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Demondoink

4210 points

Sam Crowe Hey man. I appreciate your long comment and I will get back to you properly very soon, but I need to get to sleep as I'm up early tomorrow to catch a train haha. I just wanted to write my SCOOP wrap-up post before I left.

Hope you're having a good week!

May 30, 2024 | 2:19 a.m.

SCOOP 2024 wrap-up

As another SCOOP series draws to a close, another Summer beckons over the horizon. As one thing ends, another thing begins. It is with both happiness, yet sadness that this great series is over. It will be back to a more 'normal' sleeping pattern (perhaps 3-4am bed time instead of 5-6am). It will be back to the gym on a more consistent basis, it will be back to arranging social plans and leaving the house- something that I didn't do between Saturday and Wednesday evening this week.

As much as I am looking forward to the Summer, of going to my first ever European football championship (or Euro's for people that know football), seeing Scotland playing in the flesh, going to my friends wedding(s), hanging out my brother who is back from Australia, going camping with my friends, going hiking and perhaps doing another solo hostel trip around Europe, there will be days during those warm(ish) Summer months where I long for this months antisocial, poker oriented routine. When I would go to sleep at 6am and wake up at 2pm. When I would get up and barely have enough time to study, let alone go to the gym, get outside and even do a food shop. When I'd have to run downstairs on my hourly five minute breaks and go to the toilet or throw on some food.

It would be a month of pasta from a (luckily) plentiful supply. It would be repetitive meals, but unpredictable poker sessions. It would be running hot at cash games, but shit at tournaments. It would be sun running one session and then getting coolered continuously in the next.

As the series wore on, I became more and more of a recluse. I would wake up, do some study, wash the dishes and then get on the grind. That would be me until the early hours of the morning. However, did I wish to be doing something else? No. It was fun. There were times when I was running hot and felt invincible (at least at cash). However, there were also times when I was running terrible and punched a wall (that happened once over the course of this month). Towards the end of the month I could feel myself getting a bit salty, more frustrated at coolers and of regs making 'bad' plays but getting bailed out by variance. Of course I'm not proud of these moments, but ultimately if you are (largely) housebound for almost a month and if you eat, sleep and breathe a game, then you are going to be emotionally invested in that game- especially when there are thousands of dollars on the line during every session.

Anyways, thankfully in the last couple of sessions I was able to enjoy myself again, so I finished on a more positive note instead of the 'I fucking hate this game' mood that I experienced only a matter of days ago. It's funny how a good sleep, a new day and a new session can wipe the slate clean.

My plan was to play five days per week, taking Mondays and Fridays off, except from during the last week (this week) where I would play Monday- Wednesday. I am proud to say that I literally didn't miss one day. Even on Saturday as Rangers lost (yet again) to our biggest rivals, in a cup final no less, I just accepted the soft tilt and got on with playing. In Barcelona, for example, I didn't play a few times simply because Rangers had lost and I was in a terrible mood. I am currently reading Ross Edgley's book (the first man to ever swim continuously around the British coast) and he talks about controlling the controllable's during his swim. He could control his diet, he could control his mindset and (to a certain extent) his body, but he could not control the weather, the waves, the boats nearby or even his father getting diagnosed with terminal cancer while on the swim (his father insisted he completed the swim though).

So while I can support Rangers, ultimately I cannot control them in any way- other than cheering at a game whenever I attend one. As I have almost no bearing on their results, it doesn't make a ton of sense to allow those (uncontrollable) results to dictate my mood and decide if I'm having a good day or a bad day. I'm not going to lie and pretend that I don't care when they lose, I'm still pissed off about the weekends result (we were the better team and should have won), but I don't want these frustrations to destroy the rest of my day. I can accept and feel these negative emotions, but still move forward regardless. It seems like each year that passes, days and time seem to pass by even quicker than before. I am definitely aware that I cannot afford to take time for granted, and that each and every day counts and matters- even if Rangers lose a cup final.

I just have to make the most of the rest of the day, even if I may not be in the best mood ever.

Of course we can apply this concept to poker as well. Bad plays and bad players will get bailed out by variance (at least in the short term) but in the mid-long term, our skill edge will prevail. This isn't always easy to accept in the heat of a session, after a long grind when you are tired and frustrated at losing a lot of money, but ultimately we need to just reset emotionally and come back the next day- aiming to play as well as possible and print that mid-long term (but also hopefully short term, if we run good) EV.

Overall this month I won around $21k from cash games (including rakeback) and lost around $7,700 at mtt's. Obviously mtt's didn't go great, but I only played like 150 of them so it's very standard variance. My ABI in them was around $100, just because I feel like I need to prove myself at lower stakes first and have a history of good profit at them before I start moving up and increasing my ABI. I would rather slowly build up and improve my mtt fundamentals along the way, than to rush in and try to just go on a heater and rely on luck. Overall I am up around $130k lifetime in mtt's, but I still feel like I am an intermediate in them and still have a lot to improve on.

One guy that I speak to (who also plays cash) asked how I would approach studying for mtt's, coming from a cash background. I've yet to reply to him (yet) but I will outline what I do in here.

Posftlop- Look at some short stacked sims (10-40bb) and then look at how you play hands such as top pair, compared to how you play them at 100bb. Now we need to fast play hands such as top pair, due to the lower SPR, but we can actually slow play a lot more hands such as two pair (that we would pure raise at 100bb) simply because the money can go in easily and we want to let our opponent either bluff or catch up.

Preflop- Look at defence ranges, especially when it comes to facing 3bets and defending vs RFI from the bb. In terms of 3bets, you will defend a lot wider at mtt's than you would at cash, simply due to the lack of rake (the rake gets taken from the buyin not from each pot you play). I was definitely over folding by a lot vs 3bets at mtt's because I was playing similar ranges to those at cash. For example lets say you open 66 utg and get 3bet from IP 6h, you will maybe call like 33% of the time and fold the rest, but in an mtt you will pure call- and pretty much pure call all your pocket pairs. This is quite a big difference.

ICM- I'm not exactly sure what is the best place to start with this tbh, but you need to at least learn about this concept so that you can maximise your chances of winning as much money on final tables, give yourself the best chances of min cashing, or of getting in to a satellite etc.

That's probably a good place to start. I'm no expert in these but I feel a lot more confident in them now that I've started to study them more often. GTO wizard is an excellent tool for tournaments, as it would be almost impossible for someone to run all of these spots by themselves- even if they were renting a server. I just get the one that is like $90 or so per month and it does the job.

I was actually up $5k in tournaments this year before this month, so I'm only down like $3k in them for the year after this month- which is almost breakeven given the variance in them. I'm gonna start playing them on Sundays again, after I take some time off for this Summer, as I feel like there is good value in them, I enjoy the challenge of learning and mastering a new format, and I think my aggressive playstyle is pretty well suited to them.

Cash games went really well this month, which is my bread and butter, and I plan to continue to study and improve at them as well. Cash games will always be my number one priority, at least for the forseeable future, but I see no reason why I can't dedicate a day or two per week towards studying and improving my mtt game. My WR is, so far this year, where I want to be (I always aim to be winning at at least 5bb/100). But there is still a lot of room for improvement- though not quite as much as there is in my mtt game!

The only slight downside was that I didn't hit my cash game volume goals this month, but they were probably unrealistic given the fact that I was also playing tournaments at the same time. I hit my schedule goals though, so I am more happy about that than anything else, as in previous years I would have definitely taken off at least a few days for no real reason during the series- or would have allowed that Rangers result to tilt me to the extent that it was no longer a good idea to play poker on the same day!

I've got to play another 8k hands of cash before I can fully take the Summer off, but I think I'll take a week off to reset from SCOOP and then try to get them in before I leave for Germany on the 16th of June.

Antisocial, poker oriented May is over- time to enjoy the Summer!

GG.

Not gonna lie, this hand tilted me haha

Clean bluff catcher

May 30, 2024 | 2:09 a.m.

SCOOPing- part two

Life-

Last week I was a bit slack in terms of my exercise. I didn't go to the gym at all and didn't play golf either. I went on a decent walk on Monday, then went to Yoga classes on Thursday and Friday. There were some days where I intended to go to the gym, but then by the time I got up, studied, washed the dishes, read etc then it was either too late and I wanted to start grinding soon, or I had simply lost motivation to go.

However at the moment I have decided that the number one priority is poker. So exercise is going to take a backseat to my poker plans. I think that, while it's obviously very important to exercise, sometimes we give too much importance towards things that don't deserve that importance.

For example, lets say we intend to go to the gym today and then play poker afterwards, but perhaps we have been up late the evening before grinding (or watching a film or whatever). Now we are behind on the day and are not going to make the intended session starting time. We think 'oh I have to go the the gym and study first' yet by the time those things are done, along with the chores of daily life, it may be an hour or two later than we initially intended to start playing.

So you can either start later on and prepare for the session as previously intended, or decide to cut out things that aren't vitally important for your main focus (which for me atm is grinding). I went through a period of around a week or so where I was focusing less on study, but I feel like that is so important for me that I cannot afford to do that. I should be getting in at least an hour of study basically every single day (unless it's a day off) without fail.

As I'm not an athlete then exercise takes on less importance. For me it's more about health and feeling good. But taking off a day or two during the middle of SCOOP is going to make literally no difference to my health, and so long as I meditate etc before I start playing, I should go in to the session in a good mood regardless.

I've mentioned this book several times before but I've start reading 'eat that frog' for like the third or fourth time. I always read a chapter after my meditation (often it's only like 5-6 pages) but it helps me to clarify where my priorities lie and gets me in to a productive mindset for the day ahead. It reminds me that it is perfectly acceptable to 'procrastinate' and delay the less important things in your life for the time being, and shift all of your focus on to your main priority(s).

So for an athlete who is trying to learn poker on the side, then perhaps they need to sacrifice their daily one hour of poker study for the time being, as they enter a crucial period in their sporting season. But for the poker player, perhaps we need to sacrifice one or two gym sessions in order to begin our session on time. Then when we have more flexibility around our poker schedule again, we can go back to increasing the priority on exercise (or whatever else, perhaps its decorating or washing your car).

My Dad came up on Saturday and we went to watch the football team he supports (Hamilton Academical) play against Inverness. The winner would go in to the second tier of Scottish football, and the loser would enter the third tier. Fortunately Hamilton won, but I didn't want Inverness to go down either as I am unlikely to bother watch them next season if they are playing in such a low division.

