Demondoink's avatar


3616 points

Nuno Alvarez Range explorer is the best. You can formulate so many important heuristics through studying with this tool.

March 23, 2023 | 3:35 p.m.

Trying (and failing) to buy a flat

After leaving Edinburgh last Summer i have been in limbo in terms of not really having anywhere permanent to stay, but not wanting to rent any longer. Sometimes i think 'i will just rent again' and then i look at the price of a place in the area of Glasgow that i would like to stay in, as well as the condition of the flat (which is usually pretty shit) and then i scrap that idea.

My friend highlighted today the fact that i always seem to change my mind about things recently- which i think is very true. One moment i want to live abroad, the next i want to buy a place in Scotland. One moment i want to move to the countryside, and the next i want to move to the city. One moment i decide that i am going to play more live poker and try to play higher stakes, the next i am bidding for a flat (which would wipe out a large chunk of my roll and limit the stakes/live games that i could play in the near future).

Even today i contacted someone about a golden retriever puppy that i seen for sale haha. However, i have always intended to get a dog, and my family has had four golden retrievers (one at a time of course) ever since i was born. So this isn't on a whim, and i think that a dog will also do me a lot of good when i move in to a place by myself, as i've always lived with other people. I was even looking up to see if it was possible to take a dog with me abroad, if i wanted to go away for a few months again at some point- which it seems like it is relatively easy to do. Though of course i am sure that the flight wouldn't be the most enjoyable experience for the dog.

Even with poker, which has been a stalwart and the main constant in my life for the past (almost) ten years ever since i quit university, I am starting to have doubts about how much longer i will play this game for a living.

Some people may think that i am flaky, indecisive etc, but i do not think that is the case. What i have realised is that i am at, so far in my life, the most important point. I am turning thirty this year, which is a milestone in itself, and perhaps that has unconsciously prompted me to attempt to figure out what i am going to do in the next ten or so years of my life. It's fine renting, being single, having no responsibilities and trying to get to high stakes when you are in your twenties, but do you really wanna be that same guy in another ten years time?

Perhaps. Or maybe i would like to go down another path. Which is why i am racking my brains and trying to come to the best conclusion that i can possibly come to. It is impossible to 'trial run' your life in advance, so at least being open minded enough to both extremes means that you aren't overlooking anything.

Hence the 'house in the hills' one minute and the 'flat in the city centre' the next haha.

My twenties was about self improvement. I was very insecure, wasn't confident at all, had unhealthy habits like binge drinking, struggled at times with poker and almost went busto a couple of times.

By no means am i the finished article at this point, but i am pretty confident/secure in myself nowadays, i have managed to save up a decent amount of money, i have developed many healthy habits in my life (going vegan, quitting alcohol, regularly exercising, daily meditation, consistent poker study etc). So in that sense i think that i have (for the most part) spent this time pretty well.

However, as i alluded to in previous posts, my social life slowly deteriorated as my friends moved away, got married, had kids, or we just drifted apart from one another- though it's actually got better again recently as i've tried to become much more conscious in my daily life.

So this 'self improvement' phase has to end at some point (though of course i'll always try to get better, just not with as much of a focus) and i think that the next ten years of my life is going to be the 'social/happiness' phase. I'm not saying that i am going to get married and have kids (i honestly have no idea if i want to or not) but either way, there will be much more focus on friendships and relationships with other people- and perhaps even a dog!

Let's not forget that we work to live, not live to work!

I put in another bid for a flat, but unfortunately i wasn't even close to the highest offer (someone literally paid 25% over the home report value of the property). So i will have to keep looking. I have seen another place that i've had my eye on for quite a few months, but when i enquired about it at the end of last year they said it wasn't currently up for sale or something- even though it was literally advertised for sale on their website lol. So i will call them tomorrow and see what's up with that.

In terms of poker, my volume has been shitty this month- and indeed this year. I've not even played 50k hands so far at cash haha. Though my results have actually been pretty good, as i'm still studying pretty often and feel like i'm in a good place with my game. I think that the flat search is clogging up a lot of my mental focus, and once i get a place then i'll, at least for the remainder of the year, get back to playing much more regularly again.

I ain't quitting the game just yet! While i keep playing i will continue to give my all and make it as awkward as possible for my opponents to play against me.


Slow playin'

Do they ever fold here?

If they don't fold to your small bets, jam 5x pot

March 23, 2023 | 2:35 a.m.

PrankCallRiver I haven't watched Jericho's video yet, so take my comment with a pinch of salt. I don't think there is anything wrong with questioning a coach, or questioning the quality of a video (i'm not talking about this video specifically, i'm speaking in general) as you are paying subscribers and are effectively the customer.

If a chef makes you a pizza that is cold then you have every right to send it back. If it is Gordon Ramsay making the pizza then it still doesn't matter, he still warrants the same criticism as some other random chef making your pizza.

However your comment was extremely difficult to follow. I tried to read through it and it was very difficult to understand what you meant. There were no separate paragraphs and it just seemed to be one giant wall of random thoughts about the hand.

So i think if you want to question a hand, or a coach- go for it. But hold yourself to the same standards so that you guys can get in to a productive discussion about the hand (or video) in question.

Also, speaking from my own perspective as someone who plays high stakes (albeit not as high as the guys in this video obviously) i don't have 130bb pre flop ranges. There are far too many spots to analyse, different bet sizing's, different flop textures (1755) that it is literally impossible to cover everything. Sometimes you just have to accept that your 130bb pre flop game may not be as precise as your 100bb game- but that goes the same for your opponents too.

If you decide to run 130bb pre flop sims, and subsequently 130bb adjusted post flop sims, i would really question the efficiency of your study and how you are prioritising your time when there are SO MANY other spots that come up much more frequently (for example btn vs bb SRP, bvb SRP etc) that you are probably leaking in.

So to spend two hours of this valuable study time (and brain power) for one comment on a vacuum hand in a RIO video is not an efficient use of your time imo.

