Under The Gun: Inside the mind of Faraz Jaka

Poker player Faraz Jaka wears a hat at the poker table during the 2023 WSOP.
Author Adam Hampton
Adam Hampton
Posted on: December 9, 2023 01:00 PST

We ask the questions…

Faraz Jaka has been a successful businessman and poker player for decades, notching his first significant live tournament victory in 2008 with a $100k+ score at the LA Poker Classic.

He has one World Series of Poker bracelet - so far - picked up in the $1,500 No-limit Hold’em Shootout event in 2023, along with numerous final table appearances in events at the World Poker Tour, European Poker Tour, Aussie Millions, and others across the world.

Jaka is a member of the PokerOrg Player Advisory Board , as well as a professional poker coach at JakaCoaching.com .

What’s one bit of essential prep you do before a big tournament or cash game session?

“My prep before a big tournament or cash game starts at about 5pm the night before. I try to not involve myself in any taxing or stressful activities. I make sure I have an early wind down and get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

The morning of, I try to wake up three hours before play, get a light workout in and a healthy breakfast. It's really nothing groundbreaking but it's more about being consistent, rested, and relaxed because that's what's going to get me into my flow-state during game time.”

What piece of strategy advice did you get when you started playing that you wish you’d ignored?

“Honestly, I can't really think of any advice I wish I’d ignored. For me it was more the opposite, and it was advice I should've taken.

As a sophomore in college at 19 years old I had already built up a bankroll of $180k. Another student I met saw that I was playing $25/$50 and even $50/$100 no-limit Hold’em online, and he mentioned that he was given advice on much stricter bankroll rules than what I was playing.

At that time I wasn't really interested in listening to advice because I was so much more successful than everyone around myself at the time. This led to the one and only time I went completely broke, which could've been avoided if I had taken that bankroll advice.”

Pokerm player Faraz Jaka smiles at the poker table during the 2023 world series of poker Jaka is all smiles during the summer's WSOP Main Event.
Melissa Haereiti

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve seen/done at the poker table?

“I don't really have a specific moment that comes to mind, I just don't really focus on that type of stuff so it probably fades out of my memory pretty quickly.

I sometimes come across people that always like to talk about how dumb or stupid other people are at the table, and I just kind of get bored and annoyed. I’d rather think and talk about something more interesting.”

What’s your most memorable hand?

“I was chip leader of the $25k WPT Championship at the Bellagio at the final 4 tables or so, back in 2010. I had a big hand vs David Williams where I had A-A on a board of A-J-7-T-8. On the river he jammed a little over pot and I tanked forever, thinking he had K-Q and trying to find a fold.

For some reason, it didn't register to me that there was a one-card straight on the board. I ended up finally calling, only after realizing the 9 alone also now made a straight. Had that registered I may have been more likely to make the fold.

I ended up busting in the final three tables or so and he went on to win it. I also just needed to make the final table to lock in the WPT Player of the Year.

That one definitely stung, luckily I was able to hang onto my lead in the POY race and still win it!”

Faraz Jaka receiving his WPT Player of the Year award in 2010.

What’s your best piece of advice for poker players?

“My best advice to poker players is the same advice I give to all my students on my training site, jakacoaching.com. You just need to do three things to stay ahead of your competition and be a long-term winning player:

1. Document your own hands which you are unsure of and review them later.

2. Spend time discussing hands with peers, who take the game as seriously as yourself.

3. Spend a couple hours a week reviewing some form of learning content (training videos, books, working with a coach, etc.).

If you just manage to spend 4-5 hours a week on those three tasks, as many weeks as you can, your game will be in a really good place.

If you are a pro and have more time, then adding another hour a week on some GTO trainers to fine tune any new learnings would be a good addition as well.”

If you owned a poker room, who's the first player you'd want to sign as an ambassador and why?

“If I were launching a new poker room, I wouldn't focus on signing a player ambassador.

When launching a new business, it's important to map out the key roles your company needs to fill to succeed, then determine which roles can be filled by the initial founders and which require external recruitment.

Since I can already fulfill the role of a poker expert/consultant/influencer, my focus would be more on finding one or two key partners who can handle operations and marketing strategy.”

Images courtesy of the WPT