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131 points

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.

Okay, thanks a lot. Needed to clear that up for myself.

March 14, 2019 | 6:46 p.m.


Scenario 1 - Raise
I raise to 2.5bb. Villain folds exactly 57%. My winrate in the sb is 0bb/100.

Scenario 3 - I fold
My winrate in the sb is -50bb/100

I get that I already lost the sb in both scenarioss, but what let's say I find a scenario where villain folds 56% of hands. This will mean I lose slightly on the raise, but still by giving up my sb I will 'lose' more, right? I

March 14, 2019 | 3:55 p.m.

I'm trying to explore what type of qualities a poker player needs to have in order to be winning, to give more direction to my study plan. So for instance, I've come up with a few subjects that can be studied:

- Preflop Game (a broad one, can dissect this one later)
- Flop play (again a very broad one)
- Basic understanding of mathematics
- In-game though process
- Grind process
- Blind play
- Mental game
- Session review process
- Tracker Optimalization
- The study process

As you can see, I'm just beginning and the subjects are still randomly ordered. But I think you get the jizz.

My question is: what areas am I forgetting here? Do you guys have any more feedback to this list?

March 13, 2019 | 2:08 p.m.

Post | freenachos posted in NLHE: Required stealsucces

I'm trying to figure out what stealsucces I need for my sb rfi (2.5bb) in order to make it better than folding (-50bb/100), assuming i'm both check-folding every flop and folding to every possible 3bet. I've been trying a few formulas, but I get lost along the way. Anyone?

March 13, 2019 | 1:16 p.m.

I'm yet too see the light, still
I felt like writing a mid-week update. I have been playing and studying a fair bit. I've finished crafting flop strategies for all 74 textures bu vs bb. It has helped to get a better understanding of range interactions and I can already tell that I have a clearer idea of where I am ingame. I also played roughly 10.000 hands, playing 3 tables max, managed to win a few buyins and generally feel like I'm slowly moving forward mentally and technically. Baby steps. Besides that, I'm at 3 of 7 videos and the weekend is het to come.

Still, I feel a bit disappointed with myself. I'm still not where I want to be. I'm still trying to shape my playing and study process in a way that yields maximum results. I'm still yet to commit in a way that's going to really change my results. I felt like I needed that of my chest before going to bed. Sigh :(

March 7, 2019 | 11:41 p.m.

Things have been pretty intense. My goals were a little too ambitious. I especially underestimated the time it took to review the 74 flops. The first boards I reviewed extensively, also looking at our strategy on various turns in different branches of the three. After a while, I realized I had to keep it simple. Now, I'm almost finished and I have a base strategy for in position on all 74 boards. I suspect however that I'm going to need more time too evaluate the results for the 'SB vs BB' sim, because there will be a lot less rangebetting and a lot more mixing going on. I still like the way of studying though, so that's good. Also I'm going to play 3 tables instead of two from now on.

Videos watched: 8
Hands played: 5.889
Net won: -$8,84

- Play 10.000 hands
- Watch 7 videos
- Finish reviewing 'BU vs BB 74 flops' sim
- Run 3 extra 'SB vs BB' scripts in order to speed reviewing process next week
- Study notes on videos bij Julian Kopansky on underbluffing and overfolding.

March 4, 2019 | 6:29 p.m.

The "I think this session can be summed up as me making ridiculously large bluffs and getting called" comment got me laughing out loud haha.

Nice video, as allways. Especially liked the last three minutes. Very relatable :)

Feb. 26, 2019 | 7:38 p.m.

As i've lined out in my previous post, I've created a plan for the next couple of weeks. The goal is to keep playing zoom 10nl, build the roll a little further and try to learn as much as possible in the process. Here are my main goals for the next 10 weeks (school period + spring break). This week I set the following goals.

The bankroll is at €1119,18

Feb. 26, 2019 | 6:51 p.m.

The school holiday has come to an end. This morning there were 16 children (aged 12-14) from Syria, Eritrea, Hungary, Portugal and Spain lined up in front of the class, eagerly waiting for school to start (well, at least some of them were) and for me to take them to the 25 square foot room some might call a class.
Within the last months I haven’t posted much in my poker journal. I have been busy enough with making sure these children get everything they deserve, and since it’s my first year as a full-time teacher, that takes a lot of time. A LOT OF TIME. (Oh, and did I mention that I’m planning for a wedding in July?) The limited time I had left I spent on studying and playing, rather than writing about my progress. Today, as school started again, I felt like it was as good as time as any to write this update.