Your goal when studying is not for perfectionism (to know how to play every slightly different stack size, or every board texture perfectly) it's to maximise the efficiency of your time spent studying to gain a better understanding of commonly played spots, and hopefully form heuristics in the process to make your life easier when similar situations arise at the table.

After all, even if you figure out how to play one board at 100% accuracy (which obviously no human could ever achieve) then what good is that when you are playing the other 1754 flops at 25% accuracy.? It would be far more beneficial to bring that 25% accuracy up to 35% accuracy (i'm just throwing out random numbers btw, not insulting your poker understanding).

Anyways i admire your work ethic and commitment to your comment, but i just think you could use this work ethic so much more efficiently in your studies.

March 19, 2023 | 3:19 p.m.

Hey man, good luck this year! If i had any advice for you it would be to move up asap so that you can get out of this micro stakes rake trap. If you struggle with moving up (which i have also done in the past) then you need to look inward and ask why. Self help books are a good start, as are things such as meditation etc that make you more present and less of a prisoner to your own thoughts.

In terms of this post, i can probably relate. I still enjoy poker but i've been playing it for almost ten years professionally now, and have made a bunch of sacrifices along the way- not meeting new people through work, not focusing much on dating etc either. I think sometimes you just move on from something you enjoy as it comes to a natural end. I'm not saying i'm going to quit, but what i would say is that i'd be extremely surprised if i was still playing professionally in another ten years time.

Speaking from a personal perspective- i don't want to do the same thing for my entire life. I want to seek out new challenges, and change career to test myself in other ways- perhaps testing myself in a social way, or in a leadership sense etc instead of a logical/stoic way that poker has required.

However, what i am not going to do is get fat and go to clubs. Discipline is now a way of life for me. I will take the discipline that i have learned from thousands of hours of playing and studying poker towards running another marathon, opening up my own business or learning another game (like chess) to a high skill level.

I think those footballers never had SELF discipline to begin with. They only had external discipline from their coaches, managers, team mates, agents etc. However, as a poker player we can only really rely on ourselves as it's a solo game. So naturally we develop self discipline and then can utilise that for the rest of our lives in other endeavours.

Good post! It was very thought provoking :)

March 14, 2023 | 9:41 p.m.

Acknowledging inner resentment and getting out of auto pilot


I recall posting on here several times about my friendship with my best friend and former flat mate. After he got a girlfriend our friendship seemingly changed overnight, from being two guys that do everything together to seeing each other once every week or two.

I was annoyed that i had been replaced, and was unable to accept the new conditions of our friendship. What i didn't realise (at least consciously) was that my own thoughts and feelings were also having a negative impact on our relationship with one another. I was going in to every interaction with this underlying resentment, even if i wasn't fully aware of it.

I asked another friend for advice and he pointed out this resentment, and as soon as he said this, it was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I no longer seen his girlfriend as the destroyer of our friendship, but as someone who is simply trying to find a nice, compatible partner to spend the rest of their life with. She clearly made a good choice, which is why i was so reluctant to give him up :D haha

So after realising this, i messaged his girlfriend and asked them out on Sunday to watch the Scotland v Ireland rugby match (which we lost). It was actually a really enjoyable afternoon, despite the result, and i feel like we were all able to be ourselves, without the egoic mind running the show.

In terms of my own mindset, this year a big thing for me is trying to become more spiritual, more present and much more conscious of my daily actions. So much of our lives are merely spent on auto pilot- we walk the same way to the store, we go to the same pub to watch the football, we drive the same way home from a friends, we drive past the place we keep 'meaning to visit' 100 times on our way home, without every actually stopping.

I am trying to get out of this auto pilot, because life is really great when we realise the variety of experiences we can have, that are at our fingertips. Even today for the rugby, i proposed going to a small town to watch the game, instead of going to one of our houses, or to a pub that we have already visited many times before, in our home town. I mentioned this to my parents, and it's funny because my Mum effectively said something along the lines of- 'that was a good idea today, i never really thought about going out for the rugby, i just always watch it at home'.

As soon as you become conscious, those around you become conscious too.

So whether that consciousness leads to better friendships, or new experiences and visiting new places, then i am all for it! Either way, i now realise that this is the true path to 'happiness'. My unconscious thoughts will always try to talk me out of being happy, which is why i need to shine the light of consciousness on these thoughts of negativity, resentment, bitterness, frustration etc.

Oh, and taking multivitamins also helps a lot too- especially in places that lack sunlight in Winter time (like most of Europe). I have noticed a big difference in my mood since i started to take them last year, as most of us are going to be Vitamin D deficient (and probably have other deficiencies too).


I have played four days so far this week, taking a couple of days off to visit my Granny. I am on the fence about playing tonight as i feel a little sluggish from the Chinese meal that i ate, so i might just get in some study instead tonight, have a look at some flats online and then get back on the grind again tomorrow.

I think that i've been playing really well recently (except from last night). I intended to play on Saturday, but i tend to start around 8pm nowadays, and didn't begin last night until closer to 11pm as i was busy most of the day. I don't think i went in with the best mindset, and was a bit tired too. The aim was to get in 1k hands, and i done so, which i was happy about, but i really should have either started earlier on, while i was fresh, or not played at all.

However, i was happy in the sense that, despite being tired, i was able to override this tiredness and quit some three handed games as i knew that i wasn't fresh enough to play this mentally draining format. I don't think i made any big punts either, i just didn't run great and perhaps made a few smaller mistakes due to my mental state.

Anyways, it's not a big deal and we move on.


GTO call downs

Non GTO call downs

March 12, 2023 | 8:41 p.m.

Thanks mate, i appreciate the feedback and i will continue to be honest in my future posts! Sometimes we think that someone with a sick graph etc also has a sick life, but it's not always as simple as that.

I am just trying to figure things out as i go along, and learn from others in the process.

March 12, 2023 | 8:09 p.m.

Yeah i keep meaning to include more photos in my posts, but my photos are always on my phone and i type this up on my laptop, so i guess it's laziness that i can't send some to my laptop haha.