Poker-

I don't think I really bothered to play any tournaments until Sunday, where I decided to reg maybe 10-12 of them- basically just the biggest prizepools for my buy in range. I'll play up to $530 buy ins (though I'll play $1k main events too) but I don't want to buy in for a ton and just wipe out my cash game profits, so I've not even really been bothering with the $530s this SCOOP either. I know that I'm going to be +EV in these tournaments, but I also know that I am far from an mtt expert as that is not my area of expertise.

So then you have the trade off between studying for mtt's at the expense of your daily cash game study, as I don't think you can do both on the same day unless you are having a day off of playing. What is more important and where am I likely to excel in going forward? The answer is clearly cash games, even though it's of course possible to get very good at mtt's if you study them too.

Of course another approach is just to gamble, to buy in to $1ks $2ks etc and then just back that your cash game background will give you a good edge post flop on these mtt regs. I think this is true to a certain extent, but it's also complicated when you are playing bvb limped in mtt's when you normally play RFI only bvb at cash. And it's difficult to play from the bb with a 70% range when you are normally defending 30-40% or whatever it is. Suddenly those heuristics that you have for bvb and SRP's no longer apply when you are playing with completely different ranges and completely different stack sizes.

Of course your cash game fundamentals should still allow you to make better 'guesses' as to what to do post flop than an mtt player, but they almost certainly have an edge on you pre flop, so you have to factor in that too as that will cancel out a lot of that edge- especially when you are on FT's where it's mostly a pre flop game driven by ICM pressure.

That's why I focused a lot of my initial mtt study on pre flop. On figuring out what are the pre flop defence thresholds vs 3bets, what hands do we 4bet jam etc, how wide we defend from the bb vs RFI when there is now no rake and there are antes (dead money) in the pot.

Anyways I cashed a couple tournaments, one being the Big 109 (which I finally won earlier this year) and the $250 main even on GG, which I went relatively deep in before losing a few all ins in a row and busting in around 100th place. So it was better than the previous Sunday where I cashed almost nothing.

Cash games went well, though it was weird cos on some nights on Stars there were hardly any games running, then on other nights you could be playing 3-4 tables of $1k and some $2k too. I had one very frustrating session where I was up like $3k and then just seemed to lose every pot and ended up losing $4k in the end. Obviously it's a pretty standard losing session for these stakes, but it's annoying when you start off well and then don't win a pot for an hour or two.

There's only 1.5 weeks left of SCOOP, and so far I haven't missed one day that I had intended to play on. I have been close on some days, but ended up playing regardless. It seems like I have finally shifted the anxiety that would often lead me to sabotaging sessions that I had intended to play. So in that sense I am really happy about this mental progress. I am edging closer to my $5k shots too, but in all honesty I don't even know where I would take them as my roll isn't huge on GG and $5k rarely seems to run on Stars unless it's reg battling- which doesn't seem the wisest way to shot take.

Anyways, back to the grind again tomorrow! I look forward to playing and finishing the series strong, even if it's just on the cash game tables and less so on the mtt tables.

GG.

Not the hand you wanna see

May 21, 2024 | 12:29 a.m.

Sam Crowe Haha that's cool that you researched that, you probably know more about Bothies now than I do :D There is one that is relatively close to Inverness, so I plan on going there post SCOOP. However, for the moment my focus is on poker and then on relaxing/catching up with things on my days off. If you ever decide to come to Scotland then lmk and we can hang out.

Wow 35c is pretty hot to do yoga in tbh, I doubt the studio that I'm in is ever above 20c haha. Though this is probably because we are in Scotland and they leave the windows open haha, and it doesn't get much about 20c in Scotland anyways, even in the Summer time bar the odd heat wave. I feel like it's more satisfying to do exercise and come out sweating afterwards, those beads of sweat are like tangible evidence that you have done something physically exerting. Where as when you come out bone dry then it doesn't always feel that way haha.

That makes sense about how far one can push themselves in yoga and about flexibility etc. Like you say, the main point of going is because it makes you feel good afterwards, where as improving our flexibility etc is just a bonus. I think that once you stop drinking and don't take drugs etc either, you need to start finding ways to make yourself feel good and occasionally get that 'high'. I wouldn't really compare exercise high's to drugs or alcohol, but exercise high's still definitely make you feel good.

That community event sounds like fun, but don't wait too long to do your cold plunge! Sometimes it's better to just say 'fuck it' and get it done. What's the worst that can happen? ;)

Ah cool that makes sense. What part of the US do you live in?

May 20, 2024 | 11:40 p.m.

Sam Crowe Sorry I still need to respond to your longer comment haha, will do that the next time I write a post.

The bothies are owned and maintained by The Mountain Bothies Association, which is basically a charity that makes sure to upkeep them and also renovates them every so often if they need it. Cos these buildings are very old and some of them wouldn't even have been used to live in, they might have been used for hunting etc. They are free to stay in but don't have electricity, running water etc and often don't have a toilet either- though some have compost toilets outside.

I prefer the slower yoga that is more focused on flexibility (cos I need to improve that) but I also sometimes do the flows as well. How about your, what are your favourite ones to do? Have you been in the ice bath yet?

Thanks, good luck if you are playing too!

May 16, 2024 | 1:33 p.m.

Yeah it is going well thanks. It's nice not having to deal with landlords (house owners) and being able to deal with any issues by myself. In terms of work on the house, I have not done much this year as I've just been prioritising grinding and exercise etc, then during my time off I tend to go back to visit my parents or see other family/friends. However, I plan on resuming the redecoration at the beginning of June once SCOOP is over, and I'll do more over the Summer when I have time off of poker.

Inverness is really nice. It has quite a chill 'vibe' and relaxing to walk around. There are lots of tourists here so people aren't as in a rush to get to work etc as they may be in other cities. It's also very scenic with a nice river, lots of old buildings and mountains in the background. I would definitely recommend visiting if you come back to Scotland :)

I need to make more of an effort to meet local people too, which again I've not been prioritising as I wanna focus more on poker. However now I'm playing more golf, going to yoga etc then I've been chatting to a lot more people and I also frequent a pub on the same street that I live on, where I watch all the Rangers games. So I tend to speak to the regulars who go there for the football.

How about yourself? What have you been up to this year?

May 15, 2024 | 4:30 p.m.

May 14, 2024 | 12:08 a.m.

SCOOPing

Last week I received a message from a yoga studio that I had briefly visited last year for a few classes. They offered me a free two week pass, which I promptly took them up on. In the past I would do yoga on an almost daily basis, but for the past couple of years I have kind of fallen out of the habit and I don't think I'd done it even once this year before my invitation. So I ended up going to a class on Monday, which was good, and I chatted to a few people at the end too- who were pretty cool!

SCOOP started the day before, on the Sunday. So I wasn't even sure that I could make the class it would have clashed with any day two's were I take to make any. Unfortunately (and in the yoga's case, fortunately) I didn't make any.

The plan for this years series is to mostly focus on cash games and play tournaments on the side. I was going to focus more of my study and time this year on mtt's, but in all honesty I've not done that and instead I just want to focus on making as much money as I can from cash, and on moving back up to $5k and $10k and finally getting some volume in there. However, a nice mtt bink this month could help me to get there much sooner!

Basically I will take Mondays and Fridays off and play for the remaining five days of the week, unless I make some day two's on Sunday- then I will play Monday as well. Usually I take Monday's and Saturday's off, but Fridays are the official SCOOP days off, so it makes sense to shift my schedule slightly to align with that.

I've kind of fallen off with my gym consistency, and don't think i've been twice in a week (as usual) for a few weeks now. Last week I went to two yoga classes, played golf one day and went to the gym and done an upper body workout. I think that exercising five days per week going ahead is a good place to aim for, but I also need to be mindful to balance solo exercise (like the gym) with some more social exercise (like yoga classes) as I need to meet more people up here. It hit 20c for the first time this year, so it's getting to the stage where I want to spend more time outdoors and less time indoors. That will mean adding in hiking as well, and I plan on doing more camping- as well as staying in Bothies, and perhaps increasing my weekly golf to twice per week.

So maybe I will just cancel my gym membership for a couple months and focus more on outdoor activities, I dunno. Either way, my weekly exercise routine is going to look something similar to this-

1x yoga class
1-2x golf rounds
1-2x gym sessions
1x hike

I've been thinking about signing up for another marathon this year but I don't think I really have time to train for it, cos it basically becomes almost like a full time job on the side when you have to run 3x per week, but also have to recover from those long runs etc. If I signed up for it then I would have to forgo some of those other sports, which doesn't make a ton of sense given I just splashed out on a golf membership and just mentioned about how I need to do more social sports in order to meet people. Running by yourself isn't ideal for that haha.

I would actually say that its best to do a marathon earlier on in the year, before the Summer- like I did in April two years ago. Sure, you have to train in the cold months prior to it, but you don't want to play golf in January, you don't want to go hiking in February. Where as when it comes to Summer time, then there are so many outdoor sports that are suddenly much more appealing when its 20c+ and sunny.

It's funny as I'm almost like a hermit in the Winter months, then the complete opposite during the Summer time. I really want to do another hostel trip around Europe, but I'm not sure to which area cos I've been to the bulk of it at this point. Most likely it would need to be more of Eastern Europe, unless I wished to repeat some of the same countries again. I wanna visit Asia for the first time too, and really like the idea of Japan. I seen a TV show on it recently and the North of Japan looked really nice and very traditional. Tokyo looked a lot more futuristic and just more like a typical big city. Nowadays I prefer small cities near to nature- like Salzburg, or Inverness (where I live).

Anyways, in terms of poker it's been a good start to the month at cash games, but less good at tournaments- typical mtt's! It's kind of difficult to get in volume at cash games, at least on Stars. 500z very rarely runs and even getting enough $1k and $500nl tables is often a struggle. Ideally I would only be grinding $1k+, but there just aren't enough games on Stars to play those stakes alone. I've been playing a little $1k on GG as well, but the rake is very high there so it's more just one table on the side for some extra hands per hour and a (probably) very low WR. It's 5bb/100 rake on GG at $1k, compared to 2bb/100 on Stars, and on Stars I'm on like 40% rakeback so it's almost like 1bb/100 rake. So obviously it's a no brainer where I would like to prioritise volume at that stake!

During Sundays session I was running decent at cash but I literally don't think I had one mtt cash. So it's kind of weird in a sense when you are running good at one format but crap in another. However it's just about playing in profitable games, and in the long run, you will make money!

