Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
I'm not sure this is the right forum to post this (I guess it could go in the brag section, but not my intent), but I will post it here since my post is a "view" from my perspective. I have been a professional poker player since 1998 and have been one of the most successful poker players over the past decade. Success can be defined by different ways esp. when it comes to poker, but I believe I have achieved a good amount of success consistently every year in terms of money, but more importantly, in life. I am not famous, nor am I mentioned on 2+2 much, but I am def. in the top 1% of earners from poker in the past 10 yrs.
I started playing poker in '98 after meeting my future wife in Vancouver, Canada. I met her, married her, and waited for her immigration papers so she can come down to the US. As an american, I was not allowed to work there legally, so poker seemed like a good way to make money legally to support myself. At first, I played low stakes limit hold'em games, then started playing $10-$20 limit hold'em which was the biggest game in town (back then there were no nl cash games anywhere). From the beginning, I knew I wanted to be the best I can be, and ordered most of the good poker books on the market (there were few at that time) inc. Super System and all of Sklansky's books. I was winning from the beginning, not on luck, but because of the effort I put into making myself a winning player. I eventually became one if not the biggest winner in the city. I remember winning $40k the 1st year playing fulltime and thought that was a lot of money to make..I was about 25yrs old at the time. I was not satisfied though, and wanted to become a better player and studied as much as I could. I read almost all the cardplayer magz, ordered more books, and talked poker w/ winning players (there wasn't much info on poker on the internet back then). I have never had a mentor, although I have mentored a couple of friends for awhile. My gf and I got married, and we had a baby (which was a surprise). I grinded hard to save money so when we moved down to the US, we wouldn't be in a tough spot. During those times in Vancouver, my gf, who would become wife would accompany me to the casinos and clubs and see me win consistently and eventually asked me to teach her. I did not want to teach her cuz I knew how hard it was to make money at poker consistently...how much discipline, mental stability, math ability, etc. it took to do well over the long run but I finally gave in. Eventually she became a solid winning player and contributed to our success. In 2001, after exchanging $15k Canadian for $10k US, we moved down to Los Angeles, w/ a 1 yr old baby. I had aspirations to play poker professionally. I really did not know how we would do, but I knew we would do our best that we could, and if we failed, I could just go get a job (having a family really helps keep your focus..usually).
Once in LA, I frequented all the local casinos, mostly the Commerce, playing $6-12 to $20-$40 limit hold'em, w/ the occasional small buyin tournament. Along the way, I studied more and and started winning more. I knew right away that my management of our bankroll would be detrimental to our success in poker. I would never play too big where a really long bad run would break us. I never booked a huge win, but that's because I was playing mostly limit cash games relative to our roll. I was making enough to support us and we lived the middle class lifestyle. Along the way, I knew improving my credit would be essential for later, and when we moved down to LA, I worked on paying down all my debts and establishing better credit. Also, I knew that I had to pay taxes on our winnings, inc back taxes from the money I won in Canada, so I went to a CPA and told him our situation and he helped me pay all the taxes I owed. Since then, we have paid our taxes every year (side note, if you are a pro, you should pay your taxes for many reasons, ...inc that it is the law. Harrington's new book on nl cash games has a very good example of why it is better to pay taxes than not as a pro..you actually make more in the long run by paying taxes). Also, I made sure we got health insurance for us and we bought our 1st family car that we still own today..an suv.
In 2003, when our lease was up, we decided to move to Vegas and hopefully buy a house (homes were much cheaper in Vegas than LA). We moved to Vegas w/ $20k cash and our belongings. I intended to play live cash games like I have been doing, but the Moneymaker and internet poker boom would give me a better option..internet poker. We had played online sporadically before, on Planet Poker and Paradise Poker (those were the biggest sites back then) then Party Poker invaded the market, and invade they did. We turned our focus to internet poker, notably Partypoker, and the games were very good. We did well playing limit online and we cleared 6 figs for the 1st time. We took a risk (not sure if this was the best move for us at that time) and decided to buy a house after 1 yr in Las Vegas. We found a $400k house w/ 4 bedrooms and decided to put 10% down and moved in at the end of '03. Improving my credit the previous years made it easy for us to buy the house (plus it was a time when homebuilders were selling homes like hotcakes). Once we moved in, we continued to play for a living. It was nice to play at home while raising a family. The 1st month we moved into our house, I won the online Partypoker mil (equivalent to the Stars mil every sunday) for $250k. Talk about a cash boon! The very minute I won, I started thinking about the best way to use that money, and I started studying investing..buying some investing books. I also put an additional 10%into our mortgage to avoid PMI. I paid off all our debts, inc our car. I eventually invested most of our money into long term mutual funds. We did not really play bigger games live or online, although I started playing some $100-$200 limit games at the Bellagio a little more. For some reason, I got lazy playing poker after that and we did not make much more the rest of the year. To this day, my biggest flaw in poker is being lazy and not playing enough.