I like that statement that the blog has 'transcended poker'. I guess it may get fewer likes than some of my 100k challenges etc, but we will have much more interesting conversations- and hopefully ALL of us improve as a result of these discussions :)

Thanks for the response!

March 12, 2023 | 8:07 p.m.

Aquila Thanks mate- good advice as usual!

1- I am currently reading a couple books, and just finished a couple, so i will start to talk more about them from now on. No i've not read the compound effect, is it good?
2- I'm not sure if there are many books available, but a couple of my friends recommended the same one (though i forget the name of it) so i will ask them again and order that one.
3- I will be doing many more trips in the Summer, and in the coming months as the weather heats up. So i will try to include photos etc. No i didn't, but i am sure you can do that in Scotland so i will give it a shot!
4- I was going to go to one next week in Nottingham, but i don't think i'll go as i wanna view a couple of flats for sale. Though i will do more casino trips this year.
5- Okay cool, good idea! No i haven't seen that video, though i have been watching some of his HH reviews of old hands against the likes of Isildur etc.

That's a good idea about the recreationals thing. Actually i think one of my biggest 'strengths' in poker (if we aren't actually talking about playing) is that i always talk to recs, both online and live. They are often easier to talk to than pro's, so i find it quite enjoyable and i obviously need to be aware that they are, essentially, enabling me to play this game for a living. So the least i can do is to be nice to them and help them to have a good experience while they play, even if they lose money.

My cooking has stagnated a little recently. I'm cooking most of the same kinds of foods, but i will become more varied again once i get my own place. I just try to stay out of my parent's way as much as possible, so i don't want to spend hours in the kitchen if they have to cook etc too.

I'm actually waking up earlier/grinding earlier than last year. Last year i would, on average, wake up somewhere between 12-1pm and usually start grinding at 8-9pm or so, but sometimes later. Recently i've been waking up around 10-11am, and sometimes i grind in the afternoon or early evening. I'd say i usually start playing now somewhere between 6-8pm.

I don't think i'll get up any earlier cos i still want to play in the evening games. But 10-11am is probably ideal for me, until i change career or have to for other reasons.

I won't be getting a dog until i am settled in one place, that i know i will be staying in for several years. It's unfair to get one if i want to keep travelling, playing live poker tournaments etc. The same goes for a girlfriend, I think i will focus more on dating once i buy a place. I am feeling pretty good mentally so it's probably time to find someone.

Are you playing poker again? Good luck this year, whether you are grinding or not :)

March 12, 2023 | 8:03 p.m.

deLaRochejaquelein Okay cool thanks. A clear, concise response- i like it!

March 12, 2023 | 7:48 p.m.

João Guimarães Hey man. Thanks for taking the time to write out a very thoughtful response to my question. I like how you referenced OTB's thread, because i loved reading those back in the day (even though i never really used 2+2).

The fact that we (OTB and myself) both sought out to write a blog, and both lacked the 'motivation' to put in good volume, perhaps signals that we are not in love with the game. Don't get me wrong, i still really enjoy it, but 5-10 years ago it was all that i thought about. I would play poker all day and then watch poker on Youtube or Twitch afterwards. I would wake up, watch a few RIO videos, then do some of my own study and get on the grind.

Nowadays i find myself watching more chess content compared to poker (even though i actually seem to be getting worse, i punted off 200 elo in the past couple weeks lol). I don't watch many RIO videos either, though with all due respect i think i am better than almost all the coaches now so i am not as incentivized to watch them any longer. I just like the RIO community, which is why i keep posting on here instead of on 2+2 or whatever.

So yeah, i guess the reasons for continuing with my blog are as follows;

1- To interact with like minded people.
2- To practice my writing (as perhaps i will write a book on something in the future).
3- To get advice and bounce ideas of other people.

Originally my blogs were for accountability for my volume goals (hence why i shared graphs etc) but now i don't really care that much. Sure it would be nice to hit my annual goals this year, but if i have had a good year, have met some cool people, travelled to interesting places and, in general, feel happy, then all of that will trump some arbitrary volume or money related goal.

I think i'm also getting to the point where i would like a girlfriend. So that might also become a focus when i finally buy a place or move somewhere for the mid-longer term. Just now i'm not bothering because i am travelling around too much and don't even have my own place yet. So instead i'm just focusing on myself and of having new experiences etc.

Anyways, good luck to yourself this year and i will give your blog a like too!

March 12, 2023 | 7:47 p.m.

TheLove_Below Thanks a lot for the kind words mate! I have decided to stick with it for the remainder of the year as promised, and not allow fleeting emotions or feelings to dictate my mid-longer term plans.

Please let me know in the comment below if you have any suggestions on how i could improve this thread and stop it from becoming stale for the readers etc. Cheers!

March 6, 2023 | 6:14 p.m.

Hey Aquila long time no speak! I still need to get back to your Skype messages (sorry i am really slow at responding right now).

Yeah it always sticks in my mind something that Jim Carrey quote-

'I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see it's not the answer.'

Obviously i'm not famous nor rich, but i'm doing quite well for my age and have already realised that winning a million or two more wouldn't have any positive impact on my day to day mood.

However, good friendships, relationships etc definitely would. So i will be focusing more in these areas in the coming months and years.

How are you doing anyway? I will get back to your messages this week :)

March 6, 2023 | 6:12 p.m.

deLaRochejaquelein Thanks for the nice comment mate :) I have decided to stick to my word and do it for the rest of the year! Good luck to you too in 2023!

March 6, 2023 | 6:05 p.m.

Fuck it. I said that i am going to do this for the year, so i am not going to go back on my word!

Like i said in a previous post, our minds often rationalise quitting and make it seem like the most viable option. Last night i perhaps wasn't in the best headspace, but i am going to maintain my updates of around once per week for the remainder of the year.

However, i would highly appreciate if anybody could comment on how i could improve my thread. I just don't want it to seem too repetitive etc. So please comment below deLaRochejaquelein Aquila TheLove_Below and anybody else who is reading this :)

Thanks a lot!

March 6, 2023 | 6:04 p.m.

