I would add that if you look at Ferguson's record on TopShark it shows he's down about $25,000 over the games it records. He lost a $25,000 buy-in. Benyamine also lost about 25k in that buy-in and a lot of other pros. David Singer was the winner.
I guess what I was trying to communicate is that building a bankroll is a lot easier SAID then done and you need to start with as much money as you can afford to lose to give yourself the best chances.
I'm just now finding a style of play that is really working. I focus on heads up and 6 player turbo ring games only. I have about 5,000-6,000 cash hands I've played and things are just now starting to click. I had about 80,000 play money games before I started playing for money and was winning single table SNG tournaments at about 65% frequency. I wouldn't mind playing single table SNG again.
Some of my play improvements have came from understanding more fully to do what works and not what people think works and from analyzing my game. You have to study your opponents and get inside their mind!
I can give some tips but you have to learn for yourself what works:
* Cash game psychology is a lot different then tournament psychology. I was a consistent winner on single SNG but when I came to cash tables I was getting busted left and right. In cash games people are looking for something to bust you with and can be patient to do it.
* Chasing is okay if done sparingly and wisely. Chasing is profitable because of the implied odds
. Say you have an Ace flush draw and you know someone is playing a BIG hand that they just wont lay down. If you hit your flush you can take them for everything they have.
* Protecting your hand from a chaser requires skill. Some people try RAISING to protect from a chaser and that works if the chase is not likely but if I feel I have a good chase then building up a big pot early just makes for a bigger pot to take down. In fact, sometimes I'll build a big pot when chasing just to take it down when I hit. It sure makes folding the SECOND BEST hand more difficult.
* Position and situation is probably the most important aspect when playing. I read about position from DAY 1 but never GOT IT until I played a lot of heads up games. Position is very critical to bluffing.
* I advocate playing solid poker which is not always tight poker. Let me give an example, if a tight player will fold everything till he hits a monster hand and put in a big raise. Then he'll either pick up a small pot or get busted for all his money (most generally). I prefer playing loose with positional strategy because I don't feel the need to make a hand. Now from early position I play super tight but from later position I'll play loose and aggressive. This is why i don't play 9 player games because I just don't have the patience.
* You need to record your games from day 1. I recorded my games and found out that my biggest losses came when I had 3 or more people in the hand with me. This was analysis that was only possible because I recorded my games. Some people here made it clear I wasn't raising enough to keep callers out and with 3 or more people in my "big hands" someone was inevitably hitting something like a straight or a flush.