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Why do we play poker?

I was just listening to a Joe Rogan podcast with Francis Ngannou (a heavyweight MMA fighter turned boxer) who is a very interesting guy. His first podcast with Rogan details the trials and tribulations that he had to go through just to get in to Europe as he looked for a better life than the one that he was set to live in his native of Cameroon. This more recent podcast was less focused on this story and more so on his upcoming boxing match with Tyson Fury, who is arguably one of the greatest heavyweights of all time- not that I know a ton about boxing tbh.

One thing that I really like to do is to cook and listen to a podcast. Cooking is one of my passions and I can happily spend one to two hours making food- especially if I am listening to a great podcast while doing so. It's like a double dose of enjoyment at the same time! In the past I didn't really like listening to, or reading biographies or autobiographies, because I felt like they were a little narcissistic. However, now I really enjoy them (though I always try to vary what I read/listen to, so that it does not become boring and stale) and I try to learn about interesting people, so that I can perhaps steal one or two things from their mentality/work ethic/approach to life etc and then apply it to my own.

Francis made one or two comments that I really liked. To me he seems like a very nice and humble guy, which is what I really like in a person and especially in a sportsperson that is the best in the world, simply because it would be so easy for the success to go to their head and thus start to act in an arrogant manner.

One was about how he doesn't like to linger on his 'strengths'. He doesn't really see any fighting attributes to be a 'strength' but more so an area that can always be improved. Of course some areas may need more focus and attention than others, but essentially he is always a work in progress and always has room to improve. Which is the approach and mentality of someone with a growth mindset.

Another one, which may be less about success but more about happiness, was about how he realised that he was training/fighting but wasn't having fun any longer (for a short period of time). It had stopped being his passion and had now simply become a job and a means to make money.

The reason that we got in to poker, originally, was not because we thought we could make a ton of money, it's because we enjoyed the game and the mental and competitive challenge. When you are playing a home game with your friends, or when you go to the casino for the first time, you aren't thinking about turning professional and doing this as a full time job. You are just trying to outwit your opponent(s) and you have fun in the process of doing this. The highs feel extremely high, and the lows crushingly low, but this makes you feel alive.

Playing with a one buy in bankroll (and indeed life roll) seems like a good idea when you stumble in to the casino at 3am after a night out at the club. Intoxicated, you sit down at the £0.25/0.50 table and hope that you win enough to cover your bus journey home at 6:30am on the first bus of the day. You hope that this will fund your McDonalds lunchtime habit and, perhaps, your night out that will inevitably come next week. Maybe by drinking the £1 Jager Bombs, you can leave yourself just enough money to play poker again after the club, and go through the process all over again.

This wasn't fancy living, but it was living. You felt alive because you were one buy in away from having to borrow money from your friend for the bus. You were one busted flush draw away from having to skip McDonalds until your next student loan arrived. However, you were also one bluff away from freerolling those Jager Bombs. Or one big value bet away from a new shirt for your nights out. Perhaps the session went so well that, maybe, you will even treat your friends to a taxi instead of waiting for the bus!

You cash out £200. It's 6:00am and the bus is in thirty minutes. You and your friends are almost completely sober at this point, but all feel like zombies. You've had no sleep and your mind is both tired from playing poker, but also tired from your studies the previous day, as well as from your attempts to pull at the club. You withdrew your last money the previous night and this £200 represents your entire net worth, yet you feel rich. You just 4x'd your money- and done so while being completely drunk! Perhaps there is money to be made in this game, after all...

Anyways, when Francis realised that he wasn't enjoying the sport any longer, he made a conscious decision to have fun again, because, after all, that's why he got in to it in the first place. What happened next? He started to win again.

I think that I am sometimes guilty of taking poker too seriously. I can get very annoyed and frustrated after, or during, a poor session. There have been plenty times where I catch myself essentially counting down the hands or the time until the end of my session. However, I have been making much more of a conscious effort recently to have fun during my sessions. I love this game and it's so cool to be able to do this job for a living. Even if it can be incredibly frustrating and stressful sometimes, I wouldn't want to be doing anything else (at least for now).

I definitely don't plan on doing this job for the next twenty years. If online poker dies then I highly doubt that I would turn to grinding live poker for a living, I would (likely) just see this as the natural end of the road for my poker career and switch my attention towards something else. I really like David Goggins approach to life. He always challenges himself, not just in terms of his workouts etc, but also in terms of his work. With the success of his books etc, it is highly likely that he would never need to 'work' for another day in his life. However, he ends up signing up to be a wildland firefighter. He does one thing, completes it, or sees it as time to move on to a new mission, and then finds his next mission.

My current mission is online poker, but I am already thinking about what to do next. There are so many different experiences to be had on this planet, so doing the same thing for 30+ years makes no sense to me. This is why I don't like staying in one place for too long, because I think that it's pointless to stay in a place for too long when there are so many new places to move to and explore.

With that in mind, I am planning to do some volunteering in a national park in the coming weeks. One of the main reasons for me moving up North is to do more outdoorsy things, so I think that this is a great way to get outside, meet new people and experience new things. I have put my name down to help build a wildcat enclosure, which should be interesting. I think that after poker I either want to do something with food (such as owning my own food truck) or with animals. I think animals is more of a longer term thing, because I doubt I could create much of a business out of that, and thus it's more like something you would either do part time or when you are close to retiring.

Anyways, my current focus is on poker. I am introspective and I know where I need to improve, but at the same time I am very confident in my own game and my approach. I just want to make a very conscious effort to have fun while playing, take the game less seriously (in terms of the swings) and enjoy this profession while it lasts- cos it certainly won't last forever! When it's time up, then it's on to the next mission (as Goggins would say).


value bet or bluff?

Sept. 26, 2023 | 3:31 a.m.

Comment | Demondoink commented on Reviewing My A Game

mx404 Hey man, good questions! I actually haven't booked the mental game coaching yet as i'm kinda overwhelmed right now with everything else going on in my life. I'm moving house on Friday and have to do coaching, play poker etc as well.

However, I'm going to book it once i've settled in and I am able to focus on poker fully again. At the moment I'm just playing a few times a week, basically on days where I have time to grind. It will take number one priority again in a few weeks, and then I will book mental game coaching and assess other ways that I can improve my game so that I can crush next year.

I will post an update in my blog at some point if you are interested :)

Always curious to find out how non-technical elements are shaping
curshers' game :D

I will do a post soon on this too, as I sometimes run out of ideas for new ones haha. So that was a good suggestion!

Sept. 24, 2023 | 11:18 p.m.

Nice post! Maybe I shouldn't have read this at night after playing etc (as there was a lot to absorb) but i agree that right now, it's a tricky spot in online poker to know what to do. High stakes games don't run very often (though they seem to a decent amount on GG, but rake is very high there) and the traffic only seems to be getting lower- with deposit restrictions etc making it more and more difficult for fish to deposit. Of course there will always be live poker but I agree that it's very boring and not very mentally stimulating playing thirty hands per hour eight handed.

You mentioned playing $1k, but tonight (on a Friday night) there were literally zero tables of $1k on Stars running- though I did manage to get a few $2k tables on Stars which was nice.

Tbh I am not looking very far in to the future with online poker. Maybe high stakes games will be around in five years or maybe they will be dead. I'm just trying to enjoy playing (even though i'm currently on a big downswing) cos I definitely don't plan on doing this forever as there is so much more to life than sitting in front of a PC for the rest of your working life.

I would just point that playing in 6m nosebleed games can often be softer (and you can have a higher WR) than at lower stakes. The $10k games (i've only played a couple one tabling sessions of it this year) were not even tough tables. The last table was me and two good regs (Dejanic and Kayhan) then two bum hunting regs and a big fish. The rake was like 0bb/100 as well. Most $1k tables i play are tougher than that tbh, especially once you factor in rake etc as well.

Of course if you plan on reg battling the nosebleeds then i'm sure these games will be much tougher, but usually these games run around a fish and thus they are quite likely to be softer than your average $1k or $2k game, especially on Stars where the games at $5k+ basically become rake free.

