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There and back again; a poker tale.


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 Hello everyone ! I am a 33 years old guy from Romania and this is my poker story. I started playing poker almost 2 years ago, inspired by those Youtube videos with Ivey, Negreanu, Dwan and all the other great players . They made it look so easy, so i said ok, let's give it a try. I already had a Unibet account, betting occasionally on sports events. I began with cash games, were less time consuming; i was very bad, even for the smallest stakes. Then i discovered the nano tournaments; my favourites were the Deep space nano and the Blackhole Nano. I've won a few of them, occasionally i played some 5 euro events, i was trashed pretty bad in most of them. Long story short, last November i played the 5 euro Blackhole, a huge event for me back then, and won it for like 400 euros or something. It was a mistake playing it since my bankroll wasn't bigger than 20-30 euros, i think. During the tournament I played some moves that I didn't know i am capable of doing: squeezing, blind stealing, check raising in the right moments. I don't know, maybe it was because of my passive opponents fearing of my bigger stack, or it was luck, or they were really bad, who knows. It is funny, because after that win i started looking deeper into poker strategy (not before, like the most poker stories begin 😀 )Needless to say, despite my training , my bankroll was again very short, and again I cashed big; maybe even 2 times happening the same way. After the Christmas I started winning, cashing big. It was the most glorious month in my poker career: 4 or 5 top cashes in the Titan , between 200-560 euros (my biggest ever cash in a single tournament ), and other top 3 finishes in 5 euro tournaments, bringing the cashes in that month to over 2000 euros; also in that period (late December, early January ) i cashed big in the Supernova (11th place for more than 300 euros, from a 5 euro satty i think) and qualified for the first time for the Unibet Open main event, 1,1 k entry. Not bad for a guy struggling in the nanos less than 2 months ago, huh :atisfied:? I've withdrawn 2/3 of those money; probably the smartest move i've ever made; and i left myself 600 euros money to play. Then I started to lose. I knew that day will come, that's why i left so much money in my poker account. Even though I've won the 5 euro Spectrum tourney, and I had a few other cashes, february was a losing month for me. And then the UOS series came. I started really well, with 2 final tables in the first 2 events, a nano event with 1 euro entry and 10 euro Low event, where I started the final table as the chip leader ( I was lucky to get there, but that's not the point now ). I don't have opportunities like this every day, with tourneys with 1,500 euros for the winner...so I botched it, big time; finished 8th for like 160 euros. But then I don't think i've cashed more than 3 tournaments, min cashed that is; and i played a lot of those tournaments, most of the Low events and some of the mid events where i binked some tickets. The thing is, I was trying to play my usual tournaments also, and with those UOS events most of the days i was 3 or 4 tabling, which i wasn't very used to. Add that during weekdays I come from work, one day maybe tired, one day maybe not in the mood, but still playing, and you get a recipe for disaster. My bankroll shrinked so much, that I considered refilling with some euros from the bank account, those earned in January; but there came the bad news: I needed to make a payment for a lot of money, so they were out of reach . Sad times, but I still had the main event; maybe, just maybe can I cash something there ? No, I lasted less than 1 and a half hour. So here I was, with less than 100 euros, trying to still play my usual games; I tried hard to cash big in them, but all I managed was to bust 1 or 2 from the money (the real bubble boy )5 or 6 tourneys in a row. So this brings me to the end of this very long story: a week later from the 1k main event, i had 23.49 euros in my Unibet account, with almost no possibility to recharge. Sad times, but i had to start again from the nano events. Maybe that's a good thing and will help with my discipline. Shortly i will post about how my first week in the nanos went. GL guys and stick to the plan !

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 These are the rules I will try to follow ( and not to break ):

1. Never play more than 5 % of my bankroll in one day.

2. Never buy more than 3 entries to the same tournament ( or 2 entries + 1 addon )

3. Play less rebuy/addon tournaments, no matter how good for you was in the past (yes, I'm looking at you Titan )

4. Play less poker when you are tired ( or not at all ) and don't do it because you feel you need to.

5. Never play more tables than you are confortable with ( for me it's maximum 2)

6. Try to reduce other activities, in order to pay attention to your opponents (which is one of my bigger strengths - finding their patterns, their mistakes, and exploiting them )

 Ok so now that we set the rules, let's see what happened last week.

