Just wanted to make a quick post informing you guys that I've decided to take on 1-2 private coaching students. I've turned down a ton of guys over the last few months, so it'll basically be on a first come first serve bases. Contact details can be found on our website. I can provide references from players on our team as well as guys I've coached privately on request. In addition to that I'll post a graph from one of my students (and no, this is not Bovada/Bros):
May 13, 2022 | 9:37 a.m.
Got the message today that I made it to the top 5 of the leaderboard today, which resulted in a free month of RIO Elite. Since I already got an amual membership I decided to so another giveaway. Like this message to enter, I'll pick someone within 48 hours!
May 3, 2022 | 8:57 a.m.
I meant it in a 'sun is shining, everybody is chilling outaide, yet here you are bashing out srp ip pfr sims because you want to figure out why solver picks a specific sizing or whatever'. Kinda like that Linus story where supposedly he was at a big party once and then kinda left mid-evening to his room to open up PIO. Now I'm not saying that that's the GTO move, but it definitely helps if you have that craving of wanting to solve the puzzle.
April 30, 2022 | 9:55 p.m.
RunItTw1ce Yeah we've hired Brendon as coach and a few other guys are helping out in a more official manner. So part of the job has been delegating to guys like Brendon who have been doing very well themselves and have been pilars of the community. The other revelation has been that I need to lower my own expectations as a player a bit instead of getting frustrated for under-performing to some unrealistic target. Most of my time is spent on the team these days, attending meetings, doing research, creating content, doing coaching etc. As the team has grown my role changed quite a bit, which just means I am not a professional poker player that does coaching on the side any more. Both just co-exists equally now and that's fine :)
April 29, 2022 | 9:12 a.m.
Great post Tom. I think a lot of players like poker because of the potential for success. The irony is that those guys are rarely the ones making it to the top. The guys that like staring at sims and other models with the curtains closed usually just end up doing better. The reason is that they don't view studying as a means to get better, they just do it because they like it. It's a lot easier to not burn out as well. Guy wins 30 buy-ins, opens PIO. Next week he loses 30 buy-ins, still opens PIO. It's so much easier to go through the adversity when you can look yourself in the mirror and say: 'It doesn't matter what happens next week, month, quarter or year. I just enjoy the process if becoming a little better every day.'
April 29, 2022 | 8:31 a.m.
Time to reflect
I’m currently on a 5 hour train ride from Paris through the heart of France to Nice and figured: what would be a better time to do an extensive write up for the blog than now? The last couple of months have been quite challenging and I’ve been struggling to keep up with everything, including documenting my progress through the stakes in this journal. Over the years that I’ve been keeping this journal it’s something that I’ve always enjoyed doing. Having the option to ‘go back in time’ by reading back to some of my older entries is quite amazing and in times where I faced a lot of adversity at the tables it’s been straight up therapeutic. Looking at your lifetime graph can help, but nothing puts things in perspective than reading about times where I really did not think I was going to be able to get even remotely close to the point where I am now. So as long as I can find the time I think I’ll keep updating this until I retire.
My main goal for the current year we’re to play 500k hands of 1k+ and maybe take some shots at 5k towards the end of the year. Now, four months later, I’ve played about 100k hands at 1k+. I don’t think it’s all that likely that I’ll play another 400k in the rest of the year, so we might as well lower it right now. With NachosPoker growing significantly over the last year it’s been getting tougher and tougher to combine the responsibilities I have towards the team with my own ambitions as a poker player. I don’t think I’ll every stop grinding completely, but I think it’s important that I remain realistic about what I can and can’t do. I basically have two full time jobs right now and working more than that is just not something that I aspire to do. Listening to the podcast that the guys from Poker Ambition did with Zinhao has helped a lot in that regard. Listening to how he dealt with the struggle of wanting to grind on the one hand and grow his company on the other was truly inspiring.
