This post has been about 4 months in the making, feels good to finally be able to write on the topic.
I'm moving to Chicago this summer to begin a trainee class with a futures trading firm in Chicago!
To backpedal, this started in February. I had made the conclusion that Rosarito was not a long term option, and for some reason 1/2 and 2/4 PLO action sorta just died on Stars and FTP. I experimented with smaller sites and grinding MTTs but neither of those options felt good after a month.
The plan was to either go back to San Diego or move to Vegas, with no real specific plan beyond returning to live pro life and growing my variance-free money tree.
Around this time, fellow Leggo and San Diego friend craigthedeac let everyone know that his futures trading firm was looking for poker players. He had been hired last year and I assume made a good enough impression.
I went to work and cranked out the best resume I could for someone that left school primarily to play poker. A couple of phone interviews followed over the next couple months, then a live interview in Chicago two weeks ago.
The process made my day-to-day sorta challenging. I had some weeks pass where I figured they would call me any given day to schedule the next interview, which meant lots of days spent over-preparing for interview stuff versus actually playing poker. I also figured I'd have to run into some fun mental challenges (like being asked how many ping pong balls could fit in a 747) so I had to sharpen that skillset as well. It was like practicing for the SAT all over again.
Now that it's all said and done, there's going to be a few poker players in this next trainee group (including Leggo friend jaymesbond), so it will be fun to see how good we are at this new game. I have a few months of training and then some more months of supervised trading.
This job, if I do well at it, would solve pretty much all my work-related gripes with live poker, online poker, and Mexico poker. I'll be in a great city where I could walk to get anything I would need, I'd get to work in front of a computer, and my job wouldn't be at home. Also I'm sure Chicago has more single women than Rosarito by just a smidge. The lifestyle would be a great fit, so I'm psyched to work my hardest and crush it.
The one downside is that I'm skipping the WSOP to pursue this (and of course I'd be leaving poker in general) but I'm okay with these things. Should trading not work out then I could always return to poker in some capacity. Frankly I don't have a very high opinion of the WSOP right now anyways.
I know that at some point this interface is going to switch over to IveyPoker, but I hope that whenever that does happen then my blog will still remain intact.
So anyhow, thanks for reading. I will probably be leaving this blog alone for a while, I have many months of learning/punishment ahead. Should be a fun beating. Can't wait!
When the year first started I had already given up on zoom (due to the rake) and was transitioning to regular cashgames, starting at 50PLO ante tables. I soon realized that rake was going to continue to be a problem, and did proper homework on non-zoom PLO rake. Long story short, I am more or less wasting my time below 1/2, and even at 1/2 I have to game select rather hard. I've been made aware of some large samples of hands of .5/1 regs and a lot of the "top winners" are basically rb pros.
So, I boldly jumped from 50PLO to 200PLO and was rewarded for my risk. Ran really hot for about a month, then just started losing every single day.
Once you reach that point of the downswing it kinda sucks. It's standard PLO variance but you question your ability. Normally I'd just jump to 100PLO, but we've established that I'm wasting my time at that limit because lol rake.
So I'm transitioning over to tournaments until May, or until I magically have a bankroll where I can lose 10k at 1/2 and not sweat it. It's treating me decently well so far, I'm only playing stuff 22 and lower to get into a groove and my ROI looks spiffy.
edit - I've also found shortbuying for 40bb in PLO to be a decent adaptaion as well. Makes the stDEV a lot less insane.and still chasing folks in really soft o8 games, where being the 5th best player still makes me a winner =)
The shittiest thing about Rosarito is properly maintaining life balance, and I think MTTs serve me better in that regard. I rarely ever leave my condo down here, so it's important that I have work time and non-work time. PLO is rather difficult for balance, because I play when the fish play and the fish play all day. Consequently I've overworked myself on occasion and my day-to-day mood is more often linked with the day's performance. So I had to nip that in the bud.
I still have lots of options for what to do when my lease runs out in May. It depends on a couple factors. First, I *might* get a chance at a trainee position at a trading firm this summer. If I get accepted I am 100% committing myself to that and putting poker on the side. If I don't get that job, then I will probably get an apartment in Vegas for 6 months to test that out. I recognize that I'm not a big fan of live poker right now (that's the whole reason I went from S.D. to Rosarito), but I have a theory that I might like it more in Vegas.
