Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Isle of Man Trip Report

Hi everyone!

Last month André got invited to attend the UKIPT at the Isle of Man. He accepted the invitation and I was more than happy to follow him for some mini-holidays. I didn't really know what to expect going to the Isle of Man, so I was rather skeptical. I had never been to the UK before, and the Isle of Man is a rather special case since it's not entirely part of the UK. Located in the Irish sea, it has its own government, its own currency and is somewhat independent.

When packing for a poker trip, I always make sure to take some books with me so that I can keep myself busy for many hours in a row while André is working. After my preliminary investigation on the Isle of Man, I found out it was a pretty small place with a population of 85k people and not a ton of stuff to do, so I packed some extra books just to be sure. Let me tell you, I didn't read a single page.

Day 0 - The arrival

We arrived on the 29th of October and were received by a very friendly taxi driver that took us to our hotel. On our way there, he told us a few things about the island. The thing that I found the most interesting was the low (almost nonexistent) criminality. People would leave their cars unlocked, wouldn't worry if their kids stayed out of the house until late and if someone left their bag on a restaurant table while they went to the bathroom the bag would still be there (with all its contents) when they came back. I grew up in a city of five million people so all that sounds quite unreal to me.

Sefton Hotel

After a short drive we arrived at Sefton hotel. It looked quite cozy and the staff was very friendly. We got settled in our room and soon afterwards we went down to the lobby to meet Chris (Team Online's manager) and Alex Millar (Team Online member). We walked to Chris' place and ordered Thai food. Coming from Portugal, which is a country that hasn't really embraced the idea of food delivery, I really enjoyed the luxury of ordering, plus, the food was very good! The company was great, I really like both Chris and his wife. Alex seemed to be cool too and easy to talk to. I knew nothing about him apart from the fact that he was the latest addition to Team Online, so I was astonished when the conversation turned to poker and he mentioned what he was playing and the amount of money he dealt with on a daily basis! I played it cool though, so no one at the table noticed! :P I guess I didn't expect someone as successful as him to be so down to earth. One more person that I added to my favorite Team Onliners list!

Day 1 - Office Tour & VIP Party

André and I went to have breakfast and soon we were joined by Alex and Dale Philip, another Team Online member that I had never met before. Up until that point I thought my level of English was pretty good and my accent pretty understandable. Apparently, it's not the case. Dale's simple question "So what did you guys do last night?" fired up a big misunderstanding. I tried to tell him that we went to have dinner with Chris. At first, he was staring at me saying nothing. I repeated my answer, but the blank stare continued. "You went to Greece?", he asked. Eventually, I had to spell it out for him C-R-H-I-S. "Oh, you mean Chr/ɛ/s", he said with a Scottish accent. During the week we were at the IOM I laughed a lot with Dale's struggle to understand my Greek version of English (and André's Portuguese version of it)! By the end of our stay I think he could understand me pretty well, but I still couldn't imitate his accent no matter how hard I tried... Too bad, cause I think it's cool!

Anyway, the four of us stayed talking long after the breakfast was over and the room was closed. Pretty amazing how sometimes you get along with people you just met. After that André, Alex and I got a cab and went to Pokerstars' offices. Chris was waiting for us to give us a private tour! At the entrance they had the most amazing coffee machine. It had a touch screen, you didn't have to pay and the coffee was delicious. If anyone offered it to me I would gladly install it in my living room! <3

So many options...

We went upstairs to have lunch at the company's restaurant and then we went through all the different departments. It was interesting to see how everything is organised and learn a bit about what each department does. I wanted to take some pictures to show you guys, but at the same time I felt a bit like I was intruding so I didn't even ask. :P But all in all, it is a very pleasant place to work in!

Headquarters!

Later that night, we went to the VIP Club Live party, which was held at Salt restaurant. Food and drinks were free which was nice! There were a lot of Team Online members there. Also, there was a magician that would go from one group to the other and perform tricks! I was staring open-mouthed at everything he did, I'm the best audience for that kind of stuff, I fall for everything! André on the other hand, would understand how some of the tricks worked and he would whisper in my ear, ruining the magic! Lol!

Anyone can attend those events as long as they get an invitation through the VIP store. Even though I could get in as André's +1, I got an invite of my own online. At some point, I noticed that all the people around me were wearing badges with their names saying "Pokerstars Staff", "Pokerstars Supernova" or "Pokerstars VIP". Since we were one of the first ones to arrive, nobody was at the door to check us in so I didn't have a badge. I thought it was cool, so I went to the door and asked the guy behind the table if I could have a one. He said "of course" and picked up one of the "Pokerstars VIP" badges to give me. At that exact moment, André showed up behind me, all patched up with the Team Online logo and said "No, no, give her the Supenova". Kindly enough, the guy put the "VIP" back and gave me the "Supernova" one instead. I'm 100% sure he did it as a favor to André and not because he truly believed I was Supernova. Cause I mean... Girl. Supernova. At the Isle of Man. Yeah, right!

Caleb from the VIP Club was in Halloween mode

Day 2 - Exploring the island

The next day started with another Team Online breakfast. As on cue, everyone showed up 15-30 minutes before the buffet closed. That day we also met Felix Schneiders that joined the team earlier this year. I won't go on and on about what a nice guy he is. By now you have probably figured it out, if you're not cool then you don't make it to Team Online! Anyway, it was the first day of the UKIPT and André was playing. Since I had the day to myself, I took the electric tramway with Dale and we had a little tour of the island. We went to Ramsey, which was one hour and a half away from Douglas where we were staying. Unfortunately Dale had some commitments in the afternoon, so we could only afford to spend 15 minutes in Ramsey. Not a big deal anyway, since the most interesting thing was seeing the landscape while on the train. We grabbed some sandwiches from Ramsey and had lunch on our way back. The island is beautiful, but don't take my word for it, just look at the pictures below...

Stop in Douglas

Baldrine station

Another tram in Laxey

Laxey wheel

Inside the tram

When I got back to the hotel I found a big group gathered in front of the reception desk: Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree, Jason Mercier, Vanessa Russo, Barry Greenstein, David Williams and Fatima Moreira de Melo along with more poker players and some familiar faces from Pokerstars staff. I mean, I already knew we were all staying at the same hotel, but to see so many poker celebrities in such a small space was almost intimidating! I resisted the temptation of asking them for a photo, maybe next time I'll indulge! :P

Unfortunately, André got eliminated from the main event on Day 1. The cute fox that you saw in the picture above cruelly took all of his chips! After all the poker business of the day was over, we all gathered again at Chris' place for dinner! I was playing it cool on the outside, but mentally I was jumping around clapping my hands for another delivery night. This time it was a delicious pizza! Apart from your usual group of suspects, there were VIP Events manager Dylan, Isaac Haxton and his wife Zoe. Obviously that night was a lot of fun as well! Oh, and we got to watch Isaac's Team Online short video before it was released! Hehe!

