Blog

The Road to High Stakes

I will update my blog at least on a monthly basis at the beginning of a new month. Follow me on Danricepoker on Instagram for reminders and more updates.

May 2022:(Scoop update coming)

It's been a while. I am sitting in Mexico:  I'm back, and tbh it feels better than the first time. Apologies for not updating the blog with my journey's progress (mainly addressing my mum and maybe Enno that I know will read reading), but my life has been busy, and for some reason I have not felt like I wanted to update. I've just come back from England 2 weeks ago - I went back spontaneously mainly because my mum was moving house and I wanted to help and see  her. It was lovely to see her, my brother and all my friends back home, but still, it's great to be back.

 

So, where to start? At the moment I am sitting in a café in Mexico city - a more fancy one because I'm rewarding a long hard 2 weeks grind. Just smashed down some enchiladas, a sprite, and a coffee. Life is good. These treat days are fine, but are so much better when the reward feels earnt. I have grinded almost none stop since I have been back in Mexico City. Final tables have been coming in HOT too. Last week I played 6 days and Final tabled at least once every day except Sunday (bubbled 2 Fts with coolers), and I really feel that I as playing as good as ever now.

 

Luckily, I sit here, despite being a bit tired on my day off, feeling very confident, knowing I'm in a healthy position with my career and very fortunate to be sitting where I am. It wasn't like that for the last few months though. Overall in 2022 I have struggled a bit, breaking even pretty much for the first 5 months. A downswing hit as I stepped up the stakes. I played high variance tournament poker at a stake higher, and tbh I wasn't ready. I needed to change my investment strategy (game selection), and my relationship with poker. Basically, I needed to choose games that worked, update my pc , and make sure I know where I am taking my poker career with study.

 

So that's what I did. For the first time in almost a year I was struggling with my mental poker game - I was getting annoyed at bad beats, feeling tilts of desperation, entitlement and hate losing creeping in. This was weird, because my mental state has always been so solid. In England and at the start of Mexico I was really strong there -the worst bad beat in the world didn't bother me - but now, I felt that my poker sessions were getting tougher because of the state of mind that I was in. I wasn't just fighting against regs and recs, I was fighting myself (oooohhh, deep).

 

And there was some entitlement there in terms of my mental game performances. I felt like I had done the mental game work, and was confused about how this was happening to me. Where are these feeling coming from? I'd dealt with those emotions right? I started to get annoyed at the fact I was annoyed, and the worst part was that I knew it. Entitlement in it's fullest. 

 

So, I found out that knowing a lot about the mental game and emotions doesn't stop you having problems. It makes solving them quicker though at least, but you're never absent from emotion, positive or negative. So, I kind of reset. I looked at my bankroll, ran some variance calculators, and figured out how high variance 2k + average fields give, even with a strong ROI. I didn't realise the fluctuation in results went up so exponentially as tourney fields increase. I felt it though when playing. Long break even stretches were very common and I didn't know it, and wasn't prepared for it yet mentally. I stepped down stakes slightly where I am crushing, towards low/mid, and focused on playing every day. I wanted to want to play, so I made my sessions more enjoyable slightly, and found that the more you play AND study, the more you want to improve and want to apply the stuff you've learnt. You can't really have one without the other in my experience, which is tiring, but that's life as a pro poker player. Pro footballers can't just pick between training or match days. It's hard to be a professional in anything. It's easy to call yourself one though.

 

Anyway, the step down has been great. After watching a PADS playthrough with Ceis, Ceis explained his strategy that got him to the high stakes. Lots of late registration in small field tourneys at lower stakes, and play the regular high variance Day 2+ events on Saturdays and Sundays when the regs are already qualified. Basically, make those FTs more often in the week and learn how to win deep runs. Then, when the big one comes, one Random Monday, you will be ready to take chances and you will BINK.

 

So that's what I do now. After talking to Jacobo, my roommate and close friend, I decided that my work off the tables (outside of studying poker spots and exploits), should only be mental. "Just get yourself playing the tables and making chances. Don't worry yet about going crazy with study - it will come best when you're ready." (Paraphrasing J).