Rent is cheaper in Vegas versus S.D., and meals are cheaper as well. You can be a reg at a casino and get comp hours towards free meals, whereas in S.D. (south of Ocean's) the comps are miserable and you're overpaying for mediocre food. Furthermore, Vegas caters more in general to people who wake up in the early afternoons and stay up all night. Plus I have more friends in Vegas who play bar trivia. I dunno, it's food for thought. I'm really hoping I land this trading gig so I don't have to choose between a warm city in Mexico or Vegas.
Thanks for reading, hope to update you all again sometime soon!
Did some number punching today, maybe you might find this interesting. Your numbers may vary if you play differently from me.
For a Supernova on Stars:
(******** = $1600 bonuses for getting 100k fpps)
$25 ZOOM PLO: 10 bb/100 rake, 3 bb/100 ********
$50 ZOOM PLO: 9 bb/100 rake, 2.8 bb/100 ********
$100 ZOOM PLO: 6.6 bb/100 rake, 2.05 bb/100 ********
25 ZOOM - 6.96 bb/100
50 ZOOM - 6.22 bb/100
100 ZOOM - 4.55 bb/100
And you can see how this sorta runs true (?) with my effective w/r in each of these games
You can draw your own conclusions from this, but it helps to know what kind of edge you need. In my case, it's shown me that I probably need to stop my zoom adventure after 25 PLO. On most days the 50 PLO and 100 PLO don't have enough value to overcome the rake. Of course you can game select ZOOM with rigorous data sampling (or just playing on weekends), but I think at a certain point it's better to switch to regular games and learn to get better to beat bigger stakes. The bigger stakes have the advantage of less rake and being able to choose your opposition.
I'll enjoy throwing in zoom25 when I have no tables running and I'm waiting for action, since it's a nice $20/hr on top (you really only need to play ABC at 25 to crush it).
So I'm now basically 100% confident that my absolute basement playing internet poker is $20/hr, so I'm content in my move to Mexico thus far. I can generate wealth on that hourly (everything in Mexico cheap), whereas grinding 2/3 live I'd be breaking even on my living costs. And of course I can generate bigger samples at larger stakes, whereas live poker a lot of my livelyhood rests on a 20k hand sample of high stDEV omahahaha.
In summation, hooray internet poker
|Edit: there was confusion writing this whether Tom Sims meant "Raises to x" or "Raises an additional x". The consensus is that Mr. Sims meant the latter, so I had to edit everything to reflect that. Fortunately it doesn't change too much.
I was always under the impression that poker suffers a little bit when it comes to objectively analyzing the play of past champions. I can look at a replay of a professional sporting event from the 70's and get an idea of how the game was played. Same goes for Chess, where classic games are broken down by every single move.
This transparency seemed lacking when it came to historically reviewing the WSOP. Before Moneymaker, the WSOP was typically shown in the form of a documentary, and the only hands that made it to airwaves were the biggest pots. An overwhelming number of these hands were obvious cooler situations that didn't highlight a player's skill. The only way I could accurately gauge the NLHE talents of someone like Stu Ungar would be the words of his peers.
That was until yesterday, when (thanks to @jesswelman) I was made aware of hand-for-hand coverage of WSOP main event final tables from 1995 until 2000. The website is here
For this blog entry I'll be focusing solely on 1997, when Stu Ungar won his 3rd main event.
Blinds 5k/10k with 2k ante
(Players are listed in seating order clockwise, so Ungar has direct position on Stanley)
Stu Ungar - 1.1MM
Peter Bao - 204k
Bob Walker - 610k
John Strzemp - 245k
Mel Judah - 300k
Ron Stanley - 700k
For getting VPIP/PFR I read the hand-by-hand report and used my iPhone app DonkeyTracker.
