Jonathan Little: Most Frequent Tournament Cashers are ‘Biggest Losers’ in Poker

If your Hendon Mob resembles that of Allen Kessler’s, you are a “loser,” according to Jonathan Little. The poker coach and pro posted a controversial tweet that suggests those who cash frequently in tournaments are losing players.

Little’s comments were heavily criticized by some. Others, however, agree with his statement.

What’s His Deal?

The point he’s trying to make, which he said in another comment, is that those who cash often tend to only min-cash. He argues these pros are too conservative and that prevents them from getting big scores. Whereas, an aggressive player who isn’t just trying to rack up cashes won’t cash as often as a passive grinder but wins more in the long run due to earning the occasional massive score.

Little didn’t share any data-based evidence to back up his point, however. But he’s certainly an expert on tournament poker being that he has over $6.8 million in live cashes and millions more in online poker earnings. Plus, he’s a respected tutor coach who runs

When asked if he has “actual statistics” to support his claim by another Twitter user, he said, “yes” but that he won’t disclose that information. He encouraged the commenter to “do your own diligence.”

“If you get a lot of mincashes, it implies you rarely win. If you rarely win, you will have a difficult time succeeeding long term. As simple math, imagine you mincash 30% of the time but rarely win,” Little wrote.

Does He Have a Point?

Arguing with Jonathan Little about poker is a bit like disagreeing with Steph Curry on proper jump-shot techniques. The man is one of the most credible sources of poker strategy around. But many of his Twitter followers don’t agree with his assertion.

User @curehead wrote, “another negreanu out of touch statement.” Another commenter – @realworldpoker – said, “I question if that’s actually true.”

Most poker players don’t disclose financials. The only information we have in most cases is a player’s Hendon Mob profile, which doesn’t include total buy-ins and losses. It only shows earnings from the times they cash.

But there are certain players such as Allen Kessler who are regular min-cashers but rarely run deep, especially in major tournaments. Tony Cousineau, who coincidentally learned how to play poker from Kessler, is the prime example. And he’s the type of player Little is referring to, although he didn’t mention any specific names.

Cousineau has one of the most unique WSOP resumes. He has an impressive, at least on the surface, 84 cashes at the World Series of Poker. But it’s unlikely he’s turned much, if any, profit during the summer series.

In total, he has $876,608 in WSOP earnings which averages out to $10,435 per cash. We don’t know exactly how many events he’s played. Nor do we know how much he’s spent on buy-ins. But assuming he cashes at a 40 percent rate, which is far above average, and knowing that he typically enters $1,500 to $5,000 buy-in tournaments, he likely has turned just a small profit over nearly 20 years at the WSOP.

Here’s the math on that:

  • $876,608 in cashes
  • 84 total cashes
  • 126 times didn’t cash (assuming 40 percent cash rate)
  • $840,000 in buy-ins (assuming average $4,000 entry fee per tournament)
  • $36,608 in profits over 20 years

We could be off base but likely only by a small amount. Perhaps, Jonathan Little is onto something.

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