This might be a bit long. But it was a post I read on 2+2 that was pretty inspirational. I think it's been linked here before but I saved it so I could reference it again later.
"THE I haven't written a blog on here in quite a while. Over the past year, I've been going through one of the worst downswings of my poker career, and truthfully its just not as fun to blog when you don't have pleasant things to write about. Its been a combination of many things that contributed to my downswing: I lost a ton of money in backing, I took some shots at higher stakes($25/50, $50/100) games that weren't successful, I displayed poor bankroll management in sports betting(betting up to $5000 per game when I clearly shouldn't be), and quite frankly I've run like complete **** this entire past year.
But I'm not writing this blog to complain, and I'm sure as hell not writing it to gather sympathy. Rather, I want to share with everyone how I deal with running badly because I think it may be my biggest strength as a poker player, and its something I routinely see people do horribly wrong. In addition writing this out will only serve as more motivation for me as I try to right the ship.
I've played professionally for six years now, and over that time I've had quite a few close poker friends. And at one time or another, each of them has run worse than they ever thought imaginable and come to me for advice. I always try to give my best advice, but I feel as if it constantly rings hollow when someone who is not running poorly tries to counsel someone who is. The person who is running poorly begins to buy into the absurd notion that the one giving the advice has never experienced such a downswing and, therefore, probably can't truly relate. Therefore, I'd like to take this opportunity to demonstrate that to be false. I am indeed going through one of those times right now, yet I'm going to practice what I preach.
Let me start off with a quick confession: If you've ever come to me whining or complaining about running bad, I probably tried to cheer you up or make you feel better. However, what I was really thinking the entire time you complained to me was how big of a ****ing idiot you are. I probably knew you were in a bad mood and wouldn't take kindly to hearing my true thoughts, so I kept them to myself. But now that I'm the one going through it, I really don't care about holding back. Variance is the lifeblood of poker. Its what keeps the fish coming back. Its what enables us to do what we do for a living. To curse variance the second it turns against you is shortsighted and ignorant. To allow it to affect your game or your work ethic is just beyond stupid. If you're running badly right now, you probably don't want to hear this; You'd probably rather continue to buy into the myth that you're simply unluckier than everyone else because that provides a bit of temporary satisfaction to the masses of idiots who misunderstand the fundamental concepts of variance in poker. However, I think that if you honestly read and consider what I have to say then you'll admit I speak the truth.
I just got back from a vacation home to Maryland to see family and then to New York for a wedding. Plane tickets, rental car, a new suit for the wedding, wedding gifts, hotel stay, nights out with friends, and a bunch of other stuff ended up costing me over $4000. And when I got back and examined my finances, I realized that I was now getting dangerously close to no longer being able to live the lifestyle I've grown accustomed to(some lower stakes players may find it silly that I "need" to spend as much as I do, but imo if you're willing to work for it then you deserve to enjoy the benefits). So I started back grinding by 18-tabling plo8/nlo8 and trying to put in close a minimum of 5000 hands per day. The results sucked. I ran worse and worse despite my increased efforts. And now I find myself right on the brink of having to either make money immediately or cut back on some of my spending habits. I'm choosing to do the former. I'm confident that I can make that choice because I've done it before- My first blogs on this site detailed how I turned $3000 into $80,000 in just over 4 months, and I did it without ever playing over my bankroll(the lone exception being the very beginning when I played live $1/2 NL with only $3000. However, live $1/2 is so ridiculously soft and I played such a safe style that even with only 15 buy-ins I still felt completely comfortable). The method is actually ridiculous simple, but sticking to it seems to be difficult for most. Here it is:
1. Find a poker game that you can beat consistently(this is obviously the tough part, and this blog is aimed mainly at those who have already accomplished this)
2. Make sure you're bankrolled properly for the game
3. Shut up about running badly because honestly nobody cares. Man the **** up, and just get over it. If you're following step #2 then no downswing should ever truly matter.
