Under The Gun: Inside the mind of Jonathan Little

Poker player and coach Jonathan Little at a WPT event
Craig Tapscott
Posted on: March 30, 2024 04:00 PDT

He’s back. 

But can you really say Jonathan Little had ever left poker? He simply took a sabbatical from the pressures of tour grinding to focus on family, children, and a booming business.

Little recently had the itch to jump back into the fray and compete when his busy schedule as founder and head coach for pokercoaching.com allowed for some time off. During February’s 2024 PokerGo Cup events, he won two titles, $730,350, and took home the PokerGo Cup Champion title and a bonus of $25,000. These recent scores at the Aria pumped up his career earnings to more than $8,800,000.

Let’s hope the consummate gentleman, coach, YouTube star, and poker professional competes more often and continues to share his journey with the rest of us. We will definitely be better for it.

So, yeah. Jonathan Little is back in a big way.

Follow Little on X/Twitter, IG, and YouTube.

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

“This is going to sound crazy, but I don't do much prep at this point. I think I have a very good mindset and generally know how to play poker. I make a point to roll out of bed as close to the start of the event as I can. I want to give myself enough time to shower, grab coffee, get all my business off my plate, and then play.

"If I'm going to play a noon poker tournament, I usually wake up at about 11:00. If I'm playing at the PokerGo studio, I'll pick up a juice and head down to the Aria. I tend not to exercise on the day of an event, which could make me a bit tired going into the poker tournament, to begin with.

"That system works out great for me. I make a point to get into shape away from poker, so whenever I'm playing poker, I can focus on poker.”

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

“I have a terrible memory. I don't remember any advice when I first started playing poker. But most things that people say about poker are incorrect.

"I saw someone the other day comment on X/Twitter – ‘Even if you work hard at poker, you're probably not going to be able to do well.’ I disagree. You can make it if you work hard and devote yourself to the game. Don't tell that to Matt Berkey, he completely disagrees. He’s the one who said it.”

What's the dumbest thing you've seen or done at the poker table?

“One time, I was exhausted returning from a trip across the world. I was worn out when I started to play a tournament. I fell asleep 10 hands into the event. I kept falling asleep all day. It's not good to fall asleep when you're playing poker.

"Don't play when you’re super-duper tired. You're probably not going to play your best.”

Poker player and coach Jonathan Little

What's your most memorable hand?

“My memory for hands is horrible. I think that might be part of my skill set, though. I can play poker, get completely demolished, wake up the next day, and be perfectly fine. I don't dwell on losses. I don't dwell on wins.

"But I do remember one hand. It was from the World Poker Tour. We were down to 10 players, I had half the chips in play, and then I doubled up everyone at the table. I'm fine, no problem. We're down to seven and I got dealt pocket queens. I raised it from the button, and the small blind went all in. I called. He had Q♣8♣. The flop came J♣T♣9♣ to give him a straight flush. I was out on the bubble. That was a lot of fun.”

What's your single best piece of advice for poker players?

“Figure out what you want, and then devote yourself to the things required to get it. That said, you have to find a game you can beat, play that game a lot, and keep a proper bankroll. If you do those three things, you will win.”

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

“It would be me! I would sign myself because I know how to have a good time. I learned a long time ago that in order to make people like you, give them fun and money. They will then have a good time.

"I would run lots of promotions. We'd have lots of events. And no rake events, etc. We'd have lots of fun. And if you give people an awesome experience, they will be happy to be a patron at your casino.

"Promotions are key. Make the money later. That's the whole secret to life: make the money later. Not making the money right now. Nobody understands that. They all want to get paid now.”

Images courtesy of the WPT