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Chrafting Bridges - PokerStars Campaign Mode

    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      "Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." - Robert Collier
      There's a simple truth in those words in relation to playing poker. So simple, yet so hard to master - much like the game itself...

      How's it going folks? Thanks for taking the time to visit Ye Olde Poker blog. I hope that I can provide you with something of value through these (soon to be) pages.

      It's been a few years since I've taken poker seriously, playing sporadically here or there. I used to play predominantly MTTs & MTSNGs on PokerStars when the games were way more plentiful back in 2008-2012. I had a real love for the game and I was pretty good at it too, putting up decent numbers during this time. Most of it was tracked on OPR:


      Eventually, I became confident enough in my abilities to take a shot and try to make a living exclusively from playing poker. I decided to go all in for an entire year, starting on January 1st 2011. I moved to a new city to live with one of my best friends from high-school. I was 21 years old, enthusiastic about the game, and very optimistic... yet oh so naive.

      It was quite the experience - fun, frustrating, liberating, and shackling all at the same time. The best year of my life (to date!), and I don't regret a thing. But I BARELY scraped by financially, and although I finally did get back on track later in the year, the stress from all that grinding completely burned me out. I had made poker into a job, but at a price - the love was gone...

      After 2011, I moved back home and got a good honest job in landscaping and I've been there ever since. I haven't played much poker between now and then, but I'm fixing to change that...


      NEW BEGINNINGS

      Over the past few months I've been inspired to renew my commitment to the game of poker, and as part of that commitment, I'm starting this blog / bankroll challenge to track the journey. I plan on posting twice a week, with a main post on Monday morning to summarize the weekly progress, and another post on Friday afternoon/evening to provide a little levity going into the weekend. Content wise, I don't expect to be posting much in the way of hardcore strategy or hand analysis. I'm more interested in tackling poker, and life, from a broader perspective.

      THE CHALLENGE
      I've always wanted a big enough bankroll to be able to play PokerStars' Sunday Major schedule on a week to week basis. And there are also some local live tournaments in that same buy-in range that I would love to play. Completing this challenge would get two birds stoned at once!

      STARTING BANKROLL: $250.00
      TARGET BANKROLL: $25,000.00
      TIME FRAME: 1,650 Hours of Deliberate Practice and Study

      It's important to set time-based goals, but I didn't want to box myself in with a standard calendar based measurement (days, weeks, months, etc.). So I chose to use a metric that'll be easier to control: hours of practice and study. I believe this type of framing will keep me in the proper mindset by placing the emphasis on putting in quality hours instead of just getting in under an arbitrary deadline.

      How did I settle on 1,650 hours? I did it by dividing the difference in bankroll ($24,750.00) by the minimum average hourly wage that I should reasonably expect to make by the end of the challenge ($15.00/hr - which is minimum wage here in Canada).

      THE BREAKDOWN
      A challenge of this magnitude is pretty heavy on the psyche. And so breaking it down into chunks seems like the logical way to go. The plan consists of three main phases, with each phase being separated into six stages of progression. The overall layout looks like this:

      STARTING BANKROLL: $250.00
      __The Six Stages__
      PHASE ONE GOAL: $1,000.00
      __The Six Stages__
      PHASE TWO GOAL: $5,000.00
      __The Six Stages__
      PHASE THREE GOAL: $25,000.00
      __The Six Stages__

      STAGE ONE - PREPARATION (The planning stage. Laying the foundations, setting goals and prioritizing)
      STAGE TWO - IMPLEMENTATION (Putting the plan into action. Test, practice, and develop a rhythm)
      STAGE THREE - OPTIMIZATION (Build momentum. Analyze, adjust, and adapt. Get into "the zone" and find your "flow")
      STAGE FOUR - EXECUTION (Finish the job. Persist, persevere, and accept no excuses, only results)
      STAGE FIVE - CELEBRATION (Sweet victory! Give it the attention it deserves. Reward yourself)
      STAGE SIX - EXPANSION (Explore new challenges. Software/hardware upgrades? Raise the bar)


