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Hey Mike! Thanks a lot for doing the AskThePRO, hope you will enjoy it! What a beatiful graph you have there. On a such sample it does not look like it, but you also had some serious swings/BE stretches, like the one starting at 1.5M mark, one at around 2,25M, then a ridiculous upswing and that long BE stretch you are on now. Can you tell us a bit about those? It seems like some of those are about 200,000 hands longs, right? Were you running seriously bad/under EV (and during that one good) or what was going on there?
November 4, 2013 13:44
Thanks Scarmaker! Yeah, I’ve been through some intense times in my career. The first long “break-even” stretch you see was in November 2009 - the first year I got to Supernova Elite. I was really behind pace at that point. I had about 500 - 550k hands to play over the next 2 months, and decided I’d play 300k hands that month. That was far more than I’d played before, and my play suffered a LOT. I ended that month down at the tables.
The next long break-even stretch was again from SNE. I found myself lacking motivation, and didn’t care to try all that hard while I was playing. I took a month off in July, and came back refreshed in August 2010. I played the best poker of my career, and ran really well. I hit +100k after bonuses. After that, I again started to feel like I didn’t care all that much.
After Black Friday, I stopped putting in the volume I was used to, and started switching to coaching. I’d lost my passion for playing SNE volume, and wanted to start moving on to doing something else with my life. I still love poker, but don’t want to grind on that level anymore. Now when I play, I focus more on learning than winning… and I don’t have the same tolerance for losing as much as I have in the past, so I mostly play 100 and 200nl when I feel like it.
As a cash game player myself, I wonder if you could point out like 1 - 2 most common & serious leaks regs you encounter have that you think you have earned the most money off.
November 4, 2013 13:45
The serious leaks I encounter depend on the level of play. My students see much different fundamental leaks than I do because they're playing lower stakes. The biggest leak I've seen in other regs have to do with missing some fundamentals in their games, and being unable to adjust. Another one I've seen a fair bit that's even better (but doesn't come up as often) has to do with over-adjusting, and doing it poorly... essentially - fancy play syndrome. I make money from these players because I know what they're doing, and they don't know what I'm doing.
Hei Mike, nice statics ! I want to ask you, in poker may a player play two types of poker? Like cash and sng , or MTT and SNG? If your answer it's yes , what will you choose , and if it's not, why? Ty for you time, good job again!
November 4, 2013 13:50
I find that most very good players I've run into focus on just one game. There are a lot of players that are levels past me that are good at everything... but I've always focused on just cash games. Some players like to be good at multiple games... like cash + SNG, but I've only run into a handful of players that actually make that work.
Hello. I just wanted to know how did you learn poker? Was it from coaching by specialists, reading books, watching videos etc.? And one more. Did you make many deposits to begin with and what stakes did you start at?
November 4, 2013 14:16
Originally when I started poker, I started with Limit Holdem, and learned by reading Sklansky's "Holdem Poker for Advanced Players". When I decided to take No Limit seriously, I read books, and watched a lot of videos. I also purchased Aaron Jones' "Memoires of Aejones" for 5k at the beginning of my career. In the end, watching videos of really good players, and hearing how they dealt with difficult spots is how I learned the best.
For my career, I started with a $600 deposit on Full Tilt... playing .50/1 with a half stack. I ran well, and haven't looked back :)
hi Mike what´s up? as a micro cash game player i have four questions:
1- when a agressive player shoot´s on flop or turn, you advice me to bet on the river? (after only calling with around top pair top kicker +)
2- i know that min raise on river i should have the worst hand but they know that too, so when is a loose player and i have something like 2nd pair and a nice kicker how many often is a profitable call/raise, 4 to 1? even i dont have any ace and hits one on river (i know a lot of players play any ace untill river (freaking belivers!) but they show up with a low pair like is a monter!)
3- i normaly charge few euros in my account and try my luck on cash game but do you think that is possible with few euros make a nice bankroll? what you advice me to do? (levels, tuff calls against losse players etc etc
4- i have a lot of leaks on my game but the biggest one i think is how to extract more money with monsters in hand (sets+) (this one for me is the most important question)
thank you a lot for responding me and i hope one day i will crush you on tables ;)
November 4, 2013 17:11
Hey Ramalhah! Not much... just enjoying my time here right now. 1 - The situation you describe is too generalized for me to give a specific answer. Here are some other things that would be important to consider: How aggressive is this player? What is the board? Stack sizes? Can I bet for value? There will be a lot of information about the situation available to make the best decision. This is what separates the good players from the great ones - understanding what makes a situation the same or different from another one.
