Supernova Explosion

“Climbing to the top demands strength, whether it is to the top of Mount Everest or to the top of your career.” – Abdul Kalam

One of my biggest life leaks is my inability to set any meaningful long-term goals. In fact, I’m really great at (or bad for) starting projects with plenty of zest and ambition, only to let my ADD-riddled brain whittle its way into inevitable boredom and defeat. Slow progression towards an objective that doesn’t reap the benefit of immediate results must be a subconscious personal phobia. I’m actually sitting here, trying to reflect on a time in my life which I set a long-term goal and achieved it, and I’m drawing a blank. (Except the time I set a week aside to earn all the achievements on NHL 12 many moons ago). In a cliché New Years Resolution, I am making a goal of making more far-sighted goals and sticking to them. Check that one off my list, inherently, with this chase for Supernova.

I took a brief hiatus from poker in December, and explored what it is I actually play poker for. The time off the tables forced me to ask myself a number of important questions about whether I actually enjoyed the game. Is poker just an ends to a means and nothing more? Do I actually enjoy 12 tabling micro-stakes enough to do it for hours upon days upon weeks, etc? What do I want to accomplish with poker? “He clicked buttons. Over and over and over,” doesn’t seem like something I want written on my obituary, and personally I love the idea of travelling the world and playing EPT events, winning a WSOP bracelet, playing the Aussie Millions and just taking in all of the wonderful experiences living the poker lifestyle grants. My journey, like every other poker hopeful, starts today with the privilege of being able to play 20 tables, 8 hours a day online. It truly is a blessing to live in a country where I am able to wake up, turn on my computer, and make money doing something I truly enjoy. That’s where Supernova chasing comes in. It’s more than a monetary reward, it’s more than an accolade. It’s validation that my long hours of clicking buttons isn’t just for a bottom line, or a chance at poker super-stardom. It’s about self-actualization and being able to say, “I’ve worked long hours to achieve something of worth, I am an expert in my field.”

Pokerstars, like every poker site in existence, relies on taking a portion of every pot (called rake) to pay for operating costs. However, to their frequent players, they give a certain percentage of that back – along with plenty of other benefits, including huge freeroll tournaments, a VIP shop with extravagant gifts (including a Porsche Cayman), and plenty of money back in the form of FPP (frequent player point) bonuses and live tournament tickets. By reaching the second highest tier of the Pokerstars VIP ladder, I will be earning plenty more than the profits I make on the tables, and that makes my job of turning some money into more money a whole lot easier.

Enough boring theological shit, I’m here to announce an important goal in the new year. Supernova Elite. Minus the elite, okay. Just Supernova. Lots of benefits of making this tier, and it’s something I wanted to do last year, but last year was a bad year in general, on and off the tables. I feel focused, ready, rolled, and more patient with the swings poker and life may bring to achieve this goal.

Here you go, graph fiends. January starting off with a bang. I’m up profits, but honestly that’s been the least of my concerns. I really want to start off strong and get to Supernova this year. #VPPhunting

congrats

congrats

What Separates You From Greatness

Hi. My name is Jon, and I have an addiction problem.

Most poker players are far too stubborn to admit they have a problem. Most poker players are far too stubborn to admit to getting outplayed. Most poker players will bust their entire bankroll, and say something like, “Man, this luckbox hit a two-outer… this is bingo, not poker.” Most poker players will keep dumping money into someone else’s pockets, because they fail to understand the key component that cultivates a winning player.

Plug your holes, and just keep pushing buttons.

I realized around early December-ish that I don’t want to play poker for the rest of my life. It’s a sad reality to someone who was once had dreams of winning the WSOP Main Event. No amount of dreaming of playing on High Stakes Poker, and lavishing in the glamourous side of being a high stakes grinder could reduce my burnout. In chasing the dream, I quickly found out how hard it is to explain why I’ve been playing for just over a year, and I have yet to move up into any ‘new stakes’ or ‘higher tournaments’. It’s not a lack of run good (partially…), it’s not that I play poker at a sub-par level, but it’s the simple fact that I can’t minimize my losses effectively yet. When I’m playing good, I want to stay at the tables for hours – when I’m playing bad, I want to stay at the tables for hours. I’m sure you can see the counterproductive nature of this trend.

So I decided my brain, my soul, and most importantly my life needed a quick reset. I examined everything I could possibly do with my time instead of grinding, and found a lot of productive ways to occupy myself. Job hunting, playing less stressful-more social games with loved ones, and I bought a new RC-Helicopter. (lol, sounds frivolous, but damn that thing can fly.) Just recently, I took a step back into poker, and realized instantly why I loved it, and rekindled my fire.

I am so fucking good at it, it’s scary. (Trollllllololol, leggo haters.)