I am going to stop posting on here now. I need to focus on myself and what i want to do going forward, and don't feel like i am bringing much benefit to this community any longer.

There are much more determined people with blogs on here with a drive and passion to move up and achieve success and move up in poker, so they deserve the interactions much more than i do!

Thanks to everyone who has followed me on RIO over the years. I will still post sometimes on my instagram (Demondoink1) but this blog, and my enthusiasm to post and interact, has run it's course.

Edit: I am going to finish this thread as promised.

March 5, 2023 | 8:27 p.m.

*Update- playing another live tournament and dealing with inner guilt*


While i was away in Malta with my friend, we both agreed to go and play in the £1,500 UK Open in Coventry. It had a £1m guarantee, which probably makes it the biggest live tournament of the year in the UK (at least the biggest that has a reasonably priced buy in).

In total i had played in three live tournaments before this one (excluding the odd £10 rebuy ten years ago when i was starting out). My first one was a 1k at Eureka Vienna in 2014 (i think). I had a big stack on the first day, then punted off just short of the bubble. My second one was a £500 in 2018 when i was staying in Edinburgh, and managed to make the final table on my second bullet.

So before this year i had played two live tournaments, and now i have played two in the past couple of weeks. I obviously went deep again on my second bullet in the 550 buy in Malta event, before finishing in 23rd place. I was hoping for a similar run in the UK Open, but was secretly hoping i just didn't need to buy in several times because this was actually, funnily enough, my highest ever buy in for a tournament. Despite playing $2k regularly online, $5k occasionally and even $10k for the first time the other week, i have always been conservative when it comes to buying in to tournaments. However, i didn't need to sell any action for this tournament like i did for the 1k 8+ years ago.

So in that sense, it is cool how far i have come in the game! At that time i had around a $20k roll and had to sell 75% of my action, now i have a decent bit more than a $20k roll haha.

However, by no means do i claim to be an expert at live poker. I think i have played really well post flop in both tournaments this year, but a little too passive pre flop- folding some hands i'd usually open online and not 3betting as often. Part of this is strategic- i want to keep the pots smaller so that i can realise my post flop edge, and part of this is just not being completely comfortable playing live yet. At one point yesterday, when bluffing on the river (most of my bluffs got credit cos nobody seemed to know who i was lol) the guy in the seat next to me looked at me and it was like i completely seized up and gave off a massive tell lol. I think i am fine when the person is on the other side of the table, but not so much when they are able to look at me from within 50cm or so.

Fortunately he had a straight so he was calling regardless (that was what i was repping) but it's a clear sign that i need to improve my table image and especially my confidence when bluffing etc live, as i am not used to having someone stare at me on the river in a hand.

So what i need to improve in the future for live tournaments are as follows;

1- Read several books on live tells etc. Focus on developing a 'pre shot' ritual, so that i am doing the same thing before every hand. Perhaps buy a light scarf in the meantime to cover my pulse etc until i have more confidence that i am not going to give away any big tells.

2- Improve my table image. There are many players who i have strong suspicions about their actual poker skill level, but yet have very good table images. I think this automatically gets them more walks etc, which obviously doesn't happen online unless they know you are a very good player. At the moment i don't have this yet.

I am currently reading the book 'zen and the art of poker' and at one point it talks about remaining stoic whether you are winning or losing. I noticed in Malta when i was card dead towards the end of Day 2, getting frustrated and displaying a 'losing' table image of frustration, weakness etc. Yesterday i was much more conscious of this, so i made sure to maintain the same level of confidence, regardless of whether i was winning or losing.

3- Increase my pre flop aggression. It's good to keep the pots small in certain situations, but i think that i should also be putting the players to my direct right in the cage as they are out of position vs a better player (at least post flop) so they should be aware of this.

I can't say that i particularly love live poker, or live tournaments, but at the same time (imo) live poker is slowly dying. It's becoming much more difficult for fish to deposit (as well as regulars) and without fish, we are screwed. However, it's still pretty easy for a fish to get money out of the bank and buy chips at a casino.

So for the sake of my own poker career, i need to start branching off in to things such as online mtt's and live games. Expecting online cash games to be alive and kicking for the next several years is very naive imo. Sure, they will always be there, but it's becoming more and more difficult to get volume at the stakes that i play.

Another option, of course, is to move to a place where i can play on sites like Ignition etc, as i've heard that these sites are insanely soft and i am sure it's a lot easier to get volume there.

Inner guilt-

In terms of online cash, my volume so far this year has been extremely poor. Even as we speak, despite playing for 12 hours on Friday and 7 hours on Saturday, i am feeling a strong sense of guilt about my poor cash game volume so far this year. This is always my bread and butter, by far my strongest game, and i like to leverage this by putting in volume. However, with my recent foray in to live poker, and with playing online tournaments (mostly) every Sunday now, then my volume is getting worse and worse. Couple that with that fact that 500z doesn't run any longer, and 1k/2k don't run all of the time either, then it's safe to say that i am not on track with my cash game volume goals.

I was wanting to play tonight, but for whatever reason my laptop won't connect to the wifi properly, so i am unable to (even though it lets me use the internet via the browser haha). So i am going to get the early train back up to Scotland tomorrow morning so that i can get in some hands tomorrow evening.

I know this isn't necessarily logical, but i think this 'fear' drives me to constantly study, get better and improve, so that i can get better than the regs that i am playing alongside. Even though it's not necessarily healthy from a mental health perspective haha.

I think Jocko Willink talks about this as the driving factor behind his early morning wake up times- he wants to get up before the enemy so that he is ready for them. He doesn't want to be sleeping while they are plotting against him.

Likewise i don't want to take much time off cash, or put in volume, because then that gives regular around me the opportunity to get better than me.

Anyways, even though i can't play tonight, i will get in an hour or so of focused study and make sure that, even if i haven't got any volume in so far this month, i will at least still be improving from a theoretical perspective.


Life without connections is meaningless. Humans are social animals, and no matter the amount of money, adulation, success etc that you have, if you don't have good people around you and good relationships, then you will be miserable.