The next couple of years brought the influx of nl cash games and I slowly transitioned over to them. I knew that the limit games were getting tougher and nl games would be the game of choice from then on. I have never played a hand of nl in a cash game before then and as always, I studied and became good at it right away (it helped that the games were very soft on Party..oh if I only knew then what I know now). I started playing $5-$10nl, w/ some shots at $10-$20nl, while my wife stuck to limit. My wife did well for a couple of years, clearing 6 figs back to back yrs in '04 and '05. Along the way, we emphasized keeping a good family life, and raising our child the best that we could. We never said bad words w/ her around (and believe me, playing online it's easy to let slip a bad word). We were Christians and we tried to get to church every sunday (I'd say we did an avg job at that although we go just about every sunday now). With our success, our immediate family members would ask for financial help, and we always helped. To this day, we have immediate family members that we support (you 20yr olds have it easy right now).
2005 would be the 1st year since I started playing professionally that I would make less than the previous year in poker. I did make my 1st wsop ft cashing for $70k. I just missed improving my previous year sum by a few thousand. I strived to do better in '06 and I ended up winning more than I ever have . I went deep in the wsop ME and eventually finished 73rd for $60+K (the year Jamie Gold won it over 8000 entrants). Also, on Oct 13, '06, the UIGEA was passed (unscrupulously) and we know what happened after that. Partypoker closed to Americans and Neteller would follow (would make it tougher to deposit and withdraw afterwards). Different sites opened up, w/ Stars and Full Tilt becoming the big 2 in the US. Games got much, much tougher. For my wife, her easy and big wins were diminishing. For myself, I kept improving and took a very realistic approach to where my skill levels lied relative to the poker world. With that, I did well in '07 playing on FTP mostly, topped by a win in the 1st ever FTP $750k guarantee in Auguest for $135k. Again I topped the previous year, inc all buyins for tournaments. During the year, we moved to a bigger house overlooking a golf course in Vegas and we bought our 1st luxury car..a Benz E500. We also kept our previous home, and rent it out now.
This year, I have already won more than last year, and I made an effort to track every single min. playing cash games and every tournament (live and online) using cardplayer analyst. There were some interesting stats for me...I am a net loser this yr in tournaments inc a disappointing 1 cash (for 4k) in 13 events at the wsop. My total buyins amount close to $200k (about $50k in live tournaments) this year (I am not a high volume MTT player unlike a lot of kids nowadays, but more of a high volume cash game player in terms of hands played even though I usually played 2-5 tournaments online from Mon-Sat and 5-10 tournaments on Sundays) and my total payouts amount to a little over $180k. There are a couple of points to be taken from this...w/ no disrespect to successful online MTT players (couple of my friends are high volume MTT players)...the guys you see making 6 figs from online MTTs are really not making as much as you would think. There are some that are making really good money and are really good at MTT's, but the totals don't list the net totals (cashes - buyins) and these guys easily spend in the 6 figs in buyins every year. Also, it is very difficult to maintain consistently winning years playing MTTs strictly. There are a few that have done it, but most fail and even the best go a long time w/ rough stretches (since MTTs are much more volatile for a winning player than cash games are). Also, I am not discrediting tournament players...I have won 2 big ones online and they can really boost your roll. The other point is that if you want to be really successful in the long run, and make lots of money in poker, cash games is the better way to go (unless you are one of the few very succesful live MTT players). Also, I have improved w/ each passing year the # of tables I am able to play online. This has contributed to my total earn each year (the # of tables I play now is anywhere from 12-16). This has also helped me to cut down on the # of hrs I play so I can spend more time w/ my family and other interests (inc video games where I spent too much time but not enough time exercising).
