$5 to $1k (my story)
Hey everyone, i've been a reader and poster every now and then on cards chat for a little while now (although not too much recently), so I have decided to share my story of grinding $5 into $1k.
Alright so this all begins mid last year when im searching the internet for ways to make money without getting a "real" job. I was a broke college student but wasn't ready to committ to a full time job and was considering things like working from home like web design or something along those lines. Then i stumbled accross someone saying a lot of students make sufficient money playing online poker... wow how perfect. There is nothing more that i would want to do is sit in my apartment and gamble to make money (honestly). I immediately recalled depositing $50 on party poker
a few years back when i was in high school, blowing it quickly and also being a break even home game player with my friends every day after school, but haven't played in years.
So giving poker another shot, I install pokerstars
immediately. I start by trying to deposit money and my credit card gets declined for gambling restrictions...there goes that idea. So pretty much giving up the idea of poker not being able to deposit any money I mess around on the play money tables for a little while. To make a long story short, I messed around with play money for a month or so and suddenly found $5.00 in my account! I was infatuated with the game at this point and call me arrogant, but had no greater thrill than outplaying and being smarter than my opponent, even at the play chips (i'm extremely competitive and hate losing, don't we all...). So now i have $5.00 (the most cherished $5 ever lol) and a hope.
So now starts my real money
career. One thing that seperates me from MOST of the online players out there is that i was willing to learn as much as I could from the start. I know im very intelligent but by no means have a solid poker strategy
. So what i suggest to EVERYONE just starting out is treat it like an investment, seriously. The very first thing i did was did some research on a good book to read. After narrowing it down and finally deciding on Harrington on Hold'em I started off reading studying more than I was playing, something I would strongly recommend. So i read through the book a little and was quickly able to turn the $5 into ~$20 playing $.10 360 man tourneys and the occasional $1.20 sng.
At this point I was starting to build myself a little bankroll and wanted to decide on one type of game to put all my focus into. The bigger tournaments were what built my roll from the start, but didnt particularly excite me. I considered cash games, but for some reason just wasnt too intrigued. So that left SnG's, which was by far a favorite for me, the single table structure and noticably soft opponents made it very tempting. So as before, i needed to study, and Colin Moshmans book "Sit 'n Go Strategy" was a no brainer because it was basically the only book devoted to single table tournaments at the time. What a find, this book is simply amazing to say the least. If you have a small bankroll, or any for that matter and are going back and forth between games, GET THIS BOOK and start playing SnGs. This book alone will make you a HUGE winner at the micro levels. I honestly cannot say enough about how huge this book is for your sng game if you have not read it yet.
So on we go, on to the $1 9 mans. There's not much to say here, other than after reading the book and clearly my opponents had not, i was slaughtering them. I think through my first couple hundred games at the micro stakes sng level i was sporting ~70-80% roi which is just absurd (i even made a thread about it: http://www.cardschat.com/f46/68-av-roi-sngs-131775/
. So as you can see I was quickly up $100 or so, playing online poker i couldn't believe it.
So I'm sitting with a couple hundred from sngs and at this point i find cards chat and start lurking around the forum a lot. The very first thing i noticed is that most people are big into cash games. I start reading a lot and start leaning towards switching to cash games, i had the impression this is where the money is at. So i decide to make a switch to cash games starting out at 5nl. Everything starts out amazing and am pretty much killing it and quickly move up to 10nl. I win a little in my first few k hands there and then it stops... just break even forever, it just felt like i was spinning my wheels and not making much progress. Back to sngs we go!
Okay so i switch back to sng's...but not 9 mans. I am not completely sure what i want to do at this point so i play a few HU sngs. I come to find out that these games are extremely soft. If you are looking to build a bankroll through the micros definitely give these a look and you should be able to kill them with some basic strategy. After playing a few hundred heads up games the same thing happened that happened in my cash game experience, variance kicked in and i started running b/e. I didnt really feel like grinding through this break even stretch so i decided to switch it up a tad and try pretty much the only thing i havent played yet, 6 man sngs. And wow what a surprise! I really had a de ja vu of my HU sng experience just finding a super fishy game and extremely profittable. I started at $6 turbos, flew through that, on to $13 turbos and started out pretty hot in that as well. Then, shocker, here comes the variance. Yet ANOTHER b/e stretch, boy am i tired of these... You can blatantly see my upswings and b/e stretches on my ss (which i'll post at the end). But this time i decide to grind it out just because the 6 man game is so soft even at the $25 level which im playing now. So, I keep grinding, and bad beat after bad beat (im sure everyone has had one of these stretches) I am just taking blows left and right. But honestly, the game is so bad, i still b/e and never really go on a huge downswing. So i finally battle through it and start running normal again and i absolutely take off on a heater (which i'm still on now) and keep moving up through the limits. So this past week after coming off my break even stretch i finally ran good and hit 1k. I decided to write a little story when i did hit it so here we are!
