May 2021 - End of month update
Howdy y’all !
Damn this is already my fifth monthly update !
Someone ate all my EV this month !
But that’s alright, no bitterness ; we’re not even half-way through the year yet, and I’m already playing 1k, which is way sooner than I expected !
Tbh I didn’t notice any major difference in level yet - nothing to do with the huge gap between 200 & 500.
Yes the games are tough on Stars of course, but I don’t feel « outmatched » anymore (like I did when I first took shots at 500) ; I just need a little bit of time to overcome the classic resistances we face when we start playing a higher stake : fear of loss / risk aversion and this tendency we all have to give too much credit to the regulars.
So the goals for the month of June are :
* No more nl200 ! F*ck the comfort zone.
* Continue to take aggressive shots at 1k until I really stick the landing.
* As this Covid pressure is finally easing up a bit, it’s time to go back to the gym ! Not that I’m really happy about it, but that’s how it is haha.
But for now… HOLYDAYS !
We’re flying to Paris tomorrow morning (or should I say tonight !) for a full no-poker week, which probably never happened to me in more than three years now.
Gonna finally eat in good restaurants, wander thought my city of light I love and hate so much, see our friends we didn’t see in more than two years, and… casually get married as well ;)
Talk later friends, I got a suitcase to pack !
May 30, 2021 | 11:31 a.m.
I understand and I'm sorry to hear that.
All I can say is try to focus on what you can control (for ex, try to avoid the "6 months no day off" ;) - at all costs). Try to re introduce a better quality of life maybe, with more things outside poker. I know, sometimes it's easier said than done.
And also, please don't make the shortcut : "I'm losing at poker = I am worthless".
Losing or winning at poker has nothing to do with you being a good person or not ;)
May 23, 2021 | 12:34 a.m.
Hey man no worries ! Again, it was an interesting exercise. We should all unzoom more often to remind ourselves how insignificant small samples are. ;)
Regarding your rough patch, I don't know if it will help, but when I started playing poker again, I went all in, directly full time - I always believed that if you wanna get good at something, you might as well start to make your life revolve around it straight away.
And I just struggled for three years straight, not making any money, feeling like I was working my ass off and trying everything I could (or so I thought), but couldn't score a decent winning sample.
So... The work we're doing everyday often feels like it's useless when we don't see the results (and yes, confidence only comes with results, regardless of what people may say), but it's not.
It might just take more time in the beginning (once you've passed the "I'm so great" phase), but the more you work, the more you improve your chances of success, the more you feel calm and serene in game, and the more you become outcome independent, because you know you did the right thing.
And that's our ultimate goal.
May 22, 2021 | 12:03 p.m.
HeavyMask Sure dude !
Just did it, and it was a interesting exercise, so I'll share the graphs with some thoughts.
As you can tell, this is not really what we call "smooth sailing".
I experienced two sizable downswings, one for 30 BIs on my second month, and the most brutal one in March this year, for 60 BIs total.
Not to mention the third one I'm experiencing right now ; I'm currently running 25 BIs under EV this month, as you can see if you zoom on the graphs.
What's funny is that I still didn't recover from the March downswing (check in BB, I'm still far from where I was) !
Anyway, this is poker, and I don't think we should spend too much time trying to interpret results. Never underestimate the luck factor. We're playing a (very) long term game, that we're never really able to achieve, as we can't play enough hands in a short period of time, and also very often play different games and formats.
I evolved constantly since my first hands with PD in October, my game changed a lot, I played a ton of different games, stakes, and even sites...
Certainly you could diminish the risk that you experience the same downswings if you :
- Are better than me ;
- Stick to only one limit / one format / one site ;
- Play softer games.
I'm working on the first.
The second I just don't manage to achieve, I'm a creative per nature, I need some fresh air and novelty on a regular basis !
The third is just not my philosophy.
And it's a shame : As a matter of fact, you're way happier if you earn 3k$/month among peers that earn 1k$/month on average, than if you live among 5k$/m people. Even if this money buys you exactly the same amount of comfort and luxury.
That's also why us, lucky westerners, feel like we live in paradise when we move to a country that's on average "less rich" than the one we come from.