2 - I'm sorry, but I don't understand the situation you're describing well enough to provide advice
3 - Is it possible? Yes.
4 - I expect that you would benefit most from working on understanding the situations you face better. Who is the board texture good for? How often does the pre flop raiser and caller have a hand they can continue with? Is the board good to cbet? Why/why not? The answers to those questions will lead you towards being able to make better decisions... but it is just the start.
I only have one small question for you, (as a SNG/MTT player)
How did you like the income of rush/zoom poker, since you're a cash player, I was wondering if you tried and/or are playing those zooms, do you like them? Why/Why not?
November 4, 2013 19:04
I do like them, but I expect that I can win more on regular tables. There are 2 main reasons for that. First, weaker players are more likely to play better on Zoom tables because they can fold more often... and the biggest mistake most of them make is calling too much. Another reason is that I'm very good with player dynamics. I know how dynamics build. I know when people are likely to start playing back at me. This is much less clear at Zoom. Having said all of that, I love being able to sit down, and get up from the tables. I've found that some of my students prefer them to normal tables.
hi Mike, do you have with a girls that much happiness, patience and success like you have on poker tables ?! tnx for answering
November 5, 2013 20:37
I look forward to being in a loving relationship with the perfect woman for me... but for now, I'm happy being single
Hi Mike, Do you remember moment when you turn to PRO poker PRO and How your friends and family react?
November 5, 2013 21:10
My family was pretty supportive. I'm lucky to have grown up in a family that plays poker. They taught me how to play games like 7 card stud (usually with wild cards) when I was probably about 8 years old. I'm sure there was some concern, but on the whole they've been overwhelmingly supportive.
and one more: What do you think is the best time to "quit" work/job/school and go pro?
November 5, 2013 21:12
The best time to do it is when there is nothing you would rather do than play poker. It's not an easy decision... and I'd never recommend it to anyone. It's something you would have to decide for yourself.
dam 500k do teach me to do that too
November 5, 2013 21:45
Do you think you can turn someone else into a cash grinding pro also like yourself?
November 5, 2013 21:46
No, but I can help to guide someone to do it for themself. I can't turn someone into a great player, but I can help someone get there quicker and easier than it would've been without me.
Every serious poker player is on a continuous mission to improve his play. Can you please name the one factor that had the biggest impact on your improvement as a poker player?
November 5, 2013 22:09
This is tough, as I'm not sure what had the biggest improvement... I'll try though. Videos. Watching videos, and working to understand why the best players in my games were doing what they were doing. Without that, I don't know if I ever would've had the success that I did.
I also had to avoid a lot of bad videos. There were a lot out there that were just crap. Like, the people making them were having success, but they didn't have nay idea WHY they were making the plays they were making other than "this works, so do it".
Hi! first of all, thats a nice graph you got there! now for the question, have you ever had tilt issues? if so, what were the main causes? was it ever so called "mistake tilt", when you played some hand badly and it influenced you badly or the rest of the session? i am having trouble with it. do you have any recomendations other than quiting the sess? thx for your answer
November 5, 2013 22:13
Yes, but not as like a "spew off buyins" type of tilt. My tilt was more like "I hate poker", and wouldn't put on my A game. It's a more subtle form of tilt, but one that still played a factor in how well I would do at the end of the day. Things like making mistakes wouldn't put me on tilt, but they would often increase my tilt if I was already on tilt.
When you're on tilt, it's an emotional reaction. There is energy inside of you that is trying to get you to do, or to not do something. My "solution" was to push the emotions away while I was playing. Then, when I was done playing, they would all come back to the surface, and I'd be miserable. Not a great solution... at least not in the long term. Now, I see emotions as needing a solution. If I'm upset with myself for making a mistake, then a possible solution is to accept that I make mistakes. If I'm upset at getting sucked out on, then a possible solution is to accept that I can't control the cards.
