The Way of the Peaceful Grinder

    • makan18
      makan18
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.07.2007 Posts: 68
      Being a professional poker player is a career path, a life path even. The road towards being successful in poker, is not much different than a path to success in other areas of life. You need to gain theoretical knowledge, and most importantly put your knowledge into action every day, ceaselessly trying to do your best. Honestly, the knowledge without application is not worth much.

      I`ve been in the poker industry for 8 years, however I started to treat it as a career path just 3 years ago. Reading Dusty ‘Leatherass’ Schmidt’s ‘Treat Your Poker Like a Business’ has been a major influence on me. After going through it, I realized that in terms of professional approach I’m light years away from the best in the field. I’ve been trying to improve the efficiency of my performance ever since.

      What and who this blog is about.

      Two things I’m obsessed with the most are healthy lifestyle and mind growth. My site will dedicate a fair amount of space for the topics of diet and the broadly-defined mindset development.

      What can you expect? Plenty of citations, be it quotes from the great thinkers of the classicism, or some memorable cinema characters.
      Information about efficiency-enhancing strategies, boosting your emotion control both at the poker table and in everyday life, or an oatmeal with apple mousse recipe ;)

      Moreover, there will be a ton of curious TED presentations, facts regarding investing capital, and the coverage of business training courses which I am planning to participate in.

      Obviously there will be a huge number of poker-related articles as well.

      I specialize in playing 6max NLH cash games on stakes NL200-NL1k

      Scorecard

      The last 3 months was quite pleasant for me. I`ve changed a lot in my strategy and improved my mindset profoundly compared to the first few month of 2015. (the graph is from NL200-NL1k)



      Quo vadis?

      I like to call the place I’m heading to the pinnacle. In my personal dictionary this term symbolizes achieving the maximum of one’s potential. In poker it means being as good as possible, whether in terms of tactical, or mindset capacity. In everyday life it represents the growth in areas which I hold in the highest regard, such as interpersonal relations, physical development and language learning. I strongly feel that life is a never-ending process of self-improvement, and the greatest strength is an ability to consciously experience the present moment.

      Link Text...

      ‘The Journey is what brings us happiness not the destination.’ 'Peaceful warrior'

      Finally, I’d like to thank you, dear reader, for the time spent on reading my reflections. I hope it is just the beginning of a long-term relation, which will prove advantageous for both sides. Our journey starts here and now!

      ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.’ - Lao Tzu
  • 20 replies
    • SDK1987
      SDK1987
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 12.11.2008 Posts: 28,680
      Nice that you started a blog. How is you’re mid stakes adventure going so far this month?

      Cheers,
      SDK1987
    • TetraQuark
      TetraQuark
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.05.2008 Posts: 1,520
      Nice, GL!
    • infraganti
      infraganti
      Platinum
      Joined: 01.10.2014 Posts: 174
      gl :tongue:
    • MJQuads
      MJQuads
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.01.2008 Posts: 374
      Sick graph mate. I'm looking forward to reading about healthy food, your progress and everything else. So definitely subbed and following! GL.

      MJQ.
    • rompas
      rompas
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 12.02.2014 Posts: 2,595
      this could be a intresting blog, do you have any favorites books/ authors when it comes to mind growth?
    • makan18
      makan18
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.07.2007 Posts: 68
      I’m pretty sure that every one of you had to go through periods of emotional burnout. The sense of dissatisfaction with your efficiency, concentration problems, lack of motivation to do your work. While it is not exactly a pleasurable and desirable condition, if it’s approached from the proper angle, such upset mental state may allow us to look back and observe which decisions have driven us to the wall.
      The conclusion of my in-depth analysis is that my will to play and motivation have begun to noticeably suffer around the 2nd half of July (this blog is an attempt to boost it, somewhat). The state I was in had been partially concealed by taking a 2-week-long vacation. I managed to recharge my inner batteries, but in August my A-game already started to appear far more rarely than I had hoped for.

      Work - Life – Balance

      In my opinion, keeping right balance between playing poker and other areas of life is essential, especially if someone considers poker a career path rather than a hobby, or only an additional source of income. In his podcasts, Jared Tendler points out time and time again that the majority of poker players don’t even realize how much mental energy is required to play this game. I’ve experienced it firsthand numerous times, and I recognize now how important it is to routinely take the time off.

