Jan 232010

I wanted to blog about some random things but since my previous blogs already contained so much text I decided to do it in a separate blog. I’ll start with a couple of questions I’ve received:

Tell something more about yourself?
Well I think most stuff is written on my Biography Page and what I’ve planned for this year you can read in the 2010 Poker Goals & 2010 Cycling Goals pages.

Do you like to become a poker pro?
That’s a question I haven’t answered and it’s a tough one. I think the answer is no, but it’s not that simple. I’m already employed for over 10 years with my current company and can’t complain about my salary. If I would be younger I would play poker full-time and start a career later, if I wouldn’t have real career options I would probably also play full-time poker and see what happens. Since I have a good career going I don’t want to leave the job-market for a couple of years as I think it will be very hard to roll back into it on the same level. I think poker will be there in <5 years but I’m not sure about the long term. Also if regulations change in the Netherlands I wouldn’t be willing to move, which is to me a really important factor. If you don’t mind living somewhere else, there will always be a country where you could play poker, but I’m not 100% sure how things will work out in the Netherlands. Not that I worry about this a lot, but it’s something to consider.

There are a lot of others things to consider. There is no such thing as a disability insurance for poker players. Poker earnings are treated as gambling revenue in the Netherlands, not income. My right arm is currently worth a lot of money! Sure, what are the odds? But I do have a history with different kinds of physical problems, so my chances are a bit higher then average. Also I have a mortgage and not having a job makes it hard to switch/change that mortgage.

Also since I started playing part-time I really enjoy work so much more. I don’t drag myself to work 5 days a week, I really enjoy doing it for 3 days. I really like to play poker 2 days a week I probably could do it for 5 days, but it’s also good to have some interaction with people and poker is nothing else then sitting solo behind your screen for hours doing the same thing every second. I love it, don’t get me wrong but I think if you would do it 5 days a week it could drive you really crazy, especially if things don’t go your way for a longer period.

When I started working part-time last year I saw it as the first step to become a full-time pro. My idea was that if things would work out in 2009, I would go full-time pro in 2010. Already half way I decided this duo job is really perfect. I can play enough poker without getting fed up with it and I’m still on the job market so whenever I want to boost my career again I don’t have to explain a gap in my résumé.

This would all change if I suddenly become a nosebleed regular and could earn $1.000.000 in a year.

What’s your edge in limit?
Another though one. Just looking at the numbers 0.2BB/100. Most NL players will laugh their ass of right now but I don’t think it’s that bad. A real good winrate is 1BB/100 in FR Limit. There are maybe 4/5 people with a decent sample in my database that have more then 1BB/100. People I consider really good in FR Limit have a little over 0.5BB/100. Other people who play 20-24 tables like myself have about the same winrate and a lot of people loose a bit (but still profit due to rakeback/VIP program). 

What a lot of people forget is that if you break-even, you are already beating the game by a nice chunk. Especially since you pay a lot of rake in limit games. I didn’t calculate this, so shoot me if I’m totally wrong here but looking at PokerTracker I see that you roughly pay 0.7 – 1.0 BB/100 in rake alone. I would be happy to break-even and still make all the money the VIP program offers. To me poker is about money ($/hour) not about my winrate, although a higher winrate of course would get me more money.

If I just think about my skill, well I could beat any limit game but it just depends on the players of course. In general I can beat the $2/$4 and $3/$6 games without any trouble. The $5/$10 game can be really tough and the $10/$20 and $15/$30 can go both ways. Sometimes there are really crazy people sitting there and sometimes it’s full of tough regs and I shouldn’t even be sitting there. I haven’t tried $30/$60 or $50/100 but I do see those same crazy people there, but also a lot more tough regs. Currently I say I have to stick where I am and since I’m down in 2010 so far, I should get better in beating the current stakes I’m playing and not even think about moving up.

