Monthly Wrap up.
Rough month to come back to poker here is the loss porn:
Patrick was an absolute gem of a human and went through hands with me for about 2 hours last night. He gave me a lot of confidence in my game, and we had a pretty good talk. He said he is very confident I am winning in these games.
Despite the rough month I am going to just start playing NL200 this month. I am just going to trust the coach, continue to improve, and take some risk. I am on my own bankroll, and with my financial situation I can go for it.
My goals for my time at nachos is to turn into an absolute killer, and I worked out a plan with Patrick to get there. I want to be aggressive with this goal and work hard, so I am going to plan for this. He suggested to try and get to 1k in the next 3 – 6 months. Which is tough, but lets go for it. I seem to like getting a little crazy.
My schedule is basically 30 hours of grinding and 20-25 hours of study a week, so I will put in 30k hands next month and study enough to hopefully flush out some of the more major nodes.
My studying is more efficient. I do the following on weekdays:
• Warm up with preflop, defence vs cbet, defence with cbet raise, 20 minutes each.
• Grind 4 hours
• Session Review 6bb+ pots and make anki cards from mistakes
• Drill Anki cards
• Strategy development
On weekends I put more time into grinding:
• Warm up with one of preflop, defence vs cbet, defence with cbet raise, 20 minutes.
• Grind 6-8 hours
• Session Review 6bb+ pots and make anki cards from mistakes
Tuesdays are my day off from grinding and I will study 4 – 8 hours depending on how I feel. Mostly this day I work on strategy development so I can just do the busy work during the shorter study time on the week. For now, I just feel like going into hardcore mode.
I feel if I am consistent with this process then success is inevitable. Matt Marenelli's podcast on mechanic of poker has been my bible recently.
Long term I want to move into tough pools and participate in sport poker, but for now I need to build a foundation, and have some money coming in.
In my previous posts I was working through the nodes, but now I am so much better at building / learning a new strategy that I am starting over again, so I am working at IP PFR, and going to focus on getting these nodes flushed out. I will try and do them in this order:
• IP SRP PFR - Almost done.
• OOP SRP PFC
• OOP 3PB PFR
• IP 3BP PFC
• IP 3BP PFR
• OOP 3BP PFC
• OOP SRP PFR
• IP SRP PFC
There are 8 nodes for this iteration of improvement and 6 months, so I need to clear 1.5 nodes a month, which might be a little tricky, but lets see how this goes. I won’t try and force this, just go at a pace where I can continue to do quality study. I will focus on the nodes that are common, I can’t work out every possible node combination. Lucky this is what baseline strategies are for.
The lifestyle right now is great. I basically can work as hard as I want, I can take a few days off here and there and I don’t have to ask. I am going to get out what I put in long term. Nacho’s is a great CFP, you have lots of resources and freedom. The guys in here are great. No complaints.
My main source of fulfilment comes from just getting better at something and doing it my own way. I am really enjoying this process of improving at poker.
Over the next 3-6 months, that will be 90-180k hands. If my true winrate is 4bb/100 then my EV is 36 – 72 Bis. My current last 100k hands..at the bottom of another 20 bi downswing suggest 6-8, but I am gonna be conservative here and think 4-5.
I will use the following BRM plan. My BRM is going to be very aggressive:
• Win 30 Bis at NL200 -> take a 5BI shot at NL500 on weekends. Have 2 shots in the chamber.
• Win 30 Bis at NL500 -> Take a 5BI shot at NL1k on weekends. Have 2 shots in the chamber.
I don’t need to withdraw for a long time. My cost of living is low, so lets just mash it in there. Might go swimmingly. Might be a repeat of the Kelly criterion experiment. Who knows.
I just need 60 Bis to get to 1k with this plan. It’s aggressive, and going to swing a lot, but fuck being a life nit.
Let me know what you think. Should be for an entertaining ride.
Dec. 1, 2023 | 8:34 a.m.
Been a while since I posted, but I am currently in Thailand. I have been doing the full time grind for a little while now.
I have been playing NL100 while I integrate the strategy. It's been good. I have preflop down, and some upgrades to c-betting.
My daily routine during the week right now is like this:
1 - Wake up, go to the store get coffee, water, and a protein drink.
2 - Warm up routine
3 - Grind for 2 hours.
4 - 30 to 60 minute break.
5 - Grind for 2 hours.
6 - Gym
7 - Session review
8 - Study 2 - 3 hours.
On the weekend I do this.
1 - Wake up, go to the store get coffee, water, and a protein drink.
2 - Grind for 2 hours.
3 - 30 to 60 minute break.
4 - Grind for 2 hours.
5 - 30 to 60 minute break.
6 - Grind for 2 hours.
7 - 30 to 60 minute break.
8 - Grind for 2 hours.
9 - Session review
I also have a pure study / strategy development day.
I ran into some logistical issues in the beginning getting everything set up, but I am aiming to put in a lot of time during most weeks so I can afford to take time off late.
January 1st I will go to Vietnam or Malaysia for a month.
My first few weeks have been rough results wise, but I feel improvement, so I am still optimistic. My c-betting defense has improved as I drill it every day, and my pre-flop has improved a lot as well.
I am going to go through my own playbook and re-do some things. I have learned enough new things and ways of doing things now, where I think I can improve quickly with enough work. I have a new way of building a strategy and learning spots that is easier for me to learn. I still use Anki, but I take a 25 flop subset (from Matt Marenelli podcast of MOP) and for whatever node I split it up into general sizings following the 1-1-2 framework. Then through the subset I break them up into seperate simple strategies for sizings, using GTO wizard AI.