Today (Monday) was my day off, so I caught up on some things I've been meaning to do for a while and called some of my family members too, as I'm pretty bad when it comes to calling/texting people. I prefer to just arrange plans to meet up in person and talk to them then. I decided to go for a walk around Inverness and in to this nice area that I hadn't walked through since I moved here. I found a really cool reading spot too, on this bench that is slightly elevated and overlooks the river- so i'm definitely going to be frequenting that spot a lot in the years to come!

It's back to the grind again tomorrow, and I'll be playing some tournaments alongside the usual cash game grind. I'm just trying to grind hard for the remaining 2.5 weeks of SCOOP and then I'll likely take 1-2 months off so I can travel, play golf, go hiking and see friends and family.

But for now it's time to grind!

GG.

480bb pot at $1k

Bluffin'

May 14, 2024 | midnight

Going hardcore

Life-

I just finished reading Elon Musk's latest Biography by Walter Isaacson. It was a very long book (over 600 pages) but some of these pages were pictures (so probably like 550 pages of actually reading) and overall I found the book very easy to read, and very difficult to put down.

In the past I never read biographies or autobiographies, as they felt a little too self indulgent to me. However, I have now changed my perspective and I think that they are a very good way to gain an insight in to peoples lives that you would, otherwise, not gain much insight in to.

I remember starting to read self improvement/help books aged eighteen, when I realised that I had mental leaks that needed plugged. However, over time these have (for the most part) been plugged, so now I feel like the next step in my 'self improvement' journey is to learn from the best and to pick up some small things from them in the process, that I can then apply to my own life.

When it comes to Elon Musk, there are many things that I admire about him- but also things that I would not like to mimic. However, I don't think that someone needs to be perfect in order to learn from them. So surely it makes sense to try to pick up a thing or two from the wealthiest man in the world who (somehow) runs six different businesses simultaneously.

One thing that resonated with me was his mantra about 'going hardcore'. At Tesla, Space X etc he would make sure his employees would work long hours, and push them to their limits in order to speed up the production processes. Of course for some people this didn't suit them and they would quit, but for others it did suit them, and they find purpose and meaning in pursuing a higher mission than themselves- whether that be trying to create a car that could run on renewable energy, or create a rocket that would enable us to (eventually) becoming a multi-planetary species.

That's the beauty of being part of a team and having a common mission, and a big, bold end goal. As poker players we are (for the most part) partaking in a single player game, where we study by ourselves and play by ourselves. We don't really have any long term 'mission' except from trying to move up in stakes and become one of the best poker players.

We are trying to get to $50/$100, not trying to get to Mars.

Musk is clearly a workaholic (personally I much prefer more of a work/life balance) and would push these surges in his companies, where he would encourage his employees to work hardcore for a short period of time and try to meet some sort of very unreasonable and unattainable deadline.

Usually they would (just) miss the deadline, but either way, it showed that when you really want to, we can work so much harder than we think we are capable of doing. We can sleep for a few hours under a desk, and then get back on to the rocket grind after a coffee and some cereal out of a paper cup.

Overall I am someone who enjoys time off as much as they enjoy studying and grinding, but this book inspired me to, at least sometimes, go on my own surge and 'go hardcore'. If we have a car that can go 150mph, then we are very rarely going to hit this top speed and instead, usually max out at around 70mph along the motorway. However, perhaps it is sometimes good to see how far we can push ourselves, and floor it to see how fast we can go.

Even if we do enjoy a good work/life balance, maybe sometimes we should just grind all night and play 3x longer than we set out to do before the session. Perhaps we should set a bold monthly hands target, as a one off, and push ourself in order to achieve this- even if it's just to prove to ourselves that we have the capacity to 'go hardcore' every once in a while.

Poker-

So on Saturday last week, as I was deciding whether to play a session or not, I decided to play- on a day that I typically take off. I knew I was going to head back to my parents the following day, and knew that I would have a week or so off, before SCOOP begins the following Sunday.

Should I chill and watch a film, or should I take some inspiration from Elon Musk and go on a late night surge? I decided to do the latter, starting my session at 1am (usually not a good idea) and playing until 7:30am. In the end I lost a small amount, but overall I was quite happy with how I played, especially considering that I was playing at such stupid times (I typically aim to play between 8pm-12am).

In the past I used to have at least a few of these all night sessions per year (usually losing a ton as I was almost falling asleep) but in the past few years I have kind of cut this out. I was just inspired to take a leaf out of my old, grinder book, and put in some hands.

So that is the plan for this month. I will play some SCOOP events on the side of my daily cash game grind, and aim to have a good month- one that hopefully involves a big MTT bink! When I start to lose motivation I will look deep within, and ask- what would Elon do? Would he take a day off? Would he play a three hour session and then watch TV for the remainder of the night? Or would he identify this as, at least in online poker terms, one of the best and most important times of the year to grind- and then double down in terms of volume!

May- let's go hardcore!

May 3, 2024 | 10:45 p.m.

Time moves quickly

Life-

Apparently there is something in our brains that makes the passing of time appear to be quicker as we age, compared to when we are children. I don't have a source for this, I just recall hearing this random piece of information somewhere in the past- but I felt like it was true from my own experience.

Either way, it seems like time moves very quickly. Sometimes ten minutes of a football game seems to last an eternity (especially when your team is a goal up and trying to hold on to their lead). Yet other times hours can pass by with the blink of an eye- perhaps when you are playing poker or a video game, doing some sort of sport or hanging out with friends.

What I noticed with myself is that sometimes I allow days (that I will never get back) to slip by too easily, doing very similar things to what I done the day before, and not really getting out of unconscious daily routines and patterns.

For example, sometimes when I wake up I will do meditation (as usual) and then play 'a few' games of chess. These three games of chess, that should take less than thirty minutes, may end up compounding in to ten or twenty games and eat up hours of my day. Now this may seem fine. I am being 'productive' and playing a good that is intellectually stimulating, so it probably bodes well for my poker game. However, to me it is just a complete waste of a large chunk of a valuable day. Perhaps it's fine once or twice a month when you wake up and just can't be bothered doing anything on that day, but not when it happens often and is costing you the opportunity to do new things in your life and get out of your unconscious daily routines.

Of course there are other ways that I eat away time in an unconscious manner- watching Youtube, randomly scrolling on Instagram etc.

The problem is that we don't know how long we are going to be alive for. Hopefully we will all be here for a long time to come, but you just never know. So with that in mind I want to start living each day with more intention, being more present and doing less things that are a massive time drain. Today I uninstalled chess.com, and I don't plan on getting it back any time soon!

As I was heading back from my brothers today (on the train) I had to make a change at Stirling, and switch from one train to another. I only had around ten minutes to wait before the second train arrived. However I had an idea- could I go out of the station for a couple hours and then get (a different) connecting train back home? It turns out that I could. So I ended up walking around Stirling for a few hours, getting food, then heading up to the castle for a good viewpoint. Usually when I get the train (or drive) I am just in the 'lets get home' mindset. I will drive by places that I always intend to stop in. One day I will stop in them, but not today- I have to get home!

I ended up turning an unconscious day of travelling back home, in to a more conscious day. One where I managed to visit a place I hadn't been to since I was a child- yet a city that I had driven past literally hundreds of times since then.

I know I still have a long way to go before I can start to fully shift out of these unconscious, conditioned though patterns, but today was another step in the right direction. Now I know that I can get off at random places on my train journeys, and explore (for free) places that I have either never been to, or not been to for a long time.

I want to slow down time instead of speeding it up. I want my daily life to become a blank page where I don't know what will unfold, instead of a page that is 95% filled in advance. I want to have new experiences and visit new places, instead of doing the same old shit on auto pilot and going to the same 'favourite' restaurant one hundred times.

Poker-

Last week I only had time to play three nights. The plan was to play four nights- Monday was my day off as usual to reset, then I would grind Tuesday-Friday, before heading to my brothers for the remainder of the weekend. However, after watching Rangers drop points (again) on Wednesday, I was a bit tilted and figured it was best to just avoid playing and get back on the grind the following day instead. Though at least I followed through with this and ended up playing Thursday and Friday.

The games weren't great last week in all honesty, with lots of regs and not many fish on the tables. Perhaps this is because of the time of year, where recs are getting outside and doing less indoorsy things- like playing poker on the computer! Or perhaps it's just variance and the games will be good again this week. Either way I think I played pretty well, and fortunately had a good session on Friday to round out the week.

SCOOP is coming up in a couple of weeks, so I will grind for the remainder of the week, and likely take off most of next week- before locking down and grinding for most of the 3.5 weeks of SCOOP. I'll probably just play tournaments on Sunday, and then go back to cash games for the other days of the week- perhaps adding some mtt's on the side of my cash game grind. In previous years I have abandoned cash and completely focused on mtt's for the duration of SCOOP, however I don't intend to do that this year. Hopefully I can bink some random, big mtt, but either way I just want to keep focusing on cash and on moving up. Things are going well atm, so I just have to keep studying and putting in hands in the coming month or two- then I'll take most of June/July off.

I was actually thinking of going to the WSOP to play the main event this year, but I'm not so sure. I will have a think.

Anyways, I got home today and didn't play cos it was a Monday, however I will be back on the grind tomorrow! Hopefully the games are good and I can get in a decent amount of volume.

GG.

Questionable stack off

April 23, 2024 | 12:17 a.m.

I think it was over six months ago now haha. Tbh I was never good at planning in advance either, but now I quite enjoy it. Especially being a poker player, imo it's good to have clarity in advance on social plans etc, so that we can arrange our 'work' around those social (or travel) plans.

I procrastinate on plenty of other things, but these tend to be the less important things. In 'eat that frog' they talked about creative procrastination, where you basically procrastinate on the least important things and prioritise the most important things. So I will always make sure to clear a Pokerstars chest before it expires, but I will not open an electric toothbrush that I bought months ago (I normally use the bamboo toothbrushes). It sounds ridiculous when I type this out, but it's true- I just opened it tonight haha.

There isn't really any negative consequences to procrastinating on these sorts of things though, but if I were to procrastinate on the Pokerstars chest then I would cost myself money, or if I were to wait too long to book a hotel etc, then I am going to be paying a premium for another hotel.

April 22, 2024 | 11:41 p.m.

I believe in that, the mystical arts, home cooked meals, nature
walks, having a pet, yoga, massages, art, love, many others, some of
these practices are as old as time and probably have even more
benefits than we have proven at this point in time.

Yes I agree, I am the same. At the moment it seems like humans are determined to move towards further integration with technology, perhaps to the point where we have chips implanted in to our brains, or spend days at a time with a VR headset on.

