Wednesday, 1 August 2012


Hey guys!

I feeling like flexing my creative muscle once more today, so I'm going to write this blog discussing my recent life decision to play full time poker. The mixed reaction I've received was obviously expected and well received. From the, "Way to throw your life out the window..." to the, "Man, I can't wait to watch you on TV someday!" it's all been extremely eye opening. Everyone I'm in contact with is looking out for my best interests, and I'm extremely determined to make something epic out of this decision. Be it to prove all my naysayers wrong, to make my corner proud, or just to achieve a level of satisfaction with my game/life. This will work, and I will pound and pound at this until I achieve it.

I've had plenty of discussions with fellow pros that I know both personally and from 2+2 forums. Their main advice throughout all of this was eye opening. Upon review and advice from close mates, I'm going to take a temporary step back to 25NL until I reach 100-120 BI. While my $/hour drops a touch, my winrate improves with the softer tables, and I can feel more comfortable multi-tabling. The key here is to set precise, demanding checkpoints that DON'T DEPEND ON RUNNING GOOD. Goals that I can aim towards this month, that regardless of how things go, I can look back and say I've achieved. I believe this will be healthy for creating stability long term. I also want to share my ideas behind my maths. So here we go...

August Plan of Attack

25NL, 8 table 4 Zoom, 4 Ring
Win rate: 16.38 bb / 100 hands (Based on 26000 hands, probably not enough. Maybe revise.)
Expected win rate: 10 bb / 100 hands (Not that I believe it's this low, but preparing for the (not) worst)
Hands per hour: ~ 1400 hph.

Expected $/hour = (10 * 0.25) * (1400/100) = $35 / hour. (This makes me happy to have left my $14/hour job)

Monthly nut:
Rent - $550
Food - $15/day = $465
Phone - $60
Other - $425 (I can't think of anything else right off the top of my head...)
Total Monthly Nut: $1500 (Told you I was low maintenance. This will go up over time.)

Man hours needed to break even: $1500 / $35 = 42.85 Hours
This is either going to be too easy, or I'm going to run like Stephen Hawking... I plan on putting in 100+

August 2012 Goal Checklist

[ ] - 175,000 hands
[ ] - 7,500 VPP (PlatinumStar)
[ ] - 20 Hours of HHR
[ ] - Taking sufficient shots at 50NL
[ ] - Keep my monthly nut around $1500

Anyway guys, I had a 'trial' day today. I hope to do a lot more tomorrow. As expected, I've been dealing with sorting life out, packing, answering to a lot of questions, synthesizing information and advice... so needless to say, I'm not overly impressed with how today went. I think tomorrow will prove to be a lot better. I can't tell you guys how much I appreciate you all. To quote Philly D, "I love yo faces!"


July '12 - Recap

...too lazy to do a writeup, be back next month.


Thursday, 26 July 2012

Beating The Inner Bad Beat

It dawned on me in the middle of today's grind that haven't written a blog in a while. I've put together a bunch of lazy vlogs, but I haven't had the patience to sit and write lately. My motivation stemmed from taking a step back today and realizing during the last few days, I had been breaking the Cardinal Sin of Poker. Bad Beat spewing. Maybe it's my paranoid mind, but I'm pretty sure all of my friends have deleted me on BBM, unfriended me on Facebook, unfollowed me on Twitter. Total disconnect. (@JayKon17 #shamelessplug) I mean, I'd delete me with the negativity I've been vomiting. A downswing is something I can usually take with a grain of salt - it happens. Cards will fall however they decide to fall, and sometimes there's a run of unlucky rivers that make us shake our head. We reaffirm that if we stay consistent, we will win in the long run. It's the model of any profitable poker player. Of course, it's extremely easy to say this after seven final tables this weekend for $3.2k. Alas, that is not the place I decided to write this bad beat vlog from. I decided, with a heap of free time this week, I would put in a full week of solid professional grinding. Test out my mental endurance, break in my new-found bankroll, and see if I could handle the schedules of my fellow poker playing comrades. I've woke up at 9 am and grinded all the way til sunfall, playing every juicy tournament I could get my hands on. Monday, disaster. Tuesday, disaster. Wednesday, same thing. Train wreck smashing into a catastrophe inside of a clusterf*#k. Picture the worst you could possibly imagine running, perhaps the worst you've ever ran over your career. It gets worse. Much worse. Luck knows know boundaries, takes no prisoners, and has no memory. I've only just begun to figure this out.

