I've been a long time lurker here, reading great threads from the likes of Demondoink, IamNeo and most recently Iranian96, among others. I decided to make a journal to re-start my poker journey. There will be a lot of content not specifically related to poker, however, as I am a firm believer that everything effects everything. Didn't make your bed today? Well, it will effect every facet of your life throughout the day, no matter how minimal. Most topics will center around poker habits, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, fitness and spirituality but of course there will probably be random tangents thrown in depending on what challenges life throws at me. What you will not see is specific poker strategy discussion for a few reasons. One, I am old school and information that is learned from study has value. Giving it away for free, aside from advertising purposes, does not add to bottom line. Plain and simple. One can argue that you can learn by posting your thoughts and getting feedback, you can get better. Of course this has merit but so does trial and error on your own. Eventually I will seek coaching, but since right now I am shaking rust off by playing micros, it will be in the future. Any coaching I do seek will be via hourly paid rates. I personally think (and am not going to argue about, so don't bother) that CFP programs are one sided deals that benefit the stable owner far more than the student and when factoring in that data that is handed over by the student hurt the overall health of the poker ecosystem. With that out of the way, onto my experiences in poker.
I started playing in 2003 and by 2005 had quit a stable job to play full time. I was relatively unambitious, preferring to play 8 tables of NL200 with a win rate around 8 rather than moving up. This was a mistake, obviously, as the games back then were very good and with good table selection I could have made more money. The thing is, looking back, it doesn't matter anyway. I had no respect for money, at all, and coupled with my makeup as a human being I inevitably would have just blown away any extra cash I made.
I grew up poor in an alcoholic home basically devoid of love and support. Despite being relatively intelligent (accepted to a prestigious exam school for high school) I was a disaster waiting to happen and once puberty hit I set out on a ruinous path. Booze, drugs and crime were a daily occurrence by the time I was sixteen years old. Locked up at seventeen in youth services and a full blown heroin addict by the time I was eighteen my life was an unmitigated disaster and I really saw no way out. Nor am I sure I wanted a way out. There is a sort of simplicity to waking up in the morning and caring only about one thing, acquiring your drug of choice. Through some sort of miracle, I landed a decent job that was willing to pay for repeated trips to rehab and on one occasion I finally got my life together. It was at that point I found online poker.
I loved the game. I studied as much as I could and decided to play full time. I hated, hated sitting in an office all say surrounded by people who were content to do the same boring ass job for the next forty years all because it came with security. So I quit, moved to Vegas and embraced the grind. By the time I was nearing my thirtieth birthday I had a net worth close to 300k, which for somebody with my education level and background might as well have been a million dollars but I also weighed nearly 300 pounds, was full of anger and only left the house to either play cards, go to a strip club or roll dice at the Venation. A miserable train-wreck I had become. The only good thing in my life was supportive friends, whos advice I ignored, and my two dogs.
One day I came home to a note on the door from my neighbor. He informed me that he had my dogs in his house and one of them was dead from being hit by a car. A roommate had moved out and didn't lock the swinging doors properly. Vegas can get very windy and when it did, the doors swung open and they got out. I was a wreck and within a few weeks time was cruising the strip looking for a prostitutes that could help me score heroin. It didn't take long and I was off and running. For the next year plus I only left the house to score and at some point found someone that would deliver to my door. Dark, miserable times that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I spent approximately 150k on drugs over that time. How I survived, I do not know. I like to think that I had a purpose to fulfil and the man above was not done with me. Either way, eventually with the help of friends I entered a rehab facility in Los Angeles and haven't had a drop of alcohol or a hit of coke or heroin in over thirteen years.
Black Friday hit and I had to transition to live poker. Instead of re-working my game my ego told me all live players are donkeys. I won, but not like I did online. Playing in LA, live, took the love of the game away from me. Instead of playing a video game for money, I was now surrounded by miserable people and eventually I quit the game and lived off remaining savings. Eventually those savings ran out and I moved back east. A part time job that was supposed to last six months until I re-built my roll and attacked online again turned into six years of full time work that led nowhere. Poker was something in my past. I lost any confidence that I could beat the games, telling myself surely the online bubble had burst.
I now work in a union trade and live with a relative while I am saving money. Life is expensive in this part of the USA but I am tied to the area because of work. Over the past year I began to miss poker and looked into state of games. Legalization in certain states gave me hope one can still earn good money playing. Reading journals and watching videos showed me the game is still alive. I also think there may be another boom, when and if all the states unify rooms. Even if they don't the MDA research I have done has shown me there is still profitability, provided one is willing to put in hard work. Something that I can tend to avoid at times, but looking back I've realized the harder I work at something the more content I am. Still, I have avoided the jump back into the game.
A few weeks ago I was watching a movie, Glengarry Glen Ross, and there is this famous scene:
Around the 5:50 mark he talks about being a loser, sitting at a bar and talking about how we USED to be in sales and its a tough racket. That quote hit me this time. I don't want to be that person talking about my poker career. I want to leave the game on MY terms. I want to make enough money to have options in life. I currently don't. I make 50k a year in an area of the country where studios cost 1200 a month. I live in a country that I don't share the same values with. I want to be able to travel. I work in a field where I can take six months a year off and still keep amazing benefits. I want to be able to take advantage of that fact. I need to put in another 4.5 years with this job to qualify for a pension and I want to be able to not HAVE to work if I don't want to. Right now, that's a pipe-dream, but WHY NOT ME?
I don't know how often I will update this blog. I still want to talk about fitness, BJJ, faith, the search for a quality mate etc but I have already bled enough for one day. Right now short term goals are to just play some hands at 10NL and begin outlaying a strategy for NL50-NL100. I haven't played online in a long while and I need to get reacclimated to the pacing of the game without worrying about losing money. Within a month I will roll up and attack NL50 and the journey will officially begin. MDA+Solvers for strategy, coaching eventually.
Next topic will be about BJJ, how it relates to poker, what it has done for my life and why do I keep stepping away when I am due for a promotion. Perhaps I don't feel worthy, on some deep level. I haven't trained in three months and will be attending a new school. I have been telling myself "I will start on Monday," for three weeks now. Well, tomorrow I WILL train and re-ignite my passion for my favorite hobby of all time.
Health wise, I want to get down to 165 pounds from my current 185. I am not 'fat' but I am not ripped. 165 at my height and muscle level will be ~10% body fat. At that point I will begin hitting the weights with a vigor and get strong AF. Right now I will just eat less and eat less often. Twenty pounds in two months is doable with BJJ training, BW fitness and proper nutrition but I believe at this point it is important to focus on the process and not the results. If it takes three months, so be it.
I plan on updating/reading this blog once a week. Any more than that and I am just wasting time on the internet. A habit I currently have that I want to eliminate.
Thank for you reading and thank you for existing. Good luck on your journey!