I really try and keep the number of sizings I need to use small. Really I try to only use 25, 50, 75, 150 in my whole game tree. After this, I go through the subset, and note betting / raising %, value thresholds, bluffing thresholds, the bulk of villans defending hand classes and some examples for blockers. I like having villan's defending range because it helps me understand blocker effects better.
After doing this through different subsets that are strategically different usually you can see a pattern, and you can build some set of heuristics. You have some idea of worst hands to bet for value, best hands you can bluff with, how good a run out is for you overall.
After this then I drill in the trainer and if something seems way off, or I want to remember something I run the sim in GTOW AI, and then make anki cards to drill later.
The sizings I want to pick in a spot generally depend on the MDA from nachos. I usually run some sims with some node locks and see what sizing GTOW AI / PIO prefers. If that sizing isn't exploitable for much then I favor it. This keeps my strategies on the simpler side, and they should squeeze out some extra EV.
Lets see how this goes. I will post my graph at the end of November, but it's not too pretty right now.
Once I am up 10 BIs at NL100 I will fire at NL200.
Overall I am really liking this life style. Life is pretty good right now.
Nov. 18, 2023 | 4:18 p.m.
I need to work my river raise too. Lets goo my fellow nacho.
Oct. 2, 2023 | 2:26 p.m.
It's weird how much has changed in the past. On tuesday I fly out to Italy for a Vacation with my family, and then from Italy I will move on to BKK and start the next phase of the poker journey.
Recently I joined Nachos CFP, and I regret not doing it sooner. The content is amazing, people are great, and there is a real culture around helping you improve. It's not just poker strategy, but the guidance with the logistical side is great. There are some real high stakes monsters in there. It's quite motivating to talk to everyone.
The past few weeks have mostly been around studying and filling in some gaps in my knowledge with their basic strategy. I mostly drilled pre-flop, their guide lines, and then really making sure flop defence is solid. I tried to do too much at once and it got a little overwhelming, but after todays session I feel pretty good about it.
If you read Patrick Howards blog on logistics here he talks about players who can't been low stakes being stuck at the logistical level. I think this is true. A lot of players I interact with who are stuck at low / microstakes are focusing on the wrong things, or not studying at all. They worry about having a leading range in four bet pots, when their fold to turn probe is 75%, or they are folding 50% to a 33% cbet on the flop. It's not their fault, they just don't understand where the money is coming from. They also don't understand just how much these things matter. It's important to study the foundational things, and do them really well. There is an analogy in jiu jitsu.
In jiu jitsu the people who are absolute monsters have amazing defence and pin escapes. Being on the bottom sucks. You can't submit anyone, it's uncomfortable, it tires you out, and that is where you get tapped out. The trap a lot of newer jiu jitsu players fall into is just avoid them all together. They learn the escape, do 5 or 10 reps, and then try it in sparing and find to be uncomfortable. So they find some success in becoming risk adverse, and not going to the bottom at all. People who are not confident in escapes spend a lot of energy trying to avoid it, they spazz out, and use too much strength and once they end up on the bottom they lose.
More skilled practitioners lean into it..they put themselves in bad positions..practicing over and over and over again. Let me tell you it doesn't take as long as you think to start getting a rhythm for it. Once you can get out, you spend less energy, you don't panic, and you become confident. The worst case scenario is now not as bad. Obviously people way better than you are going to pin you to the mat, but they were going to get there regardless. If you can't be held down by people at your level then you can work the sweep or pass you want to do. If you practice the sweep first, you won't get nearly as many chances when you are rolling for real. You need to deliberately work the technique in sparring / positional sparing to make progress.
I think this analogy translates to flop defence. Vs a c-bet, a stab, a raise, all of them. If you're leaking here the upgrades from the turn and the river won't help you very much. Let me explain why. If your fold to flop is suppose to be 30% at some node, but really it's 50%. You will see the turn / river a lot less. Upgrading the turn or river, after they cbet (think river probe..is really important) will give you 20% less win rate cause you're forfeiting it on the turn. It will also give you 20% less hands to review for that line when you are studying. Logistically speaking getting this node sharp is super important. (My math here might be a little off but you get the point.)
So this is what I am going to make sure is sharp. Every day I am going to study flop defence in some form or another. Skills will degrade over time, so maintaining them is the most efficient way to keep moving forward. Now that I am doing this full time my study blocks will look like this.
- 15 minutes drilling some preflop position (rotate through them each day).
- 30 minutes drilling some node in flop defence (rotate through them every day.)
- 15-30 minutes drilling the anki cards from mistakes in last weeks review.
- 60-75 minutes on strategy development
- 120 minutes on strategy development / drilling some post flop node.
In order to constantly maintain my weaknesses I am going to compile a anki deck, with some mistakes from my base level of knowledge..if I missed a value bet, or something I will put it in this deck, and then next week I will drill it every day for a week. Then once the week is done I will have a new deck compiled of my a new set of mistakes.
My hope is this will balance a set of developing new skills while maintaining old ones. It's easier to maintain skills than it is to re-form them so let see if this works logistically.
For now I will split play and study into 25 hours/week play and 25 hours/week study..roughly. Weekends I will play mostly, but then slower weekdays I will study mostly. For now I just want to continue to develop, to get to high stakes at a good clip.
