Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to finish sixth in a pokerstars Blogger tournament.

Step one: Forget that you are registered for said torunament and go out for pizza with your family right when the tournament starts.

Step two: Arrive to said tournament an hour and 25 minutes late.

Step three: Find yourself with only 320 chips remaining with blinds at 60/120 and the average stack about 5000.

Step four: Run like god

Step five: make a crucial bluff at the final table that is snapped off.

Step six: Finish in sixth place, recieve ticket for $215 Spring Championship of Online Poker event.

Step seven: (Note: I have not yet completed this step) Take ticket and enter largest buy-in tournament you have been involved in. Win said tournament, parlay winnings into 100 million dollars.

Monday, January 18, 2010

63 days

What's so special about 63 days you ask? I started working with Nick on November 16th, 63 days ago. Tonight is my first break from the tables, I played in some capacity for 63 consecutive days, and I have a lot to show for it, a lot learning completed, and a small but nice profit so far to show where my hard work is getting me. I will be moving up to the next level of stakes soon, and I expect to see my profits jump significantly at that point. Tonight though, I take a break, not through laziness or burnout, but because sometimes the cards and the game scream at you to take a break. After a small rough patch of cards, I decided tonight, it will be best to let the deck lie. I expect to get back into things tomorrow in earnest, and let the deck hit me square between the eyes. The best thing about my downswing right now though is that I still feel like I am making the right play almost all the time. I have my mistakes, we all do when we start playing more tables and really learn how to balance our thoughts, but more often than not, the correct play is being made. If the deck misses me, so be it, the cards will come around. And I'll be there to catch them.

Just not tonight.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 Goals.

so 12 days into the new year, its time to set some goals that I feel are attainable with hard work. None of these goals are going to come easy, and I'm going to have to bust my ass to acheive them, but I feel they are all there for the taking.

1. Make 100K playing poker online. While money goals are not always the best thing to set, I feel that is more of a short term thing. Setting monthly or weekly goals can be a very disheartening thing if you run into a bad bout of variance, and so a yearly money goal (while still not the best way to judge your worth in the game) is more suitable and allows for swings both up and down.

2. Do not have a losing month. This kind of falls into the last goal as variance is tough to account for, but if a month is winding up to be a loser, that will just mean I need to put more hours in towards the end of the month. More hours = more results.

3. within 1 month, move to the $12 180-mans, and within 3 months move to the $36 180-mans. More money in the pot = more money to be won. Bigger games = bigger scores. As long as I continue to play the game at the highest level, goal number 1 should fall.

4. Begin mixing MTT's into my game. These are the big money makers of the poker world. While making a living from these requires an extreme amount of patience (hundreds of loses can be offset by one big score, variance is much much higher than in the 180 man tournaments, and you can often play for 6-8 hours without making a single dollar) playing these often but not as a primary source of income is key. The 180-mans will continue to be my money maker, the MTT's will fall into the side of extra income.

5. Play 25,000 games this year. Posting yearly game goals is a lot better way of judging yourself than a yearly monetary goal. Why? Because when you attain and keep a certain Return on Investment for every game that you play, playing a certain set number of games will net a certain set amount of profit. 25,000 games is a little over 2,000 per month. A lofty goal for sure, but as each month passes, it will become easier and easier.

6. And this is why. Goal six is to increase my number of tables played from 9 to 24 at a time. This is a big jump, and I'm going to allow myself 6 months to get it done. 9 tables is comfortable now because they fit well on my beautiful 23 inch monitor, but changes that I hope to make in the near future will help increase the number of tables I can play.

7. Improve my poker setup. Nothing in particular wrong with my current setup, but there are some improvements that need to be made. I'm entering my fourth year with my current computer, and the 1GB memory and 250GB hard drive, plus a fairly slow graphics card just isn't going to cut it soon. Upgradng my computer to something with dual or even quad graphics card capabilities will be key to increasing my multi tabling options. For each graphics card, i can add another monitor to the setup. By the end of the year, I would like to upgrade to two 30 inch monitors, which will provide more than enough space for 24 games at a time. My computer desk and chair will also need to be upgrade to provide the maximum in long hours comfort.

8. My final and most important goal will be to get this to the point where I am playing full time and no longer need a second source of income. This is a little tougher for me than most of Nick's studnets as I have a wife, children, and a mortgage. These things require a consistent source of income, something I am positive I can get from the game, but I will need to show a continued 3-6 month life supporting profit before I can transition to making this a full time job. By the end of December 2010. I will be at that point.