 

 

So, for now, that's it. That's my update. I have more to say, but I will come back to let you know the deeper review of my sessions later this month. I still need to focus on my mental game study more consistently after my session, so I will let you know how I manage the workload. Meditations and recovering energy after a session will be an important process (2 meditations try ??) . I think I've got a few new interesting processes that I will mention that have helped hugely, and are really cool to look back at. Also, there's a lot to tell about exploiting, plenty of personal life stuff that's changed (maybe I'll leave that, not sure), and of course SCOOP - interesting. I'll update though I promise, as I've enjoyed this and got insights. Anyone who's got to the end, I don't know how you've done it, but lots of love to you <333333.

 

 

Stay happy everyone, love Dan xoxoxo

Btw, I'm going to add in more pics as I update.

Jan 2022 

 

Personal:

So, 2021 is behind us. An interesting year. That's about as much of a yearly review that you're getting though. Although I am proud of myself overall, I want to focus month by month and move towards my goals rather than focus too much on the past. Jan was an interesting month personally. Another month in Mexico, and tbh my first real one with structure and routines, although they did change a bit as I moved into a my 3rd place since I've been here. The stability has been there though, and most importantly I feel the motivation to work and study poker a lot.

 I'm writing a book. That's wired but I am excited to see how it will finish. I'm also starting to socialise and have got myself a meditation coach that comes on Monday morning after Sun to help me chill out. Overall, there are many good practices that I'm building in my life to help me grow, all I must do is stay consistent with them. Do that and I've cracked it in 2022. (Spanish lessons, exercise, poker playing, poker study, meditation)

 Poker:

 

Winter series 21/22:

This doesn't get it's own bonus series, becuase it’s in a weird time. It's good to see the poker ecosystem as healthy as ever in terms of traffic though. Very optimistic about the future there.

 

Overall Winter series was another series to learn from. I think series are important to prepare for, and I have not yet prepared with extensive study and a plan for any series. I'm talking 2-4 weeks work of study to get ready to smash out the series. I think I need to do that this year. Pads does it and it works wonders. The chances that will be made will be huge, and I knowing how and when to take them is important to make the step up to high stakes. I want to bink a series even, or at least FT one. On to the specifics of Winter series and Jan:

 

Main improvements to make:

-Consciously use player profiles and tendencies >> make this skill of session and review in breaks.

-Losing big pots too easily in PSKOs >> long game/ deep run mentality to dodge and preserve stack for bounty chances

-CCC >>meditate before every session -- no pressure, enjoy session, don't react just adjust. Meditate and prepare. If you feel adjugated you can postpone

-ACR players don't c-raise enough (calls stronger - underbluff)  and c-raise stronger

 

 

Main Improvements made:

-Volume is increasing and is a priority now whilst keeping standard high >> increase tables in twos until 18 tables minimum

-Keep making day savers and min cashes that minimise variance and make bad days less bad.

-Good relationship with Sundays >> Prioritising them and preparing well

-Donking working well >> can still improve theory + exploit no raising from POP.

Overall Jan:

So, can't complain. Jan has given me a lot to build on and has laid the foundations for me to build in Feb. There will be lots of improvements made, but the main thing is consistency. Not missing routines that are vital for the grind is important. If nothing else, that's all I want. I don't have to be crazy rigid, but I have to do something. Meditate, prepare, play, meditate, study excersize. If I stick to this I can't ever have a bad month. The tricky part is to find the middle ground where I don't make my life so rigid that I miss out on important social events.

 

Good luck to anyone reading this far. Stay solid and know that the control in your life comes from your consistency to do things for the right reasons and show up. There's a huge month coming, and a big bink coming from Feb - April imo. Stay tuned and much love <3

 

 

Dec 2021

 

Personal notes:

December was a strange month tbh. I moved to Mexico and tbh was naïve about the first month being easier than I anticipated. It's mainly the little things, like wifi, accommodation, buying furniture etc. These things just take ages and I always forget that they are important and necessary. They also stress you out a bit when they are not managed.

But still, I was motivated for December and ready to handle the grind. The main problem was consistency of study, which IS poker. I neglected that a bit in Dec, but I can let myself off. Overall the month was a month to build foundations and settle into a new life.

