Home Forums Poker Blogs Tournament Blogs Keeping it simple – A tournament player

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  • rye_mariano5
    Post count: 1988

    I agree that trying to grind love tourneys for a living would be a very very tough route unless you’re playing at least semi high and are very very good. The upsides of course are the social aspect, the opportunity for travel and the generally low skill level of the fields. I don’t know much about it but I think with proper planning and great BRM it could be done. But as you say trying to get through the variance is tough alone.

    Post count: 38

    Hey @rye_mariano5 thanks for the reply. I thought I would get more people disagreeing with me about it tbh.

    Wednesday – end of July update


    I skipped my update last week. The main reason for this is because all of last week I pretty much shut down all poker productivity. I’m not really sure what happened but it felt like burnout. I had been trying all month to push myself and last week I just said NOPE.

    I felt pretty garbage about it for most of the week but then at some point towards the end I just found some clarity. I had been doing the Balance pack on headspace and the session that affected me the most was when Andy spoke about the need to be more playful in life. I asked myself if maybe I was taking myself or poker too seriously which was winding me up.

    By the end of the week, I felt better again. I managed to convince myself that taking that week off was fine and I think I was able to gather myself and take things with less seriousness.

    I started grinding again every day since Sunday and I am having fun with it so far. Powerfest schedule is a bit lacklustre tbh but who can say no to such juicy events :D

    I think I will post another graph at the end of Powerfest and do a summary of my performance at the tables.


    Good luck to everyone this week!

    Post count: 38

    October update – back from break


    It’s been just over two months since my last update but I am back to blogging again!

    A lot has happened in this time and one of the reasons I haven’t gotten round to updating here is because I have recently made some major changes in my life. The most notable one is that I moved out of my parents’ home just over a week ago. The process was quite long and emotional but here I am now, trying my best to settle in to my new place. It’s just a small flat in a small city to start with but the dream is to improve this as the months/years go by.


    Since I started poker, I have been supported financially by my parents while I got myself up and running. Around July this year, I had reached my first major milestone with my poker results and decided it was time to put this lifestyle choice to the ultimate test. The aim was to finally become fully independent of outside support and see if I have it in me to support myself. Based on my results over the last 12-15 months, I don’t think there will be many more huge surprises at the limits I’m playing though :D

    I actually felt like I was also becoming a little too comfortable in my environment living at home. Being comfortable is nice but it was also time to push myself to do more new and exciting things. Hopefully I have some interesting updates over the coming weeks.


    Poker update – PKOs are insane $$


    I have been focussing a lot of my study effort on learning IKCM. I have been playing a lot more PKOs and have tried to add as many of the PKO MTTSNGs ($5s and $11s) to my schedule so that I have lots of final table IKCM spots to practice with. It’s quite obvious that PKOs are more profitable than regular MTTs especially at the $33 – $55 MTTs where there are considerably more recreational players in the PKOs on weekdays. Got myself playing the triple threat again (zoom pko on stars) and wow that tournament plays out like some random freeroll it is so full of fun players.

    Also, in just my first 10 hours of IKCM study I identified very interesting situations that I wasn’t aware of before. My plan is to continue studying in this way until I have made $1k – $2k purely from the PKOMTTSNGs and then I will buy the bounty beast course and see where I am at. I should be able to hit this target by the end of the month but we will see!


    Either way, I will be back to grinding and studying as much as possible again this month. I’ll post more results next week.


    Good luck to everyone this week!

    Post count: 38

    Late October update – first month away from home


    My last update was around 3 weeks ago and it’s actually insane how the time has flown by. It’s been just over a month since I moved out and I think my experience so far has been really positive. The biggest thing is probably that living with my gf has been really great and I feel much more involved in her daily life than I did while I was in London. She is also really supportive of what I am doing and helps keep me motivated to tackle the challenges we will face each day.

    Sometimes in quiet moments it feels a bit surreal to be out here. Just that I can be out here living in a random city and sustaining myself with only poker winnings.


    Also last weekend I went to EGX in London with my brother for his birthday. It’s a gaming show / convention and was the first event of that type that I’d ever been to. There was loads of stuff to do there like talking to all sorts of game developers, trying out new games, attending interesting talks about the gaming industry and even a cosplay show.

