Pleno1 talks about his amazing 2014

Barry Carter chats with hero Patrick Leonard about his meteoric rise in the online MTT world.

"There is something different about Ivey"

Pleno1 You started the year going for SuperNova Elite, but after two amazing Sundays you switched your focus to MTTs. 

pleno1: I was playing a lot in the cash games. The cash games I was playing in are renowned to be the toughest games online. They're very regular games where you play against the same guys every day, and everyone's going SuperNova Elite.

I guess when you've won $100,000 one weekend and the next weekend won $100,000 too, it's a little bit difficult to give yourself the motivation to play each day trying to make $500. Obviously $500 is still a large amount of money, but just in comparison it didn't feel as much. What was it like playing against Phil Ivey? I don't care how balla you are, that must have left an impression. 

pleno1: Every Sunday you're playing against elite players. There's just something about Ivey, it's hard to explain. Even online when he's at your table there's just something that's very hard to describe. 

The hands I've played against him I would have played differently against almost every single player in the field. Just because it's Phil Ivey.

"I think small goals are lazy"

Pleno1 Whether it's SuperNova Elite or the PocketFives Leaderboard, you always set big goals. Is it important to set ambitious goals rather than incremental ones?

pleno1: I think small goals are kind of lazy. Even now you get guys who are going through from 50NL all the way through to 1000NL in a few months just by working hard.

If you're a $1/$2 player and your goal's to be a $2/$4 player by the end of the year then it's probably just a lazy goal I guess. I've been very public with my goals which I kind of regret a little bit now.

When you're saying you're goals are to be playing Super High Rollers or they're to be making $500K a year, obviously more people start hating. You still get people who are happy to follow you and they want to follow you, but you also get the other side as well.

People leaving a one-line message is obviously really, really nice and I appreciate it a lot, but then when you get that one long hateful message it hurts a lot more than the nice messages are good.

"I'm focussing on my mental game now"

Pleno1 Do you not think that making the goal public adds an extra element of pressure, which actually becomes fuel to perform?

pleno1: It does. The start of this year I was posting a daily graph every day. I just said this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to post a graph every day and you can see how I do.

There was one day especially I remember I was losing like 10 buy-ins. One of the main reasons why I kept playing was because I didn't want to post a graph on my blog showing this. Everyone was saying how good the last five or six days were, so I was winning and winning and winning every day. I didn't want to now post this big losing day. What sort of goals do you have for 2015?

pleno1One of my big things for next year is because I'm okay financially and because I'm okay with the way that I approach poker strategically, the main thing I think probably that's been down now is the mental side of my game. 

You know I'm playing in a live tournament and someone bets big on the river or something and I make a big fold. I will show the fold that I'm making when there's just no reason. It's not positive for me to show a guy that I've exploited him by using whatever information he's given me to make this big fold.

I always, always show. It's not like I'm showing off, but I'm not sure what it is. 

"I play my A-game on Monday mornings"

Pleno1 What was the biggest adjustment you had to make from cash games to tournaments?

pleno1: What people didn't understand was the last four years or so before this year, I was working from 10am to 7pm every day. When I was playing poker, it was going home at 9 or 10pm and playing for two hours maximum. I would play two hours when I was tired after working for so long.

When I was going for SuperNova Elite it was completely different. Now I have to play eight hours a day and treat this as my nine-to-five job.

Before my mind just wasn't prepared to play long sessions, but because of SuperNova Elite I was forced to play these long sessions. So playing a ten hour tournament didn't fatigue me at all. That's kind of where the cash games helped me more than anything else. The SuperNova Elite quest helped me in tournaments where people wouldn't really expect it too. That's the opposite of what most would think. People naturally assume that it's the early stages of the tournament where the cash game skills would benefit the most. 

pleno1: Everyone says to me at 11pm on a Sunday, "How is your Sunday going?" I always tell them, "It doesn't matter how Sunday goes it's how Monday morning is."

I always feel like I play really well around about 2am on Monday til 6am on Monday. There's still a few tournaments open that I'm pretty sure that I'm going to have a pretty big result. You see everyone else making very sloppy mistakes, but I'm pretty switched on. That's when I'm really playing my A-game. Well done on all you have achieved this year, we look forward to seeing you in 2015. Happy New Year Pleno!

Barry Carter

Barry Carter

is the editor of and the co-author of The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2.

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Comments (15)

newest first
  • PumaPerez


    hi Patrik, you were always my favourite coach here on psgy. you have gift to explain things in very simple and understandable way. i still watch your older videos from time to time. also i remember how you left coachings without any notice. beacause of that i was little bit of hater about you. nevertheless i understand its your life and your decisions that you had to make. i wish you very best and hope you are going to be coaching here at some point in future again. GL and hit big in 2015
  • Tenebrus


    Played with/ against you this year in the eureka highroller in prague (seat 3) was pretty interessting playing with you and see more how you think about poker. Just did not say something to give you no further information (no idea if too serious...) . Gl for the upcoming year snd greetings from Germany
  • Tenebrus


    Ah was seat 4 not 3 obv ;)
  • HansTheGreat


    Gratz Pleno for year. Although I have way more respect typically for cash game players(in the end WCGRider said in his podcast that Dan Coleman wouldn't beat NL5k despite his millions) I have very deep respect for your results and wish you all the best in 2015. GL GL!
  • Chillorious


  • Kruppe


    ''The cash games I was playing in are renowned to be the toughest games online''
    that would mean nl5k SH...
    afaik he was playing 1/10th the stakes, a lot of nl500, which is indeed tough, but surely by no means the toughest
  • Tunatic


    Ah, love this guy, I have the same mindset. Plus, eliminating him from a small HU tournament that was organised about a year ago on PS makes me think I can be just like him one day! :P Keep it up, pat
  • Kruppe


    re. showing hand when you hero-fold: if you out-class your opponent, isn't that fine, as he'll mistakenly believe that he can start bluffing you more in spots that are actuaklly quite bad?
  • MichFran


    Very good interview, and what a amazing year :)
  • dizelup


    I believe he said nl500 is the toughest game that runs regularly i.e. zoom500 is the highest zoom limit that run non-stop.
  • 145852


  • pleno1


    @1, hey, i stopped playing cash games altogether at the time, I think I played maybe 4 months in a row without cash games, I just started again so if I'm winning who knows maybe I start them again..

    @2, hm I think you mean 3 not 4 right? I'm sure 4 was the guy I did the big bluff against early, I assume you were the German guy (we didnt play any pots together? I don't usually play as crazy as that day actually, I'm pretty tight in general!)

    @4, Hopefully I can be one of the biggest winners in cash and mtt and then finally get 100% of your respect :P

    @5, danke

    @6, we were talking about the games that run 24/7 i.e. zoom 500/1k when there were 0 fish in the 1k games

    @7, pftttttt :P

    @8, thats the whole point, mental leak

    @9, thanks

    @10, yeah exactly

    @11, semooz
  • Semidios


  • PSR81429412


  • M1rCea


    Refference pls for NL50 to NL1k in a few months?