Anyway, for the rest of the year I’m just going to assume that I’ll be playing another 200k hands and if I’m able to put in more hands than great and if not then that’s fine as well. In practice this means that I’ll play about 4 hours every day that I’m working. Over the last couple of months I’ve aimed for 6 hours and have constantly felt stressed for consistently not hitting this target. In the end it’s just a matter of simple math: if I add up all the hours I’m putting into poker and work for the CFP then there is not that much left as it is. Grinding 6 hours would equate to either sleeping two hours less or not having the chance to unwind a bit and hang out with my wife at the end of our day. Both are things I don’t want to compromise, so playing less it is! :)
Building Our Brand
Over the last couple of months we’ve been working hard on the release of new content, which is scheduled for the 1st of July. In addition to that we’ve recruited new players, hired coaches and guys that are helping us with some of the leg work when it comes to content creation. In addition to that we are working with developers to get custom build tools both for streamlining the learning process as well as to create tools that can help us get a better fundamental understanding of the game. Honestly I’m really thrilled about our future as a team. It’s been really cool to see a bunch of the guys that started the first few months move up to high stakes and to be able to battle them at the tables.
Over the coming months it would be cool to see if we can partner up with some other companies in the industry and see if we can build out our brand a little bit. Maybe in the future it would be cool to do a podcast or two and talk about the ride up, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see if something comes up.
My wife and I are currently on our last vacation with just the two of us. My wife is about 34 weeks pregnant now, so in just a couple of weeks we’ll be able to finally welcome our little girl into the world. We can see her grow and move around in my wifes belly, so waiting till we can finally hold her in our arms has been a lesson in patience more than anything else. For now I’m just planning on taking it chill a little and support her as much as I can. In that sense I’m super lucky that I’m generally working from home, so that makes things a lot easier. The coming two weeks I’m taking as much time off as I can, take some distance from poker as well (which hasn’t been treating me too great recently) and just enjoy the weather, the culture and maybe enjoy a beer or two :).
April 28, 2022 | 1:17 p.m.
1) This is an average of all (most) of the player profiles of our team over the last few months. Some guys are just starting off on stake, some are already playing 1k. Some are playing in Ignition (where moving up is a lot easier), some are playing in tough zoom pools and then the win rate will be a bit lower.
2) This has to do with playing in known pools as well (just can't go as hard). In addition to that we actually have players with losing red lines on Bovada.
3) Again, not just bovada players in the sample :)
4) Yeah I saw that and I'm not surprised. I got a 10% turn donk in a 4BP the other day on 2k in the most random spot. Later looked it up and turned out that in this tiny branch of the subtree it did that on a low frequency. Now maybe my opponent had studied turn leading ranges in 4bp BBvsEP that add ~0ev to the game tree, but chances are that he had the solves open whilst playing. Tbh it's frustrating, but I'm lucky enough that I haven't found any decline in win rate. As long as recs keep playing and people with bots are uncapable of max-exploiting the recs than I think then at least for the foreseeable future things are not as bleek as they portrayed it in the podcast.
Having said that I hope that the guys doing the RTA'ing will be kept out of every single game on the planet.
April 22, 2022 | 4:14 a.m.
Been working on a team alias for this year (which turns out to be a bitch due to many nicknames/unsupported hands and other logistical problems). The graph below is far from exhaustive (currently all players with 10k+ hands played included), but it should give a decent idea of what we're all about at Nachos.
April 21, 2022 | 6:35 p.m.
Looking forward to the next post mate. There is no doubt in my mind that you're going to get there. Just be patient and at the same time force yourself into uncomfortable positions and you'll see soon enough that the stars will align.
April 15, 2022 | 1:36 p.m.
In February and most of March have been some of my hardest since I went pro. My results sucked, but more importantly the quality of my actions we’re mediocre at best. I slept poorly, ate poorly, didn’t exercise much and played my C game while watching Netflix on the side the majority of the time. I felt stressed and tired and entered the mindset where every next session it felt like ‘I just needed to book a win’. Anyone who has been around the tables for a while knows that this way of thinking only leads to self-destruction. In poker there is no short or medium term reciprocity, especially not if you don’t make sure the quality of your actions align with your expectations.
It took me some time to climb out of it, but since my last posts I’ve been doing a lot better. I’ve started waking up early again, locking in consistent hours at the table and in the lab and catching 8 hours of sleep most nights. I’m definitely not where I want to be, but at least I’ve become focussed on the process again. Whenever I grind it is just to get hands in so I can study and review them to get better. Whenever I study I just want to learn as much as I can so that whenever I sit down to grind I know subconsciously that I’m ready to battle. The funny thing is when you start on taking this approach and get hyper focussed on the process, results don’t matter that much anymore. So in addition to it being the best path in terms of consistent growth, it also is a lot easier to deal with the mindset side of things.
So I’m waking up early again, got into a healthy rhythm and feel like I’m top of the world, even though it’s been a while since I booked a winning month. Then again: last year around this time I was break even for 4 months, whereas now I’m only a solid week away from booking my best year ever. Perspective is everything I guess.
