The one thing I think most people are curious about regarding my balla poker pro lifestyle is what do I do with my time ? Especially when I don't have a TV (that bit freaks people out). It must be hard for someone with say three kids and a full time job to imagine exactly what I do all day to avoid going nuts. I could say the same of them, but I've always liked a bit of space :-). Anyway, I'll try to explain as best I can, for information and entertainment.
Obviously I spend some amount of time playing poker. What do I do with my time might be the question I am asked most often, but it's possible that people are actually more curious about how much money I make, and just too polite to ask. When you can win $60K in one lump it's a bit hard to quantify, but in my regular online grinding I'm looking to make somewhere around $80-$100 an hour. At the moment I'm playing around 4 sessions a week where I fire up anything from 4 to (I'm trying to increase this to) 7 or 8 tournaments and play them out. A session averages around 4 hours and that's usually between 8pm-midnight on a weekday, maybe 6-10 on a weekend. That's pretty much fixed, it's when the best tournaments are. Believe it or not, $80 an hour isn't that great and there are definitely players out there who would laugh at it. I could (and should) improve my rate by taking on more risk but I have to balance that against going busto which would be a total disaster for me at this point. It's different if you're 22.
Hopefully though I can also improve my rate through study, thought and practice and I do spend a fair amount of time thinking about poker. One thing's for sure, if you're standing still, you'll get left behind. I have thrown my weight into tournament (or donkament as I shall refer to it forthwith) poker, it's what I'm best at. I could spend a lot of time learning some form of cash game, but it would take a long time with a definite loss of income and I'm so accustomed to knowing what I'm doing in tournaments that there would be a severe psychological impact to feeling like a fish again. Sad but true. Anyway, I think my game has improved a lot over the last year. I have recently discovered PokerXFactor
which I highly recommend. I've probably spent about 8 hours over the last week watching Rizen talk through a video of his Stars Sunday win. Re-reading books, revising my own play and just plain thinking is time well spent.
In theory I could improve my game through strategy forums and posts online. In theory. If 99% of them weren't terrible. Poker forums jumped the shark some time ago. Blogs were the new forums for a while but eventually they became so widespread that the same thing happened. Plus, many of my favourite bloggers either don't post about poker any more (Phillips, Chan, Schleger, Maroon), don't post at all (Camel, Pokerbastard, Matros) or have gone mental with their own sense of self-importance (Negreanu). Every now and then a wild card like BlueScouse pops up but everyone and his dog has a poker blog now and that's the problem. You might notice though, that some of the blogs mentioned were more about poker gossip than poker strategy. In the area of gossip, some poker forums have stepped back up to the plate.
The basic life of a poker forum goes something like this, if it succeeds at all. A few amusing or clever people get together on a forum and make it any good. Word spreads and lots of eggs start reading the forum. Some of the eggs are complete idiots who swamp the forum with bullshit. Amusing/clever people get sick of it and leave. The end. The only way a forum can prevent this happening is with diligent, fair, accountable and exhaustive moderation, which the majority of forums just can't do. In my experience, all but one, as I think TwoPlusTwo
just about manages to keep on top of it.
If I ever run into Brandi Hawbaker in Vegas I ought to buy her a drink. Just a drink mind, that's it. Like I'd know what to do with her (apart from slap her upside the head as she sounds incredibly annoying). Anyway, thanks to the magnificent trainwreck of the "Never Trust Anyone" thread I was sucked back in to the world of poker gossip. So now I spend far too much time reading about who's busto, who's on coke, who's scamming who on the golf course, what donkament winners are complete eggs, and so on and so on. Everyone has their vice :-). It's great though. I can deal with idiots much better now. Before, whenever anyone said anything stupid I just couldn't stop myself from arguing with them. As you can imagine, this was quite often. And it's not hard to see how a lot of people would have thought I was a bit of a pompous twit. Sorry :-). Now I just laugh, which is much better all round. If you do post on forums regularly, the best advice I can give you is don't fight anyone else's battles for them. There's no need.
Anyway I'm rambling. So I spend some time on 2+2, "Bonified" is me if you care. And some of the strategy posters aren't too bad. If someone posts a hand from a decent size live tournament I'll often skim through it just to pick up a sense for the dynamic in these events. There's occasional useful information about the WSOP or whatever too. 2+2 is mostly it though, maybe the odd skim of the Hendon Mob if there's any particular issue brewing on there (as there is right now). At this point I must give a shout to guys like Pete B and Hugo who spend a lot of time wading through blogs and forums just to find the odd diamond in the waste, much appreciated.
That's about enough for one post. In a bit I'll post about all the non-poker related stuff I do, if you're interested.