Editor’s Letter: Taking a lesson from the kids

The latest generation of players are not only bettering their game, but also their well-being

If you’ve been paying attention to the poker world over the past couple of years, you’ve probably seen a theme develop amongst the younger generation of pros. It’s not Open Face Chinese poker, or four- and five-betting. It’s not even really about poker.

It’s healthy living.

Lance BradleyThat’s right, the game that was once played in the smoke-filled backrooms of saloons and bars is cleaning up its act. This month’s cover subject, Jason Koon, might just be the poster boy for poker’s new direction. Rather than playing seemingly endless sessions of poker before fitting in a nap, Koon works hard at finding a work/life balance — something the rest of the world also struggles with on a daily basis.

Koon works out religiously and he’s conscious of what he eats. He’s also inspired others in poker to do the same and has worked with a few to help them get healthy. Thankfully he’s not the only one going this route with their lifestyle. Eugene Katchalov recently had his tremendous weight loss documented by Men’s Fitness magazine and his good friend, Bertrand “eLKy” Grospellier, has also committed to living healthier.

It sounds simple enough, but in a world where 18-hour sessions at the table are commonplace and a huge chunk of the year is spent living out of a suitcase, eating airport or hotel food, it’s not easy to get to the gym or find a healthy alternative to the buffet.

The work Koon has put in away from the felt has paid dividends for him on it. He’s currently enjoying the best 12 months of his career. While some of the older generation of poker pros seem to take pleasure in deriding the “Internet kids,” Koon is a leading example of something the older guys could learn from.

Lance Bradley
Editor in Chief

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September 2013