Looking for the Edge in the Modern World

    • CekamBoju
      CekamBoju
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.12.2013 Posts: 53
      Hey Guys/Girls,

      I have been planning to start my blog since the beginning of January but things kept popping up all over the place in private life so I am a little bit late with this. I am 31year old Serbian and I have decided to give poker a try as primary way of earning a living some time back and I want to use this blog as a way to track my progress and more importantly network with fellow players and be a part of the community.

      Some of you might know my little brother (IvicaIliev77) here on PokerStrategy and might be aware of our life story. We have both left Serbia in the fall of 1999 after the NATO bombing when we were 15 and 16 years old (I went to the US, he went to UK) and have both finished high school and college abroad, only to come back after 5-6 years back home.

      I am an economist by profession and have almost 10 years of work experience working as a marketing exec for Philip Morris (cigarette company making Marlboro's and etc.) and as project manager and NGO exec in creating and implementing EU projects from Bruxelles in Serbia and the Balkans. Some might ask what the hell I am doing in poker in the first place. Poker started as a pure fun thing to do with my roommates in the US, as we played home games for beer money and etc. The game intrigued me a lot from the start and I always have liked games which pose an intellectual challenge (was always good at chess, other type of card games and in GO, Japanese Chess, I was a ranked junior as an 8th grader).

      During my college years and later the first 5-6 years of my career I have played poker mostly for fun as a recreational player, a little bit online a little bit live, mostly MTTs, some cash games. During that period my interest in poker increased so I have started to follow the scene much more, read more about it and try to improve myself a bit in that area. Keep in mind still as a recreational player. The first year I got serious about poker is 2010, where I have put in a significant time and volume into playing, even though I was working a full time job.

      The first format I have played was 6-max cash games which I have mostly played on small networks which where fish pools. By watching a lot of poker videos and reading some articles I have improved significantly and I was a winner on NL50-NL100, bearing in mind a soft competition on the these tiny poker rooms. Profit from poker was never a primary motivator for me since I had a great job (financially) for Serbia and made my living that way, so whatever came from poker was an extra, and I think that helped me a lot to improve and create a positive attitude about poker since I had very little pressure.

      I have switched to MTTs for a short period of time after that mostly on PS and 888, since I wanted to change a little and learn a little bit more about different formats. By now beside working a full time job I was grinding a few hours a day whenever I could, and also hit live cash games once or twice a week. MTTs I had moderate success and never liked them online as a preferred format (compared to live MTTs which are fun to me and a great way to make a break from the chair and the monitor).

      In 2013, I have decided to play HUSNGs exclusively and to try to move to poker as a full time source of income. My job has been wearing me down terribly. Being a 9 to 5 slave for a good salary looks always like a good thing when you are really young and want to become financially independent, but over time just wears you down especially if you have a mental make up that I do which needs a certain room for creativity and personal freedom. I am thankful to my old job that I was able to do some things such as buy my own apartment (where me and my brother live now), pay for my brothers tuition at Berklee College of Music so he can graduate, travel a lot, help out my brother with money and everything until he could stand on his two feet financially in poker and life. Without my old job this wouldn't have been possible. On the other hand my job has took away sooo much from me personally, pretty much destroyed my social life (since 9 to 5 is a myth, it's more 12 hour working days, working weekends, 100+ travel days for work a year) that I started to hate my file. That's when I decided to make it better.

      I played HUSNG hypers on PS on my own, started from 1.5$ and watching videos from HUSNG.com and other sources and reading articles. I was a winner on 15$ limits in 3-4 months and doing quite well. During that time I was also wrapping up my final months at the old job. I have decided to work with Gerovit to on HUSNG and we made a deal to play on iPoker HUSNG Turbos and he has helped me a lot to improve as well in this format.

      I had motivation problems towards the end of 2013 and for a few months have played very little even though I was doing well and was looking for a new challenge. After speaking Pedja (my brother's real name) we made a deal to create our own poker office, as a place we will use for playing, working on our game and motivating each other to succeed. We have a small two bedroom flat now which is our poker office, where 3 of us are spending our grinding hours every day (the third one is Pedja's best friend).

