With that said, there is a topic I've been thinking a lot and want to share my 2 cents here: variance in the game. It applies to other areas, like investing, but this is a poker forum.
Variance is a topic most, if not all, drastically misunderstand, because statistics are a difficult topic for human beings to grasp. Just think about all the counterintuitive themes this science brings.
First of all, NLH when played correctly involves lots, lots of variance, it's a relatively high std dev game. Just go to primedope and make a simulation with an average winrate of 3 bb/100 and 100 bb/100, and play around with the tool, and you'll see the lots of disgusting things you might experience (there is a graph shown on the bottom where you can play around with the slide and it will simulate a poker graph up to 10M hands, with the downswings being highlighted to you).
Ok, nowadays the cool trend is to recognize all of this, and just go say to everyone who will listen how bad things might get at poker, how even after 100k hands anything can happen to anyone blah blah blah, while ignoring the other side of statistics: someone who shows you a, let's say, 10 bb/100, over any sample but the higher the better obviously, has a higher probability of having a true winrate closer to this number, than someone with a breakeven or losing graph has of being a winner closer to 10 bb/100. Just do the math, or play around with primedope and it will show different probabilities for different true and observed winrates. It's also just how normal distributions work: events close to the center will always have a higher probsbility of happening.
My take on all of this? Use those tools, and general satistical thinking, for practical reasons, like estimating what your optimal BRM plan should be, plug it on your spreadsheet if you play for a living and regularly withdraw, add margins of safety as required, add sleep well margins if you need it, then just completely ignore and never go back to that site, or think about variance for that matter.
Don't try to understand variance, you won't, you'll just run around the extremes of overconfidence and fear. Don't do pokerdope therapy (I think Sauce used this expression lol), again, impossible to grasp it inside a human brain (I'm open to the possibility some people can get a statistical nirvana, but I never saw any boddhiStatva, not yet). Don't watch youtube channels about this topic (actually, I hate how youtube works and all the bad incentives going on, although I keep going back because it is so addictive :) ).
That's my approach. By the way, it's so unfortunate that there are actually good content on youtube, which is the rational reason for me to go there. Then, I get drawn into the trash to find out I just wasted 20-30 minutes of my time, to get 5 of actual useful stuff.
Feb. 2, 2024 | 1:44 p.m.
I'm afraid refahx was right after all. No, not afraid really, I have no problem recognizing that I might have been wrong. Not forgetting this blog, will always come back, but it will very likely be the most boring RIO blog, of the few ones still alive. Sorry guys and girls, but that's life.
Feb. 2, 2024 | 1:16 p.m.
Respecting our Opponents
For reasons I am not sure anymore, I learned back in the day that anyone, recreational or regular (except for the occasional good one) is not really paying that much attention to what I am doing. So, worrying too much about not getting too out of line, being somewhat balanced etc, even in a known pool like pokerstars, is just costing EV. Unless we get to smallstakes++ ofcourse.
I think this might have been true up to 5 years ago, because there was virtually no table cap and most pros playing the micros would be meh players seeking the low variance massmultitable strategy. This is not the case anymore, as we know, and even at 2nl, it is quite disrespectful to expect any regular or even recs to be just a punching bag that won´t ever realize what we are doing, get curious when we see to be betting them out of pots over and over again. Yes, recs for the most part won´t come back, so it does not matter that much if they see what we are doing, but even in that case, and even if we can assume the average fun player is playing while drinking some beers etc, people have eyes, and a brain. They don´t know proper strategy, they don´t know how to proper counterexploit, but they will try if they perceive we are getting too out of line.
Not saying I think I should go the other way and just strive to be a GTO robot. Explo works, just look at that finnish guy who was winning huge playing 100z/200z/500z, when more than 1 RIO pro would say in this videos the guy was just a fish, or was crazy, "I don´t really know what this guy is doing LOL" etc, and yet, it worked in supposedly tough games. Just not assume everyone in my player pool, especially regs, are braindead.
Now, It would be a completely different story if I started playing in anon sites, but at stars, let's show a bit more respect please.
Jan. 22, 2024 | 1:05 p.m.
I'll definitely keep a close eye in your blog, as mixed games is something that interests me but I know very little about. Will not be able to participate much though, for this exact same reason haha.