    Overall it was a fun experience. I want to keep trying to get myself out there just doing new things on a regular basis.


    Poker update – swingy month


    This is the first month that I have been properly grinding ABI $20-$30 for the entire month. I am experiencing swings now that are larger than I am used to. Going up and down thousands of $$ each week is a little uncomfortable for me to deal with but it will get easier. Especially since there are more losing days than winning days.

    These are my results so far:

    –          497 MTTs played. ABI $25.

    –          254 MTTSNGs played

    –          120 hours played

    –          Approximately +$3000 profit

    By all accounts it’s been a decent month and I also plan to play another 100-150 MTTs before November begins.

    I also stopped playing the PKO MTTSNGs around mid-month because I wasn’t finding time to study the IKCM as much as I had hoped and I have a huge backlog of FTs that I want to look at. I will continue grinding those next month.


    My plans until the end of the month will be to continue the grind and get on with my work.

    Good luck to everyone!

    Post count: 38

    Late November update – the to-do list never ends

    As always, the blog update comes later than planned :D


    I’ve actually had quite an active month this November. The biggest thing I’ve noted is that my to-do list just feels never ending. Despite taking a lot of energy to keep up with everything, it’s been a lot of fun to be out here trying to figure it all out.

    The first week of November, one of the more important things I was doing outside of poker was restructuring my diet. I tend to cook my meals in bulk and I am a huge fan of cooking soup especially during winter when it’s cold. It’s actually insanely efficient to cook soup in bulk + you can make them highly nutritious with loads of healthy ingredients that keep me going during those 10 hour grind sessions. I already have a number of cool recipes that I stick to but a few weeks ago I dedicated one of my days off to learning a new spicy tofu soup recipe.

    Since then, I’ve already cooked it a few times for my mid-session meal and I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out. The only thing is that the first time I did it, I had to learn some very painful lessons about how NOT to handle red chillies!


    The rest of November was mostly about me trying to just keep up with everything else. I am trying to keep as productive as possible before the inevitable Christmas break where I go back home to spend time with the family.

    Later this week I will be taking a short trip to Newcastle with my gf for a conference which should be interesting.


    Poker update – insane grinding before Christmas

    My goal since I moved out was to play loads. So far, that is going as planned. There are two main things I wanted to talk about that I have learned this month from the grind.


    Tournament selection and site selection

    At the beginning of the month I was playing on GGpoker (N8), 888 and stars. The main reason I was playing on 888 and stars was because it’s very important for me right now to track my stats and my results using software.

    After 1 week of grinding this month, I shifted my attention towards partypoker which I had mostly abandoned since they removed the HUD. They brought back the ability to download tournament hand histories which gave me much more of an incentive to come back. Since then, I could not be happier with party poker. I’m sure most people agree, but I listed a few reasons why I think partypoker is superior to the other sites:

    1. They have the lowest rake and best rakeback structure
    2. I prefer their tournament selection and tournament structure. GGPoker and 888 have so many tournaments that take so fkin long. 200bb deep with 3.5 hours of re-entry… also party has more 6-max and 8-max MTTs.
    3. I prefer the software. The animations take much shorter on party than on the other sites which means I don’t have to sit there doing nothing all the time.


    So now 50% of the MTTs I play are on party and I have put GGPoker on the sidelines for the moment. I decided to manually keep track of all the MTTs I play on party so that by the end of the month I will also have all the tournament results tracked.


    Dealing with long grinds

    One of the other things I decided to change this month was how my grinding was structured. My goals were as follows:

    –          4 sessions per week. Approx. 10 hours per session. 50-60 MTTs per session.

    –          Approx. 16 sessions per month. 160 hours per month. 800 MTTs per month.

    This type of schedule was first recommended to me by Julian and at some point I shifted away from it to try other things. Now I have come full circle and I prefer to do this again. Reasons:

    1. A lot of time is wasted at the end of a grind because you cannot get up and do other things until all MTTs are over. This is impossible to predict so it’s important to have longer sessions.
    2. It’s not possible to beat the variance without playing at least 800 MTTs per month or find some way to play around 8000 MTTs per year.
    3. It’s much easier to plan days off with my family and friends if I only need to spend 4 days per week grinding. It’s also easier to plan efficient deep study time if I have full days where I can do this and only focus on 30-60min drills during my grinding days.