I am going to be in Italy with my family most of October, but I start playing full time for real in November, so I set a goal to try and get to 1k, in a year. So November 2024 I am hoping to be at least have shotted 1k. I will stick to softer sites for now, and when the skill / winrate dictates so I will move to bigger sites.
Big goal, but now that I can put 40 - 50 hours a week into something then I feel like this is completely doable.
I also want to get back into jiu jitsu regularly. This might be hard with being in a different place every few months, but we will try. Not going to put a belt / skill goal on anything yet, but have some ideas for next year.
For now let's just improve until we start knocking on the door to 1k.
Oct. 2, 2023 | 2:39 a.m.
I am done most of the hand off stuff and my last day is friday.
Still going to the gym a lot, but anxiety has been really bad. Not sure what is going on with me, but I don't have a lot of energy. Hoping getting out of here is the problem.
I have a plan ticket to Italy on October 2nd, then BKK in 25.
Holy shit I am actually doing it.
I joined Nachos CFP and spent most of this week studying their materials and filling holes in my basic knowledge. Pretty impressive stuff.
I really start grinding in november after italy. This Kelly challenge is kind of useless now. My BR is 10k usd and ill shoot 500 after 30 or so bis, but not in a huge rush for moving up there.
Lots of studying to do.
Hoping to make this blog a little more active in the future.
Sept. 21, 2023 | 4:29 a.m.
Since the last post was a rough one. I went on (another?) 20bi downswing. I think the damage in total was great than 25 bis. HM3 when on the fritz for a while so I am not sure how far I really fell.
I decided it wasn't worth my time to drop below NL50, but with the above BRM my bankroll got cut all the way down to like $650. The second downswing really messed with me, maybe because it happened so fast I am not sure.
Anyway, I seem to be crawling out of it slowly now. Going full Kelly is pretty painful when you swing 25BIs down. I was pretty convinced I was just doing everything wrong. Somehow my EV BB/100 is still 7.5 or something dumb. (It's actually lower cause I didn't have Hm3 for a while and there is probably 4 bis down that HM3 missed, but even 6.5...still not back for the bottom of a 25 bi downswing). So this gives me confidence....now..for a while there I had no clue what I was doing.
I am committed to this full Kelly BRM, because I can't quit now when it's the worst..it would be terrible for my EV.
I am going to be putting in my notice when I come back from the last of my vacation from work. To add insult in injury they didn't make good on a deal from a year ago, and so I am out a lot of extra money. A lesson to young professionals out there: get any sort of deals/adjustments in writing and signed by your boss's boss. I am out like $25,000. I was pretty mad for like 3 weeks. Running bad in poker was nothing compared to this.
I will be going to Italy on October 2nd, and then Bangkok on October 25th. I am pretty excited for this to be happening. I have been dreaming about this for a long time. Being able to just put my efforts into this will be nice.
I am also 99% sure I am going to join Nachos Poker CFP...will share what happens in my next post.
Sept. 7, 2023 | 4:01 a.m.
Update for the last two weeks
This BRM is swingy as shit. I was in the NL200 pool on friday saturday and it started to feel better. I made some mistakes, and there is some mindset issues still with 200, but I am pretty confident we will break through eventually. I had some issues with wanting to force results, and I think I made a few mistakes. Wasn't my best poker is I am honest. Volume could have been better, so next time around we will be aware of the feelings we had last time and we will do better this time.
As for the bankroll, I ran ok at NL200, but ate shit at NL100. I lost 6 or 7 BIs today, which is not fun. So we are back to $1550, and back to NL50 for the week.
I think for the BRM to work you are just going to float between 2-3 stakes until you hit a big sun run and your out of there.
Tempting to just fund myself for NL200, but I think going through this will be good for future me. I want to get to nosebleeds and fuck shit up, so there will need to be a lot of humility here.
Schedule wise has been pretty hectic. The gym is in another city an hour away, so going has been a three hour adventure, plus 8 hours of work, then trying to study in the morning and play at night. Only two more weeks until I tell work to go away so this will be over soon.
Study wise has been good. I figured a few things out, and I am getting smarter about the game. The session today actually got me pretty rattled, like more rattled than the 20BI downswing before. My confidence is kind of shaken for now. Will review that hands in the morning and figure out what went wrong.
I am looking forward to being able to get a more concrete schedule with poker, so I can study more in a day.
The Matt Marinelli podcast was pretty inspiring. I am really looking forward to getting into a poker groove, similar to what he did and just keep improving at a good pace. Review your hands, take honest points about what to improve, improve, and rinse and repeat.
Can't keep the good ones down. I am not one of the good ones yet, but I will be.
Eventually I am hoping to find a good group with a similar thirst to break into the higher pools, and really is interested in being intense about it. The tribe feels like the only thing I am missing right now.
Will figure this out eventually.
Overall feeling a little shaken confidence wise, but this is normal I think. I am sure this time next year I wont even remember this post.
Aug. 14, 2023 | 4:21 a.m.
It's very impressive you manage to run your own CFP, private coaching, father of two kids, and play high stakes/nosebleeds.
I am seeing a trend where people venture into coaching / strategy or playing full time, so I think you should be very proud of yourself for doing both, plus being a dad and husband.
I hope you're giving yourself a pat on the back at the end of a week. You do a lot.
BTW - Sick month :)
Aug. 7, 2023 | 4:29 p.m.
Well this has been wild haha.
The bankroll has been all over the place from this run. I have played every limit from NL50 to NL200 since my last post.
