Monday, January 10, 2011

Off the Table and Back on the Tables

2011 started with me spending a large amount of time on a table without cards. On January 7th I underwent heart surgery to correct what they thought was Supra-Ventricular-Tachycardia; to save a lengthy discussion, it turns out that I have Atrial Fibrillation and will have to undergo another surgery some time in the near future. While I think it would be applicable to go on life tilt, I'm doing my best to chalk it up as a karma credit and hit the poker tables full force.

I am a very big fan of setting goals, whether it be school, work, or poker. It gives me a path to where I would like to be rather than sporadically shooting at my dreams.If you haven't already read it, I will be taking the leap into playing full time in April of this year. I plan to diversify and specialize in my games more than ever, and to apply the multitude of knowledge which I hold.

Official Goals for 2011:
Have my heart finally fixed (whether it be through surgery or medication)
Travel to at least 2 foreign countries
Get back to school in the fall to keep working on my Physics degree
Get back into regularly trading on the stock market

Achieve SN status on Pokerstars
$30k total profit from all games in 2011

Venture into 18 & 180 man SNGs
Study and warm up before each session
Work my way into the $38-$60 games (18s and 45s)
25k in profit from 2011

Play more non turbo type games, especially on UB/AP
Get some hourly coaching for MTTs
Ship a 5k+ score

Play more rush 6max on FTP during down times.
Keep a reasonable BR for this.
2k+ profit

I've already got a jump on a few of these items, and I can't wait to check each one of these off this year.

GL in 2011 everyone.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Life Dynamics

PSVT. For those of you like me and don't have a medical degree specializing in cardiovascular electro-physiology, that is Proximal Supra Ventricular Tachycardia. A disorder arising in the atrium that can result in severely elevated heart rates, sometimes upwards of 200 beats per minute, for no real reason at all.

As of November 3, 2010, I have been diagnosed with this disorder. For about two weeks, life came to a screeching halt. Trips to the Cardiologist, fighting with heart monitors, calming relatives on a subject I was at complete unrest about, and even a wonderful trip to the ER, I simply stood auditing my life for the first half of this month.

I am currently scheduled for surgery on January 7th. I was scheduled  to return to school on the 13th. For health insurance issues and time complications, I will no longer be returning to school this Spring and will have to postpone my return until the Fall. While I am guaranteed readmission, this has by far been the most difficult pill to swallow.

While I would love to say this has been the only major hurdle like this that I have faced in my life, I could not be further from the truth. Life always seems to present me with a laundry list of what most consider to be the single most difficult point in their lives. Fortunately for me, the horrors I face nearly annually, are accompanied by the wonderful gifts and opportunities that I am presented with nearly daily.

Due to the complications with my health insurance, I will not be able to play full time in January. But I will be able to in May, and will be able to spend the extra three months helping under resourced youth here in Dallas. I have poured a significant amount of my life into improving the program I volunteer for, and the extra three months will allow me to finish up nearly all that I have planned.

While there is a rather large queue of situations like this, the simple fact is that having my entire plan for 2011 ripped away from me, by a genetic heart defect, has left me torn and somewhat bitter. I am continuously working on making this as positive of an event as I can, and knowing myself, I know that I will be to terms with it all soon enough.

Until then, I am still grinding, still teaching, still learning, still inventing, still innovating, and still happily on this roller coaster I call life.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Getting My Thoughts Straight

Over the last three months, I have watched my coach's game evolve from a solid SNG grinder, into a phenomenal poker player; unfortunately I had spent most of the time having trouble discerning how it happened. It wasn't until just two days ago, while I was ghosting him, that it clicked. For over a year, my brain has been hit with the constant golden rules of SNGs: "Never raise fold less than 10bbs," "Always raise, never limp," "Follow ICM," and the list goes on... As my game evolved, I learned more and more that I could stretch these rules, and that exceptions to the rules occurred. It wasn't until I watched a few key plays during some $38 and $60 18 mans that I finally came to the conclusion: It doesn't matter what the rules are, all that matters is I outplay every single opponent I find, regardless of the methods.

I really have to thank Bigbluffzinc for all of this.I know that his style of play is a culmination of all the styles of the absolute best SNG players in the world, and with a combination of his thought process and creativity, I don't see anybody beating him any time soon. 