    I experienced something really interesting about playing such insane grinds.

    With MTTs, you spend most of your time busting tournaments and getting rekt by RNG. During these long grinds, it was very quickly becoming clear how important it was for me to deal with bad beats better. I could spend the first 4 hours of my grind getting smoked, which can be really annoying, and I would feel tired and beat down. However, I needed to realise that even after getting owned for 4 hours, I would often have another 6 hours (!) left of grind so anything could still happen and I would need to sit up in my stupid chair and fucking focus!

    I started to get better at doing this as the month went on and this week I was dealing with it much better than in my first week. That being said, playing 50-60 MTTs in one day is not easy especially when by the end of 10 hours, I could still be down $1k.



    With all the ramblings out of the way, I will post some of my recent results for the month and show what my tracking spreadsheet looks like for those who requested it. Spoiler: it looks almost exactly like the one Bencb showed in a youtube video :D

    MTTs tracked just means that those are the ones I play on 888 and stars. MTTs untracked is what I play on sites that don’t allow HUD.


    Otherwise, this month has been going well for the most part:

    –          685 MTTs played

    –          130 hours played

    –          Aprox. +$3.8k profit


    If you read this far down, send me a message on discord and let me know. Would be nice to get to know everyone who took the time to read all my ramblings.


    Good luck at the tables!

    Post count: 38

    December – Run up to Christmas…

    First week of December is over! I’ve had an eventful few days since my last update and thought I’d share some things.


    Last week I went on a trip to Newcastle to go with my gf to a medical conference. It didn’t go so well tbh. Trains were insanely delayed, hotel was not great and it was more expensive than planned. The good news about the trip is that we both managed to get our work done  despite all the disturbances and having each other’s company certainly made it more enjoyable :)


    More recently, I’ve been trying my best to get all my tasks done and realising that the weeks leading up to Christmas will be very busy! On top of all the usual things that I need to get done, there is a lot of social stuff happening with needing to organise meetups with friends and doing a lot of shopping for presents.

    This year is actually quite special for me. It’s a little bit embarrassing to mention it tbh but this is the first time in around 7 years that I’ve actually been able to assign my own funds to buy people Christmas presents. I quit working in 2011 to go to university and while I was at university I developed a problematic gambling problem which meant that for a long time I’ve had no money to allocate to frivolous things. Sometimes people still get surprised when I say that I haven’t bought myself any new shoes/clothes for like 6 years. Also, a lot of the profits I made for the first 2 years of poker were reallocated to either paying for coaching/study materials or contributed mainly to building my bankroll so that I could move up to the stakes I am at now.

    With all that behind me, this year has actually been the best year of my life in terms of profit. Now that I can allocate money for random stuff, I decided that I would put a good amount of effort looking for decent Christmas presents for my close friends and family as a way to give thanks for all that has happened.


    Poker update – Bounty Beast course review

    On a more poker related note…

    While I was at Newcastle, I had some free time just sitting around in the hotel room and I decided that I would buy the renowned BOUNTY BEAST course. I’ve been studying it for the last 9 days and here are my thoughts.


    I am insanely impressed with the content of that course. I think RYE really did a great job with it. I really like the structure of it because it walked me through each step that W3CRAY went through in order to reach the conclusions they reached. I am quite fortunate that I have a solid maths background from college/university because I think it helped me understand a lot of theory side quicker.

    Once I finished going through it, I realised that there is SO much stuff that I didn’t know about how to be profitable in PKOs. I had already spent a lot of hours studying FT IKCM over the last 1-3 months so the FT analyses were not so mind blowing. What I did find however, was that I was playing the early/mid stages of the bounty tournaments VERY badly.


    Here are a list of things that I was certainly doing wrong:

    • Opening the wrong ranges based on stack distributions. This is mainly because I wasn’t realising the impact my own bounty would have on peoples strategy vs me
    • Rejamming / 3betting way too tight in some situations. Not chasing bounties hard enough when I am a CL
    • Calling jams way too tight. Especially LP at <30bb there are some spots we should be going insanely wide.