I went down then up then back down from NL200 again and I am back to a roll of about $1850. I will play NL100 until $1550 during the week, and then if I run it back over $2150 then we are back at NL200 next weekend.
Since tomorrow is Sunday I go back to the weekly bankroll plan, which means I can still be at NL100 for a while. NL100 feels softer than NL50 to be honest. Easy to find fishy tables. NL50 it was tougher.
NL200 didn't go very well I busted the 3 BI shot in about 500 hands (RIP $600), but here is some observations. (Keep in mind this is Bovada/Igition/Bodog)
- The regs were a little more aggressive but pretty much the same.
- There are fish, but it felt like less whales. Even on a Saturday I had to table select quite hard.
- I am improving everyday and it's not that hard here.
I couldn't find tables with a lot of 60/20 type guys like I could at NL100. They still exist but they aren't everywhere. Something I realized is the punts are starting to go, and I am going to have to work really hard to keep my edge in a pool. Fighting the best I can for every pot is going to become more important here.
This mindset change actually put me into a predator mode. I was missing some river raises and bluff catching spots, but not anymore. There was a shift in my brain to where "taking no risks" means play solid and stick to your plan. Before when nervous I would trend pasive. Uri had a video about this and I was aware you need to become a predator, but it was just today I felt myself change. Put them in bad spots, and let them deal with it.
I also appear to have overcame some mindset issues with volume. This challenge got me into the NL200 pool, and now I just am thinking about getting to 10k, and not worried about 'losing progress'. I know that isn't a think, but with the BRM plan your roll is so all over the place any idea of progress is killed pretty quick.
Having more confidence in my heuristics / game now is also super helpful.
I think if you're at low stakes, with a solid winrate, you should do this to midstakes because you just get so use to shit going wrong.
Pretty happy I did this BRM challenge. I got some exposure to the NL200 pool faster, and with having to move up and down all the time I think it will help kill any sort of risk aversion. With this BRM I think we just need a decent run and since you shoot fast the tail end of your run good will always be at NL200 and hopefully it's timed well enough where you have a good escape velocity.
First attempted failed, but I am not worried.
I have watched this podcast about 10 times: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNfUjUIWXYs
I have a lot of respect for Marinelli and I am also a very process orientated person. A lot of how I work / study is how he works and studies. It's good hear someone talk about this for my confidence. I also was reviewing every pot, and planning out my strategy development on a notion pad. It's pretty nice now. When I forget things I can always re-visit them, and I also make Anki flash cards to keep the thresholds in my mind every morning. As long as I work at this I will make it to high stakes.
After I get my whole template mapped out there are spots I will need to go back, re-visting some nodes, and flush some things out with better heuristics. I am getting better at studying and I think some of these nodes can get re-worked.
In terms of strategy development I worked on being the IP PFC in SRP this week. I completely read some MDA wrong and built a whole plan on bad data haha, but I worked out my own strategy from this dataset.
I have to work through august and now that I am back home the gym is an hour away, and then I spent 60-90 there then an hour back, so time is going to be constricted again. I am only staying there to wait out some financial obligations, so need to do the bare minimum for august and then I am pretty much done, and will be onto the full poker pro life. I am going to try and just get the minimum done for them.
I will have 35k for a 'life / travel roll' so which should give me just over a year of living expenses in countries with a low cost of living. I am hoping to have poker pay for it quite soon, but at least this way I will have very little financial pressure on me to do this.
July 30, 2023 | 2:08 a.m.
The 'No more life nit' BRM plan.
I have had time off work to play and recover. I spent 2 weeks travelling and really enjoying it and now I am back to playing and studying.
I enlisted in private coaching from FreeNachos back in February or march, and I have had a few sessions a month. I have to say he saved me a lot of time. I couldn't figure out a lot of things myself and he really helped me. Having someone who has the research / data part done for some simplifications really helps you speed run to crushing.
Patrick showed me some of his research with simplifications + data work, and I really just needed to work out heuristics for the river. It was exactly what I needed. We are almost through the SRP part of the game tree and I can defiantly feel the edge. He has recommendations, but it is open to style, and I found some really creative lines from his coaching. Using MDA correctly is really great for helping make simplification decisions, and Patrick is great at showing you how it should be done.
In our last coaching sessions I was in a 20bi downswing and he told me not to move down to NL25, as my winrate is high enough that it's not worth it and to try and get to NL200 and mix in 500 in the pool is soft. So with this vote of confidence I am going to just ram it in.
I want to build a bankroll to be able to have a base stake of NL200 ASAP, so I watched this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JohfEAp4lmk
And I used the spreadsheet to come up with this plan:
(Using 3 BI shots here so move down at the number - 3 BIs)
During the week:
NL100 @ 5bb/100 = $1800
NL200 @ 5bb/100 = $3600
NL100@ 10bb/100 is $1058
NL200 @ 10bb/100 is $2150
I had to estimate the winrates from some data, but if I am diligent with table selection I think it is ok for NL100/200. I have had a few different high stakes pals say this looks reasonable. This isn't going to be a long term plan, but this is to speed run NL200.
My roll is $2100 USD in Bodog right now, so the goal will be to speed run this thing to 10k. I expect this too be a wild ride, so strap in as I will try and give regular updates every 2 weeks.
NL500 I am going to leave out of my plan for now, since I have herd from a few friends that it can be pretty humbling there, and I just need NL200 to support my life during travels now, so lets worry about this first.
