Archive for November, 2012

Since the WSOP I’ve been in an awful lull, moreover when I play I lose. Some of this is a result of negative variance, but mostly I feel I’ve spent a lot of hours pressing. I’ve let the game get away from me. It’s been slipping for quite some time. I have done my best to spend hours off the table analyzing my sessions; where I’m leaking money, even to the point of questioning my entire approach to live cash…something I’ve never, in my career, second guessed.


Life has a funny way of giving you exactly what you need just when you need it the most. In my case it was the opportunity to coach. For two weeks I was holed up in Stony Brook, playing the role of Gregy, a style in which my own game closely reflects. Being surrounded by 9 other people dedicated to improvement through discussion, debate, analysis, even trial and error allowed me to begin a stripping down process. I came home ready to conquer the world, completely blind to how much more work needed to be done. After a handful of sessions where I got beat up by the deck as well as by my own poor judgement, I was fortunate enough to be approached by a friend looking to transition from the work world to playing for a living. My initial response was jaded. I told him, “As much as I love poker and don’t regret the past 9 years, if I had the chance to do it all over again I would have never played a single hand.”. However, I really enjoy the coaching process and seeing his enthusiasm it was easy to take on the challenge of teaching someone from square one. In turn I’m also going to do the same, checking my ego at the door for the greater good.

The Challenge:
So much of my game is built around creating edges in areas where conventional wisdom dictates taking a more traditional approach. The result is a fine line between excellence and utter failure with no middle ground to cushion the blow. So obviously I must be insane to employ such a style if there are easier, lower risk ways of operating. Maybe, but I feel to continually stay ahead of the game and maintain such a high win rate I have to constantly challenge myself and thought process. I trust the foundation in which I’ve built my game upon. Unfortunately, after playing double dutch with that fine line this year, it’s clear that my game needs patch work from the bottom up. So this is where I challenge myself in a different way. This is where I check my ego at the door and take a step down to work out the kinks, strengthen the ABC’s and force myself to care about the intricacies as much as the results. For at least the next 5 weeks I’m going to do two things that I haven’t done in years, grind 6 days a week and do so exclusively at $2/$5NL.

Since this is meant to be a learning experience I am going to go through the same exercises I assign to my student. The first of which is a completed list of short-term goals I expect to complete over the next 5 weeks:

Goals (Nov. 17th – Dec. 23rd)

-Play 6 days a week; minimum 30 sessions total

-Play a minimum of 30 hrs/wk

-Let no session go longer than 10 hrs.

-Maintain $75/hr win rate (very likely on the high-end, but I’d rather err on the side of unobtainable)

-Spend 5 hrs/wk on hand and session analysis

For the sake of balance I’ve included a few physical goals as well:
-Maintain a strict workout regiment

-Continue strengthening my arm through long toss once or twice a week

-Back to tracking diet via myFitnessPal

Along with logging my hands for future analysis I will also keep a log focused on reflecting upon each session utilizing these questions…

Quality of play:

Quality of the game:

Number of mistakes and cost:

Quality of Focus (did we go on cruise control, tilt?):

Ability to over come dip in focus:

Somewhere along this uncleared path I call a poker career, I lost my way and for too long was unwilling to backtrack. Fortunately, there is a trail of crumbs leading me back to base. I hope this challenge proves to be a step backward in order to take a leap forward, but most of all I hope it humbles me. I’m at my best when my ego is bruised and in check. When the only hurdle is defining to myself just how badly I want to succeed.

“When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, that’s when you’ll be successful.”