Rebounding from failure to crush life and MTTs

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Rebounding from failure to crush life and MTTs

Hello RIO,

I'm Doug. I'm 28 and live in Maine, USA. I have been keeping a private blog of all my sessions for a while now, and decided to move it to RIO since there seems to be a good community here and lots of positive high level strategy discussion going on. I will post here after every session that I play and will also keep track of some life goals. Here's a little about me:

I've been playing poker for over 8 years, most of that time as a recreational player. In 2014, I had a great year in US MTTs, winning a lot playing part time with an ROI of >50% for the year. At the time I was also working full time as a project engineer in industrial automation. I was paid salary and often worked 60-90 hour weeks along with grinding 20-30 hours most weeks. It was stressing me out and was hard on my relationship, and was not sustainable. Something had to change, and in February of 2015 I decided to quit my job and take a shot at playing poker full time. I decided to take on a backing deal and receive coaching/backing for online MTTs. This went poorly.

I played full time for about 14 months and basically just drained my bank accounts and went into debt to my backers. I got to a point where I literally had 1 month's rent left in the bank and had to defer my student loan payments for a few months just to get by. I considered going back to my old job, which was a bit of a dreadful reality to ponder. I even sold my car and bought a cheaper one to live an extra month while I figured out my options. I considered trying to get into a web development boot camp, but they all seemed to be too cost prohibitive. I independently studied web development and made about 1k freelancing in my last month as a "poker pro", but realized I would not be able to get to a high level of proficiency fast enough to make enough money to survive. In short, I failed.

I have no regrets about my decision to attempt playing full time, and had a ton of amazing experiences during this shot. I traveled to the UK and spent about 18 days in England and Scotland, which was an incredible experience. I got to see a futbol' game, watch live music and tap dancing, visit several historic sites, eat amazing food, and live on a house boat in a canal in London for 4 days. I won a week long trip to the Dominican and played the Punta Cana Poker classic, bringing my girlfriend along for some relaxing on the beach. I met some amazing people, and created some great friendships. I also think I've become a better, more well rounded person and a better poker player as a result.

As these things tend to do, my situation has worked itself out. As soon as I hit rock bottom financially, I got a call from an old friend of mine from college. We graduated and built our senior project together, but hadn't seen each other for years. He asked if there was any chance I might be looking for a job, and I said yes. I went through a couple of interviews, and at the beginning of May I started working as a field engineer for a power engineering firm. I will be doing substation testing and commissioning as well as SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition). This job is a slight pay increase from my last position, and is an hourly position, so whenever I work overtime I get compensated much more fairly for it. I have to travel all the time, but so far my work hours have been much more reasonable and I enjoy the work and the team. I'm actually writing from NY right now, where I will be for the next several weeks for a new substation commissioning. I walked from my hotel today to Stony Brook state park and hiked through it before the Sunday grind. It was beautiful and a great way to prep for the session.

I still enjoy playing MTTs, and still think I have a really big edge in the games I play as long as I can play to my potential (that's the tricky part). I think in most low-mid stakes games people still consistently make huge mistakes and I plan to keep firing away. I've completely changed my approach to both playing and studying poker over the last year and I think that eventually I'll have success. Lately my focus has changed from max volume and results-oriented goals such as profit to a focus on maximizing happiness EV and trying to have a happy balanced life. I only reg a tournament now if I am positive I will play well, be focused, and have done some preparation. I have found meditation and have developed much better study and playing habits. I try to focus entirely on things that are completely under my control and to forget about the noise. With that in mind, here are some of the goals I will track in this thread:

-Session performance: broken down into pre-session, post-session, and ingame performance. I will give myself 0-3 stars for each:

-pre session stars: *meditation/Eliot Roe MP3 prep, *exercise, and *workspace prep (clean desk, have 1 sticky note to be mindful of)
-in-game stars: *maintain focus (no distractions such as skype,web browsing, etc), *Maintain mental game (take deep breaths, etc), *No autopilot or timeout mistakes that can be prevented
-post-session stars: *post game cooldown (Mp3 or meditation), *personal hygiene (brush your teeth before bed idiot), *post review (write a blog, look at a few hands, think about a key factor that could improve for next time)

-Study Habits: Study at least 4 days/week. Learn something new and meaningful every week.

-Life Improvement: Exercise 4 times/week, read a book 4 times/week, meditate 2x a day EVERY DAY, work on learning new skills 4 times/week, and PLEASSE quit using Nicotine (it's fucking stupid and a waste of money).

Guess that's all for now.

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