4. Work your ass off
Thats it! Thats really all there is to it. I will note that many people seem to let negative variance affect their play, and if this is the case then you have to take a step back and double-check that you're still doing step #1. Otherwise, theres nothing else standing between you and your desired financial goals.
The truth of the matter is that people seem to want to find a way to avoid step #4. They see the stories about tournament winners and wonder why that can't be them. Or they focus on the superstars of the poker world who seem to be able to make ridiculous sums of money just by playing a few hands of ultra high stakes games, and they bemoan the fact that they weren't lucky enough to have been born with such natural ability. Or they do anything else to avoid the simple fact that if you are willing to work hard enough for it, then you will be successful enough to laugh if the face of variance. Yes, it is true that, just like in every other field, certain poker players seem to be very successful without putting in a ton of work. But those people make up less than 1% of the player pool. They're no different than the people born into money, the great athletes who seemed to have won the genetic lottery, or the worker who networked his way into a job he never deserved. And focusing on them is just a waste of our time. Not only that, but it causes us to lose sight of all of the blessings we do have as pro poker players. I can decide today that I "feel" like having a lot of money again, and if I put in the proper work then a few months down the road I'll have that money. 99.99% of the general population simply cannot do that. They work predetermined hours for a predetermined salary, and they don't have the option to simply work harder and make more money. Thats not something we should take for granted.
I own all of the DVDs of the TV show Entourage, and over the past few weeks my roommates and I have been watching it the entire way through. My favorite character on the show is by far Ari Gold. At first, it was simply his humor that drew me to him. However, I've also begun to greatly respect the way he goes about his job. He encounters negative variance that is not his fault all the time(for those who haven't watched the show, Ari is an agent and his main client often completely ignores his advice which has caused tremendous problems, as Ari is almost always correct). Yet each and every time, Ari finds himself in a tough spot due to something entirely not his fault he responds by simply working harder. No complaining, no excuses. Just a determination to be the very best. And as a result, hes the absolute best agent in Hollywood. Call me silly for getting inspiration from a fictional character, but I think its a pretty good example.
People are full of excuses for why they can't work hard. Some people will claim that money isn't the only thing so they don't see the reason to work so hard if it doesn't make them happy. Fair enough, I really can't argue with that. However, if thats your excuse, then don't let me ever hear you complain about variance again. If you want to enjoy your easy little life and not work that hard, then you forfeit your right to blame variance for any of your financial shortcomings. Stop blaming variance and realize that the reason you aren't as successful as you wish is due to your own personal decisions. Other people will point out that I'm single and don't know what its like to have to take care of a family while also playing poker for a living. Thats true, as I don't know what its like. However, I do know that you can communicate your financial goals with your family and that it doesn't take a ton of time to let them know that you care and love them each day. I mean, are you really trying to tell me that you just absolutely have to spend all the time you watching TV with your family? Is that really the quality bonding time that you just can't give up? I think that the truth is that people use that as yet another crutch to fall back on in order to explain their poor work ethic. Or yet another excuse I'll hear is that people can't play too many hands before falling off of their "A" game. To me, thats basically like saying "I'm not very mentally tough, and I'm just going to make excuses instead of working to improve on that." There are people in this world who would kill to have a job as easy as playing online poker. Or I've also seen people say that because they are in the middle of a downswing they need to take some time off. Yeah, I'm sure that not working is the solution to your problems.What you really need to do is toughen up and continue to put in the hours.
So there you have it. I'm going to work my ass off these next few months. I'm going to sacrifice doing many of the things I'd enjoy doing in favor of playing more and more poker. And I'm most definitely not going to complain about variance. When I get to where I financially want to be, maybe I'll take things easy again or maybe I'll create new and bigger goals to strive for. I'm not really sure yet. But I do know that I'm not happy where I'm at right now, and instead of making excuses I'm going to man up and work my way into a better position. Next time you find yourself in a downswing, realize that you need to make a decision: Do you want to make excuses and get sympathy from everyone or do you want to do what it takes to be as successful as you want? The choice really is yours, and you need to realize that doing the former is detrimental towards the latter"