freenachos's avatar


140 points

Signing with PokerDetox
Today a big dream of me has come true: I've signed a deal with PokerDetox. It still feels surrealistic. Ever since Saulo pointed me towards their direction, I've eaten up every tiny bit of their content, slowly progressing day by day ever since. And now I'm just super thrilled to be taking the next step as a part of their CFP.

Since I've reached most of the goals from the beginning of this journal, I figured this would be a nice turning point. So I'm setting some fresh goals:
- Start working a day less to get some more time for poker.
- Learn to effectively plan study/playing time on forehand and follow that schedule rigidly.
- Play 500.000 hands before the end of 2020.
- Beat 50nl and 100nl with a significant win rate.
- Write at least one entry in this journal a week and focus them more on strategy and random thoughts and a little less on how things are going with the grind.

Nov. 19, 2019 | 11:14 p.m.

Hey man,
Well I'll tell you what Saulo told me: 'If you follow Nick Howard's content, you' ll be Allright. '

The direction you should towards is simplifying your game tree and finding out where the population is deviating from equilibrium. Find for instances spots where the population overfolds or underbluffs and adjust accordingly. There are a lot of free videos on the Pokerdetox YouTube channel that can help. Also read Saulo's blogs here on RIO, with the Postheumus of a Microstakes grinder in the Pursuit of Balance blog as a highlight.

If you want to talk some more, just hit me up via PM. I've been coaching another guy from RIO for a non-premium fee. And even if you're not going to be able to, I'd be happy to point you towards the right direction.

Nov. 15, 2019 | 1:33 p.m.

Let's recap
At the beginning of this year, I set some goals for myself. The most important was beating 10nl and 25nl. The first few months I struggled. I felt like I lacked direction. I had the energy, the time and the determination, I just didn't know where I was heading. I studied actively, watched videos, took notes, but still I felt like something was missing, hence the title of this journal. I came to a point where I realized I needed help. After reading Saulo’s blog, I decided to contact him to see if I could get coaching, but given the fact that I still pendled between 10nl and 25nl, I quickly came to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to afford him. So I explained my situation and asked him for advice. Generously enough, he took the time to give me just that and a little bit more. And it changed my trajectory completely.

End goals
For a while, I didn’t have a clear end game for poker. And as a struggling microstakes player, there’s not much more to fantasize about than getting yourself to a point where you are actually winning. For me, looking beyond that seemed pointless. Now that I found direction and the results are getting there, I can allow myself to look past the micro’s. I know I still have a long way to go. I’m nowhere near where I want to be. But seeing the progress I’ve made, I can finally admit to myself that some day I'd like to wake up and see if there are any games running at 500nl+. It’s still a long way, and maybe an endless one, but the last few weeks I started to realize that if I keep working hard, if I keep improving, it just might happen one day.

Moving up is hard
After moving up to 50nl, I found myself struggling again. I ran bad, but the games are tougher as well and it took me a while to adjust to the higher stakes. Now I’ve settled a bit and I feel way more comfortable. And even though the results are still not very good, I remind myself every day that learning the maximum every day is way more important than winnings this month. That’s also why I’ve applied to two CFP-programs (PokerDetox and BRPC from Saulo and Zinhao). Both seem like a good fit and even though I realize getting accepted a longshot, I feel like it’s the right path for me now. Let's hope they feel the same way!

Nov. 12, 2019 | 6:08 p.m.

Comment | freenachos commented on Nl50 Monster draw

Don't think we have a lot of AK because of preflop. Interesting spot, but it depends a lot on your flop XR range and how many Kx it contains.

Oct. 21, 2019 | 1:20 p.m.

Pokersnowie preflop advisor is pretty good and free.

Oct. 16, 2019 | 9:37 p.m.

You're better off finding a low rake site. Rake between limits is on most sites quite similar.

Oct. 16, 2019 | 4:49 p.m.

Good luck man. One quick tip: use the lock-feature of GTO+ and don't focuss to much on how solver would play vs solver in a specific hand, because the population plays very imbalanced to begin with. It's also very easy to get lost in details of a specific hand that way:)

Oct. 15, 2019 | 5:12 p.m.

Crushing through 20 and hitting brick walls after
Last week I played a lot (for myself) on 20nl and I've crushed pretty hard. I've been working on keeping focussed and don't get distracted by my phone or the internet while playing, which has helped a lot. The fact that I couldn't lose a flip helped a lot as well, haha. I won a lot and by the end of the week I figured: why not take a few shots at 50nl again? My bankroll was sufficiënt, I had a lot of confidence, so why not dip my feet in the pool and see what happens?

