You've had a great year so far Cyd, can't win every month - and sounds like you have / are handling the adversity well, worst thing is to retreat and hide from poker which was something that happened to me in my worst downswing period, so kudos for just getting back to it and following the process. Good luck for May!
May 2, 2022 | 10:17 p.m.
Curiosity killed the cat...... (but not the poker player)
Something that occurred to me today that I am thankful for, is that a genuine curiosity for poker strategy is really under-valued. I been consuming some different strategic content as of late that has really sparked some new interest in the game, seeing things from different angles. One of them has been Saulo's GTOw weekly coaching calls which is focused I would say mainly on the fundamental theoretical drivers of how poker works. Some concepts and ideas I was familiar with, some not, but all of these sessions I saw was exciting in some way that I took some knowledge or drive from, and as a new GTOw subscriber there is a LOT of content to go through and get excited about. The thirst for better understanding of the mechanics of the game is real.
Another was some new exploitative content I watched recently that sparked not only some completely new ways of thinking about the game, but also the drive to conduct some experiments towards ideas I have had for a while brewing beneath the surface.
I really love these periods of genuine passion for finding out things, it's almost childlike and humbling like you're a little kid with everything to learn and no hang-ups.
Now I reflect on this sensation I am having over the last couple of weeks I know I am in a good place, variance will do what it will do, but if I have this passion then there is nothing stopping me from putting in the work to grow.
Enjoy your studies my friends, and remain curious!
April 28, 2022 | 7:06 p.m.
RunItTw1ce Not many play zone, without auto top up and no HUDs it can be tricky to identify recreationals unless they do something obvious in the hand, and also they lose at a lower clip compared to Reg tables, as they can fast fold and move on so play ranges that are not as loose as they would on a Reg table, less boredom factor etc
April 18, 2022 | 11:17 a.m.
Hey man thanks for the support, nah it's frankly simply variance over these small samples sizes, literally anything can happen :) my 200nl hands graph from this small sample is really amusing, its -15 buyins straight down, then 10 up, 10 down, 10 up and a few more down, like a zig-zag - all just noise though in the grand scheme of things.
To seriously answer your question I think at higher stakes that bluffing works slightly worse, and bluff catching works slightly better. Overall it doesn't shift any strategy though, just slightly different where winrate comes from. Lower stakes guy will find more reasons to fold, higher stakes guys realise they have to pull some more triggers.
April 16, 2022 | 7:26 p.m.
Back on the grind
Long time since my last update, lots has been going on and have not been able to play as much as I would have like to at the start of the year, but things are really settling down now to allow me to focus more of my energies into poker. As of May I should not have much responsibility any more for my partners business due to some new staff she is taking on, and I'm able to have a way more productive schedule as a result of it.
Coaching and management responsibilities mean that the CFP work is ramping up, and I'm also in phase of really engaging with study at the moment. All of this is great for me, being able to split my days roughly down to; 4-5 hours of grind, average of 2 hours study, and 3 hours of CFP responsibilities with days off sprinkled in to recuperate!
Over the last month I put in 150 hours of grind which is way more than I have done before, and more in line with what I envision a full time professional can achieve. Probably around 30-40 hours of study during this time which I would like to ramp up a bit.
As well as reviewing my sessions I'm currently navigating through the game node by node, bet size by bet size and using GTOw to drill spots where I want to be roughly balanced using their practice mode. Usually I drill 100 spots, and any time I am wrong / spot something interesting I screen grab the spot and then later at the end I go through all of these again, make a flashcard with the spot and then the solution + sim + notes about the upgrade on the 'back' of the card. On average from 100 spots I'm getting between 5-15 flashcards. I use Anki for managing the flashcards which I am sure some of you guys have heard of. Once I have drilled these cards a bunch then I'm going to go back through the practice mode and see if I can improve on my accuracy. This systematic process feels like it is working so far to improve calibration in the spots where I want to get closer to GTO.
Obviously being a part of a team that uses MDA, we have plenty of reasons to deviate in many spots, but training the solution and understanding what should be happening on a fundamental level is also really important.
So the plan for the next 30 days is to keep up with the schedule of play and focused study sessions, keep working on my process, put in the reps and be slightly better at all the spots I am studying than I am now. Once I have completed my current batch of spots I will probably mix up the study to something new and maybe switch to deep study of a particular node and also do a full self stat check to look for frequency leaks and focus there, but for now I'm enjoying the drill / flashcard combination for defending calibration.
I'll report back next time to let you know how effective I found this particular study method.