Well, there is this investing blog I read from time to time, of a former poker player turned value investor, Alpha Vulture, where the guy discusses his investment ideas, and his reason for doing it is the accountability, to proper research and good reasoning, so that he can be confident when others challenge him in a public place. From what I´ve seen, a lot of his posts don´t get much comments at all, some do, but still, just having the, let's say, "good risk" that people will come and challenge him makes him work harder, which is exactly what he wants to accomplish.
So, in a sense, yes, it is good to have a participating audience, but to be honest the main reason for any journal, or poker blog existence, should be for his owner to do his best and achieve his goals, and a lot of the time just getting public is enough. The motivation IMHO should come from inside us, which I believe is what refahx meant.
Jan. 19, 2024 | 4:42 p.m.
I am not finding the Phil Galfond's video I mentioned, so gonna try to summarize briefly (my words, my takeaway). You're stuck 5k USD in a live 2/5 game after playing for close to 10 hours straight. By the way, your hourly in this game is, let's say, $50/hr. You´re tired. The game will probably run by another full hour or so. A lot of people with this rostucko mental flaw would keep playing hoping to be at least back to even to not lose the day. But does it really make sense? Not that much. Actually, what you´re really doing by sticking around is making another $50, to close the day at -4,950. Maybe not even that as you´re tired and probably not playing your best.
Anyway, I think I find a way to both make things interesting to me, remove the focus from results, while still enjoying the game. And focusing in what truly matters for my EV. The Poker Spreadsheet :D
I want to make $25/day playing 25nl, and as you guys can see, my conservative estimate when the relevant variables are the way they are was 4.302 d. So, 20.698 d left to go :)
It worked quite well actually. I was really able to dissociate myself from actual money when I put the $25 goal in EV into my mind, and my focus in ensuring all variables were at their optimal and I just keep playing, playing and playing (pool quality as far as I can tell won´t ever be A during mornings, but it's never as bad as some people might think as long as you feel ok constantly jumping around tables).
Jan. 18, 2024 | 12:53 p.m.
Ended up looking at my results so will post them. Obviously keeping away from the results when it is pretty obvious that we are sunrunning is difficult, at least to me.
I think my biggest mental leak is exactly this: not being able to treat these run good moments with equanimity. Not that I don´t feel down when I run bad, but my weaknesses manifest way more clearly when I win. I lose very rapidly my willingness to play, and playing even 700 hands (got a bit less than 800 today) is very hard, when I don´t have any problem putting even more than 1k when I´m running bad. I get excited. It is almost like a drug, the dopamine rush comes, I feel good, why keep playing?
I don´t have an answer to any of this. I have ideas. E.g. I got this from the PDTC, and also from one of Phil Galfond's youtube videos: We have an actual EV, I don´t know mine but I have an idea based on my current sample. 5 bb/100 is my current estimation, if I don´t let my game drop too much into C territory. Winning 15 BIs per month to me is a decent goal. So, I need 30k hands to achieve it. Putting into my mind that what I´m actually winning every single day is that, maybe even creating an spreadsheet where I track only this EV, look at it, breath it til I convince myself this is what I´m actually winning in reality, might be a solution to my struggles. Still requires discipline, is more or less a mental hack and not exactly the holy grail, but is the best idea I can pull off right now.
Would like to know if anyone else has/had in the past a similar issue.
Jan. 18, 2024 | 12:29 a.m.
I would say the main issue here is that I don´t really know what I expect to get from having a blog, and all of them were more or less experiences. Failed experiences. It´s not really about motivation, 200k-300k hands/year of recreationally paced reg table grinding to me is really good actually, so that is not necessarily what I´m looking for. But I don´t know what I´m looking for, so guess you´re not really wrong here. :)
Who are you on 2p2 if you don´t mind me asking? Were you one of my blog's posters?
Jan. 16, 2024 | 9:40 p.m.
Well, new year, new journal! I want to do this one the right way, which for me requires a proper introduction in the first paragraph, so here it is: My name is João Paulo, brazilian poker player from Florianópolis, currently playing NL25 9-max on pokerstars. What first drew my attention to this beautiful game was watching poker on TV, the WSOP thing on ESPN and then Highstakes Poker. My experience with online poker began with play money, and I have to say I took it quite seriously, losing at first (I couldn´t even understand the rules of the game well enough), but then figuring it out and, thanks also to how laughable soft it was (still is?), I ended up making about 60 million play chips in about one year.
