Saturday, 26 January 2013

Plans for 2013


It's been almost two weeks since we came back from the Bahamas... Last week was kind of tough because both me and André were battling with the flu and all that jazz, but by now we have fully recovered and are finally getting back to our normal rhythms of work.

That said, this week has been pretty bad work-wise. I've been downswinging like crazy. Here's my graph for this month so far:

As you can see it's not one of my best graphs. -$5380 so far and the worst part of it all is that it kind of all fell apart in the last three days of play (from hand 2000 and on). It's a bit too much for me to take in such a short period of time, especially coming from a super profitable December...

Last Wednesday I came to the office earlier than usual because of a TCOOP tournament. I thought I'd profit from the extra traffic during the two hours leading up to the tournament. I was definitely not prepared for a -35 buy-ins downswing. That was the last hit I could take cause I'd been losing for days. The great results of December seem to be distant past by now. I'm in one of those phases that I don't even remember what it feels like to be winning.

After less than two hours of work, I decided that playing was immediately suspended. You know you need to stop playing if you are consciously not playing your best. I caught myself folding in spots where I knew I shouldn't, just because I was playing scared. No reason to add poor skill to my bad luck so I turned the computer off.

I went to the mall, and had lunch. After that, I met with a friend for a coffee. That friend has nothing to do with poker so the game was not a topic of choice. Which was good and... refreshing. I really needed to take my mind off of it a bit, cause it's all I've been thinking lately.

Lunch time!

Then, I hit the stores. This was the first month that I got a poker salary. It was weird to be spending money that came entirely from poker. Good obviously, but kind of weird at the same time. We're still on the sales period and even though the best merchandise is long gone (you shouldn't really wait for the end of the sales to go shopping), I still managed to find some good stuff.

You can say all you want about shopping therapy and how we are brainwashed by modern society to buy things we don't really need. Some people say that they feel the urge to buy stuff, they enjoy the buying process and then they regret it all once they go home with their hands full but their wallets empty. My perspective is, I was emotionally low because of the downswing, I went on a shopping spree and I was feeling a lot better when I came back. Three days later, and I still don't regret it. I just set a limit of up to how much I was going to spend before going to the mall and stopped shopping once I reached that limit. I am very prudent with my bankroll in poker so it wouldn't make any sense to go bankroll crazy in real life!

Shopping goodies! As you can see, I'm going through a candle phase... Oh, and I bought another pair of fluffy socks (they have owls on them)! Plus some completely unnecessary nail polish! Yeay! :D

Some clothing items...

One super cute top! Not the kind of style I usually go for, but it was on discount so I couldn't resist!

But enough small talk already. Let's get to the subject of this post: my plans for the year!

Back in December, as soon as I realized in τhat it would be possible for me to make 50.000 VPPs in a month, I started thinking about all the possibilities (or as we say in greek πήραν τα μυαλά μου αέρα!). Obviously 2012 was close to an end, but what about 2013? I started making calculations to see if Supernova Elite is reachable. And the truth is, it IS reachable depending on how much you are willing to sacrifice. I did all the possible combinations I could think of: working 5 days a week 8 hours per day, working 6 days a week, working 7 days a week but less hours per day... Anything you can think of I've tried it.

The big catch here is to always keep your expectations realistic. I know for a fact, for example, that I cannot work 7 days a week. Maybe I could do it if my life depended on it, but otherwise I can't. I'm sure I'd snap somewhere along the way, if not the first month then the second or the third. It's just too much for me. Another limitation that I have is that I need to take at least a month off during the year. All my family is in Greece and I live in Portugal, so it's really important for me to go and see them from time to time. And since the journey is pretty long (there are no longer direct flights, so in general it takes a full day to get there) and the tickets are not exactly cheap, it's not worth it if you don't have at least one week to spend. So, realistically speaking, let's assume 3-4 weeks spent in Greece plus the 2 weeks spent at the Bahamas (1 week of travel + 1 week of recovery)... That's like 1,5 months that I count off from work for 2013.