It didn't went as fruitfull as hoped. The games we're pretty good, but especially in the beginning I got way to emotional. It's something I've strugled with every time I moved up and it's something that fades over time, but every session, every flip I felt like I had to win. Like the money suddenly mattered. I didn't play very good and lost quite a bit back over 3 sessions this weekend. There's light at the end of the tunnel though; over the stretch of these sessions I could feel myself getting more comfortable. It isn't that much harder. I'll get there.

The last few months I've thought a lot about what my endgoal is for myself in poker. I don't want to eventually turn pro. I have a wonderful job and I know that the stability that I need the stability and general happiness that it offers me. Yesterday I had a realization though: I think I might want to work a bit less, maybe offer coaching some day. Who knows.

Bankroll: €2442.72

Oct. 15, 2019 | 5:03 p.m.

Just bet 1/4th. You don't need a lot of folds. Just simplify your strategy and bet range here for 1/4th. You'll probably lose some EV, but it's better to play an imperfect strategy perfectly than to play a perfect strategy imperfectly. Besides making your strategy easy and his pretty hard (what does he have to peel for 1/4th?), you'll also have a very clear idea of what you range looks like on the turn.

Oct. 15, 2019 | 4:40 p.m.

Make life easy and bet range otf, small sizing. Just simplify your own strategy and let villain try to reach his/her MDF.

Oct. 14, 2019 | 9:09 p.m.

Early recap
I'm signing off a bit early this month. I haven't been able to put in the volume I would have liked. Besides work and my social life there just isn't a lot of room to grind. I have also been going to the gym 3 times a week, which I'm definitely happy with because I gained a lot of weight on my honey moon. Either way: stakes and graph. As you can see I've been taking shots at 50nl and even though I didn't run good, I still am proud that I've made it this far. I started a little over a year ago on 4nl and just taking the shots feels like all the work I did was not for nothing. I'll get there. It's just going to take a while.

The upcomming month I'm doing things a bit different. I have been studying a lot the past year. If I had to put it in numbers I'd say at least 60% of my poker related time has gone up on studying. This month I'm going the other way around. The goal is to play a lot and really challenge myself. I'm aiming for 60k+ hands.

Sept. 30, 2019 | 5:09 p.m.

Comment | freenachos commented on Can we talk rake?

Actually it's not really what I'm looking for :) I know the percentages, but there's no real comparison. With the higher base rate of 5.75%, medium to high cap and STP, I wouldn't be surprised if it translates to 10bb+/100 rake (pre rakeback). I hope some of the players who did put in a reasonable sample on the site can weigh in.

Sept. 25, 2019 | 8:31 p.m.

Post | freenachos posted in Chatter: Can we talk rake?

I'm one of those people who roots for RIO, I really want it to succeed, but yet I haven't played a hand on the site. It's not because of any of the reasons most other players gave earlier (when there was no table resizing, people hating STP, hating anonymous games, wanting regular rakeback etc.). For me it's more of an EV thing. Yet I'm one of the players RIO should be appealing to most: I usually play 4-6 anonymous tables and I rarely play tournaments. So why don't I make the step? I played on a lot of different sites, so it's not like I'm attached to Pokerstars for some reason.

I guess it's a rake thing. I'm not sure RIO is the best, or even an competitive option for me, compared to some other sites that offer my stakes (20/50nl). Yes, there is 51% rakeback, but the rake is higher than on practically every site around and the cap is also reasonably high. Then there is STP, wether you like the format (I think I would like it a lot), it pushes the avarage pot size up, and therefore the rake.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want this to be a 'let me tell you what I dislike about RIO Poker' post. I would like to see some numbers. What is the avarage rake bb/100 (I get this differs quite a bit per player, but still it's the only reasonable way I can think of to compare sites). Are there any regs with an reasonable sample on my stakes? Can someone from the site weigh in maybe?

Sept. 25, 2019 | 6:35 p.m.

Quick recap
Since the last post a lot has happened: I've gotten married, traveled through Southern-Europe for almost 4 weeks, started taking drivers lessons, began working out again and a few weeks ago the new schoolyear started. When I wrote my last post, I thought that august would be a month of freedom and focus, of hardcore grinding. But I was wrong. It turned out I didn’t have as much time as I expected, and besides that I didn’t want to spent august behind a laptop =).