Sunday. The grind started at 23.49, but I had a few 5 euro tickets from the bonus points so I managed to cash my last 5 euro event for a whooping 11 something euros; that was almost a 50 % boost of my bankroll. Wow! In the nanos, things didn't go so well, having to readjust to the style there; only a min cash I think. And to start well the discipline challenge, I cheated from the first day 🤣 by playing a rebuy addon 2 euro tournament; that means 4 euro out of the window ( or 12 % of my bankroll).

Monday it was a fun day; still readjusting to playing the nanos, i started the deep space nano first hour mostly being last 😀 the slowly, but surely going up. I ended up 3rd, for a fantastic 11 euro finish. Thing is with the nanos, you have to get used with 5 or 6 players limping before you, calling your squeeze a half of them, maybe more; calling you 3 streets with bottom pair; raising 1 BB in a pot over 10-15 BB; shoving with their flush draw, or top pair, bad kicker, or nothing at all. Fun times, but we adapted ; it involves some limped pots, some c-betting, a lot of trapping, value betting big and a lot of prayers to the goddess of fortune 🤣

From Tuesday to Thursday i cashed some toruneys too, so it was probably first time ever with 5 consecutive days on profit; nothing big of course, we're still talking about the nanos, no tournament binked. But I'm happy that I maintained my discipline and never broke the 5 % rule. 

Friday was a losing day, i didn't cash anything, besides that, I've broken the golden rule, spending about 8 euro in a day. 

Saturday i played only one tournament, the Deep space nano, and bringing my average buyin for the last 2 days at less than 5 %  ( unintended, of course, because i wasn't in the mood for more poker ). And the result...

But before talking about the result, what was the most stupid reason for you to bust out of a tournament ? For me, it was this: because my eyes hurt at the time and my back was unconfortable, i left for a moment for a glass of water or something and then i sat in the bed, thinking i am going to play from my phone; good plan, except for the fact that i forgot about the phone, instead falling asleep. Oh, and i was heads up, chip leader for 1.2 million against 300.000 ; a 4 to 1 chip lead gone through the window . It wasn't a slam dunk by any means, as one flip gone wrong it would have given my opponent equal chips with me. I'm sorry about the sitout, but the tournament win i think will help with her/his annoyance . 

So here I am with 77 euro , more than 300 % in a week I guess is not bad. The show must go on !

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 My second week didn't go so well, my bankroll is now at 59.33 euro. I tried to play by the rules, but of course that didn't go that well either.

Sunday I played less poker, some qualifiers and a single MTT; I busted in all of them gloriously early. Monday was actually a fun day; initially wanted to play the Deep space nano only, but it went wrong only a few places from the money. Then, watching Ian Simspon's stream, the hunger for more poker came back. I regged the Blackhole nano and it started well, with a few pots going my way. Then I ran  aces against AK twice, nicely doubling up and becoming chip leader; i stayed around 1-3rd place for a few hours until I was 1 out of 10 players. Then a guy with 30 BBs shoves right into my aces again, this time with a pair of nines, and i was happy to call; until a 9 shows on the flop and left with 10 blinds or so. Third time unlucky, I guess; I shoved the next playable hand and that was it, 2 euro and some change, i mean around 1 euro profit after 6 or 7 hours grinding. It's ok, we can actually buy 2 beers with that.

 Tuesday I didn't play any poker, so it was the second day when i didn't lose any money 😀 . Wednesday through Saturday was pretty much the same story (losing, that is ), even though I think i had a 9th place on Friday in my beloved Deep space nano. That made me to reg another tournament for 2 euro, rebuying and not seeing it's a rebuy/addon tourney (because I was in profit that day, those initial 4 euro weren't suppose to pass the 5 % rule ). In Romania, we have this saying : "If being stupid would hurt, then a lot of people will start to scream." I didn't scream, but definitely hurts; and of course I busted before the money.

