I believe that poker players can be divided into two main categories. The first category is the amateur poker player which makes up the vast majority of players in the world, probably somewhere around 80-90%. The amateur player plays once a week with his buddies and a bit online when he has both the time and the itch. The amateur player loses money each month playing poker but that is fine with him because the utility he is getting out of the cost makes the losses worth it. Another characteristic of the amateur is his disinterest in improving his poker skill level.
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I recently passed a milestone in my quest to beat 100NL online. That milestone was playing over 500,000 hands of online cash game poker. The truth is that I’ve played more than 500,000 hands of cash online in my life but these 500,000 make up the vast majority of my online cash game experience. I decided to dive into this data and write up as detailed a post as possible to help share some of the hard facts (data doesn’t lie) about grinding micro and low stakes cash game poker online.
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All the hands played in 2013

The poker year in review

December 29, 2013

At the end of last year I was going through a very difficult time poker wise. I was fed up with the sickening variance in online tournaments and couldn’t make money in live games if my life depended on it. Sometime in December, I can’t remember when I decided to take a break. Like many times before I told my poker friends that I was done and putting the game behind me. It was only because I took this break that I was able to reflect properly on this game called Poker and what it meant to me. I decided that online tournament poker wasn’t for me. I understood from watching other pros that the variance was insane and that even the best can go a few months before hitting that one score that changed everything. I wanted to play a game where the skill advantage was obvious to me and that it would make a real impact on a consistent basis. I turned to cash and decided to take an entirely new approach.
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too many choices

Earlier today I revisited a YouTube video (the video is embedded below) of a talk Guy Kawasaki gave on gaining social media followers. During the talk Guy gave an example of how Virgin America should use their social media accounts to promote Las Vegas instead of promoting themselves (this was a hypothetical example given by Guy). Why would an airline want to promote a travel destination and not their own brand or service? Well as you already know, if a brand does nothing but talk about itself, you as the content consumer will unfollow the brand because you are getting little value from these self promotion posts. Guy explains that Virgin America has a route from San Francisco to Las Vegas so if it succeeds in getting some of its followers excited about Las Vegas (by providing interesting content which is of value to their demographic) some of them may decide to fly to Las Vegas, and maybe they will buy Virgin Atlantic tickets. It is the “maybe” in Guys example that is so critical.

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At the beginning of the year my focus was on online poker. I set a specific goal which was that by the end of the year I would be playing 12 tables or more of 25c/50c and beating the level. After a few months of grinding I was on my way. I was feeling confident and thanks to playing tens of thousands of hands of cash game poker. plus the fact that I was working full time and earning a decent salary, I decided to go back to playing live cash game poker. Initially the results were great and for the first time in my life I kept my own and started crushing the live games. I downloaded a great poker app for recording all my sessions and was so happy to see that I was winning 7/10 sessions and making some nice extra cash every month.

Fast forward 2 months and unfortunately the results haven’t continued on the same trajectory. After 24 sessions over the last few months I’ve won money in 54% of the games I’ve played and only made money in 2 out of the last 10. It is runs like this that test your resolve as a poker player and make you question both your ability and approach to the game. Last week I had another losing session, this time it was a combination of bad play on my end and very bad luck, but it wasn’t the fact that I lost money that upset me, it was how I lost the money.
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For all the grandeur of Texas hold ‘em poker and the media hype it attracts these days, it is a fairly simple game to learn (and win money from).

A typical hand in No limit Texas hold ‘em Poker plays out like this:
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August has come to an end which means it’s time for a review post on my online poker activities for the last 30 days. This month was a milestone month for me because for the first time in my life I started playing 12 tables of 50NL (25c/50c blinds). At the start of the year when I decided to embark on this challenge the goal was to beat 50NL while playing 12 tables or more. I’m very close to achieving that goal but as the rest of this post will explain, I’m not quite there yet.
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question_everything

I’ve always enjoyed reading, especially about things that I find very interesting. I also appreciate great writing because words have great power and can be very moving. When I come across an author I really enjoy I subscribe to that author via email so that I can get their posts delivered directly to my mailbox. I decided to do this so that new content arrives automatically without me having to check the numerous sites I follow on a regular basis. I thought I was smart by making this choice but I’ve recently found a way which blows my original plan out of the water which I’m both happy and sad about at the same time.
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