Day 3 - Time off and another Pokerstars Party

André didn't have any work obligations during the day so we could just relax. After breakfast he was feeling tired so he went back to sleep. Since it was sunny (a rare thing on the Isle of Man), I decided to go for a walk around the hotel and found a street full of stores. Shopping frenzy! Around lunchtime, I took André to a cozy restaurant that I discovered. As it turned out, apart from a nice decoration it also had really good food!

André ordered salmon, always eating healthy!

I couldn't resist the profiteroles on a cake

At night, we had another Pokerstars party to attend. This time it was at Tahiko club and not at a restaurant. Louder music, but again, free drinks! They also had a costume competition but most of the people attending chose not to dress up. Still, we all got to hang out together so it was fun! Isaac, Zoe, André and I left the club around 1 or 2 a.m. Since we had all skipped dinner, we went to a kebab place and took some food back to the hotel. We all ate together, spent some time chatting and around 4 a.m. Isaac and Zoe went back to their room. So far so good. 

What was not so much fun, was what came after the party and the dinner. At 6 a.m., just when everyone was getting into a deeper sleep, the fire alarm went off. I'm talking about the loudest, most annoying fire alarm on the planet. Seriously. Since it didn't seem like it would be turned off, we took it as a sign that we needed to evacuate the hotel.

We joined the rest of the hotel guests outside, they were all gathered next to a fire truck. Poker players going out of the building, firemen going in. What was interesting is that almost everyone was dressed in clothes. André and I of course were among the few that chose to go out in pajamas :P I think the award for weirdest after-night appearance was between us two and Mickey Petersen, who was fully dressed except that he was bare footed. I'm talking no shoes, no socks, no slippers. And then of course you had people that remembered to bring their phones or iPads but it didn't dawn on them to grab a jacket. November, nighttime in England. Freezing cold, just saying! Apparently there was no fire, so after half an hour or so, we all went back to our beds.

Day 4 - Magic day

Most of us followed the ritual of going to have breakfast 10 minutes before it closed. Only this time, we were feeling so hangover (from the fire alarm, not the drinks!) that we just went back to sleep afterwards. When we woke up it was around lunchtime and we got invited by Quentin (Play money and social media manager) for a cube draft. David Williams had brought his cube with him... I know this is a poker blog so I don't want to bore you with Magic: The Gathering details, but for those of you that do play the game I want to share this epic picture:

Going through cube draft cards only to randomly find... a Black Lotus!

This was my first time playing this format and I though it was awesome, even though I wasn't good at it... Towards the end, we ordered Thai food again (delivery heaven!).

Drafting! Good thing that a lot of poker players have a MTG background!

We ended the night getting drinks at a local bar. Another great day!

Day 5 - Girls' time

In the morning all Team Onliners had a meeting, so I got to hang out with Zoe. I thought it would be nice to go back to that nice little restaurant for lunch since it was my last day on the island and Zoe hadn't been there. Since it was a Sunday, most poker players gathered up at the Villa Marina where the UKIPT was held. You see, the internet there was better than the one at the hotel and nobody wanted to miss the Sunday grind. I just spent the entire day with Zoe which was nice. I finally found someone who fully understands what living with a poker pro player means, so we had a lot of things to talk about!

If you ever go to the Isle of Man, do not miss this one!

Delicious onion soup

Day 6 - The departure

We had an early flight to catch, so we didn't see anyone that day. We went to have breakfast right after it opened at 7 a.m. Too early for the poker people! Overall it was a great trip, probably the one I've had the most fun at out of our poker related destinations. I hope you enjoyed reading this trip report! I'll leave you with some more pictures from the Isle of Man...

Douglas Bay at night

Tea time!

Manx triskelion

The view from our hotel room

The Tower of Refuge at sunrise

Monday, 30 September 2013

September Recap + MTT Surprise

Hello!

September is already over and I have to say it wasn't a very exciting month poker-wise. I got super lazy and didn't put in a lot of volume. I was playing far less hours than I'm supposed to each day and then halfway through the month André decided to take a week off. That is totally understandable since he was working 10+ hours per day and was feeling burnt out. The bad thing is that I ended up pretty much taking that week off as well, even though I should be working more than normal to cover up for lost time. But when you are feeling lazy and you have your significant other sleeping until noon, watching TV or inviting you to go out it's very hard to resist and not tag along!

After André's week off was over, I got back to work but had some downswings that affected my mood and resulted in me procrastinating for a couple more days. The graph I have to show for September is not very pretty:


Yup. Final result: 4.6k games and -$118. Which is awful, not because of the break-even result but cause of the lack of volume. But what's done is done and there's no need to cry over spilled milk. I can just try my best to avoid this situation in October.

That said, the boring month of September decided to make a big exit. Yesterday was my last day playing for the month. I forced myself to wake up early to get the opportunity to play more games. You see, I was still missing some points for the 6.500 VPPs Supernova threshold. So there I was playing, when at 11:00 an MTT popped up. I found it really strange cause every other day of the week the satellites that I play in the morning feed tournaments that start 11:30. I should have another half hour, right? I checked it out and of course, the Bigger $33 starts at 11:00 on Sundays. Way to go girl!

When the tournament started, there were around 450 players registered but they kept coming. I checked the lobby, it said that late registration would be open for two hours. Geeeee, this is gonna take forever! When the registration closed there were 1852 total entrants. The top 234 that got paid seemed to be faaar far away so the chances of me getting my buy-in back were slim. I thought okay, calm down, instead of taking a two hour break until the $12 hyper satellites come back, you're just gonna play this one. I was basically ignoring the tournament, playing extremely tight while facebooking and youtubing. What do I know about playing with 100+ blinds anyway?

But two hours later, I was still alive at the MTT and the blinds had gone up quite a bit, bringing most people to around 10-20 BBs. My kind of game. Excellent! Since I had an idea about how to play and it had gotten more interesting, I decided to give it my full attention and not open any satellites on the side. Things kept going well, and before I realized what was happening we were close to the money. I had a decent sized stack and just had to not go crazy in order to be alive when the bubble burst. After it did, I was counting down in tens. Okay, let's make it to the top 100. Okay, now let's try to make it to the top 90. Now top 80... And so on.

When it was down to 4 tables, I started eyeing the 7th prize: $1.5k. Since this was a break-even month for me, I would have to cash in some of my FPPs to get the $1.6k bonus in order to pay the bills while leaving my banrkoll untouched. That 7th prize would solve the problem and let me keep my points for later. That's why it looked so yummy!

The wait to get to the final table was excruciating. I had a very good stack and just had to wait for one of the shorties to bust. It took some time but we finally got there! I was around 4th to 6th in chips most of the time and it didn't take long before 2 players were eliminated! When I realized that I was guaranteed to get at least the 7th prize I was over the moon! Grinning to myself, I took a sip of my coffee and watched as a player that had more chips than me got all-in against the chip leader. He got eliminated, taking us one step higher in the paying ladder. I'm telling you, those were the easiest 500 bucks I've ever made. Staring at my computer screen while drinking coffee.

I finished the tournament in 4th place, cashing in $3.6k. Awesome! I got a bit unlucky at the last hand where I got all-in preflop with 55 against ATs. It's a coin flip slightly tipped in my favor and for a moment there I thought I'd get it, until an ace hit on the river (it always has to be the damn river, right?). You can see the full hand here.


