Hack Reactor is Officially Official
Have been continuously very busy for the past weeks. I've been working really hard on software engineering work and also wrapping up my previous job. I had my last day on Friday, and for the next few weeks, I'm splitting my time between mostly studying code and cleaning my apartment and minimalizing my life as much as I can before starting the grind of full-time software engineering school. So far I have gotten rid of hundreds of household items and actually will need to rent a roll-away dumpster sometime next week to throw out a ton of stuff. This process has been very calming and enjoyable. I had my readiness interview for HR yesterday, which is the last real gate to full acceptance to the program. It's officially official!!
Poker has been going somewhat shitty lately. I haven't had time to study and when I do put in sessions I'm distracted. My results have reflected this. I'm really hoping that after this week I will be able to focus a bit more on studying poker a few hours a day, and I still would like to grind 1-2 hrs per night while in school to stay somewhat fresh. I really wanted to transition into cash games to make this easier, but the NL zone games are just not going well at all. I'll figure out a schedule and a game over the next few weeks, but for now, I am in regression. I'm confident I will turn it around but it is frustrating at the moment.
I have some ideas about some simple poker apps and tools I want to try to make, and I hope to get started on one of those near the end of next week. If anybody has a suggestion for a relatively simple software tool that doesn't exist yet please PM or post here if you're willing to share it!
Goals for the week:
-Complete Section 2 of HR precourse
-Cut all ties with previous job (return company owned equipment, etc)
-ACTIVELY Watch at least 5 poker training videos and take very good notes
-Spend at least 2-3 hours starting to build a poker app
April 25, 2017 | 5:50 p.m.
Had a super busy past couple of weeks so I missed posting in here on Monday. I started part-time Hack Reactor work this week and have been doing a lot of coding related tasks, and also put in a decent amount of volume at the zone games- with poor results. I do feel like I have run quite bad this week, but also my discipline was questionable and I likely lost more than I should have due to calling too often in a lot of spots. I didn't get much poker studying done and feel shitty about that- I did a lot of coding stuff but also played more hours than I needed to and easily could have studied poker more. Finding balance is really hard and continues to be a big challenge.
This weekend the grind is all about hammering out code and deliverable assignments, and Sunday evening I'm going to attend a live event/live podcast recording with The Minimalists. Probably little to no poker stuff going on this weekend.
Next week is my LAST WEEK at my job! I'm looking forward to finishing up there and having a few weeks off before diving into full-time hyperintense coding school. It is going to be a busy and stressful week, and I'm going to have to work all day and come home and code all night if I want to stay on track for the goals I've set myself regarding completing the pre-course work as soon as possible. I basically have around 100 hours of work that I want to get finished by the end of next week (not counting the hours I have to be at my day job). LFG!!
Goals - Done by 4/23
-Complete HR precourse Units 1 & 2
-Finish reading at least one current book
-Study poker at least 3 hrs
-NO poker volume goals- may not play any poker at all for the next week
April 15, 2017 | 1:12 p.m.
Just found this series after your recent release, loved this video and looking forward to the rest. This type of video is something I personally have been looking for and feel has loads of value. PS +1 for keeping bad beat voice :)
April 6, 2017 | 9:19 p.m.
Yesterday I had an awesome day. I returned a call from the billing office at the local hospital, expecting it to be about something annoying like my billing failed or they want me to start paying more for some outstanding medical bills. I was delighted to find that they wanted to inform me of a current incentive offer - I could pay 50% of my outstanding debt and have the other half forgiven, but only if I pay by the end of this month. I generally pay as little as possible on these bills, since I have many other ones and these ones have zero interest. I owe about 2.3k on these and only having to pay half would snap save me over 1k and wipe out a decent chunk of debt. I was excited to hear about this and determined to come up with the $1150 to get it done.
The problem, however, is that I'm currently on a very tight budget and have just enough savings to get through the long stretch of unemployment and schooling I have coming up. I also had a short poker bankroll and would have to move down and be sad if I took 1k of that away. I ended that phone call with a determination to get the money together and a strong feeling of happiness washing over me. I had found true, powerful incentive.
After the call, I went about my daily tasks. I did a little poker studying, and yesterday evening I fired up a session of MTTs and a little cash. I have been playing without a HUD for the past few days since my main PC has crashed, playing on Ignition only. It has felt really good to not use a HUD lately and I feel like it has forced me to pay attention more and to think on a more fundamental level. I fired up one MTT I am surely not rolled for (a $250 40k GTD) and also a few smaller ones. I played some of the best poker I've ever played. I was focused, optimistic, and ruthless. I cashed in the 250 and took 2nd in a 25k GTD for a total profit on the day of over $3500. I'll be using 1k of this to reduce my debt by 2k, and I've now built some momentum and feel really good about my game.
