Interview with Bertie 'bigstealer' Bayley (Part 2): About Becoming a Spin Reg, Mindset Training and Travels Around The World.

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Charles Hawk
High Stakes Reporter
Joined: Mar 2 2012

Bertie 'bigstealer' Bayley 


Charles Hawk: Have you started to win straight away when transitioned to Spins? How are you improving nowadays, how do you study Spin and Go's theoretically? What tools do you use while grinding and while off-tables?

Bertie 'bigstealer' Bayley: No I lost for about 1 month actually and was kinda tearing my hair out but after some trial and error/figuring out the population tendancies/plenty of HU study I got there and started 4 tabling them pretty comfortably.

I used all sorts of stuff but most of the study was PIO related. Occasionally I'd use flopzilla for the exploitative stuff but that was it really. I built my own HUD on HM2 (didnt join the pokertracker dark side) with lots of pop ups by stack depth which was super useful. It was amazing to start with how poorly people defended their limps HU vs BB raise and many of these guys were coming from $30-$100 cartels.

Most of my study is PioSOLVER related still but of course RunItOnce is a fantastic resource as well. I also have a great support network of very smart friends. One of my closest friends is a SNG/MTT/Live Wizard grinder called Thomas Boivin who is Martomchat online. We discuss a lot of hands/lines and his Belgian flair gives me new angles to think of a lot! I also used to live with another hypers grinder ILS007 who is much more of a theoretical player so I got both sides of things quite nicely.

Charles Hawk: What is the most exciting about grinding poker for you (when distinction is made between playing/grinding the game and being able to be happy because of the results (for example: money and freedom)? Do you have any specific philosophy (methods, advices) how to prepare a break-even player into a winning one?

Bertie 'bigstealer' Bayley: I play poker to sustain a lifestyle - I don't really love the game that much. I really like winning of course and part of me is quite competitive but I'm not an emotional person so I don't really let ego get in the way of decisions. If someone tells me I'm terrible I sort of just nod, review the spot they're referencing and learn. I don't care, I just enjoy that it's been pointed out to me (shout out to prosvk) and I improve. I used to really care what people think about my game but I did some sessions with Elliot Roe and realised it's silly. I play for me, if I make mistakes it affects me only and affects my bottom line and what I can do with my life. What other people think of my game is not important whatsoever. So poker excites me in the sense that it is VERY unlikely that I'll be able to repeat this lifestyle with an hourly of $200+. Any job that has this much freedom usually is earning very little money. So I appreciate that we are SO lucky to be in this spot.

My advice would be first and foremost sort your mindset, its the most valuable part of poker. Being emotionally ruthless in poker is invaluable so you should invest in getting some mindset sessions with someone well qualified. Elliot is a great example of someone like that. Once you can just make decisions based solely on the information from the poker tables and nothing else your EV is going to be reflective of your ability not your mental leaks. I had a particularly problem of feeling a huge amount of injustice in MTTs feeling like I basically ran terribly but had a session with Elliot and he basically said, 'are MTTs your primary focus?' I, of course, answered no and he said, 'is your goal to become exceptionally good at MTTs' and I said, 'no' and he said, 'do you think that there's a field in the world where if you don't focus on something or have the goal to be great at something that you can expect yourself to have exceptional results?' The answer of course is no and I just realised I'd been a bit of a spoilt brat. Fedor talks about this too, how people say they want to be best but they don't put in the work to be the best. Now when SNE was a think I worked my ass off to be really good at 6m hypers and in my final year of SNE my EV was 2.7% which I think only a couple of players in the world bettered over my sample but when rakeback was cut I was disincentivised to become the best in the world at one thing, which did suck.

So, once mindset is sorted, I think honestly there is so much content out there available for purchase in almost every field. So do your research and choose wisely!

Charles Hawk: Do you imagine playing poker profesionaly all your life? Do you have any plan B, any ideas what would you like to do afterwards?

Bertie 'bigstealer' Bayley: I don't think I'll play my whole life, I'm playing far less than I used to, but I want to save money and be able to use it for something that can help me sustain a lifestyle I've developed. I'm a bit of a nerd and I collect watches, and I'm close to completing my collection of 4 watches that I wanted. I have 4 now but 1 I want to get rid of and replace with another. Once I have done this I will save more of my earnings and look for places to invest it in. I'm not a venture capitalist or an entrepreneur but I have friends who work in all sorts of interesting fields that I think would be really useful resources to help point me in the right direction for investments. Obviously, theres a lot of chatter about crypto currencies but I need to do some research before flinging a load of cash into that. I'm not someone who can just throw money at something and hope. I want to be coldly logical about a scenario, I actually hate gambling as a rule. Poker is my exception as the misinformation aspect makes it so interesting and obviously creates the edge we all talk about.


Charles Hawk: Tell me about your travels. Where have you been? What is the most memorable travel?

Bertie 'bigstealer' Bayley: So I've been to many places. I will try to recall them all, I think sometimes it's better to say cities rather than countries because if I say USA it doesn't really say much because I've been there so many times it might feel very boring and places like Miami are so culturally difference to Boston, for example.

