That Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

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It’s that most wonderful time of the year! fa la la laaaa la laaa la laaaaaa

No not bloody christmas, that will be over and done with soon enough! The time of year I’m talking about is that wonderful time when grinders all over the planet are making plans for next years schedules and volume targets.

As I’ve never been as serious as I am now about poker, I have never made plans and goals based on any actual evidence or forced myself to stick to them. Rather I have just set somewhat arbitrary volume targets based on what I feel I can/should play, not on numbers and data.

This year however is different, I have a solid sample of games from the last 12 months+ on which I can derive a meaningful and fairly accurate R.O.I on which to base calculations on for next year. This is only part of it though as this doesn’t account for the Pokerstars VIP program and rewards.

I spent a few days this week constructing a spreadsheet in order to make this planning easier, it allows me to input my volume of games per day, for whatever buyin level, or mixtures of buyins I aim to play in a day. It then does all the calculations to tell me how many VPPs/FPPs I will collect, then converts those to $ rewards based on my VIP level and tells me how many months it will take to hit Supernova using that volume. It also takes my ROI and calculates a profit from that and the games played, then adds it all together with the bonus’ and gives me a projection of profit for a month.

Making this spreadsheet has been extremely helpful, not only in setting goals but in seeing how damaging it is to miss a few games here and there from sessions and how much small margins have a massive impact over the long haul plan for the year.

Hitting the ground running in January is imperative, I can’t accomplish everything in January, but I need to start as I mean to go on for the year, and messing up the first month will be disastrous and make gaining momentum in February even harder, and then obviously this runs into the rest of the year.

The first step to SN, is Platinum, which I will hit by the end of January, then the next large target is SN itself, which I should hit around middle-end of August with the goals I have set myself for volume. This is dependant on me sticking religiously to the targets I have set, to give you guys a rough idea of the volume I need to sustain it is around 150 games/day, roughly split between 120x$7 and 30x$15 totalling 3k games/month. This is based on a 5 day work week, and not playing evenings, as much as I love poker, I am not going to turn into someone that grinds 18 hours a day and has no social life, the point of me playing poker is to give myself a decent lifestyle and income and working around “normal” working hours, not locking myself inside 24/7.

The volume figure will drop as I transition to playing solely the $15 and fewer and fewer $7s as the higher the buyin, the more rake you pay and therefore the more FPPs you get/game. As well as my volume targets I have a list of short, medium and long term targets for the year, some poker related and some more general life stuff, such as getting fitter and healthier as I don’t want to turn into a fat bastard as I grind this year, and also because I feel it will help my mentally as well as physically. Healthy body healthy mind and all that jazz!

The biggest problem I am having right now with my plan, is a rather massive conflict of interests. Mainly Brisfest in September… I plan to hit SN mid-late August I really cannot take a month off of poker like I have done in previous years as it is extremely important that I get as much time in grinding with the SN status as humanly possible to maximise my potential returns and to make the most of the 8 months hard work in getting there. So I have to figure out what I’m going to do, it’s a really shitty decision to have to make, but one that needs to be made none the less.

2012 in review.

The Good

– Got better with results checking/results oriented mindset – allows me to focus on my game rather than $ amounts which really don’t matter.

– Increased my session duration and ability to keep focused – I can now play 100 or so games without a break in about 5 hours.

– Dealing with tilt/badbeats better – I used to get extremely tilty after a few badbeats, and either stop sessions or play like a monkey for the rest of the day just burning money. Not so much now, although still work to be done

– Managed to convey my poker goals and ambitions to people (non players) without getting defensive and actually explaining things to people to help them understand – I still struggle with this as a lot of people still see poker as luck and random gambling (online bingo), and no amount of statistics or logical explanation can change someones mind who has no interest in actually understanding the game. Deep breath, smile, nod, move on!

– Improved my self evaluation and self analysis skills – partially through help of this very blog!

– Stopped talking rubbish in the chat at tables (self imposed chat ban)- more focused, fewer misclicks

– Consistently playing 10 tables for entire sessions

The bad

– Still wasting too much $ on playing random MTT’s/cash games – this HAS to stop next year as it has cost me a lot of $ this year

– Struggle to keep motivated and focused if I miss a couple of days, it has the potential to run into the rest of the week – this also has to stop this year, there is no room for excuses or laziness.