      My current work system looks as follows: I take 4-5 days off at the end of each month and then also an 8 to 12-day-long vacation every quarter. In addition to that, I don’t play 2-3 days a week, and I spend that time on improving my mindset, working on the tactical side of the game and also I do all sorts of non-poker activities. The period of complete breakaway from poker is necessary for the mind to recover before the another cycle of regular grind.
      The ultimate goal, however, should be the pursuit of the utmost satisfaction resulting from doing your work day by day. In the end we spend 1/3 of our lives working or thinking about it, which is why we should seek to make this time as enjoyable as possible.

      ` If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable.` Donald Trump

      Keeping it Real

      Another important skill is setting realistic objectives for yourself. In the past, after a particularly good month I sometimes found myself counting all those ‘hundreds-thousands-millions’ of Buy-ins I won, only to overhaul my goals (and dreams () later and deal with frustration during the revision period.
      I acknowledged that wanting too much too soon usually led to discouragement. I failed to see progress, despite the fact that it was happening all along. Instead of taking joy in improving my skills on day-to-day basis, I was blinded by some distant targets and overblown ambition.

      Why?

      I believe this is the question each of us has to ask themselves in the first place. Why exactly do I work in this peculiar field? What is the driving force behind my actions? What are my life expectations or my goals, and how will achieving them eventually affect my life?
      As a person deeply fascinated with the personal growth, I’m familiar with works of the majority of the most influential people in this area of study. I’ve learned a great number of curious patterns and metaphors which definitely enriched my life. The person whose work has had possibly the biggest impact on me was Tony Robbins. When I read his body of work, or above-all watch seminars and presentations, I can see the man who really practices what he preaches.

      ‘I'm the ‘why’ guy. I want to know why you do what you do. What is your motive for action? What is it that drives you in your life today? Not 10 years ago. Are you running the same pattern? Because I believe that the invisible force of internal drive, activated, is the most important thing. I'm here because I believe emotion is the force of life. ‘ T. Robbins

      The picture

      It`s hopefully the last time this year I`m posting my graph. Last month I managed not to check my winnigs for the entire month, and it had a great impact on my mental game.





      To sum it up, if we treat experience in a proper fashion, we might be able to reach conclusions which can allow us to become more efficient at work, and make us feel more fulfilled as human beings in the end.

      ‘It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
      I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.’

      ‘Invictus’ William Ernest Henley
    • makan18
      makan18
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.07.2007 Posts: 68
      Originally posted by rompas
      this could be a intresting blog, do you have any favorites books/ authors when it comes to mind growth?
      I believe I`ve already answered that quetion in my latest post:)
    • makan18
      makan18
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.07.2007 Posts: 68
      November was another month when my volume wasn’t really up to par. Once again I had only 60 hours of play, although I’m still very satisfied with the work I’ve done over that period.
      I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing and working on my game and my mindset. It wasn’t until now that I fully realized how much I needed it. At the beginning of last month I had huge problems with achieving a sufficient level of concentration before the session. Additionally I got a little cold, so physically I wasn’t feeling that great either. I’ve ended up making few stupid decisions, and my session was over before it even began. After the poor start, and losing a couple of BIs due to many types of tilt, I realized that playing in such state doesn’t make any sense. After taking some days off I returned ‘to the battlefield’, with the assumption that I’m gonna focus on working off the tables, and play only when I absolutely feel like doing it. With each consequent analysis the hunger for playing was rising.

      Working on the game theory

      For years, I have been spending very little time evaluating my game. I felt, that the amount of time I can allocate for poker over the year is somewhat limited, so I can’t ‘waste’ it on theory. I’m a type of player who learns a lot during the live play. I try to invent new concepts and statistical correlations, which will enable me to go even deeper into my opponents’ thought process. On the other hand, one of the reasons why I avoided working on my game was that I did not have the certain amount of know-how. Throughout all those years, I`ve developed a game plan that was very profitable, despite the fact that my game had a lot of basic leaks (folding too much vs. 3bets, auto-opening PF against aggressive opponents). By constantly putting away working on the game theory until ‘someday’, I’ve reached the point where my arrears were so overwhelming, that I didn`t really know where to start anymore.

      Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of mindset-related podcasts by Jared Tendler, joined by Martin Jacobson, Max Stainberg and in particular Phil Galfond (2012). It caught my attention that Phil has been using a system of learning similar to mine for a very long time. Every now and then I was mad at myself for not focusing well enough on the mathematics behind it all, not examining my performance with CRev or Flopzilla. Nonetheless, the fact that of the best poker players in the world uses (used to) a system which resembles mine, allowed me to accept that there is no universal method and that creating new conceptions or game plans is just as meaningful as the in-depth analysis of range.
      ‘Actually I’m not somebody that does as much away from the table, sitting down, number crunching, HH reviewing. I do however think about a game at the table maybe more than almost everybody, and then away from the table as I’m finished with the session I just continue to think about the hands I`ve played.’


      Dealing with the downswing

      Over the course of my career I had several periods of DS/BE which lasted more than 2-3 months (the longer was around 200k deals). During those moments there was always a worry that I got left behind, my opponents started to take advantage of my leaks, or I was simply ‘lucky’ and the time came to give away some wins. Apart from the fact that variance was not in my favor, I need to add that the condition of my performance was also quite dreadful, and the lion’s share of $$$ was wasted away by the tilt. If the quality of my decision-making was closer to the optimal level, the adjusted win-rate would have been higher, which would most likely result in shorter DS/BE periods.
      The daily revision of the game allows for building confidence and stability, which rely on quality of the decisions, and not variance. Confidence that depends on the latter can be really tricky. When variance swings our way, we might feel overly-confident and not even realize that the game is in fact sub-optimal. On the other hand, losing may lead to the exaggerated perception of the negative emotions: a huge dip in confidence, discouragement, and the fear of not winning in future.
      ‘When there is a kind of extended downswing, and you are not only obviously losing money, and just losing at the game for such a long time. You worry about the future and, if there is something, maybe you’ve lost something, maybe your opponents are getting better. And you kind of question, whether you gonna be able to win, and be as successful as you were before.’ Phil Galfond
      In the end, the thorough analysis let me reach the conclusion that ‘I know that I know nothing’. I acknowledged that my game is far off from the perfect poker (if such a notion even exists) and there will always be some imperfections. Thanks to that, I know which things I can improve upon, and what my weak points are. With a sufficient amount of work I can take my A-game to a brand new level.

      New Organization

      I’ve also decided to change my timetable and its different variants, which I’ve been using for the last couple of years. In the past I always planned when I play, and when I have my days off. Last year I worked 4 days a week (5 in cases I had no arrangements for Saturday). Possibly it was one of the reasons which contributed to my burnout, as sometimes I felt like a robot. Very often I had days when I completely didn’t want to play and I had to spend like 2-3 hours on concentrating before the session. What’s more, I chose to return to the mode of playing one session a day. What does it entail? I will have to spend more days on reaching the set goals. My main ambition for the next few months is to spend time on poker only when I really want it, and accept that sometimes it’s better to give up on grind and do something entirely different. Of course, I do hope that I will be eager to play more often than not, and that wish goes to all the players out there ;]


      Entertainment

      Adele is one of my favorite singers. Even though her latest album ‘25’ is in my opinion, her weakest, there are few gems on it – below you can find one of them:



      Recently I also saw a film which happened to be on my to-watch list for months. I’m talking about a Polish movie ‘Bogowie’, where Tomasz Kot stars as Doctor Zbigniew Religa. Undoubtedly, it was one of the greatest Polish productions of the last several years, and if Religa’s characterization in the film was anywhere close to the real deal, then he was a truly extraordinary man.
      Another Polish movie I really wish to watch is ‘Pod mocnym aniołem’, however, as it is a movie by Wojciech Smarzowski, I need to prepare my mental state for it.