I mentioned in a previous post that I think you reach a certain point as a professional poker player, where you could ultimately hold your own against anybody in the world. While you work on mathematically balancing your ranges, or mastering that poker face, it really comes down to not making mistakes. Just stop making mistakes! It’s not hard! You know that button that says “FOLD” is okay to push when you don’t want to sometimes! Mistakes aren’t shoving into the stone cold nuts (oops!) or misclick shoving 72o (again, big oops!) but mistakes are repetitive things that we know (or don’t know) we shouldn’t do, but do it against our personal intuition anyway. For example, I’m a sucker for a check-raise with a nut flush draw, even against an opponent I know can only rejam with better, or will fold worse. I know better, but countless times I chase that flush/fold equity, over and over, and it’s a mistake. That mistake will ultimately bring down my ROI (Which sits at 15.8% thru 200 games this week: Weeeeee!)

Like every post, I’m just tired of writing and super eager to get back to playing CONSTRUCTIVELY, so Cheers. 🙂

To Indulge, or Not To Indulge

I was mindlessly wandering around the internets last night (internets… How old am I? 21 or 41?), as per usual on a mundane Monday evening. I’ve been so burnt out from poker the last month or so, that I’ve decided I wouldn’t mind taking a little time to reflect on my life before looking at another card, let alone putting another session together. In a few short weeks, 2012 will be behind us, and with it a perfect benchmark to begin correct decision making. While I may not be a man of admitting many faults, I think it’s safe to say 2012 is the biggest mulligan year of my life to date. I’ve taken shots, I’ve made some ‘high-variance’ decisions in my life that didn’t pan out, and now I’m left wondering where do we go from here, and what can I look forward to in 2013?

I am the kid who would boot up NHL 10, play as goalie, and play until I achieved a shutout, or shut the game off after letting in a single goal. Perfect streaks are what I live for. (Going back to a previous post, that may be why my OCD brain can’t handle starting the day off with a losing session… but I digress…)

I think the first step in any future planning would stem from assessing exactly what you want out of life. In my opinion, the most important question one can ask in life is not, “What?” but “Why?” I chose to eat a chicken caesar salad for dinner and go for a run tonight instead of downing a pound of bacon and playing FIFA for 6 hours, but why? Obviously (aside from the lovely woman who makes my world go around) bacon is the love of my life, and I could lounge and play FIFA for hours. (Which I won’t lie, after that run, I potted about 14 goals with my front line of Messi/Villa/Van Persie) but aside from health risks, would I not have enjoyed that plate of bacon and even more time playing FIFA? Why did I limit myself to rabbit food and running with a displacement of 0 m/s.

Perhaps an even bigger question, is why don’t we indulge more? If we indulged more, would be more or less successful than we already are/could be? Apparently we can’t effectively assess the positive and negative effects of indulging before we partake, so we must make a decision:

If I eat plate of bacon = I may not live past 30.

If I eat a salad and go for a run = I still may not live past 30, but I’ll die with sexier abs.

While browsing Facebook, I came across a BroBible article (sweet site for all things sports, funny videos, and sexy women – check it out!) with a photoshoot of Ana Beatriz Barros on a tropical sandy beach (http://www.brobible.com/girls/slideshow/ana-beatriz-barros-15-hot-new-shots … you’re welcome) and it got me thinking, “Why do these shots look so appealing?” Why is it, when we look at vibrant photos of the Dominican Republic, or whatever our internal “paradise” is, we inundate ourselves with copius amounts of desire, if not a shade of jealousy? Being from Canada, every November the snow begins to fall, the degrees hit below 0° C, and we have to endure the fairly cold five month winter (Winter?). It’s simply accept as part of living North of the 49°. But instead of migrating to California to live for an eternity of sunshine, why do we stay where we are? Most of us have lives here, and that’s the obvious answer, but why don’t we all move down to California, or the Domincan?

Why not?

Along with the negatives of variance, instability, lack of benefits, disconnects, and physical inactivity, poker also brings a lot of luxurious perks to the table, including (semi-) mobile living. (Online pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry, but a professional poker player is prohibited in the USA from using the same bandwidth to make a living playing poker… go figure) With that mobile living, brings the idea of living in exotic places like Costa Rica and Australia, and all we need is a laptop, or tablet and an internet connection. (However, If you use a tablet, you’re going to have a rough time.)

That said, neither of those places are completely devoid of “real” jobs either. So, what stops us from dropping our lives to live in paradise?

Human interaction? Stability? I honestly haven’t the slightest clue.

Either way, that’s all my thoughts. It’s late, I’d like some sleep tonight.

Cheers!

The Pain of Break Even

There is a clear-cut reason why I detest soccer. (Not FIFA. Soccer. Or as the Brits call it, “Footy”) It’s not the finesse; it’s not the lack of goals; it’s not even the flagrant diving that occurs every twelve seconds. No, I’m bothered by the fact that 50% of matches end in a tie. Ties suck.

Today ended in a draw. A long, 8 hour battle for $9.86. This should be a blessing, and I should treat it as such. Through 118 tournaments, I managed to win a buy-in, beat the rake, and not lose $200.

However, my greedy self can only look at the fact I made $1.14 / hour. 1.19% ROI. I know we can do better.

Anyway, I had a great night of non-poker last night, so I feel totally refreshed and ready to go this morning. 🙂 Let’s hear it for a burnout reducing session of Rock Band, NHL 13, and delicious English muffin pizzas.