Now, if i could have gone back and known what I do now, then getting to this point would have been effortless. So i'm gonna take some time and share what I think that you need to know if you are starting where i was or somewhere along the way.
Variance, variance, variance. Im sure everyone knows what it is, and probably hates it, but it truly is a good thing. If there wasnt any variance in this game, the fish that you make your money off of simply wouldnt be playing. That one time in a billion (although it seems like 1 out of 2, lol) they call your shove with 75o against your AA and crack you keeps them coming back for more! Things like this makes them think that they can make this play profittably and these are the things that will make you money! So what has helped me extremly when getting beat by a pitiful hand is just telling myself after the hand, is that is what makes poker profittable. I cant stand when people complain about fish, "I cant stand playing against these fish!" I'm like what?! would you rather have a table full of solid players? Thats just crazy, NEVER complain about the fish.
Upswings and Downswings. This is what makes poker the most rigged game ever or the best thing in the whole wide world. There are going to be times during massive downswings when you seriously question if you are a good player. I know i have myself, I have made hundreds of dollars and am carrying a sick ROI and still ask if i got lucky through the first several hundred games. Just know that you are making smart moves and keep grinding away.
Multi tabling. One of the most important things in online poker is multi tabling. One of the reasons i carried such a high ROI through my first few hundred games, other than playing micro stakes, is that I played non turbo, one table at a time. I would play dollar stakes games that would last over an hour. If i could go back and do anything it would be to start multi tabling early, even if its only two tables. If you are playing two tables you are getting twice as many games in (obv)! This means that you only have to have half of your ROI to be making the same amount of money. And let me tell you, moving to two tables will not cut your ROI in half. The same goes for four tables, you only need to have a quarter of your ROI of one table to be making the same on four! Seriously, do it. Let me say this though, by no means should you take my advice as concrete and follow every word, make your own style, i would not recommend going higher than 4-6 tables at first. I play poker to make money (obv). So how do i maximize this? By playing higher stakes. To play higher stakes you have to learn more and more as you go up! By playing 62 tables (exagerration) you will not learn much, instead only make automated moves all the time. When playing four tables i find it optimum to maximize your earnings and LEARN how your opponents play at the same time. If you play 16 tables at the $10 level and make a few thousand dollars, you will most likely fail at the higher levels if you try to move up because you most likely haven't learned much. Although, if you want to play a ton of tables at lower stakes and never move up, thats your style, and im not telling you not to do it. But i know my goals arent to be playing $10 tourneys for ever, i want to get to the high stakes baby!
Tools. As i said before, i treated poker like an investment, I knew i would come out ahead in the long run. So what I did was bought a program like poker tracker very early. I was using it at something insane like $3 sngs or something. But instead of waiting until i had a few hundred to spend some of my winnings on it, i made a decision to invest some of my own money knowing that i would make the money back faster than in i didnt have the program. So most would probably not suggest this at an early level, but if you have any extra money, it really couldnt hurt. Also i would suggest a video training site, these are definitely best if you want to learn the game. Although if you are a sng player, it is pretty tough to find content on them, i would suggest sitngogrinders. The last tool that i would suggest to you is a program called SnG wiz (for sng players only), this will drastically help your push/folding ranges when you get to the late game.
Bankroll management. I know its probably getting redundant to you, but its a key part of your game. Me, im a little aggressive with mine only because i am perfectly comfortable moving down in limits. I usually move up as soon as i hit 30 buy ins, and move down if i hit 20-25 which seems to be pretty fail free and allows you to take shots at the higher limits.
Volume. This is overall my biggest problem. I simply don't get enough games in to actually make some good money. I have a huge problem in going up a lot of money in a session and stopping right after that and not wanting to play more out of fear that i will just lose it. On the contrary, i don't like to have a losing day so the more i lose, the more i play. The best counter for this is to set a volume goal. If i set my volume to 40 games a day and play that many no matter what (unless on tilt) then you will make more money in the long run. Volume is hard for me sometimes as I am a full time student but will hopefully be able to get a ton of games in this summer vacation.
Dont withdraw. This is so huge. If at all possible, do not withdraw your money. Your overall goal should be to play high stakes and you simply cannot do this if you withdraw what you profit. I have to this day yet to withdraw and am set on building a big bankroll and keep it building until i feel i cannot go up in limits anymore.
Wow that was a lot. I didn't make this post as a brag or anything of that sort. But i really wanted to show you that it is so feasible to get somewhere from nothing in a relatively short amount of time. All you have to do is put in some time and effort. Thats all for now, if i think of anything i forgot to put on here ill add it and if you have any questions just ask!