Can PS take a complete newbie to pro-level?

    • Huxley1984
      Joined: 06.02.2010 Posts: 9
      Welcome to my blog.

      As a quick introduction, I’m an English guy who’s living in Spain. I’m the wrong side of 40 (only just) and looking for a new way of paying my bills. I’ve got a family to support so need to earn a fairly decent amount each month.

      My poker experience up until now is almost zero – I’ve basically never played, though I once had a job as a croupier so am familiar with the game from the other side of the table. What’s brought me here is the desire to generate my income independently of a fickle job market and be in charge of my own destiny – sentiments I share with those in the "Are you fit for professional Poker?" article.

      So, 2 weeks ago I passed the PS test and since then I’ve been studying the articles, reading the forums, watching videos, playing for play money, and for the last few days, playing at micro stakes.

      I’m intrigued to know if I can use the information on PS to improve from an absolute beginner to someone who can beat the 1/2 and 2/4 levels. I reckon if I can get to that level then I should be able to make a living out of poker. My aim would be to get there in 3-6 months time but I’ve no idea if that is realistic.

      I’m really excited about this new “project” and would love to know of anyone who’s gone down the same path. Any tips you might have? What does it take to “make it”?

      By the way, I’ve started out on FL as from what I read SSS sounds too dull for me and I clearly don’t have the skills for BSS yet. I’ll post again with some goals but let me know if you’re interested in following my progress – anything you’d like to see (current BR, stats, charts etc).

      Cheers for now.
  • 26 replies
    • ShadowOfLight1337
      Joined: 26.04.2009 Posts: 239
      Making a living out of poker can be very challenging and I overall wouldn't recommend playing poker with that goal as you might burn yourself out with frustration.

      But if you do go at it, remember that there are times in poker that it seems like nothing is going your way and the only way to overcome these times is by staying cool.

      Good luck.
    • TheBu11d0g
      Joined: 25.07.2008 Posts: 2,019
      Hello Huxley1984,

      To begin with i would just concentrate on learning the basics first without worrying too much about becoming professional just yet.

      As long as you continually study the material here on Pokerstrategy and use proper bankroll management then you will be off to a good start. As long as you concentrate on mastering the basics at first, then everything else can be built on those basics.

      Think of it as building a house. If you rush the foundations then the building wont be on a strong base and it could possibly come crushing down, but if you take the time to put the foundations in correctly then you know that the house is going to be around for a very, very long time :) .

      Kind Regards,
    • excelgeo
      Joined: 17.10.2008 Posts: 1,107
      i wouldnt recommend relying on poker to feed your family if you are a complete novice.

      it will take a lot of time to learn low stakes, then you can take it to midstakes. you are expected to experience massive swings and frustrations and having a family behind expecting you to support them will not make the situation any easier.

      play poker for the fun that it is and if you make some money along the way, even better. then reassess it in a year.
    • ihufa
      Joined: 18.03.2008 Posts: 3,323
    • gadget51
      Joined: 23.06.2008 Posts: 5,622
      Well, huxley1984, it is entirely up to you how far you go and not for PS to take you there. :) Do not rush up the limits would be my advice. Learn, practise, review and analyze...repeat.
    • woopstash
      Joined: 14.01.2010 Posts: 94
      You'd have to run sickly hot to hit the 1/2 or 2/4 tables in 3-6 months, starting with PS starting capital, all while sticking to BR Management.

      Take your time to learn poker and enjoy it. I'm guessing you wont have too much if your trying to support your family through your poker winnings right out of the gate and you hit any sort of (inevitable) downswing.

      Good luck!
    • roswellx
      Joined: 05.12.2008 Posts: 599
      I think you made a good choice by starting off with Fixed Limit. It is really possible to make a living out of materials presented here. However you should realize that nothing is easy these days. Even though most of us think that spending money is very easy, I think it's not. We should always weigh our options and get familiar with the thing we want to buy, learn, do which takes time. Poker is really complex game. I would recommend you to prepare a really mind opening environment from the beginning. You should be really relaxed and focused. Focus is one of the most important aspects in poker.

      One more thing I want to mention is that do not try to multi table (playing more than one table) until you really started to win decent amounts in a given time (on average).

      I wish you good luck and welcome to poker world.
    • p0kerdragon1
      Joined: 21.03.2009 Posts: 84
      Learning poker requires time and dedication.

      A year ago I started to learn the rules of poker, I was playing NL100 SSS but since Full Tilt raised the min buy-in I am giving a chance to NL25 BSS Rush Poker because of my 27% rakeback.

      I would recommend that you start with sng's according to your level.
      Cash Games are kindda tricky
    • Huxley1984
      Joined: 06.02.2010 Posts: 9
      Hi again,
      Sorry for the delay in replying and thanks for all the advice.

      I've now studied all the FL bronze material and have played 7,000 hands FL $.10/$.20 FR with a winrate of +3BB/100. I've got all the key material printed out next to my PC and am trying my best to stick to the strategy as described and play it ABC.