I also want to add that I want to keep updating the blog reguarly, not just with poker content, but with my thoughts about the world and life in general. I have a few posts that I'm drawing up that I hope you all will like, including a recap of last season's survivor, including why Russel couldn't win and why he looked so downtrodden at the final council. I also want to go into detail about the UIEGA, why it was so dastardly to begin with, and why, once congress realizes just how wrong the law was and repeals it, that another poker boom as big or bigger than 2003 will be coming. When that day comes, us that have transitioned into professional play will all be making a ton of money. So keep checking back, I have a lot in store for 2010.

Monday, January 11, 2010

An interesting night.

So this weekend I finally had my first session with Nick Rainey. Nick has one of the more interesting poker minds that I have ever run into. He went into detail about thinking on not just the first, but the second and third levels. There was a lot discussed, but one thing that I put into practice tonight really brought everything home for me.

Nick mentioned that in order to give full concentration to the game, that we have to control our minds and ourselves like robots. Tonight I attempted to show zero emotion regardless of what was happening. When I had aces cracked on two consecutive tables, I shed not a tear nor threw anything in anger. And you know what? On another table, my aces held to triple up. When I busted out deep in a tournament on a bad beat, instead of moaning about how the world isn't fair and how that guy could possibly call with such a terrible hand, I booted up another game and got back to the grind. ten minutes later, I booked a win. And when I did, I didn't pump my fist, clap my hands, or stand on my chair and cheer. No, I closed down the game and booted up another.

This is how it goes as a professional, and though I've been working hard, tonight may have been the first time I treated the game as 100% a job. I played, I busted, I reloaded, I won, I reloaded, I busted some more and I reloaded some more. All in all, in 5 hours I played 35 games and made a nice profit with 7 cashes. The results mean little, but its the feelings and the focus I had tonight that meant eveything. With all distractions gone, I feel like I played my best game for the first time.

And that led me to something. As I busted out of my fifth conescutive game, and doubled up again on two other tables to take big leads, I realized that I have everything it takes to do this. And not just to be able to make this a full time job and use it to support myself and my family. No, I realized tonight that I can be great at this. That this could be a calling in life that I knew was buried somewhere but haven't found. I think every person who in some way competes at something to make a living, be they pro athletes or top ranked chefs, or anything along those lines, eventually come to a point where they realize that they will be great at this. Tonight was my night. Tonight, I came to the conclusion that I will be great at this, and I'm going to put in whatever time it takes to accomplish that. From here on, my play will be machine like, and I will make the right plays every time. Because I can, because I'm capable, because I will be great.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blogger Championships: AKA I'm an official poker blogger now.

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! The WBCOOP is a free online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers, so register on WBCOOP to play.

Registration code: 197640

Saturday, January 2, 2010

For my Dad

So, my Dad is a big Carlos Santana fan. Thought I would post this up here for him to enjoy. I'm sure he is one of those kids that used to lay awake and think the same thing.

(Note: NSFW if your workplace frowns upon cursing or misogyny.)

Fearing the thing that has already happened.

Its an interesting phenomenon really. Why is it that we fear something that has already come and gone? The past cannot be changed, and to let fear of a past action/mistake/experience hinder your progress is counter-productive. So it is in poker as well. I've seen it happen, and been a victim myself. Fear of a past action, a past loss, a past misplayed hand may affect how you play a hand in the future. And it shouldn't. With each new hand come new possibilities and that is a mantra I must keep in my head.

The title is particuarly apt when it comes on the heels of the start of a new year. For the previous year has past, and therefore has nothing further contained that we should fear. Whether you had a wonderful or terrible 2009, the year 2010 brings with it a multitude of possibilities and the ability to start anything that you may have misplayed again. 2010 is a new hand, and the last hand is over and done with. You can no longer change the results. Look forward to the future and make the right decisions every time. The mantra continues.

2009 was an interesting year. Many people compare life to a rollercoaster, and I have no doubt that my year epitomizes that. I started off 2009 4 months into a new job that was going nowhere, My son was about to fnish the first year of his life, and a whole slew of new things had started with him, rolling and crawling were on the menu and walking and talking were soon to come. My parents visited in February which was a real treat. Since moving to Tennessee, visits are few and far between. That may change in the future, either with more visiting or closer quarters, but my parents being able to see all five of their grandchildren on a regular basis is important to me.

