Sunday, October 10, 2010

My re-entry back into the real world

Well as many of you know I recently quit poker in pursuit of a "real" job. Basically I have broken even since June and even had my first losing month EVER as well in July. It was a culmination of stress, aggravation and almost knowing the inevitability that quitting poker was coming.

At first I was pretty much full of every negative emotion that one could think of. Starting around July I began to isolate myself with "last ditch" attempts to save an essentially doomed career, given my current state of mind and life situation. I hated myself for "failing" to attain certain goals set for myself when I first started playing for a living. I looked at myself as a failure at not only poker but life in general. I was just in a very bad spot in life with bills piling up and no real way to pay them.

I started shipping out resumes in September and received job offers nearly right away. I declined numerous insurance jobs due to already doing it before and absolutely despising it. I also turned down a couple office jobs that started out with a decent hourly despite me not having/finishing my college degree. This was also a regret of mine during the process as I could have finished a couple of times in the past and didn't see the value you it at the time. Life lesson learned and when I get the chance to finish I am going to.

Eventually I found a job after about a month of searching that is a second shift factory job in the medical industry. I snap took the job as I know people who work there and its a clean and good environment for a factory. I never once thought I would ever work in a factory but it has honestly been a great experience for me. Considering most of my problems were financially related and relatively easy to fix, I learned and heard what real life problems are from my co-workers. It has shown me a new appreciation for people and society in general.

When you play poker for a living all you do is play, think, eat and sleep poker. To paraphrase a quote from a recent article about a high stakes pro Zugwat, All your happiness is tied to winning or losing when you play poker for a living. That's literally all you really care about in life, is whether you won or lost money that day. Then you get up the next day to do it all over again. And for many of us who play poker seriously, its not just a 9-5, 5 day a week job, its a 10+ hour 7 day a week job month after month and to become good at it it essentially has to become an obsession and way of life.

It took me awhile to accept it, despite knowing and realizing this for some time. I can now look back and realize that playing poker for a living online is an awful way to spend ones life. I have no regrets playing for a couple years and making a living from poker but I realize now how negative it was for my overall life goals and overall happiness.

I do feel fortunate to have been able to chase my "dream" at playing poker for a living and doing it for a couple years. I feel good to know that I accomplished some of the things I set out for, got to live and experience many great things I would not have had I continued down my path in Indianapolis at that point in my life.

I only have one regret with poker and that was starting with the massive debt load that I did. It was ultimately my undoing a couple years later but it has all worked out for the best I think. I am the happiest I have been on a daily basis in at least a year. I actually look forward and kind of appreciate having an actual job to go to every day. I stay pretty active, I'm not stuck behind a desk, I socialize with some people that are great characters. None of which would have happened had I continued to grind out poker.

I have also re-discovered my love for the outdoors. I grew up fishing and have gotten back into that as well as discovered my love for bowhunting. It's hard to describe the feeling I get sitting in the woods and a deer, racoon, turkey etc walk by and have on clue you are there. Ted Nugent said it best "Hunting is the last 100% pure sport in the world". I realized this when watching a doe and her fawn come through the woods without too many cares in the world. All the while I was trying to get a good shot at the doe but still.

Six months ago I couldn't had said that I would be a much happier person quitting poker and getting a normal job but here I am. I feel refreshed and almost like a new person being "re-introduced" to society and becoming a contributing member once again. I have a new appreciation for many things I once took for granted. I feel good about doing something I loved for a couple years, which is something most people never have the luxury of doing, when it comes to a job. While I have begun playing poker occassionally again, it will most likely be a couple of months until I attempt to play 40-50k hands a month again. For one, deer season goes until January 2nd (I think) and there are just more important things in life than sitting in front of two computer monitors with my headphones on clicking away on my mouse. I have played a little bit as the graph above shows my rebuilding of a bankroll at 10nl so far this month.

In short I'm back to living, loving and experiencing life with no regrets as I go. I wish all my friends in the poker world the best in their own pursuits with poker and hope they find their own happiness with poker and life. I look forward to staying in contact with many of you and its cool to have become friends with so many great people around the world. It is very difficult to find a harmony with poker and life but its ultimately a personal choice, acceptance and realization that one has to make on his/her own.

Cheers to the sick "real" life!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

USA soccer, fishing and poker

I have to start off with the USA World Cup game this morning where Donovan scored in the 91st minute. This definitely ranks high on my all time favorite sports moments, given that England was winning 1-0, eliminating us unless we scored, which happened with 3 minutes left in the game. I'm probably partial since I played soccer growing up until college but I'm glad to see the USA soccer program grow and get to a level that we are no longer a laughing stock and potentially a threat to other powerhouse countries now.