Poker:

I'll star with the good things, as there are many this month. My planning for the late game has improved significantly. I feel very comfortable in deep runs, because I always have a plan of what to do in each position and why. The why comes from player profile that I generally understand how to exploit. My weakest and teh most difficult player type to exploit is overly aggro fish -- you have to be very subtle with your moves vs them.

 

Also, my relationship with Sundays has improved. This means managing them and managing performance levels. Prioritising my deep runs is so important when they come, as that is where ALL the value comes from. One bink is huge. Volume isi not the priority once you start to have big chances. The numbers only take care of themselves if you perform highly in deep runs, especially on Sundays.

Lastly, I make a lot of chances with solid play throughout. This is the "jabbing mentality". Stay in, stay solid, and be hard to hit. If you keep the aggression with 3 betting and c-betting you will already give yourself a good chance of a deep run. I can still improve slightly here, and have a long run mentality in all tourneys. It's sometimes about the subtleties that grind players down, hence the jab metaphor. If you can dodge well and land a punch that hits, you can demoralise opponents and create that deep run chance taht otherwise can slip away.

Improve on:

-Generally, I’m harsh here, but I can improve on adjusting my strategy vs certain player types and boards. That means recognising what the board is, how it impacts his range, and what he is most likely going to when you bet. This is essentially predicting the future using the info on your opponents and the board. That puts you 1 step ahead and gains so much value. Overbet for value only if you think he will call, not because of GTO for example

-Again, the long run mentality can improve as previously discussed. That means picking and avoiding spots systematically that are low variance and low EV >> You give a lot up by going out now or losing 10 bbs now.

 

-Study after the session. Pads/ RYE courses after are a must. The players at high stakes will do this every day and not stop. I have a lot of catching up to do and enjoy it so much once I get going.

 

Overall Dec:

So not bad. Can't complain too much. Of course, I want more volume, more study, and better performances, but that's true of every month I've ever played. It's teh consistency that I want. Good, regular study routines and turning up at least 5 days per week to the tables. This will hopefully be the foundation month that allows me to kick on and grow toward the consistent high stakes games. 

Nov 2021 

Poker:

This month is combined with Oct 2021 for the overview. Again, there were few sessions actually played, but good results and solid study similar to Oct.

To start with, I won the 22 mini 6 max on Stars for a PB of 5.2k (1700 runners ish). I also helped a friend win 2 low stakes tourneys (won't mention names) through the same relentless planning and execution strategy once on the FT. These felt good, but the positive thing is that I enjoyed winning the low stakes tourneys where I made no money as much as the Mini $22. It just feels good to win and systematically dominate the players you're against because of a plan you put together. Who knew grinding people down could be so satisfying?

Again, here are some points from my performance evaluations. I will get into the interesting dynamics in the overview

Good: 

-Found my weaknesses, looked at pop weaknesses and have 4/5 fundemental ways to increase win rate and exploit pop. This allows me to not play autopilot and use my brain more.

-Always keen to make moves and evaluate whether it should be used in future. Not scared of money or failure. 

-Mentally: Much stronger, especially in big moments. My personal life has changed vastly but this hasn't affected my performances. Meditation is paying off. Never panicking about change (low anxiety) on the poker tables or day to day life. 

 

To Improve: 

-Not enough volume put in. I need to create more chances to impose my strengths on the field.

-No alarm breaks to give brain a short rest -- Every 20 mins rest for 30-60 seconds. 

- Polar 3 betting at short stack depths is not getting much credit (players not letting go of 5-15% range enough), and you can overdo it especially in PSKOs. 

The Big Overview (combined with Oct 2021):

So, here we go. The last two months were very interesting. My mental game seems to have come on a lot. I don't tilt very often at all, and have a positive relationship with money, time and poker. Not every day is perfect, but I find bad emotional performance days are few and far between, which is nice. This makes sessions easier to launch because emotional volatility is consistent, even in tough personal times. I owe this to intense study of the mental game of poker in my early career and continuous meditation at least once per day (target of twice) over the last year. 

