Saturday, 18 January 2014

2013 review

You kinda have to get these posts done in January, otherwise it's a bit too late...

So 2013 generally speaking was not a good year. I can sugar coat it whatever way I like, but in a word (two words) 2013 was: not fantastic.

Poker wise, I unfortunately had my first ever losing year. I was up money online and in live cash, but unfortunately had an extremely quiet year in live MTTs. The stats will add up to 3 cashes out of 26 tournaments in 2013, with 2 of those cashes being in €100 tournaments. Live cash was disappointing as the card room in Limerick closed about three months into the year, so that meant there was no consistent live games for me for most of the year. Travelling to Cork or Galway are both about 1.5hr trips and even if it's possible to justify it financially, adding 3hrs to what might only be a 4hr cash session never seemed too appealing. Online, I avoided online cash more or less completely, and managed to record a profit and positive ROI in MTTs. Across the board though, my volume was tiny.

In May, I moved to Dublin for work placement as part of my college course. I remember remarking prior to moving up that I don't think I'd been up before 9am four days in a row since I did my Leaving Cert (not to mind the 5 days in a row that is generally expected in a Monday-Friday working week). It was my first experience of the 'nine-to-five grind' and first experience of what most would class as a 'real job'.
All in all, I'm definitely glad of the experience. If you asked me before hand whether or not I'd like the 9-5 office lifestyle, I would've said 'probably not'. But you never really know whether you'd like something or not until you've tried it - so if nothing else, I'm very glad that I've tried the 9-5 office job and have experience of what it's like. I was also lucky in that the company I was working for and the people I was working with were top notch so that always helps.

When comparing making a living from a 9-5 job, and making a living from primarily playing poker, I think it can be summarized very easily: for a poker player, it's all about the freedom.

You can weigh up the pros and cons all you like -  the possibility of that one big score versus the consistency and security of a regular pay cheque - but if you were to look at all the people in the world who consider themselves 'poker professionals', I guarantee the trait most shared would be this 'desire' for freedom. 

Whilst in Dublin, I didn't frequent the casinos too much (getting up at 7am every day was tough enough for me) but I did play a bit online and the odd live festival. I'm back in Limerick now with a year and a half left before I hopefully, and finally, get my hands on a degree. I'm not sure where that leaves me with poker, but I did kinda make the decision that for the year or so that's in it, I may have to put poker on the back burner for a while. Given success in poker has been hard to come by for me lately, I suppose that makes it a bit easier! I'll see how things go over the next few months, but I'd be expecting another low enough volume year. That said you never know, and if the luck starts to change a bit I could easily see myself playing a decent bit, until the final year starts in September anyway. From September 2014, it'll be low enough volume win, lose or draw I'd imagine.

So, an end of year blog wouldn't be complete without graphs or goals, so the obligatory graphs and goals (as usual, I left specific money amounts out):

Online MTTs 2013 - yes my volume for a whole year was the same as what some people would play in a few days

A graphical breakdown of my 26 live MTTs in 2013 . A bad year - my biggest cash was about equal to my biggest buy-in.

2013 Goals Review - 

1. Maintain or improve on my hourly rate at cash games CHECK
In the live cash that I did play this year, I did manage to improve on last years hourly. It was only by a tiny bit (an extra €1.17/hr to be precise) but every little helps! 

2. Have an ROI of 100% in live tournaments FAIL
Nope. First losing year at live MTTs. Very disappointing results in the bigger buy-ins of the year and generally didn't get the luck at the right times throughout the year.

3. Be totally focused in every tournament FAIL
Hmmm...has to go down as a fail I think. I made a massive blunder in Galway and there was probably one or two tournaments I wasn't totally on form for. I think it probably was an improvement on the previous year, but still would like to have a more consistent level of focus and concentration than I showed in 2013. 

4. Play 500 online MTTs, positive ROI, profit FAIL/CHECK/CHECK
I did say I wasn't sure how much I'd play online in 2013 and as it happened, it wasn't very much at all (mainly satellites to live events). However, I did have a positive ROI and I did profit so I guess I'm not disappointed with that.

5. Continue to study, improve etc. FAIL
I'm not sure. I think I'd have to put it down as a fail. I think you have to be playing consistently to see the full benefit of study and that's something I didn't do.

6. Vegas FAIL
Possibly the biggest regret of the year...
I could've just said fuck it, thrown together whatever money I had and taken a stab at it but I made the conscious decision to only go if I was sufficiently bankrolled and wasn't just taking a shot. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take, but at the time I felt it was the 'mature' decision to make. 

7. Win a live tournament CHECK
A win's a win - a round-of-each turbo tournament at JP's Norwegian Championship.

8. 5 fig score FAIL

9. 6 fig score FAIL
Unfortunately not...

10. Continue this blog CHECK
Quite happy with 2013's blogging. I don't think there was any 'filler' blogs, and I only posted when I felt like writing, so hopefully nothing came across as too forced. And as I said last year, I hope this blog can serve as a mild form entertainment to some people and I do appreciate it when people enjoy it!

2014 Goals

Ah jesus where to begin...

Right let's keep it simple:

1. Positive ROI and Profit in Online MTTs
What it says on the tin. 
Don't know how much I'll be playing, so let's just hope when I do play, I win!

2. Improve or maintain hourly rate at cash games
Hopefully a club will be opening in Limerick soon and I'll be able to play live cash a bit more regularly. If so, hoping to achieve a decent hourly rate.

3. Play 5 tournaments with a €50k+ prizepool 
This is a bit of an unconventional one. I think when you're not playing for a living (which I'm not really), it's ok for your aims to differ. When playing for a living, risk of ruin and hourly rate have to be your number one concern. However, if you're not, there's nothing at all wrong with looking for that 'big score'. So I guess even with a limited playing schedule, if I can put myself in a position to get a decent score (we'll say 10k+ for the sake of discussion) a few times a year, that'll be a positive. I played 11 (live) tournaments with a €50k+ prizepool last year, so even if I play a lot less, I'd be really surprised if I didn't make an outing to at least 5 festivals in 2014! 

4. Continue this blog
Sure why not...
The blog went a bit quiet the last few months as I played practically zero, and there's a good chance the same could happen for parts of 2014...but sure if I've something to write about I might as well do it, so hopefully the blog will still be going for the new year! 

Best of luck to everyone for 2014 and let's hope it's a good one!


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