SUCCESS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF COMFORT
During the many coaching calls I've had over the last couple of months, one of the most recurring themes is passivity leaks. I think conciously a lot of players know that players at high stakes bluff a lot and fold little and for good reason. There are infinite spots where the pool as a whole just over-folds significantly compared to a solver. Yet when I converse with player's there's a lot of resistance towards pulling triggers consistently. A lot energy goes wasted towards finding the exception to the rule. And the most important thing to note here is that need to find the exception is not grounded in reality, but in a inner-urge to default to passivity. So they'll say something along the lines of: 'I feel like he just doesn't have that many folds/bluffs here and solver really doesn't bluff/catch with my combo, so I'll fold this time'
What they forget is that this time is going to repeat itself over and over again untill you are able to surrender to the fact that numbers don't lie to you, but you do. It's always easier to come up with 10 seemingly valid reasons to not pull the trigger in some spot, then it is to just pull the fucking trigger.
Ever wondered why you feel bad about a profitable bluff getting called, but not about checking behind in the same spot? You're losing just as much EV for every -EV bluff that you take as you do for every +EV bluff that you miss, yet when you consistently miss these bluffing opportunities there's infinite comfort and even if there's not, you're monkey brain will find a way to comfort you by inserting some faulty logic. You can spend years in that place without realizing you're slowly bleeding. Believe me, I've been there.
I want to end this post by sharing this mini-podcast episode by Nick Howard on this topic. Honestly feel like everyone in poker should listen to this at least twice a day.
June 15, 2021 | 1:45 p.m.
I got a few guys asking me if the CFP is still open for new applications. The beginning of this month we started a new flight and we'll likely start another one towards the end of July. If you're interested feel free to DM me or apply directly via this link.
For the time being I'm also still taking on private coaching clients, although I've already started scaling down a bit.
June 9, 2021 | 2:03 p.m.
WHERE TO GO NEXT?
Five more weeks and I'll finally be a (full-time) professional poker player. We're nearing the end of the school year and everyone os already looking forward to what happens after the summer break (am I getting transferresd? which class am I getting? Do I get an intern assigned to me?) but for the first time in years tlI' no longer a part of those conversations. Over the last few months I've looked forward to the day where I can finally direct all my attention at this poker thing, but now that we're getting closer it's also weird to realize that some of my students will be staying in school and I'm the one that's leaving. I know it's inevitable, but still.
There are a lot of good things that I'll get in return though. I've always wanted to live abroad for a couple of years and now with poker going as well as it does and the stable growing quite rapidly, it might even be the best option. And since I recently was able to convince my wife as well, everything seems possible now. At this moment I have no idea where we'll go to as it depends on so many things, but it's thrilling to discover all these new possibilities!
June 8, 2021 | 10:02 a.m.
Just found this video on one of the books I've recommended (I think). I'm re-reading it now because I felt in my usual trap of focussing too much on the end result (x number of hands) instead of finding little upgrades to my process.
June 2, 2021 | 11:30 a.m.
The month has not come to an end yet, but I felt like updating my journal a bit early. The last few weeks have been stressful. There is a lot of shit going on: the stable is growing, I've a bunch of private coaching packages running, working part-time and trying to play full-time. It's been pretty stresful as there is never enough time in a day.
One thing that makes things worse is that I've given in to my degen tendencies a little bit. I always had these periods in my life where my alcohol consumption spiked and it was harder to keep to my schedule. Overall I've gotten better at finding balance throughout the years, but I've also realized that I'll always be someone that will degen it up from time to time.
The results have been decent, nothing too crazy. Volume is higher than most months prior to this one, so that's good. I also took some shots at 5kNL (which I'm obviously not rolled for). Nothing too interesting happened, except for this hand maybe.
May 24, 2021 | 10:40 p.m.
VegasandtheMirage On the river the pot is generally biggest and not following through on your game plan will therefore be most costly. Ironically it's also the spot where you generally have to make a lot of investments that you'll lose the majority of the times, while it's still profitable (due to the pot odd nature of the game). It's the street where it's both most tempting and most costly to default to passivity.
May 19, 2021 | 3:10 a.m.
Someone that recently got accepted in Detox hit me up today and asked for advice on how to take the most out of the opportunity. I think it's pretry useful (if I say so myself) for anyone, so I'll share it here as well:
In no particular order.