But we live in a world where distractions and a lack of presence are often surrounding us. I have noticed myself being way less present with my phone over the last two months, and usage has gone up >100% . I worked hard over Spring and summer 2021 to significantly reduce my phone and screen time, and it has pretty much converged back to what it was before. I need to stay on it and be aware of the unhealthy nature of social media and over dependence on tech, because it's constantly fighting back. This may explain a lack of rest and recovery that has led to fewer sessions played. 

All in all though, i'm extremely happy with my performances in the big moments. I really relish them and love the occasion of putting myself up against other players. There are not many times when I finish below the position in which I start the FT on, and my ability to close out/ dominate tourneys when I am 1st/2nd has improved significantly. Planning how, why, and where to exploit various opponent types has helped that a lot. 

As practice for this, I worked on playing some Heads Up to delve deeper into specific weaknesses within opponent's games and how to exploit them practically. Essentially you must be ready at any point to profile players through testing them, analyse what they are likely to do (and why), and run through specific details on how to execute your game plan. This is no different from any sport - boxing being a great example. What you are doing is constantly pressurising the players into showing you what they can do and why they do it, using the most calculated approach as possible where you take minor damage in the process (either to your stack, or to your face). Then you figure out how you're going to win and be ready to go the full length of the tournament. If nothing else, I know they will tire before me.

So in the more recent wins, it feel a lot like I am jabbing my opponents all the time with my RFI and c-bets in the right places. This is also accompanied by not getting hit often (not losing big pots). Sure I’ll take a punch occasionally and lose 3-7 bbs, but I won't take a big haymaker. I always picture Floyd Mayweather, the most intelligent boxer maybe to ever live, as my role model. He knows how to attack and defend against specific opponents so well, and important when and why to do it. He also is winning most of the matches just because he grinds his opponents down with subtle strengths and they eventually crumble. Poker is no different than boxing in that way. 

I can't tell you how many guys have crumbled under constant pressure. Of course they will, it's mid stakes tournament poker! So I prepare myself for a long session, make the most out of my breaks, and constantly plan and write down a plan. Having the plan and the capability to play the Semis/FT for hours also gives you a great idea of the risk/reward of your play now, essentially measuring your future game for you. 

Mr Meyweather didn't risk only having to win fights because he was so hard to beat. So hard to beat that he never lost. Now, that doesn't mean in poker that you naturally nit up, and don't play a bloody hand. It means you devellop a strong, well rounded game plan and a strategy to execute. So dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge. Throw your RFI jabs - see how they respond. Test your opponents in a controlled way that means you don't get hit by an aggro fish throwing haymakers. 

And if you do get hit, channel your inner Tyson Fury. 

 

Good luck and love to everyone <3 x 

 

OCT 2021 

Poker:

Firstly, there were some key events in October, which was a month where I took time off. After the WCOOP I felt tired, but in hindsight that was not overdoing it with poker but came from my daily relationship with poker. Essentially it tended to be a lot of work, then burning out. I didn't find the sweet spot of consistency. I still worked hard, just not effectively, meaning that time off was needed. 

Despite this, I got results and still improved, which led to FTs and trophies. I won the $30 deep stack mara on GG, the 7.50 with 2k runners on stars, and the 22 classico on Party. A bit of everything, and good signs. I only launched 6 sessions in October also, so I’ll take the run good. What this does show me though is how valuable that sweet spot of healthy, consistent poker playing is. That is necessary to first get to the high stakes, and then importantly to stay there.

So, here's a breakdown of my performance evaluation, split into good attributes and ones to improve in Oct: 

Good: 

-Blind vs blind study and understanding has paid off significantly -- win rate up a lot

-Typically eager to perform on FT, plan really well how to use different strategy given opponent profiles. Heads up practice has helped this.

-Always looking to pressure relentlessly. Lots of testing on FT to profile players. Even if this pressure is to play defensively and not lose. 

To improve on: 

-Mental game: rushing into session and not consistent with study practices. Playing is sometimes the first poker related thing done in the day (red flag).

-Mental game: Phone distractions are coming back -- all the work to distance myself from technology use can be undone if you are not conscious about stopping it and not being present. 