I've been talking with some Supernova Elites or with Supernovas that are considering to take the extra step during this year. The overall feeling I get is that it's a lot of work, but also a lot of sacrifices. In some of the stories I've heard, people practically gave up on social interaction. No more going out with friends, no holidays, etc etc. I'm ok with not going out with friends and having less time for hobbies and stuff like that, but I draw the line where my family and my boyfriend are concerned. I need to travel to Greece and I need to have one day per week to spend with André. Period. That's not negotiable. Cause after all, I could make all the money in the world playing poker but what's the point if I'm feeling miserable in the process?

That said, I do want to push myself to work a lot harder than I did last year. Even harder than what I did in December. So the question is... Is it possible for me to reach Supernova Elite? And if yes, how do I do it?

At the Bahamas I had a very enlightening conversation with Kevin Thurman and his girlfriend Trish. You've probably heard of it already but a couple of years ago Kevin (WizardofAhhs at Pokerstars) went for the VPPs record. He wanted to reach more than 3 million (!) VPPs and he actually made it, so he's the best person to give advice on how to plan for your goals. The thing that made the biggest impact on me out of everything he said is that whatever goal you set in terms of VPPs, that's what you are getting. Not more not less. You see, up until talking with him my calculations were for around 800.000 VPPs and I was hoping to get the remaining 200k from the special months like the SCOOP etc. Kevin clearly put that out of the question.

So, taking that into consideration along with the fact that I need 1 day off per week and 1 month total to go to Greece, we reach the magic number of... 3.800 VPPs daily. That's how much I need to do in order to make Elite this year. Just to put this into perspective, in December my goal was 2.400 VPPs per day. As you can see that's quite a big difference.

Later on in the conversation where I was arguing that I have no idea if I can do it or not, Kevin and Trish had a great idea: to try it for a week, see how it goes and decide from there. Before talking to them, I thought that Elite could not be planned, you just put in as much volume as you could take and then see how it went from there. If towards the end of the year you thought it possible, then you pushed it a bit more (or a lot more) and that was the way to do it. Talking with Kevin completely changed my perspective. By the way, he and Trish are super cool people and it was great meeting them! If you want you can check out Kevin's blog here.

Also, I had a conversation with Caleb from Pokerstars staff while André was doing his iPad Heads-Up contest at the Players Lounge. I asked him how many female Supernova Elites there are and he said like five or six. I knew there wouldn't be many, but that number seems so low!

I left from the Bahamas super motivated. Of course when I came back I wasn't in great physical shape so that slowed me down by quite a bit. When I started playing again, I kept the number 3.800 VPPs in my head. Here's how many points I actually got:

- 17/01/13: 1200 VPPs
- 18/01/13: 2953 VPPs
- 19/01/13: 3754 VPPs
- 20/01/13: 1756 VPPs
- 22/01/13: 3007 VPPs
- 23/01/13: 709 VPPs, snapped with the downswing & gone shopping!

As you can see, there was only one day where I reached the goal (and even then I was 46 points short). Did I try my best? If I'm honest with myself, no, I didn't. To my defense, I'm not fully in working mode yet. But then again, that's my fault and no one else's. The swing obviously made things worse. I'm a lot more willing to put in the hours when I'm winning. On the contrary, when I lose I feel like doing everything else apart from playing. Last Sunday, after I arrived at the office I felt like I had to clean and organize everything around me before finally sitting in front the computer to play. There was literally nothing else to do in there. I take procrastinating to a whole new level!

After my slight tilt on Wednesday I felt more like studying and not so much like playing. Last time I seriously sat down to study was back in November, so a looooong time ago. Some things get rusty no matter how much you play. But starting the year losing money took its toll on me and I couldn't sleep fine. I ended up falling asleep at 7 o'clock in the morning so the next day, instead of studying I took a long afternoon nap. But enough with being disorganized. Starting tomorrow, I'll go for the week Kevin and Trish suggested. But this time I'll try my best. 

My plan is this: I'll wake up around 12 o'clock and try to be at the office around 15:00. I'll have lunch at the office and start playing at 16:00 at the latest. I'll make a two-hour session. Then at 18:00 I'll either go for a dance lesson or study. I'll resume playing around 21:00-21:30 and then keep playing until 2:00. I'm not sure if that's enough to make 3.800 VPPs and that's something that also depends on the traffic, but we'll see how it goes.