I felt a slight disappointment for losing that hand but it was momentary. I was too busy being happy about the $3.6k that literally came out of nowhere to save the day! :D And if I'm not mistaken, this is my best score at MTTs, my second best being a $3k finish last December at a $109 NL tourney.


After the MTT finished around 20:00, I was still missing something like 50 VPPs for the Supernova threshold. The $12 being long gone, I could either play higher or lower. I decided I didn't want to challenge my luck at the higher buy-ins so I loaded up some $3.75s to make the missing points. You know I love to share unusual graphs, so here's mine from yesterday:



Haha! Cool or what? Anyway, I hope I'll be more focused during October. It's going to be a challenging month because André has decided to do the vampire schedule which means he'll be waking up around 14.00 everyday. I want to keep my morning routine, ideally waking up at 7.30-8.00 which is gonna be tough because we'll be living in the same house without seeing each other much. I'm not entirely sure how this is going to work out. From past experience, I know that us having opposite schedules does not work very well. One of us always ends up following the other's schedule. Only this time it will be really tough because I have better games in the morning while André has better games at night. We'll see how this goes...

Until my next post, see you guys at the tables! :)

Friday, 6 September 2013

August, my daily routine and 16tabling

Hello!

The first week of September is almost gone, so I thought I should hurry up and upload a post with my overview of the past month. Results-wise, it was not quite as great as July, but it was still a pretty good month. Here's the graph for the month of August:


I played a total of 9.684 games, which is more comparing to the 6k I did in July. However, if you take into consideration that those 9,6k games where spread over the period of a whole month, then the volume is not so satisfying (I played 6k games in a matter of two weeks back in July). I do blame the weather (partially) for that. August is the hottest month of the year and let's be honest, even if you decide that you're not taking any time off you still don't get super excited over working. Looking at the beautiful weather outside while you are stuck in front of your computer screen is not very motivational. Personally I'd rather be outside in the sunshine enjoying an ice-cream instead!

I've also been practicing a new schedule this past month and a half. As you probably know, most of my time as a poker player has been spent on the vampire shift or at the best case scenario gravitating towards working in the afternoon. Nowadays I wake up around 7.00 a.m. (8.00 a.m. tops). I'm the kind of person that cannot get out of bed right away, so I need to snooze at least 10 minutes. Once I'm out of the bed, I need a coffee asap. I used to spend around an hour drinking my coffee and having breakfast which is a huge waste of time, yet it's essential to get me up and going. I used to spend that time checking random stuff on the Internet (like Facebook and other time-consuming, useless yet enjoyable things) cause I could not focus on anything that requires me to use too much of my brain right after waking up. These days however, I make my coffee and go straight to open Pokerstars lobby. There aren't many games running that early, which is actually the perfect warm-up to start my day. At least it's more useful than facebooking and since it's only a few tables and most of the decisions are automatic, I don't need to sweat thinking about every hand. It usually takes about an hour for the games to get busier and by the time they do, I'm fully awake and ready for some serious grinding. I've been thinking of switching that warm-up session with an hour of studying, but I don't know if I can focus on studying that early.



I play until 11.00 which is when the Big $33 starts. Then I go to the super market or the grocery store, come back home and prepare lunch. I know this probably sounds mundane to you since most of my readers are male, but I am the woman of the house and I have to take care of that kind of stuff. Plus, since André is busy playing the MTTs and only gets a 5-minute break every hour, he couldn't really cook anything for lunch even if he wanted to. We used to eat out a lot more before, but eventually I got sick of eating out all the time and found myself longing for some home-made cooking. We eat around 13.00-13.30. Sometimes I eat in front of the computer while playing, sometimes I eat first and then go back to the tables. Either way, the plan is to play util 17.00. 

And that's where it gets messy. Theoretically, after five is the time that I have attributed for studying or physical exercise. But I've done very little studying during August and I haven't been exercising as much as I should. Most of the days I either go take a nap, or take the rest of the day off. I seriously need to work on that during September. I hope that the weather getting colder will help. I'm much more of a winter person.

Anyway, I've been mostly grinding the $12s. Sometimes I play a little lower, depending on what games are available but I never play lower than $6. As for the higher stakes... I gave some $38s a try cause they were super soft thanks to the upcoming WCOOP but they didn't go very well so I had to give up on them.


I do understand that 164 games is nothing with a capital "N" in terms of volume and that the variance is so high that this graph really says nothing, but I couldn't keep playing them for bankroll reasons. I actually think I had a pretty good edge at those games cause I was table-selecting them like crazy but I run bad so I had to take a step back. If there's one thing I'm very strict about that's bankroll management and even though it's a debatable subject as to what is optimal and what's not, I think we should all stick to whatever plan we make for ourselves and not deviate. Maybe if I run good at the $12s I'll be able to take another chance at the $37s-$38s before the WCOOP is over. Let's see...

Another novelty of the past month was 16-tabling. I've been writing this blog since I first started playing poker pretty much, so I have documented how I moved from one table to two, and then to three and so on. My general guideline was "if you get bored with the number of tables you are playing, then add one more". And that seemed to be working fine, until I reached 12. I've been 12-tabling since November 2012 if I'm not mistaken. That's almost a full year with no progress. Whenever I would have a 13th table accidentally popping up cause I did something wrong with the Table-Ninja settings, I would go crazy. So for a long period of time I thought that 12-tabling was the limit of my comfort zone. I thought I had reached the end of the line. 

Yet during August, I found myself opening facebook on the side screen while 12-tabling. I didn't have time to type or anything like that, but I would scroll down the home page and look around. I remember talking about that with André and he told me to try out 16-tabling. Of course the logical thing would be to go from 12 to 13, not 16 but I was really curious to see if I could actually do it. So one day after I finished my regular session of $12s I opened up some lower stakes. Not sure if it was $6s, it may have been $3.75s just for the occasion, after all I didn't want to blow up too much money in case the experiment went wrong.

I play in tile, which means that I see all tables I'm at at all times. In order for me to have 16 tables where there used to be 12, each table would have to be a lot smaller. The first impression was actually shocking. Everything seemed to be too small for me to see clearly. I literally had to stand up and move my face closer to the screen in order to see what was going on. I was sliding my face across the screen following the action of the mouse and probably looked like an idiot. That bad. André did not really get why I was acting so crazy or why I was laughing to myself about it afterwards. But then again, André's vision is at 100% while I use glasses. I have a small degree of hyperopia, which is not a big deal and I don't need to wear glasses when I'm outside or driving or anything like that. They really do make a difference when I'm in front of screens or reading though. If I play poker without my glasses on, my eyes get tired super fast. And 16-tabling... This was the first time I was challenged from a vision-point-of-view while playing poker.


Eventually I did get used to the size of these new, smaller tables. Now the only thing that I worry about is playing fast enough. Surprisingly, my first attempt went pretty well. I did sitout a couple of times, but I don't think I missplayed that much. Unfortunately during the hours I play and considering I don't have such a big variety of buy-ins, I don't get to 16-table all the time, so that slows down my practice a bit. I haven't gotten the hang of it yet, but at least I'm not horrible at it and I feel like it's possible. I didn't think it was possible for me one month ago, so that's an improvement!