      PHASE ONE

      GAME SELECTION
      - I will be specializing in MTTs & MTSNGs on PokerStars (with a focus on 180-man MTSNGs, and reacquiring a strong understanding of tournament fundamentals)
      - To start, I will only be playing NLHE, Full-Ring, Regular Speed, Freezeouts with 90+ players (exception for the $4.50 36-180-player On-Demand)

      BANKROLL MANAGEMENT


      CASH-OUT STRATEGY
      To ensure that the bankroll grows organically, I'm employing the following cashout strategy:


      POKER CURRICULUM
      I plan to use a 75%/25% split between play/study. One thing I really need to work on is reviewing my own game from a technical perspective. But while I build up a sufficient database to accurately work with, I'll hit the books and do my best to really soak up the relevant information in these five foundational texts:


      CEREBRO - A Carefully Chrafted Curation (1 / 150)
      What's life without a soundtrack?

      Music is my lifeblood, both at the virtual felt and away from it. And I've been working on a poker playlist that, when it's finished, will be 10 hours long and 150 songs deep (at least that's the plan). It's meant to be a relatively chill playlist, full of tunes that encourage the mind to focus, but with enough energy to sustain long sessions. I call it Cerebro (Spanish for "brain", and a part of the X-Men universe). I get very picky about what goes in to the final list, and have a feeling that it won't be done for awhile. So, much like the bankroll challenge, I'm gonna piece it together bit by bit. I'll post a song from the playlist every time I write a blog post. 150 posts and Cerebro should be complete! Hope you guys enjoy...

      Here's tune #1 - Literally the first song on the list. Registering for tourneys, waiting for the first hand to be dealt...
  • 27 replies
    • metalmonkey80
      metalmonkey80
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 15.08.2013 Posts: 2,509
      Hi ChraftyBridges ,

      Really impressive game plan and I look forward to reading how you get on in the coming months :f_thumbsup:
      Best of luck at the tables & subbed :f_drink:
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      Originally posted by metalmonkey80
      Hi ChraftyBridges ,

      Really impressive game plan and I look forward to reading how you get on in the coming months :f_thumbsup:
      Best of luck at the tables & subbed :f_drink:
      Hey, thanks bud! Appreciate the sub.

      I had a chance to start reading Monkey Business, which led me to finally jump into The Quick Guide to Skyrocketing Your Poker and Life Productivity by Schnitzelfisch . Amazing so far...

      Hope your bankroll challenge gets back on the rails. I'll be tracking. Cheers!
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      PHASE ONE / STAGE ONE:
      PREPARATION
      "Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." - Sun Tzu
      My plan is to be ready for lift-off on Sunday, April 1st, 2018 - and I'm pretty excited to fire up a Sunday tournament session for the first time in what seems like ages! But there are still some final preparations that need to be made before I dive head first into Stage Two: Implementation.

      One of the biggest mistakes from my poker past was being unable (or unwilling) to really adopt, apply, and absorb a philosophy towards life that I could build upon from day to day. In order to truly give this challenge my all, I've identified a few overarching principles that I'll need to persistently practice in order to cultivate a culture of constant improvement:

      THE FOUR PILLARS - Structure, nutrition, sleep, and exercise. The foundation! Everything stems from the strength of these four aspects of life. Neglect one and the entire constitution is weakened. Discipline, consistency and balance are the keys.

      RESOURCE MANAGEMENT - Time, energy, and money. The ability to effectively manage these three resources will determine the kind of trajectory my poker graph will take. Patience, creativity, and efficiency are the focus.

      PROFESSIONALISM - Professional poker player... Playing poker is the easy part. Being a pro about it is where the real work lies. The character traits needed to develop into a true professional are work-ethic, expertise, integrity, humility, an orientation towards service, and a fierce will.

      Live these principles, trust the process, and things will fall into place soon enough.