I also started fishing a local Tuesday night circuit last night. Unfortunately I didn't catch any keepers to weigh in and get some points but it was a learning experience and probably for the best. As simple as fishing seems to many it can be very tough and many uncontrollable variables come into play with fishing. Travis (my step-dad) weighed in 4 fish, had big bass and finished 2nd. So, we caught plenty of fish and I had my chances as I lost a keeper that was about 2 lbs with an hour left but that's fishing and some days things just don't go your way. There are 10 tournaments left and I still have an above average chance to make the end of the season classic so I'm just gonna keep putting in my time and making the most of the opportunities as they present themselves. Plus fishing is extremely enjoyable for me and is second nature, even after an almost 10 year hiatus. It's crazy to think how good or competitive I am and can be given almost a decade off.

My 10nl challenge is cruising along as well. I've been playing other limits as well as some Rush poker so I haven't been devoting all of my time to it. I am up ~66 buy ins now after 84k hands and will just continue to play 10nl when I feel like it. The past ~20k hands at 10nl have been brutal but I've still managed to make some money because it is 10nl after all.

I am around 110k hands so far on the month. Which leaves me 65k hands shy with 7 days to go to reach my 175k hand goal and prop with Natisfinest. I haven't talked to him recently but I'm sure that sicko has like 250k hands in already because he's a sick grinder. Today has been a day off for me and I'm going to try and wake up and just play tomorrow so I'm hoping for maybe 15k hands tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Halfway there

Well I am over halfway to my $1k goal at 10nl. I think I started the challenge the 4th or 5th, so ~55 buyins in 10 days isn't bad, but it is 10nl after all. This challenge has been fun for numerous reasons. It has forced me to get back to some basics that I had gotten away from and was causing me to spew. It's pretty funny because I played a hand where I flopped an OESFD (Open ended straight flush draw) a couple days ago and 3 barreled and the guy called me down with bottom pair for his stack. Gotta love it!

I have settled some of my verbal abuse at the tables as losing/winning $10 here and there isn't anything to get mad over. Hopefully I can continue my attitude as I move back up. I might try and write up a couple things I found while playing 10nl afterwards.

I am going to start fishing each week in a circuit which I am really excited about. It will help get me back into fishing semi-competitively again and just get me used to being back on the water and fishing different places. My 2 year goal with fishing is to be in the local club and fishing those along with other somewhat local tournaments. It's very motivating to think about and will also provide a release from poker. Fishing is relaxing but will also still allow me to compete for fairly little monetary fun.

June is going well so far. I am behind my 175k hand prop bet for the month, I think I'm around ~65k hands so far. So, I need to step that up but I don't have anything planned until the 4th of July therefore I should just continue getting in alot of volume and enjoying the benefits of playing money and fpps nom nom nom.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Self imposed $1k @ 10nl challenge & Blackhawks win!!

A few days into this month I had a -12 buyin day at 25nl and decided to drop down and made up a 1k @ 10nl challenge for myself. I did this out of annoyance for continuing to fucking run bad, to help make sure I am playing a fairly basic game and to just have a fresh new challenge for myself. I have been guilty in the past of trying to outplay or over think plays at 50nl and lower in the past and I think I have been doing it again recently.

I originally wasn't gonna play anything above 10nl until I made $1k but realized that I'm burning money by not playing higher during this self challenge. The graph above is how I am doing so far. I am hoping to continue this pace and make $1k under or around 100k hands.

Mentally my poker confidence is probably around 50%. It just seems like every session comes with a set over set, KK vs AA along with multiple sets losing to 4 flushes and straights. All of those things are standard but when they are happening every session and every 1k hands or so after 500k+ hands it has beaten me down. Unfortunatly I have been taking my anger out on people at the tables by berating people as well which is just totally unacceptable. I'm hoping that completing this little challenge will help me regain my confidence as well as composure.

The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup also this week which is awesome. I watched the parade today and is such a great feeling to see a group of young and talented players receive what they have worked so hard for.

This weekend will be busy with the US world cup game against England, my cousins wedding and another cousins birthday. The wedding along with the rest of the weekend should be a really good time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Finally moved and getting settled

I finally moved home at the end of April. The trip took me around 42 hours total as I only managed to sleep for 4-5 hours the entire time. I attempted to sleep for an hour in a McDonalds parking lot in Albuquerque New Mexico, then woke up and drove another 4 hours to Amarillo Texas where I managed to get around 3-4 hours of sleep in another McDonalds parking lot the first night. I woke up around 4:30 am and powered the rest of the way home arriving around 2am California time.