Overall I really enjoy the morning schedule. I feel like it's a lot... healthier! I just need to be a bit more disciplined about how I spent my time in the afternoons and I think it will be fine. That's all for now... See you guys at the tables!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

An Ode To Sore Losers

If you google the term "sore loser" you'll find explanations such as:
"someone who loses in a fair competition but whines about it on a constant basis, blaming everyone around them for their loss except themselves. Fun to taunt, but no fun to play with", 
or
"someone who can't simply be honorable, by accepting defeat and/or trying again. On the contrary, said individual or group engages in childish pissing and moaning". 
Lack of sportsmanship is, unfortunately, something that we often encounter in all types of sports and games, in every situation where there is some sort of competition. Poker being a game, and a highly competitive one, could not escape the rule. So poker gets to have its fair share of sore losers.

If you play poker, professionally or as a recreation, you must have encountered at least a few people that fall into that category. If you have encountered a lot of them, you may have gained the ability to tolerate them or grown a thicker skin and remain completely unaffected by their comments. They are both at live and online tables, but online sore losers have a tendency to express themselves more freely due to the convenience of hiding behind a screen name.

Personally, when I first started playing poker this was one of the things that bothered me the most. As if losing weren't enough, I had to endure nasty comments about the way I played which, as you can imagine, only made the learning process more difficult and the game less fun. After keeping my chat turned off for quite some time, I finally learned to ignore those types of comments. Nowadays, they can't touch me. I hardly bother to reply to those people and when I do, it's mostly out of curiosity towards their specimen. We work in entirely different ways and sometimes I feel an interest to understand why they act the way they do.

An observation that I made is that as you move higher up in stakes, the less likely it is to encounter players of that kind. I guess that's easily explainable by the fact that a player who plays higher stakes has probably got a deeper understanding of the game and therefore is not so emotional when losing. Not that this is a golden rule or anything, of course it's possible to find someone whining at any stake or format. However, it's way more likely to happen at lower stakes where people don't necessarily play that well, don't care that much about the game and they see poker as a way to blow steam off. And there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you respect the others at the table with you.


The more sore losers I encountered, the more I noticed that they actually have some patterns. I think their reactions can be organized in categories. In this post, I'll try to identify and analyze the types of sore losers that I have encountered so far. So here we go.

- Mr. Happy: This guy is actually not that bad. Whenever he takes a bad beat or loses a hand that he feels he shouldn't, he writes stuff like "Lol", "Lolololololol", "LOOOOOOOOOL", "Hahaha!", "Ahahahahaha!!!!". Since these things are actually easy to type, when you have "Mr. Happy" at your table you'll often find it hard to read the dealer messages cause your chat box will be filled with lines of "lols". Then again, it's not really that offensive, only a bit annoying and if it makes those people happy then what can I say?

- Mr. Speedy: This guy does not necessarily play fast but he expects all of his opponents to do so. From this type of guy you'll get comments like "Are you seriously thinking about it?", "What are you waiting for?" or the good old-fashioned "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz". I especially like it when they start with capitals and finish with lower case "ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzz" as if to tell you that you are taking so long that they are really dozing off and cannot even type anymore. Needless to say, Mr. Speedy often plays one single table and it is beyond his imagination that other people may be playing more. Even if he plays more than one, the fact that he is getting bored is indicative that maybe he should be playing more. Now why he chooses to waste his energies bugging other people instead of opening more tables, that I don't know. Trying to reason with Mr. Speedy will not work, so you'd better avoid replies like "If you're sleepy you probably shouldn't be playing poker" or "Time bank exists for a reason". Most of the times replying something like "30tabling" will do the job!

- Mr. Frustrated: Not only is he bothered when he loses, but he will also be indignant when other people take bad beats. This guy is tilting so badly and is so frustrated that he will often comment at the misfortunes of his opponents. He sees 23s cracking a pair of Aces and goes "Sure why not", "Yeah ok", "Whatever!", "OMG" etc. Frequently, after a certain point this guy will get so frustrated that he will not even be able to type, so you'll get stuff like "a;lsdkajfds;lkfjas;d" and "S:;alij;AOESIoiuhEQP3845". Talking about tilting! Not the worst type of a sore loser, but still pretty annoying since they don't lose an opportunity to make a comment.

- Mr. Nice: This guy is actually not very nice. It's the player that will shower you with all the nasty words they have in their vocabulary (which out of respect to my readers I will not reproduce here, but you get the picture). They will keep ranting and calling you names for taking their chips, then after a while when they calm down they will... apologize! Mr. Nice guy is pretty rare so you won't encounter him often. However, I did find one at the tables the other day... It was a player that had been calling me names for some time at the tables, then one day he asks if I'm Andre Coimbra's girlfriend. I say yes, and he said he was sorry for all the stuff that he had said to me, that it was under the pressure of losing... And then went on about how he was a big fan of André's and liked his work! I do appreciate when someone sincerely says they're sorry, but it got me thinking, if I weren't André's girlfriend then I wouldn't be worthy of his apology? As if one thing has something to do with the other? Oh whatever, the bottom line is that he did apologize which is more than most people do anyway... Go go Mr. Nice!

- The Stalker: He will do what every well-respected stalker does: follow you from one table to the other and bash you. Nothing really interesting about this case of sore loser and he is usually on such a tilt that there's nothing you can say that will calm him down. Still, it's pretty funny when you get seated at a new table, you're waiting for the tournament to start, not a single hand has been played yet and there's a guy pissed at you writing things like "A7o? Really? You call me with A7o? Well done, you played it really well!". Plus a couple of insults of course!

- Mr. Jokerstars: This type is exclusive at Pokerstars, you will not find them playing at any other site! It's the guy that every time he gets a bad beat or loses a hand will type "Jokerstars!" in the chat. This guy is easily identified by the lack of use of other words. At the best case scenario you'll get something "Jokerstars again" or "F***ing Jokerstars". Joke +  Pokerstars = Jokerstars. Okay, I get it. According to you, Pokerstars is a joke. But this one is getting old, so find something else to say!

- Mr. Anti-Supernova: This is another exclusivity of Pokerstars. They're sworn enemies not only of Supernovas, but also Supernova Elites. Unlike other people that lose, Mr. Anti-Supernova blames it all on the VIP status. Of course, Mr. Anti-Supernova is always from Platinum level and below. And he thinks, that among the known privileges of Supernova+ levels such as a higher FPP multiplier or Milestone cash bonuses, we also get a secret button on our screen that says "Bad beat" and we give other players brutal bad beats whenever we feel like it. My only question is why these people don't try to make it to Supernova to enjoy this special benefit... Go figure!

