I was gone from the Internet for 6 days…and I survived! Shocking, I know. Simpli survived and things went smoothly for the week thanks to Seth, Ben, and Mike all picking up where I left off. I also made some great personal decisions while I was at Burning Man and partied hard. I had a lot of fun. I definitely would say it was a good week.
But since this blog isn’t about Burning Man, let’s move on. The most interesting recent development in my life is my new(ish) obsession with poker. Digging back through my blog, I realize I haven’t posted about online poker since March.Â Two bigÂ things have changed since March:
1) I stopped playing online tournaments and started playing cash games. This was the biggest change I made. The tournaments were tough; the smaller buy-inÂ tournaments were full of people who would play any two cards, which made them more likely to suck out on me. You can’t play well against a completely unpredictable player (Doyle Brunson calls them “loose cannons.”) The larger buy-in tournaments were nearly unaffordable, and were sometimes also full of loose cannons and otherwise full of really, really good players.
2) I started reading poker strategy. I mean not just reading a little bit, but obsessively. I learned how to calculate odds and outs on the fly. I learnedÂ how to account for styles of different players. And then, after reading Doyle Brunson’s “Super System” book to the pointÂ where I could quote every good point he made, something started to change.
I started to win.
As I gained steam, I went into higher andÂ higher-limit cash tables. (I always play no-limitÂ hold’em, but the cash tables have limits on how much cash you can bring to the table.) Currently I’m playing $100Â max tables and I bring $50 to the table. I’ll likely start playing the $200 max tables and bring $100 to the table soon.
Even accounting for the week I spent at Burning Man, in the past 30 days I’ve made over $1000 playing poker online, and I’m averaging $150-$300 profit a night. I typically play for 2-4 hours late at night. When I start getting tired, I set a goal for myself (“I’ll play until I hit $250” was my goal last night, with a total of $100 invested, and last night was one of my worst poker nights in the past month). Once I hit that goal, IÂ bow out for the night. (Last night I logged off with $257.20.)
True to my word, I’m using all poker winnings to pay off debt. I have a system there, too: I let my account hit $1200, and then withdraw $1000 and EFTÂ it to my checking account, where I then push it into debt payments. Last night I withdrew my first $1000.
For right now, poker is a fun “side job” that’s definitely more interesting to me than taking contract workÂ or doing web dev. In all honestly, with as little as I pay myself from Simpli, an extra $1000 or $1500 a month will go a LONG way. Right now my goal is to make $1000 a month and use that to pay down debt quickly so I can be debt-free before the end of the year. That’s a tough goal, but depending on how much I win and whether I get a roommate, I might actually make it.
Realistically, I know poker could be my entire life. I know that I am, right now, a very good poker player. If I wanted to continue to obsessively study for the next year or so, I would — no question — have what it takes to go pro. However, I don’t think I’m interested in the pressure that arises to make rent from playing poker. I’m pretty sure at this point that I just want to leave it as a fun side job, butÂ not use it to pay any of my day-to-day expenses. But, as S pointed out, $200 a day x 365 days a year = $73,000. Not bad for a couple hours’ work.