-Strategical: SRP oop and multiway pots. Lots of these happening on Sat and Sundays especially. Can be lost with mechanics of medium strength hands. Means I play a bit "plain Jane" and don't think deeply enough 

-Strategical: constant practice of giving player's ranges and estimating from there is needed. Practice this to prevent feeling rusty and making mistakes. 

Overview: 

 

I'm combining October with November because they were not full months. The overview will be above this :) Much love <3 

Sept, Oct and a bit of Nov (detailed poker review coming) 

Disclaimer -- This is a very deep, emotional post that I am sharing. I would rather share my true life, in good times or bad, so hopefully I can show that difficult times are completely alright. If I can help anyone that reads this, I would love to, and likewise if anybody would like to reach out, I would appreciate it hugely. :) Stay positive and strong anyone reading. :)

Sorry for  the lack of content recently, but these months have been the most important months ever in my personal life. So, I am moving to Mexico on November 23rd. This was one of the toughest decisions of my life.

Man has the last month been tough. There has been a lot of pain and I have realised that I have to deal with that head on. I also have to feel the pain to recover. The last months have also felt very lonely, but out of that I have developed a healthier relationship with myself. Now more than ever I see meditation as being the most important part of my daily routine, as it enables me to disassociate with my conscious mind, and distance the many negative and hurtful thoughts and emotions that naturally come up. I have also learnt many things about relationships from this tough time. I think it's hugely important to delve deep into yourself emotionally, because otherwise you end up projecting many negative feelings that come form yourself onto others that has nothing to do with them, without even knowing it. In simple terms, fix yourself and you will come into any relationship (friends, family, girl/boyfriend) in a healthier way.

So that's the process I'm in - working on myself. This takes time and patience, but luckily poker has prepared me for tough times, because my rise towards becoming a poker pro came out the toughest (dealing with death). So, emotionally I am ready to run a marathon.

And that deep emotional work has transferred to the tables. Despite the tough months, I have had many great poker results, really productive study sessions, and I feel like my performances are at the highest they have ever been. I am ready to move up stakes really (mid to mid-high), and this strats from such strong emotional performances. Strategically I am also improving quickly too because I am in line with what I am working on, where I want to get to in poker and why. This has taken maybe 18-24 months, but now it is paying off. Consequently I have been winning a lot of tourneys, pushing my sessions hard, and using the capacity of my brain at the table in a systematically repeatable way. I am outthinking many opponents at these stakes, and feel like I read the game extremely well these days, partly because I am thinking so objectively in my mind and combing this with effective study. 

That was not an ego centred paragraph btw. It has come from my detailed evaluation of 2-3 months of notes where I am harsh on myself overall. I'm mainly saying that mental game work takes time, but for the first time I am seeing rewards and I strongly believe they will push me to the high stakes soon.

 

So what next?

I am about to be in Mexico City for 6 months minimum and I am all in with my poker career (shocking pun). I will join a close poker friend in Mexico and from there aim to create a solid in-person poker network. This will mean learning Spanish everyday, networking with South and North American poker players, and aiming to either build or join a thriving poker team. I see my best poker self thriving around other like minded players in person.

I am completely going for it, and developing my network will be key to progression: if anyone reading wants to discuss ideas in relation to this please do. Any teams you know looking for players or any extremely committed mid-high stakes players you know, please reach out :)

I will need a strong online community from any country as well as in person, so all suggestions or ideas are welcome. Over the next 1-2 years I will eat, sleep and breathe poker, increase my volume and study extremely consistently. I'm exited and confident that I will succeed and I hope as many people can be part of this too!

Also, I promise to upload at least monthly like I was doing in summer <3. My poker review of the last 2 months is coming by the end of Nov. Stay positive.

 

WCOOP Bonus entry -- How it went and what i'll do for the next series 

I have been as guilty as anyone for building up the WCOOP, and for good reason. For many of our high stakes role models it is a HUGE deal. It was also for me, but more for the fundamental tests and schedule influences rather than the WCOOP tourneys themselves.