      Most of the plan is already set for Sunday. Only a few things left to do:

      - Finalizing my pre-game routine, daily schedule, and weekly schedule
      - Clearing my work-space of clutter and distractions
      - Some minor HUD adjustments
      - Groceries

      And then it's time to rock and roll!

      CEREBRO - A Carefully Chrafted Curation (2 / 150)
      As promised - here's tune #2 in the poker playlist. One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite artists, aptly titled...
    • villijmeen99
      villijmeen99
      Bronze
      Joined: 03.11.2016 Posts: 112
      What a nice blog! Gonna follow your results for sure, GL mate! :f_thumbsup:
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      Originally posted by villijmeen99
      What a nice blog! Gonna follow your results for sure, GL mate! :f_thumbsup:
      Ehhh, thanks pal!
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      MONDAY REPORT
      GROUND ZERO

      "Keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground." - Unknown
      THE FIRST MISTAKE
      I'm going to make a lot of mistakes along the way, and I made the first one before I even played a hand! Time management... it's an area of my "life game" that'll definitely need some fine tuning.

      The plan was to begin the campaign on Sunday morning, getting an early start on the month of April. But alas, the social aspects of Easter weekend have pushed things back a couple days. Family and friends come first, especially during the holidays when everybody is taking time out of their busy schedules to be together. And so, chomping at the bit to get started, I overestimated the amount of time that I had to commit to poker this weekend.

      In hindsight, I was probably being a little too gung-ho! which brings me to a quality I failed to mention in the previous post - practicality. It's good to dream big and heighten expectations as long as those dreams are rooted in practical measures. Especially at the start - be realistic with expectations, aim at targets you can hit and rack up some small victories. Work on putting yourself in positions to succeed, slowly building up your mental stamina. It's a marathon, not a sprint...

      Start of the campaign will be tomorrow - Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018.

      All the best folks, and a Happy Easter!

      CEREBRO - A Carefully Chrafted Curation (3 / 150)
      Addition #3 to the poker playlist - so chill...
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      PHASE ONE / STAGE TWO:
      IMPLEMENTATION
      "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." - Arthur Ashe
      After the first three days of action I'm in the black - with 17 tournaments played, cashing at an understandably unsustainable 47% clip - I was able to pick up my first win (since of May 2015!) by taking down a $1.00 180-man Sit'N'Go.

      A solid start.

      It was surprising how quickly things started coming back. The waters were choppy at first, but after a couple of hours of 4-tabling I was pulling off moves I haven't used in years and reading situational play like it was yesterday. I thought it would take me a week or two to develop any sort of rhythm, but I guess all of that experience from over the years is stored away somewhere in the old noggin...

      Now, with all that being said, it was still a pretty patchy couple of days. Some good habits came back, but so did some bad ones - like spending the entirety of my 5-minute breaks smoking cigarettes. Smoking is by far my biggest "life leak" and I'm going to need to plug it ASAP in order to ramp this challenge up into overdrive.

      Another concern is my pace of play (in terms of making quality decisions in a timely manner). I seemed to max out my brainpower while 5-tabling, using a lot of my time-bank in the process. This was likely to be expected, but frustrating nonetheless. I know I just need to be patient with myself and progress at a natural, steady pace. And so one of my goals for this weekend is to get comfortable with 6-tabling.

      Today, I get the day off to take care of some priorities and mentally refresh heading into a jam-packed poker weekend.

      Happy Friday folks!

      P.S.: SCOOP schedule is out! Time to get to work on a battle plan for the 10th Annual Spring Championship of Online Poker.

      CEREBRO - A Carefully Chrafted Curation (4 / 150)
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      MONDAY REPORT
      WEEK ONE
      "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." - Helen Keller
      My level of optimism is steadily rising...