My WR in that $10k game would be much higher than anything i could achieve at $1k or $500nl, for example. Even though two of the regs are very good, obviously. Zero rake, two weak regs and a big fish add up to a nice win rate- at least in theory as i lost haha.

Anyways it's admirable that you wanna keep moving up in stakes, so if you can handle the swings and the low volume, then you should keep going for it! You need a certain type of mentality for this, and it seems like you have it. I'm not so sure that I do, but regardless I'm gonna shot take in the coming year and see what happens. Perhaps I'll just decide I'm happy playing up to $2k and the stresses of higher stakes aren't worth it- who knows! Cos at the end of the day I just wanna prioritise my happiness, and if i'm hating poker or getting stressed out of my mind for $100k+ swings then it just isn't worth it.

Good luck and see you at the tables!

Sept. 22, 2023 | 11:50 p.m.

Come back Sauce! We miss you :(

Sept. 20, 2023 | 4:29 p.m.



On Sunday I turn thirty and a week on Friday (the 29th of September) I am moving in to my first ever home. This feels like the perfect point to buy my first house and to move on to the next chapter in my life. During my twenties I have changed a lot, matured a ton, got much better at poker and moved up in stakes. However, I also seen my social life slowly deteriorate as friends started to have kids and were moving away- whether that be to another city or abroad. Recently I feel like my social life has a better balance with the introduction of weekly football, tennis etc, but it is still going to be a main focus once I move to Inverness.

I am excited. I am someone who needs to have a change of scenery as I get bored of a place after a certain amount of time and I wish to move some place else. When I travel I like going to countries that I haven't been to before, because I realise that we only have a limited amount of time on this earth and thus it makes sense to see as much of it as possible- while making sure we have novel experiences in the process.

Having come from a small town, I enjoyed my time in the big city. I liked the sporting events available at your doorstep. I enjoyed the nightlife, the endless number of pubs to choose from, the ability to go shopping at any store you wish without having to drive thirty minutes to get there, the ever changing faces of tourists, visitors etc that you would walk by on a daily basis. I think that it's vital that someone from a town move to a city at some point in their lives, and vice versa, but now it's time to move to a place where I can shift my focus back towards more nature focused activities. Inverness is great for hiking (which i've hardly done this year). I want to get back in to camping, train for another marathon (for next year) and to do some volunteering to help give back a little.

Whenever my mind drifts nowadays, it is towards the idea of doing long hikes, camping and doing things in nature. It is not towards nightclubs, pubs and clothes shopping. Of course there is nothing wrong with these things, but we just go through different phases in our lives and right now, I am ready to move on to a new one!


I've hardly had much time to play poker as i've been very distracted and busy trying to sort out things for moving in to the house, but on Sunday I did play a cash/mtt session which was pretty fun- and I even managed to have a nice winning session again! I'm also excited for poker. I'm very motivated to test myself mentally at higher stakes and to see how far I can go. I am going to keep dipping my toes in the waters of live poker as well, even if it is only once every couple of months.

In the past my fears and anxieties have stopped me from doing many things- from moving off by myself, from travelling alone, from moving up in stakes more aggressively etc, but this year I've noticed a big shift in my mentality in this regard, and now these negative or anxious thoughts have very little power over my ultimate actions. If I want to do something nowadays, I almost always just do it- even if it is uncomfortable or anxiety inducing.

I'm really enjoying playing poker as well. It was fun to play some tournaments again on Sunday for the first time, basically, since May and SCOOP. Of course my main focus will remain cash games, but if I manage to find time, then I will continue to grind some WCOOP events on the side and hopefully bink something soon!

It's pretty sick, as one of my best friends in poker managed to bink second in the Sunday Million for $100k and a couple days later, win a WCOOP event for around $40k. In the past couple of years he has been kind of struggling a little, but it just shows how quickly it can turn around if you stick at it!

I'll try to get in at least a few sessions this week, but my main priority right now is to sort out the house purchase and get all the small things that surround that, sorted as well.

Whenever I do play, though, I am going to focus on enjoying myself and having fun because after all, we fell in love with this game as a hobby first, and then it became a profession later. Lets not forget this.


Just two regs clicking buttons

Every pot matters!

Sept. 19, 2023 | 9:04 p.m.

Also, expanding on the questions you asked about if one of my students were to surpass me in poker. Of course we are all humans and sometimes we might see another players success as a threat in some way, but ultimately these feelings of jealousy (which are common especially in mtt's, where someone can randomly win a huge first prize and then you think 'why not me?') are simply egoic and not logical.

There is not a shortage of money in the world, or at least there isn't in the game of poker. If we both work hard, then we can both be successful. It doesn't have to be me vs you- that's simply your ego talking. I don't hold back anything when it comes to coaching, and tell them the exact way that I study every day. What i might 'hold back' would be about my own stats etc, because I don't feel like it's relevant in providing the student with a good framework on how to play the game.

I don't want to make this coaching about me and my game, I want to make it about how to approach the game properly, and your study, to create a streamlined, efficient study process for you, so that you can improve much faster instead of spending hours in front of a solver with little to no improvement.

However I always make it crystal clear before my coaching begins what I will provide them- which is a theoretical framework on how to approach the game, not a breakdown of my own game and my own stats. If they are looking for the latter, or a coach that is more focused on exploitation, then they can look elsewhere because I don't want someone's money unless we are singing off the same hymn sheet.

Sept. 18, 2023 | 7:36 p.m.

Hey mate Lausbub thanks for the comment!

Hi Demo, not saying this is the case for you, as you evidently beat
the games you play and are quite transparent about your pokergame and
yourself, but I disagree that people should buy 5 or 10hours of
coaching instead of 1 to try it out.

Just to make it clear, I was not recommending that people just jump in and buy 5-10 hours of coaching with some random coach. I was simply saying that my favourite students to coach are the ones that entrust me (fully) with improving them and will book a block of sessions right off the bat, instead of booking one session first. Perhaps they have been recommended me as a coach, have been reading my blog on here or watch me play, but either way they should almost certainly know a bit about me already. I guess if you are more of an unknown quantity in the poker community (and you are a coach) then it would be much more of a risk to block book with them before you try them out.

a lot of them probably not even winning players and tbh those
coachings were just a shit show, without real interest in improving
the student.

Yes exactly. I can imagine it's not easy to find a good coach, while sorting through the snake oil salesman that are also trying to get you to book with them instead. I only considered booking coaching twice (which i never got) but both times they were RIO coaches, cos I knew they had a good thought process and were better than me at poker. So you have to take some responsibility about your run bad with coaches, cos if you aren't able to hear their thought process etc through a training video beforehand, and you haven't booked a single session first to try them out, then you are running a risk- unless you have had good recommendations from friends or something.

How do you personally deal with making people better at poker?

I provide them with a theoretical/GTO framework that they can use to make much better decisions in game. We focus on building solid heuristics in different spots (usually SRP first, btn vs bb as it's the most common spot) and on understanding the 'why' behind the solver's outputs. How do we bluff the correct combos? How do we bluff catch using blockers/unblockers/suits etc? What are the best sizing's on early streets? Should we play multiple sizings or stick with one sizing on early streets?

These are some of the questions that I seek to address during the coaching sessions. We tend to do one line per week during the SRP btn vs bb block of five sessions- usually triple barrel, T probe, R probe, flop xr and then one other like delayed cbet or x down to the river. Then, if they want to book more sessions, we move on to 3bet pots btn vs blinds, or BVB, and repeat the same process.

Does the thought of improving someone to a level that he competes with
you at your stakes bother you?

No because I am confident in my own game. If someone improves a lot then that means I have to improve more to stay ahead of them. Another persons success does not make me worried, I just need to focus on myself and being as tough to play against as possible.

Also, if someone that I coached got to nosebleeds then I would be proud because I probably played a part in helping them to get there- so clearly my coaching and thought process was good then!

