Monday, May 11, 2009


EZ Life

I moan a bit sometimes, as we all do, but it's just letting off steam. In truth, I have a sick EZ life. I play a game of cards for 15 hours a week and that enables me to have everything I need. Everything I want, even. I can make my own hours and play as little or as much as I like. I've had a pretty sketchy year so far online, no score over $15K that I can recall, and I've still made as much as I ever made in an entire year of having a good job. And that's just online, not counting the TV donkament.

But the point of this post isn't just as a brag. Well not entirely anyway :-). I wanted to express how perplexed I am by the fact that half of 2+2 wonders why I do it. For example :

Why Play MTTs ?

Cliff notes, "Simple question: why should I or anybody else play MTTs, especially NLHE MTTs?"

My response

I love the stuff about "not pure poker". It makes me think of a pair of "Suits You Sir" tailors going "Well Sir, did we win this money in donkaments ? Went ALL IN a lot did we Sir ? Get out of here you scum, we don't want your money". Except that never happens, does it.

That's just an entree though for this very interesting thread :

Most makeup / How long

Just ignore the last 100 posts or so which are nits arguing about selling makeup. It's the eternal question of whether playing the live circuit with a backer is really a good idea. Maybe it's even more basic than that, going right back to Joey Knish v Mike McDermott. Grind or glory ?

First of all, I don't really understand what makes one form of poker more of a grind than another. Over a year (or a decade, or a lifetime), you play X hands of poker for $Y. What difference whether it's tournament or cash ? Or X hours for $Y if it's online vs live. But again, what difference ? You play poker, you get paid.

If you want to argue that it's cooler, or more fun, to play the live circuit for big money, I might well accept that. If you were playing off your own money. I'm the big shot, I'm playing the $25K Bellagio. Er, if my backer agrees it. Right. And it must be lots of fun to be 6 figures in the hole and needing to win that back before you see dollar one.

So anyway, in this thread, I end up getting into it with Gobbo starting from post 258. I didn't want to be personal about it, and fortunately I did resist the temptation to react when he called me "retarded" and "a nit", but the fact is that his statement "MTTs are really fucking hard to make a living in" is total nonsense. See the title of this blog post for the actuality. If he meant "getting out of $100s of K in make up is really fucking hard", fine, but then that's what he should have said !

There are some great posts in the thread though, especially from Seabeast and Timex. One of the things Timex said was that many people over-estimate their EV in live tournaments. Judging by Gobbo's estimate of $500/hr, he's one of them. I didn't get to ask him if that was before giving the backer his cut (in which case the player EV is $250/hr which is no better than what you can do online) or after (in which case he's claiming a base EV of $1000/hr, O RLY). The reason I didn't get to ask him is because he left the thread after I asked him to explain this :

"So you're telling me being a nit and sacrificing hundreds of thousands in equity so you can grind out a living and never turn poker into anything is a good goal to have? That seems awful. I would quit poker now if I didn't think I could turn it into something eventually."

Something ? What ? What does he mean ? I have no idea. And maybe this gets to the heart of the disconnect. People are chasing ... something. I don't know what it is. They don't seem to know themselves. But they need this something to make it all worthwhile. Gobbo would "quit now" if he couldn't turn it into "something".

If there's one thing I can tell you from my life (lol sample size 1), it's screw tomorrow and live for today. I tried to "make a career", I had pensions and PEPs, I scrimped and cut back so I could "invest for tomorrow". And for what ? If it wasn't for poker I'd still be living hand to mouth right now. As soon as I said "fuck this, I'm getting off" my quality of life went through the roof. And if it hadn't worked out, big deal, like I wanted to be a Business Unit Manager anyway (yes really, a BUM). I could have got a job in a library and been just as happy (happier if anything, I could tell people to shut up all day).

You don't need "career goals" and you don't need to "turn poker (or whatever you do) into something". That's snake oil they sell you to keep your nose to the grindstone, or keep you coming to the WSOP every year. I don't know where I was going with this post, but now I'm here ! Just like life :-)

Update : Seabeast nails it here. Absolutely nails it.

As a casual online cash player, that makeup thread was like a vision into some hellish absinthe fuelled parallel universe. Thx for posting it.

Given I know nothing about the tournament poker scene it begs so many questions about bankroll requirements, stakes and variance in tournament poker.

Gobboboy's 'make something' quote is as insightful as it is utterly meaningless. Where does his $500/hr figure come from? If you're in a $10k tournament, how many hours is it likely to take? Because there needs to be a hell of a lot of dead money out there for your EV to be double the buyin, surely. Even $200/hr sounds like a very healthy winrate, tbh, in terms of cashgame BB/100 hands.

Anyway, the idea that living in a hotel room and running the live circuit is a great way to stay broke goes back at least to Big Deal, doesn't it?
Even though I only play SNGs and dabble in MTTs, I was breakeven for so long while blaming variance. The moment I stopped using variance as a scapegoat and took responsibility for my play, I became infinitely better.
Why do you read that stuff Andy, let alone get involved in it? I wasted 15 minutes of my life that I won't get back trawling through 80% juvenilia, 15% rubbish and 5% common sense. Even your own contribution seemed to deteriorate in the direction of, if not completely into 2+2-tardism, TBH. (I refer to the somewhat sarky punchline, which added nothing to the point you were trying to make).

Play your cards, make your money, and do what I now do, don't bother reading the gossip or the strategy. Even the threads on "what you should do in such and such a situation" don't generate a fraction of the value that you get from analyzing the tournaments that you have played and looking at opponents' styles there.

To an extent it's worth knowing what current trends are in terms of play ... but as we see from this thread, most the regs just aren't playing the same games as I do. Except on Sundays, when the fields are so diluted that you rarely encounter them. So you're probably right. It's a form of addiction (for me) I think, especially when I'm playing but have few tables open.

As for the punchlines, when in Rome :-)

Great post mate.
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