      Basically the deal is the following. To learn about 6max SNGs and try to crush and move up the limits, with the focus on improving the game, poker knowledge and mental game and profit a distant second goal at the moment. I will be spending at least 6 hours a day on poker (2 hours studying and 4 hours of playing), at least 6 days a week and Pedja will be helping me out with coaching, homework, sweat sessions and etc. We started from the bottom on purpose in order to get the material down quickly and less costly, so currently I am playing 1.5$ 6max SNGs and I have played about 1.3k SNGs in 2-3 weeks and crushing with more than 6% RoI despite running bellow EV quite a lot. Looking forward to move up quickly to 3.5$ in the coming days.

      So far the experience is great and I am highly motivated to learn and crush and I think that the decision is the right one to open up our poker office. Whether my coach is happy, he will have to say :D :D :D

      In general the expectation of the blog will be to update at least once a week with the graphs, results, observations, material that I am currently using regarding the poker part. On the other hand I will try also to include in some light reading in the blog about personal life, maybe troll IvicaIliev77, Gavron, Gerovit and other dudes a bit :D :D :D

      Some people would notice that both me and IvicaIliev77 must have a gene to talk too much and write walls of text, so therefore I apologize and promise that in the future that will not be a case, unless there is a good reason for it :D

      Thanks for reading and following!
  • 52 replies
    • IvicaIliev77
      IvicaIliev77
      Bronze
      Joined: 31.05.2012 Posts: 4,246
      I have the best brother in the world!!! :heart:

      Super proud that you opened the blog here, there is plenty of great people around here you will see. As far as goals go, I love them and office was perfect choice for all of us(just the fact that you are working every day is long term EV+).

      Lets make this year count and enjoy it !
    • kobeenjo
      kobeenjo
      Basic
      Joined: 11.03.2013 Posts: 16
      Welcome, Zare! Goodl luck with all those plans, it will be nice to follow your progress, and I hope that Ivicailiev77, Gerovit and Gavron are the only ones on your trolling list! :D
    • CekamBoju
      CekamBoju
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.12.2013 Posts: 53
      Originally posted by kobeenjo
      Welcome, Zare! Goodl luck with all those plans, it will be nice to follow your progress, and I hope that Ivicailiev77, Gerovit and Gavron are the only ones on your trolling list! :D
      Hey I can't promise anything regarding the collateral damage of the trolling. If I end up getting you as well, don't get pissed :D Gavron knows what I am talking about :D
    • Gavron23
      Gavron23
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.05.2010 Posts: 2,863
      Just what i needed, another serbian troll...
      Kidding bro, glad you decided to make a blog, insta subscribed to it, and looking forward to the trolling wars (although i think i need to introduce kurrkabin to this blog fast because the Serbia to Bulgaria trolls ratio has become quite bothersome..) :)
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,460
      Welcome CekamBoju,

      It is great to see family work so hard to support and encourage each other. You and your brother can certainly type - but it is nice to see that at least you know about paragraphs... :D

      I'll be following your blog and am absolutely blown away by your progress so far.
    • Lazza61
      Lazza61
      Headadmin
      Headadmin
      Joined: 23.03.2011 Posts: 10,264
      Hey CekamBoju,

      Welcome to PokerStrategy.com and the blogs. :)

      That was quite an impressive first post and it's great that you already have friends (and family here).

      Looking forward to the trolling :tongue:

      Laz
    • husky333
      husky333
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.03.2013 Posts: 1,364
      Hello and welcome. Good luck :s_thumbsup:
    • CekamBoju
      CekamBoju
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.12.2013 Posts: 53
      OK, It's time for the first update. As I have mentioned in my introductory post, I have started playing 1.5$ 6max turbos on PS around December 25th, when we have moved into the new office. These are the results so far.

      http://imageshack.com/a/img812/5853/d9so.jpg

      http://imageshack.com/a/img854/2647/o9jq.jpg

      I am sorry for the links, since I am a basic member I cannot directly post images yet, just links rather. As soon as I get bronze it will be OK.

