Poker News Daily: How did you get started in poker?
Wallace: I needed a distraction in my life. I needed something to focus on. When I learn things, I get very into them. I was working with exotic hardwoods and developed an allergy to them that was going to kill me if I didn’t stop, so my career was over. My marriage was over and I needed something to distract me. Poker was a good thing. I had a friend, Adam Stemple, who goes by the name “Hatfield.” He had been playing semi-pro for 20 years and I had been playing blackjack for 10 years. He said I should try poker and sold me on the idea. He loaned me a couple of books and, a week later, I had 20 books and five notebooks trying to learn the game.
PND: You’re an instructor at PokerXFactor. What separates it from other poker training sites like it in the industry?
Wallace: It’s a tough industry. It’s like the “Cola Wars” for poker training sites right now. Everybody is starting a poker training site. The tournament roster at PokerXFactor is incredible. The technology that they have available is incredible. When I ran my own site, we were a little two man operation and didn’t really put a lot of money into it. While we were good teachers, we didn’t have a lot of technology. Now, I use the PokerXFactor Replayer with all of my students. I load their hand histories into the Replayer before we start a lesson. Then, we can look through them and talk about hands.
The constant adding of technology is also big. You can watch a hand in the Replayer, stop it, and then add an audio comment. When someone replays the hand, they can hear your comments. Having Cliff “JohnnyBax” Josephy commenting on your hand histories – it doesn’t get any better than that.
PND: Explain how you become involved with PokerXFactor.
Wallace: I ran my own site. I think we were one of the first poker training sites ever. We were tired of being webmasters and wanted to be poker players. We wanted to teach people poker, but we didn’t want to run a website. It got to be a real pain. We got tired of trying to deal with the technical problems and all of that hassle. We knew that it was going to be the year when everyone was going to start a poker training site. There have to be 100 of them now, at least. We didn’t want to be just another site and we didn’t want to spend a lot of money to compete with the big dogs.
We were looking around trying to decide what to do. I met Scott “Mindwise” Pendergrast from PokerXFactor. He wanted to expand his cash game roster and cash games were what we did. He brought us in and bought our site. We have both primarily done cash game videos. I’m really happy about the way it worked out.
PND: There is a big debate in the poker software industry as to whether PokerTracker or Hold’em Manager is the better program. Which do you prefer and why?
Wallace: I probably hear that question once per day. I even made a video comparing the two on PokerXFactor. They’re remarkably similar. They both took a lot of cues from a lot of modern programming. PokerTracker 3 and Hold’em Manager are a quantum leap from what we’ve had in the past. They’re remarkably better. The two are so similar that it’s tough to pick one.
What I tell everyone is that they both have a free trial where you can run some hands and see how it works on your computer. They were designed on different systems, so some people have bug problems with the Heads-Up Display in PokerTracker 3. People also have problems importing hands. Some people have problems with Hold’em Manager, which doesn’t run on their computer. I tell everyone to download them both because one of them is going to be the most important piece of software that runs on your computer. See which one works better and which one makes the most sense to you.
PND: What advice do you have for newcomers in the game?
Wallace: Study. There are so many resources available to you now. Originally, there were a couple of books. “Super System” was the big one. You could talk to your friends and try to learn the game, which was tough. If you didn’t have any natural talent, you weren’t going to make it. When I got started around 2002, there were a lot of books and I bought them all. I have a huge shelf full of poker books. I studied really hard and, right from the beginning, I was a winning player. The first time I deposited, I was winning. I’ve never had to re-deposit on a site. I’ve only deposited when I try out a new site.
Now, we have an incredible amount of information. Join a training site and become active. Be active in the TwoPlusTwo forums. Be active on PocketFives. Be active on FlopTurnRiver. Become a member of a poker training site and a part of that site’s community. There’s a chat room on PokerXFactor where you can drop by at 3:00am and there may be no one else except for me in there. That means you’re getting a free one-hour lesson with me. If you want to study, there’s so much information out there and the training sites give you such an advantage. I don’t know how people survive without being a member of these training sites.