The Game Plan

Bio, pics, graphs, quarterly report and random thoughts

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Bio, pics, graphs, quarterly report and random thoughts

Hello people,

This is going to be a long post, lets start with a bio for those of you who still have no idea who this alpha dude with a terrible English accent is:

- born 1986 in the french countryside from a middle-class family.

- nothing worth noting for years, not too stupid at school, moved out of my parents home just before turning 18 to pursue scientific studies in the big city. Really intensive maths and physics training plus some chemistry and various minors for 2yrs, somehow managed to survive this. Started to specialize in chemistry in the 3rd year (so dont **** with me, I know at least half a dozen ways of blowing your car/house!).

- The story really starts in the spring of 2006 while still at school. I suffered a knee dislocation after a stupid accident and couldnt move much for a while so I spent the week of spring holidays with a childhood friend of mine who was doing some sportsbetting for pennies on unibet. There was a poker section and he tried some. He asked me so many times to play with him for fun that week (like 100 times a day every single day) that I finally surrendered. He had to teach me the rules because I literally didnt know anything at all about poker except for what I saw in  movies. I vaguely knew what a straight flush was but couldnt tell you wether or not 2 pairs was stronger than trips (in movies they always end up with quads against straight flushes), plus in france there is a popular card game (not played for money) where the 10 is stronger than K,Q,J. Definitely ever heard of a flop or river before that. I was immediately hooked by the game, i always played lots of strategy video games and chess so I probably had an advantage over other people who didnt but were learning poker at the same time. I immediately started winning and knew this game had lots of potential. Plus I still remember how winning/losing 20 euros in one evening at that time felt greater/worse than making/losing 20k in 1 day does now. We had pennies home games every weekend.

- Went to the US for the summer on a school program with lots of others schoolmates to better learn english, we landed in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina, a ****ing shithole, worse food ever, almost impossible to find anything other than burgers and drinking water is more expensive than sodas. I worked in a "nascar speedpark" for 6$ an hour, didnt play any poker.

- Back in France, started playing poker a lot more, small sitandgos tournaments on unibet then titan poker, also some low stakes cash games. Started making a few hundred here and there, going less and less to school. fast forward summer 2007, early august french casinos opened poker tables. By that time I had made a couple thousands playing home games and online but didnt save much of it and somehow still decided to have a try in the Lyon casino on 24th august. My networth at the time was less than 1k, the game is 5/10 I had 500euros cash with me and somehow decided to put it all on the table (lol bankroll management). Played like 1 hand in the first 3hrs and blinded down to 300 when a dude announced he would put 100 "in the dark" next hand. He did, and I got dealt KQo, I tanked for like 3mins, KQo has to be a big favourite over 100% of hands right?, I took a leap of faith and decided to go allin, I won that hand, do not remember what he had. A couple more small pots and then the life defining hand happened. I somehow got 44 vs 33 and A7 on A43xx allin by the turn and tripled up and later booked a 1600 win for the night. If I had had 33 instead of 44 in that hand, or lost the KQo allin earlier I would probably be a chemical engineer/chemist today.

- I was going to the casino almost everyday day, sesions from 9pm to 3.30am and play online poker the rest of time, **** school, made over 10k in september. October 1st 2007 I officially became a full time professional poker player and gave up school for good. Definitely the stupidest decision I ever made, at least with the information I had at that time. I mean, come on, I was still playing like 25c/50c fullring on pokerstars online. But 6 and a half years later today it turned out to have been a great decision (or rather a very stupid decision with a very lucky outcome, but well, thats how lots of people have succeeded in life anyways).

- I averaged over 10k euros a month despite a 4% uncapped (for real!) rake in casinos, and moved up to 0.5/1 then 1/2 online. Started travelling for live poker all over france, went to morocoo in feb 08 then played an LAPT in costa rica in may 08, my first and only live cash but Ive played like 5 live tournies overall at some point with friends we were going to EPT's just to play the side cash games.

- November 2008 I finally moved up to 2/4 NLHE and never had to move back down since. I started playing more and more online and less live poker. I did lots of travelling again in 2009, first came to asia, macau and thailand in may then vietnam in september. At the end of 2009 I decided to move to Asia full time. Moved back and forth between Vietnam and Phuket several times. I lived in 2 different poker villas, last one was with 4 other french players that I knew from Lyon, but they exclusively play french sites so none of you would know them. June 2011 I moved full time to ho chi minh city in Vietnam where I still live today and for the foreseeable future. I cant remember the last time I had to wear long sleeves, the temperature never ever drops below 15 degrees Celsius. I got married to a Vietnamese wife I met back a few years ago and we have a kid, born in the beginnings of 2013.