      As you can see I am doing quite well. It was a little swingy at one point but it's all coming out OK. Percentage wise the rake is quite high on 1.5$ so I am satisfied with ROI (not happy though :D ). Volume is a bit lower than expected for this period (I was hoping for at least 1.5k games) but that's understandable since it was the holiday season and I have taken quite a few days off, and I am still only 6tableing.

      Anyway I am looking forward to having a few sessions with IvicaIliev and try to find the major leaks. I have already identified a few problematic spots by myself so far, since before playing every day I do a 2 hour study/hand review session. Mostly I go through all the hands played the previous day and run them through the filters (3bet hands, PF all ins, 4-6 player PF all-ins, bubble hands, HU). All the hands which I believe are problematic, interesting spots etc. I run through the ICMizer with different scenarios for ranges. While I am doing this I am marking hands for review in the sessions with my coach. This speeds up the learning process significantly for a new format and helps eliminate leaks, as well as identify missed spots etc.

      On the side note, I had mixed weekend on the personal side. The good part of the weekend was we had guests from Bulgaria, guided by none other than Gavron :D It was fun to hang out, party and fuck around. I also promised some juicy trolling so I have to say that during the first night things got pretty hot between Gavron and IlicaIliev77 and at one point my phone captured this:

      http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/546/z73f.jpg

      Quite a steamy photo with a lot of emotions pouring out of Gavron and IvicaIliev77's reaction speaks for itself. I would like to use this opportunity to ask PS community to send best wishes to the new couple. Those late nights grinding together on OnGame must have been to blame for this happy ending.

      Till the next update all the best to you guys.
    • Bugy92
      Bugy92
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 466
      nice evolution...i think that you can easily move to 3,50's soon....i have to ask you: what program do you use to review your game?
      i dont have right now money to buy any program so i was thinking about taking universal replayer and try to review my games played one at a time...but this will take much longer and i wont have any filters...i just have to take one sng at a time and go through the hands and see how i played...do you have a sugestion for a better method to review my own game? i mean using some free program or something like that

      oh yes, i was also thinking about recording my game with a program like camstudio, and then just watch the video and see how i played(but then again one problem, cause when i see a dificile hand in the video, i wont be able to post it in the evaluation section on ps).
    • CekamBoju
      CekamBoju
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.12.2013 Posts: 53
      Originally posted by Bugy92
      nice evolution...i think that you can easily move to 3,50's soon....i have to ask you: what program do you use to review your game?
      i dont have right now money to buy any program so i was thinking about taking universal replayer and try to review my games played one at a time...but this will take much longer and i wont have any filters...i just have to take one sng at a time and go through the hands and see how i played...do you have a sugestion for a better method to review my own game? i mean using some free program or something like that

      oh yes, i was also thinking about recording my game with a program like camstudio, and then just watch the video and see how i played(but then again one problem, cause when i see a dificile hand in the video, i wont be able to post it in the evaluation section on ps).
      I use Holdem Manager 2. I would recommend that you download the trial for either HM2 or PT4, and you can use it for a month. By that time you can get enough money to buy it yourself. Also whenever you buy either of them you get 2 licenses. Ask somebody to split the cost with you, you can each have one.
    • h3llscr3am
      h3llscr3am
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.02.2012 Posts: 33
      Hi there :)

      Why did you go for 6max SNGs?
      Why quit HUSNG?
      Why don't you play cash games?

      Basically you are starting to learn a new format.. why did you choose SNGs over cash games.. I think it's a big decision so you need to think it out carefully. Have you thought about your expected winnings in let's say an year? Have you checked the winning rates(ROI & bb/100)of top sng and cash game players and estimated some hourly you can make in an year? Or do you just prefer SNGs over cash games for some other reason.. I mean how did you make that decision?

      Good Luck
    • CekamBoju
      CekamBoju
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.12.2013 Posts: 53
      Originally posted by h3llscr3am
      Hi there :)

      Why did you go for 6max SNGs?
      Why quit HUSNG?
      Why don't you play cash games?