But I've been basically everywhere in the UK as you can imagine, Ireland, Iceland, France (Paris, the Dordogne region and the alps for ski-ing), Madrid, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, North Italy, Austria, Berlin, Holland, Budapest, Prague, Montreal, Vancouver, Miami, LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York City (many times), Boston, Denver, South Africa, Kenya, Myanmar, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, Mexico, Panama, the Bahamas and the Caymen Islands.

I think it's hard to say which is the most memorable as the globe has so many incredible places with unique aspects. Barcelona has incredible architecture and a fantastic climate. Some of the architecture in Budapest is also stunning.

Myanmar was the most eye-opening experience, that country is so backwards you couldn't imagine. There's 1 KFC in the whole country and 0 McDonalds!!! Obviously this is great but still very surprising ha. They have had a mobile internet revolution recently and their data is one of the cheapest in the world if not the cheapest. As a result country that used to have only 1% of the population on the internet 3 years ago, now has 99% of the population with internet on their phones. All their phones come with facebook preinstalled so they have plunged into this facebook era with no real growth into it like the rest of the world. Now there's a big fake news problem because people use facebook for their news! This has led to them realising how different their world is too so when I was there people were asking for photos with me just because I was a white dude!

They have a really crazy regime there, there's a rule there that universities can't be within 25minutes travel of a town or another university as the government doesn't want pools of young, clever people getting together and maybe forming a protest. The government is corrupt too and whilst they say it's no longer under military rule, 65% of their budget is still spent on the military :/, with around 10% on health and the same for education...

Myanmar also the highest net contributor to religion in the world, and that's more than the USA to christianity. Let me give some perspective on that, there's ~300million Americans earning around $40k per year, pre tax, on average (that figure could be low, but if it is it proves my point further) compared with 55 million Burmese with a GDP/capita of $5,500. Why is this the case? Because they believe if they don't donate daily to the church they go to hell. It's so messed up! You see people getting water out of muddy puddles to drink with a golden temple in the background glinting in the sunshine...such a juxtoposition.

Melbourne is my favourite place in the world to just hang out and live, it's a great relaxed atmosphere and the food/coffee is fantastic as well as the weather and the people.

In terms of natural beauty it's close between New Zealand (the view on a clear day from Bob's Peak in Queenstown is spectacular) and the Peruvian Andes.

Charles Hawk: What countries you would love to visit in the near future? How are you choosing where to travel? Any guides/websites you use to get a clue/advices?

Bertie 'bigstealer' Bayley: I would like to go to Switzerland, I follow a couple of instagram accounts called 'placeswow' and 'globewanderer' and some of the villages/towns nestled into the swiss alps look beautiful. They have brilliant blue glacial lakes and easy access to hike incredible mountains so I think that's a must. Plus I want to visit the watch factories (nerd).

I also want to see Scandinavia, if only to get a better idea of how those 'idiots from Northern Europe' (shout out to Phil Helmuth) live their lives :D. But seriously I want to see the Norwegian Fjords which interest me as I looked at them briefly when studying geography. I have been told that Copenhagen is a fantastic city and I also have two friends who live in Finland so it'd be rude not to go there.

In terms of long distance travel I want to scratch off more of South America and Chile seems really appealing, the idea of swimming in the Pacific in the morning and wine tasting in the afternoon strikes quite a chored with me! I would also like to visit Singapore, Sri Lanka and China. In 2019 and I am going to Japan as well which I'm really excited about, the Rugby World Cup will be on then and I've heard it's the most stunning place. There's a park there called Nara Park where there's 1200 deer and they are human tamed. You bow to them and they bow back, I have to get that on my instagram! On top of that I'd like to hike Mount Fuji which looks unbelievable.

Usually I use Lonely Planet and Tripadvisor as my online resources but a lot of things I do are friend recommended either locally or from someone who's been before from home.

Charles Hawk: Any memorable stories to share?

Bertie 'bigstealer' Bayley: One of the most memorable stories I have to share was in Myanmar, my brother (a tall white dude, like 190cm) and I went to this night market in this small town and the people there were just staring at us as we walked through which was amusing in itself but we came to this massive contraption which was a ferris wheel but there were no cables leading up to it so we didnt know how it was going to move. There were people sitting in the carriages waiting and I was just like wtf how does this work. Then 3 dudes working there climbed the ferris wheel which was like 20metres high and used their bodyweight to start it moving and jumped off at the bottom with the wheel spinning really quickly. It was so ludicrously dangerous I was there with my mouth on the floor! We also did a hot air balloon at sunrise over a place called the Bagan which is an old city of temples.

Of course anytime you meet people IRL that you've played against lots its great fun also, for those of you who I've hung out with anywhere reading this, you know who you are!

Charles Hawk: Tell me more about cuisine​s you enjoy most? Also about most memorable restaurants you have been around the world? What is the most unusual meal you have tried/tasted? Any photos?

Bertie 'bigstealer' Bayley: In terms of cuisine I really like thai food, I'm quite into spicy stuff but thai has some great other flavours to go with it. Indian food is nice but its very heavy and I feel like half the time they are just trying to challenge you with how hot they can make their dish and coming out of a meal feeling like you've completed a challenge is less appealing that just enjoying your food/company!