Thinking it would not be much harder to make this much in actual dollars, I decided to try my luck with depositing real money. I don´t remember exactly why, but it was quite hard to deposit back then. My international cards were being refused every time I tried. Finally, I found out it was possible to generate the "Boleto Bancário", basically a bill that I could pay in the bank and would turn up as a deposit a couple of days later. Long story short, I made a few 25 dollar deposits, played some NL2 interspersed with NL25 when I felt lucky, and the odd MTT, and, well, lost all of them in no more than 2 weeks. Figuring things were going this way because I was depositing too little money, decided to make a bigger one, 600 USD, and also figuring out those microstakes games were too low, too weird for my tastes, why not go straight away to NL200? After all, this was my first stake when I began playing with play money.
Well, I busted my 3 BI bankroll in one weekend haha. A powerful lesson was learned. Kept depositing smaller sums, learned my lesson on not playing too high and with too few BIs, began reading online forums, improving and, about 3 years later in 2013, finally something clicked. What probably helped me the most was finding this insane dude who grinded millions of microstakes hands and decided to write a book, Nathan Williams (Blackrain79). Not an exaggeration that his book was what made me a NL2 winner.
Lots and lots of hands, lots and lots of time, monetary swings, emotional swings, quitting and coming back, never really giving up but never really applying an actual consistent approach, and still making it to the upper part of the microstakes. Well, success and failure are relative concepts right? This is what the journey looked like, from moments after reading the book, buying hem1 and starting to take things "real serious", up to now:
Why do I want to try having another journal, after failing with my previous ones?
Well, I can´t really explain. I've seen more than one successful poker player say that belonging to a community, and talking with others, was a big factor in why they succeeded, and I think that is what I would really like the most: to engage with other poker players, sharing my stories, successes and, why not, failures also. Lone wolf not optimal for me at least.
Mental game is what I am struggling the most in the beginning of this new year, tilted in ways I wasn´t really tilting anymore since 2018, for reasons that doesn´t even make sense to me (a 7 buy-in downswing coupled with a 40k hand breakeven stretch), and ended up venting in this other forum in ways I deeply regret. Thankfully, took the grown up approach and asked them to self ban me. Not blaming anyone for my own failures, and neither I nor anyone else has the right to vent at others expense just to feel better (or for any reason, better saying), but I don´t really think that site is a good place and I don´t want to go back there anymore. And here comes RIO, to me the most professional place on the internet for poker players, the place I can be sure that I´m among adults who behave like adults. The place I have good examples to follow.
What do I want to accomplish in poker?
Keep doing what works, constantly improve, accept the journey will always be 5-10 steps forward, than 1-2 steps back, and the only thing I can really control is how I approach this game, the right mindset, the right studying habits, and the right work ethic. Keep a sensible BRM approach, move up, move down when necessary, accept the reality I will have to change formats to 6-max, if not on NL50, then for sure at NL100 so better prepare my mindset right now.
Last year I made what was probably the biggest investment I ever made in my poker career, and decided to join the September Poker Detox Training Camp. And a few months later, I have to say I have no regrets at all, and think it was definitely the best investment I ever made in my poker career.
This entry is getting too long, so I will cut it right now. Just to finish, I plan to update my results once every month (I´m trying to stay away from constantly looking at my results and doing it only at pre-determined, spaced away intervals), but write another entry every time something interesting comes to my mind that I want to share with you guys. So that's it. Good luck to everyone!
Jan. 16, 2024 | 1:53 a.m.
Well fed, so let´s start with the first tactical aspect of poker: Bankroll Management.
In my opinion, while playing poker for a living is not exactly a requirement for success, and it might not necessarily be the most financially rewarding investment, improving at poker, especially at a faster rate, seems so energy/time consuming that I think not playing for a living while still attempting it is a great way to burn out very quickly.
Assuming we are playing for a living, I can see two strategies (let's say for example 1 we are already at a limit we beat and we can realistically live off):
1) Withdrawing constantly, maybe once a month or so, to cover living expenses.
2) Having maybe 6 months, 1 year of living expenses, or more, and not touching the roll till the 6 months/1 year etc timeframe, and allowing the roll to grow in the meantime.
I do not need to be a genius to know 1) would require a bigger, way bigger roll. With the obvious consequence that our move ups will happen very slowly, especially if the winrate is not good enough or we face bad variance. No mathematical proof here, but assuming you already have the 1 year live roll, from your previous job you quit last week :) , 2) is the most profitable way to go, simply because we can be more aggressive with the buy-in requirement for each stake.