Current skill level of the games in 2010?
It depends on the month. January is a tough one as people get in fresh with lots of new aspirations. November & December are clearly the best months to play poker as most people are playing over their head in stakes and number of tables to get SNE or a milestone. So far the games in 2010 are tough, but I did expect that. There are some direct opponents who did improve in 2009, but I don’t notice a too big difference, I do hope I did evolve myself as well. I saw some new players in 2010 having a really good start, but I see that so often. A new player moves up, he wins the first 2/3 weeks and then his graph will become a trainwreck. Some player moved up in stakes and started playing 20 tables at the same time. They are good players and play a real good game for the first couple of weeks. After that it becomes really hard to play 20 tables and still hold on to the level they used to play. Also regulars will pick-up there style and are able to counter it since they are more experienced. This happens all year long, but I saw a lot of new players in 2010 and to some this has already happened. Others are there to stay and any new winning regular at my tables is one to many of course, but besides new good players there are also plenty of new bad players.

There is a lot of stuff about limit to learn on the internet but there is so much more about no-limit. I think a lot of bad limit players are not learning players. They just like to play limit. There are also more games now then in 2008/2009. Just look alone at the number of players on PokerStars, where last year at the start 200.000 people was a lot, at the end 300.000 seems huge and now we go up to 350.000 every Sunday. Poker is far from dead and Limit games seem to stick around. I was afraid limit games would dry up when looking at the number of games during the summer of 2009, but the current state of the number of games is better then ever.

Why SNE? Why not move up? Change to NL?
I need to work towards a goal to get the most out of myself. Last year my goal was to get 600.000 VPP and I made it while playing 16 hours of poker every week. Since I’m working 24 hours a week it all adds up to a normal full-time job. Since my girlfriend is away the first 5 months of this year on a backpack trip in New Zealand and Australia I had the idea to play a lot more during the first part of the year. Also last year I was lazy for a lot of periods because I had no intention to go above the 600.000 VPP (ending up at 650.000 isn’t that appealing) and I was on pace. I had the feeling I could do more and SNE is appealing looking at the rakeback % jump, it jumps from 50% at 600.000 to 69% for SNE.

So why do I not play less tables and move up? There are a lot of reasons for this. The most important is that I don’t see myself as a talented poker player. I don’t think I’m ever good enough to play nosebleeds. I think I’m good at poker not because I’m good at the game itself but because all the other factors you need to be a complete poker player. I have a good discipline, I can focus for long periods of time, I hardly tilt, I don’t get emotional over losing money, I don’t play above my bankroll, I never play drunk and I’m good in playing a lot of tables at the same time. All these skills have a factor of how they add up to your total profit. The higher stakes you play, the higher the factor “real pokerskill” becomes and the lower some of the other factors should be rated. They are still needed, don’t get me wrong!

Also there are not so many higher stake games running and they are filled with good people. I think it’s easier for me (looking at what I just stated above) to increase my $/hour multitabling $3/$6 till $15/$30 then to move up. $15/30 is already on the high side, but if I beat the game why not add it to the tables I’m already playing? I doubt I’ll move to $30/$60 any time soon.

I’ve considered many times to switch to no-limit but there are a couple of reasons for me to stick to limit. One is that I can earn good money in it and I like the game. I like to play flop/turn/river and push small edges. Where most no-limit people think that it doesn’t matter that much if you miss a river bet or make any other mistake which only cost you 1 bet, they don’t realise that you only win 1BB/100. So every mistake of 1 BB has a huge impact on your winrate. 1 bet doesn’t seem much in a NL game but it’s all that counts when playing limit. It would costs me several months to learn NL and move up to a level where I earn the same as I currently do and I don’t even think I like the game, so that just leaves me with playing limit.

The only thing I do consider for 2011 is playing 6Max. I think this would improve my overall limit game, I would like to play HU as well as you can get a much higher winrate in 6Max and HU games. 2010 I’m planning to go for SNE and even when I get 5*FPP for 2011 I don’t think I’m going to do it for 2 years in a row.

Why don’t you give an overall $ status at the end of your blog?
Yeah, another valid question. When considering to write this blog, one of many considerations was that I don’t need everybody to know exactly what I earn. On the other hand when I’m reading a blog myself I do like to read about $, because in the end that’s what this game is all about. If I’m SNE at the end of the year, everybody can check what that’s worth. You can check PTR to see how I’m doing although it’s not 100% accurate. When writing my first blog I was thinking to post my graphs in BB’s but I think most people rather see $ so I sticked with it. I might add overall $ in the future but for now I’ll leave it like this because I feel I’m already really open enough about my financial situation. Nothing bad with being curious though 🙂

I hope I did answer your questions, feel free to ask any other!