But what can I say, maybe I just don't like comfort enough !
Or maybe it's just not my time.
Don't let your guard down, HS regs.
May 22, 2021 | 1:34 a.m.
Wanted to share with you a somewhat special moment, as I’ve officially reached « Division 4 » in Poker Detox, and been granted the permission to take shots at NL1K !
Now let’s see what these 1k regulars are made of !
May 20, 2021 | 3:05 p.m.
May 2, 2021 | 1:27 a.m.
April 2021 - End of month update
Hello my friends, here’s to the fourth month of the year and the return of the sunny days !
Got back on track towards the end of the month, after really struggling to play correctly the first weeks.
In the end, scoring a nice month that compensates a bit for March’s downswing, from which I felt the after-effects until very recently ; many times I sensed some risk aversion creeping in, and a session I had this week with some of my fellow players in Detox where we reviewed my April DB made me realize that even more (cheers to them BTW, they’re great). They showed me how I turned to passivity in many spots where I shouldn’t have, and skipped many bets I would’ve usually done.
Yes, these kinds of rough patches very easily make you deviate from your strategy, and you always find good reasons to do so.
But they also test your faith, make you a lot stronger if you can handle them, and are the necessary evil of our passion.
If you’re not ready to live 50 Buy-In downswings and consider that « It will never happen to you », well ask yourself if you really wanna do this for long enough to experience one !
And then, after recovering from it, you’ll just smile (with sincerity, not with bitterness) when a friend tells you he’s so unlucky this week for experiencing a "huge 12 BI downer".
Actually, to go a little deeper, there are IMO two main possibilities if you’ve never experienced variance this way :
- You just haven’t played enough poker !
- You are playing way below your skills and should be playing higher, facing opponents that match your skill level more. And if you don’t, or feel you’re not capable to do so, then maybe your should address the problem(s).
Maybe more on that later ;)
For now, I am going to focus on playing as much 500 as I can this month. No staying in the comfort zone.
I’m also changing my schedule starting today, to start playing evening / nights, which should allow me to find more tables at this stake.
I’m « only » 18 BIs away from really taking shots at NL1K, which is not the ultimate goal of course, but a nice step I’d be extremely proud to reach.
This is just the beginning !
April 30, 2021 | 4:12 p.m.
Building a healthy relationship with the whale
Here : I used to hate playing versus a fish.
Have you ever felt that ? If so, you might have fallen into the same trap.
For years I tried to understand how players unknown to the strategies the game are thinking. I was trying to rationalize their plays, get into their heads, make some sense out of it so I could understand how to play against them.
And on top of that, I was haunted by this old « livetard » belief that « they always have it », hanging like a sword of Damocles over me every time a fish fired a bet.
All of this was driving me nuts, because I was obviously getting owned by them all the time, often not even realizing it, being too deep into my own narrative.
I can’t count the times when I said : « I hate playing with fish. I’d much rather play full reg tables ».
That might make you smile, or even make you think this came from a deep misunderstanding the game.
But it wasn’t. I’ve always been aware that 95% of players are losing at poker, and that our goal is to play against them so we can have positive winrates after beating the rake. I was never delusional.
It came from… fear.
I was afraid of facing someone I just can’t understand, unable to understand me because completely hermetic to my language. All my tricks became useless. All this work I had done, for nothing.
It also appeared to me that fish represent what I always feared : mediocrity. They indulge in their ignorance. And becoming like them always terrified me. That is why I am constantly so demanding with myself (mentally), and have a very hard time being around people that are careless with their minds or don’t cultivate their intelligence.
Back to our subject. Besides the mental leak, there was a technical leak. Confidence comes with results, and the truth was that I just didn’t know how to play against them.
This was the biggest shift I went through thanks to Poker Detox. After enrolling in the CFP last year, I finally had this « click » I was looking for.
Adopting a precise game plan against fish, on which greater minds than mine have worked, was a complete mindset breakthrough.
This comes as no surprise. I’m a very pragmatic person, anchored in reality, and Poker Detox’s data-driven approach worked extremely well for me.
Now I just love playing the fish. I’m having so much fun where beforehand I was frustrated, angry at them for owning me when « I was the one who studied the game ».
