Monday, 23 January 2017

I've Quit Poker

I have decided to call it a day.

Its a gonna be a long one, scroll to bottom for TL;DR!

THE ULTIMATUM


I have been playing spins for close to 2 years now, and poker "full time" for about 5.

There's nothing more frustrating then hanging up the towel since I believe that I'm at my peak of ability in playing the game. We can all obsess over our theoretical expected value numbers known as "chip ev", but at some point reality kicked in and I just cant do this anymore... I'm just not making enough money.

The P-YAN Ultimatum!

I had worked hard with the legendary Abarone68 in Spins, and he took a chance to back me. But after playing these games for nearly 2 years and getting paid less than minimum wage, an ultimatum had to be set. I told him in October that I wanted to make $500 per month [after splits] to make this worth my while.

Whilst I hear all you poker buddies instantaneously all shout at me that making monetary goals is the worst thing you can do, in this situation I think it was a valid target set as it was a chance to push myself and see what I was made of. This also allowed me to see whether there was potential in my ability to get some consistent results, and therefore have an outcome of which I could survive by.

Another reason and probably the most important one of all, was to set the idea of a yes/no to this question of whether I should continue pursuing this tougher career choice. If I achieved this goal, lets continue, if not, its time to hang it up. No in betweens if, buts and oh, you almost made it! Achieve it, or not, lets settle this once and for all.

The biggest change I did in October was deciding to move away from a limping strategy heads up, and go back to the "standard" min raising strategy from the button. I think overall I ended up making too many mistakes compared to the advantages it gave me playing this style. However all isn't lost with learning limping, it allowed me to understand quite a few things especially at how effective it can be playing vs aggressive players.


OCTOBER - POLE POSITION


To get the challenge going I planned to drop to $7s and get back to $15s asap. But the $500 was totally achievable in $7s which meant it didn't give me a ton of pressure to achieve my goal.

one of the biggest advantages to playing this strategy was that you would get a good chunk of recreational that would endlessly fold their stack away waiting for that top 30% starting hand. It seemed that I caught a huge bunch of these players in October, including in the 100x I had hit and won.



This was my 5th top tier Spin (100x, 200x, and the I'm fucking outta here I retire instantly [10,000x] spin!). My first 200x was a complete shambles, played terrible. The 2nd one was heartbreaking as my A9 lost to A3 with equal stacks. The 3rd I hero called an overshove but he had it (agreed with my coach that it was a fine call), and the fourth having no chance whatsoever.

It was like I was trained for this spin, every other scenario had already happened. All I can do is get it in good, and hope to win... but don't expect to as I have learned in my harsh 2nd top tier spin. It was quite crazy as another reg had also got in the spin that I played against earlier in the day.

He had rejammed on me with quite a crazy bluff which sucked out on heads up, but I pulled it back and won that other spin. So in this Spin I managed to return the favour by bluffing him off a hand. That being said, his call in a 100x was a lot harder then in a 2x spin, but I'm glad I had the bottle to do it, as I knew I shrinked up in my first two top tier spins.

Amazingly not only did my hands hold up, but I absolutely destroyed my opponents and it was over in the blink of an eye comparatively to my other ones.

Note that with these graphs that vs Regs stats don't work since Pokerstars finally managed to stop the tracking ability of spinlyzer. These stats were from my own hand histories I uploaded to the site.



Great start. Hopefully this continues. And it did. 80 Chip EV, $1200 month. Check mark.


NOVEMBER - CRUSHED DREAMS


As planned I wanted to jump straight back into the $15s asap. And so I did. And so it killed me in the quickest time possible, I was back playing the 7s after 5 sessions later.

There's nothing worse to describe when things aren't going well losing money so quick when it took you days of hard work the month before to earn. You get bluff caught continuously, run into bigger hands, your AA/KK keep losing in vital spots. There's nothing you can do but just keep playing and hope that your stock market crash of a line will recover soon.

My 3 sessions shot at 15s, spat and kicked out before I could blink...

Playing Spins is so fucked up sometimes. This is because you can get as high as a 40% winrate in these but could still end up losing money because you lose all your multipliers. This has happened to me quite a few times and its really disheartening. Losing is so easy and making money is so tough. You basically have to run decent in the games, as well as run decent in getting those bigger multipliers to turn up! The ones who crush the games "survive" their multiplier droughts and then crush when they eventually show up.

One thing playing 3 handed does to you is improve your game tenfold (assuming you have some good support of course). This is because you are forced to play so many more hands, especially in uncomfortable situations, you end up learning tons from it. It kinda has a similarity to grinding the heads up games, the edge is tiny but the learning experience is so valuable.