 

In low+ mid stakes though, the WCOOP itself (WCOOP hold 'em tourneys) still make up a small part of our daily schedule. I probably played on average 4/5 tourneys a day in the WCOOP, all with crazy high variance. Sure there were more I could have played, but I reached my limit for max tables in many cases, and had deep runs that I prioritized on occasion. Deep runs are hard to come by in the WCOOP at these stakes because of the variance, so if you're like me and had a relatively underwhelming series, don't worry - it's meant to be like that. What it does do though is make you turn up and test how hard you can grind the schedule.

That for me is the real value of the WCOOP. It offers an insight into how hard you have to work at high stakes. It's 3-4 weeks of relentless, consistent high performance without break. That is tough at any stakes. Can yoy turn up nomatter the results, and be disciplined enough to stick to playing nomatter how bad your day is or how tired you are? There's also a 1 Day break in the week at most.

So the series i'm writing about is not the WCOOP tourneys I played in, but the 4 week period of intense grinding that is based around the WCOOP schedule. Lots of other sites had some juicy events and scedules too, which is exactly why these weeks are so valuable. The traffic on poker sites is way higher, the daily guarentees of everything around the WCOOP increase, and there are some serioulsy +EV situations to grind our way into, IF we turn up. 

 

So, my results were mixed overall. Here's a breakdown of my series over that 3-4 weeks:

-Strategical performance when playing 4/5

-Mental game performance on the tables: 5/5

-Frequency of playing 2/5

-Length of sessions 4/5

-Routine and consistency off the tables 3/5

-Prep for WCOOP 2/5

 

Overall series rating: 3/5

So lots of positives and lots to improve. Firstly I would say if you can do these marathon 4 week events in person with other committed players, do it. That's true for poker in general, but these events are tough and very isolating. I missed out on my social life a lot, and felt motivation to play fall when I knew I wouldn't see anyone any time soon. Will power can only go so far. Ideally I will try to do at least some of every big series with other people in person from now, so HMU anyone who might fancy this. :)

I would have prepared a little better, mainly by taking time off, studying and relaxing. It came a bit earlier than expected, so planning these events in advance is important for your schedule.

However, despite the average WCOOP results, the rest of the player pool was lighter. I had scores on GG, Party and Stars elsewhere, getting very close to a WCOOP bracelet win (3rd in $33 PSKO, 5k entries). Also lots of good results all over the place , so a very profitable 4 weeks overall. My session were longer, I pushed the registering of tourneys and worked hard off the tables to keep my energy levels high. This meant sleeping well, reading in my down time and going to the gym/ running. Definitely making progress overall.

So, I think the best chance of completing an intense event like this is to plan your life in the series beforehand and have a team of people around you, preferably in person. Otherwise you're swimming against the tide of your own thoughts, which is hard to manage alone. Meditation, good sleep, exercise and relaxing properly (no tech) can help a tonne too, but you need to set routines and accountability, and there's no better way to do this imo than to physically have someone there working the same job and hours as you.

 

Good luck to everyone this Autumn, and please connect with me about anything in poker/ life - it's really worth it for me and is hugely appreciated. I love talking to you guys, and it still surprises that loads of you lovely people are getting to the end of these blogs. Much love <3

 

Aug 2021

Poker:

So, this was WCOOP month. I figured it was the most important month in the year but realistically consistency matters most throughout the year. In principle it great to get used to  playing a full festival schedule and working very hard for 3-4 weeks though. When I play the $200-$10K+  buy ins at high stakes in a few years, the WCOOP will be huge. For Mid stakes though, it's only 3-6 tourneys per day that I'll play which are all high variance. The daily grind doesn't change that much other than the player pool being slightly softer and tourneys generally being higher variance.

I'm not playing 10Ks  yet though. I haven't had a full series of high quality Pads- like grinding for 3-4 weeks straight. However, I am grinding way more and playing longer sessions with more + more tables whilst feeling good :) .

Some other things are coming together too. Exercise and a good schedule is giving me ore sustainable energy throughout the day. Sleep routines and diet are nearly there too, which will help. The attitude to keep pushing and striving for more is also getting stronger, which makes me more resilient to bad days and problems in life. That's why I love poker. There's nowhere to hide your problems if failing isn't an option. My last big improvement and most important part of my routine is meditation/presence. Cracking this will significantly improve my life as a professional and a human, and I notice the biggest difference in myself and my standard of living when I don't meditate.