- The Professor: This player wants to educate you. They'll lose a hand then go on explaining why you played it in the worst possible way. And they don't always do it respectfully, so you can expect them to throw in some insults along with the explanation. I used to find this kind of sore loser pretty intimidating, cause when you are a new player and don't trust your plays, the Professor will make you doubt yourself and what you did. Of course, most of the time these guys have no idea what they're talking about but they make it sound as if they know everything there is to know about poker. I just can't understand why with all that knowledge instead of playing the nose-bleeds they're stuck down here with the rest of us... And come on, even if we assume that they do know what they're talking about, why would they really want to teach their opponents?!?

- Mr. Boring: This guy is what the title suggests. Boring. He'll get pissed alright, but you'll only get comments like "Idiot", "Stupid", "So lucky", "Donk" etc. Enough said about this one, I'm already getting bored...

- Mr. Original: Unlike Mr. Boring, Mr. Original will find new things to say. Most likely, you have never been insulted the same way before. Sometimes his comments will not exactly sound like an insult, but Mr. Original is pretty pissed, so you should take it as one. To give you an example, someone once wrote to me "You stupid banana float". See? I had never been called a banana float before, let alone a stupid one! I'm not even sure what that means... In any case, I don't really mind having a Mr. Original at my tables. At least they spice it up a bit! :P

-Mr. Traditional: This guy could also fit under the classification of Mr. Boring cause he is pretty boring to tell you the truth, but he earned himself a separate category because he blames it all on the most common reason for losing: "This site is rigged!". This comment is such a big cliché that I can only call this sore loser "Mr. Traditional". I won't go into details analyzing why it would be a bad move to operate a site that's rigged. I think that's obvious, especially for a company like Pokerstars who invests so much on integrity and keeping the site clean. But let's assume Mr. Traditional, just for the sake of arguing, that you are actually right and the site is indeed rigged. Question number one: What does the site have against you in particular? I mean, yeah, it's rigged, sure, but why is it rigged so that you lose and everyone else wins? Did you do something to piss them off maybe? Could it be that they don't like your face? (Which they have never seen, but I'm just guessing here!) Why is it that they chose to target you out of all the players? I'd really want to know. And question number two: If you truly, wholeheartedly believe that the site is rigged, then why do you keep playing in it? Cause I'll tell you, saying that the site is rigged and playing in it day after day after day says something about your intelligence and it's not a good thing at all! I've actually tried asking that question once to a Mr. Traditional. I told him "why do you keep playing if you think it's rigged?". The result was that I never saw that player again. It could be just coincidence, maybe we didn't happen to play at the same tables again or it could be that he really stopped playing. In any case, asking stuff like that only hurts my EV on the long run so I've come to the conclusion that the best course of action in this case is... Complete and total silence.


Finally, I'd like to talk about one common misunderstanding. Very often at my tables, people say "I had the best hand and I lost" or "I lost 5 consecutive times with the best hand". I don't know if those people didn't get the memo, but in Poker the best hand ALWAYS wins. Always as in 100% of the times. If you have the best hand, you are guaranteed to have the chips coming your way. Now if what those people mean is that they had the best hand preflop or that they had the best two hole cards and they didn't win, yeah okay that sucks, but you need to be able to tell the difference. After all, if it was as simple as the best hole cards always winning then none of us would be playing poker now, would we?

I'm not saying that losing is easy. I've often complained here on my blog about downswinging and bad beats that I've taken. It's hard, it's frustrating, it pisses us all off (we are, after all, humans!), it makes us doubt ourselves. To sum it all up, it sucks big time! There are entire forums dedicated to bad beat talk, where people don't look for confirmation as to whether they played a hand well or not, they just want to blow steam off. They want to hear other people say "Oh, what a bad beat!" or "Wow, that was insanely unlucky!" And I think that's important and even necessary for poker players. But there's a thin line that separates people that just get something off of their chest in a healthy way and others that do so by harassing others. Losing is something that happens to all of us without exception. In the end, it's how we react to it that separates us. And only you can choose what side of that line you want to be on.

I'd like to hear what you guys think about this subject. I felt like writing this post as an indirect reply (with a dose of humor) to all sore losers that have tried to bother me in the past (plus the ones that will try to do so in the future). This one is dedicated to everyone that chooses to not reply to their comments. If you think that I've omitted a sore loser category, please feel free to add it in the comments below!

See you at the tables! 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Back to the hypers: July overview


Hello!

First of all, I want to thank everyone that sent me messages after my last post. Your support has been great! I decided to stick to the hypers and not try another format just yet.

As soon as I got back to business and opened Pokerstars lobby again, I found myself facing a big problem: my Supernova status was expiring at the end of July. In case you are not familiar with it, Pokerstars extends your Supernova status on a month-to-month basis, considering you win 6.500 VPPs per month. You are allowed to miss that accrual for two months, but after the third month of not getting enough VPPs, you lose Supernova and you are dropped down to whatever status corresponds to the amount of VPPs you earned that month. Not great.

The first month I missed the accrual was April, after a downswing. Then, I got back to playing in May, but I had an even worst downswing. I got the VPPs in May, but I was feeling so bad that I didn't play a single game in June. So June was the second month I missed. When I decided to play again on July 11th, I had to somehow get 6.500 VPPs. To some that may sound as an insignificant amount. I would consider it easy to achieve some months ago. The problem was, that after being away from the tables for two whole months my game was very rusty. I didn't remember how to play that well, I could definitely not 12table at that point and my bankroll did not allow me to play the same games I was playing before.

So I had to play lower, and less tables. I started with 4tabling. The good thing about all this is that July is the Micromillions month and that helped increase the traffic at the lower stakes. There were some $7,50 satellites for the Micromillions main event that were running pretty much all day long, all month long. Most of the time I was grinding those and the $12s. Those games give around 1 VPP each. Sometimes when there wasn't enough traffic, I would open $3,75s. Those give 0.39 VPPs but I really needed even that small fraction. Fortunately, I was running good so when I boosted my bankroll a bit, I played a few $18s. Funny how back in May the $18s were the lowest stake I'd play while now it's the highest. More sad than funny actually... Anyways, the $18s did not go so well so I stopped playing them.

I managed to renew my status just in the nick of time, having played a total of 6.323 games. Now, considering that during the whole year up to that point I had only played around 15k games, that I had lost the first 10 days of July and that I had been away from the virtual felt for two months, let me tell you it was pretty hard to achieve. The good news is I did make it, with a profit and by the end of the month I was back at playing my regular 12 tables.

Here's the graph for July:


Having some space to breathe, I was a lot more optimistic in the beginning of August. I started running bad, and reached a -1k point but then I was able to turn it around. Right now I'm break even for the month, but we're only halfway so things can get better (or worse, but I try not to think about that!). Also, from a VPP point of view I'm only missing 700 points or so for this month's accrual. And I'm at 83k VPPs for the year so I'm hoping that soon I'll renew my Supernova status for the rest of 2013 and I will have one less thing putting pressure on me.

Now that I feel like I got the hang of it again and I have more time, it's time to study. Frankly, I should have started studying in the beginning of the month, but I've been lazy. Which is not good at all. My current goal is to move up in stakes, cause with the WCOOP coming up I want to be able to play the $37s. I'm not there yet bankroll-wise and studying is the only way I can make it happen. I also need to work on my mental game, but August is the worst possible month for work. No wonder people take time off in August... Even here in the city I just feel like going out for a coffee or doing nothing at all. The weather is so nice! Let's see if I can concentrate in order to put in some volume...