I’m not anxious anymore at them leaving the table before I had a chance to take their chips. I don’t even care anymore when I distribute stacks to them (alright, most of the time !).
I became a very happy fisherman. And the catch is usually pretty good.
Oh, and believe me, the average reg at your table is terrible at fishing. Terrible.
April 13, 2021 | 1:32 p.m.
March 2021 - End of month update
Hello friends, here’s a third month in the books !
Not as glorious as the previous ones for sure ! It has been a while since I had such a violent downswing.
A sexy -50 BI swing that will take some time to recover from. But that’s part of the job !
Quality of play has gone down this month. I had many days where I couldn’t concentrate at all, and played a very mediocre B/C game.
I’ve also been slacking a bit with my schedule / routine, although nothing catastrophic.
Government shut down the gyms again, so I’ve been moving very little, and on top of that drinking way too much and making too many food excesses. Gonna make efforts on this part.
Usually the gym 4 times a week compensates (a bit) for my taste for life’s pleasures, but not at the moment. It also makes the downswing harder to manage on a daily basis.
Anyway, gonna play more 200nl for a while. I’ve been very happy to play these hands at z500 on Stars, it made me realize that it’s doable, but also that I don't have the level yet. It’s far beyond any game I’ve ever played for sure.
But I’ll get there ;)
We’ll keep on trying to get a little better day after day.
Speak soon, amigos.
March 31, 2021 | 12:22 p.m.
…Where day after day, I become better and better...
Truth is : I didn't expect it to be this hard.
I always managed to get to a decent ability rather quickly at whatever I did as a kid. I guess most things were just easier for me than for others.
But of course, no one taught me to be gritty, to work hard to achieve my goals.
Now I know where it comes from and how it's called : the "too smart to try" syndrome. When everyone around you praises your intelligence (instead of your efforts), you just avoid difficult situations. You take the easy wins ; that way you keep on getting the same feedback : « you're smart ».
People like me usually try things for a while, and never really get anything finished, because there will always be a point where it's not easy anymore. A common trait that often leads us to discover many activities and domains, but never to master any of them.
To master something, you gotta put yourself in danger, pass this first peak of the Dunning-Kruger effect, accept you know nothing, accept that you suck, and will suck for much longer before you start to not suck too much. Intelligence is nothing without time, hard work, and repetition.
I put myself in danger for the first time in my twenties with music. My first real taste of repeated failure.
I wasn't talented at all. I think I had none of the natural abilities you’re looking for in an aspiring musician or singer.
I had to work my ass off to be able to sing decently.
I had a very poor relative ear, so I did ear training everyday, only to maybe reach the level of my girlfriend today who never ever touched an instrument in her life.
I took countless lessons with many different teachers, searched everywhere for resources, destroyed my vocal cords day after day until they were doing what I wanted them to do.
Failure after failure.
Poker challenged a whole different part of me. Maybe I couldn’t have chosen a better domain to shed light on all my flaws.
I started as an impatient, over-confident, extraverted, elitist-minded control freak.
No wonder why poker crushed me so hard.
There is no way I could have even slightly succeeded in this game by staying this person...
March 12, 2021 | 12:28 p.m.
February 2021 - End of month update
Hello dear friends, it’s time for the second update !
Scoring my best month ever in cash games, for around 15kEuros including rakeback.
Besides the results, which are mainly dictated by the fact that I ran good at 500nl, I am proud of my mindset and the performer I am becoming.
I’ve been giving myself a score for my quality of play and quality of mindset at the end of each day for some time now, and February was probably the month where I gave myself the best grades so far.
And still, it’s also the first month I face swings that big, which is completely normal as it’s the first time I’m playing this high !
Of course, I’m very lucky to be on the good side of variance so far ; as you can see my first 6k hands at this new stake went pretty well.
I know this doesn’t mean anything and I still have everything to conquer at 500, however I am extremely excited to play these games, and I feel like I’m really sitting with 100% focus and motivation. It is so rewarding to finally be able to reach this level I was only dreaming of very recently.
I try to remember everyday how lucky I am to be able to play at this level, sometimes along some of the best NLHE players there is.
