Monday, January 31, 2005

Sage Advice

"Dude, you do NOT have what it takes to play poker for a living. Everyone who reads this blog knows that."

That's a line from the comments to the previous post. Along with other advice there, it strongly encourages me to get a job here rather than move out west with my last few dollars.

If I were anyone else, that would be the sensible option. But I truly don't see getting yet another stupid job here, as a real option for me. If working the counter at McDonalds is all my life has amounted to at age 35, then I might as well just say that I failed at life and end it all right now. In fact, that sounds a lot more appealing than, "Do you want fries with that?"

If I've ruled out a job here, I don't see any other options at this point. It would take an incredible run to get my poker bankroll to a livable point, and it's unreasonable to expect such a run. Could happen, but not likely, and the better play is not to try. The military was suggested, but even if I'm not too old (I'm not sure) I don't think I have a chance of passing a physical; I'm surprised I've lived this long with my dodgy heart and sedentary lifestyle.

In the late stages of a tournament, short-stacked, you've got to pick a hand and shove all your chips in the middle. Even if the odds aren't very good, you do it, and you either double up or you're done. The odds are even longer that you'll be able to do it several times in a row to get a chance to finish high, but you do it because it's the best chance you've got. And sometimes it works.

On the way back from Manistee I was trying to come up with options. This is the best I could come up with; shove all of my metaphorical chips into the metaphorical middle and hope for the best.

You know what? The commentor may be right: I don't have what it takes to make a living at poker. But I don't have what it takes to make a living at anything else, either. I've held at least eighteen different jobs in the last twenty years, and been fired from about half of them. Poker has so far come closest to allowing me to live a "normal" life. And that wasn't very close.

I appreciate the advice; I don't want it to sound as if I don't. The likelihood that I'll actually take my last few bucks and head west is smaller today than it was yesterday, but it's still probably 50%; I simply don't see any other options.


Well, moving to Las Vegas isn't a totally dreadful idea in the context of: there are many more jobs in that boom town than there would be in Michigan. Before you can make any progress in your life as a whole you have to consider seeking some help for your depression. You are smart enough to know that I am right. The suicidal ideation you have started to express would make any one worry who read you blog.

Seeking help with your problems is not a weakness it is a strength. Defining your self by your employment status or your bank account just leads to misery. You are not your job. It is just something that allows you to live while you pursue things that are more important or interesting to you.

My guess is you will post something to the effect of "you have made some points that may be true but you just do not understand ....." That attitude hasn't really gotten you any where. there are some people around who are smart and will understand.

This is what I would say to you if you were my friend. I wish you well. Find a job (any job), save some money, seek things that are important to you. Find people who will be your friend and be a good friend to them. Work toward something that will be meaningful to you.


Build your bankroll:


So you have to get a shit job? Big deal. Freakin' suck it up. Get a job that has room for future advancement. Learn your job and get good at it. Take night classes. Most employers offer tuition reimbursement. Quit going through life being a passive calling station, become a TAG.

Shit or get off the pot.
Your life would make a great documentary. My friend and I were talking about your blog the other day and we both agreed TILT would be a better show if it was about someone in your type of situation.

I don't really see the harm in going to Vegas and trying to make it at poker one more time. At the very worst you'll end up with a shit job, which is your only other option if you don't go.

Either way, good luck and keep us posted!
LG - well - i dont know where to start. I have sat at tables with you, played against you, and sought you out on Party. You have been in my buddy list now for quite a while......not because you were a fish, but becuase every damn time i could find you, you had a nice stack - and you were three tableing. I figured - well - this guy can find the fish - i might as well shadow him a while, and let him find the tables that can pay me.

I've read this blog and watched you go through all the pains and ups and downs of the cards of life.

GO to Vegas. GO!!! - Give it 100% You know how to play the cards - you know how the read the players. You simply need to get it done. Get a job dealing cards if you can - if this is the one true thing you can do in life - DO IT. Sitting around having a pity party for yourself dont cut it. Noone ever shows.