No problem, I don't mind being questioned because it forces you to be introspective :)

Sept. 18, 2023 | 7:20 p.m.

Welcome back Luke!

Sept. 15, 2023 | 7:01 p.m.

What makes a good student?


This week I have been trying to sort out the final details for my house purchase, as I'm supposed to move in on the 29th of September, which is only a little over two weeks away. This has involved emails, signing forms and trying to negotiate a reasonable price for a used washing machine, fridge etc that the current property owners are trying to shift.

I don't own a ton of stuff, so it's weird in a sense that now I 'have' to buy all these things (like a fridge, washing machine, furniture, beds etc) that I have never had to purchase before, having either lived at my parents or in rented accommodation for my entire life thus far. I try to keep things relatively minimalist, and I only really buy things when I actually need them. At the moment I am wearing a scabby old pair of Nike trainers that I bought last year while I was in Riga, and that I have worn in to the ground. I just do this until they need replaced and then I buy a new pair. It's the same with mobile phones- I had my last one for around four years, before it eventually packed in and I bought an Iphone mini (which I actually really like). Hopefully this phone lasts a similar amount of time too.

I would say that my overall approach in life is to (try to) be humble, both in the sense of always realising that I can get better at whatever I do (whether that be poker, chess, football, golf, tennis, learning Spanish, meditating, improving my diet etc) or in terms of avoiding buying things that I do not need. I don't mind buying good quality products (so that they last longer than cheap alternatives) but then I will basically just use them until they are worn out or broken.

The one thing that I have considered splashing out on is a good watch, cos at the moment I just use a Garmin Tactical (which I really like) but it is more of a running watch instead of a high quality one that could be worn out to a nice dinner etc. However, thus far I haven't bought one, and I will wait until after I have bought everything that I need for the house etc before I consider splashing out on myself.


It's been quite stressful trying to sort out everything for the move while at the same time going through a big downswing as well. A big chunk of this is from my failed $10knl shots, but overall I've been running extremely shit recently and can barely have one winning session. However, I feel like I'm playing pretty well and when I'm reviewing hands then it's good to see that plenty of my plays are aligning with the solvers logic/outputs.

So all I can do is continue to play well, and eventually the positive variance will come back around :)


Recently I've been doing quite a lot of coaching, with three new students joining in the past week. Over the years I have coached quite a lot of people, with differing personalities, work ethics, skill levels and enthusiasm to learn. So at this point I will say that I can fairly accurately gauge very quickly whether or not the student will become successful in the game in the coming years and able to move up in stakes etc.

For example, my most successful student (I shared his graph on my Instagram page), I knew after basically one session that he would go on to do very well.

First of all, as a coach, my favourite guys to coach (by far) are the ones that, after you tell them your coaching approach/methodology, they just insta book a block of sessions. Because they put that trust in you as a coach (despite, most likely, not knowing a ton about you) then you feel valued and then want to reciprocate this trust and help them to get as good as possible. The ones that hesitate, book one session or want to do a call beforehand tend to be more cautious and closed minded students that are less trusting, and usually aren't as open to absorbing new information or completely changing their approach to the game- even if it hasn't been very successful thus far.

In terms of the coaching, the best students will have a very open mind when it comes to learning and will be very enthusiastic to learn and improve. They will ask plenty questions and will be very good listeners, instead of trying to talk constantly and prove to you how much they know about the game- which is a complete waste of time from their perspective, cos they are paying you to be coached, yet are trying to prove how much they know about the game for the sake of their ego. They will take notes (if they like learning in that way) and they will study the concepts that we have discussed during out session, in between lessons on their own time, instead of thinking that doing the coaching session in isolation is 'enough'.

The aforementioned student also had a mental game coach, so he was completely focused on improving and did everything he could in order to achieve this improvement. I don't coach him any longer fwiw, but I just wanted to use him as the example because he was such a pleasure to coach and work with.

Of course I realise that some people will not like my approach to coaching (perhaps they want a more exploitative approach, or one more focused on stats etc) but I am just talking about the people that I like coaching the most, are the ones in the sort of mould that i outlined.

Perhaps some people will get offended by some of my comments, but these are just my experiences from coaching lots of different types of students. In all honesty I'll probably just stop doing one off sessions as nobody can really improve with one random session anyways, and I'd rather just coach students that are serious about improving and moving up, instead of trying to go for the quick fix of a one off coaching session.

Anyways, hopefully people find this topic interesting as I just thought that I'd do something a bit different, as I often hear about what makes a good coach, but almost never what makes a good student.


Slow playin'

Funny hand

Sept. 14, 2023 | 2:46 a.m.

RunItTw1ce Yeah i simmed the hand and it seems like his hand is a fine river call, with AQ and the low pocket pairs all mixing in some frequency of defend cos he doesn't have enough Kx/Jx to only call with those combos, or else he would be over folding. Though some people don't defend enough of these marginal hands ott and then you can get away with folding AQ otr cos now its stone bottom of your range (if your turn call range is tighter than it should be optimally).

Yeah my T3s hand was a very low frequency 3bet at $1k rake structure (which is what I study with) but in all fairness I didn't have $10k pre flop ranges, so I didn't know that we 3bet a little less and call more cos the rake is lower. Well I mean I did intuitively know this, but I just didn't know the exact pre flop ranges.

I actually made a slight mistake ott, as I cbet too small. I should have cbet 50% ott and then I could just jam any Kx for value otr. However, cos I went too small, then that's why you see more 33% bets otr instead of simply going all in, because the SPR is a bit higher. I wasn't sure whether to go 33% or 50% ott, but it's not a big deal either way. It's just not ideal for otr cos then you have to split between 33% and all in, instead of just going all in as your only sizing- which is much easier to execute.

If I'm playing in these games then I'm not gonna be scared money, so I'll just play my usual game and not try to skip out on certain 3bets to avoid variance. If I do feel like doing this, then I shouldn't be playing these stakes to begin with.

Overall I like my play and I give props to him for the call, cos I doubt I'm calling that hand otr tbh. Though he must respect me if he is willing to make these marginal 0EV calls. It's a little frustrating cos thats a $20k swing if he folds otr, but that is the nature of poker I guess, especially when you start to play these nosebleeds.

Sept. 9, 2023 | 11:33 p.m.

Comment | Demondoink commented on Reviewing My A Game

Hahah yeah i noticed the pp update too! Very professional!

Sept. 6, 2023 | 11:26 p.m.

Comment | Demondoink commented on Reviewing My A Game

Nuno Alvarez Thanks mate, I appreciate that! I always thought you made really good RIO videos, even if I don't play HU. You seem to approach the game from a very similar perspective to me in terms of your study, with a focus on taking a theoretical approach and on learning the drivers behind the solvers outputs- why they bluff or bluff catch certain combos over others based on blockers, unblockers, suits etc.

Hopefully we can both keep moving up in stakes though!

I saw your Ts3s hand at 10KNL on 2+2 this morning and despite it going
wrong, I loved seeing you there battling it out :)

Yeah I'm happy with that hand, even though it was a little frustrating cos that hand is supposed to fold sometimes otf and fold over half the time otr. So it's not ideal, but I think we both played the hand pretty well (I was using $1k 3bet ranges instead of $10k ones, cos at $10k my hand is supposed to just call pre actually). However it doesn't make any difference imo and I like my line. It's not that easy to find bluffs there, especially these random airball combos.

It's cool though cos next time i'll have Jx and stack him instead!

Sept. 6, 2023 | 9:54 p.m.

zache86 Welcome back, it feels like it's been a while!

The cash games were decent but tbh you are probably better off just grinding online, once you factor in being only able to one table, the high rake, the amount of hands you play per hour etc. I mean the regs were obviously not super tough, but still played decently well, and the fish probably weren't as bad as many you will face online. Online the fish tends to just quit when they go busto, but live it seemed like they were often quitting when they still had money on the table.

However I went towards the end of the series, I heard that the games were better at the beginning of it.