By no means am i saying that i have 'adulation' or anything directed towards me, but it's as if the more you chase money, the more you realise how worthless it actually is. The real currency in life is our friendships, relationships, conversations with strangers, a smile.

Sure, it would be nice to bink that £330k in the UK Open, but ultimately it wouldn't make me any happier, except for a couple days, then my happiness would go back to baseline.

What i am trying to say is that i am going to focus more on friendships, meeting new people, creating new connections etc and less so about chasing money.

Honestly right now i probably enjoy coaching more than playing, because i feel like i can help the students a lot and it's really cool to either see their success (through graphs etc) or feel their appreciation when i am able to help them to realise a cool concept that will really help them in that particular spot in the future.

I feel like this year for me is about exploration. I am going to be turning 30 in September, and even though i love poker, perhaps it is too much of a shallow pursuit for me in the mid-long term. After all, how are we helping society? People like bin men, bus drivers etc are really contributing to society and we are merely the benefactors of the work that they do.

Perhaps this post sounds nihilistic, and contradictory (because on the one hand i talk about moving up in stakes, playing more live etc but then talk about quitting too). I really don't know. These are just thoughts that go through my mind sometimes.

Poker has given me so much, has forced me to improve so much as a person, become more stoic, stronger mentally and emotionally, improve my problem solving, meet cool people etc. But what do we do after all of this? Keep trying to win more money? Or use these skills to do something that could actually benefit society and uplift others.

I don't know. Maybe i will still be grinding online in twenty years time having played four live tournaments ever and with these thoughts pushed to the back of my mind. Or maybe i will have long moved on and seen that there is more to life than the constant pursuit of money and success.


March 5, 2023 | 8:18 p.m.

Update- playing my first live tournament since 2018


When i was in Budapest i wrote down several goals that i wanted to do while i was over there. For me, writing things down and either setting some goals or a 'to do list' helps me to get out of my auto pilot and force myself to do things that are either outside of my routine, or out of my comfort zone. I pretty much done everything there that i set out to do, so i wrote a list again for Malta.

As i outlined in my original post, one of my goals this year was to play some more live poker. Don't get me wrong, i much prefer online, but i still think that it's important to mix up your life so that you aren't simply drifting through it and doing the same things day after day, week after week and month after month. My friend told me about a 550 Euro main event that was being held in Malta. It seemed like a nice buy in that would allow me to dip my toe back in to the live poker streets and see how things went. The last time i played a live mtt was also because of the same friend, who convinced me to play a £500 tournament when we were living in Edinburgh. I managed to final table that one, but punted off on the FT and got like 7th or 8th place (with around £20k+ up top). This tournament was bigger, with 75k Euro up top.

I decided to play the turbo Day 1, as it allowed me to begin at 9pm (around the time that i normally play at) and also enabled me to get out during the day and see some sunlight etc. On my first bullet i didn't really win a pot, and 4bet jammed around 45bb vs a button open and sb 3bet with 77. Perhaps this is a little too loose in a live poker environment, but i still think that people will 3bet a lot from the sb (hands such as AJ-A9o, KQ/KJo etc) that i will get folds from, and i am flipping vs AK/AQ. I was shown the bad news as he had 99, so that was GG on the first bullet.

I thought the second bullet was going to be short lived as i triple barrel bluffed in a 3bet pot, but fortunately got a fold after a long river tank from my opponent. After that some guy decided to flat call 76s and then snap call off vs my 30bb all in (i had AKo). The flop came down 853r, but fortunately the J/J run out spared any suck out. The guy seemed like a reg to me, but perhaps had a restaurant reservation that he needed to rush off to.

After that i managed to chip up to 140k, before finishing the end of Day 1 being fairly card dead and struggling to win a pot. So i entered Day 2 with just 82k chips.

On Day 2 i managed to win a few all ins early on, and played an interesting hand where a fish limps ep (he had opened 3.5x with A8s earlier on, so i assumed this limp range was weak). I Iso AJo and some guy goes all in behind me with like 10bb. The fish calls and then i back jam, thinking that he probably never has a decent hand but often has a hand like 66 that will fold vs a jam. He tanked for a while, squirming and then folds- apparently he had TT lol. My opponent had JT and i managed to fold on a KQxxx run out. So fortunately he folded, otherwise i would have been out (or at least crippled).

After that i hovered around the 20bb mark for most of the tournament up until the bubble. I had KK with 15bb against a loose opponent, and 3bet jammed my way in to AA. Fortunately there was a K in the window, and i held. After that i managed to chip up, and got itm with around 500k (starting stack was 50k).

Unfortunately my heater didn't last, and i couldn't get much going after getting itm. At one point i did get up to a million chips, but then the blinds increased and i started to get blinded away, before 3bet jamming my last 5bb on the final hand of the day with A9o and losing to 88. In all honesty i didn't mind busting, as the prospect of arriving on Day 2 with 3-4bb wasn't particularly appealing.

Overall i enjoyed getting back in to playing some live poker, though it was a bit awkward when everyone was speaking in Italian and i was just sitting there, not knowing what anybody was saying. I still definitely prefer online to live, but i think that its good to mix things up and throw a spanner in your routine every so often. I came in 24th place for 1750, so managed to make 650 profit (as i bought in twice).

I only played online three times online last week- twice at cash during the week, and once on Sunday at tournaments. Though i did obviously play two days of live poker (including a twelve hour day on Saturday). This definitely caught up with me on Sunday as i was pretty drained mid way through my mtt session, so decided to cut it short and avoid playing any cash tables (which i often do towards the end of my Sunday session).


I am going back to Scotland on Tuesday, so i will give a proper breakdown of my time in Malta when i get back. It's my last full day today and after just doing a coaching session there, i am about to head out and (finally) go and visit the Tarxien Temples, which should be interesting.

Let's have a good week! GG.

A pleasant river

Small pots matter

Feb. 20, 2023 | 12:59 p.m.

