A Slave to Variance - The Grind Often Sounds Easier Than It Is
By Matthew 'Yorkshire Pudding' Pitt
When poker players begin winning money for the first time they often start to wonder what it would be like to be a professional poker player. The envisage being able to sleep until 11:30 a.m, log onto their favourite online poker site, play a handful of Sit ‘n’ Go (SNG) or Multi-Table Tournaments (MTT), win those and then spend the rest of the day living a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.
I may be going out on a limb here but I doubt I would be wrong if I said that there isn’t a single professional poker player whose life is like this. Some of them would like you to believe they are some millionaire playboy, but in reality they spend hour upon hour chained to their machine, grinding dozens of tournaments each day in an attempt to keep the dreaded variance at bay.
When you first start playing poker you want to play as much as possible; it seems like every waking minute is spent playing poker. What started as a hobby, a hobby that saw you play one or two tables at once for an hour or two on an evening has progressed to a mission to play four-to-six tables for three hours every night. Surely playing full time isn’t that hard. Surely I could work my day job and then play seven or eight hours every night. Try it, go on I dare you. You won’t last very long!
Every aspiring poker pro hits, what is best described as, “the wall.” It is similar to “the wall” that long-distance runners hit when they have pushed themselves to the limits of their endurance. Once you start to increase your volume, that is play more games and for longer periods, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep yourself motivated to play, especially if you go on a prolonged losing run.
“The Wall” is a horrible place that has scuppered the career of many poker players. When faced with “the wall,” playing poker is difficult in itself and logging any amount of serious volume is almost impossible. So how do you overcome it? How do you push yourself onwards and upwards and start to realise your dream of becoming a professional poker? Hopefully these few tips will help.
Maintaining Motivation While Grinding Poker Tournaments - Set Yourself Small, Achievable Goals
Your end goal may be to quit your day job and play poker for a living, but that goal could be several years into the future. Such a distant goal is difficult to focus on and that can make playing poker seem pointless. Setting yourself clear, achievable goals helps keep you focussed in the short-to-medium term.
Maintaining Motivation While Grinding Poker Tournaments - Treat Yourself With Your Bankroll
Most poker players follow a bankroll management system that governs what they can play, but how many of them have a withdrawal system? By withdrawing between 3-8% of each buy-in you invest, you will have a regular income from your poker playing.
For example, if you play a $10+$1 SNG, withdraw $0.33 a wage, this way you can plan ahead easier and are rewarded for your hard work even if and when you are losing! Great, huh?
Maintaining Motivation While Grinding Poker Tournaments - Have a Hobby Outside of Poker
Poker is a game that can and will burn you out quickly so it is important to have interests away from poker. Start going to the gym on a regular basis, take up reading again (not poker though), become a movie buff or play video games. Having an outlet from poker that you can turn to when the chips are down – pun intended – can save your sanity and your bankroll.
Along with skill, poker players need mental toughness. Doyle Brunson once famously said about poker that "it is a hard way to make an easy living,” and he is 100% correct. Poker isn’t a game for everyone, it is a game that can chew you up and spit you out again minus your money. But if you get it right and can find the right balance between poker and having a life then it can be one of the most rewarding games that you will ever have the joy of playing.
Some More Articles On Grinding Sit n Goes And Tournaments
- Best Poker Games To Build Your Bankroll (focuses on SNGs)