The Year of Scarmaker!
At the beginning of 2013 I was pretty much just starting out playing NL25 regularly after slowly recovering and rebuilding my bankroll in the second half of 2012. And when I say slowly, I really do mean slowly. I was never a big time grinder like all these SuperNova Elites around (in other words, I have always been lazy as fuck) which remained somewhat true throughout the last year as well. I was looking forward to 2013 as my NL10 and NL16 winrates seemed quite decent and there was no reason for me to not move up. I made it a rule at the beginning of my rebuild to always move up only when I am actually beating the previous stakes instead of just having enough money to play higher and I was doing fine at NL16 - both winrate-wise and money-wise.
The volume was awful though and even though I was relatively happy with beating NL25 at 4bb/100 after first 50,000 hands player, it took me four months to reach this number. This was nothing more than an utter disgrace to anything that even resembles work. I mean, I had other stuff to focus on too including college, TiltBook and pool, but boy, this was really bad and even though I am not putting superhuge hours nowadays either, looking back at it now is just laughable. To make things worse, after 100k hands (beginning of August) my EV winrate slipped to 3bb/100 which isn't like terrible, but I felt like I am going nowhere having a bit of a breakevenish stretch and eventually running bad too. It felt like it needed a change.
Towards the end of August I made a decision to drop $ tables completely and focus entirely on playing EUR/GBP tables as they were more fishy and the reg pool was much smaller. This allowed me to gain better reads on my opponents and gather enough hands to figure out their main leaks. Having said that, I also decided to almost ignore the regs and pretty much withdraw from all the spots where I had no clue what the best option might be due to having close to no stats, I really decided to just focus on the fish as majority of them plays a very similiar and predictible style and, well... maybe it was a combination of running bad until then and running better from that point on, but the change was pretty much immediate and shows in the graph below beautifully.
Chipleading the final table of €165 Bratislava Championship
September altoghether was absolutely huge for me as in addition to this change in my cash grind, which later on proved to be just unbelievable, I got two big MTT scores finishing 6th in Big $55 and making a deal in €165 Bratislava Masters for a total of my record-breaking $8,500-month.
Nevertheless, even with the tourney scores it has been a smooth ride ever since and I managed to move up naturally towards the end of the year switching more and more NL25 tables for NL50 tables. In November, third of my volume consisted of NL50 resulting in beating my previous best cash game month by twice as much. It seemed like this would be hindered by having a terrible MTT month at the same time though, but in one of the last few November days I managed to simultaneously final table two tourneys at once and take down $23,50 HT for $1,500, which was a total relief. It was becoming a weird feeling to do so unexpectedly well in the cash games and not see it in the cashier due to all the losses in the tourneys (you will surely able to find the MTT losing streak in the graph below). In December I played NL25 pretty much only when I could not find enough NL50 or NL100 tables going on - yes, I have been getting more and more into NL100 lately and even though the first couple of times I mixed this limit in I almost could not take my eyes off that one NL100 table I had running, I have been feeling more and more comfortable at these stakes with each passing day.
With higher stakes comes a higher VPP/hour rate and I think it was actually my very first ever PlatinumStar that I reached in November. I managed to repeat this in December for two months straight despite the fact that I had problems earning even GoldStar earlier during the year, often ending up being just Silver. I also found myself in a quite a terrible situation just three days before the end of the year - I still had 2500 VPPs left to earn and I just experienced my worst 48-hour swing of my career losing a total of $1,100 during a couse of just 1,350 hands. Fortunately, the next morning was a Sunday, the best day for grinding as you all surely know and this was acutally pretty much the only reason why I decided to give it a shot - try to get things going and if I do well that day, make a push for that PlatinumStar. And I did do well! Both on Sunday and Monday the tables were really great, I was running decent (even though still a buttload under EV) and I was making even more VPPs per hour than I expected which turned New Year's Eve grind into pretty much a formality.
Full cash game graph of 2013 in big blinds
If it weren't for the September scores, I would not be having my best year in my poker career as I am having now, but... the key point and the more important part is that with the way things are/were going in the recent months, I am ready more than ever to push my record once again in 2014 even purely by playing cash games, almost disregard of how I will do in tourneys and live events.
Finding myself comfortable at NL50 and even at NL100 as thousands of hands pass and having more than decent results so far backed by a deadly winrate at NL25 €/GBP tables too, I have no reason of slowing down. Earning over 150 VPPs/hour and having a great potential for going for even more, I am already considering SuperNova a lock for 2014 and I am actually thinking about the possiblity of going for 200,000 VPPs as $2,600 reward is huge. I am at least going to make an effort to start big this year and decide later on whether to try to push for 200k or stay at 100k and focus on other things/take some time completely off. I feel eager to grind and to see my cashier, VPPs, FPPs and Stellar Rewards pile up day after day!
I am also very eager to play more live whenever an interesting event comes up nearby and I would love to hit some package to whatever European series I can. I played live only a few times last year but I enjoyed it pretty much every single time no matter how good or bad it went. I experienced both nice scores and first level bust outs along with some deep runs (I can't wait for this year's Pardubice again already!!) and I really enjyoed playing as well as finding myself in the reports and stuff. Also, I think this will be the first year i will be seriously trying to hit a WSOP package as I believe I have a decent shot of doing so with my current bankroll and level of skill.
Overall, I simply cannot wait to see what 2014 will bring and I am going to do as much as possible to make big things happen! :)
My 2013 MTT graph
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