In terms of studying, I'm going to start marking hands while I play. Marking hands is an excellent option that I haven't been taking advantage of. I think it makes a lot more sense to review hands that I found problematic while I was playing than to review entire sessions. It should be much more efficient. Also, I followed André's idea and made a list with all the situations in game that I feel I'm uncomfortable with. During my studying sessions I'll review them one by one.

The big challenge here will be to actually keep calm when losing money. That I have no idea how to do. I seriously hope that I'll start winning a bit cause I'm not very good at controlling my emotions so far. I'm better than before, yes, but I don't handle it well yet. Anyway, I'll see how this week goes and then take it from there. Maybe I'll have to go down at stakes if I keep losing and running bad. And that would take me back in terms of VPPs. At this point, I think it's pretty far fetched to say that I'm going for Elite. My current goal is to do the best I can, keeping in mind the possibility of making Elite my goal later on during the year.

Moving on to a different subject, I want to thank every one that has been leaving me comments and supporting me! Some people asked if I give coaching. I am very honored that some of you would like to get coaching with me! However, as you can deduct from the schedule I described above, I have a very limited amount of free time (that's not enough for everything I want to do on my free day) and it's practically impossible to squeeze coaching in my working days. So for now, giving coaching is not something I'm considering but if I change my mind in the future I'll let you know in one of my posts!

As I mentioned in a previous post, back in October I got some health issues that were caused by the way I was sitting on my chair while working. Ever since I started being a lot more aware of how small things like that can affect my health and among other changes that I made, I decided to get a new chair. André and I went chair hunting and visited several stores before I could reach a final decision.

Fortunately I found the chair I was looking for. Unfortunately for me, I didn't find it in a store. I decided that the best chair is the one André was using back at the office. It's the Embody chair by Herman Miller. And that's a bad thing because the chair costs... 1700 euros!!! And that's the discounted price we paid! I know that to most people that may sound a crazy amount of money to pay for a chair. But the truth is, that health is priceless. Not to mention that if I'm not well like when I was getting the vertigo, I won't be able to work at all... If you've tried the chair, you could definitely tell the difference from all the other ones that are out in the market. Is it worth the money? Honestly, I don't know if you are paying for the materials the chair is made of that are better quality, the research they company put into making it, or the brand... What I do know is that it's the best chair out there so I'm willing to pay the 1700 euros for it.

It finally arrived yesterday!

Last news that I have for this week is that I've changed my address on Pokerstars. So now it's no longer katerina289 Greece, but katerina289 Portugal. To be honest, I feel a pinch of sadness that it doesn't say "Greece" next to my screen name anymore, it's like I'm severing ties with the place where I came from... But the truth is my life is in Portugal now so it made a lot more sense for practical reasons. Both countries feel like home to me anyway, so it's all good! :)

Anyway, that's all for today! I'll stop here cause this post is already humongous! Thank you all for your support and see you at the tables!


  1. I am surprised to find Coimbra's girlfriend is also a poker player. Very good! Coimbra has found his soulmate:)
    Gl reaching supernova :)


  2. Like :)
    I discovered your blog from Andres facebook page (you own him LOL) and like how you write :)
    About the subject ... I think is a wrong approach to concetrate on VPP's instead of profit :) I did some calculations in the past and when I start playing the result was ... bad :)
    PS. I like yor lunch. Describe it a little bit :)

    1. Hi Christiansen,

      I'm glad you like my blog!

      As for my approach... I think you can never really concentrate on profit because even when you do your best you have no control over variance. It's something completely random. On the other hand, you can control how many VPPs you make by making a schedule. Of course the schedule needs to be in accordance with the times there are more games overall and you may still get unlucky and not get the traffic you were hoping for but... VPPs is a much more solid plan.

      Lunch was a portuguese empada (some sort of pie with cheese and vegetables) with a salad and lemon ice tea! Delicious!

    2. I forgot to mention :) U r on my blogroll now ;)

  3. I follow your boyfriend's FB page, (b/v)logs and challenge. Now I will follow yours too.

    It seems very difficult to reach SNE. As you said a lot of sacrifice to do and when I have a look on other SNE. They are often loosing money or at least they don't win a lot (less than before I mean).

    But anyway, I like challenge too and if it's your choice then go ahead with it, I'll follow you.


    1. Hi Sébastien,

      It's true that some Elites are losing money at the tables but they get so much rakeback that they end the year with a profit that was worth all the efforts!