If any of you are interested in coaching by him, it is 100% worth it:

I have been euphoric about my poker game for the last two days, not just because I am finally winning again, but because I am outplaying every player at my table. I am finally playing poker. I am finally looking forward to playing full time again, which has been an absolute relief in itself.

I have already established two things about next year: 1) I will obtain Supernova status, and 2) I will be one of the elite turbo SNG players by Dec. 31, 2011.While I say this with an understanding of its arrogance, I only say it with the complete knowledge of my mental capacity and drive to succeed-- And for anyone who knows me personally, this is by far no stretch of the imagination.

I still have a mountain of work, studying, and learning to do, but it is by no means insurmountable. All I know is that if I keep playing poker instead of just grinding, I will be on top.

Kind of an interesting statement for someone who has under $2,000 in personal profit from poker? Definitely. An interesting statement for anyone that knows my game? Definitely not.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Finally getting back around to this stuff...

It's been a while, so I figured it was time for a status update :)

I've been completely swamped lately with work and life in general, and unfortunately that has placed poker on a bit of a back burner for the time being. Between working non stop as an Americorps VISTA, entering cooking competitions, coaching, getting school set up again, and having somewhat of a social life, poker hasn't been much more than an afterthought. Fortunately I'll be heading back to Wisconsin to finish out my degree in January, and even though I was guaranteed readmission after my sabbatical, it was definitely a relief to see that it all went off without a hitch.

As of this past Saturday, I am now the Texas State Veggie Fair Deep Fried Foods Champion. I was able to scramble together to make a reuben sandwich vegan, batter it in panko, and deep fry it. Turns out that it was good enough to be the best tasting sandwich, and even beat out some entries by cooks at local restaurants. My piece is the one on the bottom left w/ the pickle, and the guy's submission that won most creative is on the top. The judges included some local chefs/cooks (one being a 5 star restaurants executive chef -brag) and a few other local foodies. In the end I took home $100 and this years title which was pretty sweet.

As for poker, I'm finally starting to pull out of this ridiculous downswing I've been in. I shipped a small MTT on Sunday for about $500 on Absolute which felt amazing. I don't play many MTTs, and had never won one prior to that, so I was definitely happy about that. Plus I fixed a few leaks that developed during the downswing thanks to some help from BigBluffz, and even picked up a few new tricks while I was at it. I finally had a nice session tonight, and even though I was short on time and could only play 20, I finished up about $100--My first positive session in two weeks. Even though I have about another $600 to get back to where I was two months ago, it's definitely a nice start, and a nice light at the end of the very long dark tunnel. 
Even though it's three months away, I'm definitely starting to look at how I will go about playing full time next year. I'm hoping that I can finally get some real volume in (~2-3k games/month) and pick up supernova by the middle of the year some time. With financial aide and the money I'll be making from coaching I could honestly live off the rakeback, but obviously I plan on crushing a bit and taking vacations with my spare winnings. 

No stats updates this time, with the gross downswing I'm actually slightly embarrassed by them, they're not really super bad, it's just depressing to look at them at the moment so I don't. Not to mention my volume hasn't been the best to counteract the variance, so they aren't really too much of an accurate reflection at this point in time. 
I'm hoping to start posting in here at least once a week, so hopefully I'll have some new updates by next Thursday!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Always Learning

Back from Mexico and getting back into the swing of things. Trip was amazing, and it was great to spend some time with Miranda as we both have been working crazy and it's been difficult to see one another. Finally decided to go back to being 100% Vegan, I've been about 95% Vegan having cheese once in a while, but I'm just cutting it all out again.

I've made it a personal en devour to engulf myself back into seriously learning poker. Not matter what level you're at you should always be studying, learning, talking with other people, and studying new approaches to the same old problems. I unfortunately took a two month break from this mindset, unintentionally, but I did. I fortunately have a group of very talented players at my disposal to ask, discuss, and critique all aspects of any game. BigBluffzinc has been a sicko of a coach, and I highly suggest him to anybody that is looking to take their game seriously, plus being associated with his stable is highly +EV in itself as everybody is striving to improve their game.I've also been spending more and more time with SNG Wizard, analyzing tough spots from nearly every different angle, and going through my HH's with a new perspective. It's so easy to breeze over spots that you think are standard, but could actually be improved upon. I have significantly improved my game in the last week just because of this new approach.