    Another thing which was great is that ICMizer recently improved their IKCM tools and now I can analyse PKO hands which are not on FT. It runs sims for 10-100 players in MTT mode and also has a chipEV estimation tool for 100-500 players. This is very nice for me to be able to apply the BOUNTY BEAST theory on.

    There was a spot I recently analysed where I was playing 60 players left in a 500 field PKO and the risk premium between myself and another player at the table was 10%!! I was like WTF how can it be so high when its 60 players left! My mind was fkin blown.

    Anyway, I will be continuing to study PKOs for the rest of the month. I have many many hands I marked that I am excited to look over in the coming weeks.


    If it wasn’t obvious already, I would recommend anyone who is playing $11-$55 PKOs to buy the BOUNTY BEAST course ASAP and get studying because there is a lot of money to be made here and the course will teach you how to do it.


    Good luck at the tables !

    Post count: 38

    New Year! Beginning of 2020


    Happy new year everyone! The last few weeks have been super interesting. 2019 is behind us and over the holidays I have been catching up with everyone. I’ve been seeing people do reflections on 2019 and ambitions for 2020.

    Over the last 2-4 days I have been reflecting on all of this. 2020 marks the end of the third year of my journey as a poker professional. I wanted to make sure I had a good understanding of what has happened over this time and was poring through old journals, blog entries, and also looking at my entire database. Fun fact: I’ve played almost 20000 tournaments up to now.

    The reason I was doing this so rigorously is because every 6-12 months I feel it is important to take a good look at my past in order to determine what I want to do moving forward. I don’t really want to take anything for granted and I always want to be making good, conscious decisions in my life.


    What things are important for me moving into 2020?

    1. HEALTH: I want to be doing regular exercise (physical and mental) and eating regular healthy meals. Feel fit and healthy with my mind and body in good shape.
    2. SOCIALISING: I want to feel like I had a good year with my friends and family. I want to feel that I appreciated their time and experienced fruitful / fun activities with them. I would also like to keep expanding my social network of friends and colleagues.
    3. CAREER: I want to have made good money. I want to have worked hard and be able to look back and feel like I can sustain myself moving into 2021.
    4. KNOWLEDGE: I want to feel like I learned many things and I want to have a drive to continue doing so. Think about what books I read or what new skills I learned.


    Hopefully the blog will show that I have done these things by the end of 2020.


    Poker in 2020 – results and plans moving forward


    Unfortunately, I cannot provide any graphs of my results because last year there were many software changes that interfered with the way I track my stats. I will be taking better care to document my results this year.

    Either way, I managed to pool together all scraps of information I had and these are my approximate results:

    • MTTs played: 5001
    • Total amount in buy-ins: $99200
    • ABI: $19.84
    • ROI: 21.91%
    • Net profit: $21731

    Note that the net profit has taken into account all business expenses which occurred during the year like cost of RYE courses (BB and expert TMC), costs of yearly ICMizer sub, costs of yearly equilab sub etc. This also means that my ROI calculation is NOT average ROI per MTT as you might see on sharkscope.


    Poker plans for 2020 – Time to crush

    One of the big new year questions for me was whether I would look to keep moving up to high stakes ($215s+) or not. I decided against moving up and to remain patient and continue grinding low-mid stakes (ABI $25-$30) for at least 6 months.


    There are two things I want to change about my results from 2019. I want to play higher ABI and I want to play 8000 tournaments. This should accomplish a number of things:

    1. If my actual ROI is somewhere between 20-25%, I should be able to make a good living from my current stakes in 2020
    2. By playing a further 8000 MTTs at these limits, I solidify a foundation from which I can propel myself to high stakes, if I choose to do so in the future


    Since I don’t plan to move up much this year, this lessen some of the pressure I have felt in the past with my poker results. I hope this will give me the opportunity to enrich myself in other aspects of life rather than constantly worrying about studying poker all the time.


    I will be getting back to the tables tomorrow and also looking to play a total of 800 MTTs in January. If you’re playing $22 – $109 MTTs then watch out for me because I’m here to crush!


    Thanks for reading and gl!

    cute snail.

    Post count: 38

    Saturday 11th January – Solid first week of the year


    I had a good first week. I met a lot of my weekly goals and feel like I’ve been productive most of the week. Poker results:

    • 50 hours played. 180 MTTs.
    • Profit: ≈$4000

    I ran super-hot this week so expecting to run into a lot of harsh variance the rest of the month lol. Somehow managed to play 6 HU this week and these were the results.