Good luck to everyone at the tables and enjoy your holidays to those of you that are by the beach! :)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Back to zero...?

Hello everyone!

It's been a while since I made a post... Actually, my last one was in April. I didn't write a single word for two months. The last time I skipped an entire month without making any posts was... over a year ago. This post is not an easy one to make and that's why I've been avoiding it up until now.

In the beginning of May I was feeling very prepared for the SCOOP. With our new office all set, my new spreadsheets and all the studying during April, I was ready to go. And the best part of it, we had a trip to Monaco planned during the first days of May. André had a photoshoot there and I decided to tag along for some fun time in Monte Carlo. The plan was to jump right into the SCOOP as soon as we were back, with my batteries fully recharged.

And that's what I did. I got back into the grind. Unfortunately, things were not going very well, so I saw my bankroll evaporating pretty fast. The chart that you will see below is my accomplishment for May. 


Now you may be thinking that 1,8k games during a month and especially during a SCOOP month is really low. And you'll be right, cause those results are from just one week. The thing is, the more I was losing, the less I felt like playing. And when I realized that I lost almost half my bankroll within a week's time, I decided to take some time off to clear my head.

Fear

That's when fear started creeping in. While being away from the tables, I started looking back at how the year went until that point. And the truth is, this year I've been losing money.


Another annoying fact is that the whole year so far I've played only 15,5k games. Just to put this into perspective for you, back in December 2012 when I was chasing the Supernova status I played 7k games in just one month. And since it's the hypers we're talking about variance is crazy. In 15k games there is quite a bit of variance involved so I can't jump to any solid conclusions about how bad of a player I am. I'll tell you one thing though: the fact that over the past few months I haven't made any money out of poker has affected my psychology in the worst possible way. 

The Hyper-Turbos

I was feeling like I was stuck in a dead end. I spent quite some time talking to André about the subject and he thinks that there's little value to the hypers these days. I don't know if it's because there are less players trying to qualify for tournaments through the hypers or if it's because the number of regulars increased, but that's the way things are right now. André would describe SCOOP days from a couple years back when he was playing where he would be the only regular at the table or maybe it would be him and one more. But the shark/new players ratio back then has nothing to do with what it is today. Last May, I would open the lobby 1-2 hours before a SCOOP tournament would start with the expectation of getting those great games. To my disappointment, I would open very few tables (far less than 12 which was my ultimate goal) and even those would not be great (3-4 regulars playing). I spent a lot of time staring at the lobby, watching games open with 6 (yeah you read it right - six!) regulars. Most of us saw the potential of the "prime time" before the start of a tournament - the only ones who didn't apparently were the recreational players.

I don't know why this is happening, if it's because people have moved to other formats or because way too many of us got interested in the hypers on a professional level. But the situation is what it is right now and we can't ignore the facts. I'm not saying that the hypers are unbeatable. Someone at André's level can probably still beat them with a significant profit. But if you are not at that level, you struggle. I've been talking to a couple of hyper-turbo players, some of my opponents whose opinions I respect. I heard all sorts of stories: from busting their bankroll (which came to a surprise to me cause I considered that specific player to be pretty good) to making a profit while getting a great amount of VPPs (which ultimately translates into money of course, but there's a big difference between making a profit at the tables right away and making it through rakeback).

The bottom line is, in my humble opinion, unless you're a brilliant player at the hypers then you should be getting ready to swim in tough waters. The margins have always been slim (an ROI of 1% which in other formats would be ridiculous is actually good at the hypers), and now they are getting slimmer. You need to accept the fact that there aren't enough games running at all times and keep yourself ahead of the rake, ahead of your opponents and ultimately ahead of variance. Which, in case you have forgotten is BRUTAL in these games. Sadly, those are a lot of obstacles to overcome. And that's why I think there are a lot of good players turning away from these games.

Cash Games

So having to deal with this new era of hypers, I started thinking about alternatives. What if I tried out a different format? MTTs are totally out of the question (if you have been following my blog for a while then you know why), sit n gos I've tried in the past and they're ok but... What if I tried something entirely new? Cash games is a format I've never ever tried before, not even with play money. And yet, that's where I think people really play poker. Not to mention that I would actually learn how to play flops and all... To be honest, it makes me kind of sad that I've been grinding at the poker tables for over a year now but I still don't know how to play flops. I feel like I'm missing the essence of it sometimes.

I started reading a book André gave me. Pretty soon I decided to stop cause it felt like I was reading Chinese. Okay, maybe not that bad cause I actually understood the language (and by that I mean both English and poker slang) but I did not make any sense out of it. The first chapter was about stealing. Why the heck would I wanna know anything about stealing when I don't even know the basics as in what hands to play and what hands not to?

I put the book aside and decided to spend some time reading the courses section of Poker School Online. I must admit, Pokerstars did a great job with that one. It's very well written and I feel like it can really help a new player get started.

My worst poker enemy

And somewhere among all that, thinking about the hypers, the cash games, my future in general, I get so discouraged that I stop before I even get started. Is the best decision to keep trying to make it at the hypers, a path that I've already taken but feel like I've failed? Or is it better to give a shot at the cash games? And if that's the correct way to go, how can anyone get up one day and say "Hey, you know what? I think I'll start making a living playing cash games!"? That sounds absurd to me. It takes years to learn how to play poker well so how can I expect of myself to make money out of it in the next, let's say, months or year? I even considered combining hypers and cash games. My idea was to separate my working time in two: half of it would be to study/play the hypers and the other half of it would be to study cash games not really with the goal to make money out of it, but in order to learn more about the format and make a more educated decision about whether that's the road I wanna take or not. André however discouraged me from doing that saying that in order to succeed in anything I'll have to allocate all my time and efforts to it so it makes no sense dividing my time. I still don't know who's right on this one.

So here I am, at a crossroads. I'm really unsure of what to do next. And I've come to realize that my worst poker enemy is following me both on and off the tables: my worst enemy is me. I feel like I can't take any more losing, even though I know it's inevitable and necessary in order to learn. Also, somewhere in the back of my head I think that if I don't take any action and don't do anything then I can't fail. Like, if I don't pick anything then I can't make a wrong choice. Which is as stupid as it sounds and there's no logic to it, but I'm trying to be honest.

Since the fear of what to do next was preventing me from doing anything, I just let the days go by. In the beginning I was telling myself it was a short break to mentally recover from that downswing. And I truly needed that break, but when I felt like it was time to go back to the tables, I kept postponing it over and over. I went on vacation, did some soul searching or nothing at all. And before I knew it, two whole months had passed.

What next?

I even considered the possibility of getting a normal job. That option has a lot of pros and cons and it would take a separate post to talk just about that. I'm just saying it crossed my mind and I haven't completely ruled it out. As for hypers vs cash, I think I'll stick to the hypers a little longer. Not sure if that's the best thing, but I've put so much effort to it that I feel like it's a shame to go wasted. Plus, I don't think I have the mental energy to start all over from zero again. So I'll put the cash games plan on hold. I can't say for how long - it could be only until I get my face smashed on the virtual felt playing hypers!