      Thank you for following my blog! :)

  4. glgllglgl!!!

    hard work,but i guess u can try it!!be the 1st "portuguese" lady SNE!!!

    1. Hi nezzi!

      Heheh, it's still too early to tell but we'll see!

      Good luck to you too!

  5. First of all Congratulations for your Blog + 2012 results!

    Second, I think your honesty is going to make you rich!

    Third, check out this, might help with your tilt!


    Fourth, and also important, Good Luck!!!


    1. Hi Bruno,

      Thank you for your comment. I hope you turn out to be right about the rich part! :P

      Also thanks for the links, I particularly liked the first one. Even though I don't think I tilt nearly as much as the author of that post, lol!

      Good luck to you too! :)

  6. Hello katerina, I like so much your blog! I´m From México City and I am a pokerstars player too, I started playing in microstakes 3 weeks ago and I won constantly :), I want to study more of this fabolous game to became a pro player in a you!

    what good tips you can tell me about to initiate in this game?

    Good blog and my best wishes to you! :)

    Saludos desde México!


  7. Hello Gerardo!

    I'm glad you like my blog! I suggest you read my posts starting from March 2012 (that's when I started playing the hypers) till today. You'll find all the tips I could possibly give you in there.

    Good luck!

  8. Hi Katerina,

    I would like to say that I am following your Blog and I enjoy a lot what you write here.

    A question: can I had your Blog and my Blogroll and could you please do the same with mine?

    Thank you and goodluck :)

    1. Hello,

      I'm happy that you like my blog, of course you can add it to your blogroll. I've already added yours.

      Good luck!

  9. Today I found a note reminding me to comment on this post :P well, it's not to late, is it?
    Good luck to that downswing!
    About that week, how was it?
    Still aiming for SNE in 2013?
    Just want to know if I have to get my cheering pom poms ;)

    1. Hey Strac!

      You make notes to comment on my post? What a devoted reader! Thanx! :D

      I'll make a post to answer all your questions, probably tomorrow!

  10. Hello,katerina289
    I played with you wbcoop 4-max Hold'em. Still, your blog is very interesting, though I do not know much English, it was interesting to read. Fotos certainly helped.:P
    Thanks for the game, it was interesting to you play. I got a ticket and still won the next 5card poker tournament in 8th place. :)
    I'll be watching you

    1. Hi demolord09!

      Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment, that's nice of you!

      Thank you for the WBCOOP game, it was a lot of fun! Good to hear that you did well in the tournaments! Good luck for the rest as well! :)

  11. Hi there Katerina!

    I recently found your blog and now am following it with great interest!
    First of all congratulations on all your achievements! :)
    I have a question for you if you don't mind:
    I am currently a breakeven player in 6max cash games and haven't played poker for about a year now. But I am now willing to return to this game and give it a real try at it, by studying the game and putting in the hours (something I never comitted myself to).
    I feel I would enjoy playing the 6max hypers! Do you think I should start playing them right away? Or do you believe it's better for me to start with the regular sng's 9max, like you did?
    Thank you very much for the time and best of luck to your poker career!
    Regards from Porto! :)

    1. Hello Luís,

      The 9max sngs don't serve as preparation to the hypers. One game has nothing to do with the other. I was playing 9max turbos when I started playing poker, but then I stopped playing for almost a year before getting started at the hypers so no connection there.

      If you used to play cash games, the 9man sngs are probably closer to the type of game you are used to. However, what you choose to play is simply a matter of preference, I can't really give you advice to go one way or the other.

      Some things to consider though: for normal sngs there's plenty of material to help you (books, online videos, training sites, forums). For hypers, you'll have to rely on yourself and experiment with software like ICMizer, there isn't any studying material out there (at least that I know of). On the other hand, hypers are a much more finite game since you don't get to play flops and therefore don't have all the chaotic choices and combinations that go with it.

      I hope this helps... Good luck!

    2. Thank you very much for your prompt reply!

      Yes, that was my major doubt, if studying material from the 9max would help me get more ready for the hypers.
      But since there is no connection between the two (makes sense, since a player rarely play postflop) I guess I will give it a try then.
      Yes, I believe the way to go here is mostly analyzing with ICMizer which cards to play against the ranges I put my opponents on.

      Thank you again!


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