It has been over two months since I've wrote a blog entry. Although the last two months of my life have been some of the most absurdly motivated and productive times I've ever had, I simply felt no desire to write. I hate what I write when I force myself, I think there is a clear distinction in quality. Today though, today I have a lot on my mind.
I spent the last two months doing three things; grinding poker, working out/dieting, and working on my pick up. I wound up moving in with Aussie poker sensation Jarred Graham (Try_an_Hit online) to a three bedroom apartment in Southbank Melbourne and absolutely fucking love living with him. He's a great kid, an excellent poker player, and very easy to live with. His family has even extended a Christmas invitation my way which I really appreciate and am considering, though traditionally I spend my Christmas getting stoned with jews and I don't know if I want to abandon them. I got the apartment by calling a real estate agency and telling them I'd pay all seven months rent in advance if they'd get me the place as fast as possible and not be a bunch of nits about my playing poker for a living. They barely made me fill out any paper work and I had the place within a few days. Good to see the real estate industry likes money.
The first two weeks back was the WCOOP. I would wake up at 3am, go to the gym until 4am, and grind until anywhere between 11am and 4pm if I ran deep in something. Assuming it was a nice day and I didn't grind too late I would then walk into the Melbourne central business district and chat up women. I vastly prefer meeting girls during the day as it affords me to opportunity to actually talk to them and get a sense of their personality, as opposed to bars and night clubs where I can barely fucking hear anything and mostly hate being there unless I'm drunk. It is also a huge rush; approaching a woman directly during the day has a sense of gamble to it that poker now entirely lacks. I'll touch more on that later. After my city walk I'd go to the gym and lift weights, or if it was an off day I'd play tennis or go running. I took one day off a week. I would normally wrap up my evening by smoking a joint, and then go to bed at 6pm.
After the WCOOP finished the schedule adjusted a few hours but the routine was more or less the same. I went and did some training and diet consulting with a personal trainer at the gym and he designed the following diet for me:
Wake up and take three different supplements, liverplex, vitamin C, and salmon oil. Drink a protein shake, have a bowl of quick oats.
Have an early lunch that was a can of chicken (though I went with salmon since I couldn't finned canned chicken at the store) and 200 grams of broccoli. I would eat it raw since I was normally grinding. Take more salmon oil.
Have a late lunch of another can of chicken and spinach. Confession; I never went and got the spinach. I wound up munching on cashews instead, of which I was allowed 50 grams a day. I almost always wound up eating closer to 100.
Dinner was a steak and side of vegetables. When I went out to eat I normally ordered a few grilled prawns for an entree figuring that was not too likely to fuck me up and because I was almost always stoned and they taste amazing.
I'd drink another protein shake after my work out, and if I wasn't lifting that day I'd have it in the afternoon while grinding.
The only things I was allowed to drink was water, black coffee, and a protein shake mixed with water. Once the diet was set out on paper by a professional I found it surprisingly easy to maintain; the only diet slips I had during the two week span I went full blown (as the previous 6 weeks was strict but less so as a result of lack of proper nutritional knowledge) was eating too many cashews. In some ways I preferred the diet he gave me, the food was always easy to prepare and eat while grinding and I never had to think about what I was in the mood for. I did something similar to this for 2 1/2 years in high school and basically never slipped. I'm traveling for the time being so I'm letting myself go, though I'll still be in the gym heaps and not just chowing down on junk food. I found my heavy marijuana intake did not deter me; if I got the munchies I simply ate a protein bar and drank more water.
The poker grinding went fantastic. The first five weeks were so-so and I probably lost in the area of $10-20,000, but the next three were enormous and I shot back up around $50-70,000, though some of that is Timex/Watts money because I won the UB 1k under them for $35,000ish. I enjoyed grinding enormously, I think I might love my job more than anyone on the planet. I worked six or seven days a week, and took off only when circumstances forced it.
I've decided that in 2010 to carry over the motivation for my passions in life to the extreme. Allow me to break them down in depth:
1. Poker: Poker is the number one priority in my life. Over the last few months I've been thinking a lot about the way we tournament grinders make a living at this and I think I've been doing it wrong for a while.