But, why do we need a bankroll management plan to begin with? Well, because we do not want to go broke. But is going broke always a problem? It really depends, but I would say that, if we are playing a low stake we know, from previous experience, that we beat, and if redepositing is not a big hassle, and if the values are so low for our current situation that redepositing once or, worst case, twice, will not be a problem, then beginning the journey on a tight roll and allowing us to go broke if needed seems the most efficient approach.
Ofcourse, the time will come when we cannot do this anymore. It is a limit we do not really know whether we are profitable or not (in my case 50nl). No bankroll management will save us from going broke if we are a loser at the stake, right? Or, the value of the money is too big. In this case, we need a strategy to moving up and to moving down.
Again, I can see two ways here: Tight stops, and loose stops. The tighter the stop, the less of a roll we need before moving up, but we will be moving up and down very, very often. The looser the stop, the more buy-ins we will need before moving up, but the move downs will not be that frequent, even if we end up being net losers at the limit. To me, this is really important. If we end up failing at our shots, with the looser stop loss, three times, we probably will have a relatively big sample, enough to look for a coach and have something to work on. We can also be more detached about our cashier while playing. The most obvious negative is that the rebuilding will take more time. Overall, I think a looser stop is the more efficient approach, both to give us the best chance of sticking to the new limits, and also for overall improvement.
How will I approach BRM then? I will follow what I call the Demondoink approach, because I think he was the one who said to me in one old thread that, when playing really low, moving up should be our biggest concern, and it is better to take risks even if we end up having to redeposit, when the value of the money is still low.
I will work with 20 buy-ins for 25NL, redepositing any time it gets lower than 10 BIs. I want to move up anytime I get at least 35 BIs for the new limit, using 10 buy-in stop losses. If I fail at any shot more than 3 times, I will stop moving up and look for a coach I can work with. Rinse and repeat for any new limit I go.
Aug. 1, 2023 | 1:31 a.m.
Hey folks, so I already have two dead blogs here on this forum. I do not want to give too much thought to it, as I have quite a few things to write here and I prefer to save some mental energy, but I believe the main, short version of the why I let them die is because I did not have a real vision on why I should really have a blog to begin with.
I always struggled with the usual human biases and psychological traps, as I believe most or all of you also do, while knowing deep inside that they were holding me back, in life and in poker. Everything, from the unconscious attention whoring, to the also unconscious (sometimes not) seeking of validation, to the common confirmation bias. And an ego problem that would, fortunately very rarely, begin flame wars (in another forum) because I could not just let it go, or DGAF about some troll criticizing my and others game in harsher terms.
Well, so what do I want to do differently, and why do I think this will be better? First of all, I do not think anyone here would argue against me saying that rationality is a better approach than an emotional driven one, even though it involves fighting against all our inner human urges.
As I posted before in my old blogs, I view poker nowadays as an investment operation, where we are looking to grow our capital by constantly making good decisions, improving how we play and moving up (we do not see the compounding effect in poker, unfortunately, as we do not move up instantly and, also, there should be always some winrate decreasing the further we go. With that said, there is still some incomplete compounding as winrates do not necessarily halve for each double in stakes). Thus, my vision to what successful poker should be is improving my skills aiming to be among the best, technically speaking, and then, allowing the bankroll to grow so I can play the highest possible stakes. Since I do not know my skill ceiling, I do not know what stake will be my highest one, but this will not, ever, block me from keep pushing.
My initial principles to achieve that (that I may refine or even discard if they are flawed):
1) I should play only when I am feeling my best.
2) I should have an improvement plan that I will keep doing consistently.
3) I should have a good financial approach to the game, with definite targets for moving up and/or down, that is good enough so I will not question it or try to change along the way due to emotions, other peoples opinions etc.
4) My approach to the forums and community should be a negative one. Allow me to explain this:
If I post a HH here, people saying that I played it good, did not make any mistake and, if I lost, it was just variance, is a very good emotional boost. I get validation. I feel better about myself. My ego feels better. And I do not improve one bit.
Worse, as happened with me, I get so addicted to this boost that I almost never post any problematic hands, but just the ones I am almost certain were good plays, as doing this, my ego does not get hurt.
No, I need people to criticize my play, to offer better points of view, to expose me to a better thought process, to speak candidly when they do not agree with something I said. And to do this, I have to be very careful, and very deliberate, with what HHs I post, to do it with the really problematic ones, the ones I did not really know what I was doing. This is how I think I will learn from other peoples advice, while at the same time improving my mental apporach to the game, and who knows, to life in general.