1. Try to connect with as many guys as you can. I'm a social introvert by nature, so I usually don't take initiative but in Detox I made it my goal to reach out to guys and build connections. Those connections have served me very well. Don't be affraid to ask for advice, people are happy to give it for free.
2. Share as much of your resources as you can. For a lot of guys this is counter intuitive, because it'a easy make the mistake of tbinking that if I give you sometging without something in return you won something and therefor I must 'lose'. It's usually the nature of a zero-sum game and as poker players we often are trained to think like this. The reality is that in a multiplayer zero-sum game it can be very benificial for you if other players 'win' (by you sharing something they don't have). Inevitably you're going to run into some walls and when that happens there are going to be plenty of guys that are willing to return the favor (making it a win-win).
2. Click the buttons you're supposed to click as consistently as posible, especially on the river. Many of the guys that started to develop 'systems' that allowed them to deviate ended up getting coached by me. The first thing they'd ask is: what are you doing different. The answer was always the same: I'm not doing something different, you are. Call if you're supposed to call, bluff if you're supposed to bluff.
3. Build effective habits. Start small. I started with doing flashcards before my session. I was working full-time and didn't have a lot of time to study and play. By doing these flashcards (the check-decide ones) consistently I got a little better each day. Consistent growth is what you'll want. Choose that over one big upgrade each month every time. Try to use poker as a hedge to develop skills that transfer to the real world as well.
4. Invest in yourself. If someone that plays d4/d5 offers coaching on the side, go for it. The upgrades you'll get there will be worth the investment multiple times.
5. Build a library of upgrades from today on. I used Evernote to structure my studies and flashcards to integrate them. Make sure you don't forget mental game upgrades.
6. Read: Grit, Atomic Habits and Peak.
7. Make sure you enjoy the ride, even when it goes down. When I look back now, the times that at times felt horrible we're also the time where I learned most. Be nice to yourself when you're going theough a rough patch and actively think back at times in your life that we're rough. I think often times you'll see that what felt horrible when you went through it also brought a lot of good things.
8. Celebrate wins AND losses. My first day playing 1k I lost 10k. By the end of the day I took my wife out for a few drinks and celebrated. I fucking made it to the point where I'm able to lose 10k in a day In a way it's something I dreamt about when I started out, so how the fuck can it be a negative thing? Being able to take the wins out of the losses is a trait that ebery succesful poker player has to have in order to survive.
May 6, 2021 | 9:57 p.m.
Keep in mind that for a lot of people (including myself) there usually is a disconnect between how much they feel they've progressed and how much they actually progressed. In other words, sometimes it can feel like your standing still but in reality by taking consistent steps forward you're putting yourself in a way better position to succeed. Sometimes it takes some time before it really starts to show.
The funny thing is (and I try to remind myself this as much as possible) the times where I learned most in poker (and in life) are actually the times where it felt like I was standing still. All you need is to continue on this path and a little patience :)
May 5, 2021 | 7:21 p.m.
Low volume, low stakes
Putting yet another month in the books. With the stable just starting out this month, the workload has been crazy. Besides the stable popping off, I'm still working two days and I've been doing a lot of private coaching as well. So all things considered I think I should be fairly happy with the volume I put in. Since I've played all of that volume on just one site (for tax reasons), I had to mix in a lot more 200nl than I wanted, but it is what it is.
For next month I'm going to aim a lot higher. I'll have a lot more time and I'm going to diversify and play across a couple of sites, so I'll be able to play a higher average stake as well. Gonna try to aim for a minimum of 100k hands.
May 1, 2021 | 12:43 a.m.
Might have to change pools if you're going to join my games :(
All kidding aside, it's been a shitload of fun seeing you rise through the stakes man. Guess both of our lives have changed quite a bit since our first conversation.
April 30, 2021 | 11:59 p.m.
This is such a cool update, holy shit. What a way to start my day. I honestly think you'll get there, eith this level of focus and consistency and a little bit of patience, you will be playing the stakes you set out to play when you signed.
It's not going to be easy, there will be a lot of shit to overcome. But no great story comes without suffer. Honestly really proud of the way you have been handling yourself. Don't forget to take a step back sometime and and give yourself a little pad on the back as well.
