Monday, December 28, 2009

Holidays = Hectic

So, I've meant to keep this thing more updated that I have, and I have had some good ideas for posts which will make it here soon. Some topics include: For all you survivor fans out there, a look at the best to probably ever play the game and why he never had a chance of winning. The state of villainry in modern media and why I love the bad guy. And, more poker coverage.

For now, I have played poker every day this month, be it for a short or long period of time. I had a good couple days where I was lost in the magical world of Runbad, I have rebounded in a fine way the past few days with 3 wins in three days, and I'm attempting to crack the top 2,000 on the TLB this month. So far I'm sitting in about 2,300 place with 3 days left. I figure anywhere between 2-4 more wins this month will crack the top 2,000 and get me into a freeroll for a Pokerstars passport (basically a buy-in and trip to any of their land-based tournaments. I would probably look at somewhere tropical of course, although there are some nice tourneys running on the European tour they have as well) I'm closing in on 750 games for the month. It will put me short of my goal, but for everything that has been going on with the holidays, I think its been pretty good.

With January approaching and Nick finishing up on trying to be the first and only person to win the monthly TLB two months in a row (an amazing feat for sure, considering they have been doing this for about 5 years and nobody has ever done it. Speaking of which, he is in the lead by about 300 points with 3 days to go. He may need one more big cash in these three days to secure it, but I, along with many others, think he has a great chance to do it) Nick will be getting more and more involved in the coaching side of things. This is big for all of us who are his students, and it will be great to have some 1 on 1 time with the guy who is crushing the game right now. I continue to feel like my game is improving, as even during my trip to magical Runbad, I kept my head clear and cool, didn't tilt, and continued to tell myself its all one long game, and the losses will come as they will. Keep your head up and your midn sharp and keep learning. Make the right play every time. The beats mean nothing, and the beats you drop on other mean as much nothing.

And with that, I'll leave you for now. I've got something to post on here for my dad soon that I'm sure you all will love. Hope everyone had a happy holidays, and keep checking back. Ill have more soon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A random thought: AKA more why poker.

So I was talking with my mom the other day, when this conversation came up. We were talking about the usual things, how life was and work, etc. She asked me how the poker was going and I gave a brief outline on where I hoped things would be by next year and the idea of doing this as a full time job.

She got into her usual huffy mood about it. (My mother has never been a fan of my desire to play poker, she feels that it has the ability to turn me into a degenerate gambler, but she supports me in what I think will help improve my life.) So although she was hemming and hawing, she did bring up a point that she was hoping that poker was not making me neglect my children. Thats when the thought came in, right now I play poker daily, roughly from 9PM to 2 AM. My children are asleep the entire time. On the other hand, in my day job I drive one hour to work each way and work from 10:30 am to 7:30 pm. All this time my children are awake. This begs the question then, which form of work is actually keeping me away from my children? My night job, or my day job? Its an interesting question. Yes, I have my day job to support my family and keep us in our home and provide food and clothing, but were my night time job my actual full time job, it would eliminate a few things. One, there would be no commute to work. Two, there would be no working away from the home which would provide greater opportunities to see my children more often. Three, by being able to set my own hours, I would actually be able to maximize the time I got to spend with my children.

So while its possible playing poker for a living may seem like the big bad wolf to some of you, sometimes it certainly seems the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fun while it lasted

No, that doesn't mean that I'm finished with this little journey, just that I didn't complete my one win a night for the rest of december goal. Thats alright though, I've had a bit of a run bad here the past few days including some incredibly cold cold decks, (For those not in the know, cold deck is a term that refers to one great hand being trumped by a better great hand. For instance, if I, on the button move all in with a pair of kings, and I am called by the big blind who has woken up with a pair of aces, I have been "coolered" by a cold deck) and horrendous beats. I'm not here to make this a bad beat blog, so lets just say that my two highest finishes these past two days would have been wins had it not been for some horrendous cards.

So all in all, still feeling happy, still ahead for the week, and just continuing to make good plays. I'm going to reevaluate my early game on my next session with Bodeye as I feel that there may be some places where I am missing value or giving up value. I am feeling very confident in my late game, including my push/fold decisions. Again, there is room for improvement, but I feel I am making the right plays at the right times, and the number of bad beats that I am taking helps to confirm that.