      This weekend didn't bring about any massive spikes in the tournament graph, but it came pretty close - I made my first large-field final table since January of 2015, finishing 8th in a $1.10 MTT for an $18.00 prize. I would've loved to have taken that one down ($250-ish for 1st) but, for now, I'm content with the intangible value that that 8th place finish provided. Getting reacquainted with stacking up and running that deep was a whole lotta fun, and a little bit nerve-racking too. I definitely didn't have my A-game running as we approached the final table - overthinking and overplaying hands, just trying to do too much... In the future, all I need to do in those spots is keep my head in the flow and let the game come to me. Don't force it. Trust my senses. Read and react...

      It was a progressive weekend, for sure. I was able to make positive gains in peripheral areas of my game as well:

      - Got some experience 6-tabling and managed well. It looks like I'm going to max out at 6-tables for the foreseeable future. The reasoning for that is both hardware and habit related.
      - HUD comprehension is back to acceptable levels. Just need be sure not to become over-reliant on HUD reads. Find a balance.
      - Familiarized myself with the newer tournament structure's (ante's on level 1!? I actually kinda like it...)
      - Re-structured my bet-sizing patterns for opens, isos, 3-bets, steals, re-steals, blind vs blind, c-bets, value bets, probes, etc. etc.
      - Re-aligned PokerStars software to adapt to the changes - New pre-sets and bet-slider buttons. And a handy little trick I got from Jamie Staples' PokerStars Tips and Tricks video. Color-coding table backgrounds! Brilliant.

      There was one disappointing facet of the weekend though... PokerStars chests. I completed four red chests over the week and waited until after my session on Sunday to open them all. This was my first experience with chests and so I was pretty excited to crack em! I don't know what I should've expected, but a freeroll ticket + T$0.10 + 25 Stars coins was a real let-down. I'm already pining for the old days of the PokerStars VIP-Club. We didn't know how good we had it...

      Anyways, that's it for today. We're on the move for week number two. Best of luck to ya folks. And GO LEAFS GO!!!!


      CEREBRO - A Carefully Chrafted Curation (5 / 150)
    • nutural
      nutural
      Bronze
      Joined: 21.09.2011 Posts: 106
      :f_drink: :f_drink: :f_drink: one of the most impressive blogs I've read so far. :f_drink: :f_drink: :f_drink:
      Impressive is subjective of course, as I just like the structure, approach, perseverance/humility it conveys.

      You are a natural Project Manager and it seems that if you stick to your plan great things are coming your way.
      I know nothing about poker success, but if that approach is not it, then why do I even bother :f_o:
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      Originally posted by nutural
      :f_drink: :f_drink: :f_drink: one of the most impressive blogs I've read so far. :f_drink: :f_drink: :f_drink:
      Impressive is subjective of course, as I just like the structure, approach, perseverance/humility it conveys.

      You are a natural Project Manager and it seems that if you stick to your plan great things are coming your way.
      I know nothing about poker success, but if that approach is not it, then why do I even bother :f_o:
      It's been a cloudy, rainy/snowy/icy couple of days here in Toronto, Canada - but I read your post and it brought a smile to face. So thank you for that! I'm glad the blog is providing something of substance for somebody other than myself...

      And I know I'm late on the update, so I will try to get that next post up some time tonight.
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      MONDAY(Tuesday, my bad!)REPORT
      WEEK TWO


      QUITTING SMOKING
      &
      THE FOUR PILLARS
      "Who has a harder fight than he who is striving to overcome himself." - Thomas a Kempis
      Apologies for the missed write-up on Friday. It's been all quiet on the poker front this week as I've taken a step back into Stage One: Preparation.

      Part of the preparation process for this poker campaign was prioritizing. That means making sure that the most important things are taken care of first, and not left to procrastination. Priority number one has to be my health. As the old saying goes - "if you don't have your health, you don't have anything". And so that's where my focus has been this past week.


      MY WORST ENEMY
      For those of you out there still smoking, yet wishing that you didn't have to - I know your struggle all too well. I've been smoking cigarettes for almost 15 years now, and I've tried quitting many times in many different ways. Some methods have worked better than others, but all roads have led me back to one place - this self-imposed prison of nicotine addiction.