Happy July! This can't be a bad beat vlog...
Sometimes there will be long stretches of run-bad that make you shake your head in despair, questioning why you even play poker. You may insist the software is rigged. You might wonder what you did to deserve cooler after cooler. You might lose your cool, and throw your wireless mouse against your desk. You might also feel like an idiot picking it up in seven pieces, hoping it still works. I have the urge to bring up every single two-outer, three-outer, etc. I've encountered the last few days - but what good would that do? (*cough* KK < JJ for starting stacks, all in pre in the $55 was a good one... sorry.) Anyone who has ever played poker knows the 5% seems to get there all too often. Statistical variance can be difficult for any poker player to deal with, but I feel there's more to combating the "Bad Beat Bug" than simply playing through it. It isn't a matter of 'explaining losses' because whether I'm a profitable player is in question - it's not. It's about searching endlessly for a 

Different Outcome = Different Game?
...not so Happy July!
I have friends who have played poker, day in and day out for 4-5 years. They've made thousands of dollars, gone thru 100 buy-in downswings - they've seen it all.  However, what keeps them together as a consummate professional is the end result. The consistent finishes. The positive figures not at the end of a day, a week, or even a month. It is entirely possible for a winning player to go days, weeks, even (God forbid...) months without seeing positive figures. As you can see, there is a definite contrast from the first 200 tournaments I played this month, and the latter 200. I've done about four or five hours of reviewing each of the last 200 tournaments, and I slowly began to realize a horrifying trend. As I lost more and more, my general style became more and more passive-bad. Before, I was comfortable 3 and 4-bet shoving hands like 88, AQo, KQs, etc, and now I was too stunned to realize how much value I was missing in folding them. This review was my first step on turning my month back around. I found myself fishing desperately hoping to hit a flops, putting myself in terribad situations in which my play was not optimal, and blaming a 'suck-out' to excuse my terrible play the entire tournament. This created even more stress, and I even began folding in spots I usually know better. I was shell-shocked of seeing any community cards. All these small holes in my game would have gone unnoticed without a couple hours of review. Review is so so so so so so so so important to progress as a good player. Be weary of sub-optimal plays you may be making in the midst of a downswing. While it is entirely possible you are just 'running bad', there's no such thing as playing the 'perfect tournament'. Always look to improve your game, whether you are winning or losing.

Brand new mouse? Brand new game!
You Suck Out Too
What bugs me most as a semi-professional poker player is hearing the line, "I never get there!" indicating that the card you are looking for literally NEVER hits. I can't even count on 17 octopuses' (octopi?) tentacles how many times I've needed a two-outer and miraculously got there. Am I proud of it? Obviously not. Do I remember it? Obviously not. Does it happen? Heck, yes. In the poker player's mind, we remember the crushing blows, the ridiculous 2-outers to send us packing. We relieve our minds of the times we needed a miracle to survive. When we are bad beat, the brain instantly sends negative chemicals to our body, sending the body into stress. It's all chemistry, bro. When your KK meets AJ preflop, and you see an Ace in the window, or having your AA cracked by AK on a final table bubble, or running KQ into AQ to finish 11th in the Big $11 for $490... *sigh* They happen. They just happen. The fish wouldn't come out and pay you off 9 times out of 10 if they didn't. The fact that in poker, a professional and a rookie can sit down, play poker for hours, and have an unfavourable end result for the pro is why the average person dismisses poker as "purely luck". This is also why we know poker can be extremely profitable for those of us that study the game extensively. But I digress, if you aren't brand new to poker, you've definitely needed a miracle four-flush or runner-runner to stay alive in the past, and you have (probably) hit it somewhere close to the expected amount of times. This logic also applies to your opponent's draws. You aren't perfect, and you can't expect to fold KK in hopes your opponent only shoves with AA.