Some more random things now:

When I play poker I always listen to music. Without my headphones on I think I can play for 30minutes max. I also need the PokerStars bleeps, if I turn them off I miss all the action. It’s like a bleep tells my head to starts thinking, I click and the next bleep sets my brain in motion again. I listen to all kinds of music, it’s either a mix of Pop and R&B (Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, Kayne West, Rihanna, Jamiroquai, Lilly Allen, Joss Stone, John Legend, Micheal Bublé, George Micheal and many others) or I listen to Trance Music. The dance scene in the Netherlands is huge and we have a lot of different styles. When I go out I prefer Techno and I hardly go to festivals or clubs where the DJ’s play Trance but for playing poker it’s my #1. I listen to Trance/Goa mixes of Paul Oakenfold and the In Search of Sunrise or Magik Mixes compilated by DJ Tiësto. That music can really put me into the zone. Since it’s one big flow I really get into some sort of trance and combined with being fit and playing good I sometimes don’t notice that hours tick away and when looking at the clock it’s suddenly 3/4 hours later. Now the really weird thing I noticed last week is that at work, I miss the music. When I’m answering e-mails or in a meeting I don’t, but when I need to concentrate because I have to finish a memo or project documentation I need music to concentrate. Without it, I really miss something. It’s almost that I can’t concentrate anymore without music. I don’t know what to think about it, but I hope it doesn’t affect me in doing anything else in the future.

I’ve also been planning my next Las Vegas Trip. We are planning to go early September for 8-12 days. I would love to go 12 days but some guys don’t even like to gamble or play poker. Maybe I stay around a little longer with 1/2 people but the intention is to party. In 2008 I booked two trips to Las Vegas, one to play poker and one to party and the party trip was out of proportions. My birthday is also in September and I guess it will be my biggest birthday bash ever 🙂 We are with 5 or 6 other guys and are planning to hit the clubs as much as we can and I’ll combine it with some poker during the day, if I don’t feel too bad. I’m already looking forward to it, Las Vegas is really my town!

I also have a 2010 Cycling Goal Page and although most readers are interested in just Poker I will keep you guys a bit up to date with the progress. I signed up for the Amstel Gold Race and because all the other guys wanted to go for the 100Km I’ve also signed up for that distance. I wanted to go for 125Km or even 150Km but I don’t like to do it alone as I’m a really inexperienced cycler. I didn’t cycle outside yet but I think I can start doing then from next week on, depending on the weather of course. I did cycle in the gym on Sunday & Tuesday each for about 90 minutes. It’s really boring to do in the gym but at least I get some training. On Monday/Wednesday/Friday I also work-out in the gym and that’s going pretty good as well.

I’m still not drinking any alcohol and trying to eat less and already lost some pounds. Not drinking benefits in more ways as I feel a lot more fit after the weekend, which helps when playing poker. When going out I do miss it and I can’t wait for June 🙂 I do have to sleep a little more, since last week was really crap. I was tired all week and that didn’t help my game at all. Being well rested is really important for both my poker and sport goals so I have to really force myself going to bed. Often it’s not even that I’m doing something useful, I just can’t drag my ass to bed since I’m used to staying up late (06:00-07:00 when playing poker). Definitely something I need to work on!

It’s Saturday and I had a good night out in Amsterdam yesterday so I’m thinking what to do tonight. I was planning not to play any poker, but I’m not sure now. Tuesday another blog with the results of this week sessions. Thanks for the positive comments and I hope you liked the read again!

 Posted by at 5:55 pm

  3 Responses to “Random Poker Stuff & Some Other Non Related Poker Things”

  1. Nice post again!

  2. Great reading as always!
    By the way, you mentioned that:
    “Poker earnings are treated as gambling revenue in the Netherlands, not income.”
    How are they taxed?
    Can they easily track down the real yearly total amount that you have earned?

  3. They tax 29%, which is our gambling tax rate. I need to file my income, there are no ways for them to check it, so it’s a bit grey area there. You need to file it every month, which is the real pain!

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