 Yesterday i was a bit less tired, so I came up with the plan to stay calm and relaxed, play better hands and all will be ok. So, i chipped up fairly early and waited for good hands. A guy shoves with 20 BBs, I call with AK; 10 5 off suit and there's 20 blinds out of the window. I say " OK, you have still 80 BBs; calm and relaxed". After a while, again I have AK suited; a few limpers before the flop, a guy before me raises 4 BBs, I 3 bet him and he shoves."OK, we're in good shape, maybe less if he has AA or KK ". Ok, he has AQ offsuit and he shoves 80 blinds; a queen on the river and I have ro rebuy. Calm and relaxed, calm and relaxed, calm and relaxed...Then I have AQ, raised pretty big preflop to shake off some of the limpers, 5 BBs i think; then on a Q high board i bet 3 streets, with a single caller. I expected to take down that pot, but no, he had 2 pairs with...10 2 offsuit. That left me with 12 blinds; calm and what was the other thing ...? I was looking at the window, trying to calculate the impact a fall would have on my computer from the 3rd floor; but it was annoying to pull all those plugs, so it stayed intact and I continued what i was doing, losing I mean 🤣. So that's it for the week, last one was too good so I kind of expected to be worse, but not that worse( ~ 25 % less ). Calm and relaxed, that is the plan !

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 The third week of the challenge I played almost every night, even though i felt pretty tired, almost brain dead, especially Monday through Thursday. It turns out even if you are brain dead you can still have results, because i have won 2 tourneys and my bankroll is now at 100,08 euro, a 69 % improvement from last week and a little more than 400 % since the challenge started 3 weeks ago.

 Sunday i've won the Deep space nano for 29,12 euro, the biggest payout since I started playing the nanos again. I can't remember much about it other than bragging about on Ian Simpson's stream; oh and the hand that won me the final flip was KJ offsuit, one of worse hands you can go flipping. But hey, i was chip leader by 3 to 1 and it held against Q9 suited.

Monday I was brain dead, so i decided to play some qualifiers. No joy in there, but at least I didn't lose too much money. Tuesday was pretty much the same, but instead of playing qualifiers I played the Deep Impact nano; at 0.25 euro it only lasts a little bit longer. I was chip leader at the final table; in one hand I had a flopped straight on a board Q J 8, but after two more queens showing i knew I had less chances to win the pot. The other guy just hang on there with AJ off and took a huge chunk off my stack. I eventually ended up 3rd for 3,91 euro.

Wednesday i was less brain dead, like 20 %; so i decided i will play again my beloved Deep space nano. I went to the final table as second in chips, but kept my eye on the chip leader, with the huge stack, since he was playing some strange moves, like huge 3 bets or shoves preflop with more than 100 BBs. One hand i had 2 pairs on the flop, that eventually improve when i rivered a full house; I tricked the guy into shoving his big stack, therefore doubling mine. A few hands later he tricked himself by shoving on the turn his top pair bad kicker against my flopped straight; so there i was huge chip leader, more than 5 to 1 advantage to 2nd and 3rd place. I got heads up after my AJ saw tiny Jack on the flop against the shortie's AK ( a little filth never hurts anyone profiting from it ). So heads up I was 6 to 1 chip advantage, but he still had more than 30 BBs to play with. I'm a pretty bad heads up player, but it turns out there are worse players than me 😀 since he was folding a lot, which made me feel like Doug Polk . I eventually took down the trophy for 25 euro or something.

 Thursday to Saturday I played some qualifiers for 5 euro tourneys, as I'm trying to slowly go back to the stakes i'm used to. 3 or 4 times the overall prize pool overlayed, so the last place was payed cash, so instead of tickets, i was actually in profit, cashing for 2.x or 3.x euros; but no tickets binked. THe MTTs went pretty bad, but I'm pleased that i didn't broke the 5 % rule. With my actual bankroll of 100 euro I can actually play a 5 euro tournament, but a single entry per evening. Yeah, I don't think so. I'll try to play more 1 euro/2 euro events, definitely play some qualifiers for bigger tournaments, as long I play for max. 5 euro/evening. So, it turns out that calm and brain dead can be more profitable than calm and relaxed 🤣 Let the party begin !

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 The fourth week of a challenge was a strange one: I played less poker than any other weeks since starting grinding the nanos again, but still improving my bankroll big time. In almost a month it grew from 23 euro to 180, about 800 % increase and a 80 % since last week's 100. I think it's an amazing achievement, probably if I start again 100 times with 23 euro i will never have again such a great month.