When I was a younger man I think I played poker with the sense that there was some potential glory involved, especially live poker. These days I am far more practical. I play poker because it's what I love to do and because I have the ability to make a large amount of money doing so. I used to talk shit about other peoples game and get petty on the forums. Now I'd rather spend my mental energy improving my own game, and if I'm going to bad mouth someone elses I attempt to express that respectfully and make it clear my criticism is on the poker thought process and not on the person (unless I genuinely dislike the person, which is pretty rare.)
What really doesn't make any sense to me anymore, is live poker. Even though in many live tournaments your edge is pretty substantial the variance is mind blowing and the the high costs involved in travel greatly reduce your overall positive expectation. These days I treat live poker as a reason for a potential vacation and am more interested in having fun than spending the entire trip in the poker room, though that doesn't mean I won't show up sober, well rested, and play my A game for the tournament.
So many very good online players don't have anywhere near as much money as they should because they take a staking deal to chase the live score and glory but then wind up working off live variance with their online play, causing a lack of consistent income. The fact is, a good online grinder who has a 50% ROI over a large sample at mid to high stakes can stay home, grind his ass off for a year, and expect to make 400-$500,000 USD. Taxes will eat 1/3rd of that (assuming you're American) but after that you've got a huge sum of money to stick in the bank and make sure that if poker ever goes belly up (and we can't feel 100% confident that it won't) you won't be back doing some job you fucking hate because you're broke and have no experience or credentials.
My intention in 2010 is exactly that; stay home most of the year, grind 6-7 days a week, work on my game, and crush shit. My goal is to win online player of the year at Cardplayer and reach number 1 on Pocketfives. Now, it's extremely, extremely unlikely that I"ll accomplish either given the variance involved and that I'm not actually that good. I'm not sure I'd put myself among the 100 best online tournament players anymore, but I feel that with my motivation I can become very good again in not very long. What I am supremely confident in though, is my ability to grind. I think when I set my mind to it I'd be among the ten highest volume players online at the mid-high stakes and there's not a drop of doubt in my mind that I can't keep that up for a whole year. Hell, I love this shit, it sounds like fun to me. I love sitting in my apartment and listening to music while 16 tabling my laptop (I got lazy and forgot to pick up my desk top from storage for a whole two months, I'll get it eventually.)
I figure I'll go to the WSOP but probably only play about 10-15 events as opposed to other years when I played 30, 30, and 20. I'll sit out anything that's not too interesting or where I don't have a huge edge and stay home to grind. I'll obviously play the stuff that comes to Crown, and additionally hope to do the APPT series since it's an ass load of fun and the stops are only a few days long. I guess I'll go play the Adeladie ANZPT too and try to get one better than last year. Outside of those events my focus will entirely be online.
Also, I want to make way more Pokersavvy videos. They're a great company I'm really proud to be working with, and I love that they tolerate my being a useless fucking flake so well. They recently increased my pay so long as I reached my video quota, and it's really dumb not to pursue it with more enthusiasm. I've very much enjoyed making videos lately and I'm pissed at myself for not being more involved with the community there. When I finish this blog entry I'm going to go over to the tournament forums there and replying to a shit load of threads.
2. Working out and dieting: From the age of about 16 to 18 I was a recreational body builder. When I was 16 I got grounded at the first drinking party I ever went to. I was 5'10" 130 pounds and skinny as hell. The only place I wasn't grounded from was the gym. Seven months later I was 6'1" 192 and kept up a strict routine of diet and exercise until I got to college and became more obsessed with poker and drinking.
I'm 25 now and beginning to feel my own mortality. Even though most people seem to hate it, I actually really enjoy time spent in the gym. I throw in my ipod and zone out to music while I think things over. I enjoy the discipline it all takes; sure I'm not eating the food I want but the sense that I'm building towards something is satisfying. A great aspect to working out is that so long as you continue doing it and don't injure yourself it's an area of your life that you inevitably make progress in. You can be having a bad time professionally, personally, or wherever, but if you keep it up in the gym you are 100% going to be making positive progress.
The end aesthetic goal is something like Brad Pitt in Troy; ripped and large enough that you look like you could wreck a fool but not so big that it's absurd and excessive looking. It took him a year to get to that point and that's exactly the amount of time I'm allotting myself. I'll be doing all of this while maintaining my considerable pot smoking habit, though I'd guess I'll tone it down slightly. Then again, Pitt was a notorious pot head for years. I will only be drinking on rare occasions, and I'll hire the personal trainer for a session a week to maintain my intensity and keep filling in my knowledge gaps.