This is also how I would like to approach future coaching lessons.
Anyway, this is my strategical view of how I would like to approach poker from now on. Post is getting too big and I am getting hungry. Next post, I will detail my tactical approach.
July 31, 2023 | 11:34 p.m.
Cool that you´re back, my hero :) Hopefully Sauce will be the next one (although I believe he lives in Ontario, Canada and the game he liked the most, 500z, doesn´t run anymore anyway).
April 19, 2023 | 10:26 p.m.
Sick two and a half years bump on this, but one idea I got a few months ago was to download pluribus hands (look for the converted 10k hands on google, it´s ready to import), and compare to it. Main caveat I can remember is that he has lower flop cbet % as his sizings start at 50% I believe. If you had this same idea before, or got a better one, then disregard what I said :)
April 11, 2023 | 12:45 a.m.
Low volume but swingy month:
I thought a lot, while I was on the bad stretch you guys can see, about my whole approach to the game, and some lessons about myself. For example, from the rational and technical standpoint, I understand very perfectly what is going on. It´s the mental part that still fails and leads to some, let´s say, anger. Knowing I´m still prone to feel this way is good (still lots of room for improvement). Seeing that I felt this way but still kept playing according to my gameplan is also good (I am improving :) ).
Also, I will never get tired of remembering how bad my logistical approach to the game still is, and it all comes down to a simple word, discipline. I wouldn´t be surprised if a big % of the reason I have a low winrate at the micros is just this very simple factor. A few passages from a blog of someone I really respect:
"So here's my theory: I think if you're losing at low stakes, which despite the rake, should be the easiest place to win, then you are most likely breaking down at the logistical level. That means there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that you approach poker as a profession.
Just do me a favor and picture this. I am going to paint a picture of a hypothetical poker player. This person plays poker about 80-100 hours per month–not a ton of volume but definitely a respectable amount. When he does play, he makes sure that he is as focused as he possibly can be. He's not distracted by anything that's going on around him, he doesn't have his phone nearby, and he's not surfing the web while he plays. He's just hitting his volume goal and playing really high-quality poker, month in and month out.
He also doesn't have any major health issues. He sleeps well, he exercises enough, and he puts good food in his body. He studies about 20 hours per month, sometimes more when he's really feeling it. (That includes reviewing all of his pots that he has played over 10 or 15 big blinds to make sure he is able to justify all of the significant decisions he's making.) He has access to a coach who is better than him who he meets with on a regular basis. He's not under any extreme financial pressure because he has alternative sources of income, at least for now until poker becomes more profitable. He also doesn't have any major bankroll management issues and he has a solid plan for how and when he is going to move up in stakes.
Basically he knows his plan is solid, so he sticks to it. He doesn't worry extensively about his plan failing. He doesn't try to do so much that he completely burns out or forgets to enjoy his life outside of poker. He doesn't expect that success in poker will be the most difficult thing in the world. He just knows that if he lines up enough good decisions in a row, eventually he'll win enough to move up to mid stakes, and then mid stakes will eventually become high stakes.
Now imagine this player is doing all of that, and he is LOSING at low stakes.
You can't picture this person because he doesn't exist."
Well, it´s not the first time that I set discipline goals, make the effort and it doesn´t work, but I also know myself enough that if I keep trying despite the failures will lead to success eventually.
My updates will be quarterly from now on. Worrying about results, the constant look at results I bet most of us keep doing all the time, is a very big distraction. This is probably one of the biggest trials in our self discipline, but we shouldn´t avoid important things just because they are difficult right?
Focus, focus, focus during the sessions. In everything. From preparation, to table selection, note taking, to playing focused even if that means more sessions but shorter ones.
No expectations, thinking about the future or whatever. Always staying in the moment, enjoying the process, taking it seriously but still having fun.
March 31, 2023 | 9:03 p.m.
I used to watch a lot of videos of players playing mixed strategies on a combo by combo basis, and trying to approximate GTO, at least on the flop and turn. Never seen a good explanation on why this (with the likely errors along the way and the imbalances moving forward to later streets), is an approach that offers higher EV than a simplified one, human approach.
To me, either these guys are just deluding themselves into thinking they are approaching GTO, or they found out that the EV loss of missing the right GTO frequencies by a few points is still higher EV than simplified (maybe because this is still less exploitable in their opinions, but is it really?)