I've felt this sort of incentive-induced exceptional play on a few occasions in the past. When I made my mind up that I wanted to attend a coding boot camp, I priced out the best ones and figured out how much money I would need to get it done. I talked with a friend about how much I needed and how I would come up with a way to get it. I needed to make 20k in around 4 months or so to make it happen. I was motivated. Incentivized. I had a fire lit under my ass. 10 days later, I had made 23k in MTTs. I played very well in a few big events and had the biggest month of my life. I had done it!! Of course, within 2 weeks I had shit 10k taking shots at mid-high stakes cash games and spent most of the rest on bills, tuition, etc. - but I felt very intrigued by how much the incentive I had created for myself improved my play.
How can we consistently cultivate true, authentic incentive? I think if we can figure out how to do this we can give ourselves a massive edge in performance and mindset.
April 5, 2017 | 6:34 p.m.
Hey man I will post those specs when I have more free time. I went with AMD for MoBo and CPU because its cheaper than Intel and performs well. However, my PC has crashed and can't be used right now! It's very tilting and I don't know what is wrong with it at the moment.
April 5, 2017 | 6:17 p.m.
Week In Review - 3/27 - 4/2
Whatsup RIO. I had an extremely frustrating week full of technical issues and didn't accomplish most of my goals because of this. A few days ago, my poker computer crashed and now it won't stay turned on for more than ~20 minutes without freezing. This prevented me from doing any Pio work and made me want to cry. I also didn't watch any of the Sauce toy game series, but did watch a bunch of other videos mostly focused on live play. I also did some preflop range work and played well over 15 hours. I was able to complete all of the website changes I had hoped to and a few extra, so there's that!
Yesterday I had an interesting session. I played PLO cash, NL cash, and some MTTs. IMO I performed well in all of these. At the end of the night (around 1 am), I was down on the day and week and feeling kind of shitty. I was thinking about going to bed, but I decided to take a 5-10 minute break and then get one more session in first. I 4-tabled 100-200NL Zone which has historically not gone well, but was able to profit about 1k in around 90 minutes! This was a nice feeling to grind back and turn my week into a profitable one. Hopefully it gives me some positive momentum I can harness to make this week a good one!
My girlfriend leaves in two days for a month long tour of Asia, which means lots of grinding time for me coming up. Gonna be burning the midnight oil quite liberally for the next month.
Goals- Week Ending 4/9
-Digest episodes 1-3 Sauce's Toy Gaming
-Play 15+ hours
-Finish off / revisit PF ranges (barring computer failures)
-Finish Hack Reactor software setup/paperwrok
-Complete 1 chapter JS study / 3 JS problems
April 3, 2017 | 2:12 p.m.
Again I would love to see more zone live play, but I was also thinking it would be really great to see a theory video discussing the math behind how rake effects constrict our preflop ranges. If this has already been done you can disregard, but I haven't seen any videos like this on the site. I think it would be interesting to see for example how often SB and BB have to both fold for BTN to open a marginal hand in high rake games compared to lower rake.
March 29, 2017 | 3:47 p.m.
Goals: Week ending 4/2/17
-Digest episodes 1-3 of Sauce's Toy Game series
-Complete in-depth texture analysis of one SRP spot using pio 49 flops subset
-Complete preflop range designing for all spots
-Play min. 15 hours
-Complete changes on two websites I'm working on that I've been putting off
March 28, 2017 | 4:39 p.m.
A little over 9 months ago, I started a journal here on RIO titled "Rebounding from failure to crush life and MTTs". When I started that journal, I was in a rough place. I had just come off a 15 month shot at playing poker professionally. I had quit a good job to play MTTs full time, and failed miserably. I won't go into too much detail here (if interested, you can follow the link and view my last journal). Basically, I was around 15k in debt to my backers and was nearly completely broke IRL. I had to get another job and was just starting out with that at the time.
Shortly after starting that Journal, I binked a 12k WSOP main event package off-stake and took cash instead of the seat to pay off my makeup and get out of my backing arrangement. Since then I have had some pretty good success in online MTTs, but had a lot of issues which caused me to spew some of the winnings off and be in general pretty unhappy with the pace of my Poker success and improvement.