      Peace out,
      Makan
    • pityumeszi
      pityumeszi
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.05.2012 Posts: 132
      Hey man, let me tell you first, I follow and love your blog. Keep it up. Based on your blog and what you say here I have a felling we are very much similar personality. Although I have been playing poker only for about 2 years now. I am at a threshold right now where I should decide whether or whether not to change on playing full time poker. My goal has been in this two years obviously to get to play full time as soon as it is possible and now it seems that everything is given and I could make it in couple of months.
      On the other hand I can see where online poker goes towards these days.
      It is not that it would make me change my mind, or even what you will say about it would, but still you are much more experienced player with these many years behind you, and you've already been where I am heading right now. Obviously it is not going to die, getting harder and it is not as profitable as it was 5 years ago. My opinion though is that the more intelligent one, harder working one can get as far as much he just wants even these days too and can get much better than players who've been playing for way longer.
      So anyway I can see a bit of similarity between us ( even though it may not be true at all :) ) and this is why I am asking your opinion about it.

      thanks,
    • makan18
      makan18
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.07.2007 Posts: 68
      Originally posted by pityumeszi
      My opinion though is that the more intelligent one, harder working one can get as far as much he just wants even these days too and can get much better than players who've been playing for way longer.
      thanks,
      Yeah it`s definitely like that. Although "the talent" is something both over and underrated IMO. During all those years, I`ve seen a lot of players who where a lot better than me, even considered on of the best out there, until they weren`t able to win anymore. Poker is very dynamic field, I would assume that the peace of change in overall level increased at least twofold, compared to how it was 5 years ago. I`m coaching couple of players at the moment. Experience is my biggest advantage over them, some things that they are struggling with are just natural for me. What I envy them is their hunger for knowladge, and moving up in stakes.
      To sum things up, if You think You can be successful in poker(whatever it means for Yourself), and what is most important, You will take a pleasure out of it on a daily basis, my advice would be - go for it bro !
    • caltabiano
      caltabiano
      Bronze
      Joined: 09.03.2007 Posts: 1,992
      Hey mate, nice blog, sexy graph, and loved the title of the blog, that's what really made me come here and take a look. The journey of the peaceful warrior was definitely one of the 3 life-changing books in my life ("Conversations with God" and the Castañeda books were the other ones).

      Definitely gonna be following this.

      Cheers!
    • pityumeszi
      pityumeszi
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.05.2012 Posts: 132
      thanks for the kind words man ... so I guess I'll see you at the tables :)
    • makan18
      makan18
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.07.2007 Posts: 68
      The end of the year usually is the time for the review and summing things up. Taking into consideration my goals as I saw them before this year started, I should regard 2015 as a failure. However, many events took place which were completely beyond my control and, in turn, these occurrences often resulted in huge lack of concentration, which is why ultimately I believe this year was a success. The results are pretty solid, I improved mindset-wise, despite the fact that my A-game manifested itself fewer times than in 2014 (one of my poker friends thinks otherwise, as he suggests that I’m the most consistent A-game player he’s competing with – thanks for kind words ;]). I played 800 hours, but I estimate that my A-game amounts to max. 30-40% of that time. What’s more, my C to Z-game reared its ugly head way too often. 2 most important lessons I learned this year, or more precisely two things I finally fully accepted are:
      1. The quality is more important than quantity
      2. You can’t always fulfill all of your objectives.


      What the future holds.

      I assume that no one really knows that for certain (apart from the policymakers). There are rumors that Pokerstars is planning to ban HUDs.
      If it wasn’t enough, they also officially intend to remove the possibility of importing games to your HDD.
      When I was starting out my adventure on Party, in the busiest hours there was 25-30 fish tables on average at NL200. Currently, the average is probably around 15 tables at NL200-NL1k. As shown, the decline is enormous.
      As long as PP doesn’t go ahead and remove HH, I will most likely stay on this platform. Additionally, I want to throw in 2-3 additional softwares, in order to increase my volume on stakes 2/4+, and to be able to play the afternoon sessions with a decent number of games. For a while I considered adding NL2k-NL5k, but I rejected the idea in the end, as my mindset is not ready for such move just yet. I was thinking about the bumhunting on NL400+ on all of the biggest soft sites, but I gave up on this notion quite quickly as well. One of my strongest points is the skill of multi-tabling without losing much of the game quality. As a matter of fact my game suffers when there isn’t enough action going on – to keep my concentration on high I require the constant grind.

