Article published in Dropline.biz on May 15, 2006

IT'S IN THE BLOOD

By Stephen Alexander (co-authored by Dino M. Zaffina)

Born into the professional world of poker Brett “Gank” Jungblut went on to win the World Series of Poker bracelet in 2004, defeating three-time gold bracelet winner “Miami John” Cernuto. This was a proud moment for his father, Art Young who watched his 25-year-old son do something that he, himself, attempted twice before.

Art Young is no stranger to the competitive world of professional poker. He knew the feeling of playing heads up for a world championship. He too sat at the final table under the bright lights in Las Vegas. Had he won at least one of those two times, Art and Brett would have been the first father/son to win the World Series of Poker championship. Since then, Doyle Brunson and Todd Brunson became the first father/son duo to capture the bracelets.

Brett was born in Atlantic City. Art, a semi-professional poker player named him after the character “Bret Maverick” from the 1950s television comedy-western played by actor James Garner.

Even though poker and gambling was in his blood, Jungblut did not start playing poker seriously until he was 19 years old while attending Roanokes College in Virginia, where he studied business. He started by playing poker online and in Atlantic City once and awhile when he went back home.

After he made the decision to turn pro, Brett moved out to California with his brother and a couple of friends. He first settled in San Diego, but only for a short while. After playing in some of the local card rooms, mostly the Lucky Lady, he realized that if he was going to get better he needed to be in Los Angeles or Las Vegas because the competition in San Diego did not compare.

Brett took some road trips to Vegas and played at the Mirage a couple of times, but he mostly played at the Commerce Casino in L.A. Poker to Brett is not necessarily centered on the money as much as it is about being the “Best.” “I obviously want to put myself in a position where I can play against the best, get better, and improve my game so I can be recognized someday,” Brett said. “Certainly, if you are the best you are not going to have a financial problem.”

One would think that Jungblut would have it made being the son of a strong competitive poker player; however, this did not always work for him. His parents divorced when Brett was 8, so his father became more of a friend to him. As far as poker would go, Brett was stubborn about learning. He said, “I would have to fall on my ass quit often, so that I could learn the hard way. That is not to say that I wouldn’t ask my dad some questions here and there, but I mostly wanted to do it on his own.” Brett said jokingly, but with a serious twinkle in his eye, “I’ve gotten to a point where I feel that I am a better player then my dad, although he would never admit it. I sometimes am lecturing my father, but he doesn’t want to hear it.”

When Jungblut plays in live tournaments his buy-ins and expenses are fronted by the same anonymous sponsor. He has had the same sponsor for about 2 1/2 years. Many professional poker players have an individual or a business entity behind them; it makes entering the tournaments a lot easier.

Bret enjoys traveling around the country meeting different cultures and subcultures, but he is well aware that all this traveling is expensive. “It is added stress when you are playing with someone else’s money,” He said.  “It creates a totally different set of issues that you have to deal with. I have become good friends with this guy. Some of these tournaments are $10,000 and $25,000 buy-ins. Even though the money is more expendable coming out of his pocket than if it were coming out of my pocket, I still do not want to lose his money. It is still a huge amount of money being put out.”

Brett not only plays live in a real casino, he plays in many tournaments online. He is possibly the best known “online” player in the world. Brett says that he plays online more because he can play on more than one table at a time. He said, “You can play 10 to 20 tournaments a day. Get a lot of practice in, a lot of chance to minimize the ups and downs swings. Getting that many reps in one day cuts down on the variances substantially, as oppose to playing one tournament a day.”

When he plays online, it is for all real money. Jungblut explains, “You put money up in Net Teller or PayPal accounts. These are all separate bank account for you to purchase chips from different casinos. If you deposit $200 in your account you can purchase up to $200 in chips. When you win money you can draw your money from the account.”

Brett Jungblut teaches poker online through virtual seminars and tapes at www.propokerschool.com. His school is the only online poker school that provides students with live conference sessions.

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