pick up the pieces and go home

the last month hasn’t really been going as i’d hoped.

i tried to do the live-pro thing, and basically got massacred every time i sat down at a table. i couldn’t figure out why it was, that in the same games where i usually turned a nice profit every time i played, i just couldn’t seem to have a winning session after black friday. i’ve been playing live with winning results consistently since last july or so, but somehow it just evaporated. and it was not in any way due to an influx of internet players – i’d see a new face here and there, but it’s not like a bunch of online ballers were coming in and dominating my local card rooms. it was 95% the same donks, donk regs, and degens as usual. there was no reason why i shouldn’t be taking a few hundred dollars off them every night as usual. but after black friday something was different.

it took me a little while to realize – i was what was different. in the last couple weeks i did take a bunch of legitimately disgusting beats for buy-in after buy-in that i won’t bore you with the details of. but instead of say, quitting after dropping two buy-ins to gross suckouts, i’d buy in again. and order another drink. and start looking for spots to gamble and get even, start trying to bluff in spots where i should know a live donk will never fold his bottom pair or gutshot, and otherwise unwisely lag it up in attempts to prove that i could own these jokers who kept on getting lucky on me. which of course, wouldn’t happen.

i lost my discipline and i lost my patience. before black friday, i was playing live maybe 2 or 3 times a week at the maximum, and i’d rarely play sessions longer than 4 hours. i’d go on friday or saturday nights, and have some fun with it. playing live used to be a nice break from grinding online, and it was almost kind of like a treat, as it has generally been the maximum extent of my social activity in 2011. if i took a frustrating beat or was otherwise annoyed with the table, i’d just go home and fire up some super turbos or hop into a succulent multi-entry crackhead omaha.

after black friday i didn’t have a choice anymore. it was either the annoying table where i kept getting sucked out on, or the other annoying table that i took care not to sit at in the first place – or go home annoyed and stuck. which is almost always the most prudent course of action in this situation. but that requires patience and discipline, and as i mentioned, those are skills that seem to elude me at present.

it wasn’t a conscious thing at all, but i think now i realize that once live poker became a “job” rather than a friday night diversion, i started to just NOT enjoy it. i don’t want to be a live cash pro. i don’t want to spend every day interacting with smelly depressing men, being leered at constantly, listening to the same goddamn playlist over and over on my iphone because i’m too lazy to make a new one that will play long enough for a long poker session, obsessively rubbing hand sanitizer on my hands every ten minutes, scanning the casino menu for the umpteenth time trying to find something safe (forget healthy) to order besides french fries or grilled cheese.

i now realize just how much of the appeal of playing poker was being able to work from home the majority of the time, in a clean environment that i like, with all my music and food and a comfortable chair and no one fucking bothering me. i just wish things could go back to the way they were, because i still love poker, and still like it much better than any other activity one can make money at (yah, i’m pretty sure you can’t get paid to drink champagne, and having sex for money is kind of a no-no). and i don’t dislike playing live, i quite enjoy it when i have the hankering to play live. but the past month has taught me that i do not have the capability to make a career of playing live cash – at least at the stakes i can afford at present.

so now i am faced with some depressing decisions in the face of the looming WSOP and tournament-packed summer in las vegas. i was hoping to run up some money playing live and have a little cushion to allow me to play some tournaments this summer. instead i spewed all my money, and basically cannot play any more live poker until i get my online bankroll back from full tilt. this means that until full tilt releases player funds, i won’t be making any plans to go to vegas. a couple people have asked me: why not just sell most or all your action, so you can at least play some tournaments and get some WSOP experience? the answer to that is mostly personal rather than financial. for the last few weeks i’ve been going back and forth on making a package of events (venetian deepstack tournaments and the WSOP ladies event in particular) to sell action on, and i did receive more interest than i expected, from a few investors. i want more than anything to be able to go to vegas this summer and play some stuff, but it may not be realistic given how i like to do things.

