The "secret" to success is that it mainly revolves around hard work, mental resilience, and an unwavering belief in yourself. I'm sure it's all stuff you've heard before.
My advice is that if making a good living from poker is your dream, then you have to ride out the downswings with grace and hold onto your love of the game. Every successful player I know, myself included, has considered their career to be two steps forward, one step back. Every 20 buy-in upswing is cruelly followed up by a 15 buy-in downer it seems, and it's best to be ready for those moments when they happen.
And also enjoy it despite the absurdity of the game. You play poker for a reason. For me, I'm still the 17 year old kid who watched WSOP broadcasts late at night on ESPN and wondered "what if?". I like the grind, the climb, and the pursuit of some serious wealth from the game. There's simply an allure of getting to the top of the game, isn't there? The feedback loops in poker will never give you what you need consistently and you'll often try your best and fail, so in hard times it's best to focus on why you're here and what you love about the game and the pursuit of the career itself.
July 14, 2021 | 9:29 p.m.
If there were no recreational players then I'd quit poker. A majority of our winrates as pros come from recs, and I think most people largely exaggerate the edge they can find against other pros, especially after rake. A lot of what I do revolves around not making big mistakes, making a lot of small exploits, and otherwise studying to maximally exploit fish. I think it's smart to focus on winning the maximum against fish because they're both the most exploitable and the least likely to adjust.
Generally speaking, I think ~10bbs is the maximum you can win at high stakes unless you're psychotically game selecting.
July 9, 2021 | 7:31 p.m.
The general trend I'm seeing now is high stakes action moving to GG with all other sites taking a hit on traffic year over year. Most players committed to online follow one of these paths as far as I can tell:
1) Grind GG because you they have 5/10 running all the time with plenty of opportunities to multitable. 25/50+ runs on a daily basis too. It can be nice to main site it because of their VIP program to get better rb.
2) Can't or won't play GG, so they play a mix of stars, party, ACR, winimax etc. and game select like hell. There's a lot of regs that can achieve really solid winrates just focusing on 3/6-10/20, but it can be a nuisance to manage.
3) Play zoom. Winrates are much lower, but you at least don't have to deal with the incessant game selection.
There's obviously exceptions based off what country you live in and what sites are available to you, but that seems to be the state of online. Plenty of people are pumped to play live again with co-vid winding down in many countries, particularly the US.
Overall though, I'm pretty optimistic about poker for the foreseeable future. People love to gamble whether it's live or online. As long as there's recreational players willing to gamble at high stakes then there's a good living to be made, regardless of which operators are in vogue at that time. Also, legislation looks promising for the US (where I live).
July 8, 2021 | 12:21 p.m.
Thanks for the kind words! I've been a bit more active on twitter recently. I think following me there would be the best way of keeping up with me if you like the type of things I'm writing here. I'm @MatthewMarinel5 there. I'm a very private person generally, but it's been nice to open up a bit more publicly and see people respond to that.
No, I don't play live. I know a lot of people love live poker and find it extremely fun, but I'm more of a gamer at heart that likes to play from the comfort of my own home at a fast pace. To each his own.
July 5, 2021 | 10:26 a.m.
Profit since challenge start (Sept 2018): $827,000 / $1,000,000
80%+ of the way there! :) I finally got around to compiling all my Bovada results since starting Detox CFP back in Sept 2018. Seems like as good a time as any to share.
Not much else to update. Eyes on the prize. :D
May 21, 2021 | 4 p.m.
proverbspoker I come back to PA if I visit family for the holidays. I generally liked living there and all my memories of growing up are around the Philly area.
If you have no experience in video, then just assume everything takes 3x longer and 3x more expensive then you think it should. If you don't have a big budget then there's gonna be a lot of variance in the outcome of the final product. You'd likely have to hire people with less experience (sometimes college kids, post-grads) and those with lesser experience. Sometimes they'll do really well and exceed expectations, and often times it'll fall a bit flat, particularly if you live in PA and there aren't as many good professionals in that area.