April 20, 2021 | 9:52 a.m.
Over the past year I've had to balance the grind, with coaching and a full-time job as a teacher, which at times was challenging. As someone who has lacked structure and dicipline for most of my adult life, it took a lot of falling down and standing back up again before I found a routine that worked (sorta). In this article I'm outlining some lessons I learned the hard way.
Allow for time off
Time has been my most scarce asset since I started to take this poker thing serious. When I started on stake with Detox a little over a year ago I was working five days a week and often felt destroyed when I got home. In the weekends I had at least one social activity, leaving very little time to study and grind. I forced myself to study for an hour after work and then play 3 hours. I barely took time off and when I tried to do nothing but watch Netflix for an evening, I often felt stressed because it felt like I was wasting valuable hours on something that didn’t help me in achieving my goals. As it turns out, I was making all the basic mistakes that somebody eager to reach high stakes is bound to make at some point; I was burning myself out. Essentially I was taking a loan out on future time. Around November I started to get panic attacks. I would walk in the grocery store and started hyperventilating. I’d get dizzy in front of my class. In the end I had to take two full weeks off and it took me till mid-way through January when I felt like I was able to pick up the pace again.
The first and last hour of the day are yours
One of the other big changes I made over the last year is going to sound very counterproductive, but I think it may have been the biggest upgrade I made. During the first and last hour of the day, I’m allowing myself to do whatever I want. I don’t need to do anything! In the morning I wake up, drink coffee and read the news for the better part of an hour. I eat a little bit and exactly an hour after I woke up I’m plowing up the stairs to get behind my computer to study.
Now you may think: what a highly ineffective use of time. But for me it works. Prior to doing this I’d plan to get started 15 minutes after I’d wake up and sometimes I’d do this, but other times I felt so tired that I just kept sitting (and sitting), until after an hour or two I’d finally crawl behind my pc, feeling super stressed because (again) I hadn’t sticked to my schedule. Now that I’m allowing myself to chill a bit, I’m actually way more consistent.
The last hour of the day I usually fill with listening to an audiobook. And even though I really like playing poker, there are often times where I’m in the last two hours of my grind and I’m looking forward to that moment where it’s just me laying in bed with my earphones in, totally relaxed, not a poker-related thought on my mind.
Choose one thing to focus on
It used to be that I’d come home from work, cook dinner, eat, study for an hour and then play for 3 more. While it may seem like it’s effective to stuff your schedule full with little bits and pieces of everything, often times it’s better to compartmentalize a bit and focus on one thing at a time. Right now I’m working in 4 hour blocks. If I’m grinding, I’m grinding for 4 hours. If I plan for study related stuff, I make sure I get in 4 hours. That way my schedule feels less fragmented and it gets a lot harder to skip entire segments. It’s also a lot easier to plan breaks when you are taking the breaks at the same time each day.
Sit down whenever you’re supposed to sit down
As poker players we have the luxury to choose when we want to play our session. There are players that like to wake up early in the morning, get a work-out in and then play a 9-to-5 type schedule and there are players (like me) who like to play during the nights, when everyone else is sleeping. This luxury comes at a price: it’s very easy to postpone the start for ‘just a couple of minutes’. And the weird thing is: whenever your starting time is not fixed, it seems like every night something important pops up right before you’re supposed to sit down and play. It took me a while before I realized that if you want to play poker for a living, it’s probably good to be at least disciplined enough to start on time. Right now there is rarely a session where I don’t start at exactly the time I was supposed to start. No excuses.
April 20, 2021 | 1:47 a.m.
Another months in the books
It's been a swingy month on pretty much every front. I haven't been able to keep up with my volume goals, which to be fair is probably more a function of them being unrealistic to begin with. At the moment I'm still working two days as a teacher, I've set up a business and I'm trying to play as much poker as I can, which is challenging. Since I'm also playing on non-taxed euro sites, I am forced to play during the nights, but since I have to wake up early two days a week still, it's a fairly ineffective schedule where most of the time I feel like I'm jet lagged.
Next month I am going to allow myself to have lower volume expectations (aiming for 60k hands in April) and hopefully get some better results in the process.
April 2, 2021 | 4:35 p.m.