I think perhaps you have relied to much on "paying" yourself than letting those poker funds build a nice roll.

Just go out and get it done - if you are a net winner you owe it to yourself to see if you really have what it takes. Only you know if you are a net winner.

Here is some advice i use ALL the time

take a quarter - Flip it in the air.....

Tell yourself - Heads head to Vegas - Tails Stay here and grind.....

You wont even need to look at what happens when it lands - you'll KNOW what side you wanted it to land on.....and you should follow this without ever looking at what side the quarter fell upon.
LG, I have read your blog from the beginning and find you to be an interesting guy. I really feel but for the grace of god I would in your very shoes. I just kind of have been forced to be responsible, mainly because I knocked up my girl friend when I was 16 and had to do the right thing. That was 30 years ago and I have completed college and done the career thing all this time. I have hated it and would love to be free like you are. I think I would have had circumstances been different. But you know you are just a few days from being one of the homeless guys on the street corner. Be careful and take care. I hope you go to Vegas and make it. It seems like you don't have much interest in the slot machines so I think it is the best place for you. Vegas deals with those who have a short attention span better than any other place, Go for it. You probably should get a list of day work places and work your way across the country so you won't be broke when you get there.

Please re-read the first comment again as it is some of the best advice you will receive.

You need to find some stability in your life. Whether it's a shit job or not you need something stable to build from. Please don't continue to drive the LG train into the wall.

I want to be reading this blog five years from now and hear that your are happy...or at least content.

What about doing something with politics again? It seems to be one of the few things you enjoyed doing.
i guess i'll be the only non anon commentor here.

i think you know how i feel about the situation so offering any type of pithy advice is futile and condescending at best. so i won't. besides, you'll ignore me anyway. ;)

but i WILL say - either get busy living or get busy dying. you only get one shot in this life - start making something happen, one way or the other.

yer a smart guy. so act like it.
In re-reading my earlier (1st) comment, and the comments that follow, I see that I left something out. The last line of your post states: "I simply don't see any other options."

A more accurate statement I think would be: "I do not want to see any other options."

In many ways, options are what make life worthwhile. America is a great country because you have many options. Prison is so horrible because you are options are limited to almost none. Go and get some counseling. Most of what a psychologist does is help people see themselves clearly and teach them how to explore new ways of coping with their problems.

As to Iggy's comment (who's blog I read and whom I respect), I think that killing your self means that things can and will never get better. Ending all of your future chances just leaves the people you care about in pain and gives you "no outs".

If you are wondering about the effect your leaving this world prematurely has on people, let me direct you to this site on live journal:


It was the journal of a young man who killed himself and his mother's comments after. It's pretty depressing stuff.

Good luck to you

I've been fired from about half the jobs I've held, too, and I could only really tell you why with regards to one of them. There's not a whole lot I can offer you here, since obviously I don't know any better than you why the heck these things happen, but I can tell you it's really not the end of the world.

I'm willing to bet that there are more options than you think there are right now. This may sound flaky (or, as you'd probably say, like "magic"), but I think that if you look at things with an open mind, you'll find all sorts of different options.

- Dagny
Okay, you need to stop with the wallowing posts and the dreaming of Vegas. You need an action plan:
1. Sell your car (for about $1500, I have no idea what you drive, so that number is just a guess, not an insult), and add the money from the sale to your poker bankroll. You don't need the car, your not communting to a job.
2. Use $500 from that sale to frugally live off for the next month, and use the remaining to deposit your now $1500 poker bankroll into Party, play 4 tables of $2/$4
3. Grind out $16 per hour. Play for 6 hours a day. The hours are long... but so is the road to Vegas.
4. Set aside 10 % of your poker income into a savings account, and another 10% towards paying for therapy. This is not an attack at you, I simply agree with the first comment by L, that you are probably suffering from, at the very least, mild depression right now. And having seen the effects of depression in a close family member of mine, I know how it can cripple your life if you don't tackle it head on.
5. Go and find your family, or your close friends and hang out with them. Get away from the poker tables for regular periods of time.
And most of all, really sit down and think about why you would want to be a poker professional, because doing it because 'its better than McDonalds' is not a good enough reason. Period.