What do you think of players RNGing decisions, on the flop for example, and trying to "memorize" GTO wizard?
March 28, 2023 | 8:02 p.m.
Now, some coaches can do some very good live play videos, where they actually can explain the whys while 3 and 4 tabling in a way we can actually understand, and we never get to the end with that feeling that he obviously hid some important info, either on purpose or because he is not that fast to 4 table while explaining. I used to like ishter videos a lot. Henry Lister also used to explain things well (he had to speak very fast sometimes, but whatever, at least we non english speakers can train a little bit :) ).
Other than that, we would be way better served by them dropping live plays and focusing on recording sessions and reviewing them instead. This way coaches don´t have much of an excuse to be lazy on their explanations LOL.
March 26, 2023 | 1:05 a.m.
I definitely agree with you guys regarding the videos. Unfortunately, it´s pretty hard to argue that coaches should offer dramatically improved content for the pricing we do have here, when lowstakes coaches are charging 100+ hourly for coaching (not judging quality).
In my very humble opinion, I definitely agree RIO should prioritize quality over quantity, be very aware of any possible conflict of interest (I think the video maker being a coach and wanting to advertise a little bit to get students is ok, almost crossing the line but still ok, but being a part of a CFP, openly advertising and dropping a lot of not so subtle hints that you should join a CFP etc, crossed the line already by almost a mile and is approaching the unethical IMHO). And increase the pricing as necessary to justify the upgrading costs.
Maybe RIO also should direct their model to one where students actually get to judge the coaches, not necessarily over winrates or graphs etc which is a very dumb way I think (as long as the coach is not a long term be/loser obviously), but some evaluation for every video you watch, a la booking.com when we evaluate a hotel. You give points from 0 to 10 to a lot of relevant topics, including the relevancy of the content, how much you felt you learned etc etc and etc. Then some optional boxes where you write what you liked and disliked with your own words. Much better than just a like button that I feel don´t accomplish anything really. And hopefully taking care of the coaches getting low rates consistently , rewarding the ones with the most positive comments.
I don´t think anyone should expect someone like llinusllove etc coming here to do videos ever, like, he had to be crazy to do it unless he´s retiring from the game and really wants to do it (hopefully not with some hidden agenda, like getting lots of students for his CFP :D ), but as long as the payment is fair and the model is good, there must be good people out there who would want to participate in it for the reasons people like Sauce, Tyler etc did long ago (or the reasons I think they did at least).
March 26, 2023 | 12:55 a.m.
Hey Demondoink , thsnk you very much for your advice. I understand the importance of moving up, and thanks to you (and the others who told me the same), I conquered a decent part of my mental block and moved up to 25nl, which was back then new territory and I wasn´t (nor am right now) overrolled for it.
I definitely have a rule for shot taking at 50nl who shouldn´t take too long (definitely shouldn´t take more than 2 months I believe), while at the same time would permit some more volume at 25. The thing is, I have this constant inner voice telling me to go up right now, to do very aggressive shot taking etc, so I am not a pure scared nit by any means, actually I see myself more as a two opposite forces fighting all the time, and the nitty wins usually only because it is the disciplined and the one who looks more logical to me.
I read one of the mobius blog posts a few days ago, about loss aversion, and I´m afraid I must admit I am just an average human being regarding the feelings of losing vs winning, and while my tolerance for pain is pretty high, I definitely feel more pain than pleasure on average even though I have a winning overall graph. I think I would burnout way faster if I started to accept big swings on a smaller roll.
I didn´t post this on my OP but to the ** with it :) , my rule to shot taking is 30 BIs with 5 BIs stop losses, which I think is definitely NOT nitty hehe
Thanks again man,
March 15, 2023 | 1:13 p.m.
So, today I was thinking a little bit about why so many professional poker players, even very successful ones, end up not enjoying the game that much, or as much as they did when they began their careers. A lot seem to dread even sitting to play, count the days/weeks/months to retirement, and only play because they need the money.
A few years ago, I remember reading a piece in a sports magazine about football players, active and retired, who smoked. It also touched on things like why so many of them, close to retirement or shortly after, ended up gaining a lot of weight (brazilian example on both would be Ronaldo). And last but not least, why so many players (this happens a lot here in Brazil at least) go out so much, to nightclubs, bars etc, even when they are not supposed or allowed to do it. The writer's opinion was that, on highly disciplined professions, where you can´t really have a life out of the game if you want to be the best, where everything turns around the sport, the whole need to keep eating well and exercising and, again, not being allowed to be "normal", these young guys end up just doing the entire opposite, becoming as unhealthy as they can in some cases, overcompensating for all the sacrifices they made for so many years.