I have many terrible habits and not so many good ones, and I think this is really holding me back from my potential. I hope that a key theme in this journal is me working on and improving those bad habits. I'm addicted to Nicotine gum (been chewing it for over 5 years), which causes random swings in mood and hunger level. Which is -EV both in life and poker. Last year I quit on two different occasions for over a month and then started doing it again. I would like someday to quit for good. I also smoke too much pot. I live in Maine where marijuana is now legal, my whole family smokes, and I live above a medical marijuana dispensary. Weed is all around me and always has been, and I indulge too often. Don't get me wrong- I really enjoy getting high and don't think I will ever quit entirely. However, I would like to relegate use to social events and relaxation time. I would like to stop smoking while studying, grinding, and in general doing anything that requires critical thinking. I also stress eat late at night while playing A LOT. I often end up fasting all day the following day after a binge and not eating until dinner time (7 PM or later) with the help of a bulletproof coffee in the morning. This seems sub optimal and I often wake up with heartburn because that's what happens when you eat a pint of ice cream and 12 jalapeno's and some chips with salsa and an english muffin with peanut butter and a handful of cereal and a banana at 2 AM. In the past I have also not exercised much and have not lived life mindfully. This has gotten better and I am exercising more and meditating somewhat regularly, but there's still room for plenty of improvement here as well.
Today, as I start this new journal- I am coming upon another phase-shift in my life. I will be quitting my current job in 3 weeks. Starting in May, I will be attending Hack Reactor full time to become a software engineer! This is something I have been thinking about for over a year. I was introduced to the idea of coding boot camps through old-school HU boss Haseeb "DogIsHead" Qureshi. I started reading his blog just before he went to a coding bootcamp, after finding it through his poker book. This was around the time I was going broke in poker. At that time I actually taught myself some front end web development for a few weeks and made around 1k freelancing before I was too broke and had to find a consistent income. I loved working with clients and have always loved coding, so I'm finally going for it as a career. I have barely enough money to survive through the 3 months of class and 1-3 months of job search afterwards, but I'm used to going broke at this point and am beyond certain that this is the right path for me. I'm very excited and can't wait to get started.
About this journal
I hope to use this journal to get some of my thoughts out onto paper throughout the week in an attempt to prevent monkey-mind from running my life so much. I will also write here about my experiences attending an elite coding boot camp, and, of course, about poker. I have been transitioning into Cash more lately and have been really enjoying the Zone games on Ignition. I plan to continue playing those a lot as well as some MTT volume. I'll also post random stuff in here, like trip reports, maybe the occasional HH, etc. I plan to keep it pretty casual and am not sure where it will go.
Since I'll be basically living at my computer for the next 4+ months, I've recently invested some time & buy-ins into improving my setup. No Sauce-Esque treadmill YET, but I thought it would be fun to show it off a bit here:
In the picture you can see my new Autonomous sitting/standing motorized desk. I also picked up an ErgoStool from them to replace the withered chair in the photo. The Mac Mini is for coding. Not in the photo is my newly build desktop PC which I made with two goals in mind: keeping it cheap and running Pio Sims quickly. I'm an idiot and decided I could build a PC on my own basically without reading any instructions first, so it took me weeks and a few parts replacements to get it up and running. Pro tip: Spend a good amount of time Googling solid state drives before buying one :). Also, connect CPU power before trying to turn on a new PC.
I hope to have some fun posting in here and would love if any of my posts end up helping someone else! Please feel free to PM me or post here if interested in coding/software engineering and how to prep for a boot camp interview!
March 28, 2017 | 4:30 p.m.
Thanks Ben, great analysis obv. Are you just XR in anonymous pools because we don't have to worry about balance? I think that a smallish XR probably gets called by 66+ with a high frequency in these games, however it is going to likely have the effect of shutting down villain on later streets, and could cap our earning potential vs. these subpar hands. I think that most Ax are calling XR most of the time but again are going to go into shut down mode pretty often, maybe calling a second barrel unimproved some of the time.
