Questions and Answers

AskThePRO with Matthew Hunt

We would like to invite all our users to watch and participate in the next AskThePRO episode on TiltBook.com that will take place on Wednesday, 19.03.2014 at 20:00 CET!

You can start posting your questions right now and when the session begins, our hero will choose and answer your best and most interesting ones in a course of exactly one hour (during which you can still post more questions) at www.tiltbook.com/AskThePRO!

This week's special guest: Matthew 'theginger45' Hunt

Matthew 'theginger45' Hunt is a pro midstakes MTT player and coach at TournamentPokerEdge.com. He has over $1,000,000 n in online MTT cashes and in 2013 won the Full Tilt Poker MiniFTOPS leaderboard with two 1st place finishes and four final tables in total, as well as the PartyPoker Sunday Major for $42,000. As a writer and teacher outside of poker, he enjoys coaching and discussing all aspects of the game, and his current group of 10 students is composed entirely of recreational players looking to develop their game. He is passionate about the mental and emotional processes involved in poker, and believes strongly that players should take an holistic approach to poker improvement, involving not only better decision-making at the table, but better mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.

You canfollow Matthew on Twitter (@theginger45) as well as check out Midstakes Living podcast at www.tournamentpokeredge.com.

Matthew will be live on TiltBook to answer all your cool questions on Wednesday, 19.03.2014 at 20:00 CET at www.tiltbook.com/AskThePRO. And as always, remember the best question posted wins $20!

Sorry, you can't post questions at the moment.

