole bunch of grasshoppers devoured our farm and our rice field. We were very hungry that year. I remember walking door to door with my grandmother to basically beg people for rice. In my country, and I think in any country when everybody is hungry it’s hard for you to go to somebody’s store to beg for food. I remember people were shutting doors in my face, and things like that. So even worse the communist invaded my country. My family attempted to scape to our neighboring country Thailand, and we got caught by the communist soldier. At one point I remember a communist soldier pointed his AK-47 right at my forehead. For a minute I thought I was going to be shot. Due to the grace of God we were let go and few weeks later we made it to Thailand. Living in the refugee camp in Thailand for almost 5 years, I witnessed my brother and my sister die. Just, just, in a nutshell no I didn’t come from a family with allot of wealth you know. My father had to work very hard just like any other low income family just to put food on the table. I was just fortunate to win. I won a satellite (competition) at an Indian casino in Southern California in 2007, and I had the option of taking the $10,000 home or take a seat in the World Series. It was a tough decision when you have 6 kids like me. It was a tough decision. Thank God I took the seat and I came to Vegas, and played in 2007 and won the whole thing. To answer your question, yes I came from a very poor background.
AJ: Let’s dig a little bit into your time at the refugee camp. I can’t even imagine what you went through. What was it that kept you going day in and day out?  What gave you the strength to keep going?
JY: You know I have to use the word Hope. (Emotional)  because you know in life if you don’t have hope you are not going to get anywhere. I gave my thanks to God and also you know to the American people, especially the government of this great country for giving  me and my family the opportunity to come to America and to really taste that freedom. That’s what I wanted.
AJ: I can hear the emotions coming through your voice. I am glad you mentioned that because most people who come and immigrate to this country have a greater appreciation for what we have than allot of the people that were born here. I can really hear the emotion coming through your voice, and if you need to take a few minutes please by all means just let me know.
JY: Thank you.
AJ: So as far as getting into the poker scene you mentioned you won a satellite championship at an Indian casino. How long did it take you as far as playing poker to reach that level to be offered a seat at the championship? Was it the first time you played poker, or was it something you were doing for a while.
JY: I discovered poker in 2005. One evening I was sitting on the sofa with my wife and I saw the year that Joe Hanson (?) won. Being a psychologist I watched the body gestures very closely and I watched how they you know play each other, not necessarily the cards, but the way they played each other mentally. That really fascinated me, and I remember pointing to the T.V. and telling my wife honey you know I can do that and if I win, I will use the money for good. So to make a long story short I discovered poker in 2005, and playing $25 buy in on the weekends you know the tournaments, and to my surprise I started winning and again I used some of the psychological skills that I have at the table. So in 2007 I won the satellite (tournament) with 225 participants. I beat 187 players that day so they gave me a seat at the World Series. So I took the seat instead of the $10,000 and came to Vegas and won the whole thing. So I have been playing since 2005.
AJ: Did you ever consider giving up?
JY: Oh no, not at all. You mean Poker?
AJ: Yes
JY: No not at all. Because Poker really fascinates me. I really love playing poker, and although when you have 6 kids you can’t really gamble your food money or your mortgage money or your car payment money. I made a promise to my wife I would only take 5% of my paycheck every month and play with that. I kept my promise to her and I communicated with her throughout my whole career as a poker player (laughs). Not really a career, but whatever I did back then I would open up to her and I would let her know what was going on. I think that is one point I want to make, I think it is very very important for people who are married to be honest with their spouse and to really disclose what ever winning or whatever loss that you have. That in itself will also improve your game because the less pressure, the less problems, the less hardship you have at home, the greater of a player you will become at the poker table. Because you don’t want all these stresses to go with you to the poker table and one way to eliminate those stresses is by being honest with your family and just be open with them. I think that is important.
AJ: Excellent, and having the discipline to stick with the rule of 5%. That is what usually gets people into trouble as far as gambling isn’t it?
JY: Oh absolutely. That is I mean, I know players now days, players, I am not going to name any names, but they win $250,000 in one week and then they lost $300,000 the next week. You know it’s just, I don’t think I can do that. You know it really takes discipline to really play the game that you love. You know sometimes, if you don’t practice discipline and patience you can lose all of it in one day. So I refuse to be like that.