Today I’m happy to announce my own coaching and staking company, NachosPoker! After being in poker on and off for 12 years I can honestly say that this far exceeds any other success I have had during those years. To be able to combine the two things in life I love doing most, teaching and poker, on a consistent bases whilst building relationships with a lot of fresh (and some older, you know who you are) faces in the game is truly a blessing.
The goal of our company is simple: get players from low stakes to mid- and high stakes as quickly as possible. The core of our methodology is based on simple metrics derived from 2020-2021 pool data, allowing players to exploit their opponents in zones where it is most incentivized, blended with simplified GTO principles. A lot of work has gone into crafting the strategy and I’m very excited to see where this all might lead to.
March 30, 2021 | 12:27 a.m.
Well, to be honest getting consistent action at 400nl-1k has been pretty tough, so I've had to mix in a bunch of 200nl this month. Probably going to have to play multiple sites, as I just play reg tables. Besides I've not been able to hit the 20k hands one week since I started to aim for that 3 weeks ago. I think it's just a little bit too much as I still work two days as well. Just not doable to play 40 hours, study, coaching and work as a teacher.
I'll make a post soon about scheduling and I'll share my Excel sheet that I use to schedule. My biggest
March 24, 2021 | 2:38 p.m.
It's been a tough few weeks. Right after my most recent entry I got tested positive for Covid as well and it's been pretty tough for the both of us. I mostly felt like I was drugged for the most part. I was tired, my mind felt clouded, like I was hangover after a long, drug-infused weekend at Burning Man. Needless to say I didn’t play any poker. Even if I wanted to, I just wasn’t up for it. It was frustrating at times, but luckily I slept 14 hours p[er day, so didn’t have too much time to be too worried about it.
Right now I’m doing a lot better. I’m eager to get back to the felt, but I still gotta take it chill a little bit. Starting next week I want to pick up my full-time schedule again. I made the commitment to myself to play 20k hands a week with a minimum average stake of 500nl. I’ll post a weekly review here to hold myself accountable. First one is up March 15. Let’s go :)
March 5, 2021 | 12:37 p.m.
Balancing Covid and the grind
Over the past week I've played more hands than any other week over the past year. I've come up short of my 25k hand goal, but there is a lot of stuff going on right now, so I decided not to be too harsh on myself. My wife has tested positive for Covid on Monday and she's been getting a little worse every day. It's nothing to be too concerned about, right now she just has severe flu symptoms, but it is stressful for sure. I know it’s not reasonable to have expectations this high in times like this, but I’ve been so bad at navigating day-to-day choices for so long that it’s pretty hard to surrender to the fact that there are indeed times where shit just hits the fan and it’s outside your control.
On a brighter note: coaching has been popping off like crazy, way more than I expected. I’ve been raising my prices pretty consistently over the past week, but it’s not holding anyone off up until now. It still baffles me sometimes that people are willing to pay me to talk about this game that I love. Such a bizarre feeling.
For the coming week I’ve decided to lower my expectations a bit to just playing 15k hands. I’ve been developing symptoms myself, so I gotta wait and see if I’m able to play much anyway or if I’m going to be forced to stay in bed for a couple of days as well. Time will tell :)
Feb. 22, 2021 | 1:46 p.m.
Over the last few weeks a lot has changed. I've had to deal with (and I'm still dealing with) tax issues that caused me a lot of stress. I couldn't play for over a month, slept horribly and ended up resigning from Poker Detox - the company that guided me to high stakes - as a result of it. Right now I'm eager to put all this shit behind me. There is still a lot to take care off, but at least I have the option to bet on myself again succeeding in this game that I love, which is all I ever wanted.
Over the last couple of days I had the time to reflect on what I want from poker moving forward. I came up with the following goals:
- Play 1000.000 hands this year.
- Make a quarter million
- Take shots at 5knl towards the end of the year.
- Update this blog once a week.
- Become a Run It Once coach.
- Become the best private coach in the space.
- Carefully craft my own methodology and start my own stable towards the end of the year.
- Set up an high-value affiliate business.
It's funny, because when I started this topic I formulated an end-goal of 'beating z100nl'. I never had imagined that all of this would be possible for someone like me. I honestly never expected to get past 100nl, let alone ever reach high stakes. But now that I'm there, I don't want to limit myself anymore. I used to be really scared of failing, now I'm just scared of not giving it my all.