Hi Mike, Poker is emotionally stressful as everyone knows, how do you leave your negative feelings for the day on the virtual felt and go about your day? What do you do to relax after a rough session and calm your self down to go on about your day in a positive mood?
November 6, 2013 00:05
This is something I've never been very good at, and is one of the reasons I don't want to put in the mega volume I've done in the past. I'm much better at it now, but really, my "solution" is to not play poker on that level anymore. There was no relaxing after a rough session... or at least not on the level I'd have liked to. I would pretty much always be carrying in emotional baggage from previous sessions when I sat down. I don't think there is a solution to this, other than to process as much as you can, when you can. Pushing things away only works short term.
cheers mate! can you send me at least 100 000$ ??? Much appreciated, bro !
November 6, 2013 07:11
Hello, is it possible for someone to have a really crappy year? I had a lot of downswings this year, and I keep checking my game, and it looks good(not perfect, but everyone makes mistakes). But I guess your graph answers the question. I played about 250-300k hands this year, and i see that you had a a though time after 1,5M. How did you deal with it?
November 6, 2013 09:23
I played more. And more. And more. It was easier for me to go through a downswing, knowing how much volume I'd put in over the next couple of months, and that it would all come back soon.
I'm also seeing that there are a lot of players that did well in the past, but aren't now... largely due to fundamental leaks in their games that they were unaware of in the past. The reason that they were unaware of them in the past has to do with how those leaks weren't being taken advantage of by the other regs in the games. For me, the large break-even stretches were caused by playing poorly.
how did you learn to let your hand go on the river when facing a bet...
November 6, 2013 11:53
This is the piece of logic that has helped me to make big river folds in a lot of spots - "What's his range for bluffing? Is he ever raising worse for value? Ok, so I have a strong absolute value hand, but it's only a bluff catcher. How often is he bluffing?" If your opponent can raise worse for value, then it's usually not a fold... if he can't, then you have to figure out how often they're bluffing.
hey mike, have you ever played some games? like war3, CS, wow?
November 6, 2013 12:22
I used to many years ago... Quake, Team Fortress, Warcraft 2... yeah, I'm old :) I played a bunch of Diablo 3 when it came out, but overall, I don't play as many video games after I started playing poker full time.
At what limit did you start playing (semi-)professionally, and in what year was that? Also, is it still remotely possible to get such an unbelievably sick graph in 2013/2014 and beyond, with everyone improving and all?
November 6, 2013 13:31
I started with .50/1 near the end of 2008. By the beginning of 2009 I went to 1/2, and a few months into that I was playing 2/4 and 3/6, and a bit after that I included 5/10. Is it possible? Yes, but the number of players capable of doing it is less than before.
Oh, and when you were learning to play, which limits did you play at and how quickly did you move up?
November 6, 2013 13:33
I included the answer to this below
Hey, Mike ;) I have few questions for u, i would like to improve my game and would like to know good player opinions, so'd i can improve :) Y, and good luck writting book :)
1) I’m often sitting at a table where most of the players are competent to very good, but there is usually at least one player who has no idea what he’s doing. I know I’m supposed to go after this player and find ways to play pots against him, but that often gets me into trouble against the others. What’s the best way to isolate a bad player?
2) Playing multiple MTT i have problem to get info about players and often blew it away, cuz think they are bluffing, how do i improve multiple MTT table reading or i need to start play 1-2 tables, then add some few more or is there why to improve reading playing 5-6 tables?
3) If u blew ur all poker money ( just incase) would u retire from poker or would continue playing and start it over from freerolls and low buy-ins, to ''get back on horse''?
4) And lost question, but not the least is: what was the one concept you learned early in your career that really accelerated your poker progression?
Thanks for the answers and have a great night ;)
November 6, 2013 16:50
1 - Attack their limps, and 3bet them (when appropriate). And yeah, if the others at the table know what you're doing, this can get you into trouble with them. If they give you too much heat, you may have to back off a bit... but fundamentally, you SHOULD be attacking that player a lot.
2 - I haven't played enough MTTs to answer this as well as I'd like. It sounds like you're having trouble with hand reading. Playing fewer tables can help with making better decisions, but it doesn't actually fix the problem. Take the time to go over your mistakes when you're not playing, and figure out why they should be folds so that you can fold the next time.
