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Showing posts with label Gambling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gambling. Show all posts

September 18, 2018

Professional Gambling

Started a long, long time ago...

My mother and grandmother taught me how to play card games like rummy, spades and hearts before we got more advanced: bridge. My dad taught me to play chess. So I've always loved cards; I've always loved analytical games.

In school, I studied astrophysics and then finance...

Then I worked on Wall Street...learned about derivatives...

TLDR? TIPS? I moved this up front. No one wants to read my poker/history or resume. So let's cut to the chase:

Tips? I don't want to share any. I don't want others getting better.

But then I realize there are poker books anyone could read that could tell them anything I have to share.

Let's leave it at this: Back in November 2017, I thought I was pretty good. Today? That guy I was then was a pinhead with little-to-no clue about real poker. Until you've seen 10,000 or so hands at real cash tables -- getting involved in 20-25% of them yourself -- you do not have a clue about the game!

And it's not enough to just play the game. You have to STUDY it!!! You have to know the odds! You have to make pot- and stack-based calculations on the fly! You have to learn how to read people. And...you have to develop a style, something you're comfortable with...that earns for you.

And you have to learn how to be patient and you have to learn to be tolerant (of weak players with big mouths as well as strong players with big mouths) and you have to learn to be humble (because even if you're the best player at a table and make nothing but the right decisions, you can still have a losing session -- and NO ONE will give you any credit for how well you actually play because very few are sophisticated enough to even notice).

And guess what else? Your friends do not want to hear about your bad beats or your wins -- their eyes will glaze over. If you plan to play, plan to play for yourself, not for any sort of glory from others.

Oh, and your wife or girl friend? Forget it -- they likely will HATE hearing your stories! (They will only care whether you have more or less cash and then how much attention is rained on them.)

It's work. And it's study.

My guess? In another six months...after I've seen another 10,000 or so hands...I'll feel the guy I am TODAY is a clueless mark.

The point being: to know poker, you have to not merely play -- you have to WORK at it!

End of story; end of sermon.

OKAY...back to my background:

I caught the poker bug from my sons in the late 90's. All three of them were playing online and making money winning tournaments. And I don't mean minor cash...I mean, enough to buy cars (the 18 and 16 year old) and other things (my 13 year old).

When they weren't playing online, they'd have people over for cash games and small tournaments and I started sitting in. Quickly, I learned this is a game where you need to know what you're doing so I started reading about it--learning lots. (I always learned lots from playing in these cash games. With just me and three sons living together -- with their friends coming over frequently -- we played lots and lots of poker.)

Occasionally we'd venture out to play poker in one of Houston's many underground rooms. My sons and I would cash almost every time...NOT cashing was the exception. We started realizing, we're all pretty good.

All this time, I have a very good career...so I never thought of poker as any sort of serious source of income. But I kept playing on occasion.

Then, about six or seven years ago, I started playing more seriously ONLINE. I forget the name of the site but at lunch or other times I would open three small triple up tournaments for $3 a piece and was more often than not cashing. Then that became three for $7 each...then three for $14...then three for $21...and the money started to become meaningful. I mean, I would get a check for 2 grand or so every couple of months and my new wife and I would do something "fun" with it.

Then that site became Bovada...and Bovada sucks! I mean, you could no longer track your opponents as everyone was anonymous. I mean, I continued on Bovada, but I did not like it very much and didn't play anywhere near as often. (It's Ignition now.)

For a couple of years, I was able to play on a European site using a VPN. But then one day, when I tried to get paid, they "discovered" I was US-based and shut down my access. (I "sold" my account to a London-based friend, basically splitting its value.)

So Ignition sucks; and no more Euro poker. I was getting pretty frustrated...

My son has month home games...but that wasn't enough.

Then...for some bizarre reason, I ran out of work around mid-November 2017. That is, suddenly, none of my clients had any work for me.

Not to panic...I have loads of savings...but I was kind of enjoying it having so much free time. And I was asking one of my sons about the underground rooms: where are they today? And then I was telling him I am so anxious to play that I'm thinking of going to New Orleans for a week or so to play at Harrah's. He said: you know, there are poker rooms in Houston now. Legal. Post Oak?

I looked into it. Yeah. Houston at that time now had three of 'em: Post Oak, Mint, Lions, all using a "club" loophole in Texas law and all open for a year or less. (They've since added half a dozen or more!)

So I visited Post Oak and on my first day, more than 4x ($300 buy in, left with $1,400).

I STILL had my career. But still, no work was coming in. So I had a serious chat with my two largest clients. BOTH assured me this was an anomaly and that loads of work would be forthcoming.

So I chilled, and just got into the rhythm of playing poker every day. And though I didn't win $1,100 every day -- in fact I had days where I lost $600 or more -- I found that over time, my bank roll (I kept rigorous track of winnings/losings as well as costs like gas, "time" (they charge by the hour), parking and tips) was growing fast.

So all of December I played almost daily. Then the same for January. By February, "some" work was starting to roll in. . . so I'd work mornings then go to poker.

By March my "real" job was starting to kick in PLUS my wife and I are big on renfaires (so eight weekends in a row we were in Austin) -- both of which "ate in" to my poker time.

NOW? My real job is in full swing. But...I go to play poker three to four times per week now with my wife's complete blessing (because I make money doing what I love). So I'll work until, say, 4pm, then I go to the gym (gotta' counteract all that sitting around), then I go to poker, playing usually until 11:30 or so.

My wife misses me she says...but...we make time together. Like yesterday, I played soccer in the morning, from there went straight to the poker house at 11:30, played until 4:15 (I would have been $600 richer if I had left at four and not chased two up and down straight draws with flush chances -- but I still made $200 over costs for the day). THEN I went home, showered and took my wife to dinner and a movie (spending more than I made for the day LOL).

Okay...so that's where I am today. Playing regularly. Making money. Still focusing on my MAIN career. Keeping both me and my wife happy.

Could I make more playing poker? I don't know. So far I'm seeing little correlation with the stakes. That is, there are just as many idiots on the $5/$5 tables as there are on the $1/$3. And truth be told, I'm most comfortable risking only $800 in a night (one $400 buy in with the intention of a second only if needed) instead of the $2k you need to put at risk for 5/5 (wider swings, that is).

If I want to make this any sort of career? I have to play higher stakes. But for now, I'm very happy playing $1/$3 having plus days about 2/3rds of the time.

HERE'S WHAT I COPIED TO THE FRONT -- read it again if you're bored.

Tips? I don't want to share any. I don't want others getting better.

But then I realize there are poker books anyone could read that could tell them anything I have to share.

Let's leave it at this: Back in November 2017, I thought I was pretty good. Today? That guy I was then was a pinhead with little-to-no clue about real poker. Until you've seen 10,000 or so hands at real cash tables -- getting involved in 20-25% of them yourself -- you do not have a clue about the game!

And it's not enough to just play the game. You have to STUDY it!!! You have to know the odds! You have to make pot- and stack-based calculations on the fly! You have to learn how to read people. And...you have to develop a style, something you're comfortable with...that earns for you.

And you have to learn how to be patient and you have to learn to be tolerant (of weak players with big mouths as well as strong players with big mouths) and you have to learn to be humble (because even if you're the best player at a table and make nothing but the right decisions, you can still have a losing session -- and NO ONE will give you any credit for how well you actually play because very few are sophisticated enough to even notice.

It's work. And it's study.

My guess? In another six months...after I've seen another 10,000 or so hands...I'll feel the guy I am TODAY is a clueless mark.

The point being: to know poker, you have to not merely play -- you have to WORK at it!

End of story; end of sermon.