So yes, I can totally understand when someone who seems like a very successful poker player, says they don´t really love the game anymore. Considering poker really requires sacrifice, for months/years at a time, I don´t really know what would be the solution though.
March 13, 2023 | 4:56 p.m.
A lot LOL
$4,675.84 or 3.78 bb/100 (currently 4.34 bb/100 at 25nl).
Remember my sample is pretty much nit... oops fullring.
March 11, 2023 | 6:09 p.m.
When I made the opening, I have already played a session today. Then, I played a smallish nightly session and ended up looking at my results, so for the sake of transparency, here they are:
Now, no looking at results until Mar 31.
March 10, 2023 | 11:41 p.m.
Well, I had a blog in this forum before, that I just decided to stop updating because the goal stopped making sense to me since day 1 (thanks a lot everyone who posted very good arguments) and also because I didn´t really see the point (to me ) in keep updating. Like, what do I really want to accomplish by writing about my poker journey? Unless I see some (any) benefit, it doesn´t make any sense, I´m way better off using the time to study and/or play more.
Yet, I have seen so many examples of people who were lowstakes grinders and, by making PGC threads, seemed to get the motivation to improve (I see this as a self reinforcing loop, they start the blog, a few viewers get in, they put the effort, get results, more people come in, more motivation, and it goes on). I think the community effect plays a very big role, way bigger than I, as an introvert in general, can see.
I don´t see myself writing those very well-written posts, almost like full essays, on poker and life-related things, because it takes time and energy and I will end up just giving up. But I will make the effort and do my best to make disciplined updates at regular times. Improving my discipline can´t be bad, it translates so well to poker and most things in life. My biggest inspiration here are the Onklebs journals, if I can get close to what the guy achieved, I will be extremely happy.
Even our philosophies, considering his first post, are similar. And I´m still a fan of Nick Howard hehe.
I want to keep playing the simplified strategy I developed since last year. The easiest way to explain why I think we should play simple is because A) it´s easier to play accurately and do less mistakes, and we lose when we make mistakes (and profit when it´s the opponent who make them). B) mental energy conservation, to be able to grind longer while making good decisions (and also, to have the energy to spend when in tougher spots).
I want to move up, so no ultra-nitty BRM anymore, no trying to achieve x big winrate at y stake playing insane # of hands. Still, I want to prove myself at the limits and move up when I can realistically say I´m beating the current limit at a decent enough winrate to make probabilities of winning at the higher one good enough. No ultra-nitty BRM by the way doesn´t mean no BRM, or aggressive BRM. When I move up, I don´t really want to move down again, I will put full effort into succeding and only move down in case I see the skill jump is too high for me at the moment, or in case of a catastrophy $-wise. I play my best when I´m not looking into results all the time, and the shot-taking method implies we should be looking at results at least once every day (or all the time if it´s too aggressive). Too much energy spent here is less energy available to actually improving.
I´m unable to play big volume right now, as I´m travelling far from home, but I´m still playing and studying on most days. This will be sorted out in a few days anyways :)
I think monthly updates will be the most optimal for me, and will be my goal at first.
Poker goals? Well, I want to establish myself at 50nl, but I don´t have the roll and I think I need to develop more skills first. I took shots there already, agree with those who said 25nl and 50nl are similar limits (similar, not the same, there are better players at 50nl as anyone should expect. Also, sample sizing for reaching this conclusion is ridiculously small and it´s mostly feeling got from playing a little there). For this I need the roll, and I need to improve a lot.
Lifetime results so far:
By the way, my name is João, nice to meet you ladies and gentleman.
March 10, 2023 | 7:02 p.m.
I really like and enjoy reading all your blogs. Might be a biased opinion, buu from other successful poker players from all ages, the common theme I can remember is that they started posting while playing lowstakes and were all struggling with the game and trying to improve and move up. Usually looking for the motivation factor. As soon as they reached their goals, they just stopped blogging.
not exactly the same, but OTB´s blog was about trying to play more, way more, better, and to achieve a, maybe a little bit unrealistic, maybe not, winrate at 500z. He fell short of the volume and winrate goals, but made a ton of money playing highstakes. Then stopped blogging, probably because he didn´t need to anymore.