So, you are unable to hack the 9-5 life. Thats fine. There are poker players who write (and your writing style in this journal is very entertaining! You should really look into writing for extra income). Also there are poker players who deal cards, who build poker tables, who run poker websites.

Basically, there are poker players, who don't ACTUALLY play poker for a living, but still make a living from the poker idustry. You need to start looking at alternatives right now.
My advice?

NEVER take advice from poker players. Do what you feel is right. If you think you might be happier in Vegas, where's the harm in giving it a try? A shit job in Vegas is no worse than a shit job in Michigan, without the shitty weather.

But don't take my advice. I'm a poker player.
I just started reading your blog, through a link with Tao of Poker. Take your shot. Go to Vegas, get a job and play poker too. Vegas has so many poker rooms, you're bound to find one that fits your comfort zone. A friend of mine moved to Vegas and loved every minute of it. Imagine waking up every day knowing that you can go to any one of fifty poker rooms. Vegas is calling you. Don't listen to the post that says you can't play poker. Poker takes patience and discipline. You hvae the skill sets to be successful.
Long time lurker, first time to pipe up.

You're setting yourself up to fail. I'm not saying you will fail, but you're already laying the foundation, even as you talk about something you claim is your dream.

Are you really prepared to go to Vegas and bust out? You're constructing it as the end of the road, as the last chance to realize your dreams and live a "normal" life. Strip away the neon and nothing about Vegas is different than where you're at right now. You have transportation, a roof over your head, and access to both online and B&M poker games. What does Vegas offer you that you don't have right now?

If you're trying to bootstrap a tiny bankroll into a full-time poker playing gig, the absolute WORST thing you can do is go to Vegas. The only possible rationale behind that is thinking that you can take shot after shot with your roll in bigger and bigger games, until you're winning in very, very large cash games. That's the only situation that being physically located in Vegas is a necessity. But even you don't truly believe in the possibility of that happening.

If you want to succeed, stop polarizing the world into black and white, into success or failure, stupid job or non-stupid job, Vegas or here. We all live in a gray world of various shades.

What you can't seem to grasp is that you're not in late stages of a tournament, short-stacked. You aren't. You keep polarizing the situation and pretending you are, so that any short-term failure is justified, due to the "dire" circumstances.

If you want to be a successful poker player, be a success. You've got the skill. Find the discipline. Grind it out online and build your bankroll. Chase bonuses. Stop wasting money taking shots at tournaments, wasting gas driving to casinos. Do whatever you have to do to increase your bankroll, so that you can either move up in limits or add more tables. Then repeat that. Over and over and over.

Some people would kill for the opportunities you have. Stop wasting them and making excuses.
When I first walked out of my job on Wall Street, everyone thought I was crazy. I was almost 24 and making six figures. In society's eyes, I was a success. However, I hated myself. I walked away and followed my gut, my heart, my vision... and I must say that it was the best decision I ever made... despite the fact that there were times when I was living pay check to pay check humping crappy jobs and ran up enough debt to choke a third world country.

Life is about decisions. Make one and stick to it.

Straight up, there's a reason why you were fired/had 20 jobs over the last few years. If you dig deep and realize that cause... you might be able to solve a problem in your life that poker and Las Vegas cannot solve for you.

If you want my advice, I say go for it. The worst thing that can happen is that you go back to Michigan broke. How is that different from a few months ago?

There are two types of people in this world... people who say they are going to do things... and people that actually do things. I hope you are in that second group.

Best of luck... whatever you do. Feel free to email me and we can talk about this somemore.
The Simple Truth:

You will fail. Only because that is what you want to do. The entirety of this blog is "look at what a sad lot I've been cast". You are no different that the guy who is losing at the card table, the man who calls with his flopped straight on the double-paired river just so he can show how unlucky he was.