April 10, 2021 | 4:23 a.m.
April 3, 2021 | 10:48 p.m.
Total Profit Since Starting Challenge: $778,000 / $1,000,000
Not much to complain about here. January was a chaotic month so I couldn't play much poker, but I'm looking to play 30k hands in both April and May to get back on a more respectable pace. Feeling inspired to grind and grateful for what I have. :)
The march to $1,000,000 continues! ;)
simingforever I played midstakes, mainly between 500-1knl equivalent. I wouldn't suggest most people play on these apps as there were habitually big security concerns. The games were good, but there was too much cheating and shady stuff going on.
April 2, 2021 | 9:07 p.m.
Dan Self Most people are stuck in the cycle I described because it's the path of least resistance. I wouldn't consider myself exceptionally talented at poker per se, but I made great decisions on the type of person I wanted to be and the people I surrounded myself with.
As far as where to start, I think the best advice I can give was covered in something I wrote for twitter. I can actually just copy and paste it here:
To the small-midstakes grinders: It's time to stop listening. Keeping an ear to the ground of the poker community would have you believe that the sky is falling, the game is dead, and you have no prayer of succeeding. It's easy to lose hope as your winrate dwindles and no progress seems to be made, but this is what the poker community at large wants to happen. The worst thing you could do for the twitter egg is persevere despite circumstance. The worst thing you could do for the BBV troll is break the mold. The worst thing you could do to every nay-sayer is get knocked down and decide to get back up. Because they don't want you to succeed. They don't care about you. They're too busy failing at their own dreams to offer you a word of support or encouragement. Seeing others succeed is just a confirmation of their own mediocrity, and spreading the myth that all is lost is what NEEDS TO BE TRUE in order to hide their own unwillingness to change.
You can do whatever you want if you're committed to it. Many want you to believe that it's too hard to make a living in poker, but there's plenty of money to be made for anyone that is exceptional at their craft. So stop listening to those eggs, and start listening to the positive, hopeful, and proactive people around you that are actually fighting to move forward. Stop leading your poker career like you're trying not to lose and start getting mad. Start expecting to win. Realize that Linus is just a kid and you can be just as good as him. Find your tribe and the people you jive with and work together towards something you're proud to achieve. The bad stuff will still hit and it'll hurt. Downswings, personal set backs, death, divorce, and pain, but you'll have a better relationship with that stuff. You'll learn to see the positives in the negatives, and treat your life as a journey of growth instead of a confirmation that you're cursed.
Your real career won't begin with another course. It won't be another Run It Once subscription or twitch stream. It won't be another PDF or putting some action on a new site. It's when you can look in the mirror and say "I will do this" with real conviction. When you can say "I don't give a fuck what I have to go through, I'm going to thrive." That's when your real career begins, and starting that journey begins with a very simple step. Stop listening.
Jan. 6, 2021 | 7:44 a.m.
(This is from my blog in our Poker Detox forum circa 2019. It seems appropriate to share with the beginning of a new year and many people intent to take steps in a new direction)
I come from a creative background, so the lens I see the game through is constantly informed by my experiences of going to school for film and working in the industry. The creative field is very similar to poker because it's an entrepreneurial, uncertain, and harrowing career field. There are no prerequisites or guarantees for who can be a filmmaker. There is no straight line to follow or class that can guarantee success and safety. Many will fail, a few will prosper greatly. The main differentiator between those two groups seems to be character.
So I'll draw parallels from what makes people successful in film with qualities that make people successful in poker. I'll leave you with what I see is the most important quality for a successful poker player to have:
Grit. A great poker player needs strong resolve, is extremely resilient, and has real stick-to-itiveness. It's an intense commitment to long-term goals, with an eager desire to gradually improve and solve whatever problems may come up by whatever means necessary. There's many people on this team and in the industry in general that try hard at poker in a general sense and are basically committed, but grit has a special connotation. It's not just a commitment, but a firey commitment. It's a "fuck you, I'm making this shit happen" type of a commitment. It's a commitment that is hell-bent on success, and something I don't see a ton of.
