Thursday, 1 December 2011

End of an era - new beginnings

Around 18 months ago, I thought I was taking my poker to a new level when I joined up with BankrollSupply, and became a "Sponsored Pro", or semi-pro in my case. To be bankrolled to play poker, and to be able to play with zero risk, was liberating, but came with it's own different pressures - playing with someone else's money took some getting used to.

During that 18 months, I have strived to improve my STT game, have developed a decent understanding of ICM and of the general push/fold strategy and assocated range parameters, but for whatever reason, have never managed to sustain any decent level of profitablity in STTs.

The lack of sustained profits, and therefore lack of payback, meant I was spending hours upon hours upon hours playing a pretty boring format for no return, and justifying that to Katharine became harder and harder. I'm a career person with a good job and a reasonable career future, however with a massive mortgage and other debts, the concept of earning a bit on the side through poker is always attractive as it's the only way we can afford those little extras (like holidays, new car, renovations around the house, etc) - hence I am always prepared to put the effort into my poker game to try and improve the reward. However, despite playing with zero risk on my BRS accounts, I just couldn't seem to make it pay.

Early in November, I measured a run of ~500 STTs where my actul chip return at the point of a hand being All In (pre river) was around 10% of chip EV - this was just about the worst bad run I have ever experienced, and it was painful to say the least. So much so that I decided to take a break for the rest of November and just play my own accounts.

During that time playing on my own dollar, I finished 7th of 5325 in the Pokerstars Sunday $200k for $6000, won two small MTTs on 888 for around $2000, had some fun splashing around the .25/.50 PLO cash tables for a small profit, won satellites for seats at the DTD Grand Prix, and Genting Poker Series, and won the Midland Poker Forum league for a seat at the DTD Deepstack - over £800 worth of tourney seats for total outlay of £7.

Away from the daily STT grind, poker has become fun again. I know it won't always be that hot, and I will have the downturns to offset the good months, and that this will be at my own risk, however I actually feel like I can play my own game under my own steam, without the added pressure of having to achieve certain rake volumes, and can actually enjoy the game for what it is again.

I appreciate the chance Paul Jackson gave me, and for sticking with me for so long given that I wasn't delivering any signficant return other than rake paid. I also value the mentoring received in the last month or so from Dan Morgan - the guy has an incredible mind for the maths of poker.

I would love to be able to play poker full time, but sadly the mortgage and debt profile means my job and career are exclusively vital to me. So, back to the search for the one big Sunday night success... pay off the mortgage in one go, and then re-evaulate.

Off to Manchester for the APAT UK Open on Saturday, and going full of confidence and in decent form.... can't wait.

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