I could live for years off those things.

Cheers!

At Least Karma Has A Sense of Humour

Fish: 1     Jon: 0

Last night, at my bedside, I sent a heartfelt prayer to the Almighty Jesus… Ferguson. It was a simple, eloquent prayer. I wasn’t asking for much, and felt because of my lack of communication the last little while, I was due for an answered prayer.

“Dear Chris Ferguson,

Could you please grant me an epic amount of rungood this morning, so I don’t have to work my whole day stressed – actually, so I can just play FIFA instead? Some FIFA rungood would be appreciated as well.

Sincerely, JayKon17″

 

One solid morning. Part of me felt convinced after this prayer, however I felt the positive aura of peace was veiled with clauses written all over it.

I got my wish. And I was right.

This morning started off great – best in a while. Almost $50 profit through my first 25 tournaments. 24.6% ROI. I felt invincible. Come on Phil Ivey, pick your stakes heads up! I had defeated the Curse of the Terrible Morning. I celebrated not with ONE bowl of Cheerios, but two. I even splurged with the ratio of milk to cereal content – it was awesome. 

This was the greatest start to a non-Sunday in a while. I contemplated quitting early on the day, as I had accomplished my monetary goal of $50 for the day. However, I had another goal… one that would spell my demise on this fateful day.

I wanted to surpass 100 tournaments in a day – and what better day to accomplish this? At this rate, I’ll be up $200, heck, why don’t I start throwing in some $15, and even $30 SNG!

…I never made it to $30.

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Yikes.

As you can see, and will continue to see, I’m a touch melodramatic. However, it never feels good to work for almost -$15 / hour. Every twenty minutes, I essentially ripped up a $5 bill. Now, I’m absolutely aware that this is part of playing poker. It’s not always glamorous upswings, triple barreling on breakfast, and playing FIFA when I should be studying.

Anyway, if I haven’t already held a noose to the neck of my poker career, today was just a step closer.

All jokes. I’m the king of optimism. Days like this will happen, just have to bounce back tomorrow.:)

Cheers!

President of Degenland, Mayor of Tiltown, Future Chief of Supernovaville, Jon Wrigley

Not A Morning Person

I don’t get it.

When I wake up in the morning, I mentally, physically, and emotionally prepare myself for the day. I assess problematic spots from my penultimate and ultimate sessions of the previous day, and I try to carry that momentum into the first session of the day. What I don’t understand, is how, for the fifth straight morning I found myself down 10+ buy-ins. It seems nonsensical to me. Again, five days is a small sample size, but for crying out loud, I’d love to not play the rest of the day to catch up to losses accrued through the first twenty tournaments in the morning.

Aside from the morning, I can’t complain. Great late session. Found a nice new table setup I like that allows me to 18 table, if I so choose. I implemented a 9 table, 90 minute session today, will do the same tomorrow and then maybe try a 105 minute, 10 table session. We’ll see.

Up figures for the 3rd straight day, so I’m happy.

Cheers!

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Routine Begets Positive Change

In fifteen years, when this blog has long become antiquated and I have become a yearly denizen of the World Series of Poker, thousands of people will go back to my first blog post and summate that I am a complete nut. The first post, the first dip into the ocean of expressive thought, is an indelible mark upon a slate of virtual concrete. A crazy, ADHD riddled soul, with a passion for words and freely flowing the contents of his mind.

Today was a great day for me because I had to overcome a collection of obstacles. Predictably, I awoke at 6 am without my alarm clock (tomorrow will be 8 am,obviously… bloody 28 hour sleep cycle. I vow to break you before January) and promptly spilled hot coffee on my bare legs. In hindsight, that may have been my only real bad beat today. I beat variance quite a bit. I also learned quite a bit about myself, my habits, and how to mold them to suit my current needs.

Firstly, I’m going to post my graph pre-eight am.

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Second straight morning starting off down a few buy-ins. Most professionals would say a) Small sample size, b) Stop looking at results, or c) Stop whining. I would agree with all of them, but I feel that there is something to be said about four straight mornings of steady decline to start my days. Whether being groggy or just in sheer carelessness, I decided to take higher variance lines and make a few sub-optimal plays. Cold 4-bet shoving JJ preflop in the early stages never usually ends well. Either way, tomorrow I vow to focus more on the early portion of my grind to juice the maximum value out of my session.

For the last little while, I’ve been running four tables at a time, quitting when I was frustrated and coming back twenty minutes later. This regiment is unacceptable, and so today I applied a little bit of discipline. One hour of solid six tabling, sometimes eight when good tables are available. (I plan on moving to a solid eight by December.) After the hour is up, letting the remaining tournaments finish up, and taking a half hour break. This may not be optimal either, but it’s a start to what I hope can become one solid five hour chunk, five days a week. We’ll see.

Anyways, I’ll leave you with my results and a link to a hand I’m extremely proud of. http://www.boomplayer.com/en/poker-hands/Boom/1180126_C06428AD36

Thank you all for your support, I appreciate every single one of you.

Cheers!

Jon

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🙂