I need a restraining order against my brain. That guy harasses me like no other.
If you do not like how self-indulgent most blogs are you should really not read this one. I love me some me, and I’ve been thinking a lot about me for the last couple days, and now I will write extensively about me.
San Jose rainy season is brutal. Nine months of the year the climate in my suburb is like a warm summer day in Seattle. A little hotter and a little more humid, but my white ass can bare it. Now sweltering heats follow torrential downpours. My mind melts in the heat of my usually cool house.
But there was the rare Dr. Pepper at the supermercado, and a fan’s on. My brain releases a bit.
Words spread on the page much more easily when you’re hyper-zoomed into a Word document on your 30” screen. Makes me feel like I’m actually doing something.
I had a bit of a crash on Wednesday. Friend of mine sent me Stars money sorely needed for SCOOP. Unfortunately, he did it from Italy, so Pokerstars blocked it. I don’t know how he was logged in and playing on the site but hey, at least he didn’t send the money to Assasinato (Taiwan).
(I always wondered how profitable that would be, making accounts named after the most common misspellings of high-profile backed pros who are constantly receiving 5k to10k transfers.)
With the transfer not coming in I realized I was winded and just didn’t want to play. It’s not I’ve been playing a ton, but also investing time in other things. I wake up at 8:00 AM and go to bed at midnight, and often I’ve only taken an hour off between those two points.
I’m not complaining about that. Those hours were spent at my choosing. Now it looks like I’ve set up a couple endeavors that are paying me solidly and regularly. It took a couple years to establish but it paid off. I’ve also spent a lot of time learning and developing my game. Spent many more hours teaching, making videos, and writing articles, all of which feed how much I get paid for the other.
I’ve been very satisfied with everything. I once heard an interview with Chris “Fox” Wallace where he talked about how he didn’t have time to play for the last two weeks because he was teaching so much. That blew my mind at the time, that anyone would choose to teach over playing. Now, I enjoy working three hours in the morning and earning my expenses for the week.
My overhead is extremely low. It’s not that I live cheaply, it’s just my girlfriend has taught me how to live smarter. It’s a huge advantage to make your money in dollars in Costa Rica. I have a pretty large house in a good neighborhood here. For what I’m paying in rent here I couldn’t afford a decent studio apartment in Seattle. Fresh fish and vegetables are delivered daily, and cost a tenth of what I would pay in Seattle for them. I live healthy, richly, and thankfully cheaply. I feel very blessed to live here.
The lowering of costs and betterment of my life should reduce my stress levels – but it hasn’t. I’ve found myself getting three hours of lessons done, running outside to take my dog for a thirty minute run, doing another thirty minutes on the treadmill here with a training video playing, hopping in the shower, than running to play ten hours of MTTs.
Wow, I’m grinding! Except, for some reason, it’s not really adding up to anything. I can’t seem to put together big wins in MTTs. This really frustrates me. While I couldn’t win a large tournament to save my life when I was a teenager I just racked up small wins and a nice bankroll. As I got older I grinded out a great return at 200 and 400 NL. I couldn’t hang with the big boys for a while at high stakes tournaments, then I learned, and final tabled most of the big tournaments. Sure, I had down cycles, but that was usually brought on by my spending and tilting at the games.
Then, when amps/bowls/screwdrivers/percs went from a once a day thing to an all day “let’s mix them all together” thing, I just couldn’t stop stacking. In my haze I racked up six figures on multiple sites. Then yeah, blah blah, I was flying high, blah blah, I lost it all, I’m sure you’ve read this before on many an idiot addict’s self-indulgent manifesto.
Truth was I was very lucky, somewhat skilled, and really careless during that period, but it all came back to bite me in the ass. It drained me dry. I couldn’t think or focus anymore without having something every 20 minutes, and in my inner city San Jose shithole apartment I couldn’t win at 50 NL for multiple months.
So I threw away my stash, started feeling my head splitting (I guess normal people call it withdrawing), and wow…I was pissed again. I was fearless again and clear minded for the first time in – my life, truthfully. And I made another fortune. And then Full Tilt happened. Yeah.
I’ve written the above paragraphs four or five or 200 times in my blog. That’s just because I can’t get my head around it. How could I make so much when I was so ripped I couldn’t see and when I was breaking out in cold sweats and sleepless withdrawing? Why can I not replicate my past results when my life is so good now and I feel better physically and mentally than I have ever felt in my life?
Well, the obvious conclusion you can come to is I’ve lost my edge. That came to mind a few months ago, but thinking the last couple days – it seems really valid. I’ve expanded my game in some frontiers with my study, but I’ve also been a little more complacent. Some regulars have noted I won’t go off at any point like I used to, and now they rightfully feel like they can get away with more. I’m way too comfortable with going by my original plan, and not deviating from what I previously plotted. I just am not angry at people anymore, and I didn’t ever think that would be a problem. I’m less likely to just get pissed off and snap call a shove without thinking.
