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Jonathon Zaczek excels at games, and he has been trying to find a formula that will allow him to make a living from his passion.

He is a master in chess and has also played poker competitively. At various times he tried to make those his full-time pursuits.

But the 36-year-old Winnipegger finally thinks he has found a way to spend his full time living and breathing games. It’s through his newest pursuit: the trading card game Magic the Gathering.

“I don’t enjoy it when I plateau at something,” says Zaczek, explaining why he keeps adopting new games. “If I’m not growing, I’m dying.”

He is now ranked 50th in the world at his favourite version of the strategic card game, which is played by millions internationally. And Zaczek has a Youtube channel where he regularly comments on players, trends and strategies.

He adopted the same analytical tools he brought to chess and poker in determining the best YouTube practices, and now has a million views a month. He hopes to keep growing his audience and may add a chess channel.

As for similarities between all his favourite games, Zaczek says it’s simple: “It’s all about pattern recognition.”

Jonathon Zaczek v Waldemar Schulz, Winnipeg, 2004


How does White bring his attack to a winning conclusion?

22. f6 g6 23.Qg4+ Ke8 24. Nc7+ Black resigns.