In any case, I know I'm not the only person out there struggling with this type of decisions. I'd love to hear your guys' experiences, your ideas, or advice. Maybe it will give me some inspiration, and I could totally use a bit of that at the moment.

I apologize again for the absence of two months, at least now you got an explanation why that happened. Hopefully I'll talk to you soon with a new blog post!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

April and New Working Space!

Hello!

Okay, I'll admit that during April I've neglected the blog a bit. The truth is, it was not a very productive month poker-wise like I was hoping it would be. Here's a little update on what I've been doing lately...

Moving our computers and the rest of the stuff that we had at the office back home may have only taken a day, but putting everything back to order took a lot more than that. I put quite some effort into organizing everything... Our apartment was a mess! Then I got a flu (for the second time this year!). This time the fever lasted a bit longer and I ended up staying several days in bed and spent a whole week without working.

When I finally felt better, we were already in the middle of April and my poker skills felt so dusty that I decided the best approach would be to study and stay away from the tables. André suggested that I study the equilibrium for situations that are frequent so that's what I did. For those of you that are not familiar with it, if all players involved in a hand play according to the equilibrium then none of them win or lose money. The equilibrium represents the perfect balance, the break even point for everyone. It occurred to me that all this time I had been studying the game I was trying to figure out how to play against regulars and non-regular players. That means that I was studying how to deviate from the equilibrium without ever having spent time to study the equilibrium on its own!

Anyway, I created some spreadsheets of my own for the first time and I found quite a lot of stuff that I can improve in my game. As long as there's room for improvement I'm happy, cause I find it really frustrating when I'm losing and I don't know what I could be possibly doing wrong. Apart from studying, which took most of my working time, I spent a little time at the tables but I was playing low (mostly $18s). As a result, I didn't get a lot of VPPs and I didn't meet the minimum requirement of 6,5k VPPs per month to maintain the Supernova VIP status. Fortunately, each player is allowed to skip that requirement twice. This was only the first month that was happening for me, so I'm still Supernova. I plan on putting a lot of volume during May so hopefully I'll renew my Supernova status for 2013 soon and I won't have to worry about the monthly requirements anymore.

In my previous post I promised to tell you a bit more about our new working space and post photos when it would be ready. When we first moved into this apartment, that room was destined to be André's office. I was not playing poker back then, so he had all the room to himself. Then, when I decided to learn how to play poker on a professional level we rent an office and André didn't work at home anymore. That meant that we had an empty room in our apartment. Since André started doing his physical exercise at home around that time, he decided to use it as a mini-gym. He bought weights, yoga balls, a workout bench and a bicycle.

As you can imagine, when we decided to move our computers back home it was quite problematic because the old office room was now occupied. Fortunately, that room has a built-in closet. André keeps all his computer-related stuff in there. I re-organized everything and found out that he didn't really need to be using all of the closet to store those things, but only a small part of it. The rest of the space was just perfect... for the gym equipment! It does mean of course that he has to take everything out every time he wants to work out and put everything back in after he finishes, but that's not such a big deal.

Gym-in-closet

The only thing not fitting in the closet was the bicycle which is in the middle of the living room at the moment, but I'll figure something out eventually. Back to our subject... The closet was organized and the room was cleared out to receive all the stuff from the office. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out the one below:

No space to walk. Literally.

I probably look happy in the picture above but trust me, I wasn't. As I said earlier, it took me days to put everything in place. The annoying part was that in the meantime we couldn't really work. Even after André installed the computers and got them working, the place was such a mess that you felt like suffocating in there. At least I did. Working was out of the question until everything was nice and neat.

The only new piece of furniture we bought was a small library from Ikea. Our collection of poker books is constantly growing and it reached the point where it wouldn't fit the small square shelves that we had been using so far.

Does anyone feel like studying?

With a lot of patience, everything was sorted out. Our desks were cleared out of all the stuff and I utilized the square shelves that were previously used as bookcases to store everything away in white boxes. I think the overall space now looks very neat and tidy. What do you think?

Room Overview

My desk

André's desk

Overview from a different angle

Storage

Everything is organized and easy to find.

Printer

Just about when I've finished and I think it's time to celebrate, André ruins the moment by telling me that he wants to put his screens on the wall instead of simply having them on his desk like he used to. I don't know if you've ever tried to put a screen on the wall, but it's not an easy task. Now imagine putting three of them while trying to keep them aligned! What a nightmare!

It took us a whole afternoon to get the job done. Even though his three screens seem to be exactly the same, one of them is a different model than the other two. We didn't really pay much attention to it at first, but it turned out they are slightly different on the back, which resulted in one screen hanging slightly lower than the other two. Then again, it's a very small difference so after spending that many hours of taking measures, opening holes in the wall and creating a mess we decided to leave it as it is.

As usual, I got the fun part all for myself...

Cleaning time!

It was tough, but I think the final result was worth it. Here's André's current setup:

Screens on the wall

André's desk

So now I think we're pretty much done. In the future if we have more books it is possible to add another column to the library but that's about it. I think we have everything else that we need and it's all ready just in time for the SCOOP!

Let me know what you guys think about our working space and see you at the tables!

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Aftermath

Hello!

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post but I kind of got a blogging-overdose with those daily posts, so I hope my absence is understandable. March was a bad month overall and honestly I couldn't wait for it to be over. There are some subjects I'd like to talk about before I go on with my plans for April.

WBCOOP

It's not really news anymore since this has been announced for quite some time now, but in case you haven't heard I won the WBCOOP 2013 prize for Best Female Blogger. The article about the winners can be found here. You may think that after blogging everyday for over a week I'd be super excited for winning and make a post about it as soon as possible. Well that didn't happen cause... It didn't really feel like winning. To be honest, I was feeling quite gutted about the result. I put a lot of effort to my posts and I was aiming high... At the Best Blogger award. When that didn't come, all the rest seemed kind of irrelevant.

Actually, when I first heard the results all I was thinking about was what could have gone wrong. I was comparing the winner's blog to mine, trying to find any leaks or possible improvements I could make. I came to the conclusion that it didn't really matter. It's not about one blog being better than the other, it's a matter of personal preference. Things like presentation and content are very subjective and not everyone will have the same opinion about them. I noticed, for example, that the winner's posts on each individual WBCOOP event were short while mine would vary from big to huge. Some will argue that in the blogging world and with all this overflow of information, smaller posts are more efficient. Personally I much prefer long posts cause I think those in a hurry can do some "diagonal reading" and get the overall idea, while those more interested in details can read the whole thing. Again, it doesn't mean that one thing is bad and the other is good. It simply depends on what each person is looking for and a blogger can never write something that will satisfy 100% of the readers. Which is why I've decided to stick to my personal style and quit searching what I could have possibly done different to win the title.