A fair warning to those who are reaing. My next two posts I feel are going to be rather lengthy, including a rundown of things that I enjoy outside of the game of poker, and a brief history as I know it of my main coach, Nick Rainey, and why I decided to get into this. For now though, its back to the grind (my daytime job right now, Ill be grinding more at my nighttime job later on)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

1 for 1

Well the first night of my challenge is complete, and it did result in a taking down of a tournament. So I am officially one for one. I also completed 35 games which is more than I had put it any other night up to this point. One week in, I have completed 155 games. Not quiiiite on pace for what I was looking for this month, but with a large chunk of my honey-do lsit out of the way,a nd this being my final week of school for the semester, my volume will pick up considerably. My goal for tonight is 40 games and at least another win. Lets see how it goes.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sweet Dreams

Its always nice to book a win in the last tourney of a session before bedtime. It sends you off to sleep with a smile on your face and a confidence inside that has you waking up in the morning with that same smile on your face.

Of course, it isn't the winning that makes you smile (Though the winning is certainly good, don't get me wrong) its the fact that I feel that I played that last tournament about as perfectly as I am capable of doing right now. I of course have plenty more to learn about the game and strategies, but for my current situation and where I am right now, I could not have finished that tournament better than I did. And that confidence will carry over into tonight's session. I can feel it.

I set a goal for myself last night, an attempt to win out and out at least one tournament every night through the end of December. Its a tough goal, very tough for the number of tournaments that I put in, but I'm gonna try my best to complete it. Tonight starts night one, and as long as it goes on, I will continue to update here.

Doing so would be wonderful not only for my confidence, but if I can show a nice run of profit between now and the middle of January, I will reward myself (With the permission of my wonderful wife of course) with a trip to Vegas with my buds John and Naco.

I met John and Naco, god has it really been 5 years now? Yep, a little over 5 years ago now back when I made my firs foray into the world of poker as work when I took a job for local pub poker company Party League Poker. Naco (or Anthony I guess, though the number of times I have called him by that name are very limited) was pretty much running the league in the Nashville area, and after being a regular for a few months, I approached him asking for a job running a few of the games in the area. As he had gotten to know me as a regular, and seemed to be one of the few people there to actually "get" me, he obliged.

John was a different story. When I first met him, he certainly was one of the people who totally did not "get" me. And for good reason, I was brash, cocky, and felt that my poker game was far above any of the other drunkards and lowlifes that attended the games. (Note: I also fell into the lowlife category, though at the time I didn't realize it.) From the start, John didn't like me, but after some time hanging out with me, and discovering that I actually loved the game and the theory behind it much like he did, and realizing I was more than just the obnoxious loudmouth at the table across from him.

Luckily, the chance meeting with these two have led to the two longest running friendships I have in this place. And I'm grateful for it. Friends are such a stabilizing part of a person's life, and having the opportunity to just hang out and shoot the shit, break down poker and sports. Its a good thing to have in your life, and I'm grateful to have such good friends.

So the opportunity to fly to Vegas and participate in our favorite pasttime in the world capital for that pasttime would be very hard to pass up, so as I told John the other day. I'm going to "Grind my balls off" this month and next so that I will have an opportunity to get there.

Lastly, and for those of you that know me well, this is going to come as quite a surprise, This past weekend I did something that counts as Handy. I know I know, a shock to all, but I actually put up the Christmas lights, sawed through a tree trunk, and set up the tree. Handyman Matt to the rescue. I only suffered minor injuries, including a sliced finger and a twisted ankle, but none of these should keep me from performing work, so that is all a plus.

And that's about it. Keep me in your thoughts as i try to make a killing these next few months. I think I may have figured something out last night during my last game that will help improve me further, and if it turns out that is working, Ill be sure to clue you all in here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December: The first

Red: "I remember thinking it would take a man six hundred years to tunnel through the wall with it. Andy did it in less than twenty."