This is going to get dramatic. Wish me luck everyone!
July 23, 2023 | 8:21 p.m.
Been a while since I have posted.
I finished the 6 months of hell from work and I finally have some real time off. I am moving back to my home town, and then I will quit my job in the middle of september. I held a lot of stress and it really started to hurt my health. I really regret grinding that out. When I quit my job I am going to go to spend some time in Asia, eastern europe, and then south / central america. It's going to be great :).
I need to lose some weight over the next few months, but I will be able too do this. I have to work one more month and then I am done.
The next month off I have I will be acting like I am a poker pro. Recently, it's been nice to just work for myself. Only needing to do 8 hours a day, work on my own schedule, and just being able to work hard has been a nice change.
Volume has been easier the past week, and I had my first 20BI downswing. That was quite the time. It was good practice.
I have been told that I need to start playing higher as well. Once I come out of this downswing then I will start firing NL100 pretty soon, and then be aggressive for NL200. I really thought grinding it up organically was a good way to do but, but now that time to leave is getting closer, and I wasn't able to put a lot of volume in the next month I want to be able to play NL200 while I am gone.
The past 6 months was hard, but I really had a chance to "grow up" and figure out what is important in life. I am 34, and I want to see the world. I don't care about job titles, and I just want to do my own thing.
I am quite tired and a little run down, but I really got some perspective.
Poker has been ok. Getting more volume in now, and we are getting serious. I study spots, review hands, and run my anki cards every day. Only been a week but so far I am enjoying the freedom.
Those are the current graph and results. Was hoping to have a double digit winrate, but there is some more work to do here I think. We can keep grinding. I have a huge upswing and a big downswing now, so I expect this might be close to my true winrate.
Most of my studying has really centered around SRPs, so I am looking forward to digging more into three bet pots soon.
June 26, 2023 | 10:44 p.m.
The past few weeks have been busy again. I have been studying and playing poker quite a bit. My game feels better and better and I feel like mapping out the nodes, writing out heuristics by texture and then distilling that into a smaller set of heuristics has been very helpful.
Generating the "right" heuristics is hard though. The more compact and simple the easier it is to remember, but it can take some time to ask the right question. In general this is the most time consuming part.
I try and use relative terms, but you can get too general. "Overbet the 3+ nuts or 4+ nuts with a blocker to the nuts" looses is meaning. So I usually end up going back to absolute terms by texture, and trust I will be able to brain solve any weird spots later.
With the above workload I had before I have kind of hit a wall mental energy wise. I am studying and getting better, and enjoying playing but I only have enough mental power for an hour or so a day. If I can't find recs I usually just pack it in. I was sprinting for so long now that things have calmed down I think I am just tired.
I got my click ranker working at my job. I did it in 2.5 months we have gains. From start to finish. MY tech lead said I should be proud of that. I don't think I have herd him compliment anyone like that before.....so was it worth it? Not really. I really don't feel proud of the work done. It was forced to a time line and everything is rushed and it's going to be a pain fix and modify later. Basically was the exact thing I said I didn't want the project to be..but I am a foot solider not a sergeant...and the sergeants want their boxes ticked. I take my holidays end of June, work a month in August, then quit middle of September. Almost there.
I think I am going to take it light on the playing time for a few days. Yesterday and today I just didn't get a lot of hands it.
I also just am crawling myself out of a 12BI downswing. Was bound to happen, but I really took it as a game. I took it as a challenge to make sure this 12 BI downswing wasn't a 12BI downswing with 8 punts on top of it. And I think it went well. We are climbing back out of it.
Technical punts are fine. I do them all the time. You need to make mistakes, but mental punts are leaks. Plain and simple. If Linus with all his knowledge punted off every time he ran bad...he wouldn't be rich.
Mindset is part of the game. My main leak right now is volume again. I like playing poker. I like building the heuristics and strategy and then executing it and fixing issues, and plugging holes, but I am just toast. Volume is my main leak right now. Seems to be the running theme.
I catch myself saying..if I could just focus on this..I would be gucci. Almost there.
That's it for me.
April 19, 2023 | 4:15 a.m.
Doc Anytime buddy.
João Guimarães Yeah not sure if they are actually doing that or they are just trying to use a more complicated strategy, but some people have success doing it. As for mixing I think you need to do it, but it depends on why. If it's to simplify your decisions for board coverage, then you probably want to mix a certain class, if you want to do it for decption then I think you get the same result from mixing two simple strategies. It depends what you are trying to do. I am still coming up in the poker streets so easily could be missing things.
Zamadhi108 I think this is a good first start, but a mixed strategy will likely always be able to exploit a pure strategy. For pure vs pure you will want to node lock the street to pure, let villian exploit, then round villians, lock villians let hero exploit, round his EV, until both rounded strategies sho no EV loss. I expect you will get a checker board pattern.
March 29, 2023 | 11:20 p.m.
I didn't realize the drop from reg tables -> Zoom was soo high for the winrate. 3bb/100 makes a lot of headaches in terms of downswings.
I guess this is why GG wants to funnel people in to fast fold, as I hear the rake is better there. Will help protect the recs.
March 26, 2023 | 9:16 p.m.
A closer look at solvers
I very often frequent the twitch streets, where the GTO vs exploit debate still goes on. I frequent myself getting pulled into these arguments as well. I am not here to talk about GTO, or exploitative strategies as it is done to death, and the “GTO or Exploit” question isn’t even a good question in my opinion.
