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:

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