 Let's see what happened. Sunday I wasn't in the mood for poker, so I didn't play at all; I can't remember when was the last Sunday not playing any poker. Monday and Tuesday was pretty much the same story: played some sattys, 1 ticket binked from 4 or 5 played. Then I played the Zenith, I was chip leader at some point and cashed both times, but not too big, just to cover my losses. Probably this will be the tourney I will play most of the evenings on a regular basis, because it's pretty wild, like the 0.50 nanos, but with nicer payouts. I also liked playing for the first time Ian Simpson's homegame; I won a giveaway after talking a lot of nonsense in the chat of his twitch channel 🤣 and I hope to play it again soon. 

 Wednesday was the fun day of the week; it started slow, as I played 3 sattys; one busting early, in one winning a 10 euro ticket and in the third i just fell asleep, as I was pretty tired. So I had a 3 hours nap, woke around midnight and in a mood for poker. I already was down 6 euro for the day, ~ 6 % of my bankroll, so playing another tournament didn't seem OK. My thoughts at the moment were: "It's ok, no one can see you" or "You can play less the next day, so it will be an average 5 % for two days". But the problem was that I didn't like any of the tourneys taking place in that moment.

 So there it was this tiny 10 euro Asteroid tournament with 29 players regging, but I had other ideas for my 10 euro ticket; plus I don't usually play small fields tourneys, as there are less chances for a payout; I feel more comfortable in larger fields, where at least 15 people get a small return for their efforts. But I regged this nonetheless and I started poorly as my AK was beaten by an A4, with a 4 card flush on the board. Then I was one of the short stacks for much of the time; on a 9 seated table and with blinds going up every 5 minutes you can't play much poker other than sitting tight and picking your spots to shove. As the final table play started, i was 9th, but a lucky flip with Q10 suited against AJ off brought me some chips and got me in the money, as 6th place was the min cash for 13 euro, nice return for my 2 euro investment. Then a flip with aces against fives left me second in chips (out of 5players ) and, with a player sitting out (maybe falling asleep ) for a long time, the two short stacks began stalling, hoping the guy sleeping will be blinded out before them . He got 4th place though and the other 2 were out barely playing a hand.

 Heads up began with me having 25 Bbs and the chip leader with 60. The HU is the part I'm most proud of, because I think I'm pretty bad at (even though I won the last 3 of them ). This one I was very aggressive, relentlessly 3 betting and shoving against the big stack, especially after seeing he had a tell; when betting 2 BBs preflop, he had a decent hand, but with 3 BBs , he seems to have a monster. So I was really aggressive on his 2 BBs bets, and pretty tight against his 3 BBs. Slowly, but surely I recovered the difference in chips and the next hand after i became chip leader he opens with 2BBs, i call with 56 and the flop is 773. He bets again small, I call and the turn is a 4, giving me the straight. He bets big, I called again, not willing to scare any big pair or any flush draw. The turn is a blank; he checks and I shove after some apparent thinking because the pot was the size of my remaining stack, trying to convince him I have a missed flush draw or some random pair. He immediately calls with his seven, not good enough though and gives me the third win for 91,53 euro, the biggest cash since I started in the nanos again. It feels really nice to win a tournament playing it for the first time.

 Thursday through Saturday wasn't a remarcable period, a min cash in the Zenith again, some qualifiers played and 1 or 2 tickets binked. I played again after a month the 5e Blackhole with one of those tickets, but no joy there. I'm glad I didn't play too much when I was tired, as this was one of my biggest leaks before. So, with my new bankroll of 180, I can spoil myself with the occasional 5 e tourney (one entry max, of course) , as I can afford to play up to 9 euro/evening, hoping to increase my bankroll slowly but steady until the point I can play them regularly ( that is the 300 euro limit ). And the new motto is : Calm and sleepy !

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  • 2 weeks later...

 Hello boys and girls ! Last week hasn't been a great one, poker wise, since i've been pretty much of it on the run and not in the right state of mind. My bankroll is now at 153 euro, so it is  a 15 % deficit from last week. I don't have many memories to share from my poker week, other than regging the Deep space, the 5 euro tourney ( since there are 3 of them: 0,50 , 5 e and 25 e ), one of the most profitable tourneys played by me, whether it's the nano or the 5e.