      Back when I played poker regularly, I smoked like a chimney - every hour at 55 minutes on the hour. My physical health deteriorated, my financial situation gradually worsened ($10.00/pack smoking a pack/day - you do the math...), and mentally it was robbing me of my confidence and my conviction. It's been the bane of my existence in my adult life, and the last thing I want to do is go through all of that again with this new poker challenge. I want to give my best to this challenge, and I already know that that won't be possible as a smoker. So the play is pretty simple in this spot; and that's to stop smoking.

      There's this great book called "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking" by Allen Carr. In it the author (a former heavy smoker himself) describes his experience being a smoker, lays out the real truths about smoking and nicotine addiction, and then tries to convince the reader that stopping smoking shouldn't have to be such a difficult, uphill struggle. Instead he insists the process can be quite easy and enjoyable. It was an absolute eye-opener for me the first time I read it and it gave me a completely different perspective. I don't want to go into too much detail for those who haven't read it, but I will say that if you smoke and really want to quit - give this book a chance. It may be just what your mind needs to get over the hump.

      Personally, no one thing has helped me to stop, but I feel like I'm finally starting to learn from my mistakes. And thanks to planning this poker campaign, I've laid the groundwork for a lifestyle shift that can give me the best chance to kick this addiction for good! And who knows? maybe the process will even be enjoyable too...


      MY GREATEST ALLIES
      The lifestyle shift I'm talking about has to do with a principle I outlined in an earlier post - The Four Pillars. For me, they are the foundation, the root cause of my progress and productivity. They are:

      - Structure
      - Nutrition
      - Sleep
      - Exercise

      Throughout the week I'll write a post for each one, expanding on how I aim to utilize it in my quest to conquer both the poker mountain and the smoking pit.

      That's all for now though. Hope you're all enjoying the NHL Playoffs as much as I am... GO LEAFS GO!!!

      CEREBRO - A Carfully Chrafted Curation (6 / 150)
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      THE FIRST PILLAR:
      STRUCTURE
      "It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through." - Zig Ziglar
      There are more than enough poker related thoughts crowding my mind on an average day. The last thing I need up there is more questions popping up without any answers... What time to wake up? What's for breakfast? When does my first tournament start? Will I have time to get groceries? or workout? or shower!?!?!?... Can I make it to the bar for puck drop? How long does this tournament usually last anyways? Man, I'm hungry. Is there anything in the fridge? Oh ****! I still have to do laundry...

      Minimizing distractions... that's where structure comes in. Just having a set schedule for the day helps make the usage of my time so much more efficient. It provides clarity, certainty, and promotes a kind of consistency that'll trickle into every area of day to day life.

      I've never been a morning person, but found that getting up early and getting in some light exercise, before a big hearty breakfast, and some time to relax, is just the way to start my day. I'm infinitely more productive after an early start. And so this is the morning routine I'm trying to turn into a habit that I can fall back on everyday - whether I'm playing poker or not.

      The bulk of my day starts with a shower to refresh, and then I sit down to map out the rest of my schedule. This exercise takes 5 minutes and all I do is write down which MTT's I'll play on the Stars schedule and what time I'll cut off MTSNG registration so I can 1) ballpark the time my session will finish and 2) mentally commit to the time, so it's easier to work through any rough patches, tilt, etc... I don't practice meditation per se, but this little exercise acts as a sort of mini-meditation/visualization technique that puts me in the right mindset to play.

      After my session is over, it's time to do some groceries and get a good meal in. The rest of my evening is very flexible, but there are a few things that I'd like to get into the habit of doing, like reading and writing more, a poker review and study routine, keep doing work on the "re-modelling" of my iTunes/iPod, among other things... Of course, there's also a social life to maintain and NHL playoff hockey to watch, so taking care of business early in the day will be key to maintaining a balance.