This helps me stay more consistent in small tournaments, but I’ve gotten ragdolled a few times by better players deep in bigger tournaments. I used to not care. I probably wasn’t going to see most of the money anyway knowing how I lived, so I just wanted to show this guy, this day, he didn’t have anything on me. Lately I haven’t been pushing it enough.
I always thought letting go of that need to win every pot would help me close tournaments. It bugged me. I final tabled the Super Tuesday, 1k Monday, Sunday Million, Full Tilt 1.5 Million, the 750K, an EPT, the Sunday 500, The Brawl, the Second Chance, 5k side events, an FTOPs…I’ve won exactly one of them. If you wanted to tilt yourself and you’d final tabled all those tournaments, which one would you choose to win? Yeah, the Second Chance, ship it.
Before you think I’m bitching about limping into a bunch of final tables and not winning, I came into the Super Tuesday, 1k Monday, Sunday Million, FTOPs, 750K, The 5k Side event, and The Sunday 500 as the chip leader.
I felt cursed at different times. I’d flip out, get one outted, bluff off my chips, fold to a huge bluff, check when I’d normally bet and let a hand get there, fivebet/fold my life away…I just didn’t think I deserved to win I guess. I played like I had to do something dramatic to win, like my normal game wouldn’t get me there, when my normal game had usually gotten me there as the chip leader.
That FTOPs was probably the most crushing one. 3-handed I had a guy down to one out on the river for 70% of the chips in play. He hit it. I went out third about half an hour later.
Well, at least I still got my six figures, and I’m sober now! Then yeah April 15th my mom called me up to tell me the news. “I’m sure we’ll get our money mom, don’t worry,” I told her.
Since that FTOPs final table more than a year ago I haven’t done much of anything. 4th in the Sunday 100r, 13th at PCA (going out a few hours after I was the chip leader…woooohooo), a small 100r win here and there, but yeah…nothing really.
Frustrated I just started grinding every hour. I did all right with a couple hundred in cashes to start 2012. It was nice to get some paychecks, a little in savings. Then, what the hell, I lost like 60K in six weeks. I knew it was possible with Pokerstars having a ton in buy-ins a day, but the last time I lost 60k online was, well, never. I’ve been on multiple six figure downswings, but those were mostly live with 20-40K online thrown in. I lost 50k online once and it took me nine months. To lose that much in such a short time astounded me. I never did daily records before that, because I really didn’t want to pay attention to numbers when I was losing. I checked the math four times because I couldn’t believe that happened.
I pulled up 20 hand histories at random and started going through them with a fine tooth comb. Inexplicably, I didn’t stack off too light on any river, I didn’t call off too many tournaments, all my reshoves were mathematically sound, I was getting in a lot of value bets, my c-bets and double barrels were effective – no I was making the stupidest error of them all. I’d stopped shoving. I was never a genius with the shove math. Not bad at all, just I’d miss one here and there. I had charts posted in my office but I stopped referring to them once I started always knowing what they would say, and I guess I missed one or two all-ins after I stopped religiously checking each shove.
Sometimes, I’d think I had missed a shove but my SNG friends would actually show me I’d had some instinct to know when a shove was not responsible that one time. There were cases when a guy was dying to call me light and it wasn’t appropriate to shove some certain hands that normally would be fine.
I trusted myself a little too much, and…I started passing all the time because…I don’t even know why. I did what jaded grinders who don’t make money anymore do, I just clammed up. It just goes to show you, I was ruthlessly checking on every part of my game except for one. The one I thought I’d had down for years turned out to really be my undoing.
So now I’m back up to speed on that, final tabling a bunch, feeling good…but still feeling a little desperate to get that win.
A part of me feels like I should have some big wins already, a house paid for, money in the bank. The crazy thing was I kept going broke trying to have all that, but if I’d just taken life a little slower I could be at that spot now.
There’s guilt, for how I lived my life, how I could have set myself and my loved ones up for life and instead I blew it. It’s hard visiting your mom in a duplex knowing a couple years back you were renting mansions with private beaches…and if you’d just taken that money and bought a simple house in Costa Rica she could be safe for life.
Of course, I probably couldn’t have helped my family at that time if I wanted, and Lord knows I did try, but that’s neither here nor there.
It’s kind of hard knowing you made the same mistakes every idiot who wins the Lotto does. Food stamps don’t teach you how to budget your money. Broke families usually got there because they didn’t come from a fiscally responsible culture. Instead of taking the time to slow down and learn differently I fell right back into where I came from.
Thank God my girlfriend came into my life. I thought she was too frugal when I met her. Now in the year since Black Friday, my worst earning year ever, I have somehow moved from one great household to another one. I somehow seem to always have everything I need, and a little saved up in case anything happens. I have this amazing home and somehow I own everything in it.
With that kind of support I’ve just wanted so sincerely to make my family and my girlfriend proud, and show them I can do it again. I wanted to do it legit this time. It’s been very frustrating not being able to replicate the success I attained so easily, and not very lucidly, in the past.
My Plugs: Check out my vids at Pocketfives Training, hit me up for lessons at email@example.com, see other stuff I write with my friends atwww.pokerheadrush.com, and follow my Twitter at TheAssassinato