There's a couple of great thai restaurants here in London that I know about. One is a chain but it manages to retain class despite being managed on a larger scale than a singular restaurant. It's name is Patara and I took my family, and my ex gf, there when my parents came down to visit me. The other is a very small restaurant called Sukho.

In terms of great steak houses there's a couple in London which I really like. One is Hawksmoor which is just British, British, British and they do everything very well. The other is Gauchos which is an Argentinian chain which i think has 3 restaurants outside of London but 10 within London which I find quite strange. I don't eat too much red meat for health and environmental reasons but I treat myself to a Gauchos once every 3 months or so. The steaks there are awesome and they have wines made specifically for them in Mendoza, Argentina and they are delicious.

I didn't think much of italian food before I went their last year and it's only once you've been there you appreciate how much of a difference fresh ingredients make to the final product. I would say that Italian food in Italy is the best food you can get, just sayin'.

I used to like french and greek food but now I have developed a slight lactose defficiency so can't eat as much cheese which sucks COZ I LOVE CHEESE!

And of course when it comes to sushi it's hard to look beyond Nobu, I've eaten there in the Bahamas and Budapest and both times it was delicious.

I must say I don't really like American cuisine but I prefer to have many small meals each day rather than large portions so I guess it's just not meant to be </3


Unusual food, hmmm. I've eaten snail in France and octopus as well. That's not THAT weird I guess just strange for us boring English people.


Charles Hawk: Please tell me something about your country and its people, culture and cuisine​. Also about the must-see places or experiences when visiting it?

Bertie 'bigstealer' Bayley: So I'm English and there's a big divide between the north and the south. This can be shown by the fact that the north basically voted brexit and the south voted to stay... (angry)

England is one of the most city-centric countries in the world. London, I believe, is responsible for 1/3 of our economic output and as a result the rest of the country really suffers economically on a financial front but also a huge 'brain drain' effect. Basically all the highly educated gravitate towards London and this can result in the north a) not having the best labour pool and b) feeling like it's neglected by government policy, this creates a bit of a social divide. My family lives in the north while I live in London. I love it here and I think in summer, when *if the weather is good, its the best city in the world as there is always something going on.

I feel like there's something for every kind of person in London, if you like amazing views over a city there's maybe 5 places you could go and 3 of them you can enjoy a drink while doing it. So for that, you can go to the Shard which is the tallest building in Western Europe (Borough Market is near here too which is a great place to visit also), the Sky Garden which is exactly what it sounds like...with a bar in it (but you need to book tickets in advance) and the least well known is Galvin at the Windows which is a bar at the top of the Hilton next to Hyde Park Corner (this is a fantastic date location FYI ;) ). Of course there's the London Eye as well but obviously it's short lived and these things are far better with a glass of something nice.

In terms of unique to England tourist stuff, then Harrods is just an incredible store, its just pure luxury and you don't have to buy anything to marvel at it, it's an amazing set up and really well run. Nearby is the Hyde Park Barracks where you will see soldiers riding the royal horses which, again is very unique to the UK. Around that area you have great art galleries (the Saatchi Gallery for example) and east of Knightsbridge you can find the west end with lots of shows/theatre/bars/restaurants in the Soho region, and of course Buckingham Palace is only a few minutes walk from this area.

If history is what you are interested in then of course you should visit the Tower of London near Tower Bridge which has some great tours and on the other side of the river is the Globe Theatre which is where all Shakespeare's plays premiered.

There is honestly too much to list.


Outside of London I would recommend visiting Bath (because it's stunning) and York (because it's as close to Olde England as it gets with narrow streets and overhanging buildings with a lot of Viking history).


Londoners aren't very friendly to people they don't know who are from London but my experience has shown me that with tourists they are very approachable which is kind of funny. Our metro system is usually completely silent despite having people inches from our faces a lot of the time during the busiest times :D. But if you visited I think you'd be fine asking people for help if you were lost/wanted advice.

In terms of food, London has every type of food you could imagine, from Cerviche to Sushi, Macaroons to Macaroni :D I've already mentioned some restaurants earlier.


Budapest, Parliament

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands

Cuzco, Peru​

Family photo with Mount Popa in the background, Myanmar​ (I'm on the right)

San Francisco

Gran Canaria​

Ground Zero, New York City​

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin

Inle Lake, Myanmar​


Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Arc de Triomf, Barcelona​

Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Lisbon, I forgot to mention I went to Portugal

Me above Machu Picchu (2011)​

Melbourne at night​

Melbourne​ (my office when I was there)


New York​

Nou Camp, Barcelona

Panama City

Queenstown, NZ 2011

Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar (this has 5448 damonds and 2317 rubies on it)

St Anton, Austria

St Kilda, Melbourne



Bali (on the right)​


Baloon ride over the Bagan, Myanmar 

Baloon ride over the Bagan, Myanmar​


I am always looking for new interview opportunities with HUSNG and Spin Reg's who play $30s and higher. Please PM me here or on 2p2 (Charles Hawk).