      Here's the optimal schedule that I'd like to implement on a regular basis. It's one that I've tested and that works for me:


      I've kept things pretty simple and took a conservative approach to time management, making sure I have lots of buffer room so I don't feel rushed at any point in the day. That four hour morning routine could probably be completed in three, but what's the hurry?

      As a tournament player it's tough to accurately set a time for the completion of a session, so I set cut-off times for tournament registration instead. A large field MTT will take anywhere from 7-10+ hours to complete depending on the structure/size, and the 180-man MTSNGs and On-Demands take 4-5 hours to finish. With that knowledge I can ballpark my average session to be about 9-10 hours, going from 9am to 6-7pm - a solid days work. My stamina is not quite at that level of grind yet, but that's what I'll be working towards. And as you guys know, those looong days are the ones you live for as an MTT grinder.

      The weekly schedule is just a bare-bones template of a "work-week". I get Monday's off to recharge after an entire weekend of poker and God knows what else. And I get Friday as an optional off-day if I need to take care of some things that need that time during the day, or just as a mental break to refresh. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday are the days I've set to grind. As long as I remain committed to this path I've laid ahead of me, then the way is clear...

      And so there it is - Pillar the First. Next up is nutrition.

      Have yourselves a beauty of a Friday folks, cheers!

      CEREBRO - A Carefully Chrafted Curation (7/150)
      One of the coolest music videos. I get hypnotized everytime...
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      MONDAY REPORT
      WEEK SEVEN
      "I know progress is a slow process, but let's get the f*** moving here bud." - Me to Myself
      Hey folks! Been a while. Don't worry, you haven't missed anything...

      I seem to go through stages where I suffer from this kind of mental paralysis when it comes to playing poker. I feel like I want to go for a cruise, but for one reason or another - be it procrastination, laziness, or some deep-seeded issue I'm not aware of - I can't get the damn engine started! This leads to weeks, months, even YEARS! of inactivity. Any momentum I had built up dissipates, and I find myself back at the start again, trying to shake off the rust and rediscover my rhythm. It's a cycle of regression that I need to find a way to break.

      The best way I can describe the psychology is with a baseball analogy - I'm always swinging for the fences, like a home-run is the only thing that matters. I've disregarded the value in a double, or a single, or even just working the count and grinding out an at-bat. And because of this approach my swing has become erratic, my batting average has dipped down near zero, and I've lost the faith of my teammates and coaches because I'm not getting the job done at the plate.

      If I knew how to fix this issue, it'd probably be fixed by now. So I'm just going to need to work through it, plain and simple.

      It takes fierce will for one to get ahead in life, and I'm no different. So let's re-awaken the beast and start breaking through these barriers again.

      CEREBRO - A Carefully Chrafted Curation (8/150)
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      PHASE ONE / STAGE THREE:
      OPTIMIZATION
      "The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight." - Carly Fiorina
      The winds of change are blowing once again...

      The week started with a minor adjustment to the Phase One Bankroll Management. Nothing crazy, just a tweak to the way I mixed in the $4.50 180-man's - mainly to keep me playing predominantly $1.00 180's while I remained under-rolled for $4.50 exclusivity. My psychological risk-tolerance was still pretty nitty, so I wanted to keep things in check in order to make sure my mindset remained solid and aggressive at the tables. Make the jump too soon, and you run the risk of playing with scared money, and scared money can't win.

      Here's the before and after pics:

      OLD:
      NEW:

      Shot taking at the $4.50's began with a pretty hot run and I found myself heads-up in shot number four, but ended up losing what felt like a very winnable match-up. Nonetheless, the $86 boost to the bankroll was a welcome addition. Momentum was starting to build...

      So today I decided to try something a little different. As advertised in an earlier post - I'm a heavy smoker, and I'll spend my 5-minute breaks, every hour, by hacking a dart (slang for smoking a cigarette here in Canada)... Anyways, today I just wanted to take one baby step in the direction of stopping smoking for good, and so I vowed not to smoke for the entire session and see how I held up.

      All in all, after seven tournaments over five hours, I smoked zero cigarettes and sniped! my first win in a $4.50 180-man (which actually only had 116 players) for $128.