      Coaching

      2015 was the beginning of my venture into the world of coaching. For years I’ve never contemplated pushing my career into this direction because I thought I wasn’t good enough to teach other people. Furthermore, in a moment of my ego getting the better of me I will quote myself, I felt that ‘the amount of time I can spend on poker throughout the year is limited’. Taking into account that my ‘hourly’ is very decent and my conviction that the pay for coaching should be at least 2-3 times higher, I’ve never thought that it’s a good decision from the business point of view. Until very recently I based my knowledge about coaching on instructional videos. Oftentimes I was trying to grasp whether the author knowingly misleads and fools the listeners, or he’s just wrong about certain conceptions (or maybe, just maybe, he or she is on a higher level of comprehension, which I have not reached yet).

      Most definitely the biggest advantage the coaching offers is the chance to look at your own game from a different angle. In addition, there are times when we’re not absolutely certain about the answer to a given question, what leads us to revising our views about the matter at hand. I believe that the main goal of coaching should be finding the aspects of a player’s game which can be improved upon and nurturing those which may bring the best results. Sometimes a gamer may have very strong tactical backbone, but his approach to poker is detrimental and his results are unsatisfactory because of it. A player with a mental monk kind of mindset who lacks any skills won’t find success, positive thinking is not enough. On the other hand even an adept person, who explodes after every little mistake or bad beat will lose a large part of his winnings. In order to proficient in poker, one needs to work on many levels.
      Over the last few months I entered a partnership with my friend. I suppose I’ll come to regret the decision to undertake this endeavor in a year or so :) Oh well, for now the results seem promising and considering his diligence I believe he can make it big. (brag)

      Before


      After


      After fixing up few leaks and errors in the game approach, the results showed up immediately. In my opinion, when it comes to coaching, it’s the student who should be working the hardest, and try to get the most out of coaching. If someone thinks that taking up 5 hours of coaching will suddenly turn his life around, he’s in for a big disappointment. It is possibly the reason for the popularity of all kinds of personal growth shamans. It leads to situations as shown in the clip below.

      http://joemonster.org/filmy/72481

      I wonder when will the personal trainers appear who would teach ‘the character’ to people?

      Goals for 2016

      What are my objectives for 2016? My goals include playing 1000 hours online and the constant work on my game and the mindset. Also, I would like to participate in at least 1 live event. Year after year it was always a goal which persistently I skipped. In order to treat live games as a paid work, I would have to take part in tournaments like EPT, but thinking carefully, the variance in MTT live is too great, which is why at the current state of my career and the poker economy I’m simply not ready for it. My live results by far also lead me to conclusion that I run way above the EV and the correction is unavoidable :D For now I plan on planning professionally online for another 4 years, and regard live game as a form of work retreat.

      As far as my goals unrelated to poker go, I wish to improve my physical condition the most. The correlation between the body disposition and mental capability is obviously significant. In particular over the last few months I suffered from intense back pain – years of ‘playing the game’ begin to speak up. May and June were the months when I felt great physically. I can totally affirm that it was also the time when my game was the best quality. The reason for this was the fact that I played soccer once or twice a week. For years after giving up on amateur football kicking, I was trying to find a good alternative, but the gym, running or table tennis were not capable of giving me the kind of buzz the good old football did. Unfortunately, in June I ended up tearing the ligaments in my ankle and my short comeback came to quick halt. Thankfully, my leg is getting better, which is why I’m hoping that after a short preparation I will still be able to become an MVP of the local football field.
      What’s more, I would like to spend more time on learning how to manage my finances more efficiently. Once my poker career comes to an end, I’d like to become a professional investor. To be successful in this field I need to acquire knowledge which would help me to smartly invest my capital – just like in poker.


      Something for the soul.

      I wrote about perfecting the body and the mind, now it’s time for the spirit. In recent weeks my fascination with a certain popular music giant re-awakened. The legend in question is Johnny Cash. Extremely curious figure, on one hand music genius, on the other quite an ordinary man. Cash was a brilliant individual, but also quite controversial. Despite many obstacles the man reached the top, but throughout most of his life he had to fight his inner demons. The movie Walk the Line, where Johnny is portrayed by the amazing Joaquin Phoenix, is one of the best biographical pictures I had a chance to watch.