Yeah it seems like there has been a bit of a chess boom ever since the Queens Gambit was released. It's funny because we are playing a game from hundreds of years ago, for a living (poker), and at the moment millions of people are playing chess on sites like etc, which is also a really old game (probably much older than poker tbh).

Isn't it strange that in a time where we could easily invent a new app and a new game, that we still play (and love) games such as poker and chess? I guess that, even with innovation and technology, sometimes you can't beat a good board game that was well designed!

I like how Malta has different buildings and architecture compared to the usual countries that i visit (they tend to be on mainland Europe). Obviously the climate is nice too. It's the Winter just now and it doesn't really seem to get colder than 10c. It's also really cool being so close to the sea, and being able to walk along the coast on my walk to the gym- which i am going to head to soon.

That is a good point. I think as humans we have a 'good weather bias'. Basically, whenever we visit a place and it's a really nice, sunny day, it means that we automatically rate that place as being better than it would be, had we visited on a rainy day, for example. So perhaps because its not been 30c+ everyday, like it was in Budapest, then i haven't gotten as good of an impression of it. It's tough to say.

Either way, i am glad that i have visited. You don't really know how much you will like a place until you go there :)

For me it felt too small, though for vacation it was nice.

Yes i completely agree. Even though i have always lived on an island, it's a much bigger one that is connected to other countries that you can drive or take the train to. So in that sense i think it's a pretty good sized island.

Where do you live? Sorry if you told me in the past and i forgot haha.

Feb. 14, 2023 | 1:01 p.m.

Comment | Demondoink commented on THE GRIND

Good luck for this year mate RunItTw1ce

Feb. 14, 2023 | 1:15 a.m.

The difficulty of switching between stakes


So far this year i have played a mixture of different stakes. When i was in the UK i was able to play on GG, as well as Pokerstars and ACR, but for whatever reason, they don't allow me to play on the UK client while i am on holiday in Malta. This enabled me to basically avoid playing stakes like 200z as i could play 500/1k on there alongside my tables on Stars and ACR. However, with the table cap set at four on Stars, and sometimes not bothering to play on ACR, then i often seek to add in some zoom to boost my hands per hour. 500z rarely runs nowadays, so that doesn't leave me with many other options.

However, what i have noticed recently is that its very difficult to play one style at 200z, and a completely different one at $2k. At $2k people seem to grasp the concept (as they are very good players) that you need to mix, or randomise your decisions, especially on later streets like the river, otherwise i an incentivised to simply never bluff against them. However, at 200z my bluffs often seem to have no fold equity and my opponents seem to simply pure call against me.

It's the same situation when i play tournaments. Again my bluffs don't seem to have much fold equity and people are over calling.

So it can become very difficult trying to play, and execute one style at a certain stake, and a completely different one at another stake. Also, it's kind of boring when i am essentially handicapped to stop bluffing as they are all likely to be -EV against population. I like bluffing, for me it's what makes the game fun as anyone can value bet with a strong hand, but it takes skill (and heart) to execute a good bluff, especially on a funky line where its difficult to have many.

By no means am i saying that 200z players are bad, they are still good poker players, but there are obviously some reasons that they are not playing higher stakes, and having a binary mindset of 'i will call everything vs this player' and then not expecting them to adjust seems very suspect.

Anyways, what it highlighted is that i really shouldn't be playing any lower than $500nl, even if i have no tables running. It's better to come back at a later time and play, or grind the following day when more games are running, than to try and play several different styles of poker across several different stakes.

Perhaps if i was doing something like a 100k hand challenge at 200z, then i would enjoy finding exploits and adjusting to my opponents as my sole focus would be on this. However, that is not the situation that i am currently in. So my intention is to completely cut out 200z from now on.

I guess i am just a zoom guy at heart. 500z will always be my favourite stake, even if it has already died a painful death. I really like the 'get in lots of hands' aspect of zoom, and the fact that you can't bum hunt and get the seat on the fish etc as the tables are always rotating.

In terms of my regular grind, it has been very swingy so far this year. There haven't been a ton of fish online (which is obviously a problem) and i often haven't been playing my A game either for whatever reason. Like i said before, i have been battling a decent bit of $2k against some other really good regs. This format/stake probably gives me the most mental stimulation and enjoyment nowadays. In the past three handed was quite a big weakness of mines. I was leaking bvb from both the sb and the bb. But for the most part, i have rectified this. I have also been working on other common spots three handed (like btn vs bb, 3bet pots etc). Obviously i don't expect to have a huge WR against regs (if any) but it's fun trying to improve at this format, and obviously means that i will always have a seat at the table when the fish joins.

Sometimes you don't need to be technically 'winning' in a poker game, for it to be profitable. The future EV of a fish joining and you having a seat, is usually more than enough to offset any small losses from three handed. Though if we can become breakeven/profitable by becoming one of the toughest regs, then that is an additional bonus!


I had a friend come and visit me in Malta last week for a few days. We actually met through this blog, and met up when i was in Budapest last Summer. I hadn't seen him since, but we have kept in contact ever since, so i invited him over as we had a spare room at our Airbnb and he doesn't need a second invitation to visit a new country!

Unfortunately the weather was terrible and we got soaked a couple of times, but it was still good catching up, talking about poker and about life in general. It's actually funny because the guy i am on holiday with was also met through RIO. So it just shows that this forum is a great place to meet like minded people. Many of the nicest, most interesting people that i know have been met through this site. So even if i do not watch a ton of the training video content nowadays, i am still very appreciative for the website and for the opportunities it has given me to meet new people!

I only have a week here, so i am going to try and get out every day from now on and see different parts of the country. It's not really a country that i would look to move to permanently tbh (i preferred Budapest) but it was still definitely worth visiting. I really enjoy travelling, but it often highlights that what you have back home isn't so bad after all. For all of Scotland's flaws, it has lots of positives to outweigh any negatives.

I played until 7am on Monday morning, slept for five hours, done coaching and then grinded cash again. So i have just taken it easy for the rest of the day, and actually started to watch The Queens Gambit with my friend. I enjoyed the first episode, though it's pretty sad about all of the kids being put up for adoption. Even if it's a fictional story, this is the reality for many children around the country, and around the world.