MartinAltman: Hey, how did you get that awesome avatar on FTP? :)
March 17, 2014 19:27
Haha, I get a lot of questions about this. A custom avatar was one of the prizes for my MiniFTOPS leaderboard win last year, along with $11k in FTOPS buyins. I designed the avatar in partnership with the FTP graphic designers.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:02
Hero184: hey,how did you improve your game to become a pro player and winings tournament :D
March 17, 2014 19:43
I played a LOT of poker over a relatively short period of time. I studied the game on forums and watched training videos, and listened to the advice of other players who had succeeded before me. I think hard work and studying are the only ways to get good at anything, in poker or outside - there's no secret or shortcut.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:04
Seda16: I see that you are writing scripts. I am also aspiring writer and I am currently preparing a movie. What helped you improve in screenwriting? How long it took you to write that pilot? Did anyone "coach" you or are you self-taught?
March 17, 2014 19:48
Interesting question. It took me about 9 months from start to finish to get my pilot done, but that was without spending too much time on it on a daily basis. I'm still very much at the beginning of my experience as a writer so I'm definitely self-taught, but I did take a 10-week course in TV Drama Writing at London Film School towards the end of last year.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:05
Zelikis: How to choose nickname for myself, what does those numbers mean?
March 17, 2014 20:29
I don't really understand this question, but I'll give it a go. If you're referring to the '45' in my username, it doesn't mean anything, it's just two random numbers. And it doesn't make a huge difference what screenname you choose - just make it something you're happy to be known by, because if you get good at poker people will start referring to you by it. Choose something fairly neutral that you don't mind hearing and seeing every day for a while.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:09
Scarmaker: Hey there Matthew and thanks a lot for doing the AskThePRO! I am very curious about the "passionate about the mental and emotional processes involved in poker" part. Can you please elaborate on that what sorts of things does that involve? Can you give out any basic tips that could increase one's mindset and emotional stabiliy? Thanks!
March 18, 2014 09:59
Hey, no problem, I'm glad to be here. As for that part of the game, I guess it's because I try to remember that poker is a game involving human beings and individuals, and sometimes it's easy to forget that you often can't reduce everything to a question of numbers and ranges. I believe one of my strengths, particularly as a coach, is helping others to advance their understanding of what decisions to make off the table as well as on the table. As for how to improve, I'd say, throw away your ego and forget about winning. Winning any one tournament is pretty meaningless because any one tournament is decided by variance, not skill. So just because you won or lost doesn't make you any better or worse as a player. Everything is about the decisions you make.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:12
Scarmaker: Also, I do post this question everytime and I am very interested to read yor answer - what are the main leaks that other regs have that you think you have made the most money off?
March 18, 2014 10:00
Playing too many tables. I see so many regs missing great spots to exploit me, just because they're too busy folding 74o preflop in some other tournament. I usually play 12 tables maximum, occasionally up to 16. But those guys who are playing 20-24 tables, most of them are burning money. Only a few guys - TheLipoFund, moertelmu and some others - are good enough at 20+ tabling to make it optimal for them.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:14
blender803: hy there! what do you think that are the most important three things to do to become a pro?
March 19, 2014 15:11
Hi! It's very simple: 1. Work hard 2. Work harder than that 3. No, seriously, work harder The definition of 'pro' is vague. Don't get caught up in whether you're a 'pro' or an 'amateur'. Just establish good processes and keep working at it.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:16
blender803: what are your hobbys besides poker?
March 19, 2014 15:14
I mostly just read, write and watch stories - comic books, TV, movies, anything really. I play videogames occasionally and I spend too much time browsing Reddit. But if I had the choice, I'd just write all day and do nothing else.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:17
blender803: what are your expectation for the future?
March 19, 2014 15:16
I'm going to scale back the amount of poker I play in the near future. I want to move closer to my goal of being a full-time writer, because poker is a very stressful career that's only suitable for a few people. In the long term, I am pretty sure poker will become just a serious hobby for me, not a profession.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:18
blender803: How do you balance your poker career with your personal life?
March 19, 2014 15:28
I'm not very good at it! Poker takes over my life more than it should sometimes. Even when I'm not playing or coaching, I think about it more than I would like. I'm working on ways to spend more time relaxing.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:19
Simis3971: How much do you enjoy playing? And how you motivate yourself to play? :)
March 19, 2014 18:40
Not as much as I used to. The longer time goes on, the more motivated I am to write, so the less I am to play poker. As for motivation, I have a backer who's very good at helping me to stay focused. If I were playing on my own bankroll, I'd probably take more time off than I do!
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:20
nastygirlll: Hi Matty! How are you? How do you keep up with tilt? What would you recommend to make grinding less stressful? Best regards!
March 19, 2014 18:57
Hi! I am very well, thank you. Tilt is a funny thing. I think generally the best way to approach it is to try to find out why you're tilting - I read a lot of Jared Tendler's work, and one thing that always sticks out for me is the idea that bad beats don't cause tilt, because otherwise every single player in the world would tilt every single time they had a bad beat. So, try to figure out the root cause of tilt, and that'll help you fix it. As for making grinding less stressful, I think it's important to have a comfortable environment. I have a great computer setup and a comfortable chair, and I often listen to podcasts or watch TV while I play so that I can keep my brain sharp but relaxed. In a long MTT session of 6-8 hours, if you try to be 110% focused all the time, you'll be really burned out by the end. Drop a few tables, stay relaxed, and when you do make that final table, your brain won't be quite so fried.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:24
Ciulan: Hi there! Do You start playing MTT for living as your first choice? Or You trying to play cash tables, or SNG?
March 19, 2014 19:00
Hi! I play some 180-man SNGs to reduce variance but I haven't played cash in a long time. I may in the future, though. I started out with MTTs exclusively, but I would never recommend that to a new player. There's just too much variance.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:24
Ciulan: Do You playing live events, or are you staking somebody, or somebody ever staked You?
March 19, 2014 19:02