I don't really have much of a reason to believe that the flop sizing reduces KK-66 and in fact vs. this sizing I would tend to think they could for sure have all those combos and are less likely to have strong Ax (although weak Ax makes sense). I disagree that KK-66 is infrequent given villain's line once we get to river. I could be wrong about this, but the database analysis I have done so far seems to suggest that pool tendencies make this a spot where those hands are likely. To be more specific:
1- the pool massively over cbets in general
2- this flop sizing is generally on the weaker side (80-120% pot I would rule out 66-KK much more)
However, I have seen many players tend to x back PP under TP on this type of texture- although I think in an UTG vs BB situation my range has enough hands that are just T,J hi type hands w. equity vs hands like 66-99 so villain should be willing to cbet a high frequency here to deny me equity with those hands.
A lot of this is pretty assumptive, and I'm still learning how these pools play. I think a good check here would be to try and figure out in general what ranges look like for CB IP, X turn lines on this sort of texture. I don't really know how to do that yet, but I'll figure it out :).
March 28, 2017 | 3:15 p.m.
What's up / End thread
Just re-reading my last post above and thinking over my last few weeks makes me think that it is probably pretty irrational to continue to torture myself over not focusing on MTTs. I've been putting in more and more volume in cash lately, and haven't paid much close attention to results or evbb/100 or any of that nonsense. I have felt for the past month or so like the games I have been mostly playing (100-200NL Zone) are very beatable but that I just fucking suck.
Then the other day I looked at my results. Over my first 30k hands at these levels my EVbb/100 is +0.12 and my actual bb/100 was around -2.10. Being break even over a somewhat reasonable sample would probably not be very exciting for most people, but it made me pretty happy to see this. I just jumped into cash and have not put in enough work yet, and already I'm playing break even. This sample also includes a LOT of spew and mental leakage. Seeing this made me feel pretty optimistic. Cash just works better for me, and soon MTTs will be a non-option due to time constraints. I have about 45 days before I start school 66 hours/week, and by that time I want to have a large sample of beating cash for a good clip. That is now my focus. It seems fitting to start up a new journal at this point as my goals and direction are changing and I will be undergoing a ton of life changes through the remainder of this year, so I'm gonna do that.
March 28, 2017 | 2:58 p.m.
Here's my shot at it:
Overbetting makes sense here if villain has enough combos OTR that will call inelastically (in other words they will call much larger sizings with the same frequency they will call smaller with). frequency (call overbet) * $ > frequency (call small bet) * $. Villain has to be calling pretty significantly less often to the overbet to make it not good.
March 24, 2017 | 8:11 p.m.
Thanks. To clarify, I did solve preflop with HRC and then applied an equity realization % to the solution. I'm not sure if that's what you mean by a solver. The only other better way I am aware of is to do a full preflop Pio solve, but that requires very significant financial and time investments (and a very powerful /RAM heavy computer)
March 23, 2017 | 6:55 p.m.
peer to peer lending is a very good investment vehicle. I'm currently investing all of my "investable" money into that. Check out lending club. If you're going to invest in index funds or similar then be sure to use an automated investment service such as wealthfront instead of a real person to manage your funds. You'll save a lot of money on fees that way.
Disclaimer: I am not a tax professional and actually kind of a dummy
March 23, 2017 | 3:36 p.m.
Really loved this video, TY Ben! Recently moving into 6m cash from MTTs and this video confirmed a lot of my beliefs in how I've approached the 100NL Zone games on ignition (like Zoom but way faster and anonymous). I've been taking the 3x sizing approach from all positions and also playing pure 3bet or fold vs RFI from every position except for BB (will flat bb often). Do you think that playing pure 3b or fold pre is a reasonable approach? A big part of why I like it is because in Zone you only get 15s for decisions with no extra timebank, so simplifying game trees as much as possible makes a lot of sense.
On a side note, I was inspired to calculate some BB defend ranges after watching this and was pretty surprised how wide we can still defend even after considering rake and equity realization. I came up with J3o being an OK defend vs a BTN 2x @ 5% rake assuming 72% Equity realization vs an opening range of 39%.
March 21, 2017 | 3:16 p.m.
IMO If you had 155k you should still call off here. ICM doesn't really matter when you are so far from a pay jump. You should never really consider passing on +EV edges in this situation and it only becomes relevant closer to that 18th place payjump.
March 17, 2017 | 2:13 p.m.
Def. Fold IMO given ICM considerations and the fact that the PFR comes from UTG which is the most snug range. If you were tied for 10th and 8th place had 20+bb I think we could jam here.
I would just model this spot in ICMIZER or HRC and get the definitive answer if I were you. I think that in these spots ICM tends to matter more than most people think but maybe I'm wrong.
March 17, 2017 | 2:06 p.m.
Am I turning AK into a bluff here?
Do I have to call off if he jams?