When I started this journal, I hadn’t played a hand in months. Still, I felt like I had the skillset to beat 25nl. I had beaten 2nl, 5nl and 10nl over reasonable samples and I had acquired a roll in the process that allowed me to take shots at 25nl. Off course, I hadn’t been able to play much, but I figured I’d wipe of the rust on my game with a couple of sessions on 25nl zoom. Needless to say: I was wrong. I quickly dropped 8 buy-ins. I had to take a step back. I studied a lot, got Run It Once Elite, and moved back to 10nl. It took a while to remember myself that the stake I play now is irrelevant, it’s the stake I play three years from now that matters. All I can do now is study and improve. Here are my results for the past 8 months:

From now on forward, humble is the way to go. I’m not done at 10nl, and I shouldn’t feel like I am. I still have a lot to learn and 10nl is probably the best place to do just that. It is difficult to face, but I’m just not as good as I sometimes like to think I am.

I’ve asked myself the following question: what skills do I need, or what parts of my game do I need to improve, in order to make the transition to 25nl as comfortable as possible. The plan I made for myself is loosely based on the Perato Principle. The idea being that 20% of the work leads to 80% of the results. This works the other way around too, sometimes 80% of the work leads to 20% of the results. Granted, it’s an gross over-simplification of reality to state that 20% of the work will always yield 80% of results, but I still think the concept translates to poker in a way. I could study some rare spot that only occurs once every full moon, but rather than spending a lot of time studying 4bet pots bb vs ep, I figured it was better to get a better understanding of basic spots that occur often (flop play on single-raised pots btn vs bb and sb vs bb is my main target). Not only are those the most reoccurring spots in poker, they are also really hard to play, because ranges are wide. A lot of EV to be gained.
Other things I want to focus my attention to are polishing my preflop game and strengthening my mental toughness (also a lot of work to be done there). I will share the plan here later this week and I will evaluate and share results when spring break ends early may.

I will try to update this journal more often. Not that I cherish any expectations about anyone missing this journal when I stop writing. It’s more for myself than for any of you. So expect graphs, hands, thoughtfull insights and maybe a video or two!

Feb. 25, 2019 | 11:16 p.m.

When will there be two factor authentication? Is this spmething that has priority for you guys? I promiss I'll haul over my entire roll and action the day you implement it:)

Feb. 23, 2019 | 12:45 p.m.

It's mainly on boards where GTO+ (the one i'm using) is allready using a 90%+ cbetting strategy for small sizing. The minus difference is also microscopical. I think it probably is the deviance I selected in the solver.

Feb. 14, 2019 | 3:11 p.m.

So I ran this sim with 74 flops on button vs big blind. I wanted to make a spreadsheet to compare strategies across different textures. In one sim I gave GTO+ the option to bet 33% and 66% on the flop. On the other I nodelocked on all textures (same sim) to bet range for 33% so I could compare the EV difference on different textures and see if i could make generalizations on different textures. So far, so good.

But then I came across a few boards where the EV of a rangebet is slightly higher than the EV of a mixed strategy. I figure it's because of the 0.5% target deviation from EV that i've chosen to run the sim with? Can somebody confirm this?

Feb. 13, 2019 | 7:18 p.m.

Thanks a lot for commenting. I'm in the process of reevaluating the ranges I created a while ago as a baseline. This helps out a lot.

Feb. 9, 2019 | 2:21 p.m.

Is there any other way, besides Monkersolver, to get an realistic idea on what a gto approach would be? I do understand the concepts in this video, I just need a baseline to go with these concepts, or at least a way to get one. So how wide does a solver go in certain spots (considiring microstakes rake)? The bu vs co seemed wide for me, basing my ranges of Snowie.

And how did you translate the complex gto ranges to a simplified 3bet or fold strategy? (based on the 'human' frequencies i assume you made an educated guess yourself?) I hope you can lead me in the right direction.l

Feb. 9, 2019 | 2:41 a.m.

I have two questions:
1. Is there a eta for two step verification, or can you guys at least tell me if it has any priority. I would haul over my roll in an instant if I knew it was safe, regardless of any other hickupa you guys might have.
2. I feel an urge to show my support, especially after the words of borh Phil amd Farrah about making just a small deposit, but I wanted to know if the full bonus would still be available for when i get the rest of my roll on the site (when you guys have implemented 2 step verification).

Now I come to think of it, I have a third question, when will there be a new phase with more interlining stakes (10nl especially).

Oh and I dont agree woth the splash the poy critiques on capping potsize etc. Just get it in and run it once:-)

Feb. 8, 2019 | 5:14 p.m.

Agree, most recs are not even going to reach the appropriate xr frequency by a mile. (As do most regs, at least at the stakes I play, myself lf included).

Feb. 8, 2019 | 1:08 p.m.

What stakes are avaiable?

Feb. 6, 2019 | 1:34 p.m.

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