I am now aiming for more and more quality day after day. I went back to my 5 hours of play daily, and it feels great. The five days of vacation I took this last week were also really refreshing, even if we did nothing special. I think I didn’t allow myself to take that much time away from the tables since I started playing again three years ago.
Now real shit is starting. I gotta handle the pressure, become a true performer, aim for long-term success. Crudely : break away from the pack.
Speak soon my friends.
March 1, 2021 | 8:55 a.m.
Hey everyone, just a quick mid-month update.
Everything's going pretty smoothly.
I only played around 2,5k hands at 500nl (the table is very rarely running) with good results so far and overall feeling great.
You win and punt stacks at higher stakes all the same, it's just bigger numbers ;)
Still unsure about where I'll be playing next, but today I'm finishing my "rake race" and getting my last 1200 euros bonus, and it depends a bit on Stars deciding to be generous with me again and renewing this offer or not !
Either way, I'm going back to cruising speed now, no more 7 hours a day, play less and play better.
I'l also be taking a few days off starting next Monday to relax, disconnect a bit from poker and also try to write some stuff for this blog.
Enjoy your week my friends !
Feb. 16, 2021 | 7:28 a.m.
HeavyMask Yes, poker can be so stressful that it's certainly necessary to "close the loop" regularly, at least for me. You can find different tips to cool down and then go on with the rest of your day. That's also why I condense all my play time during the morning / early afternoon. I hate having to come back to my computer after 3pm haha.
About French regulations, I'm not the best person to talk to, as I moved out two years ago. But I believe you can declare as self-employed up to 72,5kEuros annually, paying 22% on that (ref here).
Feb. 3, 2021 | 6:45 a.m.
Hey Dan Self ! Thanks man.
I've been an early bird for a year or so. I'm awake at 5:30 am, and start playing at 8.
Before that I answer my messages / do stuff I have to do, and study a bit, review yesterday's hands, look at a sim or two, which also works as a warm up.
But again, January was special and I don't intend to keep playing that much haha.
My schedule is perfect when I play 5 hours a day. Makes my "poker day" end at 3 pm, and I still have plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the afternoon / evening.
Feb. 2, 2021 | 5:27 a.m.
January 2021 - End of month update
We're finally done with this interminable first month of the year.
A lot more volume than usual (I habitually make around 55k hands a month) because of this promotion PokerStars gave me, pushing me to rake a ton more than I normally do. So mid-month was crazy, was playing 9 hours + a day for 10 days straight, definitely not a sound routine.
They renewed the offer and I started again on the 22nd, but this time I planned my month and spread the volume over 20 playing days, so it won't be that stressful. It's still too many hours per day, but at least I'll have my days off.
I don't like to play that much (I made countless misclicks or "focus mistakes"this month), but it is hard to say no to an extra 2400 euros right now, as I'm trying to climb my way to higher stakes.
Anyway, happy to close the first month with a win ! That's a nice +10k Euros in the bankroll counting rakeback. Ran hot during the second half, as you can see.
And the great news is... I "cleared" NL200 over only 27k hands - helped by a very nice run I must say - and I can now take shots at 500 !
It's only the beginning, but I have to admit it's a little bit of a dream come true. :)
I won't start immediately though, as I think I'll still clear my bonus first (rake 3.3k more before Feb 17).
Then I will certainly have to move my bankroll to Stars.com to play NL500 (which never runs on FR/ES/PT).
Or maybe even elsewhere, as the games seem scarce and reggish in the mornings, and I'm not ready to change my schedule at the moment.
Have a great day and see you soon my friends !
Feb. 1, 2021 | 7:37 a.m.
... This amazing journey...
Even so we all had a very peculiar year, I can't help but keep a good feeling about 2020.
This wasn't a very "fun" year for sure, but I grew up so much, improved so much personally, that I will remember 2020 as a success.
I was close to rock bottom poker wise. Broke and broken. In April, I invested some of my last bucks in the AGAME Masterclass here on RIO. I was already familiar with the hypnosis MP3s that Elliot Roe made, and had already tried another online course that didn't work at all for me. This one however, completely changed me.