    More of the same for the next 7 days. I am mostly doing practice drills to shake off the rust and refine my ability to play effectively across many tables. Brushing up preflop ranges, poker maths and flop defense. Apparently I have been defending the BB too wide MW!


    Life update – Faith and superstition

    Last week, I decided I needed to buy a new “focus band” because the one I was using was becoming quite worn. I then realised that its part of my poker grind that I never explained in my blog so here it is.


    Back in 2017 when I started poker, I was told by Ben that mindset was the most important part of becoming successful as a professional. I did a lot of research on what habits I wanted to implement in my life from many wise people. One thing I picked up, was that the mind is easily affected by biases and you can actually trick it into being biased in your favour!

    I was advised that I should get myself a totem that reminds me of my positive intention during the poker grind. Kind of like a lucky ring or a crucifix that people might wear when they do something of importance, like give a speech or play an important sports match.


    Since I am not really a superstitious or religious person, I decided to get myself a focus band. It’s just a wrist-band that I wear every time I sit down to play poker and take it off after my session. The reason I called it a focus band was because during my meditation before my sessions, I would use it as an object of focus; if I got distracted by thought, I’d bring myself back to the feeling of the band on my wrist. This feeling would remind me of all my positive intention while playing and hopefully in the midst of insane tilt, I would be able to bring my focus back.


    It’s crazy how well it worked tbh. I have grown somewhat attached to this piece of cloth and was kind of upset that it’s becoming so worn that I am having trouble keeping it on my wrist. Every time I look at it, I feel a sense of pride at all I have done with regards to becoming a successful player now. It has been with me every step of the way so far.

    So I will be buying a new one and saying goodbye to this one. For anyone who has seen the movie Castaway, it’s kind of like when Wilson gets lost at sea xD


    Good luck to everyone this week! Let’s crush!

    Post count: 38

    Saturday 18th January – keeping up the good habits

    Ok so I tried to post this up a few hours ago and it didn’t work. Hopefully it works this time and I don’t get duplicate posts.


    I had a decent performance this week although maybe I could’ve pushed myself a bit harder. January results so far:

    • 100 hours played. 400 MTTs
    • Profit: ≈$4600

    Break-even week for the most part. Profit hasn’t changed so much since last week.


    The big thing for me this week was that I have shifted my focus back to PKOs again now that I have shaken off that general poker rust. PKOs should be more profitable than playing regular MTTs and it shows with the amount of recreational players that play them.

    I would like to start splashing some $109s into my schedule and would much prefer to be adding PKOs as I get better at playing them.


    Poker update – becoming a maniac in PKOs


    Last week I played and analysed two really interesting hands that I played in PKOs. Here they are:





    The second hand is from a standard party poker bounty hunter MTT and both villains had 1 starting bounty. For those reading, which of those hands do you think were misplayed?


    Before I bought the bounty beast course and started using ICMizer for cEV spots in PKOs, if I saw someone making these plays, I would’ve been like LOL LOOK AT THIS MANIAC FISH.

    After analysing them, the 85o is slightly too loose and w3cray said 87o is probably the bottom hand and that I should’ve gone all in rather than simply call.

    The J5s hand is a snap call. Even J2s is a bit marginal but still should be fine to go broke with it here. Granted, the ICMizer ranges for SB overcall are probably a bit wide for most people since SB should be going all-in with 39% of hands but decreasing it to a reasonable range doesn’t change our results so much. Here is a shot of the result:

    I was quite shocked by this and even in-game I was a bit nervous to push this hand. Hopefully after a few more months of study, I will be more comfortable making these kind of plays. For anyone who hasn’t studied with the bounty beast course, don’t try this at home! :D


    See you next week!

    Post count: 38

    Saturday 25th January – Not grinding enough


    A slow performance this week for me. Took 1-2 more days off than I had planned because my body decided to just crash. January results so far:

    • 122 hours played. 520 MTTs
    • Profit: ≈$4000

    Still somewhat breaking even since last week.

