Grinding for the endgame

    • rjacobs003
      rjacobs003
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.01.2008 Posts: 45
      Hi. My names Richard and I've been a member of this site for a while but haven't been much more than a lurker over the past couple of years. Recently I started re-evaluating my reasons for playing poker and at 33 years old I also started considering what the next steps were from a work-life perspective for me.

      I currently live in Cape Town, South Africa and have a wife and 3 young children. I've got a fairly well-paying Job but its one of those that leave you feeling like a complete wreck by the end of the year - probably hence the timing of these thoughts around next steps in my mind.

      I've always enjoyed playing poker but my goals have tended to reside somewhere in the vague stratosphere of - one day I'll make enough money to pay off all the debt, have the kids education paid for and be financially independent enough to take the plunge. Truth is at the stage of my life, thats going to be a very difficult achievement with me moving up salary-wise, having a family, building a home and a lifestyle, etc, etc.

      At the same time purely by coincidence I was looking at retirement funding. Its something I've sadly neglected in the past and I felt that now was an opportune time to re-open that aspect of financial planning. The options are to go big in the Job's Provident fund or to just get a financial advisor and pump my monthly contributions into some kind of investment vehicle. Neither option fully appealed to me so I decided to start developing a hybrid approach by developing my own balanced portfolio. It was whilst evaluating the balance of my portfolio from a risk perspective when I started considering the heretical option of including my bankroll and poker play as part of my retirement funding portfolio. And yes it does sound pretty grim - gambling with retirement money - but I considered it from a purely financial and business perspective. The whole idea is to achieve a return on investment and to then have the compounding effect leveraging your investment portfolio into one which can sustain you post-retirement. So why not include poker play as an alternative investment solution.

      My model is still fairly simplistic at this stage with broad risk categorisations of high, medium and low. I will aim to better sophisticate this over time but its a good starting point. I've also done an initial allocation of the various investment alternatives into those 3 buckets:

      Low risk: Money market, bank accounts, cash and fixed term deposits
      Medium risk: Portion of provident fund, portion of equity investments (blue chips, index trackers)
      High risk:Poker bankroll, portion of equity investments (non blue-chip shares)

      Also, given that a large portion of my bankroll is $ denominated, I also achieve an element of currency diversification versus the South African Rand (ZAR). Again I'll sophisticate this element more over time.

      So that brings us to where I am at the moment. I've laid out some capital diversified into these areas with a current split of 20% high risk, 30% medium risk and 50% low risk - a bit conservative given where I am in life at the moment but its a good starting point is my thinking. I'll obviously have to re-balance periodically as things move out of kilter from those ratios but the overall aim remains to grow the entire portfolio by hook or by crook to ultimately provide retirement funding for myself and my family.

      So its a bit of a different flavour to the whole "I want to go pro" philosophy but its a very exciting thing for me because I think its gives me a sense that I'm giving direct feedback into and really driving my own financial planning and performance. I sometimes think the idea of handing this responsibility over completely to a stranger (no matter how qualified) can be as soul-destroying as contemplating the thought of working 9-5 in an office behind a desk for someone else for the rest of my productive. life. And that sure as hell isn't going to be the way this game plays out.

      So this will be where I chronicle the trials and tribulations of my road towards grinding for the end-game.... wish me luck
  • 26 replies
    • xfar
      xfar
      Global
      Joined: 16.06.2009 Posts: 104
      Probably dumb question to ask, though what limits and type of game you're aiming for and considering that you are a good player(as far as I can say from your pokerstrategy rank) if the medium risk is considered or even a hybrid between mid-high it would be profitable and not that risky as you showed.
    • rjacobs003
      rjacobs003
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.01.2008 Posts: 45
      Hey xfar. At the moment I'm mainly playing NL100 short-handed and $30 SNG's and up to $22 MTT to break the grind (primarily cash though). From a risk perspective I'm fairly conservative so I hesitate to classify anything poker-related as lower than high risk. That might change in the future but I think that's the right call for now. On the developmental front, I've got plenty of leaks and there's not a day goes by that I don't make some or the other technical mistake - which I try and pick up during session post-mortems and aim to correct. By far my biggest leak has been on the tilt front though so its an area I'm really focusing on constantly at the moment. So in the overall spectrum of things, even if there is scope for poker to be classed as anything less than high risk, I'm definitely not in that half of the court yet! :rolleyes:
    • rjacobs003
      rjacobs003
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.01.2008 Posts: 45
      So another Xmas under the belt. This one felt really fast for some reason and suddenly we're on the home straight for the year and thoughts on finalising the goals and ambitions for 2011 are suddenly bubbling up again.