I'd say that if you are thinking about profit only, then it's probably better to just grind online. However if you want to have an experience, to meet new people and see a cool city etc, then grinding some live cash is worth it.

It's always tough to play the next "level",at least mentally, so it's
nothing you haven't gone through in the past :)

Thanks mate, I appreciate the support! That's true. I remember moving up to 200z and feeling like the stakes were huge. Then when I moved up to 500z and I started to play four figure pots for the first time, it was insane to me. So this is just the next step in the journey, and hopefully in a couple years time, $10knl will be the new $500z for me from a mental perspective.

How has the grind been going for you?

Sept. 6, 2023 | 9:46 p.m.

Nuno Alvarez Thanks man, I am glad that you have joined!

Yes I agree. Recently I was always thinking 'I just have to keep getting better, to study more etc' but in reality this is almost a waste of time, cos what I actually need to do is toughen up my mindset and get used to the swings that higher stakes inevitably bring.

Of course study is important, but in a lot of these high stakes games, especially 6max, you are playing in relatively weak lineups, despite the stakes. So it's much more important to be able to lose a couple buy ins at $10k and keep playing your A game, than it is to be precise in every post flop decision you make.

Ideally we can be great at poker and also strong mentally, but for nosebleeds it seems like, unless you are reg battling or something, the latter is much more important than the former. Having a strong mentality will yield a lot more EV and profit than having a strong game with a weak mentality. So in the next six months or so I want to focus on the mental aspect, and on desensitizing myself to higher stakes. Even though it's not easy cos I'm about to buy a house and will be spending a large chunk of my savings on this, so I will have to be a little cautious BRM wise so I don't risk going busto haha.

Sept. 6, 2023 | 9:39 p.m.

Trying to move up


I just got back on Monday from being away for a couple weeks, first to Madrid, with my friend, and then on to Barcelona to play at the EPT. It was nice to get away and enjoy some very good weather again. Personally I enjoyed Madrid much more than Barcelona, as it was a bit more chilled and less touristy. Barcelona was just extremely busy for me and a bit more intense. I didn't even make it down to the beach as I was staying around 2.5 miles away from it, and whenever I went down in that direction it was basically just to go to the casino.

I did really enjoy going to Gaudi's Casa Battlo though, and would definitely recommend visiting it if you are ever in Barcelona. The city has some really cool sites- such as the Arc De Triomf etc, but like I said, it's just a little too busy and intense for me.

In terms of poker, I didn't play the EPT and instead played cash games. I actually didn't bother playing any tournaments while I was there. Most of my volume was at 5/10, as I am not used to playing live and I'd often get very uncomfortable in hands- especially if I was bluffing, with one session of 10/20 as well. So this trip was more about getting used to and comfortable playing live poker and enjoying some sun, instead of being purely profit driven. I ended up making a little money, though I lost a decent chunk in my final session that went on from around 10pm at night until almost 6am in the morning. There was a pretty big fish at the table so we all ended up grinding until he quit. I could barely win a pot against him though and got stacked with AA against his 62s limp/call pre on K62cc. He only runs it once and on the 2/9 run out, I was almost certain that I had won- until he showed me the bad news!


I was just watching a Nuno Alvarez HU video there and what he said really hit home;

What happens in poker is that once you reach a certain level, is that
most of the difficulty in order to move up, doesn't have to do with
the actual technical game, it just has to do with the mental game.

While I was away in Barcelona I realised that what was holding me back was not from technical/theoretical perspective, but more so a mental one. I realised that I had a bit of mental block when it came to moving up to $5k/$10knl, and that it would probably be a good idea to hire a mental game coach to help me to overcome this. I have always had pretty good WR's on all the stakes that I've played, but in the past couple years I've not really moved up past $2knl- despite getting a lot better during this period. Those higher stakes games are often softer too, with one big fish and usually one or two bum hunting regs, coupled with the rake which is almost 0bb/100 at those stakes, at least on Stars.

I think that in order to move up to the nosebleeds, you have to have a certain level of degen within you, because it's not very 'natural' for a person to be able to lose the cost of a brand new car (or several of them) during one session. For most people, that would be completely unthinkable- even if they had the roll to risk it.

So last night a friend messages me and tells me that there is a $10knl game on Stars running, and that he will take some of my action if i wanna play. In all honesty I wasn't that bothered about playing, but the guy is a pretty big fish and there were two bum hunting regs on the table too, alongside two good regs. I ended up playing, playing my A game (I already reviewed all my hands and was very happy about the solver outputs aligning with my in game logic/decisions) but losing 1.5 buy ins. Obviously that is nothing, but when your usual highest stake is $2k, then it's quite a lot!

I've actually lost around $26k in 350 hands of $10knl (albeit I sold action for these losses) which isn't particularly fun, but if i want to move up and make real money (not just $100k-$200k py) then I have to, in the words of David Goggins, callous my mind. Does it hurt to lose this amount of money? Of course, especially in your first session back after taking a couple weeks off, to instantly lose $15k and then go back to playing your daily grind of $500nl-$2knl. However, I need to progress, I need to move up. If I can't handle losing a couple buy ins then I have no hope of becoming a regular at nosebleeds.

Perhaps this year will be a disappointing one in terms of results and money earned, but it (should) pay dividends in the coming years, if i'm able to successfully move up to $5k, $10knl and beyond. CD9K (he also has a really good blog on here) has given me a bit of a kick up the arse in terms of seeing him aggressively move up in stakes and try to reach the top. I've played with plenty guys over the years who have gone on to move up to the nosebleeds, as I just sit in my comfort zone.

It's time to play higher, to expose myself to the swings, and to callous my mind in the process. Hopefully I'll come back to this post in a couple years and see this as the turning point where I went from my comfort zone of $500nl-$2knl, and threw that all out of the window to push beyond, on to the nosebleeds. Let's see what happens, but all I know is that I'm good enough to get there.


Bluffing off at $10knl

Sept. 6, 2023 | 3:28 p.m.

Comment | Demondoink commented on Reviewing My A Game

What happens in poker is that once you reach a certain level, is that
most of the difficulty in order to move up, doesn't have to do with
the actual technical game, it just has to do with the mental game.

This. For the past couple of years, despite improving a lot, I have struggled to move past $2knl- despite having a good WR at pretty much every stake I play. I thought that I just needed to study more, to get better etc, but last week it was like an epiphany and I realised that it was just due to a mental block and a 'weak' mental game. So I started to look in to getting a mental game coach in order to overcome this block.

However, last night I ended up playing $10k (though i did sell some action) so perhaps consciously identifying my own mental weakness was enough to help me begin to overcome it. It's very stressful though and it's not easy for me to handle huge swings. Unfortunately i've ran shit at $10k so far though, so it's not easy on the mental game haha.

If I want to make serious money (instead of $100k-$200k py) then i'll just have to get used to big swings. That $10k game last night though was hugely profitable though, so in that sense it was a highly +EV decision to play.

Good luck on your own journey and I hope we both become regulars at $10knl and beyond!

Sept. 6, 2023 | 2:49 p.m.

I am going to EPT Barcelona

Just a short update to say that I will be going to EPT Barcelona later this month. Like I said in my original post ITT, I wanted to go to either the WSOP or an EPT this year, but I was going to skip this event because of a recent downswing. However, as I alluded to in my last post, I need to expose myself to these swings if I am going to mentally overcome them and move up in stakes. I'm not sure whether or not I will actually play the EPT or just grind cash, but either way I am looking forward to it.

If you are going and wanna meet up, shoot me a message as I just booked to go myself- though I do know a few people that are going already. I'm going to grind for the next three days then I'm going to Madrid on Saturday for a week with a friend, then on to Barcelona by myself afterwards.

Hope to see some of you guys in Barcelona :)

Aug. 16, 2023 | 6:18 p.m.

akissv7 I think his original discussion was on 'addictive behaviours' or something, but I just thought it was very applicable to lots of other aspects of our lives too- for example when attempting to get out of our comfort zone etc. Cos if we wait for the 'correct' thoughts before taking the action (or changing the behaviour) then they will, most likely, never come. Unless of course we just ignore these thoughts and take the action regardless, then over time we will re-wire our brains.