During the past 10 yrs, I have seen just about everything to see in poker and the poker world. I have failed w/ loaning people money (as I am owed enough money to buy a BMW 750...I hope I get repaid back by various people, but could be drawing dead w/ certain people). As Roy Cooke has said in a previous column, learn to say "No". When I was single, I had discipline problems w/ playing too long of a session chasing losses..eventually w/ the help of my wife, I overcame that. I live in Vegas and do occasionally bet sports and shoot dice but I am very disciplined and lose no more than 1% over the course of the year of what I make in poker that year. I have seen so many people try to succeed in poker, and most have failed for various reasons. Even the ones that are still playing are always broke at some point or at numerous times. Learn to manage your roll. We have done a great job at that and we've never been close to broke after our 1st year playing fulltime. Hence I have yet to play really high stakes poker (plus it really is less stressful w/ less variance at stakes you are comfortable w/). Learn from criticism but don't be detered by it. As successful as I have been, I have been criticized for bad play, and have even been called a bad player, inc a couple of times here at 2+2. Do I argue their beliefs? No, I think why they would think that and figure out if they may be right w/ certain parts of my game, and if so, I learn and improve. I have had good runs and bad runs. I just recently came off a bad run where I lost $60k (live and online combined) and I even dropped down stakes online to start back from basics and to improve my game (also softer competition is always nice at the lower stakes). I am not too proud to play lower stakes to get my game back on track and to rebuild my roll (although I was never really close to broke since we have a lot of money in investments and equity). I can say I had a great month in Nov. playing $2-$4 and $3-$6 nl w/ a couple of nice tourney cashes for $15k total where I recovered my entire downswing while improving my game overall. Now I am back to my usual games online and an even better player. If you were to ask me what my biggest accomplishment in poker would be, it would be close between 2 things...that I have improved as a player every year and my results show that (save 05 but that was a good year nonetheless) and that my wife and I have been able to make a very quality life for our entire family (this would be my #1 accomplishment). Even when I play long night sessions online, I wake up just about every morning to take my kid to school because I want to show her that I am not a degenerate gambler w/ no regard for my family. Believe me, for a poker player, waking up at 8am every morning is not easy, but there are priorities in life, and family is higher than sleep and poker, plus I just go back to sleep when I get back home.
Also, I want to stress that it is always better to learn as many forms of poker that you can. I am not strictly a nl cash game player, although the bulk of my profits come from that variation...I've had my successes in tournaments, and I have and still do occasionally play limit hold'em and diff variations of limit poker, inc 2-7 triple draw, badugi (on stars now) among others. It keeps playing poker from being too repetitive and from getting burned out (a subject that is not discussed enough I believe). Also, I am not an "online player", because I do go out once in awhile and play live, and the 1st 5 yrs of my poker career were almost all in a live setting. Come Jan 20th (for those who don't know, that is the date the final set of rules for the UIGEA go into effect), we don't know what will happen to online poker, but I do know that I will be prepared to play live if need be. Also, I want to make a quick comment about a 2+2 contributor by the name of The Engineer who posts mostly in the poker legislation section. He is hands down the person who has done the most on 2+2 to keep us informed about the ongoing regulations and I along w/ others (inc most of u guys) can not thank him enough for all the work he has done to try to keep online poker legal for all of us.
Before some of you guys think I am rambling on and that this post could be considered a long brag, there is a purpose for this post. I even debated whether to post this, but I felt like poker has given my family and me a lot, and I wanted to show that one can lead a successful and rewarding life playing for a living. It may seem selfish to show how well I have done playing poker for a living (relative to the real world and most of the poker world..obv there are bigger and much bigger winners than me, but over 10 yrs, I would estimate the # is few), but I want to show that poker can be a rewarding occupation if you are realistic w/ yourself, and always striving to get better (I guess you do need some amount of certain qualitites, like analytical ability, tilt control, etc.) Also, I happened onto a thread on here recently of a certain hs winning player who decided to give up poker as a profession for awhile because he amounted huge losses (though he says he is still a big winner overall). It can be a very stressful lifestyle, but if you approach it the right way and have the right mindset all the time, it is easier and you really can live a very productive life (I will leave the argument of contributing to society to the other threads here...I have donated to charities as well as a side note.) I like to think my wife and I have played poker professionally the right way and for all the right reasons, and for some, it can be done.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
A mega LOL here:
A 38-year-old father of two was jogging and listening to his iPod when he was hit from behind and killed by a small plane making an emergency landing on the beach, officials said Tuesday.Robert Gary Jones, of Woodstock, Ga., was killed instantly on Hilton Head Island on Monday evening, said Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen.The single-engine plane had lost its propeller and the pilot's vision was blocked by oil on the windshield, Allen said.Infact this deserves the triple whammy FWIW
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Friday, March 05, 2010
From the Daily Mail :
She has a legacy of wearing revealing dresses. But it appears at the age of 44, Elizabeth Hurley is still not ready to give up the game.
The actress attended the Love Ball charity fundraiser last night in a dazzling blue sari WITHOUT the cropped top, a Choli or Ravika, which is typically worn underneath it.
And under the glare of the camera flashlights, well, the effect is self-evident.
Who dare ask now "Choli ke peechey kiya hai madam"
On a brighter note look who's back on PS3