The first 43 hands:
Stu Ungar - VPIP 33, PFR 23
Peter Bao - VPIP 12, PFR 7
Bob Walker - VPIP 14, PFR 9
John Strzemp - VPIP 33, PFR 16
Mel Judah - VPIP 23, PFR 14
Ron Stanley - VPIP 30, PFR 19
A solid start from Ungar preflop, but I would have liked to see him play even more aggressive. He had the chiplead, direct position on the player 2nd in chips and ubernits to his direct left.Most of Ungar's steals worked and saw little resistance, and the only time we saw a threebet it was when Strzemp 3bet shoved for 50bb effective over a 3.5x open. Ungar balances preflop through the first 43 hands by basically never 3betting. As a random aside, they went from 5k/10k blinds to 10k/20k. Not a Matt Savage-approved structure.
I hear people commentate about this final table and say that the way Ungar played, nobody could have taken the bracelet from him. I would counter that Ungar benefitted from an absurdly favorable table draw. Strzemp could have easily stolen the bracelet with his unorthodox donkbetting style.
Postflop is interesting. NLHE in 1997 sorta reminds me of PLO in 2012. NL in 2012 people are strictly betting for value or betting as a bluff. In 1997 people made a bunch of bets that could not possibly hope to get value, but I guess they vaguely wanted to protect their equity. The continuation bet wasn't really a given yet (I think?), so when a player had Kx and defended versus a LP steal and the flop came KQJ, they figured Kx was crushed by a flop cbet range, and they didn't want to give a free card to Ax/55/Q9o, etc. So they donklead. Weird.
I'm impressed with Ungar's postflop play. He definitely had a winning redline (winnings before showdown).
Hand 6: MP (14/9) limps, SB completes and Ungar checks. Flop J33r, Ungar stabs with a potsize bet. Nit folds, SB calls. Turn 5h, check check. River Qs, SB checks, Ungar bets halfpot, SB makes a 2.5x river checkaise and Ungar folds. Not sure if Ungar was vbetting with KJo or bluffing to get a stubborn ace high to fold but seems fine either way.
Hand 22: CO (30/19) opens to 3.5x, Ungar flats OTB with AQss. SB overcalls. Flop AK6r, checks to Ungar and he checks. Turn 7c, checks to CO who fires halfpot. Ungar calls, SB folds. River is 3x. CO checks, Ungar bets 2/3 pot, CO calls and mucks. Another interesting hand which seems fine for value. Because the light 3bet doesn't exist yet, Ungar balanaces (I assume) by flatting all of his playable hands on the button, maybe even including big pairs. This distribution (assumedly like top 30%) doesnt smack AK6r so he checks last to act, though I wouldn't be shocked if he bet halfpot if he had something 87 with a backdoor flushdraw. Turn and river are standard and I like the betsizing.I would have thought most LOL Live Pros would 1/7 pot the river with just one pair, but Ungar balances his postflop sizings pretty well.
Hand 28: Ungar 3.5x's hijack with A5o, Strzemp flats SB. Flop AK4cc and Ungar checks back. Turn 8s putting up two flushdraws, Strezemp bets 70% pot and Ungar calls. River 6s bringing bd flush in and Strzemp bets halfpot and Ungar stations. Strzemp shows KTss for the flush and Ungar shows. Not sure if he's forced to show down or if he voluntarily showed, but hand seems standard and many similar lines have been taken in the last few years on these textures versus flop checkback ranges, although Strzemp did coldcall SB. With as many draws present and Strzemp presumedly getting out of line sometimes, Ungar basically makes a game theory calldown
Hand 36: SB (30/19, villain from AQss hand) limps SB, Ungar checks QTo. Flop A96ss, check check. Turn 8x, SB bets 25k and Ungar raises to 85k. SB calls. River Kx, SB checks and Ungar bets 220k. SB folds, showing a 9, and Ungar shows the bluff. Face! With the lack of the light 3bet and the light continuation bet, postflop in NL sorta feels like PLO in that the ranges being represented are so narrow/polarized when large bets go in. Boards like A968 sorta look like a PLO lockdown board when someone is facing a raise. Here Ungar picked up on a great spot where he didn't have enough value to call the turn, but villain's turn betting range is wide, and lots of pair+gutter hands either fold turn or call turn -> fold river. Good bluff.