      In between the chicken. gammon, lamb and whiskey (traditional Cape Town Xmas ftw) I've continued with the mix of my games and investments, re-balancing and tweaking to find the optimal balance between financial sustainability, risk and ....fun. I figure if I'm not enjoying the thing, its never going to be sustainable and ultimately profitable over the longer term.

      In any case, I've now introduced a small sport betting component to my high risk portfolio which still constitutes 20% of my total holding. Sadly it wasn't a good start on that front yesterday as I dropped $160 on Fulham to bet West ham at what I thought was a decent 1.97-1. Today I've taken the cop out option for Arsenal vs Chelsea - punting $60 on a draw at 3.4-1. At this rate this may be a short lived sports betting career!!!

      With most of the world markets closed over the Xmas period, there's been little to report back on with regards to that aspect of the portfolio. I've also not played much on the poker front although I have eked out another 200 bb on Full Tilt at NL100 which has solidified my bankroll.

      At this stage, I'm also looking to bring in around $100 per week from rakeback which from my rough calcs means I need to do be doing around 30k hands in volumes monthly. This obviously excludes any other cash bonuses, etc which I will get once I hit blackcard status as well as from ironman, other promos, etc. all in all my thinking is around $7k in rakeback, bonuses, etc is a good target for 2011. Difficult to estimate win-rates off the bat but working on 2bb/100 over 360k hands I'm also setting myself a target of another $7k from game play. Tournaments are very difficult to estimate for me as I don't play them primarily but in order to keep things as round numbers I'm going to add another $1k on that front and have a 2011 poker target of $15k from online play. On the live front, I reckon about ZAR200 is a sustainable hourly win-rate between tournaments and cash and I'd estimate being able to put in around 20-25 hours per month. So I'm aiming for around ZAR50k ($7.5k) for the year . So the 2011 poker target is about $22.5k (ZAR150k) which is a stiff ask but I feel confident enough to go with this as a good challenge as a serious part-time player. Be interested to get some views on these numbers though....
    • rjacobs003
      rjacobs003
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.01.2008 Posts: 45
      As the wind gusts away merrily on what would have been another scorcher here in Cape Town, my sports roll continues to take damage and the run-good continues on the cash game front.

      Ran up another 350bb yesterday at NL100 mainly on the back of some decent cards getting paid off. Difficult to go wrong with set, set and overpair, overpair (all-in pre or on the flop) - those being my 4 biggest won hands for the day.

      Then there was this one as well: I actually think I should be able to fold this river against an unknown opponent but would be interested to hear any other thoughts.

      No-Limit Hold'em, $1.00 BB (6 handed) - Hold'em Manager Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

      SB ($80)
      BB ($115.30)
      Hero (UTG) ($158.15)
      MP ($189)
      CO ($166.10)
      Button ($121.45)

      Preflop: Hero is UTG with J, A
      Hero bets $4, MP calls $4, 1 fold, Button calls $4, 1 fold, BB calls $3

      Flop: ($16.50) J, 2, 7 (4 players)
      BB checks, Hero bets $12, MP calls $12, 2 folds

      Turn: ($40.50) 9 (2 players)
      Hero bets $25, MP calls $25

      River: ($90.50) 10 (2 players)
      Hero checks, MP bets $70, Hero calls $70

      Total pot: $230.50


      On the SNG front I was 1 cash out of 3 with 1 bad beat and 1 spewy overplay doing me in the other 2. Only played 8 of these this month so far and even though its super-early days, running at an ROI of more than 40% is an awesome way to ease into a new level.

      Undoubtedly running pretty hot at the moment and the challenge for me is always to make sure that this doesn't affect the way I play or that an abrupt end to form doesn't disrupt my positive approach.
    • rjacobs003
      rjacobs003
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.01.2008 Posts: 45
      Having a great run on most fronts as the year-ends. Quick summary of the various bits and pieces:

      SNG $50: 4/4 cashes - 2 x 2nd, 2 x 3rd netting $230. Disappointed not to convert a win or 2 but I played well and got my money in ahead in most spots. This would be great form to maintain over larger samples.