      Instant Karma. Gotta love it...

      Now, while the results have been there over the past week, I'm still very wary of the sloppiness in my game. My opening ranges have been all over the place, zoning in and out of TAG and LAG styles seemingly at random. And so while I've done well to capitalize on the opportunities that have presented themselves, in order to regularly gain more of those chances in the future I'm going to need to tune, tone, and tighten things up, especially during the middle stages of the tournament.

      The next big project will be to develop a routine of study and analysis for my own game, which is something I've never really done before, at least from an informational standpoint. The more intangible parts of poker - "the art of the game", if you will - have always been of more interest to me, but the more technical side - or "the science of the game" - has usually taken a backseat. My aim is to bring it all together this time around, and make myself as whole as possible (and in turn, bloody dangerous on the felt). I'm getting close to having acquired enough data to start drawing some soft conclusions about my game, but I'm not quite there yet. And so my focus will remain on playing tournaments this weekend.

      Thanks to this hot streak of a week, my bankroll is now big enough to graduate from the $1.00/$4.50 180-man mix into playing the $4.50's exclusively. It's time to settle into a playing rhythm that could carry me forward for the foreseeable future, with the $4.50's as the backbone of my volume, and micro/low-stakes MTT's providing me with that boom-potential on the side.

      This puts things squarely in the Optimization Stage where I can start building momentum, analyzing play, adjusting/adapting accordingly, and then finding a way into a state of "flow", or what some people call being "in the zone". It's hard for me to accurately describe that feeling in detail, all I know is that I've felt it before, and it's a kind of confidence that makes you seem undeniable/unstoppable. It's a pretty good feeling, would definitely recommend...

      That's all for now folks. A happy Friday to ya, and enjoy your weekends!

      CEREBRO - A Carefully Chrafted Curation (9/150)
      Got to see this guy last summer, and this is what he opened his set with. Epic build-up...
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      MONDAY REPORT
      WEEK EIGHT
      "When I'm at the bottom looking up, the main question may not be 'how do I get out of this hole?' In reality, the main question might be 'how do I get rid of the shovel that I used to dig it?" - Craig D. Lounsbrough
      From not playing at all over the past month to almost banking a 40-hour poker week for the first time in years... yeah, that'll likely contribute to a little late-week burn-out.

      After a solid start from Moday to Friday, my game fell off a cliff on the weekend. My patience levels waned rather easily, I began getting frustrated enough to let bad-beats affect my play, my ability to make folds in semi-obvious situations was non-existent, and even in situations where I ran deep in tournaments with a battle-stack in tow, I couldn't muster up the resolve to execute my game-plan. Those are all pretty obvious signs of burn-out to me. I put my stamina to the test this past week, and I got a real answer as to what its current limits are.

      Taking breaks and getting rest is so crucial to sustaining success. Just like working out any muscle, the brain needs that time to recover after a period of stress so that it can heal itself and come back even stronger. Originally, my weekly schedule had me taking Monday and Friday off, while grinding Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday and Sunday. This past week saw me play all seven days...

      Upon creating the weekly schedule, I designated two off-days for very specific reasons - Mondays off to recover from a poker-packed weekend and to write this update, and Fridays off to refresh for a poker-packed weekend and to write another update. My heart is in the right place - I just wanna GO-GO-GO! - but I must not forget to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. In fact, I may just print that phrase out in big black letters and post it up right above my grind station so anytime I look up in frustration, I can bring myself back down to earth and keep those feet moving, one in front of the other, one step at a time.

      All that being said, it was a successful week! A win's a win, after all. And with all this room for improvement, the prospects are looking mighty bright for some forward momentum in the not-so distant future.

      Get out there and get after it this week, ladies and gents. Happy hunting!