This is me and my son at the swimming pool down my building:

and with wife at some random street food place:

We currently live in a condo in an upper end residential complex, I moved 1 month ago from a fully furnished 90sqm to an unfurnished 140sqm in the same building (to give you an idea of the prices there, it costs me 1250$ a month, and 1200$ for my previous apt). Here is a view of the saigon river and HCMC downtown from my apartment:

I am in the process of buying my own 149sqm apartment in a similar residential complex on the other side of the city. If everything goes according to plan I will be moving out again next spring.

- Poker wise I always did alright and my networth has been slowly but steadily going up. After the 2010 soccer world cup I decided to go for SNE, was behind the pace so worked my ass off the remaining 6 months of the year and did it. 2010 I also learned PLO and mixed games. Did SNE again in 2011, maintained it in 2012 and lost it at the end of 2013.

Now Let see some graphs and stake reports,, all dates, unfiltered, as of April 1st 2014:

6.6M cash game hands, 870k table profits, 897k paid rake (yes it hurts a lot) of which I got about 480k rakeback (it eases the pain a little but its still ****ing painful).

Thats the vast majority of my poker winnings, there are a couple hundred k's more mostly from live poker then some online tournaments from a while ago and a small volume on other sites. 100% Tax-free, thats one of the good things about living in those south east asian countries, as long as money is flowing in it is very welcomed and they couldn't care less about where it comes from.

Now some pics of some typical thai and vietnamese food:

BBQ marinated calamar

Shrimp salad

Thai papaya salad

vietnamese style seafood hotpot:

Lobster and mantis shrimp BBQ:

Raw scallops:

Fried rice:

Random breakfast place in Phuket:

and to finish, some typical nightclub in HCMC:

Eating good food matters a lot to me, and preferably healthy too. I've been a complete atheist for as long as I can remember but since every single religion mankind ever invented has some food restrictions I decided a while ago to invent my own religion. I am the founder and only member so far but one day we will overtake the world! The only restriction is a strict prohibition on eating KFC's and Mcdonald's and Pizza Hut's and various other total crap food places. In this new religion we believe pasta in tomato sauce is by far the greatest invention ever made by mankind, not even close. Second place goes for dark chocolate. Red wine and sushis/sashimis are in contention for the bronze medal.

At first this post was supposed to be mainly a quarterly report but I feel like I might have rambled a bit, anyways here are some more graphs:

January 2014, total profit 73.8k$, my best poker month so far thanks to some rungood at higher stakes

February 2014, total profit 36.5k$

March 2014, total profit 47.8k$

If it wasnt obvious, total profit also includes rakeback, some tournaments and other cash games not tracked by PT4/HM2.

2014 1st quarter graph

2014 stakes report:

I consider my mains games to be 3/6 but there is always more action at 2/4 so thats where I play the most hands. I tableselect a lot more carefully at 5/10+. I also tableselect more at PLO than NLHE, the rake is much higher there (you pay over 50% more rake at PLO than at the same NLHE stakes, how many winners would be left at NLHE if you increased the rake by 50% overnight?) and the variance is incomparably higher so basic investment theory requires me to need higher EV for playing PLO. To play 25/50 PLO I definitely need a big drooler on the table, I was very fortunate there this year but am still down a bit lifetime at that level. Fortunately right now the overall skill level at PLO is still somewhat weaker than NLHE and more importantly the good reg to weak player ratio is much more favourable.

I am currently on a big heater, those winrates are definitely not sustainable and the 2nd quarter will almost certainly be significantly worse than the first. Regression to the mean is a very powerful thing, fool is the one who thinks it doesnt apply to him. I had 100k+ downswings twice already, it happened before and it will happen again, I'm ready for it. Just because Im running super hot is not going to push me to play against stronger opposition at higher stakes. I am very well aware that my skill level now is roughly the same than when i dropped 100k last mid sept through mid nov. You have to accept and deal with massive short term variance to be successful in poker.