Over the course of a few months, my impulsive, random-directed-life became organized, structured. I finally understood the liberation of scheduling, I who always thought that a schedule would imprison me and take away my creativity and mental freedom. If you too live by the "time is extensible" principle, and the word "agenda" sounds like chains on your feet, well... you're wrong. For the first time ever, at the end of each day I feel like I did everything I had to do. I don't feel like I need 20 more hours in a day anymore.
On my way to personal growth, scheduling was the first stepping-stone towards many other systems I managed to put in place : morning routine, better sleep, gym, stretching, learning...
Poker gave me the opportunity to undertake all this work on myself. For that I'm very grateful. Each time I think of how much I changed, I'm blown away.
I'm also very grateful for these three years spent "crossing the desert".
Three years since I started playing NLHE again.
Three years of struggle, downswings, doubt and loneliness.
Close to three million hands played just online.
But only recently I realized how much this phase made me stronger. I reached a state of resilience I never thought I'd come close to, that will certainly help me forever in poker and life. I may not have the technical skills, the experience, or the predispositions others have for poker, but I can say for sure that I've been through a lot, and I'm on the right path for a bulletproof mindset.
What is it to have a losing month now, when you know what it is to lose for a year ?
Jan. 21, 2021 | 8:05 a.m.
Hey Dan Self !
Thanks, I'm also always a little bit stunned when I think of how I used to be all these years, waking up completely randomly at a different time each day, the latter being mostly dictated by how late I passed out the night before... Haha.
About Malta, rents are quite high (for what you get on average), and the cost of life is getting pretty close to what you get in every other western European countries. Still, the country being extremely small, day-to-day life is "easier" than in France, and in the end we spend less compared to Paris.
Of course everyone lives differently, but in a capital like Paris, everything costs money, and trying not to spend (too much) feels like a constant struggle haha.
Jan. 9, 2021 | 5:51 a.m.
And so I’m back on my journey...
Of course it went well in the very beginning.
Started back at NL50, some NL100... Scored a nice first month in December 2017 : the poker dream was always alive !
Then reality hit, and I started bleeding money for a long, long time.
After having spent a bit more than a year grinding all day on my laptop on my kitchen table, and in the meantime having settled everything that needed to be settled, we took the few money we got left and headed to Malta.
To be honest, the urge of leaving France was so strong, I could have gone anywhere. But Malta sounded like a fine option at that moment for English being the second official language, being in the EU (so my girlfriend would be able to find a job easily), and also full of fellow poker players.
Again, at first it went well.
After a few months I also started playing live regularly. That got me to meet a few players, and eventually to make a 5th place in the WPT 1k Main Event in April 2019 for 14,2kEuros. Sexy. I was making good money at NL100 online, and starting to take shots at 200, along with the live games. Life was pretty cool.
And then with the first days of summer came the downswing. I started losing everywhere. Live, online, live tournaments... The full package.
Bankroll melted away like snow in the sun.
I was working on my game, taking coaching sessions, trying hard, but couldn't score a win.
By the winter I was back at micros. That hurt.
I went through every phase : anxiety, anger, doubting every decision, wanting to quit, etc.
On many occasions I almost applied for a job.
But I didn't quit. Although I didn't know I would be crawling in the poker limbos for many more month...
Jan. 6, 2021 | 6:06 a.m.
Thanks for the kind words everyone !
gazjax69 : "Success" sounds like too strong of a word for now haha. I've always believed that if you wanna get good at something, you just do it 100% from the start. I was never good at doing things "on the side". So when I closed my company down, I just started playing poker as much as I could.
Took a few coaching sessions then, but didn't make the most out of it as it was too soon I think.
I also bought an Upswing Poker subscription pretty quickly, that I only ended recently.
Finally, my time management has always been a disaster until very recently.
The AGAME Masterclass here on RIO really changed my life in the first of 2020. I recommend it to everyone who struggles like I did.
RoleTide : Yup that's precisely what I've been doing for a few months now ! Noticed I was completely skipping study 90% of the time if I just start to play in the morning.
But still, I confess that I sometimes don't do much during this time. So I'll try to be more organized / methodical.
Jan. 2, 2021 | 2:32 p.m.
Alright my friends, time for some 2021 goals !