Goals are a very good thing to have, and a wise man once said that getting your goals down on paper (or in this case the internet) may be the most important step towards being a winning poker player. Without goals, all we do is drift idly through space. So while I outlined some longer term goals in a previous post, today I wanted to focus on goals strictly for the month of December.

1. Play 1,200 games this month. I'm not really sure how ambitious this is, and after a full month of playing I will certainly be able to gauge this better. Through about two weeks I played roughly 400 games, and I feel like I could have worked a little harder for a little longer, so 1200 may be attainable. My coach Bodeye has set a 2,000 game goal for himself, and of course he has the ability to do this full time right now, so with me having a FT job and finals coming up, this may be a tad ambitious, but ambition never hurt anyone.

2. Review at least one full hand history before starting every session. This is especially important. Going into a new session with a good outlook of certain mistakes I had made will help keep me from making those mistakes in the new session.

3. Upgrade from 5 tables to 8 by the end of the month. More tables = more games = more money won. Its a pretty simple equation, and so long as I can keep my game as consistent as it has been with more tables loaded, it is one that will be profitable for me. This will also help me complete goal #1.

4. Work hard, work harder, complete my school semester, and play the best I can play. Bodeye is right when he says the only thing you can control at the tables is the way you play your cards. By playing the cards correctly every time, I may win, and I may lose, but the right play will give the right result, and I'll be happy with it.

Until next time...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Riding the Coaster: Part Deux

Last Time on Master3004: Pro poker player, our hero was in the dumps after a negative 44 buy-in day. Did he cry about it? Drop his chin and say he wasn't made for this? Curse the poker gods and bitch and moan? Of course not, that's not what our hero does in the face of adversity. He gets back on the horse and he rides all the way to the top.


Ok, so back on top may be a little bit of hyperbole, but that is a win that capped off a wonderful 4 hour session. 11 games, 3 cashes, 2 final tables, 1 tenth place, 1 third place, 1 first. All in all, 4 hours, and a yummy yummy +66 buy-in day.

I don't want this blog to be about variance every time, so let me get this out, regardless of how down I get, variance balances out, and in a very interesting way. It took me 4 hours of positive variance to more than make up for the nearly 12 hours of negative variance that came the day prior. No matter how bad you may run at times, all it takes is a little bit to the positive to even all out plus.

So that finishes up my first two weeks on the poker tables. This is the most consistent I have ever been in the game, and I feel like I'm getting better every time I sit down. Off to bed for now. Tomorrow, goals for December.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Poker player? Or Roller Coaster Entusiast?


Poker is an interesting game. You can make every right move and at times, the result won't come out right. Not then at least. Like I've said in my past blogs, variance is mathematically there for a reason, and there is no way around it, but boy there are some times when you wish there are.

Lets look at my last two sessions (By the way, once I get some more time and learn a bit more about this blogging thing, Im gonna have graphs and pictures and stuff up, I got some great advice from the blogging queen and my friend Jenn at, go check her out if you are or know any teenage girls. Shes a wonderful writer.)

So, Friday the 27th, 20 games played, 3 cashes, 2 final tables, 1 third place, 1 1st place. A wonderful wonderful run, and a + 57 Buy in rate for the day (I currently play at 2 dollar stakes, so a +57 buy in day would equal to about 114 dollars) I made that in about 3 hours, so quite a good hourly rate.

Contrast that with today. Having some alone time, I was able to put in about 10 hours of play. 1 cash, zero final tables. Overall -44 buy in rate for the day. All the goodwill for the first day goes out the window. so in 13 hours of play, I made 13 buy ins, or about 2 bucks an hour :(

Not discouraged though, I made a lot of good plays today, and can count on two hands the number of mistakes I feel I made (I may have made more, but I will need to do some hand history review to really see if I did or not). As long as I am making the right play, the discouragement is not there, and I will continue to be happy with my progress.

That's all for now, the bed beckons, and I'm actually gonna get a good night's sleep. I could stay and play another couple of hours, but sometimes, when the cards aren't hitting, giving them a night off to heat up isn't a terrible idea.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Poker, Thanksgiving, and the Best wife in the world.