If any of you are considering a CFP and like the idea of a strategy that uses data exploits and GTO fundamentals then hit me up, we're always open to looking at strong applicants.
Results past month (running hot):
April 16, 2022 | 12:46 p.m.
Yeah for sure, I think it makes total sense to pre-emptively move down when you start going on a downswing. Even if we think we're not affected by loss, I suspect that there is some subconscious tilt going on (tilt meaning not playing at your very best for whatever reason).
What I do now is when I lose 20 buyins in any 1 continuous period, I will drop down 1 stake level and recoup 10 buyins at the stake below and then assess how I feel. This has the effect of reducing the impact of the DS if we continue to lose more, and relieves some of the background mental pressure that builds when on a losing streak (at least for me).
The main thing that I learned, or would do differently is that instead of retreating from poker as a self defence mechanism, I would just organise my time differently and say to myself "ok im on a downswing, that's ok, I been here before and I know I am a winning player at these stakes so it's just a matter of time before I grind out of it"
"For now I am going to forget about my usual volume goals and player shorter hyper focused sessions which I will review in detail before playing another session and use this time to make sure I am 100% happy with how I played every spot as best as possible, so if this continues, I know I have absolutely done my best" and generally use the opportunity the situation has created for some growth. Poker will not be about making $ during this period it will be about how close I can get to perfect execution (given the limitations of my skill).
Whereas when I was actually in the downswing I stopped playing very often, did not study much and when I did play (not in the best mental state) I didnt change any mental framework or logistical set up like the shorter focus sessions, which exaggerated the problem no doubt!
Dec. 16, 2021 | 11:51 a.m.
Hey guys, I decided to ressurect my blog as we head into 2022 to keep myself accountable again. I went through a pretty rough downswing earlier this year after finding initial success that was documented here. It kind of knocked my confidence for a few months until I was able to refocus on the important things, like what I actually had control over, getting back to a healthy study routine and rebuilding from there.
The downswing went on for 80 buyins which is pretty extreme and took me from 500nl all the way down to playing 50nl for some time. It's pretty unusual to face downswings of this nature but now that I came through that I can honestly say that it has made me a lot more humble, and way more resilient to variance. Basically after surviving that I feel like I can survive anything!
I finished up my contract with Poker Detox in September (it was a short 1 year contract) and I learned so much about how to approach the game from a totally different point of view (data orientated) which was completely eye opening and really interesting. I am thankful for the opportunity that gave to me, and when I made the title of this blog, grinding 25z, I had no idea how accurate that would turn out to be about the whole experience.
I kept in contact with my mentor and friend freenachos who was my coach in detox and who started his own CFP
Having seen this team grow impressively over the last few months & the high level content Patrick is putting out, I joined them and also help out where I can.
I keep in contact with a lot of the ex-detox players as well. I think it is really important to surround yourself with strong players as you meet them along your poker journey.
So I'm pretty excited for 2022, my part time work obligations are getting less and I am spending more and more time on poker with the hope that at some point next year I can hire someone to do the role I am doing and I can concentrate on poker full time (and even get some downtime!)
Here was my overall graph for my detox journey and the last few months of this year. The 80 buyin downswing has been recovered and things are looking up! I'm pretty pumped for the high stakes course being rolled out in the new team which is teaching me a way better understanding of GTO play that can be combined with my knowledge of MDA exploits to make me a stronger player as I continue to build on the foundation I have.
Dec. 14, 2021 | 12:59 p.m.
Hey dude, great post. I watched the same youtube clip and also took very similar inspiration from it as well. I particularly enjoyed the insight that Bill and Kevin gave about the improvement process. 1 coach simming every hand that was important, noting mistakes, someone else tracking frequencies, another looking at opponent leaks... it's nothing new, and things we should be doing as professionals anyway, but it is easy to neglect this side of poker and/or decide to work on some new technical areas of improvement because it feels a little less boring maybe.
It can be quite time consuming to run the +15bb pots filter after every session and double check all of your plays, but this reminded me that this is super important for pinpointing mistakes and building your library of upgrades.
Good luck on your volume goals for the coming months, for me I'm going hard in the lab now for a few days to review all my hands over the last week and get some leaks plugged!
July 9, 2021 | 11 p.m.
I have also had private coaching from Patrick and would highly recommend his services. He has very high level knowledge of both the exploitative and equilibrium play for all of the common spots that you will face and can teach it in a really effective way (being a professional teacher as you may know from this blog).