      NL100: No news! Haven't played at all since my last post. Need to up the work-rate in the new year but more on that later.

      Sports betting: Took the money and ran! Too much temptation to chase losses at the casino games and so after a horrendous football punting session and a compensating run at the online slots, took my $200 net profit and rebalanced my portfolio of investments shunting some money into savings and some into buying a index-linked JSE share (SATRIX-RAFI) - so some more medium and low risk exposure.

      Live: Played 3 tournaments netting a loss of ZAR 400 ($60) with 1/3 cashes but then ran well in he side cash game last night ultimately booking ZAR 3.6k ($550) after plugging away with some heavy-weight gamblers for a large chunk of the night. Its an interesting game which starts out at NL 2000 (about $1.50/$3.00) and escalating into NL 4000 ($3/$6) at 2 am. The game was spectacularly aggressive with $200 pots being the average by the time the flops landed so it was a matter of ducking and keeping patient till the big hands came. I won 3 large pots of note - 2 of which I was combo-drawing and hit (running good has its benefits!) and one in which I just crushed a tilting and aggressive opponent - I limped QQ, he raised, I re raised and he called before jamming on a T-high flop. He almost beat me into the pot with T9o and he missed giving me a $1k pot for my over-pair. Was a bit disappointed as I got tired towards the end of the session and probably gave back about $300 more than I should have on silly draws and romanticised thoughts around non-existent implied odds but still, its always good to book a live win in the records.

      And thats probably my final 2010 update. Next post: 2011 - Goals and Targets...
    • rjacobs003
      rjacobs003
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.01.2008 Posts: 45
      So as promised, the goals and targets for 2011.

      On the goal front:
      - Ensure that a full analysis is done after each session with notes and the like.
      - Do a monthly player analysis for regs I encounter at NL100
      - Achieve Black Card status on FTP
      - Watch all videos on Bluefire poker NL50 through NL200
      - Make a move up to NL 200 by year-end
      - Play in an FTOP's series on FTP
      - Play in satellites into Aussie Millions 2012
      - Become a regular and active contributor to the Pokertstrategy forums
      - Attend at least 4 investment courses over the year
      - Adopt a regular sporting activity/gym
      - Take part in the Cape Town Big Walk 30km in 2011

      On the targets:
      - Generate portfolio growth of $30k broken down as follows:
      Provident fund (uncontrollable) - $3k
      Equity investments - $2k
      Savings - $1k
      Poker - $22k
      Other - $2k
      - On the more detailed poker front:
      Play 360k hands of ring games at a targeted win-rate of 2 bb /100 - $7.5k
      Live play - ZAR 250 per hour over 200 hours - $7.5k
      Rakeback and bonuses - $7k
      - Non financial targets:
      Lose 20 kilograms
      Do the Big Walk in under 5 hours

      Given that I'm working full-time I think these are fairly stiff asks but will be very challenging and I'm hoping that I can deliver come end 2011.

      Happy new and good luck to everyone on their goals for the new year!!
    • jbpatzer
      jbpatzer
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.11.2009 Posts: 6,944
      Just stumbled across your blog. I try to follow anyone who's over 30 and drowning under the weight of children, wives and jobs. I like the way you've included poker in your investment portfolio. That's so rational that I find it hard to believe you tilt as much as you say you do. I'd definitely take the same approach as you if I wasn't such a fish -- maybe by the end of the year.....

      One piece of advice I've been given that seems sensible is to concentrate on just one form of poker. You seem to be playing cash, SnGs and MTTs. I envy you, but do you think you can give your best to all three forms? I can see that you're much more experienced than me, so maybe that's the answer. Anyway, good luck in 2011. I will be following your portfolio.
    • rjacobs003
      rjacobs003
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.01.2008 Posts: 45
      Hi! Glad to see someone's actually wading through my daily meanderings. Yip definitely merit in the thinking around sticking to one form of the game and I would agree with that advice 100%.

      For me on the MTT front I quite frankly don't have the blocks of time available to commit to really specialising on that front. So I make a plan every now and then to play one or two and they tend to be self-sustaining - expecially when combined with SNG's. SNG's are historically more profitable for me but again I'm never going to be in a position to grind out the thousands that seem to be the baseline for determining overall profitability. So I tend to use these as breaks from the daily cash grind where I fully intend to spend the bulk of my time. Also I think the SNG's are good for my live game so they do sort of play a developmental role of sorts.