– Tendency to compare myself to other people too much – results in feeling like crap and demotivating myself. I need to be more happy with my own progress and own goals, not comparing to other peoples. This has been an ongoing theme my entire life and I remember many a conversation had with my mum when I was younger about this very thing. This cannot happen next year, as I have a day by day, week by week and month by month plan to adhere to and this is all that matters.

I think that’s about it for this week and for this year!

Thanks to everyone that’s helped me get through this year, friends, family and poker people. Big shout out to my friend/coach Casy151, if anyone is after coaching I cannot recommend this guy enough. His blog link is in the blogroll on my mainpage.

A big big thankyou, to everyone that takes the time out to read this blog o mine. I have been really blown away by the amount of views and readers I get and also by the positive feedback and comments I have received either via the blog or from talking to people in person. I am quite humbled by it all as I really was not expecting to pickup as many followers, and started this blog mainly as a diary and way of being honest and evaluating myself more.

I really hope you all have a wonderful christmas or whatever you celebrate if you aren’t christmas inclined, and a great New Year.

Don’t do anything too crazy and have fun 🙂

See you all next year xx


Frustration Station

Hi Hi!

This week got off to a rocky start. After having a great end to last week and putting in a decent session on Sunday afternoon, Monday was a different story! I felt totally knackered and unfocused. Not great as I had started mixing in the $15 games to my sessions, playing 7 or 8 $7 games and 2 or 3 $15’s, so being unfocused and not playing my A game had the potential to be more costly.

Checking my results once a week on Sundays has been fine recently, even in weeks when I was losing a lot of $. This week however even hitting a few bubbles in a row sent my mind racing about $ figures and my bankroll, and I was getting the urge to just have a quick look. I felt so on edge, even to the point where clicking the lobby button instead of the register button for games made me feel like I was going to smash my mouse. This in hindsight, and even at the time if I was honest with myself, was totally ridiculous, not that this fact made it easier to deal with at the time. I felt like how people describe when they quit smoking cigarettes, really on edge and tiny irrelevant things just making them lose the plot slightly, my chair felt uncomfortable, my headphones and music were pissing me off and nothing felt right. Thankfully I got past this after having a couple of little breaks and splitting up my sessions a bit.

The rest of the week felt like I was playing well, I was doing loads of review work, going over about 5 or 6 games after every session, plus my weekly coaching session. Everything felt great, I was talking hands over with other players and generally keeping well focused and motivated. Looking over the results for the week however this isn’t exactly reflected in my profit/loss for the week. I got smashed to bits in the 15s just bubble after bubble after bubble (32 out of 130 $15 games for the week) It was incredibly frustrating, but I managed to keep playing well and not just going on monkey tilt and spazzing off more $. Looking at my EV line in PT3 is pretty gross for this week (the EV and Actual profit lines never even touch), but whatever, there’s not much I can do about that other than keep playing through the swings. It is getting extremely frustrating that I can’t seem to string together a few winning weeks in a row, but I just need to not let this bother me and keep putting the work in. Chin up and all that 🙂

Outside of poker I have also started doing a some shifts at my local pub in the evenings this week, which is great fun and a few extra quid is always nice! And as it’s in the evenings mainly it shouldn’t interfere with my poker schedule too much.

Here’s the breakdown for the week:

Games Played: 462 – A bit short again, but nothing too serious

Profit/Loss: -$250.13

Coaching: 1 session

Review: 4 sessions

Next week is going to be a bit of a different post, it is going to be my plan for next years grinding. I am going to do a few calculations based on my ROI for SnG’s over the last year or so (a sample size of well over 5k games) using this I will be able to calculate how many games I need to play/month to earn a certain amount of money. I am also going to work out my schedule for hitting SuperNova VIP level next year, as this alone equates to a decent chunk of $ in bonuses etc.

Next Weeks Goals

Games: 400+ not 500 this week, as I have been falling short and have some other commitments that will reduce my playing time this week.

Coaching/Review: 1, and 3

Thanks for stopping by guys, see you next week 🙂





Another Quick one

Hello everyone, I hope your weeks have been good.

I haven’t really had a chance to put together a proper post this week, so it is going to be extremely brief.

It has been a pretty good week, I missed my target for games by 18, but that’s not a big deal, at least it was a lot better than the previous 2 weeks!

