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Poker for the Buddha [Career, Family, and Poker]

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Poker for the Buddha [Career, Family, and Poker]

Background/Personal Life

It has been quite a while since I wanted to start this journal but I feel like with the beginning of the new year 2022, the time has finally come to get this going ;-) I'm 27 years old and from Germany. I have been playing poker since my early adolescence with my friends, although I never felt that I had a particular talent for it or was particularly good at figuring out its strategic elements on my own. What I remember is just my 14 year old me spending hour after hour in front of my computer being absolutely mind-blown by what I saw on shows like High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark, or the WSOP coverage. The figures, the personalities, the noise of the chips, the way people moved… Once I encountered this game, I was immediately sure that I wanted to be part of this community and world.

Several attempts in my adolescence at studying and succeeding at poker (mainly through pokerstrategy.com back then) remained unsuccessful. I always listened to the huge success stories of the few youngsters that immediately started crushing their way up to high stakes and couldn’t cope with the realization that I was not one of them. Today I know that the high school version of me just had never learned how to systematically approach a complex game such as poker, how to break it down into a bunch of smaller pieces, how to focus on long-term goals rather than rapid results, how to emotionally handle bad swings etc. I needed to grow significantly older than many other people need to in order to taste (at least parts of) these skills. It’s funny that back then, I mentally “put poker aside”, although I always knew that the moment will come for me to work through and succeed at this game.

Enter 2021. Eight years at university (where I’m currently acquiring my PhD) have taught me much of the things that I (at least think I) needed to learn in order to study and endure in a game like poker. I’m not sure what happened last year, but when the pandemic hit, I changed a lot of things in my life: I decided to quit academia after my doctorate and start working in the private sector in data science, a field that I’m dedicating large parts of my professional endeavors to. I started working out several times a week, stopped drinking alcohol (I definitely had a drinking problem in the years prior to that), started meditating almost daily, and stopped eating animals. Also, the moment had come for poker to return.

Poker Ambitions
I started out almost exactly one year ago at NL2. Since then I had an absolutely inspiring time grinding and studying this game, playing around 100k hands in 2021, moving from NL2 to NL25, and maintaining a study-to-play ratio close to 1:1 throughout the last year. From a passive poker consumer, I finally turned into an active player, playing short high-focus sessions almost every day and studying around 4-5 times a week. This is the graph of my year 2021 on Pokerstars. As you can see, NL25 is going rather meh, but I’m working on it.

Results for 2021:

It is not my goal to one day cancel my professional career for the sake of poker. I want to keep stable finances around my day-to-day job and excel in poker as much as I can next to my career and my family, soon to be enlarged by our second child. This means to rise to mid stakes online and playing as high as I can live. The game is NLHE Cash. My way to achieve this are daily grinds and daily study sessions of around 1-1.5 hours each. I’m a firm believer that it’s consistency that will get me where I want to be, not throwing in 10 hour sessions when I’m passionate and then leaving everything behind when I’m running badly in poker or life.

Focus Areas and Goals

Poker
- Beat NL50z by the end of 2022
- Rigorously work through the Kanu High Stakes course by the end of 2022 while throwing in lots of tangents and own investigations in the solver
- Connect to more people in order to expand my poker network

Personal Life
- Finish my dissertation by the end of 2022
- Continue my lifestyle in terms of sports, meditation, and diet
- Live with love and respect for my wife and children and be there for my family whenever they need me

Why this Journal and what to expect?

What to expect? This is not going to be about daily results and graphs. I’m going to post results regularly, but posts will often revolve around reflections on where I stand in terms of the above outlined goals. Also, I will map out theoretical ideas that come up in my study sessions.

Why this journal? My main goal is to connect to people, learn new things, and expand my poker network. I have no idea where this journal will lead to but I’m absolutely sure that good things will stem from it.

Let’s fucking go!!!

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