As you can see nowadays my volume is spread out all over the place. What I dont play is fullring, I played close to 2M hands of it before and started with it but now I really dont enjoy it so I very rarely play it anymore. And I also dont play much zoom, I tried to get into it during the second semester of last year, training myself to potentially go for SNE again in 2014 but I really dont like it, I find the action way too fast and changing the lineup every hand is very disturbing to me. Overall it doesnt play into my strengths at all and I play considerably worse on it than on regular tables, so I got rid of it.

Most of my sessions are a mix of NLHE and PLO, I just tableselect the best games I can find at stakes 2/4 and up. This year I reduced my average number of tables and I try not to go over 12 tables at a time anymore unless I have a good reason for it. I try to play less tables when I have higher stakes running. I also open some HUPLO tables, sometimes I get to play some real droolers. Im basically bumhunting there and Im sure some will hate me for it but when Im playing my regular 6-max sessions I have absolutely no interest in playing some good reg HU. For NLHE I dont bother opening tables, you just never get action there, I guess it wouldnt cost me anything to still open some tables but I find having some extra empty tables that never fill quite annoying so I dont do it.

What I find very surprising is that I know of no regular that consistently play both PLO and NLHE at stakes from 2/4 to 5/10. When Im playing like 7 NLHE tables and 5 PLO at those stakes it basically never happens that a regular multitabling 1 game type is also multitabling the other. Its very strange that in 2014 the playerpools are still so separated and there isnt more flexibility in midstakes regulars.

Some zoom regulars can play up to 1700 hands per hour or something similar by 8 tabling it, for me that is completely impossible, my brain is just too slow and my skill level decrease significantly over 700hands/hr. I still masstabled for years and always had putting big volume as my 1st priority, over putting in quality time. This year I changed my approach a lot and reversed the priorities. As a consequence Ill make less from rakeback, especially not being SNE anymore so Ill have to make more from table winnings to compensate for it. Ill reevaluate as time goes on.

I will say a few things about what I consider to be my overall strengths and weaknesses in poker. So brain speed is definitely not one of my strengths and I lag far behind the king10clubs and nanonokos of the world in that department. And sometimes when I play too many tables I get overwhelmed and start playing terrible. I have concentration issues, Im rarely fully focused and do kind of autopilot a lot of the times. It also implies that I cant really play very long sessions, I have to make pauses after a while. Most of my sessions last between 1.5 and 3hrs, very rarely over 4hrs in a row (it happened a lot more often in my SNE days). I also have random lapses of concentration when for like 10-15 min I am clicking buttons without thinking at all and end up making some really terrible, unjustifiable plays. It sounds strange that somebody with those limitations can still be relatively successful at poker in 2014 and I am the 1st to be surprised by this. What can I say? It looks like the field is still somehow playing worse than I do.

I believe one my main strengths is emotional control. My short term results have very little impact on my mood and playing ability, I feel very few emotions while playing poker. I am a full time professional so there is no room for it. I believe only in logic and rational thinking so my emotional control has to stay on an elite level. If I had a big winning or losing day and we have dinner in the evening you will not guess the difference. I'm positive about this because it happened many times. My other big strength is outstanding work ethics which manifests itself in several ways. I never play 12+ hrs a day but I will grind at least 1 session almost every day, I take very few day-offs. Day-offs are for the weak and the feeble minded. I am extremely consistent with what I do, I play most mornings and usually also in the afternoon, rarely in the evening and never at night. I'm leading a quiet and healthy lifestyle, almost boring you could say. 2-3 times a week I end up my afternoon session my going to the gym (and before you ask, yes, I go there primarily to sweat and not to lurk at some fine Asian ladies in short pants and suggestive outfits). Poker wise I try to play a solid style with strong fundamentals and a strong core preflop strategy, you would be surprised to see how many regulars still have big preflop or postflop leaks, easy to spot and easily exploitable. I need them to keep doing so, the rake is big so I need my opponents to make lots of mistakes for a random midstakes regular like me to keep winning at this game. One day will probably come when I am obsolete and cannot beat the games anymore, hopefully I still have some winning years left. In the meantime I keep having high levels of savings and building up my networth, I'm getting some passive income out of it, not much but it's slowly improving. I have no interest in fast cars and jewelry anyways.

I will finish this post with a prayer. May the great imperial Buddha and the gods of poker send to my regular opponents tons of KK into my AA, you can run as good as you want against other players I dont care.

Until next time, this was Raphael for .

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