What I want to do is get a closer look into what solvers are doing, and I think this will help clear up uncertainty. I will try an avoid the heavy technical details and illustrate what is happening with examples. I am going to need to gloss over some details to keep things simpler, as this is already going to get technical.
Solvers use something called “regret”, which is how much we missed out from the best choice. They seek to “minimize their maximum regret (minimax)”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regret(decisiontheory).
Suppose we want to invest in three markets, depending on what interest rates do our returns will fall into the following table.
Here our regret for each of these asset classes is how much we would “lose out on” from picking the worst performing asset class. Our regret is the difference in actual returns from the best returns.
If we can only pick a purse strategy we would pick bonds, to minimize out maximum regret. Notice how we don’t win the most with this either? If each of the cases are equally as likely bonds have an expected return of 1/3(-2 + 3 + 8) = 3%, but stocks have an expected return of: 1/3*(-4 + 4 + 12) = 4%. So we aren’t making the most with this framework. We will just experience less regret. The most money overall is made by picking stocks. Does this sound familiar to something from poker? 😊
If you can pick a mixed strategy the optimal outcome is to mix between stocks and money market to minimize regret. I will leave this to the reader to look up the answer on the Wikipedia link.
The above example is different from poker, since it is not a game, but I think it does a good job at addressing what the solver is really doing. An example for a simple two player game is below. In this game each player choses a number between 1 – 3, and they have the following payoff matrix:
Here if the number is positive, player A gets paid that amount from player B, if the number is negative, then player B gets paid that amount from player A. The regret in this case is the number you need to pay to the other player.
Using this payoff matrix and our above framework, the solution is for player A to choose A2, since their regret is at most 1, and for B is B2 since at worst they lose nothing. If both players are thinking players they will both pick 2 and make nothing. Again there is an alternate solution for mixing but I will let the reader figure this out.
I hope this builds intuition into how a solver works, and where there is so much mixing and protecting their ranges. They are trying to protect from getting put in one of these big loss spots.
Poker solvers use an algorithm to find their equilibrium that works differently than how we did it here. (We just looked at the table), but the solver takes a random strategy for P1, lets P2 maximally exploit P1, then P1 maximally exploits p2, and they repeat this process until there is no change in EV from exploitation.
The result is you have a strategy with the highest EV when being maximally exploited and when being maximally exploited your EV is at its minimum possible EV. This is the solution to the minimax equation by definition: we face maximum regret when being maximally exploited, and the solution is finding the strategy that has the minimum regret when being maximally exploited: and thus minimizing maximum regret (or maximizing minimum ev same thing). There are youtube channels /streamers / information out there that are getting this wrong.
I hope the two examples above build some intuition into what a solver is doing. It’s looking at the worse case possible. We also now know that EV in the solver isn’t actually EV.. it’s the EV in the worst case, or minimum EV.
Does this mean that solvers should be thrown out? Absolutely not. Solvers should be a part of everyone’s study process. What solvers do very well is they uncover the structure of the game. You can see how ranges interact and understand how they should be played. Solvers are responsible for the rise of common strategies today: range betting small, over betting etc. You need them to help learn the game. I love solvers. I find a lot of lines that I wouldn’t have thought about.
What I think is the common misconception is that you need to play like one. No one good is trying to copy the solver exactly, but they will only choose bet sizes the solver chooses. Knowing what we know from the examples above this isn’t nessicary. If a 2/3 sizing shows 0.1% more EV than other sizings, that means in the worst case of you being maximally exploited you’re going to lose a small amount, where a 33%, 150% are likely just as viable. I want to stress: you aren’t losing 0.1% by choosing another sizing, you just have a maximum regret that is 0.1% higher just as stocks have higher regret, in the above example, but remember they still had higher ev overall. However, a huge EV drop will show there are some sizings that are bad, Overbetting when you are super capped is an example of being bad…you give the solver a overbetting sizing in that position and it won’t choose it, and if you node lock it you will have a very low minimum ev. You can see what are huge punts, and the exploit is probably very easy.
I will argue a solver isn’t a strategy in a box, but it is a calculation for worst case, a tool you can use to answer questions. However the questions should be simple: “How should I play perfect equilibrium” is a complicated question, with a complicated answer. “Can I use this betsize here?” is much simpler. You can look at the min EV compared to a more complicated model, and see if it’s a punt.
In general, and in my opinion, I see solvers as a tool to tell you what to CAN’T do, rather than what to do. If you pick a bad sizing you will nodes with very high regret, and it will show up in the solver. Even then I expect the nosebleed slayers like Stefan are picking strategies with higher max regret, in an effort to make more EV. The counter might be very hard to find.. much like the stock example above they are risking a high regret, to get a higher EV by exploitation. This is where the fun strategy comes in: “How can you hide your high regret nodes to make more money?” This is exploitation explained using a regret framework.
I believe in using solvers to build your own strategy. Another possible scenario is to simplify to certain sizes, and you can use things like data/exploits to help choose sizes will low regret, but high upside. Here is a hypothetical example, it’s a common population read that river raises are underbluffed. A big part of why solvers put good hands into small sizings is to lower their regret when raised. They will get raised often so mixing strong hands will give them value in the raise line when being bluffed, but if they are under bluffed..do we want that sizing with good hands..we might have a low max regret but what about our overall EV? A 150% river sizing and 30% river sizing might have the same minimum EV but since population doesn’t raise light the 150% will give you more EV in practice. I would pick the larger sizing as part of my strategy, cause I just won’t get value from bluff raises.
