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Semi Pro Athlete Trying to Make it in Poker

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Semi Pro Athlete Trying to Make it in Poker

Hey RIO!

I've started a PG&C over on 2p2, but I thought it would be a good idea to cross post it here, and become more involved in the great community here at RIO.

I'll spare all the details which can be found on the 2p2 thread (don't worry, you won't have to scroll through pages of thread to find them), but I'll offer the cliff notes of my story here.

Background Cliffnotes

As the title of the thread eludes to, over the last four years, I've been a semi-professional sailor, trying to qualify for the 2020 Olympics. This gave me the opportunity to travel and compete all around the world, and also taught me a heap of lessons and skills which I hope I can use to help me move up through the poker ranks.

Whilst I'm currently deciding whether I want to try and go for the 2024 Olympics, and international sport is essentially at a standstill, I've had the time to start taking poker more seriously and I plan on using this as a way to document the process, generate discussion, and also offer some advice of my own on ways in which lessons from elite sport can help the RIO community improve their poker game.


As you can tell, I'm still far from a winning player, but I've set a few goals for myself which include;

- Outcome goal - start shot taking 50NL by the end of the year.
I'm currently grinding 5NL on ACR, but the goal is to try and get to 50NL by the end of the year.

- How am I going to get there?

Redline is clearly my biggest leak, and I think one of the big things I need to focus on is my play OOP. I'm currently losing 0.48bb/100 out of EP, which suggests to me that I need to work on my play OOP, both in SRP and 3b pots. My win rates in the blinds are reasonable at -10.89/100 and -38.35 in the SB and BB, respectively. That being said, I think the BB in particular can be improved. I'm slightly underdefending and my WWSF in the BB is somewhat low at 38.89

How Sailing Compares to Poker

As part of this journal, I'm also going to include some posts about how elite sport relates to poker, and how some of the lessons and skills I've learnt from sport can be applied to poker.

I’ll start this series off by talking a bit about the sport of sailing. Sailing is one of the few sports which has featured in the Olympics since the inception of the modern Olympic movement. There are many different paths to professional sailing outside of the Olympics, but Olympic sailing is considered one of the ‘purest forms’.

Somewhat similar to an MTT, sailing is a sport which favours consistency over the course of a long event. During a competition, there will be a number of individual races where you score points based on your finishing position – ie first = 1st point, 2nd = 2 points so on and so forth. At the end of the competition, your points from each race are added together to give your total score. These are then all ranked in ascending order; the person with the lowest points wins the competition. This format requires continuous assessment of when to take large risks, or when to race conservatively and take the lower variance approach.

Results in sailing are determined by another of factors, some which you can control, and some which you can’t control. Things like boat speed (related to fitness and technique), tactics (boat on boat positioning) and psychology are all in your control, and you aim to perform to the best of your ability in those elements to negate the effects of things you can’t control. As you can probably imagine, there are a huge amount of things in sailing which are out of your control including the wind, the water/waves/current, race officials, and other competitors, to name a few. Similar to poker, you know that these things are going to vary, and have a massive impact on your individual race results, but if you continually nail the controllable aspects, and make the most +EV decisions with respect to the uncontrollables, you’ll achieve results in the long run.

Ultimately, both sailing and poker are games where short term variance has a massive impact on results, but clear and logical decision making under pressure consistently leads to good results.

I hope that you guys can get something out of this journal, and any feedback or advice is appreciated (any RIO video recommendations also welcome - currently on essential plan though). Thanks for reading and GL at the tables!

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