Monday, 30 July 2012

Going pro: YIIIIIKESSS!!!!!

So I guess now’s the time I’ve chosen to label myself a professional poker player. It’s taken a while to get here, but I’m pleased I’m finally in the situation where I can dedicate my time to playing full time hours from here on.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m “MikeyMcD45” on Pokerstars. I’m 23 years old and from Glasgow. Having played part-time for a couple of years, the idea of making the jump to full time was something always on my mind. Aside from having no appealing options elsewhere and a degree that looked good if you spat on it (no offence to those who have the same degree/classification as me), I kept replaying the same questions over and over: Can I be a professional poker player?, is it realistic?, what are other pro’s out there doing I’m not?, and probably most importantly, it this the best career choice for me? It all seemed a little bit silly, unrealistic and fantasy like. But then again, the romantic tag “professional poker player” is one that is definitely misleading.

Playing long hours it can be a grind, and being able to deal with swings and maintain your A game through them can be very tough. A lot of people also need to know when their next paycheck is coming and that’s just not something you can count on as a poker pro. Coping with variance and maintaining motivation, especially through long losing/break-even periods definitely don’t come easy, but as a pro it’s your job to remain unfazed and keep confidence during these periods. Being your own boss it’s also incredibly easy to slack from work and not put the right hours in. I also think that with the current state of the games and industry after "Black Friday", playing poker is now definitely a case of working harder for lesser rewards. I’ll try and keep this post fairly positive though and not dwell on the downsides, but it’s important to recognise they are there. I’ll revisit concepts such as swings, variance, state of the games and the mental aspect in greater depths in future posts.

Incidentally, the above is one of the reasons I am creating a blog. During tough spells, I hope to reflect back on blog posts and be able to view the whole picture than get too down and caught up on short term loss. 

So, my reasons for creating the blog:

  • To document progress/track goals
  • Assure I'm putting the necessary work in upon monthly reviews
  • Keeping a straight head during the tough times/negative variance
  • Share interesting hands I've analysed

So, what are my goals?

It’s a fairly strange time to announce pro, but I needed my circumstances to be right. My goals for the remaining parts of the year are:
  • Focus on 6max SNGs on Stars (primarily turbo's)
  • Focus on buy-ins ranging from $30 to $100
  • Play at least 30 hours of poker a week
  • Log in at least 1000 games per month
  • Spend a couple of hours a week working on my game
  • Steadily increase the number of tables I'm able to play at once
  • Run at least 15 miles a week

Evaluation of goals

6max SNGs are what I have always played, and it’s the niche I aim to specialise in. I have played other formats but none anywhere near as extensive as 6max and it’s where my experience lies. Table selecting above the $100 level is something I aim to do in future whilst remaining risk-averse, but only when the right bankroll is there. There will be times I may not manage 30 hours a week, but there will also be times I hopefully manage to play a lot more than this, so this is certainly the average I’m aiming for to begin with, and the bare minimum at that. With the number of tables I usually average in an hour and the number of hours I’m aiming for, this should see me be able to play a fair bit more than 1k, but this is definitely the minimum to aim for and any less really isn’t acceptable. Creating the blog will allow me to see how I’m meeting these targets, how I manage/improve over time and what areas I’m falling short in, so this can only be a good thing for me in the long run. Exercising good is important too, especially when so much of your time is spent just sitting on a chair so a proper and consistent routine should allow me to exercise well and meet my volume requirements too. Like most sane players IMO, I hope to achieve a healthy balance of work and play – I think I would be pretty miserable just playing 24/7 and not enjoying life outside of poker. A lot of sick dedicated players are able to really annihilate volume and full respect to them, but I feel like many aren’t getting the most of some of the advantages being a poker pro offers. There’s more to life than clicking a mouse and pressing buttons on a keyboard all day long.

What can you expect out of my blog?

As I’ve said above, this should allow me to document my own progress and keep a track of goals, as well as give me time to reflect off the tables. I’ll use it as a part-strategy blog as well and post the occasional hand analysis – alike to md261/pezrez’ and bigstealer’s blogs. I may even make some live sweat videos and upload them in future too, so stay tuned for that!

I will have running monthly updates of hours, no of games and profits.

For now, I think I’ve said all I wanted to. Wrapping up some off the table work in the meantime so first session will be logged in on the 1st of August. Wish me luck!