Sometimes all a kid needs is some encouragement to show the world that they are a chess crusher.


cool bluff from my opponent

hero calling on mono board

Feb. 13, 2023 | 11:40 p.m.

TPLancaster Haha if you're my first customer then i will promise a free, lifetime guaranteed, jeans drying service in return. Next morning bone dry or money back.

Feb. 10, 2023 | 1:56 p.m.

1- Haha yeah i was just joking around, it's just sometimes fairly difficult to translate this across in a wall of text without any facial expressions etc. Though sometimes i think it's important to be honest with yourself and call yourself out when you are being lazy, are unmotivated etc, though this can be done without self hatred and more about taking accountability for your actions.

2- I actually only use one sizing on both the flop and turn, and only start to split on the river when it's much easier to slot hands in to either a small sizing (for thinner value bets) or a big sizing (for strong value bets). The only tricky aspect is making sure that you assign bluffs to both sizing's, as it can sometimes be easy to only bluff for the small sizing, or vice versa and thus one range becomes too imbalanced towards value and the other towards bluffs. Which is fine against a fish but not against anyone decent.

You can compare the EV's very easily in PIO on the turn and the river by creating sub trees. Usually i give like five different sizing's and then run the turn with one sizing only, and compare the EV's of the two most commonly used sizing's out of the five to see what is the optimal one, if we were to use only one sizing. That way i will minimise any EV loss from playing multiple turn sizing's, but as a result of playing only one, will also likely outperform someone who plays multiple sizing's but without much accuracy.

Feb. 7, 2023 | 5:55 p.m.

Update- getting back in to working out again


Since i got to Malta i had been planning on joining a gym, but i had been procrastinating to an extent and hadn't done so until last week. I wanted to join a place with a sauna, swimming pool etc so that i can also use the time after the gym as an opportunity to relax and get in to a better mindset for grinding and studying. Too many sessions this year i have not played my A game, which i think was either down to my excess study (i was trying to study every day for a year, but managed to do a month before i decided it was negatively impacting my game as i was getting burnt out before i even started, though i did still learn a lot so it was worth it i guess) or my lack of a regular workout/exercise routine. I am usually a very active person, but since moving back to my parents i had lacked motivation and just wanted to grind, study and find a flat asap.

However, you definitely notice a difference in your overall mood when you stop exercising (or at least do it much less often than before). Being in a worse mood tends to mean having less of a clear mindset to make good decisions in game, thus leading to more B and C game.

So basically exercising is +EV, and being a lazy bastard who lacks motivation to get on the exercise grind is most definitely -EV.

In a game of small edges, it was important not to shoot myself in the foot :P

I think i read in a book a while ago (i can't recall what it was) that it's a good idea to pair negative tasks or chores with positive ones, so that you stop associating those 'negative' tasks as being negative, and thus start to (perhaps) even look forward to doing them.

For example, with washing the dishes i realised that this was an opportunity to learn something as i wash them. So i either listen to a podcast (i just listened to Jordan Peterson's most recent one with Joe Rogan) or an audio book (today i started Eckart Tolle's 'a new earth').

So i think that by pairing the gym (which i used to enjoy by itself in the past, but got kind of bored of it in the past year or two) with going to the sauna, swimming and relaxing, then i have started to enjoy it again, and it's become easy to get out of the door and walk thirty minutes to it. I'm not saying that i am necessarily going to keep going for the long term, but at least in the short term i will continue to go for the forseeable future.


As i alluded to in my previous post, my goals this year are to start being much more consistent in terms of what days that i play poker on. Roughly speaking, this is going to be my work week going forward;

Monday- day off from grinding (but not from studying, as i'd actually rather study on my days off so that i can fry my brain with information and not limit my ability to play my A game).

Tuesday- cash games+$1k Super Tuesday (i'll try to satellite in, but i might just start to buy in).

Wednesday- cash games+$215 Battle Royale

Thursday- cash games+$1k Thursday Thrill (same again here).

Friday- cash games

Saturday- day off from grinding (study until my brain is fried).

Sunday- tournaments+ cash games at the end of my mtt session when i'm down to a couple tournaments.

Rinse, repeat and take souls :)

I am also going to plan live tournaments in advance and grind more of them, so of course they will throw off my weekly routine whenever i play in them,

I have started to enjoy planning things in advance. In the past i was more of a spur of the moment person (or perhaps this was just an excuse and it was merely procrastination). I didn't enjoy routine, but after getting in to playing tournaments every Sunday towards the end of last year, it has snowballed in to this routine that i am currently trying to adhere to.

My study for the past month or so has given me great clarity in game in certain spots (though of course i still have a ton of improving to do in many other spots). It's really satisfying to see your study paying off and finding the PIO approved bluffs etc in weird situations, or using the optimal sizing's, or finding checks with hands that have a higher EV to check over bet because of their unblocking properties etc.

PIO is like a coded message that we are constantly trying to decode and understand. Maybe we can start to understand a few letters and form a word or two, which can then give us the rough outlines of a sentence etc. However, just because we look at a few sims does not mean we should be expecting to be able to decode the entire passage.

Anyways, tonight i decided to (after going to the gym and then hitting the sauna) study some bvb sims. It's safe to say that i fried my brain and it was even a bit of a struggle writing this up afterwards haha. It's quite overwhelming how much there is to study bvb- all the different lines, different turn and river cards, different post flop sizing's etc. Then, of course, 1755 flops to do all of that with :D

So maybe i am still a long way off perfect poker, but i am better than i was this time last week in terms of my understanding of the game. Hopefully that will yield me good results when i hit the tables.


Don't fold pairs

Do you think i was balanced here?

Feb. 7, 2023 | 12:30 a.m.

zache86 Wow that's dedication that you chose to go all the way to Japan for a River Plate game haha. Hopefully the match was worth the travel! Though i guess you could kill two birds with one stone- go and see your team, but also visit a really cool country.