Hand 39: Ungar 3.5x's hijack at 10k/20k, Strzemp flats SB. Flop KQJr, Strzemp donks for 75% pot. Ungar folds showing 55, Strzemp shows a king. This is what I was referencing earlier. Strzemp has already shown down KTs in his range from an earlier hand in the exact same spot preflop, and now with Kx he elects to donklead this flop then SHOW THE KING. Bizarre. And another "I fold and show" that would never happen these days, but it worked well for Ungar because he was able to establish a concrete range of Strzemp's SB coldcalls versus up front raises (broadway hands)
Hand 42: BvB, The 30/19 3.5x's SB and Ungar defends with KQo. Flop Q88r, SB checks and Ungar checks. Turn 5d, SB checks, Ungar bets 60k (little over halfpot) and SB calls. River Kd (bringing in backdoor 3flush) and SB leads for 120k (about 60% pot) and Ungar calls. SB shows 77 and Ungar wins.
Here we finally get some consistency with the metagame of Ungar's gameplan. Since light 3betting is not in style, and light cbetting is not in style, Ungar opts to play 30/20ish for sixmax and checks lots of flops. The logic is that people typically fold to his steals, and
Was playing around with my PT4 and got my graph of my WCOOP win.
It's a pretty easy strategy; never go on a 1 buyin downswing
Heading back to the states on the 27th for a small stretch. Gonna buy a cheapo car and a new desktop (my old reliable finally croaked).
When back in Mexico I'll be graduating up to 50PLO! Already played 4k hands and won 8 buyins. There are stretches of times where 50zoom is absurdly nitty and stretches where it isn't. Either way I'll be playing it and adding regular 50PLO tables. I also think my edge is big enough (and fields aren't huge) in PLO tournaments that I'm comfy playing up to $55 buyins and $20rebuys. That'll be October, and no WCOOPs to mess up my sleep schedule so I'll finally be able to get a consistent workout schedule going
2p2er ilushan showed me an article written about me recently on a popular russian poker website
why does Clayton, wcoop winner, play microstakes?
It's an interesting read, i just wish they asked me for an interview! I would have happily answered their questions. Instead they dug up all of my old blog entries. I did comment on the site with the help of google translate.
I don't consider the "answer" anything special. When I first came into money I wasn't very good at realizing my own edge, wasn't good at game selecting, spent too much money, and didn't have good work habits. One year of live poker helped instill the proper discipline in all of these areas.
It's not like I plan on grinding 25PLO ten years from now. Just that my prior habits weren't conducive to actually growing a bankroll and moving up. I would win over 10k hands at a limit, think "oh sweet now i'll try this other game or this other limit" and i'd lose my profit. I'm just very naturally ADD when it comes to this, I guess, and I've made note of this flaw of mine maybe a dozen times. But this time I've laid the groundwork for a path that will take some time, and it starts in the micros, but I'm comfy with it and I will eventually be crushing.
I will use ChicagoJoey as inspiration in my future PLO adventures, since he used to be a massgrinder at smallstakes only a year ago and is now battling in the nosebleeds =) http://joeingram1.liquidpoker.net/
Anyways, we are officially one month into rosarito and I'm up like $3k or so (not counting wcoop) and I've played around 100k hands, which hasn't been bad for my microstakes adventure. If there was no WCOOP I think I could get 150k hands easily. In addition to my zoomPLO grind I've been playing some omaha8 when the games look soft, and i'm winning so far which is nice. I don't see myself rising up in the ranks of omaha8 the same way as PLO (see how i barely win playing lots of not amazing 3/6 games) but sometimes there's a 3handed game running with someone capping Q972 so I'm gonna sit and play ABC and win =)
Might head back to SD after WCOOP to buy a cheapo car exclusively for Rosarito, that way I can drive back to SD every weekend to stock up on groceries (need my frozen healthy choice dinners and diet mountain dew hehe)
And I'll look to put up my WCOOP video soon and possibly a rush PLO video as well, if that's in demand at all.
Was hoping a different pro on Leggo would blog, so I wouldn't have back to back blog entries on the front page.
Oh well, I have a decent excuse. I won a WCOOP!
Won the 6max PLO $215 buyin for $51k. I have all the hands from the tournament, so I think I'll make a couple videos from it. It also puts me up there in the WCOOP player of the year race (winner gets PCA + Monte Carlo package) so I have to grind a bunch of tournaments now and focus even less on my zoom poker.