March came along and the dip started as I lost my job at a company that had little appreciation for me to begin with. No big loss, other than the hit to my confidence and stability of our life. My wife deserves more credit than I can possibly give her for keeping us afloat during the layoff. For any and all that go through a job loss in these times, my deepest sympathies go to you.

With April, a climb back up began as I found a new job with a major telecommunications company. The odd thing being that when I took the job at the unappreciative gutter of the previous job it was by turning down the job I now have. Essentially, I took a 6 month detour from a company that actually does appreciate my service and respects me as an employee to be with one that was all take and no give. But, with the arrival of a new job, the money woes dimminished a bit, always a good thing.

The summer came and went, fairly uneventful. Though I did start reading an amusing poker blog that would come into play later on. No trip to California this year after an amazing trip in 08. We decided it was best to conserve our funds after the great lost job fiasco.

So with the summer gone and the kids and wife happy healthy and fortunes turning around, the coaster took another dip. In august, my wife and I faced a lawsuit and were forced to get a lawyer. Note: Lawyers are damned expensive. With me and my wife both working and going to school, we placed our son back in day care, which is a good thing for him. Although he does seem to have some animosity towards one or two other kids, he seems to like it there and his vocabulary improves daily.

The lawsuit ended in November, and the little roller coaster that could began to climb again, near the end of November, the poker blog that I read mentioned a short blurb about the possibility of poker coaching. Seeing as its always been a dream of mine, I decided that sooner rather than later was the right time to get in touch and try my hand at something. Turns out, that was the right decision. I finished my first semester of grad school,and I've discovered that without modesty I can say that I feel like I'm a natural at poker. I finished the first 1.5 months of play with a 48% ROI, and i've earned nearly ten buy-ins per hour of work put in. Everything I've read shows that this is a very good number. Though my sample size is still small, I feel confident that my numbers will continue this way.

The roller coaster is on the way up a big hill. one that I don't see an end to right now. And thats fine by me, I think there will be a few small hills in 2010, but nothing that me and my family wont be able to overcome. We have survived what can rightly be called our worst experiences as a family this year, and we have persevered.

So with these notes, the past is now the past. The fear that was experienced is no longer, and the future looks bright. Our hand will not be played with the fear of the past in our eyes, and we will come out on top, raking in the pot. Winners are those that make the right play every time, regardless of past actions. Continue to make the right play in life and take down a big year. That goes for everyone who reads this as well as for me personally. The mantra survives.

Onward to the goals and the poker recap for December.

Entering December I set a list of four goals to accomplish. Lets recap.

1. Play 1,200 games this month. 2. Review at least one full hand history before starting every session. 3.Upgrade from 5 tables to 8 by the end of the month. 4. Work hard, work harder, complete my school semester, and play the best I can play.

So lets review. 1,200 games with my schedule was a tad ambitious. That said, its a goal that I am going to keep for the current month, and I'll explain why in a moment. I finished the month with 750 games played, a very good total for someone jugglign work, finals, and family. I also finished the month with a 53% ROI, and a nice profit. I haven't decided whether to post my profit numbers here or not, but if I do, I'll come back and change this post. I have also commenced playing seven dollar tournaments, so if my ROI keeps up on those games, the profit will increase significantly.

Reviewing one hand history before play was not done as often as I wanted. It is an important thing to review and get an idea of why I did what I did, but it came down to hours in a day and that there just werent enough. I will work harder on this going forward.

Upgrade from 5 to 8 tables? Count it, and add one as my general session consists of nine at a time. I was having trouble with this for quite a while, but at one point, it just clicked, and my eyes and fingers and thoughts were flying around the screen. At first it affected my ability to make the right play every time, and mistakes still pop up here and there, but the number of mistakes is quite a bit lower than when I started nine tabling. It is for this reason that I am keeping my 1,200 game goal for the month. Yesterday got me off to a good start.

I feel like number 4 was accomplished quite well. In terms of working hard,I played 100% of the days in December. Yes that includes Christmas and New Years. I did not take one day off, and it shows the dedication I have to learning and improving my craft. I also completed my semester with an A and a B in my courses, not an easy feat when taking two graduate level courses at once working full time. With those out of the way next semester, homework will not be an issue, and more time can be devoted to the tables.

This post is long enough, and hopefully doesn't lure any of you into tl,dr territory. Ill have another up tonight outlining my goals for the year 2010. Here's a hint: It involves making a ton of money at poker.