Thursday, 2 December 2010

Year 1 as a Pro - The Beginning

Cliffnotes prior to this year:

  • Started playing in 2004/2005 recreationally (mainly sngo and mtt) - didn't work on my game or use a HUD but did well enough to keep playing for fun
  • In 2008 I switched to cash, got some coaching, started using a HUD - did well initially but a lack of understanding and some tilt control issues kept me from winning much
  • October 2009 I was hating my job and decided to take the plunge, so quit and decided to try poker for a living
I had a few months of contingency money in case things didn't work out and I needed to find a job, but I was starting out with no track record that I would be able to actually win enough to cover all my expenses. I had enough belief (and hope!) that with the extra time I had for poker that there was no good reason I couldn't do it. I had one clear goal for the year - thats was to prove to myself that I could make a living from player poker full-time. There were a few things in my favour -
  • Its easier to play from the UK in that all winnings are tax free so you don't need to win as much
  • I always found it easy to spend hours in front on the PC playing games, so knew that I could put in the hours and volume required
  • I already had a reasonable understanding of the game and knew I wasn't completely incompetent
Once I'd made the decision to quit my job I got some coaching from jasons0147. We only had a few sessions but they were really useful, especially as I was really motivated to learn. He had some great suggestions and his clear thinking definitely helped refine my thought process at the tables.

Between November and January I played mainly 0.25/0.50 at both Absolute Poker and Full Tilt. I was managing to put in the volume and starting to win a little more consistently, but still not enough to really live on. Being paid in arrears and trying to live a little cheaper meant I could keep going without resorting to using any contingency.

Towards the end of January something magical happened - in fact two things! Full Tilt made changes to the buyin limits to the tables which meant that the games were no longer infested with shortstacking players. Secondly, a number of things clicked into place in my game.. its hard to put my finger on exactly what it was, but able to think/play full-time as well as game select better definitley allowed it to happen as well as the effect of the coaching from jason. I'd also had time to be able to talk with and do some sweats with El Nino 1 and Incognito which were invaluable.

In the early months I was winning at around 2BB/100, but Feb saw me jump to 3.5BB/100 and 5BB/100 in March. I'm not sure what my "true" winrate is, but I've played enough hands since to know that this wasn't just variance and I had definitely turned a corner.