The difference between a gritty player and a committed player is that a gritty player will not accept an obstacle as an answer, and proactively works to come to a better answer. Struggling to find useful hands in your current library? Make you're own library. Finding grey zones because you lack data in a certain area? DM someone on the team that has that data. They don't know? DM someone else. They don't know? DM someone else. You feel like you're not getting anything out of your current study routine? Find a new fucking study routine. No one is gonna hold your god damn hand and solve these complex problems for you, and sitting around lamenting about your circumstances just proves you don't belong at high stakes. I don't care if your complaints are legitimate and I could give a shit if it's wholeheartedly unfair. Doesn't matter. MAKE. IT. HAPPEN. NO. MATTER. WHAT.
I see this as a critical supplement to the topics of discussion as of late revolving around creating a good schedule, studying relevantly, finding softer games etc. The truth is that those behaviors are often a PRODUCT of grittiness, not the cause. If you're a self-sabotaging fucker then you'll find some rationalizations for not sticking to what is clearly incentived for you, similar to how overweight people KNOW to eat less and exercise more, but the true barrier is the emotional state dictating bad behavior.
I know not everyone needs to hear this. Some people seem to just succeed without that much maintenance or hullabaloo, and this post is not for them. I'm not like that. I'm a recovering fuck-up that's learned a thing or two about how to weave a respectable life together, so I hope this post is interpreted as friendly antagonism as opposed to douchey assholeism. Because the truth is that there's a degree of this sad puppy helplessness laden throughout many of the discussions that were had, and if you're being honest with yourself I hope you can lay down the excuses you present and seek active solutions. Stop accepting "X isn't working for me" because I'm mainly hearing "I've tried nothing and I'm all out of ideas!" Some people are borderline quitting and haven't even tried yet.
I could go deeper into my personal set of principles, but all roads lead back to grit, so I'll leave it at that. If you can manage this advice then the world is all yours. I'll see you at the top.
Jan. 2, 2021 | 4 a.m.
I'd strongly suggest you follow through with this, particularly joining Poker Detox. Do whatever you can. Write Nick Howard your application via skywriting if need be. We make players like you into midstakes crushers on a routine basis, so I think of our program as the golden ticket if you can get in.
Dec. 29, 2020 | 6:26 a.m.
Dec. 27, 2020 | 8:37 p.m.
Profit since challenge start (Sept 2018): $615,000 / $1,000,000
Ignition Results (2019-Present)
I've also played on WSOP.com, China Apps, Chico, and ACR to fill out the rest. WSOP.com was the best non-Ignition site for me in terms of results.
I'm about to go on break for the holidays and I have a lot to be grateful for this year despite all the turmoil caused by the pandemic. I had a great financial year, got engaged, was hired to the executive team on Poker Detox, and moved to a nice apartment at the beach in LA.
I also started my own poker training company with Jason Su a few months ago. We've each learned a lot in the process and gotten a lot of satisfaction out of helping people through more personalized, 1-on-1 coaching work, where working in a stable is usually a huge group and it's harder to see your impact on any one player because there's so many moving parts.
Once again, I say the poker dream is still alive and there's plenty to be hopeful for moving into 2021. If anyone wants to connect with me, the best way is probably on twitter. I'm at @MatthewMarinel5
Dec. 18, 2020 | 8:13 p.m.
lIlCitanul We arrive at our strategies using a mix of mass database analysis and PIO Solver aggregation reports. We're basically trying to find ways to use pool imbalances and what's incentived in theory to collapse into a lot of simplified strategies. For instance, if you found that the player pool doesn't defend well in a particular scenario on the turn by looking at mass data, then you may want to turn a hand like a gutter that bets half the time and pure bet it. This is a mass simplification and I can't give away all the secrets, but it revolves around trading razor-sharp accuracy for simplicity and ease of implementation.