He is also a really great guy and will be sadly missed as one of the best coaches poker detox had. If you're on the fence about getting a coach then I would jump at this chance, especially whilst Patrick is building up his students and offering some deals, I think his effective methods and vast knowledge would be a significant help to anyone playing small and mid stakes. He is particularly good at teaching you how to study effectively which is one of the best tools you can learn to master in my opinion
Feb. 15, 2021 | 9:36 a.m.
HeavyMask GG does seem on paper to have more fish, especially if you want to play in the morning or daytime, but like you say the rake is quite high so you end up with lower winrate and more in rakeback - this is fine but can be pschologically a bit more tough than lower rake structure and more on table winnings (makes you feel more like a 'winner'). I think both are fine options but there are probably better spots out there on different sites that are more +EV. Im trying out some other places when I can, just a pain moving bank roll around.
Feb. 3, 2021 | 5:18 p.m.
Sounds exciting, GL man. For sure it's all about the process and being consistent (with the process and executing when playing). I keep thinking getting good at poker is like bodybuilding, each study session on it's own doesnt do a whole lot but over the space of a year if you keep putting in quality reps then you see the compounding effects over time. Sticking to a schedule and process is the real key imo along with of course studying effectively and not wasting time. Sounds like you're in a good spot, GL
Feb. 3, 2021 | 5:12 p.m.
As I eluded to in previous posts, January got off to a flier and before I knew it I was able to shot take 500nl, which was a lot of fun. Unfortunately things did not go to plan and I ended up hitting my personal stop loss figure to move back down to 200nl to rebuild for another shot - that's fine, I kind of expected that this stake might take me a few goes to make it stick. I have my BR split between stars and GG right now, and there was limited supply of fish when I tried to play, which again is to be expected, I guess there just isn't as many at 500nl than other stakes. I had the mentality of all or nothing, so basically as soon as I could play 500nl I just played it until I hit my stoploss and then I moved back down. Maybe next attempt I will assess the state of the games and try to select the better times to shot take and play 200nl when it doesn't look so hot.
I'm also going for the 'small jabs' approach with shot taking as laid out by Patrick Howard in his blog (article 9) - so small shots and often rather than over commit and then have to rebuild too much at lower stakes.
I managed to get $1200 in RB from stars in January from the rake challenge, and also $1000 in fish buffet from GG, so January overall was not too bad in the end with total profit of $4250
I have just taken my first profit split since joining PD as well, I don't really need the money from poker to live as it has always just been a hobby so far, and it feels great to be able to take out a lump sum and stick it in the bank - it's tax free in Ireland as well, so that's a bonus!
I also finally got the diet on track the last couple of weeks - still failing on the sleep side of things, still staying up too late and then being tired in the mornings and not getting up early to grind or study like I was previously for a while, but I have been taking some light exercise so there have eventually been some improvements logistically for myself.
Overall I would say my mood would be summed up as 'thankful' right now. Yeah, I just lost $4500 over the last week or two which is a bigger number than I am used to - but I had the opportunity to shoot 500nl and it was a blast - I will get the opportunity again soon I hope. I am playing relatively stress free and improving all the time playing and studying a game I thoroughly enjoy in a great community. I am looking forward as always to what is in store next, but whatever happens, I want to remember an hold onto this great feeling I am experiencing right now even if I go through a horrible downswing - staying thankful and appreciating the spot I am in and making the most it every day.
Feb. 2, 2021 | 9:29 a.m.
Jumped straight into the deep end with a session on PS 500z, after a few celebration beers. It turns out the more I drink the more I bluff - who would have thought? :)
Was fun for sure, but will trying to pick some softer line ups for the rest of the shot take!
Jan. 20, 2021 | 8:40 p.m.
Yeah it's pretty interesting, I would say most players on the team get their winnings mainly from non-showdown winnings, but there are still quite a good chunk of guys that have more traditional showdown orientated profit with either a break even red line or slightly winning. Not quite sure why 100% but I suspect it might be blue line guys are picking the bluff spots selectively and red line guys are going full exploit. Might have to do with playing in known pools vs anonymous too and how far you feel comfortable pushing the exploits.
Jan. 20, 2021 | 8:37 p.m.
Time for another update having completed another milestone in my CFP journey. Yesterday I hit the profit target ($10k) at 200nl to start shot taking 500nl and move from 'Division 2' to 'Division 3' within PD. I must say it all still feels a bit surreal because I only moved up to 200nl on Christmas Eve, and now I'm going to be shot taking 500nl. Obviously I was running hot over these last few weeks, so finger's crossed it continues and I will say again what I said about the 100nl shot take and the 200nl shot take - lets hope I can stick the landing :) Whatever happens win/lose I am just really enjoying the game right now and also studying and improving, I guess that is the main thing that is important - when you really love what you're doing there is very little effort required.