However, my intention is to try to do the opposite- spend more time in nature, outside, around people, reading etc and less time on screens and starting mindlessly at my phone. Just today I finally took the plunge and uninstalled the chess.com app from my phone. Sure, I really enjoy chess, but it's such a time drain and it can also tilt me when I play poorly. I already play an intellectually stimulating game for a living, there is no need to add another in to my life which will end up coming at the cost of spending more time outside.

This may sound cheesy or naive, but I actually believe in love at first sight. I think that you can tell a lot about someone's energy and personality within just a couple seconds of meeting them, or sometimes even just by looking at them. I don't want to meet someone on an app, even if you do (perhaps) maximise your chances of meeting someone with the volume of swipes you can get through. Our grandparents and parents met through the 'real world' so imo there is no reason why we can't do the same.

She was smiling ear to ear when she told me that she feels so good all
day afterwards, "pure endorphins".

This is similar to what I felt afterwards, and I think that it actually sustains for a few days afterwards, as I didn't feel much need to do meditation in the following days, yet still felt very present and in a more positive than normal mood. I think that we, naturally, seek out things that make us feel good and feel a buzz. Usually this is things like drugs and alcohol as they are both very common within society, but these things are much more profitable for people and companies than turning your shower to cold or throwing some ice cubes in a bathtub (unless you are an ice cube company I guess). And obviously the former are very unhealthy habits, where as the latter is a very healthy one. So it's good that people like Wim Hof are spreading the message, so that normal people like myself can pick up these 'weird' practices and incorporate them in to our lives. As opposed to leaning on drugs and alcohol for our highs.

So even though I am a bit of a loner, I think connecting back there
with some people who share common interests would be cool.

Yes exactly. We all crave human connection to a certain extent, so it makes sense to join a club/class etc where you think that you will be able to meet like minded people!

I wonder if starting a shower warm kind of compromises the benefits
of your plunge and turns it into a cool down.

Maybe this is true, but in places like Scandinavia (which I believe are to be some of the happiest places in Europe) they do the hot/cold exposure. Perhaps it's better to go in to the cold before the sauna, but I don't think that by doing the sauna (or warm shower) you are cheating or detracting from the cold water experience. I mean either way, if you go from a warm shower to freezing cold shower, it's a massive shock to the body and you are still inhaling air very quickly as you attempt to adapt to these new temperature conditions. It's not as if a freezing cold shower feels 'normal' cos you are heated up from a warm shower or from the sauna.

Wim Hof definitely uses a sauna and doesn't do cold water exposure only, he does both. So even though I am sure that old guy knows what he is talking about, that is (most likely) just his own preference and not a rule of thumb for everybody to follow. It seems that he is doing everything for the mental challenge instead of for the physical benefits, cos there is no reason why you should cut out warm showers (or saunas etc that also show health benefits). Two minutes of cold water exposure seems to be more than enough. Showering and bathing in cold water all the time just seems excessive to me.

April 22, 2024 | 11:31 p.m.

Re cold plunge/shower, this is good advice, it goes a long way. It
helps release more white blood cells, which fight disease. I also
noticed it helps deepen the breath.

That's cool to know. Tbh I don't know much of the science behind it, but I just see it being constantly championed by high achieving people, sportsmen etc, so I just gave it a go and noticed the benefits for myself- especially in terms of my mood improving.

I have reapplied myself, at this point I am like halfway there in
relation to Demondoink, or the people in my yoga studio who use the
cold plunge after a practice, and I already find it effective. We live
in a culture where more is always better, and nothing is ever enough,
and that can be too intense and a rough way to approach disciplines.
Leads to burnout, resentment, injury. This specific discipline can be
a pleasure if practiced with measured care.

Just to be clear I am by no means an expert on this yet. When I stand under the (really) cold shower at the gym, I get brain freeze if I leave my head directly under it for too long. So I tend to move around and just put the water on different parts of my body until the 2 minutes are over. If I were to just sit directly in a cold plunge then I would probably struggle to do the entire duration.

You are completely right though that it's important to built up to it. Imo 30 seconds is a good time to start. Long enough to be challenging, but not long enough to be overwhelming.

That's cool that you are thinking of doing it at your yoga studio. I do agree that that idea doesn't appeal as much to be either, where people are watching you etc as you go in to the cold plunge. I tend to prefer to just do things like that by myself haha, instead of getting clapped or cheered or something if I managed to stay in for 2 minutes. However, it's probably worth trying at least once, cos who knows perhaps it could be fun and I am completely wrong. Maybe its, like you said, some kind of spiritual practice where you all kind of connect and then all of you feel great afterwards with all the endorphins etc that you get from cold water exposure.

Fwiw I just have a normal shower first, then just do the cold shower at the end once I have washed properly. Maybe at some point I will get a cold plunge or something outside, and then start my day by jumping in that- then have a warm shower afterwards. But atm I do warm shower then cold shower cos it's a bit easier imo and I'm just getting used to the 4x increase in time.

Do you think that starting hot or lukewarm is a big compromise?

What do you mean?

April 20, 2024 | 12:19 a.m.

Lausbub Yeah mate I applied in the general sale and managed to somehow get four tickets for three matches. It's pure run good as nobody else that I know got any. One of the tickets is for Scotland's final group game against Hungary, which is amazing (as it could have been literally any game).

How about yourself? Are you going to any matches?

April 19, 2024 | 6:53 p.m.

2 minute cold showers- the cheat code to feeling good

I just want to write a short post. I was considering writing about another, completely unrelated topic, but I want to be 100% sure before I write about that- so I will mull it over for a little while longer.

Anyways, I just wanted to give a suggestion to people if they want to feel in a better, more positive mood. I've done cold showers off and on for the past few years, but after hearing Wim Hof's suggestion of two minute cold showers (I was only doing thirty seconds to a minute) it has almost been life changing.

Today I went to the gym then sauna, before finishing with a two minute ice cold shower. Ever since then, I have been feeling in a mood of almost elation that I could only really remember in my drinking days when you hit the peak of your night and have that social buzz.

Granted, it's not a massive sample size as I've only been doing this for a couple weeks, but I would highly suggest that other people try it out too if you would like to feel in a better mood on a daily basis. I think when I get my bathroom done up, I will try to see if they can install something that makes my showers colder (like the one they have at the gym) so I can do it on a daily basis- as atm I am limited to 2x per week at the gym, and then a not so cold 'cold' shower at my home on the other days.

Anyways this post is short and sweet, but to me a two minute dose of daily discomfort is worth hours of daily bliss and feel good.

Clickity click

April 19, 2024 | 12:20 a.m.

Comment | Demondoink commented on 1 Hour of $500 Zoom

Thought you played really well during this video!

Are you mostly playing live or you are grinding online? Cos based on your analysis it seems like you study online ranges/hands etc a lot, but I'd imagine this wouldn't be the best use of your study time if you are mostly grinding live poker.

April 15, 2024 | 5:31 p.m.

I think it can be easy to feel like your straights in this situation aren't getting in enough money by over betting- so then you go for the block bet/3bet all in line instead in the hopes that your opponent will perceive the sizing as weak and either expand their value raising range, or bluff raise more often.

However, I feel like for IP this isn't a particularly appealing board to bluff raise, given that OOP is very likely to miss the turn pot bets with hands like A8/A7/A6 etc that are now block betting for thin value otr.

So when you bluff raise then you are targeting these combos as pure folds (which imo most humans don't have), and the remainder of the range is now consisting of either two pairs or AK/AQ combos, both of which could easily click the call button if they perceive you to not slow play enough KQ combos and perhaps over bluff with the QJ/QT/Q9 etc region.

I've noticed in the meta recently that people love to do these block bets in to 3bet, so there's also a strong chance that Hero is following this meta for the reasons of both trying to get max value with the nuts, and also protecting his block betting range. Cos if a certain combo is effectively pure overbet otr, and someone block bets, then it's pretty unlikely they rolled a 5% river block and much more likely they either rolled a much higher frequency block bet, or decided to go for the sneaky line and pure bet the nuts for a small sizing. It seems like Patrick done the former though as he mentioned randomising.

Anyways great video and hopefully there is a part two!

April 12, 2024 | 2:24 p.m.

Minimum effective dose

Life-

In recent years I have quite liked the concept of minimum effective dose. It is defined as 'the smallest amount of an input required to achieve a desired outcome'.

There are several ways that I have (consciously) adopted this methodology, and perhaps others where I have (less consciously) adopted it.

For example, while listening to a podcast (I think it might have been Joe Rogan, but in all honesty I can't remember for sure) they were talking to a neurologist who specialised in treating military personnel who were suffering from PTSD etc. The neurologist was using mindfulness techniques to treat them, and she highlighted that 12 minutes per day was enough to help to rewire the brain and help them to overcome their PTSD.

So after hearing about this, I decided to increase my 10 minute daily meditations (that would sometimes be 5 minutes and sometimes 20 minutes) to 12 minutes, in the hope that I could rewire parts of my brain that did not necessarily serve me well.

Now I can't say I done a ton of follow up research on this, to see if 12 minutes was indeed the magical number, but for the sake of 2 minutes of my daily life, I am willing to take that risk! She seemed like a credible woman, so I will give her the benefit of the doubt haha.

A few years ago I also started doing cold showers too. I've seen some Youtubers doing a '30 day cold shower' challenge, but to me this is kinda dumb cos it's basically impossible to wash yourself while you are in the cold water cos you are just trying to survive. So what I do is to just have a normal shower, then at the end turn the water to cold and (usually) set my watch to 30 seconds.

However, I had literally no idea what time I should be doing, or whether this was long enough or not. I just done this amount of time because it was long enough to be challenging, but not long enough for me to dread it each day. In general I would feel some positive after effects, but I think this is always going to be the case with cold water exposure.

Then the other day I click on a random Wim Hof video, and he talks about how 2 minutes is the sweet spot in order to reap the rewards of cold exposure, and anything beyond that is simply a mental challenge and nothing else.

So with that in mind, I decided to extend my cold showers and do 2 minutes per day now. The one at my home is quite easy, as the water isn't that cold just now as it's a lot more mild water just now (so the pipes are a bit warmer). But the one at the gym must be specifically for cold water, so you literally get brain freeze if you keep your head under it for too long. Surviving in that for 2 minutes the other day was quite brutal, but afterwards I felt quite amazing and it seems like (despite the small sample size) it does have a very positive impact on your mood if you stay in for that long.