For example I was scared of flying for a period of time. A lot of people go to therapy for it, or just stay away from flying altogether. Instead I just took the flight, accepted that I would be scared while on it, but that over time this fear/anxiety would likely fade- which it did!

If I'd waited for the thoughts to change first, then I would have never flown again because they would have kept me in this state of fear where I was simply avoiding flying.

Problem here is that one does just not know if one is a good player or
bad player unless someone else tells you. Humans are just bad at
judging how good or bad one is, our mind is just not wired for it.

Yes this is true, but this is what hand histories and sample sizes are good at proving or disproving. If you are some random person at the casino then it's very difficult to gauge if you are any good at poker because your sample size is tiny and there is a ton of variance involved. However, if you are an online professional with millions of hands under your belt (and healthy win rates across lots of stakes) then I'd say this would be an accurate indication that you are 'good' at poker.

However, compared to bots, none of us are any good!

If your temperament is not fit for high stakes poker well that is one
of the main things you should work on.

Yes I completely agree. I have done meditation, off and on, for over five years now and I started doing it because I realised that I had too many mental insecurities (away from the tables) but also sometimes self sabotaged on the tables with negative thoughts too.

For the past couple years I have done meditation on an almost daily basis. I only play sessions when I am in a good/positive mood and I usually set hand goals for the session beforehand. My game doesn't actually get any worse when I am annoyed during a session cos I know my ranges/strategies very well at this point, but from a health/emotional standpoint it is not healthy to get very annoyed during a session if I am losing a bunch and running bad.

However this is not exclusive to poker, I get far too emotionally invested in watching sports too, perhaps to an even greater extent than poker. People basically never annoy me though, so it's quite weird that it seems to be either poker (when I'm losing a lot of money) or watching a sports team that I support, perform poorly. So in that sense it's not as easy to identify a resolution to the issue because I am entering each session in a positive headspace and doing daily meditation to remain calm and rewire my brain. My brothers have a similar temperament with sports etc too so I guess it's learned or genetic and thus more difficult to get out of doing.

Either way I think that winning and especially losing tens of thousands of dollars is never going to be easy for 99% of humans, but if you want to truly crush and play the nosebleeds then you need to be in the 1% that can emotionally handle these swings and not let them engulf your life.

Aug. 16, 2023 | 6:06 p.m.

Behaviour first, thoughts and feelings follow


There is something that has been on my mind for several years now. Do we need the confidence before we do the action, or do we gain confidence as a result of doing the action?

For example, let's say that we are talking about poker. If someone wants to become good at poker, do they first need to have the confidence in themselves that they can execute a good strategy in game, or can they have no confidence to begin with, but slowly gain it from constantly improving themselves by studying, playing hands etc?

Did Ronaldo need confidence to become the best footballer in the world, or did he develop his confidence over time as a result of being the best footballer in the world?

I'm not sure. I think that there are several factors involved. First of all, having negative and toxic thoughts are destructive if you wish to excel at anything- whether that be a card game, a sport, University, learning an instrument etc.

So I would say that our baseline should be;

even if we don't have much confidence yet in our chosen activity, at the very least, avoid having self sabotaging thoughts and feelings towards this activity.

We want to become a blank slate that is ready to absorb information and improve, not a broken slate that needs to be glued together before it can be written on.

Andrew Huberman talked about this and said something along the lines of- it's silly of us to think that thoughts come before the behaviour, it's behaviour first, thoughts and feelings follow.

This makes a ton of sense. I noticed this in myself over the years. I wanted to wait until the time is right, until I have the confidence to do something, before I do it. However, the reality is that it doesn't matter if you have the confidence to do it or not, what matters is that you do it. The action of overriding your self sabotaging thoughts and feelings (that are trying to keep you within your comfort zone) is in itself, quite liberating and will give you the confidence in yourself that you can battle through them again in the future. If you keep doing this then you develop confidence, you don't wait for it to magically appear.

So like Huberman says- behaviour first, thoughts and feelings follow.

If we wait for the perfect time to do something, it will never arrive and we will have wasted an opportunity to learn something new, meet someone new or travel some place new. Our thoughts will always attempt to keep us in our comfort zone, so we have to ignore them and follow through with our goals and plans regardless.


Poker has gone quite terribly this month tbh. As well as I done last month in terms of results (albeit in a relatively small sample) i've done almost equally as poorly this month haha. Overall I would say that I have played pretty well, but i've just been smashed in the face by negative variance- AKo in to AA multiple times in a session, bluff jamming otr and running in to a rivered set, barrelling off for value and losing to some random trips combo that shouldn't even call pre flop etc. It's funny how variance works, cos last month it was as if I would win almost every session, and so far this month it is the opposite haha.

However, part of it is also that I am mixing lots of different stakes. My average grind is $500-$2k, but I played $10k in one session (and lost a buy in) and have been running poorly at $2k as well. So obviously if you run shit at your highest stakes then it's a problem. I've been having some issues with my computer blocking some programmes recently, so I haven't been able to play on ACR in around two weeks and I also plan on starting to play on GG once I can run some pre flop sims for their rake structure- but my computer is blocking my pre flop sims as well. So hopefully I get this fixed this week and I can get on to a other sites again- and not just grinding Stars.

I am also going on holiday this Saturday to Madrid with my friend for around a week, which should be fun. One of the reasons for going there is that I was thinking about going to EPT Barcelona, but with this downswing I kind of want to just grind online and not add on the extra variance that live poker brings. I am behind pace on my volume goal for this year and that is a higher priority than playing a live tournament (or live cash games).

So even though playing an EPT/WSOP was one of my goals for this year, I think I need to (in the words of Jocko Willink) prioritise and execute. Live poker isn't really a priority for me (at least for now) but getting in volume online and moving up in stakes to $5k and $10k, is.

My natural temperament isn't very good for the stresses of high stakes poker (I can get pretty pissed off if i'm running bad in a session) but I am trying to battle through regardless. Overall i'm a very calm person, but when it comes to competitive games (or watching sports etc) I get way too emotionally invested.

Anyways, maybe at some point i'll decide that my current stakes are fine and settle there, but I want to at least give it a shot to move up because I think i'm definitely good enough (in terms of my poker skill levels) to do so. Perhaps I am not from a temperamental/emotional standpoint- but there's only one way to find out!


Aug. 15, 2023 | 12:21 a.m.

Doctor_Strangelove Thanks man, and I do love a good quote! haha

Yeah it's funny because I have played very deep throughout my poker career. I basically would never reset my stack in 500z and sometimes got insanely deep there, and I never quit a regular table either if i get a big stack, unless its 3 handed against v good regs and I don't feel like it's a great idea to continue playing.

However, I haven't done much study when it comes to playing deep stacked, though I know that in general we decrease our cbet frequencies from OOP and obviously our stack off thresholds tighten up a bunch given the fact that the SPR is much higher. So AK on Axx isn't necessarily an auto stack off any longer.

Anyways, it's one thing (of many) that I should do more study of. There is just so much to study in poker that it's simply impossible to cover all bases.

Aug. 14, 2023 | 11:47 p.m.

Ubersantas Thanks mate, I am glad that you are enjoying the blog so far!

Yes I think it's quite cool in a sense to know that we are our own worst enemy- because we can override these thoughts that are holding us back. As opposed to taking the victim mentality approach of blaming external circumstances, or other people etc.

Aug. 14, 2023 | 11:43 p.m.

Getting back in to the swing of things and shotting $10knl


It's another Monday and time to post my weekly RIO update again! Throughout my poker career I've always been very scatter brained when it comes to routine and I just played randomly when I felt like it, and didn't play when i didn't feel like it. However, I don't think this is a great approach because you never truly know when you have a 'day off' or not. I think a part of my anxiety around sitting down and starting a session (which i've always had to a certain extent) is partly because of the fact that I did not allocate myself specific days off. Now I don't suffer from that problem.

