Ive been reading your blog since 2008 and enjoy it very much.
I have a question for you, what do you think is a good mtt grinding session for a professional? How many hours per day? Week?
I would really appreciate your input.
Your email makes me recall a Malcolm Gladwell article I read years back.
Take the time to read it. Trust me, you will thank me for it later.
There’s many different types of poker players out there. Some can 20-table all day 70+ hours a week and stay focused the whole time. Then there’s other people who want to murder someone after playing two days straight. The important thing is that you pay attention to when your play and attitude deteriorates. Keep a little notebook on the subject if you have to. Ask yourself, how am I feeling compared to this morning? Ask those around you, do I seem focused or annoyed?
I find my actual play takes a long time to get worse but that’s because very little of it is steeped in emotion anymore. I review hand histories constantly, almost every single day. If you were a professional boxer or football player you would be expected to watch hours and hours of film. Why? Because when crunch time came you were expected to memorize your plan of attack. You wouldn’t be basing your most important decisions on your tired emotions at that moment.
Studying, eating right, time away from the game with people you love, and getting exercise outdoors seem to be the fastest ways to be refreshed for me.
Financially speaking, I think people play too many big fields. I think people kiss the ass of the high stakes players too much. I am making less money going in and out of makeup right now than the fortune I amassed massively multitabling small field MTTs when I was a teenager. Of course, I’ve had three or four opportunities to make a million that I’ve blown, but if you lose the flip or play bad on some specific days you can become just another backed MTT reg not doing much….and there are a ton of them.
Studying hard and making sure you’re into the game will yield incredible results. If you feel that you’re on autopilot and not caring as much invite a friend over to explain your thought processes on hands. Or do like I do and scare the people around you by talking to yourself all day. You’d be amazed how much better you track hands when you’re announcing small details of interest to yourself all day.
Find out how many tables you can manage without their being a real noticeable drop off in play. 12 to 16 seems to be my sweet spot. Some of my friends make 20+ look easy. Other friends of mine have done well playing 4 to 8.
Review random hand histories from your sessions and be honest with yourself. How many spots were you missing? One or two is okay but if your whole hand history is mediocre you’re playing too many tables and just praying to win flips. Study more, increase the edges you can collect, and try to be as focused as possible.
I generally start the day with reviewing what tournaments I want to play and signing up for them. I count how many tournaments I have in my notebook. If I feel overwhelmed that day I write in my notebook that I did, and the next day I will try to cut out some tournaments. If one particular site is giving me trouble I might drop one of their smaller buy-ins for a similar one on another site.
If there’s too many sites going on my screen and I’m having a problem not overlapping them I may drop a few $50 freezeouts on a small site like Merge so I can focus on the earlier schedules of the Euro sites. Then, when my screen is less filled, I’ll engage the more American-centric schedule of Cake or Merge on that side of the screen.
If I’m not doing well on a site I lower my volume there to bread-and-butter tournaments and necessary investments. If I’m killing a certain site I fire up anything with value.
This is really time-consuming but if you record when you bust out of tournaments then you’ll get a general idea of how long each one lasts for different finishes. This way you’ll be able to more accurately anticipate how many tables you’ll be playing on the peak of a Sunday for example. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed the first time you go deep in a certain site.
Try to not rely on smoking weed to play massive hours. Many grinders do this and I did this for years. Many, including me, we’re really successful for a while, and then we got burned out…only trust me its really hard to focus and get on your game again when your brain chemically needs you to be stoned all the time.
I find for long sessions green tea sits much better in my stomach and leaves me much less strung out and agitated then coffee. I’m a Costa Rican coffee addict but I try to limit it to one or two cups per day. Green tea also speeds up your metabolism, which is great for when your lazy ass is sitting at a computer all day.
On the breaks try to get out of your working area if only for a minute. Move around a bit. Get the blood flowing. I like tackling my poodle or going outside for a second.
Write down your goals for the day. Don’t have your target be some constantly moving undefinable mass of delusional expectations.
That’s about all I can think of for right now. Hope this helps.
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