Monday, January 5, 2009


So I have decided that this year I will officially go semi-pro at poker . I'll probably be playing around 20-30 hours a week, trying to average about 25 hours/week for the year. I'll be keeping my job at Starbucks and am pushing for a promotion there, but even if I do I will likely still only work around 30 hours a week there, and netting me only a relatively small increase in pay.

Okay, so why would I decide to go semi-pro at poker? Especially after my last note was about quitting poker? Well, frankly its an almost purely economic decision. I still do occasionally enjoy playing poker, but is no longer the obsession that it used to be. Working at Starbucks has its perks, such as work experience, networking, its fun most of the time, it is challenging in many ways, free coffee, opportunity for advancement, and a steady, yet very small paycheck. With tips I probably make on average 9-9.50$/h. Working around the 20 hours a week I am right now that results in me making around 750$ a month, hardly enough to move out, buy a car, or do much of anything I plan to do this year.

Financially speaking, it just makes sense to play poker. I play almost exclusively online, which allows me to play comfortably at home and maintain a higher hourly rate than I could make at any local casino (I think). Here's the math for whoever is interested. I will be playing an average of 25 hours a week. When playing I will average 9 tables. Each tournament I play averages around 1.25 table hours to play. Since I have 225 table hours a week (9 tables at a time by 25 hours a week), I will be playing around 180 tournaments a week. I estimate that about 120 of these will be 8$ tournaments, where I will most likely maintain around a 75% return on investment (based on previous experience). The other 60 will be 20$ tournaments where I already maintain a 75% ROI. So on a weekly basis, I will be making, on average, 1620$ a week. Add to this the average an average of 1 bounty per tournament (2$ and 4$) and a rake back deal (65$ a week) and we have an average weekly profit of 2045$. This allows me to maintain an hourly rate of around 82$/h, almost ten times what I make at Starbucks. If i work (play) 50 weeks out of the year, I will earn just over 100k for the year sitting around at home working part time.

I'd also like to state that these numbers are not just conjecture, they are based upon previous success over medium sample sizes. That being said, they still are just projections, as anything can happen.

I will be setting up some basic ground rules based on the advice of a few friends. First of all, I will not play more than 30 hours a week. If I exceed this by more than 5 hours (sometimes a tournament may go long) I must pull my entire bankroll offline and self exclude for a week. It is very important that I maintain balance, for my sanity and happiness, and also so that I am able to maintain a high level of play. Also, for each hour that I play each week I must spend 5 minutes exercising. That comes out to just over 2 hours a week. It doesn't sound like much, but keep in mind that this is a minimum and I hope to exceed this. Also, for each hour playing, I must spend 5 minutes recording and reviewing my performance. For this I will be using an Excel spreadsheet and Sharkscope. I will be posting weekly and monthly reviews of my performance with graphs and occasionally a key hand. This will create a system of accountability for poor as well as positive results. Anytime my bankroll on any particular site exceeds 3500$, I will withdraw the excess so as that I will not be tempted to play higher stakes.

I will continue to be a student of the game, reading as many books as I possibly can on Poker, Psychology, Mathematics, and other related subjects. Depending on whether or not the UIGEA is repealed, and my level of success, I may hire a personal coach. I will be more active on Two Plus Two, but will spend less time lurking and much more time posting. I believe that any setbacks that I have ever had in my poker career were because I stopped being a student of the game and made the arrogant assumption that I could get by on what I knew. But the truth is that the only way to become and great and maintain greatness is through CONSTANT and diligent hard work.

I may occasionally play live, but unless it is a home game for fun, the hours I spend playing live will be added to my online hours, and must not exceed 30 hours a week. This will keep me from spending excessive hours on poker, keeping my OCD tendencies in check.

I will also be taking a more active role in attempting to have the UIGEA repealed, both for selfish reasons and because I feel it is morally wrong wrong for the government to put such regulations in place. To sit by and do nothing while my rights are being taken away is the ultimate crime.

Attached is my graph for 2008 sit and go tournaments (what I will be playing).

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