Ain't gonna put out anything fancy and unachievable, along the lines of "no carbs for 4 years" or "lose 22 kgs in 3 weeks". I'm done with this shit. Besides, the most difficult challenge of all I already did about three years ago, which was quitting cigarettes !
2020 was for me the testing phase of great many improvements in my life, 2021 will be the follow-up, aimed at consistency.
Routine : Continue to stick to my schedule, which is working well for me. So 5 days of poker, 1 day of half-study / half-day-off, and one full day off every week.
Sport : Keep on hitting the gym 4 days a week. Change program every 3 month max. I hate it, but I need it. Don't skip the goddamn stretching.
Poker : Be more efficient with my study time. No slacking or studying useless spots. Don't skip bluffs "cause they always have it". The goal is to hit NL1k before the end of this year.
LIfe : Ideally, improve what I eat on a daily basis. Been slacking recently. Gotta start cooking more again, order more vegs, diversify our diet, spend a bit more on food and a bit less on drinks. Gotta also try to lower my alcohol consumption, especially the nights before "playing days". Keep it to max 3 glasses of wine on these days.
I'd love to say that I'll plan a trip or two again, but who knows when this will be possible again.
That's it for me. I'm finally adult enough to understand that success is "only a consistent repetition of small, achievable things."
Enjoy your NYE, and may you have a pleasant hangover !
Dec. 31, 2020 | 7:48 a.m.
There is no tomorrow
How I discovered NLHE and fell in love with the game ain't so different from what a lot of you guys my age probably experienced : I watched Rounders !
A few years after he got out, to be honest.
This is 2006. Three years after the "Moneymaker" spark, the fire had spread. Poker is everywhere. Gambling clubs are blooming in Paris.
We watch pros play nosebleeds on Full Tilt, getting stacked for the price of a villa. And the first seasons of High Stakes Poker on repeat.
I'm 18, completely lost, just like most of my friends, and high and/or drunk most of my waking time.
But I read Super System ! And watched a lot of HSP. I definitely got what it takes.
So we play cards... Mostly drunk and for little money between us, and sometimes at the card club, after having gathered the few 50's we could find.
We also spend nights playing MTTs on Full Tilt and Pokerstars, depositing as we go to play some 5/10/20$, praying for the big win. Spoiler alert : it never came. Of course, these goddamn donkeys are so lucky all the time !
I wasn't ready to take anything seriously at the time anyway - what counted most was to win or find just enough money to buy Jack Daniels and cigarettes.
Check out the small Bukowski in me ! Well, without the writing, I guess.
And so what could have been the start of my poker journey got suspended there.
I ended up pursuing another dream and great love of my life for the next ten years + : music. This one stuck for a while.
Sure, in the beginning it was more about living the fast life, dreaming of endless white lines and pouring whisky in the back the tourbus.
But by being obsessive enough, I ended up accomplishing a few things I'm proud of today.
I managed to record and release six albums as a singer (and participated in a few more), attained a decent ability level in extreme / rock vocals and audio engineering, and lastly started my own recording studio in Paris with one of my best friends.
A few kids even got tattooed some lyrics I wrote. That's pretty sick.
Last but not least, I managed to create an amazing relationship with the person who's still sharing my life seven years later.
Not that bad for a fucked up lonely drunk kid.
2017/2018 was a turnaround.
We had to shut down the recording studio to avoid bankruptcy. Which in the end wasn't bad news for me, as I couldn't stand this "industry" anymore and needed some change.
My soon-to-be wife and I also put some order in our lives. We sold everything unnecessary, went as minimalists as we could.
We also tried to deal with a ton of emotional / family shit that had been weighting on us forever.
And finally, I started playing poker again. This time with the firm intention of "making it" and going pro.
After all, it was pretty much the only other thing I was able to do. Or so I thought.
Dec. 29, 2020 | 9:21 a.m.
My name is Cyd and I'm a 32 years old mid stakes NLHE player originally from Paris, France, living in Malta for two years now.
Through this blog I will - hopefully - narrate my journey to High Stakes No Limit Hold'em.
While most of its content will obviously be directly related to me (!), I'll try not to turn it into a boring teenage diary.
And off we go !