      I'm using Full Tilt and find their "Last hand" feature really useful to review a hand I've just played and compare my decisions to the ones in the strategy. I've also been watching videos and going over and over the material - it feels now that most of the bronze level stuff is pretty embedded (I'm spending about 8 hours a day playing, reviewing and studying).

      I'm really enjoying playing and haven't been this excited about a project for a long time.

      In terms of what I wrote previously about making a living from poker and how long it might take to get to that level, I've re-assessed my aims. I work on a project basis so typically work for 2-3 months then have a break until the next project starts. What I'll be doing is taking any project that comes up and working hard on the poker in the breaks with a view to at some point not neeing to take so many projects as the poker is paying some of the bills. If that works, great, if not, well at least I'll have learned something about this game and had a lot of fun.

      Just wondered though: how many of you make a living from poker, and how long did it take you to get to the stage where you could give up the day job?

      Cheers for now.
    • Waiboy
      Joined: 18.09.2008 Posts: 4,877
      Hey Huxley1984

      Nice to see another old FL player on the site!

      To beat FL you need to learn to study and review like a maniac. Until you know the articles inside out I'd make sure you study AT LEAST 50% of the time.

      I managed to get to $1/$2 SH at around 8 months from starting at playing part time. I immediately got slayed and ended up playing $.25/$.50 SH and FR (ShortHanded and FullRing) about 2 months after that. After moaning about the injustice of variance and the inequity of terrible play on my part for about another 3 or 4 months I decided to seriously apply myself to learning the art of Fixed Limit.

      Currently I'm back at $1/$2 SH and very occassionally playing $2/$4 FR.

      My second piece of advice is forget about winrates, bonuses, variance, losing sessions, losing hands - anything at all results oriented. Focus on bankroll management (BRM) and playing each and every hand better than the last one and you'll do okay.

      Lastly, it doesn't matter too much which site you start with - the recommended sites are usually best - once you get to around $.50/$1 FR you need to be playing on either PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker in my opinion. The other sites take too great a rake at low limits to make building a bank roll anything other than difficult.

      As for pros, they usually start to consider making a living at around the $5/$T limit and there are a few around the site that regularly contribute. TerrorBlade is probably the most visible of these and his blogs here and here would make an excellent background to see what can go into the pro journey.

      Lower limits do provide possibility to make money in low cost of living jurisdictions (I guess it depends where in Spain you live!) if you are prepared to grind like a mo'fo'. Just make sure if you choose this path that you really have a good grasp on the theory and that you use a much more conservative BRM than the 300BB/500BB recommended by

      Hope this isn't overkill and gives you some idea.

      Best of luck! :s_cool:
    • Huxley1984
      Joined: 06.02.2010 Posts: 9
      Who are you calling old? :f_biggrin:

      Thanks for the advice and the links to Terrorblade's blogs - I'll have a good read through them.

      In terms of putting in the hours studying, I find that pretty easy as I know I'm a complete beginner and so don't assume that I know anything, and as I'm between jobs at the moment I've got plenty of time. I'm putting in the hours studying, playing, reviewing, and when I feel I'm applying what I've learned properly, I go on to more articles, play, review etc.

      I agree about not being results orietated though it's nice to see the chart move in the right direction to give a bit of confidence that things are working.

      My current goals are:
      1. Become 100% familiar with the bronze level strategy articles and videos
      2. Attend all FL Live coaching sessions (there's 1 by Terrorblade on Wednesdays)
      3. Play enough to clear the $50 bonus (need 1000 FTP points)
      4. Make Silver level on PS to release the next strategy info
      5. Build bankroll to get to $.25/$.50 FR (need $150, currently at $70)
      6. Make sure I'm enjoying the ride

    • ksh198
      Joined: 08.12.2008 Posts: 226
      I wouldn't recommend this to you unless you got money saved for like 2 years living already and really got the mind to become good. I can just tell about myself. I was a progamer before so I knew what it felt like to working the ladder. When I started poker it was really hard in the start and my mind got crushed many times. After one month of bad BRM and playing other games aswell I had 96 dollar left at PS and I told myself just to play NL HEM BSS. So I started and after 10 days I got more than 1k. I played like 12 hours a day or even more @ 20 tables these days. Just for your info how much effort you will have to put into this game if you want to become good that fast. 3 months I would say impossible, but you never know. Took me 10 months to reach NL200 and after I did I could say I can make a good living out of it. But yeah sure was hell of a trip and many breakdowns. If you get angry easily or if your losses effects your family you shouldn't play at all.
    • Huxley1984
      Joined: 06.02.2010 Posts: 9
      @ ksh198
      Thanks for the post - that's the kind of info I was looking for: what you have to do to get there, and how long it takes.

      I'm happy now with the way I'm approaching it. I'll work full time on the poker (i.e. 40-50 hours per week) when I'm not doing my normal project work, and see how far I get. If after 3-6 months I can see there's a chance of this working then I'll be really happy, even if it takes another 6-12 months (or even longer) to get to a point where I'm making something of a living out of poker.