You are also egotistical. You run on about your upswings and how great of a player you are, but when you misplay a hand you cannot take criticism. You don't learn to play correctly, because you don't choose to.

And finally, you refuse the resources in front of you. By this point, one would hope you have heard of rakeback or propping or bonus whoring. But do you do any of that? I have not played a hand of poker in 2 years that I was not being paid for in some shape or form. Any monkey can make $50 an hour playing poker these days, just by playing tight at multiple tables and getting your damn rake back.

Not to sound entirely unsympathetic, I will say that about 2 years ago I had a huge drop in my poker bankroll and I took a run at a game bigger than I could afford, because it was either that or get a job. Through a lucky run of cards I tripled my b/r in about an hour, but it was just that a lucky run of cards.

If you would like help with getting a rakeback email me at acesfullof8s@hotmail.com
I don’t who “L.” is but that post should now be your personal creedo. You should print it out and hang it on your walls and live by it.

It is very obvious that you need professional help. Don’t see it as a downfall but a decision that could forever change your life in a positive way.

These people who are telling you to go to Vegas frankly are idiots. If you truly aspire to be a professional gambler you first have to understand what a professional gambler is. It is a person who weighs the expected value of decision vs. what he stands to lose if the makes the wrong decision. i.e. Do I call one bet in a 40BB pot even if the chances that I win are certain. Well, of course you do; minimal risk, huge payoff. Faced with this exact decision many times in your life it doesn’t matter if you lose this particular time you will eventually come out ahead.

So you have about a grand and you want to go to Vegas? O.k. Mr. Aspiring Professional gambler what is the EV (expected value of this situation)? First of all, what do you expect to gain in Vegas? There are literally dozens (hundreds?) of professional poker players all over the world living your dream. Guess what? They don’t live LV. So why would you make a play that has a huge risk yet it’s expected outcome is the exact same thing you can achieve from your living room sitting in your underwear eating Cheetos? True there are perks of living in LV but become a pro first and then make the move when your stable and the risk factor of moving is minimal. This is what a true professional gambler would do. An idiot addicted gambler who doesn’t look at each gambling decisions EV would be the one to make the move to LV on a grand or less.

Please keep two thoughts in mind.

The first reply could be some of the most valuable advice you ever received.
If you continue to make decisions in your gambling career that are clearly –EV you’ll never reach you goal.
So have you made a decision yet?
Hey Lord!

I've followed this blog for nearly a year now, and I even checked back on it regularly when the site was down...

So its really great to see that you are back with us and blogging again!...

... but its also really sad to see that you plan on making some of the same mistakes that you made during your first attempt at a professional poker career.

I think you finally now need to take time off away from the poker tables, not just a day or two, but for two or three months instead. This is so that you can make clear and definant decisions about your life and future, without the poker game clouding your mind.

Lets face facts. You have no income, and yet still you are gambling away what little emergancy savings that you have left, whilst all the while you are thinking you can profit from the game if only you just got lucky.

On top of that, just when you were getting financially stable again, you lose your job because of poker. That does not make a funny story. That simply makes a gamblerholic.

You CAN beat the game, you have long since proven that... but don't let the game beat YOU.

I understand that many comments some people made may have you feeling a little down. They may put you on tilt when you play. But the fact of the matter is you are doing what you want. It may not be as rewarding as you initially planned, but this type of action takes years to fully establish. You cannot become an amazing poker player over night and I understand you have invested thousands of hours into this endeavor, but it takes time. To me it seems as if you have much better luck online, and I would stick to online play versus playing mtt's in real casinos until you establish a healthy bankroll. And so what if you have to get a job...I say move to Vegas... Get a job as a dealer or anything else you may like at a casino and build ur bankroll and your skills. DOnt give up on yourself... Hey poker sucks at times and it makes you feel like crap, but that is no reason to just give up on it all if this is what you want and you are not trying to just become the next Moneymaker or Raymer. If indeed you are just hoping to become the same thing they are then give up now. But I trust you have good intentions and are not planning on selling your soul for a win. So keep with it and go to Vegas if that is really what you want.
The serious question here is not whether you should or shouldn't go to Vegas with your $1/$2 worthy bankroll and see if you hit it big. I simply cannot fathom why the outcome of that will really have that much of an impact on your life.