    My main focus has been getting back on the study for PKOs. Despite not playing much this week, I’ve been studying PKO hands A LOT. Been deep in the lab just reviewing with ICMizer on a daily basis. Posted like 3 hands in the B-Beast discord and Nico giving very helpful advice.


    Life update – The Elephant: Slow and Steady


    I had 2 days this week where I felt like I didn’t get much done. I felt quite bad about it because I always expect myself to reach some high standard of performance and any day that I don’t reach my targets, feels like a failure.

    By journaling and blogging, I am able to look back at the month and realise that I’ve actually achieved quite a bit already and I should be proud. In and out of poker, many of the tasks I had at the beginning of January have been completed. No matter what happens on any given day, all I need to keep doing is waking up each day, ready to attempt tackle whatever challenges I might face.


    I watched a video yesterday which really helped me feel better as well. It explains how I feel about my poker journey and what I strive to be like as I continue working to become better at the game. The video is about an elephant and the way that it walks. It’s steady and it’s slow, but it keeps moving forward, no matter where it might find itself.


    Hope you enjoy it. Good luck to everyone and see you next week!

    Post count: 38

    Saturday 1st February – First month of 2020 is over


    Aaand it’s gone. The first month of 2020 is all gone. Did you make the most of it?


    My month felt pretty jam packed with activity once it got started. I’ve actually been feeling pretty good lately as well. I’m on a poker upswing but also feel like I’m making good progress off the tables too. I’ll put my poker results at the end but first here are some things I set out to do this month that I accomplished:


    Maintaining health

    • Started working out a few times per week. Light workouts but still more exercise than I did in December
    • Maintained my diet all month. Successfully completed a 30 days sugar fast and also ate healthily every day. Also learned some new cooking recipes that I can make for myself and my gf.
    • Meditated at least once every day.
    • Maintained a solid sleep schedule throughout. Never felt sleep deprived and maintained good sleep quality throughout all days.
    • Finally got round to getting 1 full massage this month. Want to do it at least 1-2 times each month.

    Reading and studying

    • Began reading again. Planned to read for 30 mins on 15 separate nights this month – successfully read 10 nights
    • Poker study – didn’t track all my hours but I estimate that I spent around 15 hours studying each week. Did many hand reviews and drills to improve my game

    Networking (This one is slightly harder to measure)

    • Spent a lot of time reaching out to others in poker communities. Did a few review sessions with others each week and made sure to show my gratitude to those who took time out of their days to also help me out
    • Spent some time reaching out to friends and family. Remembered to call my mum a few times throughout the month to catch up with her and everyone at home. Organised a few leisurely social events with other friends that I will attend in February.


    What do I think I can improve upon from last month?

    • Do more exercise and follow through with my plan to learn some yoga techniques
    • Put more emphasis on reading / learning skills outside of poker. I didn’t hit my reading goals last month and it would be a good idea to try harder to hit the goals in February
    • Maintain good levels of performance in February. Do not become complacent!
    • Organise my time more effectively


    I think the final point is most important. My time these days is much more easily filled with stuff than it ever has been. I need to make sure I am at least attempting to optimise my time rather than just completing tasks in a random order.


    Poker update – results in January

    • 164 hours played. 687 MTTs. ABI ≈$29
    • Profit: ≈$12000
    • ROI: ≈60%
    • Number of 2nd place finishes: 8
    • Number of 1st place finishes: 6


    January 2020 was my best profit month ever! Never reached $10k+ in a single month so it’s been a pretty nice ride.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t hit my volume goals of 800 MTTs but I did reach my hours goal of 160 hours. Probably because I was unable to multi-table as much as I had planned. The first week of the month I felt rusty and slow in my decision making but also after that I felt I to reduce the amount of tables when playing PKOs due to being less experienced in the format.


    I always feel blessed to experience such an upswing and I am fully aware that 60% ROI is already upswinging quite hard. I am preparing myself for the inevitable losing that will happen soon enough and want to keep working hard. Thankfully, I am also really enjoying studying at the moment and look to keep finding ways to improve my game.

    My goals will be the same in February as they were in January and hopefully I can keep up the good work.


    Good luck everyone and thanks for reading.

    PS. Happy Brexit Day everyone! xD

    Post count: 15

    Wow, what a great start into 2020 – congratulations! :)

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