I play occasionally. In 2013 I played three live tourneys that I won satellites for. I don't stake anyone and I never will, because I know how stressful it is - I've been staked for all of my professional career. If MTTs are your main game, it's very hard to play professionally without a huge bankroll. Anyone on their own bankroll who wants to play MTTs should also mix in cash or SNGs to lower variance.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:26
tompolis: How can I explain to parents that poker is a good game? (I don´t want study on Sunday, but i want play) :)
March 19, 2014 19:02
This isn't going to be the answer you want to hear, but you should not choose poker over studying. Your parents are right. Poker is a good game, but it is not a substitute for an education.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:27
Ciulan: You think that online MTT poker is easier then live MTT poker, and You Do You think its possible to live only playing LIVE MTT ? without online poker?
March 19, 2014 19:09
Live poker is definitely softer than online poker, but it's much easier to make a living playing online. The simple fact of live poker is it's virtually impossible to play more than about 300 tournaments a year even for the most hardcore grinders, so your ROI in the tournaments you play has to be astronomically high in order to counteract the small amount of games you're going to be playing. There are very few live tournaments with a big enough buyin and a soft enough field that playing live tournaments for a living is sustainable in the long term.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:29
Ciulan: What do You think about multi-tabling, how much tables We should play at once playing MTT?
March 19, 2014 19:12
It's all about finding what's right for you, but if you're just starting out, I don't recommend you play more than 10-12. It's okay to play more than that once you know you're a winning player in your games (and I mean having a big sample size of several thousand games to prove it), but the higher the stakes you're playing, the fewer tables you should play. Everyone needs to find a balance.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:30
Zelikis: More questions, more chance win? :D
March 19, 2014 19:29
I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, sorry!
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:30
Ciulan: What prompted You to start playing poker?
March 19, 2014 19:38
I enjoyed it. I started playing in homegames just for fun at university, and I loved the game so much I started learning about it in a more detailed fashion. My motivation has changed a lot during my career, but in general I don't think there's any reason to start playing other than because you enjoy it.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:31
looAndAlex18: How are you?
March 19, 2014 19:40
I'm very well, thank you! How are you?
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:32
urvutiburvu: hi there :) What was the one concept you learned early in your career that really accelerated your poker progression?
March 19, 2014 19:41
This is a tough question. I would say it really helped me to understand the implied odds/fold equity continuum. You can't have implied odds and fold equity at the same time. If you have implied odds, it's because your opponent has a strong range and will pay you off if you hit, but he won't fold to a raise; if you have fold equity, it's because he has a weak range and will fold to a raise, but he won't pay you off very often if you hit. This idea really helped me to understand some of the principles of aggression and how to play draws - it stopped me from punting off stacks with a flush draw quite so often!
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:35
Hero184: hey , what The things you motived for become A pro Player and accept the variance in the down :)
March 19, 2014 19:52
Hey, in terms of my motivation for becoming a pro, I was motivated to have control and independence in my life, and not to have a boss looking over me all the time. I enjoyed the game and thought it would be a great way to be my own boss and not have to worry about job interviews or getting up early in the morning! As for accepting variance...well, I think it's important to know that you have no choice. You either accept variance and keep playing poker, or you reject variance and quit. Sometimes if you're on tilt it's okay not to play, but if you're going to play poker, you should assume you're going to take bad beats and have downswings. The only choice you have is, do I play poker or not? If you choose to play, you already accepted the possibility of variance.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:38
Zelikis: How did you choose your nick* , sorry I bad in english :D
March 19, 2014 20:16
Oh, okay, no worries. I don't remember how I chose it, really. But I don't like it. If I could choose again, I'd choose some kind of nonsensical number like 54059809805834 that no-one would ever remember. Also, I get really sick of people telling me in chat that I have no soul. Yes, I am ginger, yes, we've all seen South Park. No, it's not funny any more!
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:39
maded1: Hi,How do you find motivation to keep playing after big losses and long downswings?
March 19, 2014 20:20
It's a difficult thing. Sometimes I take time off and just don't want to play. But having a backer helps, because I have him around to motivate me and keep me grinding. For someone who's not backed, I would recommend switching it up and playing a new game for a while, maybe trying to learn something new to reignite your passion for learning and for the game. If you get bored, your chances of getting out of your downswing are lowered.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:40
It's a difficult thing. Sometimes I take time off and just don't want to play. But having a backer helps, because I have him around to motivate me and keep me grinding. For someone who's not backed, I would recommend switching it up and playing a new game for a while, maybe trying to learn something new to reignite your passion for learning and for the game. If you get bored, your chances of getting out of your downswing are lowered.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:41
Oops, I don't know why that one posted twice!
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:41
Seda16: Do you play poker so you can get enough money to buy soul?
March 19, 2014 20:41
Haha. Okay, you got me, that's the reason I play poker. Because I have no soul and want to buy one.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:43
blender803: How do you choose your table when looking for a table online?
March 19, 2014 20:54
Since I don't play cash games, obviously I don't get to choose my table. But when choosing tournaments to play, generally it's important to consider field size, structure, buyin, and field strength. Some tournaments at off-peak hours have very few recreational players, so they can be tougher than some other tournaments with similar buyins. Large field tournaments have huge amounts of variance, and turbo tournaments are the same. So my decisions about which tournaments to play are usually based on reducing variance as much as possible.
 photo theginger45 March 19, 2014 20:59
theginger45: Hey guys, thanks for all the questions, this was fun. I'll be checking back every so often in case anyone does have any more questions or responses, or you can Tweet at me for a faster response. GL to all!
March 19, 2014 21:03
Scarmaker: Thank you very much Matt for an awesome AskThePRO and thanks everyone for posting questions! This week's winner of $20 is nastygirlll, congratz! :)
March 21, 2014 01:07

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