Next update will be how I am getting on in the 500nl - LFG!
Jan. 20, 2021 | 1:28 p.m.
Fitness, diet and sleep are all terrible at the moment, definitely need to improve in these areas, I don't seem to have much drive to improve for more than a few days. Poker on the other hand is still going great. Maybe if I was running like shit I would be more focused on improving the environmental side of things but as I am doing good maybe I don't feel it's necessary. Just journaling my thoughts here as I try to work out what is going on inside my head.
I am getting close to reaching the profit target for shots at 500nl already which is a bit wild, and I already played a few hands when I saw a super soft table. Won 3 stacks then lost 3 stacks, back to 200nl again until I get the required buyins to take a proper shot but wanted to give it a go whilst I was feeling good.
Jan. 12, 2021 | 1:32 p.m.
Hey man, nah it's fine you can ask away. Yeah the community aspect is massive and one of the biggest plus points for CFP. I can't speak for others but in PD it really feels like 1 big family. Also, going back to the 1 on 1 coaching question and also relating to community - I wanted to say that you get out of these what you put in. For example I attend a weekly call I mentioned before, I seek direct advice from the highest limit players on the team. I schedule another weekly study session with peers, I am active in the discord discussing hands, I do my own private study too - so you get out what you put in.
Dec. 31, 2020 | 2:15 p.m.
More than compensates for that IMO. I had exactly the same doubt about PD myself before I joined but the fact that the strategy provided is so detailed, and the extremely active community tied with the fact they have dedicated coaches and mentors, plus group sessions means that you have way more feedback and advice than you could want to progress. I know it seems weird, I assumed I needed 1 on 1 advice to fix my leaks, but when you have guidelines for everything you can easily spot your own mistakes and seek community advice to rectify it.
Dec. 30, 2020 | 3:32 p.m.
Month End Wrap Up
Probably finishing up the month and year early today as we are having a party so will be drunk tonight and hungover tomorrow so doubtful will play any more hands now.
December heater kept on going since last update, with rakeback and bonuses I made $5k this month which is pretty sick and completely beyond my wildest dreams compared with a few months ago when I was breaking even at microstakes.
For anyone on the fence about whether CFP is worth it, to me it has been a revelation in terms of the progress that is possible when all the hard work has been done for you in terms of a robust strategy that has been road tested and refined by many before me, 1000's of hours of work has gone into these strategies, and I would not have had the time or inclination to get on par with this working on my own. The community aspect is massive and having a team of like minded players all hungry and eager to take these strategies as far as possible, discuss hands, review each other's play, provide real actionable feedback is massive.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year and I for one am excited for what 2021 has to offer.
Goals for the year include sticking to a more regimented schedule for play and study, keeping up a good diet and exercise. I want to be playing 1knl at some point next year, this is my poker goal. Gl all.
Dec. 30, 2020 | 1:43 p.m.
New Territory - Fear & Excitement
December has been another crazy month results wise, starting off poor and running pretty bad and dropping 20 buyins. I felt calm throughout which was great, I also felt like for the most part my play was pretty solid and I have been keeping up with regular studying too, so I just kept my head down and kept going. I dropped back to 50nl at the lowest point for 2 days just for a mental reset, not sure if this helped or not, but as I say, I felt like I playing fine so went back to 100nl shortly after.
In Poker Detox some of us do weekly 'storms' where we upload our last 20k hands and other team members go through the hands and find leaks then we meet up and discuss the hands together and find the best upgrades for the player in question. I had my turn recently and it was really great to get the insights of more experienced players and it immediately fixed some passivity issues I had fallen into.
I spoke before about having problems with 'Urgency' that was affecting my in game decisions under performance stress and these seem to be at bay for now which is great. I'm never going to say these problems have gone, and I still take the time to review the mindset cards I made from time to time.
I'm starting to use anki a lot more for learning spots and drilling upgrades that I have learned for spots, it's a really flexible flashcard program that I am loving more each day, check it out if feel you could something like this.
After the downswing I have just been on a heater since then, I just hit the profit target required to take 200nl shots and played my first session yesterday, immediately won around 7 buyins and then quit my session because I was 'scared' of losing it back.
Moving up quickly is great, can't complain, but I have to now deal with the mental issues of playing for more money. For someone who grinded mainly 10nl, 25nl and 50nl for the last few years it just feels a bit scary right now but I am sure I will get used to it.
December to date graph:
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all!
Very excited for 2021 and the next chapter of my poker journey.