Monday, August 10, 2009


This is a word I've used a couple of times in writing notes on opponents lately. It means exactly what it says: Someone who openshoves out of position, and the bet he made is an overbet (i.e. bigger than the pot).


In other news, my "experiment" as an online poker pro is nearing its end. For those of you who may not have been around to read my original announcement, I think a brief digression with the backstory is in order:

I've played poker online for 4 years now. I've been very clear and consistent about having no intentions whatsoever of doing it for a living, despite my moderate success at the tables. Therefore, it came as quite a shock to many of my online acquaintances when I announced that I'd be doing it for a living, an announcement that unfortunately was made on April 1st, leading most to believe it was a joke. But of course, it wasn't (although I had to make a new post on April 2nd repeating that it indeed wasn't to satisfy some people) and even though this may seem like me changing my mind about playing poker full-time, it really wasn't.

The thing that made poker as a job temporarily attractive was a combination of three factors:

1. My wife and I were about to have a baby,
2. the company I work for was doing poorly and were lowering salaries to counter the financial trouble, and
3. Swedish summer is best enjoyed outside of the office.

So, in I killed three birds with one stone: By staying home and replacing my salary with poker earnings I got to spend lots of time with the baby, I got to enjoy the weather (although it's been rainier than I had hoped for) and my boss got to save the expense of having to pay my salary. However, this was never intended to be a permanent solution. I'm going back to work on September 1st, as was my original deal with my employer. I get 5 months off, they get to save 5 months worth of salary and everybody wins.

So here I am, with three weeks left on my professional poker career and I'm sorry to say I've been slacking. My original ambition was to play 75k hands per month, and not once did I reach that goal. That's alright, though, because if you look at my list of reasons for why I wanted to play poker for a living this summer, "making money" was not on it. I just needed to make enough to get by (or, more precisely, replace my normal salary), and that I have. Not by a long shot, but by enough of a shot that I can happily call this experiment a success.

Yes, I've been referring to it as an experiment, and that's the secret fourth reason for me doing it: I wanted to know what it was like to support yourself playing poker online. I've been adamant about not wanting to do it fulltime for all these years but, as is the case with almost every poker player I'd assume, the question has been lying dormant in the back of my head: What if I did? Would I make it? Would the pressure be too much? Would I hate having to do it for several hours a day, emphasis on "having to?"

The answers, now that I'm closing up shop, are these:

Yes, no, sort of.

I made it, by almost anyone's definition. I would have had to play more if I had the ambition of climbing the stakes while playing for a living and not just making enough to cash out and have some padding for the downswings, but my bankroll is bigger now than it was at the end of March and I've cashed out enough to cover the loss of salary, so yes: I made it.

The pressure wasn't too much. I started out with a large:ish downswing (which admittedly wasn't fun) but recovered quickly and after that I felt just fine the whole time despite running horribly at times.

And I wouldn't say I've hated it, but there have certainly been times where I've felt bored, understimulated, and at best indifferent about playing. Checking my daily tally and seeing that I've played 2,200 hands out of the 3,000 I've had as a goal has usually resulted in a groan and wishing I was done with it already. Playing poker isn't exciting for me. Although I have reason to believe that if you're excited when you play poker, you're probably not doing it right anyway.


So three more weeks, and I'm starting to close up shop, like I said. Part of what's happening now is that I'm (perhaps a bit prematurely) lowering my daily volume of hands played. Lori thinks I deserve a vacation of sorts and my vacation means playing 1-2 hours a day instead of 3-4. Works for me. I've also moved back up to $2/$4 NL and am now playing 4-5 tables instead of 10. I want to make good decisions and I've felt lately like I haven't been playing at my full potential when I'm trying to navigate 10 tables simultaneously. I'd like to think I can crush the game but it's difficult to crush the game when you occasionally make serious mistakes because you're confused about the action so far in the hand, or miss to check the stack size of the guy you're about to raise or fold an overpair to a river shove versus a guy who shouldn't get that kind of credit. The mistakes are rare, but they're also upsetting because I don't have to make them. I would, at this time in my life, rather have a slightly lower hourly and a higher win-rate. Why? Because I'm essentially no longer playing for money. Now, I want to improve and get better at the game itself, something which I don't think 10-tabling is very conducive to.

And playing 4 tables is fun, in a way that 10-tabling wasn't. I get to consider meta-game and current table dynamics in a way that would otherwise elude me. I get to take a few extra seconds with my difficult decisions and get them right a lot more often. I can even, if I have to, play without having to ignore everything around me, like Lori asking me what I want for dinner and when. It's more relaxing, and a lot more enjoyable.

Three more weeks, and then I'm going back to work. Now THAT I'm excited about. I've occasionally visited the office to see how everyone's doing but it's going to be fun to be back full-steam. I'll still play poker after I return, but now I get a chance to let my bankroll grow properly and hopefully move up in stakes again gradually. After all the experience I've accumulated this summer I feel I have a decent shot at playing higher stakes and being a solid winner. Hopefully that comment won't jinx it and come back and bite me in the ass.

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