      Good luck in New Year, 6-digit wins, satisfaction out of living day by day. May the A-game be with you!
    • Daftpunk007
      Daftpunk007
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.11.2010 Posts: 80
      Nice. Good luck to you my friend. Look forward to reading this and seeing how you get on.
    • Daftpunk007
      Daftpunk007
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.11.2010 Posts: 80
      Nice. Good luck to you my friend. Look forward to reading this and seeing how you get on.
    • makan18
      makan18
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.07.2007 Posts: 68
      Welcome back everyone,

      I’ve shared my monthly charts on several occasions, and so I chose to include my yearly graph in here as well. As shown, I’ve played 173 days last year, which translates to roughly 800 hours. The goal for this year is 200 days of grind, which will hopefully result in over 1000 hours. I was hoping that maybe I could play even 1200 hours, however this would require from me playing afternoon sessions. In the end I concluded that I want to focus on some other projects this year, e.g. offering more coaching lessons, because I’ve realized that this form of career development can give me lots of enjoyment and a sense of achievement.





      January was the month when I’ve finally got back on the right track. I played very decently, tilt happened far less frequently than in previous months (still too often in my opinion) – the poker gods were really gracious to me. I managed to play 90 hours, which is quite a success, considering that poker-wise January began only on the 5th, and half of that time I was fighting with very pesky cold (garlic + lemon + cistus = the omnipresent oging (debilne_ucho®).
      The end of the year was not particularly pleasant. The variance definitely wasn’t my ally however the beginning of 2016 proved that the poker gods are looking after me again.




      One of my New Year’s resolutions was blogging more actively. In my very first post I’d promised that all kinds of information regarding finances, diet or work ergonomics would have appeared, but each consequent post failed to deliver such info. The goal for this month is at least 1 post per week. My new motto is: ‘shorter, but more frequent’ :D Furthermore I invite everyone to chip in to the discussion and halt my monologue. If you agree with any statements write down why, if you don’t, I’m even more eager to know your argumentation.


      Sleep

      A topic which I find extremely curious, for three main reasons:
      1. It’s interesting…
      2. We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, so the way we sleep has an enormous impact on the quality of life.
      3. I have a pretty serious sleep disorder, which I couldn’t get rid of for years

      Probably the majority of you had a problem with falling asleep at some point after a several-hour-long grind. The brain worked at full capacity for hours, and it’s difficult to suddenly switch it to the rest mode. Over the last couple of months my daily functioning has been absolutely pathological. I usually go to sleep around 5 or 6 am, and falling asleep takes me another 2-4 hours. Naturally, my wake-up time has got readjusted as well, and it falls between 2 and 3 pm. I wish to get up before noon, but it’s easier said than done. Even though I could go to sleep at 2 am, it wouldn’t help much as I would still need several hours to fall asleep. So I have a favor to ask you: if you had/have similar issues, please tell me what helps you with falling asleep after a session.
      I’m sharing a TED video below, authored by neurobiologist Russell Foster. It’s one of my favorite presentations; it contains tons of interesting info about why we sleep and how important it is for our lives.

      https://www.ted.com/talks/russell_foster_why_do_we_sleep?language=pl


      There can be only one winner :D



      Cheers,
    • makan18
      makan18
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.07.2007 Posts: 68
      I`m very pleased with my poker form in February. I managed to play 85 hours, and achieved nice profit. The First half of the month was one of the best periods in my poker career and for sure the best period within the last few months. I`m pretty sure I`ve played 8bb/100 hand Adjusted Winrate poker. I practically didn`t tilt, I was starting evey session with a great focus, 5 hour sessions seemed to last 5 minutes, and I was finally able to achieve the Flow state. The second part of the month was a lot worse, a lot more mistakes and tilted $, my concentration was malfunctioning. Of course working on mindset isn`t any different than learning the theoretical aspects of the game, therefore I`m quite happy with the progress I`ve made. The final goal is to play every session as good as I used to do it at the beginning of the February. One day at the time :)



