The Poker Life

Ashton Cartwright Awesome Hair

It’s been an extremely enjoyable few weeks. So many cool things going on I hardly know where to begin.

First the basics: I’ve been coaching a couple of moderately new players on the basics of poker strategy, and they are coming along really well. Still at early stages of their development as players, but so far I’m very happy with their progress. I’ve also been able to do some coaching sessions with Sydney poker icon Jymmi Briggs, in preparation for his trip to Vegas later in the year. Jymmi had been playing for a long time and has plenty of experience, so we get to work on small refinements to his strategy, rather than making huge, sweeping changes, and it’s very satisfying to be able to go through the thought processes involved in individual hands with him. Even over the last few sessions he’s picked up some really important concepts almost immediately, which makes my job nice and stress-free!

For myself, poker is doing really well. I’ve made some significant changes to the games I play over the last few months, and seem to have settled into something approaching a “regular” routine for the first time in perhaps a year. Previously I would have to wake up at various times of the morning (2am on Mondays for the big tourneys, and maybe 7 or 8ish the rest of the week), with the intention of putting in a big 8-10 hour session. I would usually play perhaps 3 days a week online (tournaments and sngs mainly), and maybe one or two cash games in the evenings on a Friday or Saturday.

Lately I have cut down from playing 8-10 hour sessions, to playing only 3-4 hour sessions instead. This allows me to sleep in pretty much till whenever I want (usually about 11am or noon), and gives me more hours in the evening for playing cash games. I knew that if I wanted to play shorter sessions, I would have to either stop playing big field tournaments (the tournaments on Pokerstars tend to go for several hours, making them less viable), or perhaps shift my focus online to SNGs or Cash games. In the end, I just went for the smaller field tournaments (which just means less players).

Instead of playing on Pokerstars, I’ve started playing on PartyPoker, 888 Poker, and Titan. There are less players on these sites, so instead of being in a $30 tournament with 1000 players, I would only be playing against 150 or so, which means the tournament generally made it to the final table within 2-3 hours, rather than 5-6. Much more suited to my target of playing shorter, sharper sessions, rather than doing long grinds like I used to.

The other benefit I’ve been finding is that my ROI (Return on Investment) is much higher on these smaller sites, mainly because there are less full time grinders on them. Each of these smaller sites is probably too small to support solid base of full time players, but I find that if I play all the medium tourneys on two or three sites I have no trouble getting 16-20 tables running. So far I’ve been finding my profit or ROI is about 3 times higher on these smaller sites than it was on Pokerstars. Pretty groovy.

I still play poker in Penrith with UPT and Aaron Wallis, cause that kid is pretty cool. I’m sitting just outside the top 16 for one of the leaderboards at the moment, and the top 16 get to play for a trip to Vanuatu, along with a $1,100 entry to a tournament they have over there, which would all be good fun.

In other news: I just finished going through two weeks without caffeine. I tend to drink a lot of energy drinks, and I thought it would be good to let my body slow down to a normal pace for a couple of weeks. It actually wasn’t as hard as I anticipated, which was a bit of a relief, as I had heard many horror stories about epic headaches and caffeine cravings that could turn you into a zombie, but in the end it was not a huge issue.

Some of you may already know that I am in the process of putting together a book about playing poker for a living. It’s still a month or two away at this stage, but it’s been a lot of fun to write so far, so I expect to finish the writing part within the next 4 or 5 weeks, then it gets sent off to let the editors rip it to shreds! 🙂 Actually I suspect that it will all be rather painless, and it’s been fun to lay my perspectives out in written form. I’ve had some great input over the past few months from the local guys like Aaron Nicastri, Rhys Gould, and J-Mac, so I think it will probably turn out not-horrible. It will likely be released by Kindle reader first, and then released in paperback a month or two later. The kindle version is pretty sweet, because you can read it not only on a Kindle (if you have one) but you can also read it on your computer, or on your phone using a Kindle App. Pretty cool. I love technology.

I’m probably going to give away some copies when it gets released. If anyone is interested in getting a free copy, slap your email address in here and I will organize getting one to you when it comes out.