It's nice because it whitewashes the bad memories of not running good at WSOP, and it has further bumped the bankroll so I can be happier and stress-free with my continued development of relearning PLO cashgames.
On the zoom PLO front, I am doing really well this month so far. In August I overloaded tables (all zoom 25PLO + deep ante 25PLO games) and the result was a low sklansky winrate but tons of hands, but basically a 10 buyin upswing followed by a long breakeven period. I felt like a breakeven player. For September I changed it up and vowed to not play more than 4 tables at once, and my winrate is a lot nicer and I'm running above expectation. Of course, since it's PLO I could obviously just be running hot. I'll know when to take a step back and fully evaluate $25PLO once I've hit 100k hands. It's going to be a lot easier to put in volume when WCOOP is over. I'm certainly happy to be running at $18/hr before ******** since $25PLO is literally the most basement it gets for me.
Regarding Rosarito, I'm still enjoying it out here. My one and only gripe is that I'm not comfortable driving by myself to get groceries or even go to the local OXXO (basically like seven eleven convenience store). And our apartment complex is not really walking distance from anything. That's the one thing I'm not going to take for granted back in America, the ability to just drive whenever I want to get meals or snackyfoods and feel safe. I can see myself maybe fixing this after the 3 month lease by getting a place closer into town and within walking distance of more restaurants.
If no legislation gets passed by the end of the year regarding online poker being legalized, then I'm definitely looking at Rosarito for the long haul! Enjoying things so far.
It's been one week in Rosarito (and lots of internet poker) so now I get to blog like it was 18 months ago! Hooray!
Staying with ProfessorBen in a condo just south of Rosarito, we expect to have some visitors within a month or two for WCOOP and other stuff, but it's a short term lease. If we like it, we get to extend the lease. I'm seriously considering extending it!
It's a tiny town on the beach in Mexico, 30 minutes south of Tijuana. I haven't run into any bad people down here so far. The language barrier can be kind of a hassle but any time it's come up, the locals have been helpful and not assholes. This makes me happy, since I guilt trip hard when I'm the ignorant foreigner. As long as you keep to yourself and don't do anything dumb, it's pretty easy to maneuver around here. Also, every single one of the 5 or so restaurants nearby we have visited have been almost empty. This place is sleepy. Which I like, because the stigmas of Mexico have made me paranoid in the past so it helps to know I'm not gonna get shot or kidnapped, knock on wood.
Rosarito has a much lower cost of living than San Diego, which is nice. I'm renting a condo right next to the ocean with a pool and a private beach and I'm spending half of what I'm spending for my average apartment in the USA. Groceries and necessities are also about 33% cheaper here. The negatives are the language barrier (obviously) and sometimes it can get a little quiet around here. There are a bunch of poker players living down here, but I've been mostly playing internet poker and our condo isn't walking distance from a lot of things, so in a sense it's like I'm living in a secluded castle or something. I'm sure that will change when more people come down here. It's also most definitely a bachelor pad. Can't see myself pursuing any kind of dating options here, which is fine because I'm not really looking anyhow.
Another random sucky thing is that I got a cold around a month ago and my cough still hasn't gone away. This happens literally once or twice a year now and whenever I head back to the States I'm gonna see an allergist or something and get it figured out once and for all.
Anyways, onto the poker part.
After being a live pro for a year, the online grind is super easy. I've already put in north of 55k hands since being verified exactly a week ago (as of writing this).
The two setups that have proven to be most profitable for grinding cash thus far are
- 8tabling fullring ZOOM, 10NL and 25NL
- 4tabling 6max 25PLO zoom, adding all the deep ante 25PLO games as well
Which looks like this:
So factoring the $5/hr or so in ******** on my current VIP level, $20/hr is not bad for basement level poker, considering basement level at Palomar is $25/hr (and that's live poker). Also running hot at tournaments. Been following a 500 buyin rule for MTTs and have made exactly $350 at $11 turbos and lower.