Outside of the poker tables I made a drastic decision as well: I’m going back to teaching. It’s just going to be one class for one day per week, but I’m thrilled to be able to help out. Over the last few months I’ve really started to miss being in a classroom and interacting with students, so when the head-teacher contacted me and asked if I was available to help out, I was instantly excited. There are a lot of Ukrainians that fled the war to find refuge in my country, so it’s quite hectic right now with new students and classes starting pretty much every day. I know it’s not the max EV line and it’s definitely going to be a challenge to keep all the balls up in the air, but life’s about more than EV. And besides it’s only till the summer. After that we’ll have to see what is possible as I’ll have other things to worry about (like waking up at 2am to change diapers).
April 13, 2022 | 5 a.m.
Nachos' Birthday Giveaway
Yesterday we celebrated the first birthday of NachosPoker. Looking back I almost can't believe we started only a year ago. So much stuff has happened! I'm going to write a longer blog entry with some deeper reflection on the entire experience, but for now I just want to thank everybody that lend me a hand along the way.
In addition to that I want to thank the RIO community. A lot of this has been thanks to getting the opportunity to write about things that happened when I was playing low stakes. If you'd told me 3 years ago that this would all amount to the point where I am right now - being able to make a living out of playing, studying and teaching this game that I love - I wouldn't have believed you. Getting RIO Elite and reading the blogs of Nick and Saulo has been a massive motivater and a push into the right direction. I hope that this blog can do something similar.
That's why I want to do another give away - this time strictly for players that are playing <50nl and are struggling to make any progress. Just hit me up through DM or reply here and within a week I'll choose 3 players that get a an hour of coaching and RIO essential for a month for free.
April 2, 2022 | 6:47 a.m.
STARTING A MICROSTAKES TEAM
With our first birthday coming up I'm able to share some exciting news: we'll be starting a microstakes team! Over the last year we've refined our program to the point where we are happy to welcome players from all limits to join us on a journey to high stakes. So if you want to improve your game from the ground up then feel free to check out our website and apply to our program. Even if you've applied in the past but didn't quite meet the criteria yet we encourage you to apply again.
March 21, 2022 | 6:56 p.m.
Thanks for the reply! You made me reconsider going back to my regular routine again of waking up really early. An added benefit would be that I'm generally a lot more productive when I'm waking up early rather than waking up late in the afternoon.
March 21, 2022 | 12:49 p.m.
I've played 5 million hands+ at 2nl before taking the leap and moving up to high stakes many years later. My advice: just try and keep trying. The sooner you realize that that is actually a win-win situation (either you stick the landing or you build up scar tissue that will help you during future shots), the better.
March 20, 2022 | 4:20 a.m.
One of our students that started at low stakes less than a year ago posted his year to date graph in our Discord and I had to repost this. And no, this is not an anonymous environment, this is a known pool. The pool - even at high stakes - just doesn't adjust.
March 19, 2022 | 11:18 p.m.
Pursuit of Balance
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve struggled quite a bit with my consistency. Since Rozvadov my schedule is more or less fucked and I feel like that was the anker that kept me in a somewhat consistent place of eating semi-healthy, working out semi-regularly and playing similar hours every day. Since returning from Rozvadov I’ve been pretty much all over the place. You know things are not going too well when after waking up you have to look at your phone to determine whether it’s morning, evening or night.
As I’ve mentioned before I’ve always had periods in which I’d focus on one thing - whether it’s poker, gaming, sports or partying - for a few weeks only to give myself a reset and try to get back into a healthier rhythm. Over the last few years I’ve gotten more balanced for sure, but I’m definitely a far way out from where I want to be. In a few months I’ll be a father, which brings a lot of responsibility, the biggest one will likely be setting an example and being a role model. In addition to that my wife is starting to become really pregnant and I just need to step up and do more to support her. Can’t do that if I’m on a bi-phasical sleep schedule, especially when the times I go to sleep aren’t fixed.
In one of the calls that I had with Jason Su we concluded that sometimes I want my life to be balanced and sometimes I want chaos. I think at that time that was a massive upgrade for me. Instead of feeling bad for getting hammered on a Friday night with friends, I just made sure that I took the Saturday off to recover and the rest of the week I’d be as balanced as I could be. Now I feel like I’m at a point where I just want balance more than anything else, I just can’t seem to find it.