Give It A Rest!
The absolute worst thing about poker, is it can be unrelenting no matter the situation. When your $5000 bankroll is suddenly down to $4100, one may find this as a source of panic. When poker players panic, they begin to lose control and bad things happen. The difference between that $4100 bankroll becoming $5000 and $2000 is all about how they react to losing.
Too many times I've gone to search for a micro-stakes player I know is on a downswing, and find them in a $320 tournament. Being a non-confrontational guy, I generally ask what they're doing playing a $300+ tourney and the answer is always the same:

"I'm taking a shot, bro!"

In saying this, I'm completely guilty of doing this in the past (and present, but I'm a lot more controlled than I used to be) The worst thing to tell a player going through a downswing is to tell them to take a break altogether. It's difficult, believe me. I know. Accomplishing any type of work outside of poker during a downswing can be difficult without the underlying stress of a downswing coming to surface. I found myself at tennis last night, trying to escape the stress of another losing session. I played poorly, played with a bitter attitude, and it wasn't a fun experience for anybody. The correct way to handle a downswing is to focus on something you can't lose at. Build yourself some confidence back, and you'll find yourself crushing again. My turning point was this morning. I went for a run, did a nice muscular endurance exercise, ate some healthy food, and the returned to the game with a fresh state of mind. I didn't have a great day today, but it was my first positive day this week. I am extremely happy with being able to say that. 

Give yourself a chance to reset, and you'll see great results in due time. You may even have to move down limits (and not up) and work your way back to the top of the poker world. After all, a little bad luck can't keep us down. :-)

PS - GREAT Bankroll Management Article Here:

Friday, 22 June 2012

Vloggity Vlog

...just candid thoughts in good humour. Enjoy, and maybe take something from it?

We'll call it a true 'recap':

Friday, 8 June 2012

Variance BLOWS

Not a legit blog post... just want to show the effects of tilt and variance.

Even in those damn micro stakes.

Monday, 28 May 2012

...And Then?

I used to be a firm believer in karma. I used to believe that the universe would somehow always find a way to balance a negative outcome for a positive one. I used to rationalize everything that happened in life to the equation for the conservation of momentum - energy (everything) cannot be created, only transferred. I grew up with the idea that God would reward me for good deeds, and punish me for my transgressions, however trivial in nature. However, if there's something I can take from the last couple years of my life, it's that life doesn't owe you shit. Not a damn thing. If you do what you've always done, you're going to get what you've always got. Bottom line. Life is nothing but a series of hundreds of billions of dependant probabilities. I say dependant because I feel no two decisions are completely unrelated (The Butterfly Effect). In the same way a coin flip depends on what pocket I took the coin out of, or how I toss it, nothing in your life is purely random. Where you are right now is entirely dependant on every single choice you have made previous to the moment in which you stand.

However, as with all things, time has brought me to a crossroads. Call it a quarter-life mental breakdown, minus the breakdown. 

** In the same way John Mayer will never win the World Series, and Albert Pujols will never write a triple-platinum album, I can never be every single thing I want to be in life. We are all victims to age, as we are also held victim to our own capabilities. I could train for 10 years and I'm 99% sure I still won't be the fastest man on Earth. Our generation is fascinated by seeing 'experts' on YouTube, always accomplishing incredible things. My problem is that I have an extremely obsessive personality. When I see someone do something incredible, my first instinct is to figure out what I can accomplish and replicate the feat. Juggling? Got it. Rubik's Cube? Sure thing. A plethora of chip tricks? ...kind of. Being multi-talented, dexterous and intelligent is a blessing, but what does it accomplish? Yes, I plan on putting out albums someday. I also plan on being a world-renowned poker phenom. But why? While I believe I'm on the right track to doing both, I believe I have quite a way to go. What comes next though? I don't want to live the life of a degenerate poker player, but at the same time I'm willing to commit my life to. My goal is not to live someone else's life, or fulfill someone else's goals. Life, as it should be, is a buffet of "Do-Whatever-The-Fuck-You-Want" and that's how it is meant to be lived, imho. (On a side note, poker is not a game of ego. In fact, it's the opposite. Keep your emotions in check, because when the fish you've been jawing for 20 minutes gets AA, the more emotionally involved you are, the worse and more embarrassing it's going to be.)

Anyways, as par the usual... I'm going to leave this blog post with loose ends. Maybe I'll tie em up someday...

Cheers, Jon.

Ps, 2 more weeks til Lindsay. I'm more than excited.