      Basically you are starting to learn a new format.. why did you choose SNGs over cash games.. I think it's a big decision so you need to think it out carefully. Have you thought about your expected winnings in let's say an year? Have you checked the winning rates(ROI & bb/100)of top sng and cash game players and estimated some hourly you can make in an year? Or do you just prefer SNGs over cash games for some other reason.. I mean how did you make that decision?

      Good Luck
      Well the reason why I picked SNGs is quite simple, I have available free coaching living at my place :D The main motivation I have is not immediate profit but to move up limits and improve.

      Cash games I have played mostly on obscure networks and it has been a few years that I have been able to beat NL50-100 on those, so basically if I started with them again I don't think that I will be able to just pick off where I left and would have to climb limits as well. I don't have a distaste for cash games, just it's been a while and I have played mainly SNG format since and at the moment are more comfortable there.

      Regarding why quit HUSNG? I wouldn't say that I have quit them long term or anything like that. If you read the first post, I had a motivation problem after playing so many hypers and then switching to turbos that it became quite repetitive and at the same time personally I was not all ok in that period and decided to stop them for a while, with a plan to come back to them some time since I was doing well. Basically 6max SNG is a new challenge to me and a chance to be able to learn something new and get the motivation back.

      Regarding how much you can make in different formats, of course I have researched, actually we do it all the time. We even did it today, since my brother is planning to move from 6max turbos in the future to 6max zoom. There are always pros and cons in all formats of poker, in the end where you find most motivation to learn, improve and play, should be the format that you can play.

      Once again, this doesn't mean that I will not be playing something else in a year or etc. This is the challenge now and I will try my best to beat it. Can't promise where I'll be mentally in a year or so.
    • TJtheTJ
      TJtheTJ
      Silver
      Joined: 12.10.2011 Posts: 6,582
      With such a crusher of a brother, I'm sure you'll be climbing the stakes in no time! Looking forward to seeing your progress :)
    • CekamBoju
      CekamBoju
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.12.2013 Posts: 53
      Originally posted by TinoLaan
      With such a crusher of a brother, I'm sure you'll be climbing the stakes in no time! Looking forward to seeing your progress :)
      Well yeah basically it's a blackmail situation :D If he refused to coach, he would've been out on the street :D :D :D
    • TJtheTJ
      TJtheTJ
      Silver
      Joined: 12.10.2011 Posts: 6,582
      :f_biggrin:

      Well that's what brothers do for eachother right? :coolface:
    • CekamBoju
      CekamBoju
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.12.2013 Posts: 53
      Woke up at 6:30AM today and couldn't sleep any more. I decided to make it a super productive day and try to put in some extra volume and studying.

      Just finished my hand review from yesterdays session and about to review some bubble ranges in different stack setups before the first session of the day.
    • Bugy92
      Bugy92
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 466
      please dont take me wrong, it is your blog and you post when and whatever you want...but i think you should post some graphic with youf progression...if not daily, at least a couple of days....because there are people(like me, for example) who follow your blog and maybe wait for some updates and wonder how your progress goes.

      just my 2cents
    • TheLandlordUK
      TheLandlordUK
      Bronze
      Joined: 20.05.2013 Posts: 76
      Interesting story. I didn't realize you both left Serbia because of the bombing.
      What was the reason for the different choices of UK and USA?

      Looking forward to watching your progress. How many tables are you playing?
    • CekamBoju
      CekamBoju
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.12.2013 Posts: 53
      Originally posted by Bugy92
      please dont take me wrong, it is your blog and you post when and whatever you want...but i think you should post some graphic with youf progression...if not daily, at least a couple of days....because there are people(like me, for example) who follow your blog and maybe wait for some updates and wonder how your progress goes.

      just my 2cents
      I promised to do it once a week so I will probably put up something tomorrow, and maybe a wrap up for the month with some comments and than talk about what is coming during February.

      I did post graphs in the previous blog update. The links are there, until I get this bronze thing going i will not be able to post direct images, but that should be ok in few days too. As the things progress there will be more interesting stuff to talk about, so there will be more posts.