i think it is quite feasible i could sell enough action to play the tournaments i want to play if i don’t get my money from online in time. but if i am going to be backed, i want to be backed by people i trust, by people who know me, who understand the way i think, and who have faith in my game and my abilities. i don’t want to have to sell 1% and 2% pieces to random people who i feel i have to prove myself to, and deal with a bunch of paypal transactions or run all over vegas trying to meet up with a slew of creepy forum dudes to collect the buy-ins. one of the things i like best about poker is that i can do it on my own terms, and not have to answer to anyone. i suspect that having to sell myself to potential backers might completely negate that aspect of things. i’d continually be having to explain myself, to justify to them why i was worth their investment. i spent six years in graduate school doing that – having to prove my worth compared to other people, having to beg professors for research funding or apply to assorted institutions for grants, feeling like i was never good enough, never competitive enough, never deserving enough.

in poker i answer only to myself, and i like it that way. i understand that i have done things the hard way by trying to build a bankroll on my own, moving my way up through micro and low-stakes games. i know it might seem ridiculous in this day and age to try to be like durrrr and deposit $50 and never look back. but that’s what i’ve done, and it’s worked for me so far. i know it would be “smarter” to exaggerate my credentials and find some sleazy backer who will stake me for whatever i want to play, run a debt up to 20 or 40K in buy ins for “real” tournaments before i randomly bink something, and then instantly “become” somebody. but that’s not the way i do things.

so the plan for now is, for full tilt to give everyone back their money before late june (pls? whee!!) and for me to go out to vegas and play some nice juicy stuff on my own mini-roll. and of course bink and instantly “become” somebody :) but i am pretty certain i’m not going to make any kind of schedule or sell shares on a public forum in advance. it may be stubborn, but i am determined to do things right, and whether it’s advisable or not, that means playing most tournaments on my own dime. however, if and when i do figure out what events i’m playing, i’d certainly be interested in selling a percentage or two to people i know personally (or internet-ly). if you want to get in on it, you can let me know either here, on twitter, or via email (thegroupie@thegroupie.com).

hopefully full tilt will hurry the fuck up and sort themselves out, and i’ll be seeing you in vegas in a month or so :)

xo thegroupie

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3 Responses to pick up the pieces and go home

  1. Steve says:

    I hear you on this one. I would love to have internet poker back. My bankroll did not do well playing live and I stopped playing for now trying as well to figure out what to do next. I know I can win as well but playing the stakes they do in this town does not help. Too high for my bankroll. Travel is hard due to gas prices and motel rooms. Hope you get your FT money soon.

  2. Angel Valdez says:

    I lost my job 2 weeks prior to Black Friday and afterwards I set my sites out on cash games. The first 3 weeks I crushed it. I tripled my bankroll and it was very easy. To easy that it made me skeptical and so “variance” kicked in and the past 2 weeks I have not made any money, and yesterday I took my first loss and was stuck 2buys ins.

    My plan was to grind it out the next 4 days and try and build my roll, but after self analyzing my game I realized I got over confident or just plain got unlucky. I realize now that I was playing 6-8 hour sessions when I started that as of late I been doing 14-16hr sets and thats not good at all. After taking some losses early on in the session I stay until I got back up to even.

    New plan: Going to take some time off. I am still planning on going to Vegas this weekend but it won’t be a poker session grin I had planned. I am going as a tourist to play some other games, get drunk, have fun, and enjoy the wsop scene. No tourneys and no long session cash games. Do Vegas like I used to and have fun.

    So after reguvenating and bringing myself back down to earth maybe it will make me miss poker. Grinding the cash games takes its toll on you and if you don’t take a break to recover it will mess you up.

    Take a break then come back refreshed. You’ll see, it will work out for you.

    Good luck,

    Angel ‘gijoe’ Valdez

  3. TxCardslinger says:

    This must be a very frustrating time for you, as well as so many other players with money on FTP. I have lost a lot of money as the result of Black Friday too, not just because of FTP, but in other ways such as investing in a really nice set-up at home to multi-table, cutting back on my work schedule to play poker the way I needed to play in order to be successful, etc.

    Hopefully the government will get it together and regulate the online poker industry so that we can go back to doing what we love.

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