Even with my workout, I started to use a timer in between sets, and it's amazing how you can cut down a 1 hour workout to just 45 mins if you take shorter rest between sets. I feel like taking shorter rest periods is better too, so that you can push yourself more during your sets, instead of waiting 5 minutes between each set and either staring at your phone or (in my case) staring out the window haha. I just do an upper/lower body split each week, cos in the past I would go 5+ days per week, but then completely lose interest and not go for ages. This way it's easy to go and I know that even if I'm busy for most of the week, it's pretty easy to get in 2 workouts.

Plus the reward of sauna etc afterwards can give you added motivation to go.

It's the exact same with poker study. As I've said before, I tend to study for around 1 hour per day (though this year it's probably averaged a little over an hour). For me, this is the MED where I can learn a lot, but also avoid burnout and mental fatigue that will negatively impact my session later on in the day.

I wouldn't say I am a naturally productive person. You see former military guys like Jocko Willink waking up at 4am every day, and here's me lying in my bed watching Youtube for an hour and getting up at 2pm- though of course it makes no sense for me to wake up as early as I don't usually grind until around 8pm. However, this is a good approach for the more naturally 'lazy' people, who want to improve (both at poker and perhaps in other areas of our lives) but aren't willing to wake up at 4am, nor grind 12 hour work days.

Poker-

So far this year my results have been quite good, it's just frustrating cos I am running way below EV and can rarely seem to win an all in. The good thing is that if I catch a bit of heat then I should be back at $5k soon enough. I mean I probably could just play it now, but I decided to set myself somewhat of a bankroll challenge, where I just start off with the money in my poker accounts and try to run it back up to higher stakes- without depositing anything else or counting other money as my poker bankroll. So hopefully I start winning some all ins otherwise it could take a little longer to get back there!

This week my friend is coming over to visit for the weekend. I thought he was coming on Friday, which would mean taking Friday off (as well as the usual Monday/Saturday) but it turns out that he won't be coming up until Saturday- which means I can grind tomorrow night too! I've not ran great this week, but I've been pretty resilient in terms of getting off to terrible starts in the sessions, but keeping going and usually clawing a decent amount of the money back. I think that people who quit after they lose x amount of buy ins (or perhaps if they feel a little tilted) are missing out because imo it's important to develop mental strength and toughness by continuing to play even when you are running like shit. If you just insta quit any time you're down 5 buy ins, then how do you ever develop this mental toughness? What then happens if you're in a juicy live game with a whale open jamming any two cards, and you are down 5 buy ins? You quit the highest EV game of all time?

So I usually just set myself either a hand target (typically between 1-2k hands per session) or a time limit (usually 3-4 hours per session). That way, I won't quit until I have achieved at least one of these session targets, even if I'm running terrible and feeling a little tilted. Then, if the games are good and I feel like continuing to play, I will keep grinding. But tonight, for example, the games were kind of dead so I just stopped after a little over 3 hours (which was only 800 odd hands) but I hit the low end of my time target, so that was good enough for me. Then we go again tomorrow!

On Sunday I played a couple MTT's on the side of my cash grind. One was the Sunday Million anniversary, and the other a 109 Euro satellite to the Estrellas live poker event in Malaga (a 1k buy in). My friend mentioned at the start of the session about going there, so I thought I would see if I could get in on the cheap- and I did! It was a 1500 Euro package, and the field was so soft, mostly consisting of fish and weak regs. I guess most regs wouldn't even bother playing this sort of satellite. I ended the day in the Milly with 70bb, but the next day I could barely win a hand, so in the end I was just happy to min cash (and recoup most of my 2 buy ins back).

The only slight problem is that the series ends on the 16th of June, which is also the day that I am supposed to be flying out to Germany and heading to the Euros (from Scotland). So I'm not exactly sure what I will do there.

Either way, it's going to be a fun Summer!

In the meantime, though, I want to have a fun Spring! That will involve being consistent in my poker routine, studying, grinding, going to the gym, playing golf and having 2 minute long cold showers!

GG.

Finding bluffs

Finding bluffers

Finding my passport

April 12, 2024 | 2:45 a.m.

andymckenzie Hey mate, thanks for your response!

If you have seriously ruled out living in a beautiful country like
Canada because of ‘wokeness’ then you have gone down a right-wing
rabbit hole that isn’t a balanced representation of reality and won’t
serve you on the path to happiness.

I think living and visiting in a country are two completely different things. Would I go back to Canada for a holiday? Of course I would! Like you said, the country is beautiful and the people are nice.

However, when selecting a country to live in, then (as much as is possible) my values and beliefs need to align with theirs.

For example, of my five points, literally number one was free speech. Essentially I have zero reason to move from Scotland other than the free speech laws- but for me they are a massive issue because without free speech then you don't have democracy. Scotland is widely considered to be the birthplace (at least in recent times) of free speech with the Scottish enlightenment. The UK has had a proud tradition of free speech for the past 300 years. So to me it's a massive issue when we see that eroded by some ideologically driven politicians.

As much as I like Canada, it would make no sense to move there now. Free speech laws aside, my money would go nowhere near as far there, I couldn't afford to buy a property, I am far away from friends/family. Essentially Canada is just a more expensive version of Scotland.

So in order for me to move there, then it would have to exceed Scotland in the five points that I made in my post. They both fail on point one, and pass on points 2-5.

Though unless I'm mistaken, you have to pax tax on poker winnings in Canada? You don't pay any taxes in the UK.

Also I am not right wing. I would consider myself as more of a Libertarian/centrist. I want the governments to just do their job and stop trying to control what their people can and cannot say, can and cannot do. Of course I realise that they need to create and enforce certain laws to maintain order, but imo for the past 5-10 years Western governments are trending towards authoritarianism instead of freedom. Freezing banks accounts, controlling speech, demanding vaccinations etc are not indicators of democracy.

Also just to be clear, I have lots of 'left wing' views too. I'm not sure how many right wing Vegans there are, but I can imagine it's not a lot lol. The reason that I went Vegan was because I watched a ton of slaughter house videos, of animals having their fur torn off them while they are still alive, of animals being dunked in boiling water while they are still alive or just the general ones where sheep/cows/pigs are shot in the head with a bolt gun or have their throats slit while they are still fully conscious.

So mostly the reasons that I went Vegan was for compassionate reasons cos if I were a pig/chicken/cow/sheep etc, I wouldn't want to be killed for the sake of a meal, but also because I was concerned about the environment. Which is why I try to walk a lot, not drive a ton, use public transport and when I do go abroad nowadays, go on longer holidays so I don't go on tons of flights per year. I also recycle almost everything and try to keep the heating on as little as possible.

I also think things such as socialised healthcare, schooling and universities are much better compared to systems in the US, for example, where you have to pay for health insurance or get in to huge debt in order to pay for your University tuition.

So the reason that I don't like this woke ideology isn't because I lack compassion or because I am 'far right' it's because I think it's a load of rubbish and lacks any logic.

When I was at high school we didn't have any of this, and there was no suicide (at least as far as I am aware at my high school) very little depression and the 'hate' that we received gave us thicker skin and made us stronger as a result. Compare that to nowadays where there is sky rocketing depression, suicide and mental health issues. Yet we seem to think that the antidote to this is to inoculate people and make laws to stop people saying bad things?

Both political sides have valid points. There is never going to be one side that has got everything figured out. Imo we should just use the best of both sides to come up with compromises for the betterment of society- something that Arnold sought to do when he was in office too, as he would bring in Democratic people in to his Republican team and would also form relationships with the 'other side'.

1- There are lots of advantages and disadvantages that we inherit from our parents and that we have no control over. Perhaps skin colour is one of them, but then so is height, good looks (or lack thereof), hair colour, eye colour, intelligence, temperament, health etc (for example if your mother is a drug addict then that will have a big impact on the baby in the womb).

Then you have to factor in which country you were born in, which century you were born in (cos life expectancy is much higher now than 500 years ago), do you have good or bad parents etc?

So where does race fall in to all of this? Is it more important than height or intelligence? Is it better to be a 5'1, white guy with a low IQ, or a 6'5 black guy with a high IQ?

Is either of them actually 'better' or we have just become so comfortable and bored in Western societies that we have to start feeling inner guilt/shame over genetic characteristics that we have literally zero control over?

I hope this answers your question, but I think its disingenuous to answer it directly because there are another 50+ genetic factors that may also be just as, if not more, important than race when it comes determining the quality of your life.

2- This is impossible to quantify. How am I supposed to measure if the 'legacy of slavery' is still impacting peoples lives today?

Maybe for some people it is and for some people it isn't. Maybe it doesn't impact anybody, or maybe it impacts everybody.

These kind of questions are so vague that you can never give a 'correct' answer- because there isn't one. Each person has different thoughts and feelings.

I don't really like the victim narrative in these questions either. They both imply that by being an ethnic minority, then you are automatically a victim in society and you will always struggle to realise your full potential simply because of the colour of your skin. If anything, THAT is exactly what I do not like about the 'woke' ideology. It's an ideology of victimhood and a lack of responsibility, where people prefer to point fingers and blame others, or blame history for all of their problems.

Do you think someone like Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods adopted such a weak, victim mentality to become the best in the world at their respective sports? Of course they didn't! I am sure they experienced plenty of racism along the way, but they were also extremely genetically gifted (not that that cancels it out, its simply an acknowledgement) and more importantly, hard working.

Now if they were born in todays society, perhaps they would have gone down the victimhood route- thinking that the 'legacy of slavery' will forever extinguish their hopes and dreams of becoming the best sportsmen in the world. Or maybe they wouldn't.

Ultimately, only we can control our destiny. Sure, there are genetic characteristics that will make success in many fields more difficult for us, but it's our job to figure out which field suits us best, and strive for mastery in that field! We can choose, on a daily basis, to take responsibility for our lives or to forever remain a victim. We can choose to be grateful or ungrateful. We can choose to thank our parents for our genetics or resent them.

The choice is our own, and our own only.

April 4, 2024 | 10:16 p.m.

FakeEmpire Thanks for your comment!

Curious what laws you think would affect you if you moved to Canada.

1- Vaccine requirements.

I am not quite sure what the current laws are around vaccination status, but unless I am mistaken, for certain jobs you need to be fully vaccinated? Perhaps I heard this incorrectly or perhaps the laws have changed since the pandemic era, but I had a friend (not involved in poker) who looked in to working there, and one of the conditions was that anyone who applies needed to be fully vaccinated with boosters etc.

As someone who decided not to get vaccinated (before I get called anti vax I've had all the childhood ones and would happily have ones for malaria etc if I were to travel to a country where it was common) then that would be a bit of a problem if I couldn't work- assuming that I decided to do something other than poker in the future.