      Aside from poker, it was an even greater month. I`ve been working out regularly, I`ve tailored a diet for mass gain ( aka. eating shitload of food) and after many years of postponing it I finally started to perform Krav Maga. Furthermore I was a regular visitor at a shooting range. I`ve already tested a Kalasznikow, M16 and the Glock pistol. In brief it was lots of fun. The next 3 months are going to be a very busy period. I would like to play 270-300 hours of online poker, and maybe play a little bit of a live cash games. It`s a lot harder to grind during the summertime, plus the games are usually a little bit worse. Besides there is a Euro2016 starting on June 10th, and I`m hoping I will spend seven evenings, to cheer for my team.
      " Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies".

      Sadly the quality of the games wasn`t as good as I would like it to be, especially in the second part of the month It probably had some impact on my form. A lot of new regulars came on Party Poker, both very good and average, which caused the reg/fish ratio to worsen up a lot. It was particularly visible in the second part of February when recrational players were showing up less often to recreate. I`m hoping this is just a temporary stagnation, and not the beginning of the pre-summer trend. That situation isn`t very motivating, and it makes me question the future of our industry. Of course there is no value in complaining, I have to work even harder to achieve the biggest advantage versus the field.

      The Hand

      Although it`s a poker blog, I`ve never posted a single poker hand in here. That changes today.

      https://www.weaktight.com/h/56db3bc2d39043757d8b45fd

      UTG is a 70/10 Fish, CO is a very solid aggressive regular. After a standard 3b isolation, and 2 calls we are on the flop. Based on the history, the metagame and the positional situation I`ve decided that checking is going to be the optimal play. I`ve expected that the gentlemen on the UTG is willing to do something extraordinary, and EV of my hand would be the highest if I play x/shove on the flop. Likewise I thought that if the UTG would play the way he did, CO is going to have a very tough call without a Qx, because he would expect me to play my top range by checking the flop.
    • makan18
      makan18
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.07.2007 Posts: 68
      Unfortunately, my break from blogging was longer than I initially anticipated. In the early March I got pretty bad cold, 2 weeks completely taken out of my life. The game during that period was a total disaster, I broke even at best. I felt terrible physically, which in turn led to horrid concentration, despite regularly performing my start-up routine. Add the DS period to the equation, and we have the recipe for a catastrophe.
      The 'Don't try this at home' sort of deal ;]



      Recent months saw a major improvement, my game was finally back on the right track. My performance is still a bit poorer than expected, however considering my condition in the second half of February and in March, I'm really satisfied that I managed to 'lift up' my game, once again.



      Still, the element which continues to lag behind is the volume. In the beginning of the year I was capable of playing 85 hours, and I was on course to reach 1000 hours of playing which was the goal for 2016. Sadly, month after month, it only got worse. From May until August my time spend on poker averaged 47 hours i.e. two times lesser than the pace I should have kept in order to reach my target.

      There were several factors which brought this about. I was undoubtedly hit by burn-out, partially caused by weariness with the game, and variance, but also the worries about the process of changing the place of residence. At this point I can I say that I endured and most of the stuff has been dealt with, and in a few days time I will be able to move to a new apartment. I really hope that it will be the stimulus to finally get back to playing the satisfying amount of hours.
      In spite of some improvements, my game is surely not at the level I would like it to be. I believe that in April-August period I played 4-5bb poker (closer to 4), while I do think that I can win with wr 6-8, especially on NL400+. Lamentable as it is, I still make way too many simple mistakes and switch to autopilot too often. According to my calculations 90% of those errors result from the bad mindset and different forms of tilt, and only 10% comes from the tactical know-how shortcomings.
      Mission mass-building

      I'm really happy about the progress I made in the gym. 3 months of training at medium intensity combined with a 3500 kcal diet allowed me to gain almost 7 kilos. I need 10 kilos more to reach my goal, though I'm taking a short break for now - because of the relocation and the well-deserved holidays.

      What's more, the pain in the lower back which I suffered from over the last few months disappeared altogether. Squats with kettlebells and other exercises for the lower back done regularly made all the problems go away.
      As they say, a sound mind in a sound body.