New beginnings
The start of the schoolyear has always been a moment to regain focus for me. I’ve had a lack of structure most of my life, so when the summer holidays start I tend to let go of everything and return to my natural chaotic state of being. So after 6 weeks of drinken too much, sleeping irregulary and eating unhealthy, I kind of start craving for stability and structure again. Last few weeks I’ve gotten back in the rhythm of work, taking drivers lessons, working out and besides all that I spent around 15-20 hours on poker every week and I plan to do so till the end of the year. During my honeymoon I couldn’t play at all, but since we traveled a lot by train, I had a lot of time to devote on studying the game.
I’m getting closer and closer to the goals I’ve set for 2019, which I’m pretty thrilled about. I’m beating 20nl at a reasonable clip (small sample though), and I’m getting closer and closer to being able to take shots at 50nl. I still have a lot to learn though, so even though I could take a shot right now, I’m probably going to take the safer route of studying a lot more, getting more of a sample in and then take some shots. I know I have to become more consistent and there are still infinite spots and lines I need to study to start crushing real hard.

Bankroll: €1914.23

Sept. 8, 2019 | 2:37 p.m.

Sick. Teach me?

July 1, 2019 | 5:28 p.m.

Honeymoon and chill
At the moment I'm writing this in the train on my way to an ill planned meeting with our wedding photographer. It's almost the end of the schoolyear, my first full year as a teacher, and with a planned marriage just before summerbreak, I can honestly say it's the most hectic period of my life. I'm sure in the end it will all be worth it, but at the moment I'd like to just crawl up in bed and pretend there are nothing that needs to be taken care of :-).

Afer we get married (the 12th of july) we have a day at home just to chill and then we're leaving for our honeymoon. We're travelling close to a month through southern Europe by train, visiting a total of 11 cities, including Nice, Milan, Barcelona, Valencia and Paris. One of the perks of having severe fear of flying I guess.

The infamous x number of hands challenge
As you probably figures out by now, I didn't have a lot of time to spend on poker. I imported my hands of the last two months today, and I've managed to play 25k hands total. I spend most of my time studying though, so considering everything I'm actually pretty happy with that number. I feel like I'm making insane progress. As Nick Howard would describe it: I'm emerging into higher context (or so I would imagine). And because I'll be traveling a lot by train during my honeymoon, I expect to keep up with my study schedule the forthcoming weeks. When I get back at august 8th, I'll have two weeks left before the start of the new schoolyear, and since I didn't get a lot of volume in, I decided it was time for a challenge.

The goal is to play at least 50.000 hands (4-6 regular tables max) for the rest of August. For now, I'll leave you with a graph (last two months):

July 1, 2019 | 5:25 p.m.

Back on track
So, it's been a while since I updated this journal. Can't imagine anyone has had a lot of sleepless nights over this, but still I thought it was time to for a new entry. Things have been going great the last couple of months. I've found a routine and I'm constantly studying a lot. Don't get me wrong, I'm still not a crusher by any means and I don't think I'll be one soon. But I'm working hard and I know I'm on the right track. It's funny how fast things can turn around when you are humble enough to question every certainty about your game you thought you had.

I've moved up from 10nl to 20nl, and I'm certain that I've not reached my ceiling yet. When I look back at the goals I've set at the beginning of this year, I think it's very well possible that I'm going to achieve them. I might be able to take some shots at 50nl if things are going to keep up the next few months. Although I might just use the money to get some coaching instead. I guess time will tell.

Roll: €1516.68

June 17, 2019 | 5:09 p.m.

Letting go of all my fears
I have no idea how to start this post. This week has been so intensely contradicting in nature. For the first time since I started this blog, I can say that something really changed in the way I perceive this game. I have watched a lot of Nick Howards content lately, and it really guided me and gave me the direction I so desperately needed when I started this blog a few months ago. It feels like I found a hidden door, and behind that there is endless scientifically driven data that has provided me with so many valuable information already. All I have to do now is study, integrate, repeat. It honestly feels that simple. I'm so excited for what the future has in store for me. And even though I have one of my biggest losing weeks since starting this blog, I can truly say I’ve never been more confident in my chances of becoming a 100nl beater in the years to come.