2- Lack of free speech.

I'm not aware of the exact laws around free speech in Canada, I'm only aware of the C16 law. However, these are the kind of laws that I am trying to get away from- not move to a country that has just as many, if not more.

Personally I think it's ludicrous to get jailed or indeed receive a big fine for words that you have said. If you are threatening someone or inciting violence then of course, this is completely different. But to criminalize 'hate' (who on earth is morally superior enough to even define what is hate and what isn't?) is Orwellian imo.

Of course we should be respectful to one another, but this is basic human decency and doesn't need to be enshrined in law. Cos the issue is that you can easily get someone who takes advantage of this 'hate speech' and creates wrong think based on their own ideological perspective. Where as something like assault or murder is pretty objective and thus much easier to define and criminalize.

Those are two of the reasons off the top of my head. I've also heard that certain podcasts etc are getting banned in Canada, but I don't know if this is true or not. Then about the truckers having their bank accounts etc frozen during their protests, which is kind of insane.

Trudeau has become a weird talking point for right-wing US media

I don't watch US media and would consider myself to be more Libertarian/centrist than right wing. Disagreeing with a left leaning politician doesn't automatically make you right wing. Everyone should be open to criticism- especially in a democracy!

Imagine a poker player who never accepted criticism :)

April 4, 2024 | 8:54 p.m.

Where are the best places (outside of the UK) to live and why?

Hey guys. So this week (April 1st) the Scottish government brought in a new law on 'hate speech'. This wasn't put to a public vote, and instead was pushed through by politicians that are ideologically driven. Essentially this law is an anti democratic one, whereby offenders can face up to seven years in jail if they are convicted of a 'hate crime'.

Anyways, while I am still happy living in Inverness at the moment, I need to plan ahead and think about what I will do in the future. My new house was not only bought as a place to live in, but also as an investment. So it's not really a problem if I decide to move abroad and rent it out- as it should be pretty easy to rent out.

I am at the age where I am thinking about what to do next in my life. I watched Arnold Schwarzenneger's documentary and found it quite inspiring, but I also related to it in certain ways. During the first period of his life, he focused solely on body building and on becoming the best in the world at it. When he achieved this, and was clearly the best, he decided to move on to something completely different (acting) and become one of the best at this too. Then when he hit the pinnacle of that, and was raking in tens of millions per film, he decided to move in to politics.

He didn't milk bodybuilding for every penny, he sought a new challenge. He didn't milk acting for every penny, he sought a new challenge. He didn't seek to become the next US president after being the governor of California, he decided to move on and enjoy the twilight years of his life and help others at the same time. He didn't quit each career at the bottom, he quit at the top.

By no means am I saying I am one of the best poker players in the world, but I can also recognise that I have managed to get up to high stakes and, at the very least, become one of the better regulars that play cash on Stars on a regular basis. Last year I mentioned about how it could be my last year in poker, but ultimately I decided that it wasn't to be and I would do at least another year. I am fully committed to playing for the entirety of 2024, but after that, I am not so sure.

Perhaps I will play on a more part time basis next year. Perhaps I will go back to University and finally get a degree. Perhaps I will open up a food truck and make food. Perhaps I will travel around and simply enjoy living. Or perhaps I will decide to carry on for another year at poker.

But sooner or later, I will decide to move on from poker. Like Arnold, I have always seen my future as being away from my 'first love' of poker (or in his case body building), and that I wish to try out something else. I've never had any intentions of doing a Negreanu or an Ivey and playing the game for a living for 20-30+ years. It just seems pointless to do something for such a large portion of your life when we have one life. Surely the goal is to try different things and make sure that each 10 or so year cycle in our lives is different from the previous 10 year cycle.

I digress. I am going to take another day or two off poker (I've been back visiting my parents) and the plan is to do some research in to where would be a good place to live, should I decide to move out of Scotland in 2025. I would really appreciate other peoples perspectives and insights, so that I can narrow down my search.

At the moment, the two places that kind of stick out to me are Switzerland and Poland. Switzerland is probably one of, if not the most beautiful country that I have visited. The people are very nice and whenever I speak to girls from there they are always extremely intelligent and open. I like Poland too, and I think that, because they are more of a religious country, they still have a backbone that many of the European countries seem to have lost (UK included) in recent years. Obviously Poland is a lot cheaper though, so if I were to be playing poker, then my money would go a lot further over there!

I always liked the idea of moving to Canada, as I really like the people there and it's a really nice, scenic country too. But Trudeau is a nut job and their laws are even worse than ours- so unfortunately that is off the table. Austria was another option (another great country with a ton of mountains etc), but their laws during lockdowns were extremely draconian.

Perhaps this is just the way the world is going at the moment. We have went through 100 years or so of democracy and freedom, and now it is time for much of the world to slip back in to authoritarianism. Hopefully that's not the case, though, and this is merely a blip in history before we return to normality.

I will highlight a few things that I am looking for;
1. Free speech. Preferably the country isn't woke and isn't heading in this direction.
2. Very scenic. Mountains to go hiking and lakes to go swimming.
3. A good standard of living and low crime.
4. Nice people. Family values.
5. Able to play on Stars.com- preferably no tax. In case I decide to keep playing.

Anyways, I would appreciate anybody's help. Perhaps they have lived in Switzerland or Poland and can give me some information. Or maybe they have lived in another country that they think is a better option! Even feel free to share your experiences of living in a completely different country and the pro's/con's of living there! I'm all ears.

This is not something that I plan to do immediately. I will almost certainly remain in Scotland until the end of the year at least, but I thought now is as good of a time as any to start doing some research on where could be a good country/place to move to in the coming year(s).

Thanks in advance! And even if you don't agree with some of my conditions, please remember that they are just what suits me and it's totally cool if you have different preferences. We can still be friends though :)

April 3, 2024 | 8:56 p.m.

Thanks! I will read it tomorrow then :)

March 27, 2024 | 12:58 a.m.

I'd like to read your post but the lack of paragraphs makes it impossible to do so.

March 26, 2024 | 8:45 p.m.

Day 7- what next?

Life/phone challenge-

This week has been a good week. Of course there have been the odd times where I haven't felt in an amazing mood or whatever, but overall this is the direction and way that I want to live my life going forward.

In the end I spent an average of 57 minutes per day on my phone this week. This is obviously a little higher than I planned, but overall I am still very happy with how little I used my phone and of the overall improvement in the quality of my daily life as a result. I hadn't actually checked my daily/weekly phone use in a long time, but essentially for the previous two weeks, I had been using my phone for an average of five hours per day!

(These stats are just for screen time btw).

It's actually insane how much I was using my phone before. Yet I wholly believe that the average person actually uses it for a decent bit longer than this, or is at least connected to their phones for much of the day (perhaps listening to music etc as they commute, workout at the gym etc).

So it was like an 80%+ reduction in the use of my phone. What did I do with this new found time? Well, of course some of the Youtube use etc was simply outsourced to either my TV or my computer, but I also spent the time in a productive manner. I read around 280 pages this week, which is almost the length of an entire book. This was split between two books- one of which was a self help book and the other about geopolitics. So they offered a quite good variety. I would tend to read the self help book first thing in the morning, to get me in the correct mindset for the day to come, then read the geopolitics book later on in the day, often after I had been in the sauna and was just chilling on one of the benches.

Because I didn't take my phone in my room, then I would fall asleep much quicker at night, and then I would wake up earlier as a result. I took away any opportunity to do something like binge play chess for four hours upon waking up, and it meant that I was starting every day in a productive manner with a 12 minute meditation followed by some reading. I also spent more time alone simply with my thoughts. Sometimes mulling things over, other times just trying to remain more present and think less.

Today, for example, I set my alarm for 11am, and woke up then as a result. I done meditation/reading, then quickly ate my breakfast before driving around 30 minutes to the golf course. I was just going to play by myself (it's only my second round there so I don't really know anybody there yet) but the guy at reception said I could play with the guy in front of me if I wanted to. So I quickly caught up with him as he was teeing off, and we ended up playing 18 holes together.

He was probably in his early sixties. We got along pretty well and the round ended up lasting just under four hours, simply because we were stuck behind a fourball that simply refused to let us through. I don't think I checked my phone once throughout the round, and felt really present for the entire duration of it. It was almost like I was in the flow state. I noticed that as soon as I got back to the house and logged on to the computer in order to study, that I started thinking too much again and lots of random, somewhat negative thoughts would go through my mind.

Anyways, the round was fun and now I feel like I have the golf bug tbh. It is like the perfect sport for me just now in the sense that it gets me out of the house and off technology for long periods of time, and you can also end up playing with random people and have good conversations in the process!

I went to the gym twice this week too (doing an upper body workout one day, and a lower the other) and went to a gym class for only the second time since I've been a member.

Btw, I have to highlight the importance of the book 'the wisdom of groundhog day' in all of this. I bought it last weekend from a charity shop, and it was almost as if it was placed there in that shop on purpose (perhaps it's the universe helping me out). I cannot overstate how good this book is (at least for me, at my current point in life) so I would definitely recommend it if you are looking to go down the route of being more present, more conscious in your daily life and want to break out of the unconsciousness that daily habits, routines etc can inevitably bring.

I've not finished it yet, but that book, along with the law of attraction (which I read a couple times in December while on holiday), have had a massive, positive impact on my life and on my outlook. So I would definitely recommend both books, especially if you feel like you are on a bit of a 'spiritual' journey and wish to feel happier, more content, more grateful etc in your daily life.

Anyways, I am going to continue with the routine of leaving my phone in another room when I go to bed at night. I assume I will start to use it a little more at other times of the day, but I still plan to often leave it at home as much as possible when I don't think I'll need it- for example when I go to the gym etc.

I want to spend more time outside, around other people and having new experiences. I want to spend less time staring mindlessly at a small, rectangular screen and allowing precious minutes, hours and days of my life to slip by.

Poker-

I ended up playing poker tonight, as planned, but the games weren't amazing and it was pretty difficult to get in hands due to the 500z pool kinda dying (and then several $1k tables etc died too). So I only played for like 2:30 hours, and ended up having a breakeven session. In literally my first hand of the session, I doubled up bvb in a 3bet pot with AA against a pretty sticky call down. Sometimes it's good to have the image of someone who likes to bluff a lot! It's just not so good when you are bluffing and then they make the same call down haha.