Monday is my day off to catch up on tasks/chores, get back to messages, to post on here and to play my weekly game of football. Saturday is my day off to do something to social, to go and see a friend or to go to a sporting event. To drive some place new or visit a family member. Knowing I have these specified days off now helps to alleviate any anxiety around playing off my mind because on these days I have license to completely detach from poker and not even think about it, unless I want to. Then on the other five days of the week I have clarity- it's time to play! Of course sometimes might take a random unplanned day off, but overall my goal #1 for this year's blog is getting achieved.

Recently me and my friend have been playing tennis weekly, but I realised that I don't particularly enjoy it. Sure it's fun to do as something different, on a nice warm, Summers day, but it's not a sport that I particularly enjoy outside of that. So I think we will have to find a different sport to take up- though I feel a little guilty because he just recently bought a tennis racquet haha.

However, one that I have definitely been enjoying is golf. I used to play as a kid and got to a handicap of around ten at one point. It's safe to say I'd be nowhere near that nowadays though, but I've been getting some lessons to fix my massive overswing and I have my final one on Sunday. My coach is a decent guy but I don't think I would book any lessons with him again in the future. I get the impression he just doesn't really care that much and isn't very passionate about the sport. I have paid for thirty minute lessons, but he has left after twenty minutes on the past two occasions. The only reason that I didn't bother saying anything is because he works alongside a family member, so I don't see the point in making things awkward.

When I do coaching I might talk to the student for fifteen or so minutes about general things, but I always guarantee at least an hour of actual poker coaching. Obviously I can always improve as a coach but I think that respecting your student both as a person (by being interested in their life) and making sure they get what they paid for (an hours worth of coaching) are non negotiables for me.

I ended up playing an eighteen holer on Saturday with my brother and I really enjoyed myself, even though I shot 102 haha. My goal was to break 100, but I fell just short. Obviously this is massive drop from a ten handicap, but at one point I shot around 130, so at least i've improved from my lowest point. My strongest point is my putting, but my driving is very erratic and my wedges are very poor. I started to hit the greens with them towards with them on the back nine, but early on I think I missed 6/6 greens with a wedge from around 100 yards away. I got up and down quite a lot (including three holes in a row) and only three putted twice (which were both very careless more than anything).

Anyways, my equipment is literally from around fifteen years ago and I haven't bought any clubs since i was a junior, so I will get fitted and get some newer clubs/shoes etc in the coming months. Golf is quite an expensive sport as a set could easily cost your £1k-2k, but I think it's still worth it.

In keeping with last weeks post about 'detaching from technology', golf is a great way to get off your phone, computer etc for several hours and spend time outside and with friends (or by yourself if you fancy it). Our round lasted three and a half hours and it could have easily been four hours if there were more groups ahead of us.

I think the tennis might get put on the back burner, but golf is back on the menu!


Last week I, technically, played five days. On Monday I had to grind as it was the last day of the month, to get in a few more hands for June as I was a little behind my hands goal. However, on both Tuesday and Wednesday I felt pretty burnt out and took a couple of days off. Sometimes I feel inner guilt about taking an unplanned day off (or two) but I don't if it's because of burn out, because I know that my body and mind have earned the time off.

On Thursday and Friday it was time to get back on the grind, though! After such a good month last month, it was always going to be tricky to maintain that positive variance and I had one or two poor sessions. On Saturday I was just chilling watching a Triton stream (which i've been doing all week) when a friend messaged me about a $10knl game that was running on Stars, and said if I wanted to play and sell some action, then he would take it. So on my 'day off' I randomly ended up playing in $10k buy in cash game for only the second time before. Obviously these stakes are out of my comfort zone, but I've realised recently that I need to keep exposing myself to this discomfort if I want to fully realise my potential.

There is a Youtube channel called 'Yes Theory' and their slogan is 'seek discomfort'. I think this is a brilliant slogan, especially for poker players. It's always uncomfortable and awkward to expose yourself to higher stakes. To take your mind out of it's comfort zone and win (and lose) bigger amounts than you have ever lost before. However, this is the journey that we signed up for. As soon as we stop seeking discomfort, then we are no different to the reg grinding $100nl for the past ten years and trying to make an honest living. Of course there is nothing wrong with taking such an approach, but if we want a nice comfortable, safe, easy job then why would we sign up for poker in the first place?

We signed up for chaos. We signed up for unpredictability. We signed up for variance. We signed up for stress. Most of all, we signed up to see how far we could get in this game and where it could take us. So let's not create our own barriers from the fear created within our own minds. Let's just try out best and see where it takes us, while seeking discomfort in the process.


Aug. 7, 2023 | 7:15 p.m.

Detaching from technology


Technology has become both a blessing and a curse. We now have everything at the touch of our fingertips. This would have exceeded our wildest expectations one hundred years ago, but we could have also never imagined the negative impact that this would also have on us. There has never been more depression, suicide, divorces and single people (at least in recent history) but at the same time our standard of living is much higher than ever before, our life expectancy is constantly increasing and we have the ability to keep in touch with friends and family that live across the other side of the world. In the past we would have to send a letter and wait for weeks for the reply.

As online poker players, we are clearly beneficiaries of this technological advancement and the freedom that comes with it. We are very fortunate to essentially live in the only era so far in history (at least as far as we are aware) where we could do such a job! Perhaps we could be someone like a Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey or Phil Hellmuth and grind live poker in Vegas for a living, but being able to do this online is a completely new and unique career.

Overall I really enjoy my job. Like everything in life there are downsides (mostly the lack of social interactions while you work and of course the stresses of winning/losing lots of money) but in my opinion, there are many more positive aspects to the online poker profession- the freedom that you have to work whenever you like, the requirement to be honest with yourself and constantly improve, the competitive aspect of the game, the mental challenge and stimulation, the money you can earn (tax free in the UK) and the fact that you have a job that almost every other guy on the planet would regard as being cool as fuck! :D

I remember reading a book and it talked about social media and how we should use it as a tool, instead of allowing it to use us. I thought that this was a great quote. When we go on Instagram, for example, we are often just mindlessly scrolling through stories, or watching random reels and doing so completely unconsciously. However, if we remain conscious while we use social media, then we can use it as a tool. We can use it to self promote (if you want to do coaching, run a CFP or start your own business), we can use it to keep in touch with friends and family, we can use it to meet like minded people (for example other people in the poker community) and we can get ideas from other peoples photos etc on where to travel to, or perhaps a new activity to try out.

So for me it seems like we are trying to wrestle between either 'using' or being 'used by' technology in general. We have all the tools to be happy every single day, yet we are not. Sometimes I realise that I have essentially spent the entire day on technology in one form or another. I wake up, I play music on Spotify and do meditation, then I do some chess puzzles (and sometimes play games) on Afterwards I tend to watch Youtube for a little while. Then I make breakfast and go on my computer, perhaps watching a training video or doing my own study. I might mess around on my phone for a bit and then play poker (on my computer) later on. After finishing I often wind down by watching Youtube and go on my phone before sleeping.

Now, I would say that I am nowhere near as bad or addicted as many people are (especially with their phones) but I am still on technology too much. There is no reason why I can't spend 30 mins per day reading, if I can spend twice as long watching Youtube. There is no reason for me to take earphones with me on a walk, when I am plugged in to my computer for most of the day for work (I basically never take earphones/headphones out in public and tend to leave my phone at home while i'm on a walk). There is no reason why I should be checking my phone when I am hanging out with a friend, instead I should be giving them my complete attention. There is no reason that I shouldn't be organising a few sporting activities per week, and being fully present in those activities- like my weekly football, tennis (I started playing recently), golf, hiking/walking in nature or working out. Throughout my entire marathon training and subsequent marathon run (last year) I never listened to music during any of the runs. No headphones, just trying to enjoy the experience of running and absorb my surroundings.