I know it sounds cheesy, but there' so much to it. The problem is you can't explain the experience of improving in meditation because you aren't thinking at the time (if you're good). Believe me though, it's my #1 daily priority.

Of course though, there are always way more things I want to improve. Poker wise this starts with awareness of weaknesses, which is why evaluating my collecting results after playing is so useful. That's actually how I start writing tis blog.

Energy wise, it's Tv that's my biggest enemy. I don't feel rested after it, and it almost always lasts longer than I plan. This effects sleep too and stops future recovery time at night. Study also misses out which is MASSIVE in this journey. There's no substitute for putting consistent time into poker, ever. If I don't study, I have to accept that I will plateau in terms of ability, which I can't accept. Poker is always about the journey and consistent improvement.

Another weakness this month/ summer has been a mental game one. It's a subtle form hate losing tilt, where I don't like to lose money on the day. It never effects my in game performance because I'm not scared of money at all, I just associate the time I put in on previous days to results today. This can actually help on big Sundays as pushing for break even days can be really important, but overall I'd be more happy with aggressive investment strategies when it comes to poker tournaments at these stakes. So really it's about controlling this rather than removing it, but I have a plan.

Lastly, my schedule is important for work-life balance and energy to study and play long hours. This means that I want to TRY and start earlier always. That give me more control in my day, and I have the energy left to run spots or see people later on at night after my session. Also, it can shock myself out of de-motivated states of mind (especially on weekends), where others have time off. Nobody wants to live their 'dream job' and be sat on their own all Friday/Saturday knowing that the biggest day by a mile is still to come (Sunday) with little social interaction. Also, if I start early, I always push my session longer. There's only so far you can push after 10 PM imo because I need sleep and juicy tourneys to play. But, the problem is a 1-5 PM launching session < 4-8pm launching session (at least I think). If nothing else though, poker allows you to be flexible, so picking and choosing working hours to fit your week must has to be utilized. Shift workers all over the world would kill for that

 

Personal:

Way less interesting than I'd like overall, but I'm improving in life haha. I'm finding time to enjoy my week and socialize as much as poss. Still though, I must sort out my trip to move. Atm I'm serious about Canada, but not having exact plans to go is subtly dragging me down. That is September's priority.

WCOOP is a lonely time in general and it has taken it out of me in ways I didn't realize. My close poker 'team' are taking a break for holidays/ moving too (sacrilege in WCOOP I know), so overall it's been a bit relentless. WCOOP needs sustained energy, which comes from living happily. I underestimated how important working with people and meeting new people is before an event like this.

 

So that's it. As I write we're in the last WCOOP week and have lots of positives and things to work on. I will do a WCOOP bonus review too on my blog where I break down the series and say what/ how I'd improve before and throughout as a pro player. Also, I forget people actually read this. Please reach out with anything at all, especially just to say hi. I love any interaction and hugely appreciate anyone getting to the end of this. Much love, good luck with SEPT! :)

 

July 2021 

Poker:

Overall a good month considering circumstances. I caught Covid which left me out for around 9 days with low productivity, however I managed to crush the rest of the month when I played. Lots of final tables, a few 200 man + Turbo and Hyper wins and some deep GG masters close calls at 5th and 6th. The Mid-stakes still feels relitively easy, but there’s still a few levels higher that I can go performance wise. That improvement is as simple as putting more time into playing and studying, nothing complicated. Playing 4 longer days now is my focus and is fair but balancing regular study with the rest of my schedule is where the improvement will come from. A little and often on the Pads course will go a long way.

I have achieved the aim of prioritizing volume over study though, which is good. That was my struggle. I feel like volume is far less of an issue now and just need to make a few tweaks into my schedule. Still not easy, but very optimistic, especially with new study techniques and tips learned from my personal development interests. Very positive going forward.