Chances are, you will fail. The roll is so small, and your penchant for playing over your head will probably get the best of you. Maybe you'll run good, win a tournament here and there, and the bankroll will skyrocket into six figures. Maybe then you'll be adequately rolled for 30/60, and maybe then you can grind out a living there.

But even so, what really changed?

The people suggesting moving to Vegas and taking a shot aren't just reckless fools: they're looking at this the same way you're looking at this LG. Nothing to lose. Everything to gain.

To extend the poker analogy that seems to be ubiquitous through these comments: your decision right now is similar to holding 23o on a board of AKT9 on the turn, while you're playing $5/$10, and calling a turn bet, because the owner of the card room said he will give $10,000 to the winner of this hand.

Maybe one time in a few thousand, you will be up against somebody semibluffing a straight draw, and you will river fifth pair, and it will hold up. Most of the time you lose. But it hardly makes a difference either way, unless you know it's a positive play, and can make it more times than you can even count.

The idea of protecting your bankroll is silly. You could easily build a bankroll to $750 with very little capital these days through whoring and beating up low limits. This is not the reason people should be advising against the move, though it certainly is a reason that makes failure almost inevitable.

The real question here, LG, is: what do you WANT to do?

You speak as if this is some last ditch effort, but you know, just like every single reader knows, that if you go broke, you will almost invariably repeat the cycle. There's no incentive to 'make some moves' when you know you will reach into your pocket and pull out another buy in if you bust.

This poker thing has merely become an effigy of your own personal demons LG. And no amount of miracle double ups will change that.

A recent comment mentioned that the poster wanted to look at this blog years from now and find you happy.

That's what you should be striving toward too.

Your job, your career, your finances, your struggles as a broke gambler: these have become YOU. And therein lies the problem.

You're an intelligent chap, if not a little impatient at times. And I as well want to look here, five years down the road, and see that you're content. Whether that's contentment from being a professional poker player, or contentment from living in your car and working at McDonald's is irrelevent. Just try not to fool yourself, figure out what you actually want, and go get it: that's the best +EV play you can make.

For what it's worth, this comment has probably come off as much more condescending than is intended. I've battled with issues along your same lines, but for smaller periods of time, and at an earlier age. The only things that save me are the few things I do that make me feel alive, the few guys I can tip back a beer or two with and talk until dawn, and the woman that's been goodly enough to stick with me when it has become quite apparent that my life is going to be far from ordinary. Find those things if you haven't already, find those people, and find a way to make them a part of your life, regardless of how you make your living.

It's just money after all.
"In poker, the money eventually flows from the bad players to the good players. Nothing else is possible." -- Mike Caro
You really need to manage your bankroll.
Are you in Vegas yet?
The earlier poster's idea about getting a job as a dealer doesn't sound half bad. You can get paid and build your skills (try to read your players' hands) at the same time.

If you got fired for playing poker on the job, dealing poker cards sounds like a good job for you.

On the other hand, the cost of living in Vegas has got to be high. Weigh all your options.
GL man. Hope you keep posting in your blog after you move.
You should take your remaining BR and use it to stake Jackpot Jay.

He seems to understand the game as well as you.
Lord G, longtime reader, first time "commenter." I thought about commenting back when you went bust a few months ago, and checked in sometimes when the page was down.

1.) Glad to see you back. You clearly love playing poker and nobody should be denied opportunities to pursue the things they love, and you're no exception.

2.) If poker is your love, as opposed to Vegas, then you must NOT go to Vegas. Vegas is not a place where you build a roll quickly or efficiently. The opportunity costs are high, the cost of living is high, and so on. Online poker, on the other hand, offers the opportunity to play multiple games at the same time, with lower rakes and more hands/hr. Online is the better POKER option for all but the highest limits.