      Can I just ask: do you now make your living out of poker, and have you found it to provide a reliable income?
    • littlewing1
      Joined: 31.01.2010 Posts: 23
      think u've made better targets for yourself now, stick with the short term goals and the big one will fall into place.

      now i know this is a poker forum but do u like reading dystopian novels bcos brave new world (aldous huxley) and 1984 are my two favorite books, but maybe im just finding a link here and u have no idea wat im talking about.

      gl anyway
    • Huxley1984
      Joined: 06.02.2010 Posts: 9
      Thanks for the comment, and yep - you worked out my nick. :f_thumbsup:

      Not sure if you've read "Island" by Huxley - his utopian vision.
    • Huxley1984
      Joined: 06.02.2010 Posts: 9
      I've been away on a project so was too busy to play and post for a while but been back home a few weeks now and getting back into the poker.

      Regarding my previous goals:
      1. Become 100% familiar with the bronze level strategy articles and videos
      Pretty solid on these articles now and reviewed the FL videos more than once.
      2. Attend all FL Live coaching sessions (there's 1 by Terrorblade on Wednesdays)
      Missed a couple but getting there fairly regularly.
      3. Play enough to clear the $50 bonus (need 1000 FTP points)
      4. Make Silver level on PS to release the next strategy info
      5. Build bankroll to get to $.25/$.50 FR (need $150, currently at $70)
      6. Make sure I'm enjoying the ride
      achieved - had the odd moment of frustration but 95% of the time I'm enjoying it

      I've played 12000 hands FL$0.10/$0.20 at +8BB/100 and 20000 hands FL$0.25/$0.50 at +1.7BB/100 and am now moving up to FL$0.50/$1 (bankroll is 350BB at this level). First impression is that FL$0.50/$1 is fishier than FL$0.25/$0.50 at Full Tilt - is this true?

      I'm now comfortable multi-tabling 4 tables so feel that things are progressing nicely. Clearly my initial aim to make a living out of this within a few months is not going to happen, but I'm becoming more convinced that this really could be a new way for me to earn a living in the long run. But taking it slowly at the moment and will be doing other "real" work when the projects come up.

      I'll post again soon with some new goals but I think the main ones will be to get familiar with ALL the silver articles and get in the habit of doing hand posting.

      Thanks for all the earlier words of advice.
      Cheers for now.
    • silent21
      Joined: 08.08.2008 Posts: 1,556
      Hello Huxley1984,

      I dont play FL and I usually dont write in the blogs of random people but your dedication, diligence and motivation are really impressive. I wish you GL in learning the game and not in the end to answer your question - Yes, PS and the community can take you to the middle stakes.

      gl at the tables,
    • Huxley1984
      Joined: 06.02.2010 Posts: 9
      Hi again,
      Been AGES since I posted so I thought I'd read the whole blog again to see where I was at. THANKS SO MUCH for all your advice - looking back after 9 months of working this career it seems that your advice has really helped me get where I am today.

      Which is...
      Currently playing FL FR $1/$2 and FL SH $0.50/$1.
      Comfortable with all silver articles, and just turned gold so time to go through all that.
      Watching videos and tuning in to live coachings regularly (~ 3 a week)
      Not yet got into the habit of posting hands.
      BR @ 4th Sept: $920
      Not yet using stats
      Sticking to BRM

      I'm really happy with how things are going. Clearly I haven't made a load of cash or got to a stage where my poker income pays all my bills, but I can see that it is heading in that direction. So in a way I've answered my earlier question (Can take a newbie to pro level?).

      But for now I'm not worrying about growing my bankroll. I'm just really enjoying learning and playing (and noticing that the bankroll slowly but steadily is moving north).

      My next steps are:
      Attend Cornholio gold coaching EVERY week
      Finish studying ALL silver videos.
      Start using stats

      Not sure what stats you find most important. I'm looking at:
      VPIP/PFR/AF/WtSDwsF/W$@SD/ bb/100
      and these are my stats on $1/2 FR after 4000 hands
      19/14/2.0/44/51 8.3bb/100

      Like I say, not too familiar with stats yet but would like to know which you use:
      to analyse your own play
      in your HUD

      Also any thoughts about my stats appreciated - looks a bit nitty to me.

      The other thing is software: I'm just using the Elephant at the moment and I'm gonna go for HEM instead of PT3. I guess these programs come with good definitions of each and every stat. Other than that, any other software you recommend?

    • oblitron
      Joined: 22.01.2010 Posts: 238
      Originally posted by Huxley1984
      I'm gonna go for HEM instead of PT3.
      Well done on getting this far and on your self-discipline and positive attitude. Just a quick note to remind you that the Pokerstrategy Shop offers a discount on HEM:
      n-RRP-of-" target="_blank"> n-RRP-of-$8999.html

      Obviously, you may want to use the free 15-day trial before you actually buy it.
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