Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A late June/early July blogger gathering?

It seems there will be no big blogger blowout this summer, which is unfortunate because those are always fun. In 2006, April Kyle did a fantastic job of organizing the thing and we had over 100 at the tournament at Caesars, plus Howard Ledrer, Michael Craig and Phil Gordon (her crush) as speakers. There was also a wicked Roshambo tournament before the poker tournament where I think I made the quaterfinals before John Caldwell beat me. We also met up at a bar at Excalibur (the hotel home) for drinks a few times. Iggy creamed me at Roshambo for a Benjamin and wisely took 2% of me in the main event for a $120 profit.

Those days may be gone, but since these Battle of the Blogger tournaments should bring at least a few folks into Vegas in late June/early July I wanted to get a conversation started on a second small blogger gathering around that time. There is one going on at the usual early June time, but I hear few people will be at that. And while there would be few at this second one too, at least it will be something for the rest of us. I think Lucko said he was going to be in town at that time, as well as SirFWALGman. I'll be there. Who else?

We could possibly get one of the smaller outfits, maybe the Plaza (which has hosted BARGE before), to let us do a small private tournament. We can definitely get a mixed game going at Venetian or Caesars one day. We can certainly gather for drinks somewhere. Thoughts?

I could use the fun break from the rest of the action. I've been pulling my hair out this month at the poker tables. I'm losing live. I'm losing online. I'm losing in cash games. I'm losing in tournaments. Historically, I've done well in Vegas. Of all my trips there I think I left a loser only once (my 2005 trip to BARGE) so perhaps my luck will turn.

I'm trying really hard to find enough writing work so that I can make a comfortable living and only play poker for recreation (the "fun" fund, if you will). When you try to count on poker as a significant part of your income the game can become harrowing and the pressure is often too much. At least it is for me, but I probably just suck at the game too hard.

I had tried a new thing this year where I kept up with my wins and losses each day in a ledger. My goal was simple: win at least $100 a day and $150 on Mondays (the days I got rakeback from WPEX added in) for a total of $550 a week, or $28,600 in a year. Obviously, with the variance in poker, booking a win of any sort on any given day is a ridiculous goal. I think it caused me to press too much. After I was up nearly five large in the first few days in January it didn't really matter how I did on any given day, but after my total yearly win started drawing closer to my expected win to that date I became more and more frustrated. At the end of January I was still $3,000 above "par." At the end of February it was +$2,012. By the end of March it was only +$479. By April's end I was in the red at -$489, and now as May draws to a close I am more than $3,000 below "par." It's not that I'm getting my butt kicked (well, other than this month); it's more that I am treading water and not getting close to my $28,600 goal. So call me a quitter if you will, but I have decided to stop keeping track of my daily totals compared to the goal. I'll just go back to my older record keeping of marking down each live win or loss on a calendar and only marking down online wins and losses when I cash out or lose a certain amount online (like $500 or $1,000).

I do that for two reasons: 1) my goal now is to focus on writing or other miscellaneous income that does not involve gambling of any sort, and that makes the $100 per day grind harder to achieve, and 2) I think it will take some of the pressure off. If I am fortunate enough to earn $28,600 or more playing poker in 2008 it won't be because I am pressing or grinding. It will just happen.

I really think people set very unrealistic goals for themselves in poker. While $28,600 ought to be obtainable, setting certain win goals for the year may be unreasonable due to the week to week and month to month variance in the game.

This guy here http://pokerew.wordpress.com/ had the goal of winning $100,000 in 2008. He hasn't posted since Feb. 5, when he was up a grand total of $250. You could get the feeling from his first posts and his posts on 2+2 that he was a bit of a novice getting in way over his head.

I'm amazed that I've been able to exist mainly from poker income for almost three years now. The problem is that I have merely survived, not thrived. I haven't contributed any additional income towards retirement (thankfully in my newspaper days I saved a lot -- the max of 25% between 401K and company stock purchase), and my bank accounts have slightly shriveled.

After returning from Vegas in 2005, I was hot as fire, winning about $14,000 from mostly playing 10-20 limit hold'em on Noble Poker in July and August. Results became more modest in the coming months and I showed a couple of results in the red. But at least I was having fun, with trips to Atlantic City, Tunica and Reno from September to March. My bankroll was shrinking as I won my seat into the 2006 main event at the WSOP and prepared to go to grad school when I returned to Tuscaloosa. Thankfully, during that best summer ever, I took home about $16,000 that let me go back to school and not worry about any student loans. I didn't play a lot of poker during my year in school, and decided to take one more trip to Vegas last summer after getting some guaranteed writing work. It was a nicely profitable month from that aspect, though not so much with the poker as I won only a few hundred during the trip.

By October, I was happily married but growing poor by the minute -- several writing gigs dried up, Rounder temporarily folded and I couldn't win at poker for nothing. Luckily, Rounder came back and I started winning at poker again -- if at least modestly.

And here we are today. I'm thinking about job hunting again. I like the freedom and flexibility I have now, but I also get bored here at home most of the day. Working from home is not always as great as you might think. At the same time, I really hate the thought of returning to graze on the cubicle farm from 8 to 5 Monday through Friday. The truth is I just don't know what to do.


Fuel55 said...

Working is for schlubs.

lucko said...

I def would be up for some drinks some night. I am out there for almost two weeks, so let me know what you have in mind.