      But, I'm pretty much not factoring in any target monetary goals from tournaments - if something comes through thats great and a real bonus but they're more intended to fund themselves. I think of it like buying lottery tickets :)
    • jbpatzer
      jbpatzer
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.11.2009 Posts: 6,944
      Originally posted by rjacobs003
      I think of it like buying lottery tickets :)
      This is definitely the way to go for people like us with not much time on our hands.
    • rjacobs003
      rjacobs003
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.01.2008 Posts: 45
      Not quite the start I was looking for as the new year kicks off. On the NL100 front haven't put in any significant volumes and pretty much just eked out a couple of small wins.

      Live play was crap last night. Did well in the tournament after one really poor fold with a straight on a flushed board - hand was late in the rebuy period and would have added 50% to my stack. Found it really difficult to shake it off for some reason - perhaps because as soon as I made the fold I knew it was a bad one. Less difficult, strangely, was my KK getting cracked by QQ leaving me with 8.5k in chips with 1k/2k blind levels. Still I soldiered on, got my money in good a few times and played pretty well to see off the bubble. Then with blinds of 3k/6k and a 60k stack, got my TT jam over a raise called by JT, board ran out JxxJx and thats all she wrote for a 3rd place finish (out of 10).

      Thats the good news. After that I completely cocked up the cash game by being just way too loose, lost patience and pretty much a chunk of cash with that. Even my 2 so-called winning great plays for the night - calling off an aggressive player with BPNK and then bluffing him off a AKQx board with 85o was borne more from tilt than any significant soul-read play. It was almost a relief when I eventually got it in good with him with top pair on the turn, he snapped a naked flush draw and beat me out of a monster pot. Ended up giving back all my tournament winnings and netted around a $250 loss for all this live effort. Key lesson is really around patience - need to develop more in the live game - no need to be silly and make funky plays just because its not online and live is "so soft".

      On other fronts, the investments are holding ground but no significant gains to date. I think the world will start waking up towards next week again so things should start moving.

      Didn't mention earlier but I've diverted a portion of my bankroll into staking - mainly to unlock some value from inactive funds (buy-ins 20-30 tend not to do much unless a downswing is in the offing). My stakee didn't have a great start to the year either unfortunately and I'm currently another $400 in the red on that front.

      So an unmemorable couple of days to 2011 so far and hopefully it can but improve from here.
    • rjacobs003
      rjacobs003
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.01.2008 Posts: 45
      Sheesh its been an absolute scorcher here in the Cape over the past few days. Yesterday was the worst (best) day with temperatures hitting 42 degrees celsius inland - and of course with family in tow, there I was - inland - on FairView Wine Estate. Interesting history to the place having been started by a Lithuanian butcher way back in the day and then been turned into a wine estate. We had a very nice lunch in the local restaurant there before chilling on the grass outside for the rest of the afternoon. Lazy stuff....

      With this being my last few days before the Job starts again on Monday, it seems a more than appropriate way to spend time chilling and swimming - check out Muizenberg beach - 5 minutes from home...



      And so ends my justification for the shocking work-rate on the poker front over the past few days :) Add to that the fact that perhaps for these reasons, I just haven't been playing well at cash play of late - or at least consistently well. Almost all my days start off with losing sessions where I push these non-existent edges, make horrible bluffs and spew away unhappily. I've been saved to a large extent by my 2nd sessions which tend to be damage-control comebacks that pull me back to more or less even for the most part. The result has been that when that inevitable cooler does land...

      No-Limit Hold'em, $1.00 BB (5 handed) - Hold'em Manager Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

      Hero (UTG) ($111.50)
      MP ($203.80)
      Button ($114.15)
      SB ($63.90)
      BB ($103.75)

      Preflop: Hero is UTG with A, A
      Hero bets $4, 1 fold, Button raises $12, 2 folds, Hero raises $33, Button raises $102.15 (All-In), Hero calls $74.50 (All-In)

      Flop: ($224.50) A, J, 3 (2 players, 2 all-in)

      Turn: ($224.50) K (2 players, 2 all-in)

      River: ($224.50) 10 (2 players, 2 all-in)

      Total pot: $224.50

      ...its just so much more painful.