So as I like to do with poker, I took a step back and created simple strategies to do better. For now I’m really not putting a lot of pressure on myself, except for doing these three things:
- Stick to my (vegan) diet 6/7 days;
- Do some form of exercise every day;
- Play at least 4 days a week (no hour/hand goal).
- Go to bed between 5am and 7am, wake up between 1pm and 3pm
My diet (again) is very simple and consists of
- Plant-B Mealplan;
- Green (water based) smoothie;
- Veggies and vegan chicken;
- Protein bar/Protein chips;
- Handful nuts;
- Piece of fruit fruit and soy based yoghurt.
It’s definitely not the best, most balanced diet, but it’s relatively simple, which makes it a lot easier to follow. I’m purposefully not setting any weight goals, just want to make sure that I stick to the diet/exercise routine most days.
March 13, 2022 | 11:04 p.m.
Hey guys, I'm getting a bunch of request for coaching over the last few days. I want to reitterate I son't do any private coaching any more. If you're interested in our methodology feel free to check out our website and apply to our CFP!
March 5, 2022 | 5:22 p.m.
Over the last month we've had three of our players that joined the team about 9-10 months ago break through to high stakes (any many more pounding on the doors as we speak). It's honestly been a super thrilling and scary as fuck to see players now sit at my left in some of my own games..
March 3, 2022 | 3:34 p.m.
Be Happy Now, Not Later
Over the last few weeks I haven’t been playing as much online. This is partly due to attending our first team trip, but even before I didn’t play that much. As I’ve mentioned before I’ve been pretty stressed from working too much in January. I think the biggest issue that I’ve had is finding balance between poker and other stuff in life. As someone on our team mentioned I think it might be due to a false sense of urgency. Poker is around right now and I’m not sure if it will be in 10 years, therefore taking time off feels like a waste of valuable time that could be spent clicking buttons. It took me some time, but I've come to the realization that this is an unhealthy approach that inevitably leads to burn-out.
Taking some time off and forcing myself to not stare at a screen all day has helped a lot. I honestly had a blast on the team trip. Playing drunk 5 card, 3 board omaha where you can pick up to 3 cards was honestly the most fun I think I’ve every had playing cards. Getting to meet some of you there truly was something different and Basically I realized two things:
1. I like to lock myself in a room and focus only on playing poker, studying poker and teaching poker.
2. I like to travel, meet new people, take time off and enjoy life.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve worked with the following heuristic: if I like playing poker and I like to do other things, then it makes sense to just play poker because poker might not be around in 10 years. ‘I can always do fun stuff some other time. Now is the time to lock myself in, grind as hard as possible and try to become the best.’ And whilst I still think there is some truth in that, I also don’t want to trade happiness for EV. I’m in a position now which allows me to travel around a bit and see something of the world and I should allow myself to enjoy the fuck out of that while it lasts.
For now I think it makes sense to keep grinding a solid schedule at times, lock myself in and just focus on poker and the team as much as possible, whilst at the same time make sure that I plan time off and enjoy the perks that playing poker professionally brings as well. In March I’ll try to keep my head down and get back into the grind, but towards the end of the month take some time off and play the WPT Deepstacks events in Amsterdam with no expectations of value whatsoever. Just book a nice room, hang out in the casino and enjoy the city when I don’t feel like playing. In addition to that I’ll force myself to take two afternoons off every week to just chill and do nothing poker related. I’m not 100% sure that this is the way to go, but it’s definitely better than just blindly pumping volume without any prospect of doing something fun outside of punting stacks at high stakes.
So over the coming months I plan to go on a holiday to Nice with my wife and later this year I’m set on going to the US for a month or two and travel and play in some live games if I have the chance. Playing in Rozvadov reminded me of how much I liked playing live, so if I can combine traveling and sightseeing with some soft high stakes live action then that would be the dream.
March 1, 2022 | 2:05 a.m.
Around the start of next month we'll be launching a YouTube channel, where we'll release some YouTube exclusive content. For that I'm looking for a microstakes player that wants his liveplay reviewed. If you're intested, hit me up through DM.
Feb. 15, 2022 | 7:31 p.m.
For sure, any time man. Feel free to hit me up through DM as well, happy to help. The reason I said what I said was to make you aware of the fact that if you want to take this poker thing seriously, it makes sense to aim high and maximize the chances of getting there as much as possible.