The plan was to play five days, as usual, Tuesday-Friday and grind Sunday, but I didn't play on Thursday as my friend showed up for a surprise visit. Overall I'm pretty happy that I even played four days tbh, cos I had almost no motivation to grind this week, and before basically every session it was a struggle to sit down at the tables and put in some hands.

The good thing is, however, that my pre session anxiety seems to have completely dissolved this year (which always held me back for the past few years), so I'm much better nowadays at sitting down on days that I plan to grind on. In the past it was much more a case of playing when I felt like playing, which isn't a good recipe for getting in a lot of hands as it's always easy to rationalise why you should take another day off.

I'm not too far off being able to shot take $5k again. Though I'm not in any rush as I know it's only a matter of time if I keep playing well, studying etc. The most important thing is to avoid complacency when you are running decent, as it's easy to get cocky when you are on a bit of a winning streak.

So it doesn't really matter if I have a really good session or a really bad session, I am still showing up for my study the next day and approaching if with the exact same intensity, regardless of how the previous days session went.

Tomorrow I will (likely) take the day off, as part of my usual Monday/Saturday day off schedule. I have a call with a poker friend in the evening, though I am somewhat tempted to also try to grind at some point because I will be away next weekend- meaning that I miss out on the Sunday grind. So I could grind Monday-Friday and hit my five days that way instead. Though in reality I might just be happy to hit four days, given that I am feeling quite burnt out.

Anyways we shall see. Back to the weekly posts again on here again too.

GG.

Was gonna pure fold otr then changed my mind

March 25, 2024 | 2:16 a.m.

Also, this ties in to my post the other week about work or play. I want to do more 'play' when I am grinding- so this tends to involve taking myself less seriously, joking around with others, showing some cards etc.

Of course when I enter a pot then all bets are off and I will be trying my hardest to win that pot, but I want to make sure that I am having as much fun as possible while I work and not just treating it like another job.

March 25, 2024 | 1:28 a.m.

HodorIsKing Hey man, good question!

If I'm playing online I chat quite regularly, just because I am sitting alone in my office and I quite like interacting and having banter with other people. I also think it's very important to interact with fish (especially if they are initiating the chat themselves) so that they have an enjoyable experience at the tables. I am making money from them, so the least I can do is to be nice to them and to treat them well.

I really don't have any ulterior motive behind my talk at the tables. I never try to get reads or tilt my opponents. If someone trolls me then I will often troll them back at the next opportunity, but apart from that, I will always be respectful of my opponents.

I don't like to use underhand tactics to get an edge on my opponents. I am confident enough in my game that I will have an edge on most of my opponents through poker skill alone. Imo people that need to tilt others are usually just shit at poker, so have to get an edge from somewhere else.

In general I won't talk when I'm in a hand though. If I'm playing live then I will never talk when I'm in a hand because I am not overly confident playing live and I think I give away some tells. So I will just try to remain as stoic as possible, then go back to talking afterwards.

However I tend to find that online players are more friendly/nice than live ones, so I usually talk more to the online guys than when I'm playing live. Online players have less ego than live players, so they tend to be easier and more fun to chat to.

March 25, 2024 | 1:20 a.m.

Day 6- free time

There is only just over a day left of this 'challenge' but in reality I will likely be continuing this beyond the end of the week. In all honesty I have used my phone slightly more than I'd have liked to, but 30 minutes per day is very difficult to remain under when it can take you 20+ minutes just to catch up and reply to some messages. I've still been listening to podcasts while I cook, too. In a sense I think that I should stop this, in order to remain more present etc, but in another sense I really enjoy it, so why should I?

If I was literally listening to music/podcasts etc during all of my daily activities, then I'd accept that I had a problem with simply doing the activity and being present in it- but that's not the case. When I go for a walk I don't listen to anything, similarly when I am at the gym, playing golf or on a hike. Tomorrow I will be playing golf where I am outside for 3+ hours and completely disconnected from technology.

When I leave the house now, I throw my phone in a drawer and leave it at home. It's weird, cos for the past 15 years or so I have always walked around with a wallet in my right pocket and a phone in my left. I never alternate which item goes in which pocket, it's always the same. Now I am just walking around with a wallet in my right pocket and nothing in my left. It's weird, but at a certain point I think it's important to question WHY we are doing certain things in our daily lives, so that we do not simply drift through life unconsciously, before arriving on our death beds with a lifetime of regrets and missed opportunities.

If I were to ask you if you thought having, and using, a smartphone on a daily basis was a net positive, or a net negative, what would you say?

I am genuinely curious, so feel free to share your thoughts and opinions below. For me, at least, it's a net negative. So when I look through my life and figure something is a net negative, then I will usually cut it out- like with alcohol etc too. So below I will share some of the positive aspects (in my opinion) of using a smartphone, and some of the negatives.

Positives-

1-Useful apps- whether that be maps, Duolingo to learn a language, chess.com to grind chess, spotify to listen to music/podcasts etc.

2-Entertainment- if we are on a long flight, train journey or simply waiting in line, we can tap in to our phone and instantly be entertained in some fashion.

3-Easy to contact friends/family- whether that be through social media, facetime or by simply calling or messaging them.

4-A web browser in our pocket- we don't need to load up our laptop or computer, we can access google (or in my case Brave) in a fraction of the time.

5-A handy torch- in all honesty I don't even own a torch. Putting out the bins at midnight would become more problematic without my phone.

Now I will go through each point and attempt to debunk them.

1- This one I can't debunk in all honesty.

Without a smartphone then you couldn't access these apps, so it just depends how highly you value them. You could always learn through other means (like taking a Spanish class, buying a Spanish dictionary etc), but for things like maps there isn't really a good alternative imo.

2- Read a book or a magazine. Buy an old Gameboy or play cards with a friend while on the train/flight. Buy an old Ipod and listen to music. Become more present and stop seeking entertainment cos you are in a queue for two minutes.

3- A basic phone can still call/text. Sure you can't facetime them, but you could always just meet up with them if you wanted to see them so badly- unless they are in a different country or something.

4- Again, you can't really debunk this.

However, I would say do you actually need a web browser in your pocket? Do you need to fact check 24/7? If you wanted to check something, you could easily take a mental or physical note of it and check it later on in the day on your computer.

5- Buy a torch for £5-10.

So imo only points one and four are valid arguments, the rest you can easily find an alternative. I guess we have to assess whether these two points are worth the negative points that owning/using a smartphone inevitably bring.

Negatives-

1- Huge time drain. This cannot be overstated. I heard on Joe Rogan's podcast that the average teen uses their smartphone for nine hours per day! That is just insanity. Personally I used it nothing like this much, but I guess I also go on my computer etc for work, so perhaps this cancels some of it out.

What else could you be doing with this spare time?

2- Destroys your attention span. If you need constant stimulation, check your phone in between sets at the gym, on the train, in a queue in a shop, as you take a shit, when you are out for a meal with a friend, then you have no attention span.

3- Takes away from the present moment. Imo it's extremely difficult to enjoy and live in the present moment when we are on, or tempted to go on our phones all the time. There is something special about just staring out of the window while on a train, or in a car etc. However, when we have a phone in our hands then we are so much more likely to seek out some form of entertainment as we take that journey, instead of staring out the window and watching the trees, fields, houses, animals go by as we speed past them.

4- Makes us unaware of our surroundings. When we are walking around and staring at our phones, we stop being aware of our surroundings. We might be putting ourselves in to more danger by not looking around and seeing the shifty guy walking towards us, or seeing the speeding car weave carelessly towards us.

5- Expensive. I bought my Iphone a couple years ago for around £500, but I can imagine they are a lot more expensive now. You could easily get a decent, basic phone for one tenth of the price.

Now I guess the challenge is to compare the positives and see if they outweigh the negatives. In my personal opinion, they do not. Does this mean I will throw my Iphone in the bin? No. But there is a good chance that I will buy a more basic phone, so that I can alternate between the two (perhaps taking my Iphone with me when I go travelling, as I will need maps etc a lot more than if I am at home) and using the basic phone more often at home.

Either way, I am very happy that I finally decided to do this challenge. I think that everyone knows we are, to some extent, addicted to our smartphones. It's just become so common now that we all seem to prefer to ignore the issue and sweep it under the rug.

For me, the challenge is now to find enough things to fill my day with. All of a sudden I have a lot more free time, and less urge to use other forms of entertainment like TV etc. I will need to find more hobbies, get outside more, spend more time with people in order to fill out my waking hours. Ideally I would be able to get up earlier in the day, so that I could make use of the daylight, but unfortunately I play poker between 8pm-12am (roughly) so it would make no sense to wake up at 8am as I would be too tired by the time that I would start my session.

However, I would much rather have this problem than have the opposite problem of too little time- which can easily happen when you wake up and grind chess for four hours lol.

The most valuable asset of a material life is money, but the most
valuable asset of a simple life is time.

It's time I started taking time more seriously, and made the most of each and every day.

Back to the grind tomorrow!

March 23, 2024 | 10:34 p.m.

Day five- running on fumes

Life-

It was time to get back on the grind today after an unplanned day off yesterday, and the preparation leading up to my session involved going back to the gym too. Today was leg day (which I actually enjoy) and so I done a leg workout consisting of squats, followed by some machine exercises and farmers carries.

I usually don't do farmers carries, but I've been watching a lot of The Stoltman Brothers (Scottish strongmen) videos recently, so it inspired me to add a new exercise to the workout. The problem was that the gym area was too busy to use the dumb bells, so I walked to a different area where the only option was either very light dumb bells, or plates. I warmed up with a 20kg plate in each hand, then tried to do 2x 20kg plates in each hand, but I couldn't really hold on to them properly as they were too thick to hold on to, so it didn't really work. So next time I will just have to either do a longer distance with the 20kg plates, or go at a quieter time so that I can use the dumb bells. Either way it was a cool exercise and I feel like it's probably good for your core strength and especially your grip strength.

Cos I've been getting out of my bed earlier (as I'm not staying up as late watching Youtube, and not wasting time on my phone in my bed in the mornings either) then I've been able to go to the gym a little earlier too. This means that I can enjoy longer in the sauna/spa area. I've started taking a book with me again, so I tend to read for a bit after exiting the sauna. I think that if you struggle to maintain motivation and consistency in terms of going to the gym, then join one with a spa and reward yourself by going to it after every workout. It's like a cheat code, cos even if you can't really be bothered going for a workout, you will go regardless in order to go to the sauna/steam room etc. So nowadays I find it pretty easy to go to the gym, even though I lost all motivation to go to it a couple years ago and barely went last year either.