That's crazy about them walking you to your destination. Though i guess the sad thing is that nowadays with iphones and google maps etc, you can just ask your phone instead of a stranger. I'm still conflicted between cities and towns cos i like to do things in the city (such as going to a good gym, to sporting events etc) but there is absolutely no community aspect in them and most people walk around with earphones in. In towns you know and talk to more people, but there is less to do in terms of activities, especially during the Winter. So i tend to oscillate between both of them (which is why i guess i'm travelling around right now instead of renting/buying in a specific place haha).

Thanks man! It's definitely warmer than Europe, but still not exactly warm. Though i still walked around in shorts today as i headed to the gym and back, but this was mostly down to the fact that the rest of my clothes were in for washing haha.

Do you plan on going back to visit Japan again?

Feb. 6, 2023 | 11:36 p.m.

hurtNCYDE Aw yeah you mentioned that you were leaving Glasgow. How long are you planning on staying over there for? Enjoy your holiday/trip/move :)

Haha that's very random. Hopefully they were saying good things instead of about how much of a whale i am :D

Feb. 6, 2023 | 11:29 p.m.

Update- moving to Malta for a month and finding my Ikigai


Since i've been searching for a flat i have been living with my parents again, as it made sense to save some money from renting to go towards the flat. Now that that plan has been scrapped (at least for now) i will either have to rent somewhere in Scotland, move abroad or just randomly hop around places, like i am doing just now haha.

They decided to knock down a wall in order to connect the kitchen and the dining room and make it in to one big kitchen-diner. However, this would involve early morning starts from the builders and lots of smashing- not something that goes well for a poker player who is used to waking up in the early afternoon!

So with that in mind i contacted a poker friend and asked if he wanted to go to Malta for a month to ride out this period, experience some warmer weather than the 0C or so in the UK, see another new country and get on the grind. Thankfully he was keen and so we rented out a place on and booked out flights.

I have been here for almost two weeks now, and have around two and a half weeks remaining. I try to get out every day and spend at least an hour or two walking around, or reading in a nice garden or overlooking the sea. I spend the bulk of my daily life (as i am sure most people do nowadays) in front of technology in one way or another. So i think it's good to head out (without any earphones, not messaging etc) and just look around, then enjoy some reading.

I just finished a book called Ikigai, which (apparently) means- a Japanese concept referring to something that gives a person a sense of purpose, a reason for living.

I like that, and i also like how humble the Japanese people seem to be (at least from what i have read from the book). Apparently the Sumo wrestlers do not show positive, nor negative emotions after their matches, because they do not want to disrespect their opponents. Many people also apparently quit their jobs at a certain point in their careers to merely pursue something they are passionate about, even if that means a drastic reduction in wages etc.

In an era where we are always wanting more, this was pretty cool to hear.

However i still want to move up in stakes and bink some live tournaments, but i think in the future i will try and find my Ikigai in something like a food truck, or open up a store or a cafe or something. I don't really care about making six figures for the rest of my life. Once i've made enough money from poker to buy a nice flat or house and feel like i have had enough of the game, then i will just do a job that i enjoy, even if it means earning a lot less money than before. After all, we are all going to die eventually anyways, so it's better to spend your time doing something that you enjoy!


I played just over 20k hands in January at cash games, and probably around another 10k or so at tournaments. Obviously i was moving around, seeing Malta etc so i didn't manage to get in a ton of volume, but i still hit my modest goal of 20k hands at cash for the month. The games are not very good at the moment anyways, so it's not a particularly good time to put in volume.

I was playing tonight and ended up battling some $1k and $2k for a while, as well as grinding some tournaments on the side. I think it's a nice 'cheat' code to get yourself to play longer sessions, by regging some tournaments at the beginning of your session, as you are force to play them until you bust them. So it makes sense to grind some cash at the same time (and thus get in more hands than you might have done, were you to have the opportunity to quit your sessions whenever you liked).

In all honesty i didn't play very well. I probably played B- or C+ game, with some good plays thrown in amongst some spazz and very sloppy lines. I think the lack of sleep last night was a fairly big contributing factor, and i guess i was also quite tired from the days study, coaching and also getting back in to the gym (i joined one today for a month that also has a sauna, swimming pool etc).

So tomorrow i am going to ignore my spot focused study and instead review hands from the session. I don't mind people being better at me at certain lines (as i can't study everything at once). However, what i do mind is when i don't bring my best game to the table, as this is MY OWN FAULT.

Anyways, at least i recovered some towards the end of the session.

GG, we go again tomorrow! Study then right back on the horse!

No pair, but a big heart

When a fish snap calls your 150% pot river value bet, you know you should have gone larger

Feb. 3, 2023 | 2:09 a.m.

Thanks buddy. Always happy to see you in here! Are you still basking in the glory of your countries WC win? :D Also i seen that Enzo Fernandez joined Chelsea for a ridiculous transfer fee. The English clubs have far, far too much money nowadays. Benfica bought him for £10m in August and sell him for 10x that less than six months later haha.

Do you think he will turn out to be a world class player?

Feb. 3, 2023 | 1:32 a.m.

Thanks man! GL this year and i hope you crush $5k and beyond on GG ;)

Feb. 3, 2023 | 1:29 a.m.

Thanks mate! Sorry about the very slow responses btw but i will get back to your very soon! I hope you are doing well :)

Feb. 3, 2023 | 1:29 a.m.

Thanks mate and i am glad you joined in on this thread too!

Nah i can deposit from the UK, but there are limits on how much you are able to. The default is like $500 per month lol. I managed to deposit $8k after providing a bunch of bank statements etc, but they didn't allow me to deposit any more. So obviously this isn't exactly a roll for high stakes haha (though i have managed to double it through mtt's etc).

If i were to move abroad it would be much easier to deposit (i believe). So i guess that would be a factor in any future decisions. But for now i am planning to grind from the UK so it will be Stars, ACR and GG up to $1k cash (i am currently testing it out to see if the rake is beatable without affiliate rakeback or leaderboards etc).

Feb. 3, 2023 | 1:27 a.m.

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