Now, like I said, I am still far from perfect and I'm definitely still on technology too much, but these are some of the things that I do to minimise the negative impact of it on my life, and merely use it as a tool instead of being so absorbed in my phone that I cannot fully listen to what my friend is saying. It's a conscious choice that we make each and every day- are we going to be used by technology, or use it as a tool to improve our daily existence?


As I alluded to in my previous, short entry, I was very frustrated about taking a random unplanned day off for no reason other than that I was mentally weak. However, since then I was happy with how I responded- I played Friday (took Saturday off to visit a friend) and played Sunday as well, albeit short sessions both times because the games were fairly dead. I got back relatively late on Sunday evening (around 9pm) and it would have been easy to take the path of least resistance and allow myself another day off, but I got some hands in regardless.

Today, as is usually the case, is supposed to be my day off from grinding (along with Saturday). However, my volume this month has been poor so I decided to skip the day off and get on the grind instead. I started off the day doing some coaching, then studied some BVB SRP hands- which aren't always the most fun to review, but they are certainly worth doing for the sake of your overall game! I just wanted to get in 1k hands today, so I played 600 odd hands before my game of football, and another 600 odd hands after my game of football (and also after I had eaten a pizza, cos I didn't have time to cook!). It was one of my most productive days in a while tbh, and I read for around 30-40 minutes as well. The last time I was at my friends house I forgot to take my book 'Columbine' home with me, which was quite tilting because I was really enjoying the book. So I picked that up at the weekend and started reading it again today. Fortunately I marked which page I was on with a fold in the corner, so I didn't have to guess haha.

I would definitely recommend the book and I find it extremely interesting for some reason- much more interesting than the book on Chernobyl that I read while I was travelling, though that was a good book too. Reading is of course a good way to detach from technology as well- so not only is it a good form of entertainment, or a good way to learn new things, it's also great at getting us off of our computers or phones!

My target this month was to play 20k hands (a modest goal) but unfortunately I fell a little short and played around 18k hands. However, I was still fairly consistent in playing so I am not far away from my desired poker schedule- I just have to embrace and overcome the mental weakness when it arises, and inevitably tries to talk me out of playing.

On a positive note, my results were very good and I ran pretty hot this month. I feel like I am kind of wasting my time by playing $500nl now in all honesty, so if I can get in more volume on other sites either later this year or early next year, then I'll cut it out and only play $1k+ (or perhaps the odd game of $500z when it runs). I cut out $200z earlier this year, and have zero plans of ever playing that again. It's time to conquer stakes and move on, instead of remaining in the comfort zone of them for years.

I'd like to start studying more 200bb poker in the coming months as well as I feel like it's quite important for when you are playing deep stacked short handed matches. 200bb poker is quite a lot different to 100bb poker, and it's likely that both players will be fairly poor at it cos it's such a complex game to study. So if you are willing to put in the work there then you can probably get a decent edge. It's fun to battle vs really good players and test your wits against them, even though it's equally as enjoyable when a whale sits down at your table and punts off to you! There was some whale like player playing tonight, so I basically played until he bust and then I ended my session. It's funny cos he was insanely aggressive but I get the impression he might be a winning live player, but there is a big step up when it comes to online and the live crusher can quickly become the fish, especially at higher stakes.

It was pretty random though cos the games on Friday and Sunday night were pretty dead, but for some reason the games tonight (Monday) were very good! Perhaps Monday is the new weekend :P


July results

Bonus $5 extra

Aug. 1, 2023 | 2:23 a.m.

How did you manage to deposit enough on GG to play $5k etc? I assume that you have won some on there and slowly built your roll etc, but i was only allowed to deposit $8k (despite sending in information for my savings accounts etc).

Also, do you think that the rake on GG is beatable for $1k and $5k games without any affiliate rakeback or leaderboard rakeback etc? I've been mulling over playing there for a while now but i've never pulled the trigger cos of the high rake. Now I have a reasonable roll after doing well in some mtt's, but probably still not enough on the site to play $5k regularly. It seems very difficult to deposit to sites from the UK nowadays.

July 31, 2023 | 12:58 p.m.

Mini Update- completely wasting a day

This week the plan was to take Monday off as usual and play Tuesday-Friday and then go and visit my friend over the weekend (probably staying for two nights and returning on Monday). Unfortunately, today after I done my daily meditation and chess puzzles, I got in to playing a 'few' games of chess. I have quite an addictive personality when it comes to these sorts of things, and I basically ended up playing from around 12:30pm-3:30pm and then for a couple hours later in the day too, before going for a shower at 9pm lol.

Needless to say at that point I wasn't going to play poker as I had fatigued my brain too much by then. It was stupid because there was literally no need for that today and I completely wasted the day for no reason. I've been playing well and running well recently, so I should have stuck to the plan and got on the grind.

Anyways, I am just using this short update as an accountability mirror. Tomorrow I will 100% play- no excuses! I'm only going to do chess puzzles for the rest of the week as well and no more games of chess. I might leave my friends house on Sunday evening as well so that I can go home to grind on Sunday night to make up for todays unplanned day off.

I'm trying to make up for it in some small ways- for example I cooked a double portion of food for dinner tonight so that I don't have to cook again tomorrow, I sent in some documents to GG for verification and I'm going to have a look on Ikea etc for furniture for my new home. I hate wasting days like this, so i'm trying to make an unproductive one slightly more productive. I also studied for around an hour today as well, though it was a pretty poor session in terms of my focus.

July 28, 2023 | 12:09 a.m.

I think the reason is that one is a SRP and the other is a 3bet pot.

Let's say that the JJ2r was a SRP, then i'd imagine that the IP player would just range cbet for small sizing (just like you do on almost any paired board).

However, if it's JJ2r in a 3bet pot then you are going to size up because you don't really care if your opponent has a Jx, you are just trying to get in stacks with (lets say TT+) on brick run outs in order to force your opponent to defend weaker pocket pairs etc vs your river all in. Also, because your opponent is defending a tighter range pre (and doesn't have auto folds from hands like 65o etc) then if you cbet small on JJ2r then you will get almost no folds from the IP player. Which is good, exploitatively, if you have a hand like KK and are looking to get floated by some weak backdoor hand so that you can x call down against him (like what happened in this hand), but less so for your overall range that is wanting to put more money in on early streets with it's value region, and also garner fold equity with your bluffing region.

On J94r i'm slightly less sure because this is a board that i use 75% cbet on in 6max, but i'd imagine that because pre flop ranges are much wider in HU, then we want to size down to around 50% pot or so, so that we can value bet much wider and force our opponent to defend a bunch of marginal hands that can just pure fold if you go larger. If we use a larger cbet sizing then we can no longer value bet 4x, 88-55 etc. It's fine to use a larger cbet sizing on this texture in 6m cos both ranges pre flop are tighter, so you are less incentivized to cbet small as your opponent connects pretty well on this flop texture and doesn't have hands like K6o/K5o etc (that they have in HU) to auto fold. More of their range will consist of pairs, straight draws etc, so you prefer to size up and bet more polar to pressurize this region.

Anyways perhaps i'm wrong, because i'm no expert on HU, but hopefully some of my points are valid (and i'm almost certain the JJ2r 3bet pot one is correct, as i'd never block cbet this board in 6m either but would use a 50% sizing, but i'd range cbet in a SRP for 33% on the same texture).

July 25, 2023 | 7:44 p.m.

Starting a daily poker journal

Poker journal-

While I was away in Athens I bought a small notebook that I decided I was going to use to track my daily study and playing time. For me, something that has been very helpful in the past couple of years is to make lists and to physically write things down, so that I have clarity of what I need to do and also so that the things that may have been overwhelming me in my mind, now have a tangible form.

Five things cluttering your mind may need to anxiety and you becoming overwhelmed. However five things written down on a piece of paper somehow feel a lot more manageable, and you are now able to work through each one until you have completed all of them. Your mind becomes free in this process and you can play poker with more focus, and enjoy life to a much greater extent when you aren't worried or distracted about several things at once.