 

Anyway, my post session note reviews have told me a lot so far this month. Generally, a lot of pop reads, but also some schedule related stuff such as starting too late effecting the EV of the session:

 

Good:

Music on 1 hour, off 1 hour has worked and is nice incentive to stay present and enjoy session]

-Calculating approx EV of plays (accounting for variance) – Especially open-jams

-Plan for deep runs in tourney helping lots with confidence and solidarity : )

 

Improve:

-Deep runs – Be ready for 2/3 BIG hands that will make an 8 hour + session good or average. Stay primed. Make this a later skill of session especially on GG where 20-30 bb stack plays become the effective stack size after bubble (last 60 players)

-Put 3 things you are grateful for int your cool down no-matter what – builds positivity into routine and creates objectivity about life

-5 Pm is a bad start for schedule and fucks up my routine. 1pm – 3pm is way better.

-Watch out for days off blending into the day after. Take extra care to rest and recovered to take day after my days off seriously (Sat-Sun and Weds-Thurs)

 

Personal:

Okay, can go easy now. Not an eventful month with being out for 9 days but I recognized what my schedule was missing. Socializing, exercise and staying accountable. Basically, plans that are concrete. Poker is generally intense and can be a lonely journey. Having students help, but I wish it was personal rather than virtual. So, I had to make socializing a priority this month. I joined a gym again and booked gym classes to make me get there at a specific time to NOT BE LATE. Also, those strength and HIT classes are killer. Seriously knackered after any of those 30 min sessions, and then if I can handle the gym for another 30 mins to 1 hour I will, but that’s happening less than I thought originally. I’m doing a technique where I have 2 days on, one off, and basically committed to not breaking that. If I can stop eating brownies and cookies, I’ll be shredded in no time.

 

Meditation is getting interesting too. I am on 50 consecutive days and starting to get weird moments where I think I can kind of feel my brain changing. Very hard to explain for obvious reasons. I’ve also got A New Earth back out which is also helping me recognize ego more – can’t recommend this book enough btw. Overall, I’m happier and my life is enjoyable, but I guess I need more time to see what happens to my consistency. That’s the key to me cracking it. Staying positive and keeping going on the rough days.

 

JUNE 2021

So with my monthly updates I want to split them into 2 sections, personal and poker/work related. these tended to bleed into one from experience in past months, however I feel I ned to keep them separate so I can give my working and social life the time they deserve. 

 

PERSONAL

England got to a major tournament final. Crazy. We were v unlucky not to win it. I think we were better than Italy as individuals and a collective team, but it was close. High variance games. Run it 10 times and I think we win more often (60/40 ish). Even Trippier's free-kick against Columbia at the World Cup doesn't beat that Shaw goal, or the Pickford save of Georginho's pen. 

 

Other than football, my main aim socially is to build a network. As a poker player this job is relatively lonely - virtual calls just aren't the same. I would love to work physically with other players and coaches on a regular basis some day soon. Until then though, I need to socialise in Manchester where I live. I've been thinking of either volunteering, learning to dance, joining a sports group (get very competitive), or building a group of people to meet up regularly and help each other develop spiritually/as people. I have done something similar in poker and it has been brilliant. With everyone sharing goals and pushing each other you really get to build a lovely relationship with the group and you fell part of a journey together. Any feedback on the best option would be v appreciated <3 

 

POKER

Poker has been good overall. A solid month of $2k+ wit very little volume thanks to the Euros. I do need to play more. That has always been a struggle, but is something I need to get over. Mid stakes is not that tough really and many poeple are straight forward and unambitious in terms of making moves that put me in tough places. So chances come up frequently when I play, so playing more = more chances to bink. 

 

From my note reviews I have listed good and bad things that I did last month. Btw, evaluating notes is one of the highest EV study techniques I feel. Here's a couple of main ones. 

Good:

-Stay present and conscious throughout session. Less autopilot. Phone used for music only - made it boring

-Overbets working well -- players unbalanced vs them -- don't expect them 

-Longer sessions making more chances

 

Bad:

-Don't use chip EV sheets. Players too basic for complex strategy 

-v loose rejams not working well as players under 3 bet strong hands. can't go crazy, just wide.

-Everyone is a nit in game. Under hero call. Bluffing combos likely outweighed as default unless you can't find value hands. 

 

The big one though this month is to PLAY PLAY PLAY. After having a month of really good volume I will be v happy and will have tonnes to share. Let's get it in July and Aug.

 

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