I kinda went from being a 9 mans sit and go push/fold chart player with no clue post flop, to being a fearless post flop player that is able to adapt and target my opponent's specific range of hands.

November ended up being a killer for me. Not just coz of the loss, but to my confidence of achieving the goal set out. October was like seeing it as a possibility, November was the door closing...




In saying that a poker player would point out to me that 40 chip ev per game was pretty decent, and that it was just an unlucky month.


DECEMBER - OVA...


At this point I was quite demoralized at the way it turned. October was $600 after splits, and negative $600 for November. It was quite confusing actually because I didn't think about what happened to the split if I had a negative month. In the end I decided I would make a theoretical split for the loss too even though that's not what happens in a staking agreement. So that made it October making $600, November -$300, meaning November would need $1200 to make it, $2400 after splits. Its not really gonna happen esp at $7 stake however good you are. But for the sake of completing the challenge I'd continue anyways.

I've heard amazing things about December being the month of a great recreational player pool, especially in the last week during the Christmas period.



It came and gone, and it didn't seem to be the case. In fact I ended up seeing more regs from the $15s to $7s which surprised me. I even noticed a 50 chip ev reg from $15s that I know had come 3rd in a $150k spin for $15k dropping to 7s as well!



Actually made chip ev money big blind heads up! Progress!

Amaya really dropped the ball with their promotions this year. Especially in crucial times like the last week of December. It was also confirmed that DNegs "God Promotion" that he said was the positive to offloading all the bad changes that happened, was actually cancelled in the end. You went out on a limb to be the middle man, playing devil's advocate and well, the devil got cancelled in the end, only ending up taking your reputation for being the poker community's "man" with it. Just say your in it for the money DNegs, we'd respect you more for it now...

OVERALL FINAL NUMBERS


Maybe some big leaks early game, as it seemed that line was never on top when it should be?





WHATS NEXT?


In playing poker, like a lot of people, we like the freedom and the money of course. But my idea was always to do this to use the money to pursue whatever I decided that I wanted to do, without signing into the borrowing culture. As my past had taught me, things can really get out of control. My winnings had let me do a ton of travelling to visit friends that I had made in London during my uni days. These internationals who say "Come visit me sometime", meaning it, but realistically not expecting that to happen that much. But I made it happen, visiting friends in Perth, Los Angeles, Seoul (3 times!), Bangkok, and my motherland Hong Kong.

I also decided to move to Manchester simply because I thought it was a cool place to live. And it was. But when times got tough I moved back home and tried to keep the poker going. The longer this struggle happened my openness to exploring the things I wanted to do lost its way and I soon forgot why this was the reason I wanted to play, on top of the fact that I loved the game as well.

When I was a kid in school I remember making some games, some cards others with dice kinda like D & D and play them with my friends at break time. This creativity was certainly something in my blood but finding its way was difficult. I ended up studying Interactive Design at university, but struggled to implement these ideas into reality.

Now with YouTube and other sources exploding with tons of learning material, I'm interested in pursuing to learn coding and programming. Computer games? Possibly. But could be software, could be VR type stuff. Who knows? I just want to explore and see where this leads me. I could make a fully customisable Hold Em Manager that isn't a joke that is unable to show your daily stats and list them over a month! I could program the software for the next poker site?

I had been playing Spins for 2 years, without making much money and I know that the experience has taught me that I'm able to commit to whatever I want to do fully. This is almost proof that I know I'm happy to work hard at something as long as my heart is in it.

Whats next? Job and learn coding on the side...


THE P. LOG();


From now on, this blog will move its focus away from Poker and include things that I find interesting, probably mostly with coding. I have found great inspiration from a NYU lecturer who teaches coding but in an animated inspiring way and puts it up on YouTube.

I'm renaming it P.[DOT]LOG from this day forth. I'm sure a lot of you poker dudes out there who read my blog are disappointed, but this blog has always been about what I want to share, and I will never do things based on targeting an audience.

My final words for poker is thanks to everyone who's helped me. I've privileged to have been coached by two of my fave SNG smashers (who both went to the same high school) Abarone and Glitlr ("Poker RIP"). I have no excuses, I've had excellent coaches, a crap ton of sessions, but it just seems I am just not good enough.

28 Sessions w/Abarone who taught me so much!

In this day and age, the cream rises to the top... and the group of guys that can survive below them grow smaller and smaller. I am quitting full time, but in my mind I've learned a skill for life, and I will never stop playing completely as I have the confidence that I am still better then a ton of players, so this is nice to still have in my back pocket.

TL;DR - Puyan isn't making enough money. Gives himself 3 months to make $1500 and fails, so quits.

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