So its late. Again. Welcome to my life, where sleep no longer means what it used to. Not that I'm complaining. I come home every night, spend some time with the wife, and play poker for a few hours, meet with my coach and LEARN.

The amount of info that I am absorbing is astounding to me, and I cannot wait until I have the ability to put in enough games to really make it show.

Thanksgiving is stressful and busy, but still nice and always great to have some really good down home cookin.

What made my Thanksgiving so great? The night before recieving an easly christmas present from the greatest wife in the world. Gone are the days of trying desperatley to make even 4 tables fit on my monitor. I recieved a beautiful 23 inch widescreen. It shows just how much Lisa really supports my efforts in this poker thing. I think she wants it to succede just as much as I do, and that more than anything will give me the drive to be the best.

Anyway, its 1 o clock, and my employer becons me at 8 for BLACK FRIDAY.

Pray for me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Week one and goals.

"I guess it comes down to a simple choice. Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'"
-Andy Dufresne

Really, isn't that what it all comes down to? Anyway, I wanted to use my blogpost today to go over my goals, both short term and long term, and outline what I hope to accomplish through my training and coaching.

First, a little more about one of my coaches. He posted a response in my first blog. Bodeye is 19 and from Sweden. Some of you are probably thinking, boy it must be emmasculating being trained by someone 7 years my younger but, Bodeye is, well Bodeye is a great poker player already. And being that he has only been playing online for a little over two years, Bodeye may become a legend in time. Since working with Nick just a few short months ago, his results have exploded. Through just my first session with him, I have learned enough to make me feel 100 times more confident in my game and make me scrutinize my game to a greater degree. So, am I emasculated by working with someone who is younger than me? No way, I'm humble and I'm willing to learn from whoever is willing to coach me, be they 15 or 90. If they have words of wisdom and a killer poker mine like Bodeye has, I am wide open to learning from them. Speaking with him just a few days ago, I learned that no matter how confident you are in your game, the best players are those that evaluate and find out why they made the plays that they did, not those who claim "I did everything right and still lost, I'm so unlucky" without looking within and seeing if they really did make the best plays they can make. If however, you look into yourself and evaluate your play and find out that, yes, you did make the best possible play, then you take the loss as it is. As long as the right plays continue to be made, you will be a winning poker player over time. Sometimes it takes a while for variance to even itself out, and the winning players are those who realize that and don't devert from the best plays regardless of whether they feel unlucky or have a hunch. Making the best plays = winners. Its as simple as that. With Bodeye's and Nick's help, I fully expect to post great results before the year is even out. With that in mind, lets take a look at some goals of mine for 2010 and beyond.

I'm going to bunch some of my goals into groups and explain them from there, as a lot of the goals can compound on top of one another.

Goal #1:
Play 1,000 games in one month
Play 2,500 games in one month
Play 5,000 games in one month.

With the system I am working on being based largely on volume, acheiving these goals as quickly as possible is key. 5,000 is a lot of games in a month, especially playing primarily 180 man tournaments at this point. But as I am allowed to sprinkle more 45 and 90 mans in there, and by uping the number of tables I can play at once, I feel it is an attainable goal in 6 months.

Goal #2:
Begin playing $4 tourneys
Begin playing $10 tourneys
Begin playing $20 tourneys
Begin playing $30 tourneys

This goal is more up to my coaches than me, but my results will determine how quickly I move up in limits. The more I raise my ROI, the faster it will become profitable to move to higher levels.

Goal #3:
Win a 1000 person MTT
Win a 2500 person MTT
Win a 5000 person MTT

For those not in tune with the poker terminology, MTT stands for Multi Table Tournament. A tournament with multiple tables that normally hold thousands of people. The world series of poker is run as a series of MTT's. Anyway, MTT's are the great equalizer, and the big chance that all poker players are looking for. Winning a large person MTT can be the ticket to tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. And I have every intention of winning a big one in 2010.

Goal #4:
Win a satelite into the WSOP
Play in the WSOP main event
Play in one preliminary WSOP event
Win a WSOP bracelet
Win the WSOP main event.

Ok, so the majority of these fall into the Loooooong term goal category. However, the first one is not a pipe dream and I feel is very attainable before the 2010 WSOP.

