This month has been by far not only my most positive in terms of monetary gains but my most productive in terms of improvement and understanding.
I’m going to let you into a little secret, I have no idea what I have been trying to achieve for the last few years. I find it totally crazy to think that I have spent the best part of 6 years flaying around in the poker world. I have had no structure, no direction and generally no clue how to even begin becoming a professional player.
The more you dive into poker, the more you don’t understand and it’s overwhelming coming from a place of pure guesswork. This month to me is the tipping point. I’m on the verge of becoming a professional.
How long this verge will last I do not know. Where in the world I could even live and make a living playing the stakes I play is another question.
But I am getting there. I have persevered and I won’t stop until I’m laying on a beach playing the game I love, knowing that my poker winnings are paying for the entire thing.
As always I have an absolute shed load of work to continue with. But what’s better than all the years prior to this is that I have not only the structure to continue improving and moving forward, but I have the right temperament.
I generally believe the only thing stopping any person becoming a professional poker player is their mental attitude. If you can’t hack it, If you can’t learn to lose, learn to tame the natural anger that rises, learn to control your tilt. You have a 0% chance of making your career a success.
You can learn the maths, you can learn the positions, you can learn about GTO theory and balance. But what none of that teaches you is how to control your own emotions. That only comes with practice. And lots of it.
And so whilst many men better than myself would have reached their goals in a quarter of the time. I am not them. I am me. I am here. Now. Still.
And phase 2 is on the horizon
The Road to India
Not many people will know this but one of my poker dreams was to live out in India and make enough money playing in order for me to buy myself a new set of teeth.
I had an accident when I was younger involving a ridiculously large spliff, my face, and the floor. Ever since then I have had fake front teeth and if you weren’t already aware, the dentist is fucking expensive.
Cue India and there cheap but apparently awesome health care (India has rich people too you know!). And so my tiny little dream of living out in India and making enough money to order to buy myself a new set of teeth was born. And so…
I’m on the brink of turning yet another dream into a reality.
And so come September I will be flying out to Mumbai or Delhi, heading down to the beaches of Goa and I will work. With my trusty backpack, my laptop and just the cool seaside breeze for company. I aim to make enough money during my stint to pay for this dental treatment.
Whether I end up getting the treatment is a whole different ballgame, and quite frankly isn’t that important to me. But the idea behind it is the real kicker.
Live Tournament Blues
As many of you know I am a cash game player. It’s the more pure version of the game where you can really test your knowledge without fear of getting knocked out.
Tournaments are apparently not my strong point.
I’ve played around 6 in the last 3 years (one tournament, 5 sit ‘n’ gos) and have not won a single one. Obviously this can be quite disheartening, especially when playing with friends and being known as ‘the poker guy’. This is made undeniably worse by a close friend, who loves to talk about poker like he actually knows what’s going on. He, of course, has had better results than me over a miniscule sample.
“The key is to be aggressive” was one of my favourite quotes of the night.
That’s similar to saying “the key to winning football matches is to score goals”.
Whilst it is inherently true, it’s totally useless information and does nothing to look at the best long term strategies given the information on hand. What if you held 77 on a K62 rainbow flop? What if your opponent was very aggresive themselves and you held 99 on a A92 2tone board out of position?
Poker can never be boiled down to such sweeping statements. Never. Ever.
Anyway my point isn’t to dive on peoples misguided lack of knowledge, although it is infuriating having to listen to such tripe. My point is to try and take a step back and look at ways I can improve my own live tournament game and maybe shake off some bad leaks.
I know from experience that one of my biggest leaks is fear of getting knocked out. This isn’t because I fear of actually getting knocked out of the tournament. It’s actually the fear that my friends will judge, ridicule and patronise me if I do. I actually find it quite upsetting having to listen to a certain friends nonsense about poker, like I haven’t played a million hands, or haven’t spent hundreds of thousands of hours studying, like I have no idea what fucking game we are playing.
And I think this can be quite important for any aspiring poker professional. People will judge you. They will have a dig at you. People will talk tripe. They will call you all the names under the sun. And if they happen to beat you in a tournament then they will think it’s because they are better than you, or at least some of them anyway. The trick is to try to shut out the noise. You know why you love this game. It’s not because it’s easy. It’s not because of the money. It’s because it’s tough, it’s mentally challenging, and gets your logical brain thinking. It’s never as easy as black and white. No matter what your friends spurt out.
From this I have now decided to start studying tournament poker just a little bit over the coming months. This won’t be too in depth and I will not be looking at ICM implications. But the idea of different sizing, stack depth and stealing is something that will set me up well for the future. And maybe I can finally dink one of these home sit ’n’ gos.
And that’s all from me this month!
Keep it +EV