Should I just check call turn and river?
Yes, unless river is a heart, you check, villain bombs, and you're pretty confident he got there.
March 16, 2017 | 1:14 p.m.
Thx for the feedback. I agree with everything you said except for the river. I completely agree that in theory we are overfolding, and I am not sure whether we should call here or not, but I think that vs. population tendencies it may be a fold. I don't think that trying to play a perfectly balanced river call strategy is correct when there is so much room for exploitation. However, I do not know the pool well enough to have much confidence in this spot.
March 16, 2017 | 1:05 p.m.
I am in a similar situation with regards to moving to cash. I have played mostly MTT for about 3 years and some cash before that, but am trying to get more into cash again.
I have found it helpful to make my sessions basically the same length regardless of my results. I will play for 1-2 hours and then take a break whether I am up or down. Having a stop-loss is also very important and it is specific to you. If you tilt or feel like you lose confidence after losing just 2 buy-ins, then that is your stop-loss. It doesn't mean you have to be done playing for the whole day, but it does mean you should step away and take a nice break. Maybe get some exercise or meditate, or just do something you enjoy like watching a movie or reading a book. Once you have relaxed you can go back to the tables and reset your stop-loss in a fresh session with a fresh mind.
Having a consistent study routine is also critical. Ideally if you have a way to mark hands while playing to review later I feel that is one of the best approaches. IMO it is best to do at least some study and/or review daily before playing.
Hope some of this helps!
March 16, 2017 | 12:56 p.m.
I think it's very likely there are some bots or pseudo bots playing HUSNGs. It's by far the most solvable game and it's not that hard for a human to do the clicking while some code is telling said human what optimal ranges are in every spot.
March 15, 2017 | 9:25 p.m.
When I was in college I took a course called "Innovation Engineering". I was lucky enough to be in the flagship course, which was taught by a billionaire alumni who was at the time charging companies something like 100k per week to work with them (seriously). He constantly drilled into our heads the idea that the sure fire way to succeed in a market is to offer something both meaningful and unique. He also really drove it home for us that the unique part is most important. Nick's training model is very unique in the industry and at this point there seems to be a lot of data to back it up, so it's clearly also very meaningful. Not sure where all the hate comes from, but am pretty sure that what nick is offering has immense value.
March 15, 2017 | 8:13 p.m.
Consistency over Creativity any day of the week
/\ Nick Howard posted something similar to this in his blog recently, and it really resonated with me. I firmly believe that if I had stuck with one game and played within bankroll limitations with smart game selection my bankroll would be 100k bigger today. Instead, I hop around games and every x months decide it's time to take another shot at cash. Then I lose at cash and decide PLO is probably pretty easy and people are spewy so I play that and lose. This creates a big dirty snowball effect which causes me to downswing more frequently, caps my earning potential, and causes loads of unnecessary stress.
I recently had a conversation on facebook with a poker friend who is struggling to move forward in the game and our discussion led me to thinking about the above.
Focus on one thing, consistently maintain a routine of studying, and take care of your body.
That seems really fucking easy, right? Why do I find it so hard to do? That is the $100,000 question. I don't know why I'm so bad at maintaining consistency and keeping my focus on MTTs (which I know I win at), but I'm determined to get to the bottom of it and to reach my potential. I'm super grateful I found poker and decided to start playing online freerolls 10 years ago and super grateful that I have enough grit to never give up, but I know my life would be infinitely easier if I could just focus and be patient. It's time to make cultivating those skills a top priority.
March 13, 2017 | 6:33 p.m.
I'm coming from a background of playing mostly MTTs for the past several years and have been transitioning more into cash lately. I'm currently playing 100-200NL Zone on Ignition. I really enjoy this format because it allows me to get in good volume quickly and play short sessions. I'm switching out of MTT because it's really hard to grind 6-8 hours straight with my work schedule. I do have some background in cash and have done well in live games and built my initial MTT bankroll at 100NL 3-4 years ago.
I'm looking for winning regulars who play these games or guys who don't do so well but are serious about improving. I would like to form a study group for these games and am very interested in crushing them. My current study pattern includes RIO videos, HRC analysis, Database Analysis, some PioSolver calcs, and some reading of forums and articles. My intention is to shift my focus more onto database analysis, player pool profiling, and heavy Pio work. I find it difficult to consistently have productive study sessions on my own and I think having a partner or a handful of people to work with would be great.
Please shoot me a PM and/or post here if interested!