So you're gonna need to decide which you love more -- Vegas, or Poker. I have my own suspicions about which it is, but you're an adult capable of making a call. And whatever you do, don't sell your car to play cards. Bad move.

Become a dealer in Mich.
Become a dealer in Mich.
Fellow some time depressant and struggling poker player here...

Have you considered becoming a dealer? This would allow you to:

a) maintain a stable job
b) learn the intricacies of the game by dealing the higher stakes tables
c) move to vegas if you so desire
d) play part time on the side

It's obvious you have some passion for the game. This might be a good compromise in the short term.

I'd also like to echo L's comments. People will help you if you ask, and as you've seen by this thread even when you don't.
Anyone wonder if he might have killed himself?

Nice site, really like the layout. I'm new to the poker blog scene but not new to poker. :) I'm essentially playing for a living right now ($15-30) and this year my goal is to meet a great deal of poker players to make new friends and learn from them. I'm trying to create a little community and learn more about the different players who blog. I'd love to get more traffic on my site. If you like my site, would you mind linking to it? Also, I hope you don't mind but I linked to yours so I can read it frequently.

I think Vegas is ok. Just take it with open eyes. Figure out what area would be comparable to where you live now. Find out rent costs. Figure out what pay you might hope to make in whatever job you get in Vegas. Make some calls. Do some research. The change of scenery might do you well. Also do not look at it as the "Final Solution". Ok, so maybe some things in your life sucks right now. Big deal. Get some help. Just because your going to Vegas does not mean things will all suddenly change and be like a marry poppins movie. Just be realistic and open to other options.

As someone who has gone through alot of years of just pure hell I can say it can get better. I am going through another bad stretch now and getting some help with it, but having gone through the most hellish experiences growin up, and through school, things do improve and get better than you can imagine.

Anyway good luck in whatever you decide. Just be realistic about your expectations and what you need to do. Do not just rush blindly into it. Keep us up to date on what you are up to also! We love reading your Blog!
Where are you LG?
LG posted on Iggy's poker blog.
I skimmed the comments, and I didn't see anything about what I'm going to say, so I'll post it. If it's redundant, I apologize. I also haven't been reading the blog regularly (just found it) so if it was discussed earlier, I apologize twice.

One word for you buddy... rakeback. I don't know how much you've currently dealt with this sort of thing, but if you haven't been taking advantage of a rakeback deal, get one NOW. It's relatively simple to get a rakeback deal of 25% your rake contribution reimbursed to you at the end of the month. There's your monthly expenses right there.

Say you 3 table 2/4 6max at a Party Skin with 25% rakeback. This is a game I'm sure you're very comfortable with, and fits within your bankroll constraints. Lets average the rake at 1 dollar per hand, though it's probably a bit higher. Say you're able to play 200-250 hands per hour, which puts you at 10,000 hands per week, ballpark estimate

Your rake contribution would be 16 cents...25% of that is 4 cents per hand. 40,000 cents would be 400 bucks a week, pre-winnings. Hell, if you're talking about working at McDonalds, you can live on 400 bucks a week EASY. I would suggest living on 1000-1200 bucks a week and socking 400 into the bankroll to get you up to 3/6 or even 5/10 if you're comfortable up there.

By the time you hit 5/10, the rakeback would be closer to 6-700 dollars per week, at 10,000 hands. Now you're in a situation where a 2 year plan can build your bankroll into something suitable to attack the live stuff in Vegas with. Best thing about it is, this whole time, you've had to do nothing but play poker, and if you can break even long term at 2/4 6 max, it will work and you'll be fine money wise.

Also keep an eye out for "propping" gigs with some of the sites. It's a bit tougher to get, but I know that the incentives for props are much higher in some deals than 25% rakeback. Even if you get a job and stay put, look into rakeback! If this is gonna be your livelihood, get on that NOW.

  Post a Comment