I have more goals that I want to get to in a later post. Most of those deal with much more in-depth statistics related numbers, so for now, lets leave it at this. Play more tables, play higher stakes, win the big tournaments, and satelite my way into the big one. I can do all of these, and I have confidence in myself to the point that I know I will continue to improve every time I sit down as long as I am honest with myself and openly evaluate and critique my own play. Why I am making the plays I am will be more important to me than what plays I'm making and what the final results of those plays are.

Do not be results oriented, the results will come in time. Play well, play hard, and play smart. Always make the right play and you will be a winning player.

Next time: More info on my first few weeks, why I chose Nick, and how I got to where I am.

Monday, November 23, 2009

An Introduction

"Remember Red, hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."
-Andy Dufresne

"I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain."

Ok, so the title for my first blog post is a little uninspired and bland, but you have to start somewhere right? And essentially, an introduction is exactly what this is, so why not start there. First off, to all who come here, welcome to my blog. For those who know me a little or not at all, I hope the blog gives you an opportunity to understand who I am and what I am all about. To those who know me well, I hope that you will take the opportunity to learn even more about me.

With that out of the way, a little about me for those who don't know me; and a little more about why I'm starting this blog for those who do. My name is Matt, I'm 26, married and have two children; a 7 year old girl and a 21 month old boy. I have a happy healthy home life and a job for one of the leading wireless phone providers. As of right now, that's me in a nutshell. Pretty straight forward, with what you see being what you get. Recently, I have been given the opportunity to work towards something I have wanted to do since I was 16.

Ten years ago I started playing poker on a regular to semi-regular basis. At first with friends following our time when we were younger playing Magic:The Gathering. Then more and more online and live whenever I could actually find a game. Living in Tennessee makes it quite difficult to find a game, as you have to depend on making the long drive to Tunica. So while I have dabbled in poker, read the books, watched the videos, and all in all absorbed what I could about the game, other obligations have kept me from ever pursuing it to the degree that I’ve wanted. Since I have started playing, I have recognized that I have the skills to be a winning player and that with polish and a bankroll could make an honest attempt towards supporting my family primarily through poker as a profession.

So why now then? What is it about November 2009 that has made me decide to get off my ass and actually attempt something like this? As I said before, and opportunity has presented itself. One in which I cannot pass up. I took the plunge and went to a poker coach, one of the top online players in the world, asking for assistance, coaching, and guidance in what it takes to become an online pro and one of the best in the world. Along with coaching from him and one of his star students who has come a long way in a few short months, I will be broken down, coached, motivated, and molded into a player who can make a living from home, setting hours that I want to keep and working hard towards providing a living for my family that up until this point I have not been able to provide. As for my coaches, although I will not be naming and names at this time, as I get to know them more and more through my sessions, you too will understand more about them through my writings.

As long as I go on doing this, I am going to keep this blog. Maybe not every day, but as I progress I want to take the opportunity to track and evaluate my lines of thinking and give not only myself, but all who choose to read this an insight into how I am improving. As this will mostly be a blog about poker and my attempt to make it in the poker world, there will be a lot of poker terminology and situations that may not be completely clear to those not involved with the game. In those situations I will do my best to explain everything that I am talking about along the way. For now though, this introduction will serve as a welcome. And those two guys up there, Andy and Red? Get used to seeing their names. The Shawshank Redemption has some of the greatest words of wisdom in all of cinema. If you have not seen this movie yet (And seriously, if you haven’t, what size boulder have you lived under to keep you away from it) go out and get it, this very second and watch it. Then watch it again. And again.

I’m writing this blog and attempting this foray into online poker because what Andy says is true. Hope IS a good thing, and if you have the skills on top of the hopes and the dreams, nothing can stop you. I’m setting out to put that to the test and to prove that it is true.

Along the way I will post about any marathon sessions that I am planning or any big shots that come my way that I can take. If you want to follow me, I will be on Pokerstars, under the name Master3004. Hence the name of my blog of course. There will be much less rambling to come, but come if you will. I would love to have you along for the ride.