I will write a weekly update on Monday to reflect on the past week. Maybe I'll do an occasonal stream if there is interest in this. This week the main goal is going to be focus on the grind and pump volume. I'm aiming for 25k hands, which - again - is pretty ambitious all things considered, but I'm super eager to get back on the grind again and I want to leverage that. Let's go!
Feb. 15, 2021 | 3:05 p.m.
Hey guys, since I've stopped coaching for Detox I'm looking for a few students that want to get private coaching. I'm pretty sure that I'll soon be mostly targeting 100nl-500nl players that want to make the jump towards high stakes, but as I'm just starting out right now I'm starting with more reasonable prices (especially for guys that take a 5 or 10 pack). This will be a limited offer as I'm expecting that I'll find enough guys through my network soon. Hit me up via DM for prices:
My entire journey has been documented here, so my skill level is probably pretty clear. In terms of my coaching ability: I've been a coach with Detox for a little under a year now. There are a bunch of guys that joined the program through me and that had 1-on-1 and group coaching sessions with me. Most of them have rised through the ranks themselvers now. I'll ask to see if they want to leave a review here.
Feb. 12, 2021 | 3:03 p.m.
All good things come to an end
After being on stake for a year my time with Poker Detox has come to an end. Right now the feeling that dominates is sadness. Over the past year my life has changed so much and it's weird to realize that I'll be leaving the place that's for a big part responsible for all that.
I will be forever grateful to Nick, Gabe and all of the guys that made this year life changing. I never would have imagined that all of this was possible for someone like me and there are many days where all of this feels like a very long, soothing dream. I've been in poker for almost 15 years now, I played more than 5 million hands on the micro's without ever finding the strenght to move past 50nl. And now I'm playing on some of the highest stakes available. Again, a massive shout-out to Nick, Gabe, Patrick, Matt and anyone in Detox that helped me realise my dream over the past year, for that I will be forever grateful.
I don't know what the future holds. For now I think I'm going to focus on the grind and do some private coaching along the way. Who knows, maybe I'll apply to become a coach here on RIO. We'll see :)
Feb. 10, 2021 | 10:31 p.m.
I'm a high stakes poker player that's starting an affiliate business and I'm looking for someone to help me with the content creation side of things and since the RIO community has helped me so much with finding the way up from the micro's to where I am now, I thought it might be cool to see if there is someone here that might be interested in this.
What I'm looking for
- Someone with a passion for playing poker
- Fluent in English
- Has affinity with content creation
- Has basic understanding of content management systems like WordPress
- Works on freelance bases
If you're interested in something like this, please send me a dm so we can discuss details! For those of you who want to learn more about me in particular, here is a link to my blog here on RIO!
Feb. 4, 2021 | 2:32 p.m.
Pursuit of balance
So the last couple of days I hit a bit of a rough patch. Poker-wise it's been up and down a bit. I won enough back at 500 to shot 1k again, then won a bit, then lost a bit and now I'm taking a more gradient approach. If there is a good 1k table I'll just sit at it, but if I have to choose between a reg war at 1k or a good 500nl table, I'll just opt for the latter. The swings can get pretty crazy in terms of $, but I'm doing allright dealing with that.
The struggle has been more outside the tables. The thing is: I'm getting dizzy from time to time. The world starts spinning, vision gets all blury and I need to lay down for a couple of minutes for it to fade away. I think it's just the workload being as high as it is right now. I'm still working full-time and besides that I'm trying to embark high stakes, doing coaching privately, doing group coaching, studying. It's just too much. I've been working with a guy that has helped me to compartmentalize my schedule and prioritizing my goals. This has helped a lot and I might write an article on it here when I got everything down.
Ultimately things will get easier when I significantly reduce my hours. Untill then I gotta find balance, because this is just not systainable.
(Stole the title of this post from Saulo's blog, which is a must read for everyone if you ask me!)
A final note
A bunch of guys have hitted me up through DM and on Discord asking me if I do private coaching outside of the Detox stable. The answer is no :). I work with a group of guys within Detox, which has been a lot of fun, so feel free to hit me up if you're interested in that!