Scotland were playing Holland tonight, in a match that I wanted to go out and watch, but it would have meant pushing back my poker session from 8pm until around 10pm, and I also knew that there was a good chance we would lose tonight (we did) and so I would probably be kinda tilted after watching it. So I made the mature decision not to watch it, and instead grind instead. This would mean I would be finished before 12am, and so I could also get up at a reasonable time on Saturday and make the most of my day off.

Poker-

Fortunately the session went well again. I lost a bit back towards the end, but it was still a good, profitable session. There were quite a few $1k tables running, mostly around this kind of reg/fish guy. I mean he is not terrible by any means, but he makes enough mistakes to make it worthwhile grinding when he is at the table (even though WR's will probably be relatively low, especially compared to playing against proper fish or even whales). 500z had a massive pool too, at one point with around 40 entries or so. The bulk of them were regs, but it was still fun to get in some zoom hands and the boost in hands per hour that it inevitably brings.

I even played a 530bb pot at 500z, which was kind of crazy.

In all honesty before the session, again, I felt a little burnt out and wasn't too bothered to play. However, I overcame these thoughts and put in some hands regardless. I am going to head back to my parents next weekend, and hang out with my friend (the one who is back from Australia) and probably catch up with other friends too. So this made it easier in a sense. I will get some time off poker to reset and recover from this burnout, but I have to earn that time off- and you don't earn it by lying on the sofa watching TV!

Phone challenge-

I've hardly been on my phone all day. I think I may have been on it like 15-20 minutes total. In all honesty this challenge is pretty easy, but has also made me realise how much of my life I was wasting, staring at a small rectangular screen for hours on end and for no real benefit other than to satisfy my minds insatiable appetite for stimulation.

This 'detox' actually seems to be having quite a big effect. I sat and watched TV for like 1 hour or 1:30 hours after my session had concluded, but towards the end my mind actually said 'enough is enough' and didn't want to watch it any longer. So it seems like I am, perhaps, starting to rewire my brain so that I don't just crave mind numbing stimulation in every spare hour of the day.

Reading is also much easier too. In the past few months, I have often sought out something more stimulating (like watching Youtube) instead of reading in my down time. My mind would crave something like that, and struggle to focus on reading as it was 'too boring'. But at the moment I can easily read 20-30 pages in one sitting, and I am probably averaging 40-50 pages per day atm. Which is a lot more than the 10(ish) that I read on average per day.

In the past I have switched my diet and stopped drinking alcohol. It seems like this challenge may lead me towards correcting the next leak in my life- the smartphone addiction!

Anyways, tomorrow I will take the day off and do something different- though I'm not quite sure what yet. I just want to get a good sleep tonight and make sure that I am fully ready for Sunday's session. I have kind of scrapped playing tournaments on Sunday's for the past month or so, and just switched back to playing cash on that day instead. I am sure I will get back in to them again later on this year, but for now I am happy to focus on cash instead- and on moving up in stakes!

GG.

530bb pot at 500z

March 23, 2024 | 2:58 a.m.

Day 4- Unplanned day off

Life-

Today the plan was to wake up around 12pm, get in an hour or so of study and then go to the gym/sauna before getting on the grind later on in the evening. However, this plan was quickly torn up when, at around 9:30am, I was awoken by a ring of my doorbell. My friend moved to Australia around 1.5 years ago and I've not seen him since. We keep in touch, messaging every so often, but it's an old friendship that doesn't really need a ton of contact to maintain.

Whenever we see each other then it was always just going to continue from where we left, due to the fact we have known each other since primary school- actually I think I went to nursery with him when I was aged like 4 or 5. I'm not saying we have been friends this entire time, but I have known him for around 25 years and the bulk of my life.

He had messaged me the other day to say that a parcel was going to be delivered my on Thursday morning, and that I needed to be in in order to receive it. I didn't think much of it other than thanking him for seemingly buying me a present randomly. Anyways it turns out that it wasn't a present, he had come back for a two week long visit instead! So obviously that meant by days plans were thrown out the window (though of course I didn't mind). I didn't get to sleep until after 4am, so I had only gotten around 5 hours sleep- I usually try to get 8 hours as this is perfect for me.

So we had a catch up, went out for 'lunch' (even though it was my breakfast) but then we realised we were both very tired- he had barely slept for the past couple of days and I wouldn't mind a power nap either. Well, that turned in to around 3 hours and, at that point, it was about time for him to head back down the road- though we are catching up again next weekend.

Anyways, after this weird middle of the day sleep, I felt pretty groggy. I got in an hours study, looking over some 3bet pots from yesterdays session, but I couldn't shift this grogginess and decided that it was better not to play today. This definitely wasn't ideal, given the fact that Scotland are playing Holland tomorrow as well, in a game that I would have liked to have watched. So playing today was a no brainer, but ultimately sometimes social plans take priority over grinding, and today was one of those days. I can always play an extra 1-2k hands another day to make up for today, but I might not see my friend for another 1.5 years (well, apart from next weekend haha).

Whenever I take an unplanned day off, I always try to at least make it somewhat productive. So I think that even if I don't feel like playing, then there's no reason that I shouldn't get in some study. Actually, these are the kind of days where you could just get in 2-3 hours and completely fry your brain cos you aren't going to be playing later on in the day. I was just happy reviewing all the 3bet pots that I tagged from yesterdays session though. Even though I had a good session yesterday, I still wanted to review plenty hands that I was unsure about and to give me clarity for the next time a similar spot arises.

In all honesty I have no idea how often other cash regs study, but I usually do 5-6 days per week, typically ranging from 1-2 hours per day (though most study sessions are a little over an hour). Unless I am away elsewhere, or have a friend over to visit etc, then there is literally no reason that I cannot sit down and do an hours study. Even as I type this I am considering doing a second, shorter study session before I wind down for the night and start watching some brainless TV- most likely another couple episodes of Yugioh!

One thing that I do love about poker is it's ability to humble you, and to make you realise how little you know. However, this is not a demeaning 'you know nothing and are stupid' humbling, it's a 'lets improve/correct your thought process' humbling. Improvement is amazing. It's cool to look back at the stakes we were playing several years ago and see our progress, or to see what weights we lifted when we started going to the gym, or our 5k times when we just picked up running again- then compare them all to the stakes/weights/times we are doing now. Of course, sometimes we might have peaked in the past. For example, even though I am better at poker now than I was several years ago, I am weaker at the gym and I haven't ran in like 6 months, so my marathon condition would absolutely smoke me in a race in my present condition. But it's not only about where you are now, it's about where you started off at, and where you got to.

When I done my first 5k run during lockdown, I almost threw up and shit myself simultaneously. I was a tall, skinny guy who done a lot of walking and thought he was quite fit- wrong! Fast forward to marathon day, where I ran it in around 3:40 and far exceeded my 4:00 target time. So even though, in my current condition, it would probably take me four days rather than four hours to run a marathon, I know that I have this massive improvement and high ceiling in my locker, if required. We can't peak at literally everything simultaneously in our lives. We can't prioritise poker, running, lifting weights, dating, reading, coaching, blogging, cooking, socialising, travelling, hiking, volunteering all at once. Perhaps we can select a couple of these things at once, focus on them and give them our all, before shifting our focus again (especially if we want variety in our lives).

For now my priority is poker and on being in good shape. Not marathon running shape, not peak physical strength shape. Just 'I'm going to the gym twice per week and doing some other sports on the side' shape. If I compare my social life now to it in my late teens/early twenties, then I might also become frustrated and sad. However, it's just the nature of life. I am happy that I enjoyed such a fun time as a younger, alcohol drinking guy who had no worries other than to get the cheapest £1 drinks and have just enough money left over for a McDonalds the next day.

Imo it's kind of cool to look back on parts of our lives and see how much we have changed, what was going for us, what wasn't going for us and on how different we are now to where we were. Of course there will always be aspects of our lives in the past that were 'better' than what we have now, but there are also plenty aspects of our lives now that are 'better' than what we had back then. For example, as a teen/early twenties I was pretty insecure overall and, for the most part, I have fixed this through meditation, self improvement books etc. So would I actually want to go back to this point in my life where I was always heading out to bars/clubs, meeting up with friends and trying to chat up girls? Not really. But am I glad that I experienced this? Absolutely.

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

So perhaps we aren't currently in our best physical or mental shape, perhaps we are on a downswing and had to move down in stakes, perhaps we have lost several friends over the years or are just out of a breakup. There are so many reasons or excuses to be sad, but conversely (assuming we frame things differently) there are so many reasons to be optimistic.

We can still get up tomorrow and go to the gym, we can start of our day with a meditation in an attempt to rewire our brain, we can put in some extra study (but not too long haha) and battle to move back up in stakes, we can get out of our comfort zone and meet new people and make new friends and we can walk down the street and fall in love (like that Lego meme) with the cute girl who just smiled at us as she walked by.

We are told to embrace negative poker variance and downswings, but perhaps we should be told to embrace life variance and life downswings too. That way we appreciate the upswings so much more.

Phone challenge-

To be honest I have one admission to make- I have been listening to podcasts while I cook! I just enjoy it too much haha, and I'm not staring at a screen or anything so I don't think it's a huge deal, though arguably I should be more present when I cook instead of following a random Joe Rogan conversation.

I've still massively limited by screen time, and pretty much only use my phone atm to reply to messages. I've been leaving my phone at home when I head out (for example today with my friend) and haven't watched any Youtube videos on it, and barely open Instagram either. Its funny but when I watch Youtube or whatever on my TV, then after like 30 mins to an hour I just say to myself this is enough and come off it. Where as, for some reason, if I'm watching it on my phone then I can watch it for much longer periods without feeling the need to come off it.

I read 50 pages today too, basically split evenly between the two different books that I'm reading. I'm honestly quite tempted to buy a crappy flip phone that I can alternate between when I feel like it. I'm not saying I'm going to completely get rid of my smartphone (it's still very useful in lots of ways) but I think it would be good to have a more basic phone so that I can do this kind of 'challenge' on a more consistent basis.

When we were out eating at the restaurant, there were two older women sitting next to us, and both were just staring at their phones. It was kind of sad tbh, that we value a piece of technology over the company of a friend or a family member. This is obviously very common and you see it all the time when you walk past restaurants, bars, pubs etc.

Anyways I'm not preaching, cos I'm sure I do this (occasionally) too, but it's just an observation.

Back to the grind tomorrow, unless I get another friend from Australia arriving at my door in the morning!

GG.

March 22, 2024 | 12:40 a.m.

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