The drive wasn't actually that bad. I lost around 3 hours due to construction/accidents and I didn't have any car break downs so I couldn't really ask for much more. The drive was around 2200 miles but was kinda fun. I drove through snow in Flagstaff Arizona, got sleeted on before Albuquerque and then got rained on most of the second day driving through Oklahoma and Missouri. Arizona and New Mexico are just baron and a vast nothingness but it starts to get green around the middle of Oklahoma again. I got a chance to catch up on conversations with a few people on the drive back so that was great also.

Last week was my first week being back in northern Indiana in about 6 years. It's nice being back in my home area. I am realizing how much I missed the lake's. I am excited to get back into fishing within the next month or so. Hanging out on the lake is also coming up and should be fun and provide some random entertainment for me as well.

It's nice how laid back and slow paced everything is here. I lived in Indy after college then moved out to San Diego and I feel like I can finally get a foothold established somewhere and slow things down for awhile. One of the great benefits of playing poker online is that I can do it virtually anywhere I can get a good internet connection.

Short term I am looking to get a few personal things taken care of and get settled in and embrace the idea of possibly living in the area for an extended period of time. It sounds weird to say it but it's nice to be able to choose where you want to live and not be forced by job, family or other obligations. After living in the city then on the West Coast I feel like I could really enjoy the lakes area and can see myself sticking around, getting a small lake house or something practical and just kick back, play poker, travel and enjoy life.

Cheers to the upcoming summer and always having fun no matter what life throws my way! Oh and I finally got back into the green yesterday so winning money is always a good thing.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A 40 hour work week = Win

Above is the first 40 hours this month, not counting rakeback/bonuses. I measured it this way to make it feel like I have a "real" job. It's very funny to think about how different my life would be if I was still doing a job that was unfulfilling and menial (imo). 10 years ago I figured I would be married with a house, kids and a 9-5 office job by now but I am very happy with how my life has turned out to this point.

I know I talk and compare poker to a normal job a lot but it comes up in discussions with other poker players so much. It's normally in the context of "I used to do this job for X amount and wanted to kill myself blah blah". I guess it's just the excitement and joy from doing something you love and it seems so ridiculous to do anything else for an income at this point in my life. I hope to ultimately transition into a trader, maybe day trader maybe not, as the concepts and risk aversion are very similar. I enjoy reading and following the market and research in my spare time so I can definitely see myself investing over the next few years and 5-10 years down the road only doing that and playing poker for fun.

Moving home will be a good experience as my good friends in Indianapolis are having their wedding reception in early May, my cousin is getting married in early June, then there will be big parties around the 4th of July and I'm sure more things will continue to pop up to keep the boredom at home to a minimum. It should also allow for me to devote a lot of time to poker as well, with minimal distractions and help get all aspects of life in order. I'm very curious what I will be saying about "home" 3 months from now. I hope I am still enjoying it as there are enough quality people around to make things fun. It will also be interesting because I haven't been home for an extended period of time for almost 4 years. I kinda feel like that person in the movie that goes off to the big city and has to go back home for some reason.

I'm enjoying my last few weeks here in SD. Joey got tickets to the Padres vs Braves game last night which was pretty fun. Petco park is cool and down town SD is really nice to begin with. I'm still not sure if I will start my journey home late next week or the following week. I'm not in a big hurry and am just trying to enjoy the last few things I can before I move.

I'm gonna continue grinding it out in very minimal stress games and hopefully keep running and playing well.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Who knew I ran bad?

Haha, just trying to stay positive through this sick stretch. I noticed the above graphs while compiling all of my into for taxes for 2009. Taxes, lovely......yah right.

The top graph is 25nl and the bottom is 50nl. It is what it is. I am still winning through this stretch so that's good, obviously. I think people running bad and saying they don't win because they run bad is only an excuse for ~200nl and higher. You are bad if you can't beat 100nl and below, it's not because you just run bad. I haven't played much 100 but know a bunch of guys who do and I'm confident I can beat it when I make the move up.

I will be moving home to northern Indiana within the next couple of weeks. As I said in my last blog I have a lot of stuff going on in my life that needs to be taken care of and my lease expiring here in San Diego is perfect timing for me to do so. I am no longer looking at moving home as a bad thing either. It will allow me to get 100% of all aspects of my life together. It will be during the summer time as well which is the "good" time to move home and enjoy the lake. I'm sure I will be devoting alot of time to poker as well and should just be very good for me all together.

I have also opened myself up to the idea of even staying at home longer than the summer, eventhough that isn't my intention. I think it would be a pretty good life to live in the area I grew up, buy a lake house, a boat and have a very comfortable stress free lifestyle. Like I've said since I began playing poker, I will just go with where ever life takes me and make the most of the possibilities that I come across.