So maybe what happens here is that poker, the stakes you play etc, are not challenging enough to you that you need some extra motivation. Like, it´s great for us as readers and aspiring lower stakes players to read so much wisdom, for free, but you also have to get some benefit, otherwise why doing it? Pretty sure you take your time to thinking about what to write, to write them well enough, so it is work, and you must also get something back from this.
So think about what do you really want to accomplish blogging, not so much about what we want as readers. Unless you´re considering writing as a career change and want to train your skill :)
March 8, 2023 | 9:24 p.m.
Hey guys, long time no update, sorry for that.
I was talking with a friend about a few mental game themes relevant to me, and she recommended this particular book on Stoicism, which by the way is a philosophy I have had an interest for a very long time, but never went any further than superficial blog posts here and there.
Nov. 28, 2022 | 5:23 p.m.
A bit more about BRM. I think that, in theory, it should be simple. Pick the winrate, standard deviation, go to pokerdope and he'll give me a min bankroll for less than 5% of ruin. I added some margin of safety (it gave me 2440 bbs, which I rounded to 25 bis, added 10 and to the final result added 4 (number of tables I play, as not being able to fully buy-in for all tables is already de facto broke. Thus we have 39, that I simplified to 40.
I wanted this as 25nl is a limit I already know I´m beating, so I don´t want to move down ever again, unless something makes me withdraw the roll again ofc.
To the shots, I thought a little here and how aggressive I can be is more a function of my stop loss, than some actual number of BIs, since I don´t really know if I beat 50nl to begin with. I could even do it now if I´m ok moving down losing, let's say, 3 BIs.
I play my best when I´m not constantly worrying about my roll, and I´m striving to go til Nov, 30th without checking it. This per se should eliminate any possibility of aggressive shot taking, at least right now.
Pros and Cons of being more aggro with the BRM. Pros: 1) I might already be able to beat higher limits, to which point I´m wasting time waiting and hoarding cash. 2) Even if I don´t know 1, the only way to be really sure is trying obv, making a sample and evaluating. 3) Improving faster due to playing tougher regs, which would force me to study harder, which would make me a better player after some time. 4) Playing with too much BIs behind gives a sense of safety that, when it is too much, might turn into complacency. Having some type of pressure over us to not screw up things might be good (but might be a double edge sword also, mental game issues :D ).
Cons: 1) Having to worry about the bankroll while playing. 2) Mental game pressures. 3) Aggressive shot taking seems related, from what I´ve seen in other threads especially on twoplustwo, seems to be related with people having too much this irrational sense of urgency, which leads to recklessness and eventual blew ups. I know I have at least some of these tendencies running deep into my brain, as thoughts about accelerating things jumps into my mind from time to time.
One reason to me thinking about the 50 BIs (40 on, 10 off as a reserve), and 10 BI shots, is that I can actually play sessions without worrying over the bankroll. Sure, -10 or more BI sessions happen (mitigated by the fact I play full ring which is lower variance), but they are unlikely and won´t bust me.
Since downswings happen (I could actually lose 3 bis on session 1, 3 on session 2, 3 on session 3 and then would be playing a final session pretty much underrolled already, which is non-optimal), a better solution imho could be going slightly more aggressive, let's say 40 BIs overall, then moving down at the end of the session if I´m already below this number.
Have to analyze this more, and will deeply appreciate feedback from you and/or the others.
One problem I have with the standard approach like 30 BIs then 5 stop losses etc is that this can´t really be done without some real time watching of the results, which is exactly what I don´t want as it is stressful and worsens my game.
Oct. 27, 2022 | 6:11 p.m.
Up until this year I was really nitting it up without much of a real plan. I struggled a lot moving up from 5 to 10nl and I think this more or less affected my mindset, and brought an almost irrational fear of moving up.
Might seem a bit false, or cheesy maybe, but what people said to me in this exact thread, at the beginning, was the reason I took the risk and moved up, finally, to 25nl. And guess what, I did beat the limit straight away :)
But I was still playing pretty much with 100-120 BIs. At the end of the last month I decided to withdraw most of my roll, which was the reason I grinded 10nl again for a few days. Having 40 BIs now, I´m confident I can play 25 as my main limit and not really worry about busting it.
Not really a plan (maybe that is my problem, lack of structure), but I´m thinking about, from now on, always accumulating 50 BIs for the new limit, keeping 40 online and 10 offline in my account. And moving back down if losing 10 buy-ins at the new limit.