I got reminder of how much I need to have this mindset today when I got a request from somebody for coaching. He seemed very nice and very interested in the coaching, but stated that he knew the basics and only wanted coaching for a few spots where he was "just missing a little bit." I went on to SS him, and found he was a -ROI player over 500 games. It's mentalities like this that which keep people from ever profiting in the first place. Poker is a multi-variable dynamic game, if you can't adapt, learn, assimilate, and grow every single time you play, then you're just going to be paying my bills.

Coaching has been going better than ever. I've got about 8 regular students and one running on a profit share. So far every single person has absolutely loved their coaching sessions, and has come away significantly improving their game. People are finally starting to see that my $20/hr is just because I don't mind coaching at a discount for others. It'll go up eventually, but for what my students get, this is a huge discount.

I've also lately been playing a few games that I don't play all that often: Non Turbo MTTs. I rarely play this structure, but I am very confident in my play in these even with little experience. I've been playing the miniFTOPS events lately and been playing really well. I've been close to cashing in 2/3(Keep in mind these are 25,000 person fields) and busted early in the other due to two sick coolers. All of my busts have been from good plays for decent pots, and I have never felt more comfortable w/ my MTT play. I have been running hands by tons of MTT players to make sure that I should be confident in my game, and many of them agree. While I am happy with my play, I can always improve. I signed up for a $15 session tomorrow with one of the top MTT players on the internet hoping to improve my MTT game. I don't play them much, but I'm always happy to give myself the best chance at shipping one!

As always here are the stats for my recent play, I've been pulling out of my gross downswing which has been amazing. These stats also include losing nearly $200 due to my internet going out the other day... Obv stars says it wasn't bc of them but w/e life goes on:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No Poker For A Week!

I know it doesn't sound that amazing, but not working -- any of my three jobs, for an entire week + two weekends is going to be amazing! Pics and epic stories to come I'm sure.

As for the grind: I'm finally coming out of my downswing, which has been awesome, and I've added 18s to my regular grind. I've been playing 6.50 18s, and with the help of Bigbluffzinc and Mattgeer, both of which have been awesome helping me out any time I need it, they have been very profitable.  I'm even contemplating completely moving over to 18 mans as I love the low variance and the game play. But I will look into it more when I get back and play some more.

Also decided to play the MiniFtops events on FT, I don't typically play a lot of MTTs, but my poker game has been better than ever, and I have been studying how to better play them. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if I FT'd one of them.

For those of you on PTP that want in on my MiniFtops action I have a BAP up : It has pretty good cuts, and includes my FT SNG action as well.

Just going to keep it short today as I'm getting ready for this much needed vacation.

GL on the tables everybody and I will see most of you in a week!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

128 Days

Been on the grind still, but unfortunately it has been tough to find the motivation to play through this ugly downswing. With an ABI of about $7 I've been on about a 80 BI downswing, and it hasn't been a somewhat downward trend, it has been absolutely straight down. I think last week I played 5 sessions, none of them profiting, and 2 of them completely tanking. Frustrating, but it happens.

Fortunately I  found some new motivation in the last day or two. BigBluffzinc has been supportive in looking over my game, and MattGeer has been absolutely awesome at helping me with any questions on 18 mans if BigBluffz isn't around. I've been mixing in 18 man sessions which have been going well. According to the numbers and everything I've been playing very profitably, and seeing a decent return.

With the recent downswing, and with reminiscing of other downswings, I have been trying to analyze my meta-game quite a bit. I unfortunately have one major downside to handling the ups and downs of poker, I deal with BiPolar-2 disorder every day. By no means am I crazy, I just simply have days where I can get easily depressed, and others where I get excited more easily than usual. While it is slightly more complicated than that, it is certainly something I am trying to explore with regards to my poker game. Because my mood can be shifted easily during the day, I always wonder if I can tilt easier, or if I make plays slightly differently due to where my Bipolar cycle is. I don't think it has a huge impact, but I definitely want to keep track of it to make sure that it is not making a huge impact on my game at times.

Away from the poker, I'm getting ready to go on my much needed 5 day cruise with my lovely girlfriend next week. We'll be headed down to Galveston to ship out on our cruise next week, and I can't wait! I will be taking 100% time off during this trip, no poker, no internet, no work, no cell phone, no nothing other than a fun cruise with the girlfriend. Pics will be to come!

And as always, current stats to keep track: (Lost my star in the downswing this week... will have to get that back!)