      I do find solace in the fact that my stakee has gone on a heater and has pulled all the way back into the black. Add a decent SNG set where I cashed in 1st and 2nd place out of 4 x $55 games and a general weakening of the ZAR versus the $ and I suppose things could have been much worse overall.

      The interesting psychological aspect of the balanced portfolio is now starting to show itself. The fact that I've diversified is meaning that my overall performance is being driven by so many variables its difficult to feel bad when I don't perform on one front. This hopefully will mean less tilt while reducing the overall risk factor of my strategy.
    • rjacobs003
      rjacobs003
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.01.2008 Posts: 45
      A lot of activity for a non-start pretty much describes whats been happening since my last post. Ok, to be fair, I did get a decent run going at NL100 and after a 500bb windfall, took a stab at NL200 - where the shit just hit the proverbial fan. 2 absolute marathon sessions over the weekend saw me drop 700bb forcing me to drop down again. Did a rough assessment of the good and the bad with regards to the NL200 attempt:

      - Overaggressive - definitely. Tried to ride over opponents - didn't show enough respect and tilt played a role in the inevitable result.
      - Its only numbers - good. At first I was a bit intimidated by the bigger stake but I've ironed that out and have a better handle on bet and pot-sizes.
      - Quitting when down and dropping levels. Bit of a lol but I regard this as a positive. In the past I'd have seen off my 'roll before quitting. Hope?
      - Volumes - finally getting my work-rate up and this will help the rakeback and Iron man quest

      Overall consensus: Poor performance. Need to stick to basics of session discipline and play hands on their merit - forget the results.

      On other poker fronts, had a great run at the live cash game last week after a shoddy tournament showing. Dropped about $250 in the tournament playing too aggressively in the rebuy period and then giving away a healthy chipstack during the freezeout. Overaggression again. These things are a lot about patience and hopefully I can bring that to bear in tonights game. On the cash front though I netted about $750 so it ended as a pretty decent night all-in-all.

      On the staking front, I've introduced another player into the mix and now have a NL50 horse in play as well. Things have been fairly swingy for both my guys although I think their games are pretty strong at the moment and we're probably down about $200 all-in-all. I'm pretty confident they'll start moving in the right direction soon though and have spent some time chatting through lots of hands and situations with them.

      The markets or rather my plug into the markets remain listless. I must really suck cause the JSE is nearly at its record high. Probably up about $100 since my last post but I wish I could get some better momentum going.

      And then had a deep but not really fruitful run in a $42k $26 buyin on FTP last night eventually bowing out 274/4635. No big cash but good to have another deep run.

      Watched Climbing the NL100 Ladder - Bluefire which was pretty decent. really wish I could make more time to watch and work through videos but the Job is starting to bite into the time as well. *sigh*

      And thats it - oh yes, finally started my exercise routine. Got in 3 sessions so far and I've been feeling pretty good. Long road ahead though what with the need to drop 20kg (I'm such a fat bastard - weighed in at 105kg....) Time to get cracking!!!
    • jbpatzer
      jbpatzer
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.11.2009 Posts: 6,944
      Lol. You have all the same faults as me. Not sure whether I find that reassuring or tragic. I hope you're not neglecting the wife and kids with all this stuff going on.
    • rjacobs003
      rjacobs003
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.01.2008 Posts: 45
      Ha ha - never! Thats probably why I don't get any sleep....
    • jbpatzer
      jbpatzer
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.11.2009 Posts: 6,944
      Sleep is that thing that people without children get. I remember it fondly.

      Before I had children, I used to be really fussy: the curtains had to be completely shut, it had to be quiet, then I could sleep. Now, well, I can go to sleep anytime, anyplace, anywhere. In fact, I could just, nod off at my desk right nownaskjsakfzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    • rjacobs003
      rjacobs003
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.01.2008 Posts: 45
      Mind-buggered after a 6 hour NL100 Rush session 4 tabling no breaks.....On the plus side 3k points to Black card status on FTP :P
    • RaWRpewpew
      RaWRpewpew
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.08.2009 Posts: 83
      Fellow south african i see! :f_biggrin:

      GL at the tables!
    • Tim64
      Tim64
      Black
      Joined: 02.11.2008 Posts: 7,401
      Avoiding you on Rush :)

      GL from another 30+
    • jbpatzer
      jbpatzer
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.11.2009 Posts: 6,944
      Originally posted by Tim64
      Avoiding you on Rush :)
      And how are you doing that??
    • 1
    • 2