      CEREBRO - A Carefully Chrafted Curation (10/150)
      One way or another, I always end up on a sunny beach somewhere when this song comes on...
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      THE FUNDAMENTALS
      "When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books. You will be reading meanings." - W. E. B. Du Bois
      I'm kind of short on time tonight, but I wanted to make sure that I got this post up, so I'll keep it short...

      In fact, you'd probably be better off reading this great article on poker odds & probabilities than reading anything I could impart on the subject anyways. I'm still learning myself. And since knowing your odds and outs is as fundamental to poker as looking both ways before you cross the street is to living, I'm making it my goal to have this chart (which I borrowed from the article) completely memorized:


      You don't have to consider yourself a math wiz to play poker. Hell, you don't even really need much more than simple arithmetic to be competent. But poker is a game of small edges, and every weapon you add to your arsenal gives you another leg up in this never ending arms race.

      So lock and load ladies and gents, and fire up one heater of a weekend (both indoors and out - damn! it's good to have summer back).

      Cheers!

      CEREBRO - A Carefully Chrafted Curation (11/150)
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      MONDAY REPORT
      WEEK NINE

      "In baseball, my theory is to strive for consistency, not to worry about the numbers. If you dwell on statistics you get shortsighted, if you aim for consistency, the numbers will be there at the end." - Tom Seaver
      It's hard not to get results-oriented sometimes. I mean we live in a results-oriented world where likes, and followers, and instant-gratification are the norm. Poker pretty much flips all of that on its head and thrusts you into this new world where making a correct decision gets punished (in the short term), and making a ridiculously foolish choice propels you forward into prosperity (for now). You could literally make a dozen sound decisions in a row and get bludgeoned for every one of them. Or you could decide to punt the rest of your tournament chips so you can go get a pizza and end up as the big stack on the final table of a large-field MTT... None of it makes any sense until you pan out and look at the bigger picture.

      I began re-reading "The Poker Mindset" this week, and it's a fantastic book that helps to illustrate that bigger picture for the reader. I consider it a must-read and would recommend it to anybody who wants to stop beating themselves, and start racking up some profit. It focuses on the attitude that you should bring to the tables, and the concepts and practices that can help you become a mentally stronger player.

      From the book:

      Chapter 2 - The Poker Mindset
      The Poker Mindset consists of seven attitudes that you need to adopt in order to succeed at poker over the long term, giving you a psychological toolbox to complement your technical one.

      1. Understand and Accept the Realities of Poker
      - You need to understand the Five Realities of Poker, but more important you need to accept them. The Five realities of poker are:
      1) Poker is a game of both luck and skill.
      2) In the short term, luck is king.
      3) In the long term, skill is king.
      4) Poker is a game of small edges.
      5) Poker is a game of high variance.
      2. Play for the Long Term
      3. Emphasize Correct Decisions over Making Money
      4. Desensitize Yourself to Money
      5. Leave Your Ego at the Door
      6. Remove All Emotion from Decisions
      7. Dedicate Yourself to a Continuous Cycle of Analysis and Improvement


      The rest of the book is based upon these seven principles.

      One of the biggest leaps forward that I've taken, as far as improving as player, was after I read this book for the first time. Just knowing the proper way to think about the game instilled a sort of calmness in me which has probably saved (and made) me a lot of money over the years.

      It's amazing what a slight attitude shift can do for your outlook on life and poker and everything in between. Last week I was so focused on making money that I lost sight of that big picture. The formula for success is pretty simple really - take care of your body, take care of your mind, and make quality decisions. Keep the focus on that and everything else will fall into place.

      Strive for consistency, the numbers will be there in the end.

      CEREBRO - A Carefully Chrafted Curation (12/150)
    • metalmonkey80
      metalmonkey80
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 15.08.2013 Posts: 2,509
      Nice update and BR result's :f_thumbsup:
    • ChraftyBridges
      ChraftyBridges
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.03.2018 Posts: 33
      Originally posted by metalmonkey80
      Nice update and BR result's :f_thumbsup:
      Thanks buddy.

      Nice to see you're back in the bankroll challenge again. Best of luck!
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