In a way, I feel the same way as I did when I started dating my fiancée, five years ago. We had a rocky start: she was young and she just came out of her first serious relationship. She made mistakes. In a way, we both did. We were both naïve and insecure. Scared to commit.
I remember this one night when it all happened: I had gathered all my stuff and quickly ran to the bus stop to take the last bus back home. We lived several miles apart back then and I knew I had no other option of getting home. I ran as hard as I could. When I got there, I looked at my phone to see that there was still a few minutes before the bus would arrive. I sat down, lighted a cigarette, expecting to feel relieve. But I didn’t. A few minutes later the bus came and left without me. There were no other options anymore. I walked back, only to meet her halfway. That was the real moment of relieve. It was such a counter intuitive moment. Upon that moment I had always walked away when things got difficult. I always felt like it was more convenient to not bother trying. Because if I’d try, if I'd really try, I might find out that I’m just not good enough. It’s such a paradox: in order to gain (self)trust I had to let go of the fear of getting hurt.
Now, more then four years later, a lot has changed. Since that moment I’ve cleaned up my life: I stopped smoking cigarettes and weed, I paid of all my debts (of which there where many), I got my bachelors degree and became a teacher. Two years ago we started living together. Last summer I asked her to marry me and just a few months from now I’ll be able to call her my wife. And if that’s now enough, yesterday she gave me an early bithday present (I turn 29 in a few hours). She somehow got into my old Pokerstars account and bought me into the Anniversary Sunday Million tomorrow. Very excited to play such a big event. (I’ll forgive her for collaborating with the enemy for now😊)

The future
The upcoming months I’ll be continuing on the path I’ve stumbled upon. (I actually have to thank Saulo Ribeiro for directing me into Nick’s direction). I still have a lot of obstacles to overcome, a lot of things to learn. But for the first time feel a real sense of direction. I’ve created a routine that I’m going to follow for the next 30 weeks. Within that timeframe, I’m not going to check my results. I just don’t see any reasons to do so. Every time I checked my results I started to compare myself to my own expectations and started to feel the urge to win right now. To be able to show results right now. So that I would prove to myself and to the few people who are reading this that I’m a winning player. It’s just not the mindset that I want to have. I have a sufficient roll to overcome the most horrible swings and I’m not going to move up until I’ve shown consistency anyways. So either way I’ll continue to grind 10nl for the foreseeable future. Within that period I’ll update this journal whenever I feel the urge. Hell, maybe at some point, when I feel confident enough, I will be able to share some insights 😊.

For now, I'll stick to posting my last mandatory graph (for the time being):

April 13, 2019 | 8:06 p.m.

Weekly recap
This week I've been pretty busy. It's been rough trying to balance my love life, social life working full time and trying to improve in poker. This week I gave the first two more attention, which definitely felt like the right move. Most of the poker-related time I've used to build a popup to do population research. This was a pretty time-consuming task, but I'm happy that I've sort-of finished it. I have a popup that allows me to research numerous lines in all kinds of spots. The plan was to just do the lines, but yesterday I really got the hang of it and also created reports for different flop, turn and river textures. I haven't had any time to do anything with it yet, but still I feel pretty happy with the result for now.

I haven't grinded much and I don't know if I'll hit my volume goal this month. I try not to worry to much about it and focus on the process instead. This has worked out fine, since I haven't played too many tables and I can feel my thought process becoming clearer. Still I have some troubles, especially making folds in underbluffed spots :(.

The class of Elias
Also I wanted to share something that has really moved me. On the Dutch television there was a documentary on called 'The Class of Elias'. In this documentary the film maker helps Elias, a Syrian refugee who came to the Netherlands two years ago, in his search for his old class mates from back home. Most of them he hasn't heard a word from since the day he fled the country. All they have to go from is one class picture that was taken on the day the first bombs went off. It found it devistating, yet inspiring to see how Elias and his friends found the strength to rebuild their life after most of their youth was taken from them by this brutal war. I feel humbled that, as a teacher who teaches children simlar to Elias, I can be part of their process and help these children to shape their future.

I don't think people outside the Netherlands are able to view the documentary, but for the few dutch guys out there, you should definitely take a look.

Next week I think I'll have a little less time than I did this week. Think getting as many hands in as I did this week is a reasonable goal.

April 7, 2019 | 8:05 p.m.

Copernicus I don't agree with you. Think this site has a lot of potential. I would def like to play on RIO, but the things holding me back right now are:
- No handhistory (no way of tracking results/reviewing game)
- Lack of action

Also I'd be pretty curious to see if the 5.75% rake is sustainable. Sure there is 51% rakeback with splash the pot, but I would like to know how the avarage pot size being higher influences things.

April 7, 2019 | 7:20 p.m.

Comment | freenachos commented on Eat, Sleep, NLHE

Nice journal man. Following!

April 4, 2019 | 4 p.m.

Will handhistories be downloadable after the next update? If so I'm going to take the leap and switch sites :)

April 1, 2019 | 11:24 p.m.