For this reason I don’t think the argument of “GTO vs Exploit” makes any sense. The above example shows us exploiting population, but we aren’t becoming exploitable. It’s not one or the other.
A note on EV loss
I see a lot of tools out now where you can upload your hands to something like GTO wizard and it will grade you on mistakes. The common idea is they use EV against GTO as a way to measure how close you are to GTO. This is wrong. Very wrong. Don’t think this or it will cost you a lot of money.
The hands are grading your ev loss against their “GTO” strategy. It’s not, and I repeat IT’S NOT telling you how close you are to their strategy. If your EV loss against GTO is zero that doesn’t mean you are playing GTO, and it doesn’t mean you have an unexploitable strategy. Phil Galfond has a good video about this somewhere, but I cannot find it, anyway he said lets take the equilibrium strategy for two players. The EV loss is zero for both players since they are playing GTO. Now for the first player, take all the mixed bluffs, and make them a pure bet strategy, and the then all the mixed calls and make them a pure strategy. The EV loss is still zero, but player one’s strategy is super exploitable, and they are not the same strategy. There is no uniqueness property here. An analogy is the sets: [0,0,0] and [-1,0,1] have the same average, but they aren’t the same numbers.
There is some use to this tool for finding big punts, but be very aware that having a high GTO wizard score doesn’t mean you are playing perfect GTO, or even close. In my opinion I think it’s very easy to use that score to get put into a false sense of security about your exploitability, which is the worst because you can be exploited and think you’re protected. I think this feature does way more harm than good, and I feel very strongly about it.
With GTO trainers I wouldn't put much attention to EV vs, just make sure you aren't making giant punts, and you understand the principles behind your decisions. Thinks like range advantage, nut advantage etc. GTO trainers are still very useful for looking at things like value thresholds etc.
That is it for me on my thoughts about solvers. I hope this is helpful for understand how they work.
March 26, 2023 | 8:03 p.m.
Mindset has been very poor lately.
I have never felt better about my poker game, lately. I feel I have a solid understanding of how to improve. However my mindset is garbage. My job has been stressful. There has been a lot of overtime, and a lot of pressure and it’s really starting to affect me. Right now I am averaging 10-12 hours of work a day. It’s been like this for a while and will probably continue until may. I didn’t grind very much this weekend, only about 700 hands. Friday I just needed to get out and see people, and drink some beers. Saturday I slept most of the day. I played maybe 200 hands of poker and just slept. On Sunday I played 500 hands, slept, watched twitch and went to the gym and just tried not to think about going back to work.
I really don’t want to do it anymore. The effort to job satisfaction ratio is very low. I work work work work, something goes wrong, get blocked, then I have to do it all over again. My tech lead works more than me, but he is a Principle level in Seattle and probably makes $500,000 USD a year.But that’s it. No one else needs to work 50-60 hours a week, and they all make twice as much as me. I work in Vancouver, and I am at an intermediate level. The pay difference from Seattle to Vancouver is about 50%..two hours away they make twice as much as, and still have to work twice as hard. I am very mad about it. My province you need to pay overtime, but it’s a rule no one enforces.
Last week while I was working (work from home) I was just talking to myself out loud about how I want to quit. The coding practice is so poor that everything breaks, and I end up having to constantly work overtime in order to keep on schedule. No higher ups want to spend time to make things reliable because they want to ship out new things which get them new big raises so they can pay their big bills for their stupid luxury cars they don’t need.
If I quit I need to pay back a signing bonus which will be about $5,500, and I told myself I would hang on for two years. I am hoping that I can get some relief from this. This should be done in May, and I am going to hopefully feel better. When I am stressed like this..it’s impossible for me to have a normal life. I can’t work like this for the rest of my life. I want to move forward with a fulfilling relationship, and I just can’t do it when I am in this state of mind.
Big companies are just a giant travesty. They talk about having these great core values, but when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is they hide behind bureaucracy and policy. Nothing great comes out of them anymore..they just spend billions of $$ on acquiring other companies that actually do cool stuff and scale it. Even at these big companies with big pay cheques exception people are still hard to find. Most of them just want the 6 figure paycheck and then use politics to be lazy
I know I am good enough to go out on my own now for AI. I can do both deep machine learning work and deep software engineering work and that is hard to find. I really want to quit now, and just start my own life where I work for myself. I can do it…but it’s not the right time..only 6 more months.
Even with poker I know that I can get to a point where I can live off it now. It’s not a question, it's just time. Right now I think about packing everything up, studying the things I enjoy like poker, Jiu jitsu, and AI that has real applications..not just maximizing a click through rate. No one cares about how to sort pictures by probability of a click..it’s a stupid problem the only reason it exists is to farm more data for ads. Imagine if that money went to cancer research, or understanding psychological disorders. I want to start a company that will actually solve a problem to help people..not just give them a superficial dopamine hit.
The title of this blog is: “I am done with being a life nit” but here I sound like I am scared to quit my job, but it’s not that..it’s that I made a commitment to myself about doing this and I don’t want to give up. I don’t want to give into mental weakness. This update has been one big vent, and I am sorry if it sounds like I am playing the world's smallest violin…but I just feel like I am trapped. I need to vent.
This is all only temporary, once I am done this stint I am going to travel the world, play a lot of poker, and do a lot of jiu jitsu. I may never do anything else.
If you made it this far, I don't know how you did it, but the next posts will be better.
