Seeing Poker through a new lens

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Seeing Poker through a new lens

Hi everyone

My name is Tom, I'm 38 years old (and no, that doesn't qualify me as a boomer!) and I am from Leicester in the UK. I moved to Ireland 2 years ago to live with my partner and start a new way of life. I have played poker on and off for probably at least 10 years now, and have always been in love with the game. I have always had a strong desire to improve, and at times wanted to make it my main source of income, but due to discovering poker after I was already on the career path, it never made sense to give up a well paid job to grind poker for a living, so always remained a part time hobby at best.

My job was based in London when I was living in the UK, and that's a 2-3 hour commute from where I lived, tied with a demanding job I was constantly wrecked tired, days were 15 hours long, and on top of that I had to do a lot of travelling around Europe. I used to download poker videos and watch them on my commute - make notes on my laptop, study spots, record my play and watch it back and look for leaks. Study poker books, the whole lot, but as for playing I only really had a couple of hours at night and the weekend and never stuck to playing and studying for long periods, was a lot more on and off rather than being consistent.

My partner lives in Ireland and we were in a long distance relationship for a few years actually. I was fortunate to be able to negotiate with work doing a lot of my job remotely from Ireland, so we made it work like that for quite a long time but eventually one of us had to make the move and it was always going to be me! She was just taking a business from her Dad and trying to make that work, so I decided after a lot of procrastination to rent out my place, quit my job and move. It was the best thing I ever did - can't believe I was so scared. It seemed like a massive step at the time, losing the security of a £100k/year job, moving to another country etc, but I went from being constantly exhausted to having a life again (less money, but whatever - I don't want for anything and live any different than I did before) I drive an old shitty car rather than a flashy new one, that's about the only difference! Haha

So now I run the business with my partner, work part time, and have loads of time to pursue my hobbies, poker being the main one. I am determined to get better at the game and really make a go of it to be the best I can be, I need somewhere to channel my energy and this feels right. I have been doing a lot of reading about topics I am interested in such as Philosophy, how we learn, forming good habits and achieving goals - you know all that self help type stuff, I really enjoy it and feel that although there a lot of misses, there is some great books out there.
I also decided to get in shape - I was really overweight at the start of this year (5'10 and 244lbs) and built a home gym before Covid kicked off, completely revised my diet and workout routine and have been at it since March 1st. Currently at 204lbs, so just hit the -40lbs milestone!

In terms of poker - why do I call this 'looking through a new lens'? Well, although I have been studying poker for many years, I don't really feel like I made any major breakthroughs until just recently when I started doing some solver work and seeing the game from a new perspective. I fell into the trap that many micro grinders do of thinking of everything in qualitative terms instead of quantitative terms... "Villain can have all these combos that beat me, these guys dont bluff enough, but then the flush draw did brick.... hmmm not sure" to trying to work out what my range looks like, where I am in that range, how my specific blockers affect the distribution etc etc. I am specifically loving how PIO picks it's bluffs and find that quite fascinating. I feel like I am on the verge of a deeper understanding of the game but I'm not there yet - I feel it's quite close, and I hope that through consistent study I am going to get there. Just like my change of diet and workout regime has consistently allowed me to lose 2lbs per week, I hope to gain 2% new poker insight each week in the belief that it will compound.

I'll be sharing my study with you guys and hope that in doing so you will be able to give your insight to me and we can learn from each other.
I have recently applied to a couple of CfP programs as well, I have a lot of energy for poker, but always unsure if I am channelling it in the most efficient way - I am hopeful about these opportunities but if it is not the right time then so be it, I have to forge ahead regardless.

Over the last year I played 10nl, 25nl and then 50nl, before I had to withdraw my bankroll at Christmas, well, I didn't HAVE to, but I decided to as a present for my partner to do up our bedroom, and started again from scratch again this year with $200 which is now $1000, currently playing 25nl.

Had a few months off in total during the last year but these were my results:

I am now fed up of being a 1bb-2bb winner and need to accelerate my learning - so it's all about the study for me now! I am currently doing 2-3 hours of study per day and playing maybe 1-2 hours, that may shift as time goes on, but just grinding a mediocre strategy is pointless at these stakes.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to discussing with you guys more!

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