I wrote about becoming a pro poker player a couple weeks ago. I was going to write about something else, but two things sap my motivation:
1. I have wicked bad allergies to something, probably the Cedar-Elm, and can hardly focus on anything for more than 15 to 20 minutes before I start rubbing my eyes and sneezing.
2. All I really do now is play poker, so it's on my mind.
I'm playing .25/.50 NL Hold 'Em. I'm down $650 so far. I lost more up front than I did recently, and the losses up front were more due to stupid play than later ones. That's not to say that I don't still make some incredibly dumb plays - I do - but I'm making less of them.
I'm totally indifferent to the money lost. Some people make a big deal out of it, but I see it as nothing other than paying for education. To expect to become a pro without losing any money up front would be totally preposterous. If I can consistently make money before losing $5k first, I will consider that to be a pretty cool achievement.
As I learn more about poker I really just cement in how little I know. There is so much underlying math which must be grasped at an intuitive level to play properly. I've watched six hours of an eight hour series on the Math of Poker at deucescracked.com, which is amazing. I now understand the math and can work it the "right move" on paper, but I'll need to be able to approximate it MUCH faster. Some I can, some I can't.
My biggest problem is that I'm having a tough time letting go of big hands when it's very likely I'm beat.
"But my hand is so good.... what if he's bluffing?"
This is a classic newbie mistake which I'm working on eliminating. Another is to play when I'm tired. As alert as I think I am, a good portion of my losses have been after my normal bedtime.
I've heard a lot of people warn me that poker is a hard way to make a living or that there are too many bots, etc. I appreciate the advice, but I also disregard it. I have several friends that play poker and make a living doing so, so OBVIOUSLY there's some way to do it, and that's what I'll do.
Every day I educate myself by reading parts or all of that Sklansky book, watching videos on DeucesCracked.com, or reading posts on the TwoPlusTwo forums. I play for maybe 4-10 hours depending on circumstances, probably averaging around 6.
Once I get a bit better I'll join the TwoPlusTwo forums and start posting hands and getting involved in that community.
Some quick updates on other projects:
Dvorak: Still using Dvorak exclusively. I can type about 80wpm now and I'm not convinced I could actually type faster than this on QWERTY. I said 90, but I wish I tested myself before learning Dvorak.
Crossfit: Slacking big time. I was working out with Doug because he has weights and air conditioning, but he's been out of town a lot. I'm looking forward to it getting colder because there's an awesome hiking trail I can run right near Casa and I can do kettlebells outside.
MaxDiet: So good to be back to 100%. I should have done my once a month cheat meal a couple weeks ago, but I keep putting it off. I did eat a piece of peach cobbler that my genius-chef Jonah made.
LifeNomadic: We're starting to plan 2009. It's looking awesome!
RV: Living the good life with solar power and a working fridge. Every night when I sit in my RV I feel very happy and thankful.
Make Her Chase You: Despite stopping all of my advertising campaigns, sales are going pretty well still.
I like reading your stuff, so I hope this isn't giving advice where it isn't asked for. But I was surprised to see your choice of trying to become a pro poker player. I mean, if you enjoy the game, that's great as a hobby, but I can't see it as a meaningful pursuit or identity to do full time. You know, that whole idea of doing something that will ultimately help people, out live you, make meaningful connections, etc. All that inner game self help stuff...help enough other people get what they want and the money thing will take care of itself. Anyway, none of us are perfect on that (myself included) but just thought I'd bring it up. I'm trying to evolve to that next state too. Keep writing, I'm enjoying our unique outlook on life...
Tynan, just curious:
Are you playing cash games or tournaments or both? I think it's good to play both and see which you are better at. Some people don't have the stomach for cash games but can really gut it out in tournaments. You should try both and see what you excel at. It's been profitable for me, at least. Good luck
Hey tynan, I have lurked your blog for a long time and since the first time I visited your site and now I have learned poker and now play for a living at 400nl-1knl. Coincidentally, I also make videos for Deucescracked. My advice is to ignore the NL Book, I have it and it's not too useful for learning to play 6max online NLHE poker. If you want to read a long guide (as opposed to videos or 2+2) read the guide at www.ryanfees.com. Also, if you want real money you should be learning to play a lot of tables. You also should be playing nl50 with at least a 2000 roll if you aren't already. And BTW the people who are worried about bots, = LOL.
I get an annoying amount of email from people asking me how to gamble like I used to. The truth is that what I used to do isn't profitable anymore. It was a right time, right place sort of scenario. Although I'm not a professional gambler anymore, I have been spending time studying and improving at poker (I'm a break-even or slightly profitable player), and I have friends who are pros. There are surely several different paths you can take to make a living gambling; this is the one that I'm aware of and is feasible for someone of above average intelligence.
Despite offering a rough guide to making money gambling, I don't necessarily recommend that you do so. I gambled professionally for seven years. During that time I made a lot of money and enjoyed my life. One morning I woke up and all of my money was gone. The story behind that is complicated, but the gist is that "they caught on". The strongest emotion I felt was a sense of relief. Gambling is fun, but it's not "big". It doesn't contribute in a meaningful way or leave you with a body of work.
Most casino games have a house advantage ranging from 2-5%, assuming "perfect play". That means that if you play perfectly, you can expect to lose, on average, about 2-5% of the action you put through a machine. Perfect play for slot machines is simply to bet the maximum amount of coins (the jackpot is skewed heavily in favor of maximum coins). For blackjack you need to memorize what to do for every combination of player hands vs. dealer hands, specific to each set of rules (hit on soft 17, resplitting aces, etc).
Yesterday was not such a good day. I was the grumpiest goose. So I saved you from a negative Nancy post. You should thank me.
But today I want to talk about boredom. #4 in my introductory "Arbitrary Disciplines" post talked about my lack of something to do. Right now - to put it simply - I'm bored as hell. At work, my job is to smile at people and say "Thank you. Please come back!" I clear tables and make sure the restaurant doesn't get overwhelmed. Other than that, I do a lot of standing at the hostess stand, staring blankly out the window, and thinking about various things to add to my to-do lists. I've even been chastised at work for hiding a novel I'm reading under the reservation book when we're having one of our tediously empty days. I feel like I am in fifth grade all over again: In my math class, I was called out not once, but twice for hiding a library book inside my math book. I was bored out of my mind as we went over the same lesson for the third time. This was about the point my mom started putting in applications for me to attend a private school in the area. (Go, Mama!) So, if we're going to take this parallel even further - what is the adult equivalent of applying to and attending a private school?
Some would say grad school, but for now I just see that option as prolonging the inevitable question: how in the world do we fill our lives with purpose and meaning? Also, I don't want to have a Ph.D. in hand and be having the exact same problems I'm having now! Graduate school no longer guarantees a job. Quite the contrary, it often makes you "overqualified" for the entry level positions I'm vying for now. Truth is we are in a shit economy. There are very few jobs and employers know they can have their pick of the litter. So, in the face of essentially no paying gigs, how do we manage? How do we create a fulfilling life with purpose, creativity, and community?
Answer is: I'm not quite sure.
If I knew, I'd be doing it. Promise. But I'll start by sharing what I'm doing right: My life outside of work is actually pretty full. I do yoga, take banjo lessons, play on an adult volleyball league, write this blog, and volunteer on a farm. The glaring problem seems to be that I can't find work that pays and also sustains me. I've been told over and over again that I should be basking in this directionlessness. This is the only time in my life I won't be tied down! "Oh, to have a slow life again," they all lament. While I do understand the sentiment, a deep boredom clouds one's life. Anyone who has ever felt undervalued or downright useless at their job understands.