Not a crusher by any means
I think I've had my worst month ever. When I look back now, I know I've not played my best game for most of the month. I've been struggling with my mental game a lot, making all kinds of mistakes along the way. For as long as I can remember I've had issues with confidence and self-doubt. This is part of the reason I was afraid of moving up when I played poker back in 2008-2014. I think i've played over 5 million hands of 2nl on stars. Just grinding 24 tables. Not even thinking about spots. When I look back at that period now, I can't imagine never finding the confidence to even try 5nl and move up. Now I've got my life back together and I don't rely on poker as an income, I just want to progress. I know I have to work hard and be patient though. There are no shortcuts.

The positives
Although my results have been horrific, I still see a lot of good things that happened. I've found a new balance, in which study my (mental) game has become more of a routine. I've been doing all kinds of stuff and I actually feel like i'm on a path to consistent growth. I can actually feel I'm starting to become a better player. The results will come eventually. I've been studying my mental game, doing MDA, simplifying my gametree, finding a grinding routine that works, I've started a journal and a session log and I've been living more healthy. A few times a week I'm running now while listening to audiobooks, which I can recommend to anyone. (reading tip: Thinking fast and slow). But most importantly, I've come to the realization that volume is overrated and focus is underrated. A big one, especially considiring most of the losses I've had this month where from 4-tabling zoom when on slight to medium tilt :-)

Looking forward
The next month or two, I'm going to play 4 regular tables of 10nl on PartyPoker. I've been looking into lower rake alternatives, but as of now I prefer having the option to review hands and improve, rather than making money. Maybe I will diversify a bit when I reach 25nl.

Goals this month:
- Play 30.000 hands (4 regular tables max)
- Finish building popups in H2N to do range research
- Find a way to simplify my game tree (I've been watching a lot of Nick Howards content lately :-))
- Post weekly recap with graph
- Run 20 min every working day and eat 250 grams of vegetables every day.
- Keep using a weekly planner
- Keep using session log and aim for 8+/10 for focus every session

The shameful graph:

April 1, 2019 | 5:07 p.m.

Comment | freenachos commented on Zenekas journal.

Very sick winrate! Does the Swedish site with low raked deep stacked games with tracker support allow non-Swedes to play :-)?

March 30, 2019 | 6:06 p.m.

Comment | freenachos commented on Zenekas journal.

Wow. What the fuck. What site do you play on? What games? What's your winrate in this sample. Congrats man :)!

March 30, 2019 | 4:22 p.m.

I don't even beat 10nl
Lately, I've come to terms with the statement above. My results just haven't been great. Or good. Or mediocre. Since the start of this blog, I've put in a lot of hands. Without succes. Overall I've played way too many hands on 10nl, the results are mediocre at best.

Making changes
I do feel I've made a lot of improvements though. Not only to my game, but also to my attitude towards the game. In the samples above there is a lot of 4-tabling. I have been so focussed on getting volume, grinding through the stake, rather than trying to learn the most while playing, trying to think about the spots that occur. This has changed. I don't play more than two tables now. Finding this quote by Saulo Ribeiro has helped me a lot:

Volume is overrated. Stop what you are doing, buy the poker software you need and start doing the work that is really going to get you where you want to be. Break the cycle man. It's time.

I've also made a lot of improvements on my general learning process. When I started this blog, I used most of my time to play poker. Besides that, I watched a couple of video's per week (without taking notes, obv.). Now I make a weekly schedule that looks something like this. This video showed me some valuable insights.

Still I feel like I lack real direction. I know where some of my leaks lay, I feel like I'm on the right path sort of, but I feel like I miss the map to consistent growth as a player.

Being realistic
I think it's time to come to terms with the fact I'm still a losing 10nl player. It's a hard fact, but I have to accept it in order to move on and do everything I can to change that fact. For now, that is my only goal in poker.

March 25, 2019 | 5:40 p.m.

Comment | freenachos commented on Zenekas journal.

Nice post man. Glad to see things are turning up. I can relate a lot to the last part especially. Gl on the grind!

March 23, 2019 | 9:03 a.m.

Hey man, thanks for asking. Results-wise I've been doing pretty poorly. I've been focussed on the wrong things, short term results, playing more tables so I could hit a higher cashback target, setting the wrong goals. I lacked direction, hence my last post. A few things got me back on track though. Now I actually feel like I got a map that will get me to the path of consistent growth. Very excited! I'll post a more comprehensive update with details tomorrow.

March 17, 2019 | 7:55 p.m.

Comment | freenachos commented on Zenekas journal.

Nice blog man. Will surely be following this. GL man!

March 17, 2019 | 7:40 p.m.

Post | freenachos posted in NLHE: Commercial H2N Pop-up for MDA

I want to mass database analysis with Hand2Note. Can anyone recommend commercial popups for range research? Making them myself seems like a hassle I want to avoid if possible.

March 15, 2019 | 4:12 p.m.

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