One of my main goals this year was to treat my poker career like a full time job, with planned days off and more of a routine etc, instead of just sporadically playing when I felt like it and taking random days off. For the most part i have done this pretty well, but i still find myself taking unplanned days off and i'm probably only playing on average four days per week instead of five.

So each and every day i just make a short entry in to the notebook- the amount of time I have spent studying and the amount of time that I have spent playing. If I decide to take a day off then I need to write the reason down for taking this day off. Sometimes they are planned (for example Monday is usually to catch up on tasks etc and to play football in the evening and Saturday is usually to go away somewhere or do something social). However, if I decide to take a random day off on a Thursday, then I have to explain why. Sometimes you may be in a bad mood and thus it would be -EV to play, however many times your mind can't even come up with a rational explanation for why you don't want to play, and you are merely trying to take the path of least resistance by watching Youtube or Netflix instead of grinding. This is the area that I am trying to eradicate through accountability and discipline.


In terms of how my poker is going just now, I would say that things are going pretty well. Obviously I would like to increase my volume, but my results have been very good and overall I feel like my consistency has been pretty good when it comes to playing. Even on days where I don't feel like playing, I usually override these thoughts and play regardless, and then find myself feeling very satisfied and proud of myself after the session has concluded and I have gotten in my hands for the day.

Also, I have realised that I have been in my comfort zone to a certain extent with poker in the past few years. I have not moved up as aggressively as I should have and I have taken the 'safe' path by playing stakes that I know I can beat relatively easily. There's not really a rational explanation I can give for this, because my WR's at pretty much every stake i've played have always been very high, and probably higher than many of the guys that have pushed on and are now playing the nosebleeds. The difference is that these guys decided to push their boundaries and see how far they could get in the game, and I was content to grind 500z and playing some 1k and 2k on the side.

So even though I am about to buy a house and take a fairly substantial chunk out of my roll, in the next couple of years I want to see what stakes that I can get to. Even last night I was playing $25/50 and bluff jammed otr (thankfully my opponent folded) and my heart was pounding when he was tanking. I was very proud of myself though because it would have been easy not to have joined that table in the first place. It would have been easy to give up my hand on the turn and take my equity, and it would have been easy to chicken out otr and avoid losing the $4k that I was about to put in the middle.

But sometimes in life you have to put on your big boy shoes and pull the trigger, even if it's at your highest stake.

My volume this month has been okay, given that I am in the process of buying a house and also have plans for social things as well as studying and coaching etc too. My aim is to play 20k hands this month, but i'll have to up the volume this week if i want to get there as i'm a little behind pace. The last few sessions have gone very well and I feel like I am reaping the benefits of my consistent, daily study. Obviously it's easy to think that you are amazing when you are running well, but I would prefer to focus on the variables that I can control- which are the way that I play in game. I can have a good, winning session but still be fixated on one hand where I punted off a stack. Likewise I can have a session where I got crushed and be really happy about the way that I played.

Poker is just a process. We show up, try to play well and hope that the variance is in our favour. I was listening to the Audiobook of Jordan Peterson's latest book and he said something about rats that I thought was very interesting. Young male rats like to wrestle, but basically whoever is bigger always wins. So once they have identified which rat is stronger, then the stronger one needs to let the weaker one win (usually around 30-40% of the time) to incentivize him to keep playing with him. If he truly used his weight advantage and won 100% of the time, then the weaker rat would lose motivation and stop playing with him.

So this seemed to me like a great analogy for poker. We NEED the variance of poker, so that the weaker rats (the recreational players) keep coming back. If it was like chess where the better player wins almost every time, then the fish would stop playing and we would lose the profitability of the game.

Of course it sucks when we are experiencing a downswing, but we also have to realise that variance is what enables us to have a career as poker players. Without it there is no gambling, there are no fish, and there is no money to be made in the game.


400bb pot at 500z

Whale punting off

Bluff catcher losing to a bluff

July 24, 2023 | 5:17 p.m.

Great video! I'd like another part of this series if there are more hands from their match to review. However, i was also enjoying the Nacho HU series as well.

July 24, 2023 | 1:37 p.m.

Ultimately there are pro's and con's to both approaches in poker- whether that be studying alone or within a group. I think in the past year or so i've come to the realisation that no matter what we do, where we work, where we live, who we are friends with, who we date, what car we drive or what food we eat, there are downsides to go along with the positive aspects of these things. It is never all good and no bad. There are pro's and con's with literally everything.

So in terms of what approach is better to take with studying and moving up, i think that it's just completely player dependent. For myself i have enjoyed the lone wolf approach, but i've also enjoyed studying, off and on, with some friends over the past few years (which i would never do before). Because ultimately humans need social connections, so it's good to chat with other poker players, share some ideas etc instead of just spending all day indoors grinding by yourself.

Arguably the lone approach may lead you towards improving the most, especially if you find a very efficient study routine/methodology. However you also need to maintain your sanity haha. I guess you do this with your girlfriend, but if you are single and live by yourself, are you really going to just grind all day every day and not talk to anybody? I think that because you have a girlfriend for emotional support, for someone to talk to on a daily basis and have those social interactions, then you overlook the importance of having those connections with other poker players, because you don't need them. If you were grinding by yourself then perhaps you wouldn't have the same perspective.

However, if you study in a group (or with a friend) then you also need to be able to study by yourself, otherwise you are just codependent and completely reliant on other people to enable you to improve. It's like the person who needs to be with friends constantly and is scared to do anything alone and by themselves. Of course its great that you have friends, but you are actually very insecure if you cannot enjoy your own company as well, and you are at the mercy of whoever you hang out with because you are unable to go your own way if you feel like it.

Similarly with study- you want to have the capacity to study, and study very efficiently, by yourself. This doesn't mean that you cannot do the same with other people as well. It's just naive to think that you can get to the top of the game by not putting in a ton of study hours by yourself as well.

What happens when nobody else wants to study? What happens when its the weekend and everyone is out partying? What happens when you suggest a study topic that gets rebuffed?

Ultimately poker is a solo game. We can have a hundred Skype friends or share hand histories in our Discord servers, but its only YOU sitting down at the tables. Its you against your opponents. If you are trying to turn a solo game in to a team game then you are in the wrong job. Emotional support is great but nobody is going to comfort you when you are in your session and getting smashed and down ten buy ins. Its you against yourself. Are you going to crumble or are you going to maintain your A game?

This is the true test in poker. It doesn't really matter whether you study with poker friends or by yourself, but what matters is that you are strong mentally and understand the game on a deeper level than your opponents. If you get these two aspects in order then you will crush the games.

July 24, 2023 | 1:38 a.m.

zache86 Thanks mate! I'm excited to have my own space again and own my first property. I am going to make one of the bedrooms in to an office so it's a lot more professional than grinding in my bedroom (which i've almost always done as i've lived in shared flats or when i've been at my parents). I am going to try and make the office pretty sick though.

I will take some before and after photographs, but i feel like it could take me a decent amount of time to get it all redecorated unless i pay someone else to do some of it, or get friends/family to help me too (which i'm sure they will).

Yeah i agree, my volume this year is very bad- even though my results thus far have been really good. It's not ideal but i guess if you add enough sites then you can still get in decent volume, just perhaps not what we were used to in the past. It's funny though cos after i wrote this post, 500z randomly started running one night haha. So i managed to get in 1200 hands in two hours, which usually takes me around 4+ hours these days. I forgot how easy it was to get in volume while you are playing zoom :D

Poker isn't dying by any means, even if, at least on certain sites, it is. I agree that studying mtt's is another viable way to change career path in order to get in more volume etc but i think i'll always prefer cash games tbh. I think the intellectual challenge there is a lot more stimulating and also your edge gets realised a lot more accurately than in tournaments imo, where there is a ton of variance and sometimes it's difficult to judge whether you are any good at them or not.

July 21, 2023 | 3:44 p.m.

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