Jonathan Little won his first ever PokerGO Tour title earlier last week in Event #3: $10,000 NLH at the PokerGO Cup. Then, days later, he followed up his performance with another win, this time in the finale Event #8: $25,000 NLH.
The PokerCoaching.com founder’s victories, paired with two other cashes, proved enough to vault him into the top spot on the series leaderboard and claim the 2024 PokerGO Cup Champion title.
PokerOrg caught up with Little to chat about his big win, plans for the rest of the year, and whether the discourse swirling around him factors into his life or gameplay.
Q&A with Jonathan
How does it feel to be PokerGO Cup series champion? Are you still riding the high or back to down to earth?
Jonathan Little: I don’t know if I get that high or that low from poker in general. I mean, whenever I win, I don’t celebrate and run around and act like I’m the greatest poker player in the world. I realize that I got good cards, I ran decently hot. And I think I played well enough, right? And, to be fair, in the series I took a seventh and a ninth. I certainly could have done well in those, but I didn’t and I wasn’t devastated, or sad, or anything like that. This is part of the game. Actually, in both of those I think I got it in with like 70% equity for a decent amount of chips and lost both, so it’s whatever, right?
In the $25k that I won, I won ace-eight against ace-king with like 11 people left for five big blinds or something like that, so I easily could have been out. I realize that there’s a lot of variance in the game and my job as a professional poker player is to show up and play my best and extract whatever my edge is. And I don’t know what my return on investment is in these games. Maybe it’s 5%. So, I know I’m gonna show up and play a $10k and make $500 bucks on average. And that’s it. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. It doesn’t really matter as long as you are properly bankrolled and you’re putting in decent volume.
No one thinks about it like that–except for me–it seems. Very few people show up with that mindset, but you gotta realize you’re just showing up and making the best decisions you can, win or lose. That’s all you’re trying to do. And if you do that, you’ll extract whatever your edge is.
When you won Event #3, did you start thinking about series champion?
JL: I was aware that I was number one [on the leaderboard] because I had a seventh plus a first. But at the same time, you know that’s not going to win because someone’s going to do well in the $15ks and the $25k. And I think the $15ks are the ones that actually count for the most points, due to how they do the formula. So, I was in first place, but I know it’s not enough to win. However, I’m still quite live to win. I was only planning on playing the $10ks out here, I wasn’t even planning on playing the $15ks and the $25k because those are typically substantially tougher.
At the end of the day, you’re playing against the best people in the world. And certainly I can get in there, compete, and do fine, but I should not expect some sort of gigantic edge against the literal best players in the world, it just doesn’t exist. But, once I did win the $10k and have two other cashes, look, I probably should just stay for another five days and play these, which is what I did, and–worked out this time!
We saw you doing a live review for one of the final tables–are there plans to make more coaching content from this series?
JL: I reviewed just a few of the hands, I think like 10 hands from both of the final tables that I thought were interesting on YouTube. I have a morning show that you can watch at 9:00am EST on Mondays when I am home. We usually talk about various topics, but anytime I go to play a tournament series, I’ll usually review some key hands. Whenever I get back home people seem to like that.
Yeah, I’m probably gonna go through and review all of the hands that I played, because a lot of them were kind of close. I mean, I remember the first hand of the $25k final table the button raised and I had ace-eight offsuit with like 23 big blinds. And I was not sure what I was supposed to do. I thought it could go either way between re-raise small, shove, or fold and I came home, ran it, and turned out it’s a fold. And I did fold, which is good, but an orbit later I had ten-nine suited in the same spot–also just a fold, which I did, but it felt kind of close.
And you know, that’s worth looking into and worth worth delving into a little bit because I knew it was close, I just didn’t know how close and now I do.
You’re in the top 5 on PGT points currently–will you keep firing PGT events the rest of the year?
JL: My general plan for the year is to mostly play the PGT events because I love playing in the PokerGO Studio. It’s nice, easy, chill. They give you free or cheap food and free or cheap rake. And the venue is amazing, the staff is amazing, everything’s good there. And they also have pretty good publicity. It really has everything I’m looking for that also will get publicity because, to be fair, I own a poker training site and if I win, it makes my training site look good. All of that is good for me. So, it’s the perfect setup. I mostly plan on playing all of their series that are no-limit hold’em based.
And then I would sporadically play in Florida and Fort Lauderdale because they usually have pretty soft games. And in the Bahamas. I like going there to their venues and usually those games are pretty good as well. So, that was my plan to play mostly in those three spots, but, you know, other stuff may come up.
Also, I’ll play the World Series of Poker some. I think last year I didn’t play much at all the World Series–like six events or something. I just went out for the end because the schedule was not lined up particularly well for me–I want to play as many high/medium no-limit hold’em tournaments as I can in the shortest period of time possible. And last year, they had like two no-limit hold’em tournaments that were medium or high every week, which is not great because I’m really only getting like two tournaments a week. That’s not worth the effort of going when I could go to the PokerGO Studio and play, right?
You were involved in a pretty public Twitter beef whilst playing these events–did any of that discourse motivate you or do you prefer to drown out the noise and focus on the cards?
JL: I do not really care what internet haters say at all. I recognize that people are always gonna have issues with you no matter what you do. And, I feel like I’m a relatively likable person who doesn’t really cause any drama. And you got to realize that once you get any sort of notoriety or platform people are always going to be trying to interact with you, or tear you down, or piggyback off what you are doing–whatever it is and I don’t care that much.
I really don’t care at all. Berkey was getting after it and I didn’t reply a single time because honestly, I don’t care what Berkey says. Berkey has strong opinions about everything and if someone has strong opinions about everything, at least in my opinion, their opinions no longer matter. Because you can’t have strong opinions about everything. Well, you can, but they’re just irrelevant, right? It’s very different if someone is relatively quiet and then all of a sudden here they are saying something–maybe I should listen. But someone’s saying something all the time about everything. It’s like okay, you just like to talk.
I’m almost 40 years old, I don’t have time to be dealing with people saying they don’t like your thought process or how you play a hand. It does not matter to me.