The only forms of poker I'm getting smoked at are 6max NL, HU PLO, and my precious mixgames
I guess I'm only good at live mix
Anyways, that's where I'm at right now. Taking tomorrow off, because in 2 days the WCOOP starts, and I have a spiffy deal and hope to make a lot of money. When not solely playing WCOOP, I'll be doing my normal cashgame grind I guess.
Well, it's been a full year as a live grinder, and I've stepped back to evaluate.
It's been a successful 12 months. I won around 75 buyins at NL, and something like 200 bets at limit. And I luckboxed a jackpot for 25k! Didn't run well at tournaments but LOL tournaments. My biggest downswing has been 8 buyins for NL and maybe 100 bets for limit. Granted, this yearlong sample of live poker has been something like 40,000 hands of poker. Only played around 30 hours a week when it wasn't WSOP time. But the players are consistently poor enough that playing solid ABC poker and a tiltless mindset are more than enough to make a living as low as 2/3NL, especially just by bumping my hours a week up to 40.
Since you're all probably curious (and I pay my taxes and don't mind sharing)
live NL ptbb
What I didn't like about live NL was calculating my standard deviation (literally logging my variance every hour for a month then using fun formulas) and plugging this into my poker variance calculator.
After I started this thread
on 2p2, I've been shy about playing as much 5/10NL on my own dime because I value having a lot saved up. I don't like the idea that my bounds for future 2/3NL winnings are still that far apart for a 6 month sample. Making $12k over 6 months is no bueno.
Having enough to be overrolled for 2/3 is a weird spot, because most normal months at 2/3NL are just good enough to cover your expenses and taxes, but not good enough to generate wealth. Since I've been active about playing on my own money this year, this has been an interesting spot.
Anyhow, I don't see myself grinding live NL longterm. I just don't think I have the right personality or the right kind of patience. 1000 hours logged and I'm still not comfortable or have enough confidence to mentally put away losing weeks. Lots of people at the table love talking poker strategy, and I'm not enough of a sociopath to engage in the conversation and agree with the bad strategy, and I feel like an asshole for ignoring everyone with my noise cancelling headphones. And I shouldn't be bothered at the idea of felting people who look like they need the money, but I am.
I didn't really sign up for live poker. It beats having a real job, but I guess live NL doesn't fit my style. I guess as far as live poker goes, I prefer live limit. The atmosphere is happier/less intense, you can never lose too much on a given hand, and people will talk about things that aren't poker.
Unfortunately, live mix and live limit poker don't happen regularly enough in SD. I would have to move to Oceanside (good comp and food system but tougher than average 20/40 games), Los Angeles (great 20/40 action but the city and the people are miserable), Las Vegas (decent games and lower rake & I have friends there... I have good and bad feelings about Vegas in general), or maybe Bay Area (doubtful).
I'm certainly willing to address those ideas at some point, but for now I'm going to give online poker another try. I feel like a year of live poker has wizened me up a lot and given me a lot more discipline, or maybe it's just that age 25 you stop being as much an idiot about certain things.
I'm gonna share a condo for 3 months with ProfessorBen, Katie0753, and possible a couple other people. When I eventually get set up on Stars I'll play small stakes PLO and will probably get a spiffy deal for WCOOP.
There was a stretch of time in March or so where I stayed in my San Diego apartment and played internet poker on sites that would allow me, and I won a good amount playing mostly HU. So I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to do well in Rosarito if I put in the hours. I feel like my 6m PLO game is still pretty meh lately, so the best solution (I think) is to wait for HU action, and if I don't have any HU action then I'll 1table zoom. A lot of live poker in the last 12 months has led me to believe I do very well with very few tables and I turn into a losing player after adding a certain amount of tables.
So Rosarito will basically be a fun 3 month experiment and it will let me blog on Leggo again more with fun internet poker stuff.
I would need to put up big consistent numbers on PokerStars zoom (ie not bumhunting) before I ever consider making another Leggo video. But it's at least something to aim for.
If Rosarito is awesome, then I will probably put my San Diego stuff in storage and do Rosarito full time (since they let you play all year, and Canada is a 6month visa). If Rosarito is anything less than good, then I get to have fun and re-evaluate all over again (live grinder or SCHOOL!?).
So that's what's up in my neck of the woods these days. Hope you all are doing well!