Be sure to visit Jerry's website at:  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Good day,
I am sure we have all heard the saying “what goes around, comes around”, or “good Karma: do a good thing and you will get a 1000 fold return”. This was a topic of conversation I had with some friends who were reading my book Road Map To Life. The gist of the conversation was as follows:  There was a small leak in the AC unit of one of the apartments causing some of the dry wall from the ceiling to fall on the tenants couch and carpet.  The insurance takes care of most of the damage, minus the deductible, but since the tenants did not have renters insurance the insurance company was not going to do anything about the sofa, so out of the goodness of their heart my friends actually gave their tenants $500 for the couch, and replace the carpet. This is the type of people my friends are. Totally good hearted, and even in business they want to make sure that everyone is well taken care of. I don’t know how many times they have done things like this. On another occasion they allowed a single mother stay at their property for free for months at a time being late, or not even paying the rent and even paid her out of their own pocket, so she could get food, only to be faced with having to finally evict her because she was disruptive to the rest of the tenants. As a gratitude she trashed their place. So we were discussing when is this good Karma thing going to come around and more to the point of for the sake of this blog, how is the law of attraction going to give them what they are entitled to.
The funny thing that I became aware of hours later, was that as they were relating their experience I could not help joining in the conversation with my woes of tenants and landlord problems I have had with properties. Then it hit me like a brick wall as I was taking a long drive to see some clients and I had to record my thoughts to put them to paper on this blog, because I am sure I am not the only person who realized what is going on here, and also to help good people realize how exactly are they withholding the GOOD KARMA FROM COMEING INTO THEIR LIFE.
Sit back and relax and let me take you through the mechanism of action here. Once I get done explaining it you can see that The Law of  Attraction works all the time and with exact precision and we need to be able to use it the way it is intended to get the results we are looking for as opposed to go about by default hoping that things will happen. We need to monitor our thoughts and more importantly our feelings to control our reality.
I wish I had had the presence of mind to ask my friends right there as they were relating their story what type of feelings were coming up with in them. Since I didn’t I am going to use my own feelings in similar experiences and I hope that when this post goes up my friends will comment on it if I am off the target.
This is the expected results. “Oh crap the ceiling fell down. Just another bad thing in the long line of things that has been happening.” The feeling here is bad, ranging from Frustration to downright anger or desperation. “Off we go to see what is going on. The damage is not that bad, and the insurance is going to take care of it, but the poor lady does not have renters insurance”. The feelings are a little better with  relief, but followed by feeling sorry, and sadness. This is where I need you to pay attention. This is where everything thus far I have been talking about in this blog, and in my book is going to come together in such a great real life example. So pay attention please.
The good deed, and generosity that my friends showed to their tenant came in the presence of feeling sorry and feeling bad for the tenant. The ACTION was generosity which is good. The FEELING was one of sadness. So pop Quiz hot shot. How will the law of attraction respond to the vibration of sadness?
Time’s up. The feeling of sadness sends out vibration that will bring more situations and opportunities to continue and perpetuate the feeling of sadness. Subtle, isn’t it? So the way to perpetuate the good things that have been waiting to come to my friends due to their generosity, they have to start allowing the vibration of receiving. They are always grateful any way so that is a good start. The way to handle the giving situation was and still can be to engulf themselves in the joy of giving. To get into the feeling of how blessed they are that they are in a position that they can help their tenants by giving her $500 for her couch. To feel the pleasure of giving because most people would not do that in the same situation. To share in the joy of their tenant receiving and being grateful. To feel that warm and fuzzy feeling of pride that they are doing the right thing because it is just who they are. Those joyous feelings will vibrate a sort vibration that by the law of attraction will bring more and more circumstances for my friends to keep on feeling the joy, the pride and the gratitude. That is how we let the Karma come back to us a thousand times. It is just there waiting for us to get in tune with the feelings so it can come to us. The hard work is done. The good deeds and generosity is already done. The hard part  is to separate the feeling of sadness because circumstances brought an accident. Realize it for what it is and more importantly how it is making us feel in that time. TAKE CONTROL OF OUR FEELING, and slowly turn it around to the feeling of joy in the giving. That is how we can reap the fruits of our good deeds over and over.
I hope you find this useful. Best wishes for your success. Please feel free to share this with anyone who can benefit and do not forget to like my Facebook Fan page on the link on the right side of the page, or go to Success and the law of attraction Facebook page . Thank you and have a great week.