No, I wasn't a pro. I went to school for filmmaking and worked as a small time director after graduating. Most money came from filming weddings, but I also did some commercials for local businesses and some internal videos for big businesses. (Think just interviewing executives as they talk about new products they're rolling out to investors, or safety videos for new employees). The fun stuff was getting to do a handful of music videos.
Ultimately, I'd like to quit poker someday and go back to filmmaking, but use the money I make to do it on my terms. All the business / wedding stuff was boring and I want to make music videos and my own independent films / TV. Everything in life is easier when you have money, though, so I have no problem exploring my passion for poker in my late twenties as I try to build a savings.
And, yeah, Nick is great.
Thanks! He's very busy these days, but I guess you never know.
May 16, 2020 | 1:01 a.m.
lIlCitanul Thanks! I was turned down for CFP twice before getting accepted on try #3. Persistence is key in life. :) Best of luck on your journey and I'll keep track of your goal thread.
Someone asked me what some of my takeaways were for joining up with Poker Detox. I'll repost that here:
The most important perspective upgrade I learned from Detox methodology was the importance for developing a process for making decisions. A lot of the community follows a theory-oriented strategy that often boils down to what I call "random combo declaring". Players thought processes often devolve into throwing out random hands villain could have on turns and rivers, or declaring what hands they may play in their range if they want to bet.
The problem is that it's a horribly inefficient and bias-laden thought process. First and foremost, I want my thought processes to be ones that always help me come to a decision using readily-observable facts about the hand. For instance, if I'm on the turn in certain situations my strategy may be "Bet all gutters+ and strong value". So if I have a gut shot then I'm not spending 45 seconds deciding what my range should be and how he may react and what he checked back the flop with etc. etc. It's just "gut shot. bet".
Aside from being mentally much more efficient, it actually performs better as well. The problem with random combo counting is that it leads you to making decisions that reinforce your biases; the most common bias being risk aversion. You'll THINK you're doing the balanced or GTO thing by declaring "he could have 56s here", but you'll overemphasize data points that confirm the decision your risk averse self wants to make.
The proof is in the winrate for me. I use much less mental energy and execute my strategy with great consistency. We use a mix of theory and mass data to premeditate strategies in many major lines and the process of playing is very smooth.
There was also a great emotional benefit from joining the CFP and "finding my tribe". Being a professional online poker player is a crazy isolating career, and it can be a lonely process even if you have a close family and significant other. There's just a lack of people that really understand what you're going through and can offer support during downswings that feel crippling.
Human connection is essential for overall happiness and leads to better overall outcomes, I believe. Nick has established a good culture, and I'm happy to contribute in my tight-nit circle. I spent most of my time being more of a lone wolf in poker, but joining a stable did wonders for connecting me with new people on the same journey I was.
May 13, 2020 | 10:48 p.m.
I'm a $10/20 online grinder with an aspiration for 7 figure profits by the time I quit poker. This journal will catalog that process.
My name's Matt and I'm a contracted player for Poker Detox's Coaching for Profits stable run by Nick Howard. I joined the team in September of 2018 at 100nl and moved up to 1000nl within 6 months. I've stayed at HSNL since then, exclusively playing $10/20 at this point. I also helped start the "Peer to Peer Coaching" program in the company and work as a coach to help players in the program move forward. I mainly work with players from 50nl-500nl.
Link to Graph
China Apps (250,000 RMB = ~$35,000 USD))
Link to Graph
Seeing all this happen has felt like the poker dream after 9 years of sputtering around at SSNL. I always felt like I had potential to be a great player, but it took finding the right tribe and methodology to make that happen.
I'm currently 28 years old and don't plan on grinding poker forever, but I think hitting $1mm since starting with Detox would be a good minimum goal that I'd always be quite proud of. I'll obviously take it a step at a time, but I figured this thread could be helpful to connect with new players outside my circle and reinforce that the poker dream is still alive.
I'll be using this journal to periodically share results at major milestones, offer thoughts about poker and being a professional, and talk mindset. I'm unlikely to discuss much strategy, but it'll likely be funneled into mindset if I do.
Wish me luck. :D