3 - I don't want to play poker for a living anymore... I want to play, but not as a primary source of income. So, yeah, I'd move on to something else.
4 - Play aggressively until someone plays aggressively back at you
Hi ! TY for your time first :) ! This is a beautiful chart you have ! How much time u spend with poker a day (is it all days?) How many tables at a time? What limit ? start in what limit? How speed u move up limits? Did u have some coach with other players? What do you think is the key to maintain the constancy of wins and profit in cash game? (technically and psychologically) Ty again !
November 6, 2013 18:14
These days, most of the time I spend on poker is on teaching, learning, and writing. When I was playing Supernova Elite volume, I would play between 20-30 hours a week and 60-70 hours a week... depending on the time of year. I now play 12-16 tables at a time, but used to play 24. I started at .50/1, and moved up to 2/4 and 3/6 within about 6 months of high volume. I have been coached by Balugawhale, and aejones.
Consistency... not really what I was best at :) It looks consistent, but this graph is over 4 million hands... so it looks better than it was. Working on the technical and psychological aspects of my game is huge. The big thing that often gets left out though is to have a healthy, balanced, and enjoyable life outside of poker. To play great poker, you need to understand both yourself, and others well. It's going to be very difficult to do this if you don't have a social life... which isn't uncommon.
Hi there Mike, sick graph really impressed. I have 2 questions for you. 1) Whats the best tip you can give a low stake cash game player like myself? 2) Bit of a fun question: If you could sit down and play a game of poker with any five people in the world (living or deceased), who would you pick? Thanks in advance for the answers, I wish you all the best.
November 6, 2013 18:33
1 - Learn the fundamentals. Figure out how often (roughly) you're supposed to be doing something. For example... stealing from the button 60% is a good place to start. Lots of players steal far too little because they don't want to play weak hands. This is a major fundamental leak. Imo - 60% is still likely too low, but it's a better place to start from than 30%. Next would be - how often should you cbet? Which spots are good for it? How often should I cbet on K52r? How does that change based on position/stack size/players in the hand? What happens when there's a flush draw on the flop. The more you understand the fundamentals before sitting down, the better off you'll be.
2 - Great question :) Tom Dwan, Phil Galfond, Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, and Stu Ungar. I'm sure I could pick another hundred or so I'd love to play with, but those are the ones that stood out to me right now.
Hey guys, there was a little misunderstanding and Mike started a bit early, but you can still post more questions and he will be back to answer more :)
November 6, 2013 19:25
I was just about to do this myself, ty!
I guess I will start the "second round" lol! How much tougher do you think games got in the last two-three years?
November 6, 2013 20:04
It's reasonably significant. There are less weak players, and those that are around are better. The weak regs still have weaknesses in their games, but there are less of them. Overall, people's default games are getting much closer to "optimal". The weaknesses in peoples' games are still there, but it's harder to attack. Poker is still far from being "solved". Being ahead of the curve is worth much less than it used to be.
Which limits you play ? what is your favourite poker room and why ?You are pro in holden ?
November 6, 2013 20:33
Right now, I play .50/1, and 1/2. When I played full time, I played 24 tables of 2/4 through 5/10 with a bit of 10/20. Stars is my favourite place to play. They're very trustworthy, and have a ton of games going. I get the impression from them that they care a lot about poker, and having the best poker room around. Yeah, my specialty is 9-handed NL Holdem.
What kind of 'spiritual pursuits' (as said in your description) have you been doing?
November 6, 2013 20:38
A little over two years ago, I came out of a 10 year relationship with my girlfriend at the time. About 3 months later, I experienced instantly falling in love with a woman I didn't know very well. I believed that wasn't possible at the time, and it scared me to my core. Since then I've become a Yoga teacher. I actively work on connecting with spirit, and question everything. I've started posting about my story here: http://klairic.com/2013/10/20/my-love-part-one/
What you can tell me about your rate on winning on 1 session, or if you want, on 100k hands ? Thank you ! Good luck and best wishes!
November 6, 2013 22:38
I would like to officially thank @Klairic for doing the AskThePRO, it was a pleasure to read :) Thanks to everyone for participating as well, the $20 for the best question posted goes to @ch4oSz ! Congratz!
November 8, 2013 13:16
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