      Another post coming soon. About living in the United Kingdom, and the biggest change in my poker career. Stay tuned!
    • makan18
      makan18
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.07.2007 Posts: 68
      This blog post is going to be much more personal than the previous ones. I've decided to change the way I do my blogging - I will write a lot more about things which inspire me, and those which are of great importance to me. 2016 turned out to be quite crucial for a variety of reasons. Finally, I emigrated to the UK, which I believe is an optimal solution for a guy like me, a professional poker player. I dealt with the health issues, which had pestered my body and my mind for many years. I achieved the financial goal I was aiming for, despite having played only 713 out of 1000 hours planned. I drank little alcohol, ate healthy, and exercised regularly which allowed me to gain 7 kg. Physically, I haven't felt better in ages, and without a doubt this is my biggest achievement of 2016.

      After few years of what-ifs, doubt and plenty of scenarios considered, I ultimately decided to emigrate to the United Kingdom. In the late August I packed some of my belongings, miraculously fitted my 32 in desktop into a 33 inches wide suitcase, and I set off to carry on the road of the professional poker player in the land of Monty Python.
      Until the very end I did not know what's going to surprise me in the new place. I certainly wasn't relaxed with the topic of Brexit coming up, and even more so by the news about increasing number of attacks on the Polish people which accompanied the decision of Brits. A local grinder with Polish roots suggested that I should start looking for a place to stay before flying to England, but I decided against it, as I assumed this is no challenge to me. It probably wasn't the smartest decision I undertook. I spewed tons of $ for hotels, lost few precious hairs, and several gaming sessions. The emotional state I was in called for hitting my head against the wall rather than solving logical riddles.

      After tens of hours spent on browsing apartment ads, sending emails, going from the office to office to talk with realtors, who despite having a smile straight out of a TV commercial did not give a fuck about me at all, I finally managed to find a place. Generally speaking, after the initial culture shock I was in, I can reintroduce the term 'good life' back in my dictionary.

      In November, a good friend of mine who just like me fights against the odds on the Party Poker platform paid me a visit. This occurred around the long-awaited excursion to see Ludovico Einaudi concert. However, as the maestro was performing in Glasgow, we were faced with a dangerous trip up north. At the beginning I planned to make a trip by British rail, though I missed driving a car too much, so I decided to rent a vehicle. Additionally I wanted to see the Lake District, a popular touristy region, abundant in hills and lakes (go figure). What's interesting, this area was visited on many occasions by the 28th President of the United States - Woodrow Wilson. These stopovers have been even included in a book entitled 'A President's Love Affair with the Lake District'. Lake District made quite an impression, with its small, captivating towns which went way beyond the image of England I had in my mind. The concert was a part of a tour called 'Elements'. It was the first, but definitely not the last time I've seen the maestro at the concert. (For years I held a deep conviction that Mercedes is a car for the people over 50. I think I've never been so mistaken. Driving a c200 is a pure pleasure, 8-hour-long journey was almost like a spa visit).

      https://postimg.org/gallery/1z6tf1jn8/

      Poker-wise, December was the breakthrough month. I choose to not wait until January with starting out on NL2000 (ultimately, I even timidly looked at NL5k). It was a kind of symbolic decision. When I was taking my first steps in poker back in 2007, NL1000 was a magical border to me. At that moment the perspective of playing on NL1k was but a pipedream of a greenhorn who wants to be the greatest in the world by playing a card game. Looking beyond the wall which goes by the name 'NL1000', was I have built myself in my mind many years ago, once again convinced me that most of limitations exist only in our heads.

      After earnestly working for a month, the time for relax came, and I could return to my hometown for Christmas. Meeting people close to my heart was the main theme of that visit, people whom I knew 10-20 years. It's the element I miss the most. I look back at the time I spent in Poland with quite a sentiment, as during the dozen or so days there was never a time of boredom. Unfortunately, the gambling bill which is going to be introduced soon will prevent me from visiting my home country all too often.

      The next piece coming very soon. It`s gonna be about my goals and plans for 2017, and my trip to Asia I`m very excited about.
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