So here’s the weeks breakdown:

Games: 482

Coaching: 1 session

Review: 2 sessions

$: + $521.13

Sorry for the short post, but I’ve just finished a 107 game session with no breaks and I’m absolutely bloody knackered and am going to go have a pint 🙂

See you all next week, thanks for stopping by 🙂


Slippery Slopes

Hi everyone, hope you’ve all had a good week and aren’t freezing in this weather too badly!

The last week or so for me have been really bad in terms of poker, I was behind on games last week, then was away for the weekend which meant no poker,although the weekend itself was great. It was my dad’s 75th and got to see all the family and friends of family that I don’t really see as often as I probably should. But I’m sure we are all guilty of that, it’s far too easy to get caught up in your own stuff and not make time for family, and the weeks/months/years just fly by. Now I just need to see my mum and her side of the family and all will be good with the world.

That is my one bit of advice to you all, make the goddamn time to see the people you care about as they won’t be around forever!

I got back to normal life on Monday afternoon, with a bitching hangover and cold/flu thing setting in after a rather heavy weekend, which wrote off the first few days of this week as grinding was the last thing on my mind. It was then one of my good mates birthdays on Thursday, who also happens to be the landlord of my local…I won’t bore you with the details I’m sure you can work it out yourselves!

So yea, after a month of not drinking or partying loads and getting into a good routine and structure with the poker, all it took was a few trips to the pub and peoples birthdays to totally undo most of the ground I had made over the last month. It has really been an effort to play this week, even when I wasn’t hungover or ill, I felt like I had to force myself to play. Sessions felt like the were dragging on for days not hours and my focus and ability to think clearly and quickly was impacted hugely. It is remarkable how long it takes to build something up compared to how swiftly it can be broken down again. (I’ve played maybe 30 games this morning, and I feel tired, frustrated and am really not ‘in the zone’ like I was in previous weeks)

Last week I talked about routines and cycles of behaviour in negative light, but there is also a lot to be said on the positive side of routines and behavioural patterns. Such as working/grinding set hours/days and keeping focused on goals and targets (and not getting drunk!). A few days out of my routine for poker really messed things up, and unfortunately I’m not in the position where I can afford to get complacent after just 1 month of good behaviour, and miss hundreds of games from my schedule (financially or otherwise). So it’s back to self control Benny again for the foreseeable future, most likely until NYE/Bday, so another month of keeping my head down and playing as much poker and studying as much as I can. As I sit here typing this rough draft for this entry I am infact missing another good friends birthday, as it would have involved leaving Bristol, more partying and more feeling crap afterwards, and I would have slid even further back into old ways! I have for too long put partying and socialising too high on my priorities list and as a result am racing towards 30 with my life not terribly together. If I don’t try and make changes now I fear I never will, as there never is a perfect time and always excuses for putting things off, especially living in a city like Bristol.

Due to my lacklustre last couple of weeks I have also failed in getting my Platinum VIP level back, which is a real shame, as it is a huge boost in terms of earning bonus $ and accruing points faster for rewards. I had debated pulling a mad session this weekend with the help of some pro plus, but after going over the numbers and working out the amount of games I still needed, it was never going to happen.

So, not a great deal to talk about pokerwise again this week, which I apologise for. But things will get back on track next week!

Lifestyle wise, it has been a huge eye opener as to how little I have actually accomplished over the last month when it comes to making permanent and long lasting changes. It has also really started to dawn on me the undertaking that professional grinding is, it’s not like any other job I have ever tried to do, usually jobs that involve insanely long days and lots of physical work, but not really requiring much mental application. Where you can show up a bit out of sorts and still get through the day and get paid, also without having to deal with the barrage of upswings and downswings and the inherent emotions attached to them. If I’m not 100% on the ball all the time I’m playing I may aswell just set fire to $. So still a lot of work to be done on mindset and lifestyle choices, but I guess every journey starts with small steps or something…

Time to get back on the wagon and make some monies 🙂

Cheers for stopping by, and see you all next week.

Results: +$27 (you can see where the hungover unfocused play kicks in…)

Volume: 197 games

Coaching/Review: 1 coaching session, 1 review

Overall: Another epic fail of a week, illness, drunkenness and laziness, not good = unhappy Benny 😦

Next Week Goals (You all know by now I’m sure!):

Games: 500+

Coaching/Review: 1 and 2-3 review