"You either make yourself accountable or you will be made accountable by your circumstances."
My name is Austin, and I am currently a low stakes professional poker player. I started playing poker in 2005 and until 2011 when PokerStars got shut down in America. Like many others I started my journey with sit & goes and small tourneys during the Money Maker Boom. Strategically I had instant success with playing the game, as within my first week of wanting to learn how to play the game I joined Cardrunners to build a strategy and try and make a living off it. Starting off with some $3.30 nine-max sng turbos and working my way up the ladder to $6.50s, $16s, $27s, and $55s. Eventually switched to full ring cash games and started off at 10NL and worked my way up to mostly $100NL and some $200NL.
The first year or so was the hardest, while I had instant success with depositing $200-$500 and building my bankroll up to $3k-$5k, every few months I would bust because I would refuse to have a losing day. I literally busted a $5k bankroll once because I was down $1!!!! I jumped back into my current stake of 100NL and lost 2 buy-ins right away. “Fuck-it” I will go double up at 400NL real quick and call it a night. Not only was I not sticking to my bread and butter of full ring and low stakes, but I also switched to six-max! Truthfully back in 2005-2011 even though the games were soft I could never beat 6-max, not even at 10NL! I could beat 100NL full ring, but I just sucked ass at six max. I sat down at 400NL playing four tables. Picked up KK on 3 out of the 4 times at the same time and within a minute was down $1200; all three pocket Kings lost to sets. I had about $3200 left and now stuck around $1800 for the day, obviously there is only one thing to do and that is to play higher! I switched to $25/$50 with the last of my bankroll. Couple orbits go by and still sitting with around $3200, then I pick up a hand in the BB. “Alright, hopefully can get even on the day” I thought.
SB opens $150
Hero AJo BB raises to $450, SB calls.
Flop ($900) J75r
SB checks, hero bets $450, SB calls.
Turn ($1800) J75-2 (it was a brick I forget what card)
Hero ($2300) bets $700
SB check raises all in!
Hero “sigh… call”
SB shows KK, river bricks ☹
For those of you who have not seen the movie “Rounders” before, this is what it felt like.
That summer I took a job working for $12/hr. because I figured I did not have what it takes to make it as a professional. What is the point of grinding it out for 3-4 months and just continually going bust? After working for 3 months and having a newfound respect for money I decided I am just going to use Fox’s Bankroll management and be very disciplined with BRM and give poker another shot. Back to $10NL with $500 bankroll. From this point forward until 2011 when I woke up with the FBI warning on my computer, I never busted another bankroll. The downside of the journey is I think it established a fear in me of wanting to play high stakes.
When you first start poker that is almost everyone’s dream to play high stakes! I grew very content on just beating 200NL and $50 MTT/SNG and under. I was still a kid who lived at home, with no bills, no responsibilities, and no aspirations to play high stakes again. I was very content with just making small amounts of money and enjoying life. I would play basketball, Xbox, computer games, chill with friends & family etc. I did not have a care in the world and did not realize the opportunity I had in front of me as a “pro” back then. I put “pro” in quotes because I did not act like a pro and did not treat poker as a business.
Once PokerStars got shut down in America I started working jobs I could find from 2011-2018. During these 7 years I would play about 10 hours a month at a local casino and learning how to beat live poker. It was a struggle at first, live poker is just a different beast or type of animal. Many people think online players would simply crush live poker but there are a lot of adjustments to be made. How many of you actually know what range to play when UTG opens 6bb and gets 3 callers? In 2018 I quit my job and I became a live poker professional starting at $1/$3 first few months and then next two years or so played $2/$5.
Does lighting strike twice? March 2020 the casino shut down because of Covid. No one at the time knew for how long or how serious this was or even still is. It felt like Black Friday for PokerStars all over again! My career just being taken from me! For nine years I had not played online poker, but now I had no choice; either get a job, try and wait out covid, or start playing online again. From March 2020 until Feb 2021, I played on PokerBros. I went from playing $500NL live to 20NL online. Just the type of personality I have. I embrace the journey of wanting to prove myself at every level and move up stakes gradually. It did not take me too long to move from 20NL to 100NL and some 200NL though. The uncertainty first month or two was incredibly stressful because I did not know if I could be a long-term winner online or not. I just wanted to make money playing poker online until live poker opened back up.
With no end in sight for Covid or knowing when the casino would open back up, I moved out of state to play online exclusively and move closer to my girlfriend’s family where she would be happier. I had been playing online for almost about six months and built up enough trust in myself to give online a real shot again. Her family had moved years earlier but given my career of live poker I was not willing to move when they did and go back to “work.” However, covid was a blessing in disguise because playing online poker allows you to live any where and just play at home. I could still make money playing poker, which I love, and my girlfriend (almost 10 years now) could be closer to her family.
Which brings me to February – present time. I switched from PokerBros to Ignition where I grinded my way from 25NL up to $200NL, where I currently preside. I do not know if I am going to play 500NL or higher or not. I wanted to create this journal to tell my story and share some daily, weekly, and monthly goals and ambitions I have. Everyone can get an inside look at what it is like to be a low stakes poker professional. I do not have a direction in which I want to take this journal, but I will say I just signed a contract to be coached and fix whatever leaks I have in my game. I will be sharing some results, graphs, HH, sports stuff, food, and probably just some random things I come across. I will be posting a couple times a week with updates for those who are interested. Just holding myself accountable for some goals I set in place henceforth.