A last thought that I'd like to leave you with before closing the WBCOOP subject for this year, is one I read at SuperNova125's blog: "A fun series for micro bloggers really but maybe not worthwhile for higher stake players". I don't play the really high stakes, but I don't play the micro/small ones either. And I can't help but wonder if this event even compensates the time of medium stakes players. I spent close to ten days playing the freerolls and blogging about them. That was very costly in terms of VPPs and potentially harmful to my monthly profits as well. If I had won the first prize that would have been obviously worth my time (even though that might not be the case for some higher stakes players), but that's a long shot and a pretty EV- bet.  And looking back at the series, I really didn't see that many Supernovas playing. On the contrary, I now understand better the "Oooohs" and "Aaaaaaahs" I was getting every time I sat down at a table. Six stars at the WBCOOP was pretty rare. At the same time I'm saying this, I don't really know what would be a good way to fix it. One option would be to be offering different tickets to players according to their VIP status and grant them entrance to different tournaments (that would of course have different prizes, kind of like the VIP freerolls). But that would be unfair to the micro/small stakes players, plus it would destroy the WBCOOP's ability to unite all the world's bloggers in one place. Not to mention I don't think there would be enough players around the higher levels to make it worthwhile for Pokerstars. So I really don't know how to mend this situation. I just hope Pokerstars' team will find a way to improve the series and make it more attractive to a bigger number of bloggers next year. I know I'll want to participate, I just hope it won't be such a tough decision when I put WBCOOP and grinding VPPs on the same scale. Of course the freerolls can't be at the same level as normal grinding, but I'd like to be able to choose to play the WBCOOP with less of a guilty conscience, if that makes sense.

Finally, I'd like to thank Pokestars for organizing the series and choosing me as one of the winners (even though it wasn't the place I was hoping for)! I'll be looking forward to it next year!

March Overview

In terms of results, March was not good. Here's the graph of the month:


I played around 4k games and lost around $2k. Very low number of tournaments which is very disappointing, but I've no one to blame but myself (okay, maybe I can blame the WBCOOP just a little! :P). What's really preoccupying though is that my level of play has gotten a lot worse.

Of course that isn't something that just happened in the month of March. It's a gradual deterioration that has started around the time I stopped having coaching with André. The other night, I was playing a bubble and I lost with AJo. I started complaining about how unlucky I got and André came to my computer to see the replay. I was 100% sure I played fine and just got unlucky. André's opinion was that I misplayed the hand. And well, if it's a poker subject and the two of us disagree you can probably guess who is usually right...

I don't remember what the play was so I can't describe it here. It got completely erased from my memory and the only thing that remains is the AJo along with a feeling shock when I realized that something I was totally sure about was actually wrong. Being uncertain of how to play at certain spots is one thing, thinking that you are playing fine when you are actually making mistakes is another...

André told me that I had to do something about it immediately or else I would see my bankroll evaporating in no time. Combine that to the fact that I'm down so far for the year and you'll get an image of what kind of mood I was in. At first I got pissed at André and told him that he couldn't judge the way I play overall just with one hand that he saw. He told me that he could because what he saw was indicative of the way I see  and understand the game. I still don't know how he got all that from one hand, but he was right.

When we had a mini-session of coaching he asked me about some ranges and pulled them up on ICMizer. First, when he was asking what I'd do at a specific situation I felt lost and found it really difficult to answer. Then, when I compared the correct answer with what I had written down on my paper I saw that it was a million miles away. Crap. This is bad. The worst thing is, that I remember myself knowing those ranges. I remember sitting down with André trying to solve a problem and my range would be closer to the correct answer than his. Where did that all go?

You know when you stay away from the tables for some time and then when you finally go back you're out of shape? You probably need to take it slow at first, study and try to remember things you knew but have forgotten. My theory is that the exact same thing happens to me, only instead of happening when I'm away from the tables it happens when I don't get any coaching with André. It's frustrating really, especially considering all the hours that both of us (André and I) have invested in me learning poker.


Anyway, it's pretty straightforward what needs to happen from now on. I have to study a ton and... get more coaching with André. The tricky part here is that he doesn't have much time. He has his own challenge going on, he needs to film videos about it, get some coaching himself, study, blog, etc. He is working so many hours that if we didn't live in the same house and work in the same space I don't think I'd see him much! So where will he find time to give coaching to me?

The Office

As you probably know, in February of 2012 we rent an office and transferred our computers there. The idea was to separate our work life from all the rest. We wanted to increase our concentration and productivity. And it worked, having the office was a very positive thing. Unfortunately, the truth is that we have to spend quite a lot of time going around. Even though it's not that far away from home, going in and out of garages, waiting at traffic lights and driving around quickly adds up. Not to mention it's ok when you leave in reasonable times, but quite often we happen to leave the office at 2, 3 or 5 a.m. At that time you just want to teleport to your bed if possible. We may be able to save only an hour or so per day, but that is huge for André. I'm kind of sad that we are leaving the office cause I've spent endless hours of grinding there and have a lot of nice memories but the truth is if that will allow him to have more time to coach me, fine, I'll take it. Plus, since poker has not been very profitable lately that's one less expense I'll have to worry about!

So from now on we'll be playing from home. We only moved back two days ago so not everything is ready yet, but when it is I'll make a photo tour to show you guys!

Computer dating

If you think this is about dating other people on the Internet... You are mistaken! What I meant was really dating a computer! Some months ago I spotted a great laptop at the mall... The Samsung 900X3C! The price was $1,7k which was way too high and I wasn't really considering to buy it, but every time André and I would go by the store I'd drag him inside to go take another look at "my" laptop. You know how some women will melt looking at showcases full of bags or clothes? That's kind of what I looked like, only I was hooked on that computer! I was very much love struck! I didn't even realize until one day as we were approaching the store André said "Do you wanna go inside and check your laptop?" How did he know in advance that I wanted to do that? "You are dating the computer", he said. It was true! 

As time went by, they dropped the price to $1,3k. Still too expensive. Then a month after, they took it further down to $1k. This was getting interesting. How much further down were they going to take it? Not at all apparently, as the next model of the series had already been released. The thing is, I hated the next model. Yeah it had better characteristics but it also had a major flaw: it was heavier. You see, one of the things I loved about the 900x3c in particular was that it weighed only 1,16 kilos! Even lighter than a MacBook Air of the same size!

But the next model was already here and weighed as much as a brick, while my favorite feather-light laptop was about to get discontinued... Our dating days were officially over! Things either had to get serious between us or... I would have to let go of the laptop once and for all. Around the same time, the WBCOOP money arrived. I didn't win that money at the tables, so it made sense to not include it in my poker bankroll. And even though it wasn't enough to buy my laptop, it would get me a pretty good discount. I don't have a computer of my own (I'm using André's hand-me-downs) so... I went for it!




I don't want to make it sound bad that I'm using André's old computers, they're still far better than the computer an average person has at home and that's what I use to play poker, but... I fell in love with that laptop and I didn't have a computer of my own. Plus, I travel quite a bit which was one more reason to make that purchase! I'm super happy with it, although I'm still getting used to Windows 8... That's gonna take some time!

That's all for now... See you soon with a new post!

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