I feel pretty good about what I accomplished in this area over the last couple months. I'd guess I'm down to about 12-13% body fat but the end goal is to have a larger frame and hang around 9%. Go below 7% and you wind up looking a bit too freakishly ripped and it's not healthy to try to maintain for too long below that.
I also want to get into Muy Thai boxing, as there is a MMA training school right next to my gym. I did a couple months of traditional boxing training before I left on my trip and really enjoyed it, and although I have absolutely zero interest in fighting anyone (and would much rather talk my way out) it's comforting to think I could handle myself were it absolutely necessary. It's a brutal work out, quite a lot of fun, and considering how many girls I crack on to in a club you never know when some psycho jealous dumbass is going to get excessively aggressive just because I said hi to his girlfriend. I was in a very crowded club last night, bumped into a guy, apologized, and I'm still fairly sure he wanted to go outside and fight me. It was so loud I couldn't say for certain but he seemed pretty pissed and said something about going outside, but I just went on and on with "Sorry man can't hear you, have a great night!" He dropped it.
3. Pick up: I have two major goals in pick up at the moment. First, I want to reach the point where I never hesitate or second guess myself about approaching a beautiful woman during the day. Doing direct day game requires undoing a huge amount of social conditioning and although I've never had a single negative reaction in somewhere around 150-200 approaches (I've had women walk away or be a little rude, but nothing story worthy bad) it can still be pretty intimidating.
Second, I want to strive to build healthy and honest relationships with the women I date. I've been pretty good about being very direct and leaving things on good terms with women (which I suppose isn't hard when I tell them I'm inevitably leaving the country) but recently had a relationship go sour and the girl really got her feelings hurt. Even though I felt I didn't misrepresent myself it was still an awful feeling knowing she felt manipulated and I want to do what I can to make sure that never happens again.
I think what I'm really looking for is a girl who's keen on the idea of an open relationship. I really enjoy many aspects of having a girlfriend and someone to seriously care about but I don't really believe in the system of monogamy and especially not for myself. I don't have any jealousy or controlling issues and I've been in casual relationships in the past where the girl was openly seeing other guys to the point that we'd discuss it and I'd try to give her whatever advise I could. I think it's really important to find a woman who's keen on the idea though, and not take a girl who likes me a lot and is willing to try it as some form of accommodation. That seems sure to end in disaster.
4. Writing: I've been so incredibly lazy about this lately. I have all my notes from my trip but I just couldn't seem to find the time to sit down and write it all. I've run the math and estimate I have about 1000-1500 pages worth of stuff left to write, not to mention pictures and other bits and pieces. I can't imagine I'll devote serious time to that until after the Aussie Millions when I settle into a proper routine, and I'll just make it part of my habit to sit down every night and crank out 10-20 pages.
Lee Nelson has asked me to write two chapters for his upcoming book with ELKY and I've been a huge jackass about getting it done. Luckily, I'm sitting in a Hong Kong hotel room with nothing to do for the whole night so I'm going to sit here until I finish it then and then send Lee an apology for keeping him waiting after he offered me such a cool opportunity.
I'd like to continue the 'Things it took me a while' to learn series but I think I'll do that once I really get into the swing of poker again. One aspect of writing I have done a decent job of lately is participating in the strategy discussions at 2+2. There's still a ton of good content and posters there and I feel proud to have been involved for so long. I want to crank up my posting volume when I start heavily grinding as those guys still teach me an absolute ton.
5. Tennis: I've got a court at my apartment building and love playing. Unfortunately, my backhand is totally fucked, my volleys are weak, and my serve goes in and out. I need lessons, simple as that. Also, people around Melbourne who play well should shoot me a message about a match some time, I'm always down. Anticipate my offering you marijuana after the match, though I won't be offended if you say no. More weed for me baby!
So hopefully it all adds up to a very good year. I'll think about doing another big trip again in 2011, it would love to go play multiple LAPT events and see the one content I haven't spent serious time on (outside that useless hunk of ice Antarctica.)