March 13, 2023 | 5:50 a.m.
So far I think poker has been going well. Studying a lot of the time. I am making flash cards in Anki, and using them to drill certain spots. It's very helpful reviewing spots where you have trouble all the time.
Results have been pretty good. Shot taking NL50 and it was a bit of a ride but we are still in there.
Going pretty good. Trying to make the right plays, but the volume is really lacking. I am the on-call for work this week so I won't be playing as much. But in general I haven't really dropped more than 4-5 BIs yet, so it's been nice. The winrates are here.
So far things seem good. It's hard to really feel confident in your game though. I have been mostly working on IP BTN vs BB, but will be moving to the BB part of the game next week.
Been using the GTO trainer in PIO to aid my study for thresholds, and making cards in Anki about it and I think that has really helped..especally with finding thin spots. Knowing roughly what your handstrength is worth on a given board is helpful.
That is it for now I have a few posts on solvers coming up, but things are busy right now so just thought I would post an update.
March 8, 2023 | 2:48 p.m.
You should probably run your poker roll like a hedge fund.
In my last article on this finance series I am going to make two arguments:
You should separate your poker roll from your life roll.
You should run your poker business like a hedge fund.
The first case I will make is to separate your poker bankroll from your life roll and pay yourself out of your business. This is for the simple reason that you don’t want going busto to put you out on the street. I will argue, and this is all just opinion, if you separate your life roll from your life roll you won’t go busto nearly as easy.
We want to structure our finances into two main categories:
This was covered in a blog post from Mobius Poker: https://www.mobiuspoker.com/blog, and it’s similar to how I do it too.
In general your personal finances should have two funds:
Emergency fund (NOT FOR POKER).
In general you want to keep 6 months worth of expenses in your emergency fund. If your home needs emergency repairs, or if you run bad, or go busto you dip into this fund and pay it back out of the savings. Your retirement fund is where you put money when your emergency fund has 6 months of your life expenses and you have no debt. The savings you make from poker need to have two allocations: expenses, and savings. You want to start putting money into your personal savings as you as you can. In general when calculating your cost of living you always want to factor in savings if at all possible.
From for your personal finance standpoint you want to allocate your “savings” money in the following priority:
Treat your retirement savings as locked in. Don’t pull it out unless you are absolutely fucked.
So how much money do you need to make from poker? Well you want to calculate your expenses in an excel spreadsheet. Things like: rent, cell phone, clothes, haircuts, power, etc. Once you have this number you need to add anywhere from 10%-50% onto it for savings. I think it is very important that you always try to save for retirement. Poker is very uncertain and the burnout rate is very high. I would be as aggressive as you can.
For retirement fund, there is a lot of options. You can invest in real estate, or equities. In general I think people have their own ideas, but don’t let it sit in cash. For more personal finance I recommend checking out: “The money guy”, and “Ben Felix” on youtube. I am not an investment advisor, but in general low cost ETFs are never a mistake.
So, now I think it’s more interesting to talk about the business side. I would set the business up the following way:
Low risk cash fund.
Poker improvement money.
Risky cash fund.
The low risk cash is to be used in the following way: you want this to be enough buy ins to cover your cost of living at all times. Like an emergency fund for your business to make income for you. This is completely dependent on your living expenses, and your win rate at the stake. You will need to run some math on on your winrate / stake to calculate your cost of living. You can calculate a number you can reach without too much issue.
You want to use the funds in the following way:
Low risk cash fund - Using the RoR calculator you can calculate how big this needs to be to cover your life expenses from playing poker. This way you always have a source of income.
This is money you allocate for the year for coaching, courses etc. You want to invest in yourself to improve. From post 1 you want a high winrate…really..really..badly. Invest as much as you can into this. How you allocate this, is up to you.
Risky cash fund - This is the fund you want to use for high stakes, nosebleed shots, staking, etc. It’s important to plan it out, but this is where you want to use money for higher stakes than what the low risk cash fund is for.
Tax fund - This is to hold the taxes you will need to pay. Pull it out of the money made each month, and leave it here so you don’t run into issues with the government.
Bonus fund - This is where you put all your extra money into. You can pay yourself a bonus out of this fund. Don’t take any money out of this until the end of the year.
You can use the risky cash funds for whatever you want to do in poker. I do advise you do some projections so you don’t punt all the money into the sun. You higher stakes play should be controlled and calculated. For example: playing NL10k should have a pre-defined number of shots, where the ROR is still low…but it doesn’t need to be 0.01%, you can have 5-10%.
If you are shooting nosebleeds you want to have a defined plan. Take small shots..sell some action or swaps..don’t plan on losing this money, but this can be significantly riskier, and you can afford to have a bad year. Don’t have 100k in risky assets and send it all off in a 10BI shots at Nl10k.
Pay yourself out the bonus fund at the end of the year. You will have a cushion for things to go wrong. At the end of the year fill up the coaching fund, add some more $$ to risky investments, plan out shots, and extra stuff you can pay as a bonus to yourself.
Really what you are doing is investing this money in yourself, others, and in training. Which is why you want to run this like a business.
Use the diversification talking about in blog two to help manage this money. If you ran bad you can sell some action and use the risky investment fund as well. Investing in yourself and getting a high winrate will make you valuable and getting a stake will be easy.
Run this like a hedge fund. Minimize your risk of going broke, but take some risks. You will make a lot more money this way. I think the secret to making 7 figures is in diversification and money management. Much more so than finding those epic river bluffs.