 I regged late this one; usually I look at the blinds value and if the starting stack is under 20 BBs I'm not regging. This time I didn't do it, so i was looking at 13 BBs or so and cursing my laziness to look more carefully; it was late reg and I did not have the possibility of a second bullet, because it would pass the 5 % rule of my BR ( I should play for max 9 euro/ evening ). I was glad to triple up from the first decent hand I played, then I was at some point chip leader with 10 people left and looking at the top 2 prizes it would have been a nice double up of my bankroll. Of course it didn't happen, like everytime I look too much at the top 3 prizes I finish outside the final table 😂; this time I finished 9th with a little more than 15 euro profit.

 The rest of the week was me contributing to the prize pools and getting rid of some euros. I actually learnt what is the factor that makes me tilt and spend big; it is not bad beats, nor the bad players making silly moves, neither bad luck or bad moves from my part; it is...boredom. Whenever I am too bored and not keen of doing anything else than poker, I tend to reg pretty much every tourney in my sight, well those I can afford of course; but I am playing so bad that it doesn't matter if it's a qualifier for 0.20 euro or a 5 euro tourney; it is equally bad. I'm pretty sure this is a break from the rules, not sure which one; but I'm happy that I've identified this leak and now I hope next time it happens, i'll go watch TV or something. And because I had a few days off ( it was Easter holiday, after all ) I wasn't too connected and ready to play, so I broke the golden rule (the 5 % one ) in the single day I had a little time to spend. OK so the next weeks will be all about discipline and choosing the right moment to play; calm and not bored is the new word !

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  • 4 weeks later...

 Hello my fellow troublemakers; it's been a while since this thing was updated. It was a wild journey, with highs and lows; my bankroll was at the worst under 80 euro, but now, at 113 euro, it's close to the high ( well, high for this 4 week period, of course ). On my last update it was 153, so it's only a 26 percent decrease. Most damage was done in the first week actually, when it has reached the low at 77. It was a very bad week, with a 50 % slump, all given my troubled mental state. Nothing extraordinary happened in this period, but I was so anxious, so nervous, that I had to do something to forget about it, so I played poker. Don't do this at home, kids. The human mind is our greatest strength, but it can also be our greatest weakness. It can be very fragile, you know. And since it doesn't have a reset button, you just carry on, hoping the next day will be better, because the past cannot be changed...

 The second week I didn't play very much, because I had a lot to do at work; going home I was just too tired. Eventually it was a good thing, because my brain was pretty much dead, to care at all about the anxiety or nervousness that happened before. Also that Sunday I was very close to a very nice achievement; to qualify for the Unibet Open main event from  just 1 euro. In case you wonder how could happen such a silly thing: 1e to 4 e ticket; 4 e to 25 ticket. At this point I was thinking to complain to the community about the lack of opportunities for the 25 e Unibet Open ticket holders, as it was only 1 tourney per day to qualify for 250 e ticket, with only the first place winning a ticket. And here I was, sitting on this bus journey with nothing to do for at least half an hour and scouting for something to do on my phone. I saw this qualifier for 250 e Open, with 6 or 7 people in it and only 1 alias I recognised; I thought it was a good sign so I went for it...and won. I decided to ride my luck while I can so I regged the 250 euro qualifier for the main event in the same evening, with 8 places to win the ticket. I managed to Nit my way into the last 13, and I was 8th when I had Kings. Unfortunately my opponent had aces; if I doubled up at that point I was almost guaranteed the ticket, but it wasn't meant to be. Since then i got another 2 tickets, one of 25 e and one of 50 e, but blasted my chips pretty quickly in one of the awful days and it was over in less than an hour for both of them. 

 Slowly, but surely, my bankroll managed to go up as I had 4 second place finishes in some Singularity and Multiverse tournaments ( plus some other smaller ones ); so much for the heads up specialist 😂. In the UOS events i entered almost every nano tourney, so I can get my hands on a slice of the 1000 euro pie to be shared between the nano players. Only 2 final tables, one that was over after one hand ( those Jacks can't held against a fly ), and a 3rd place with an FT that was over almost as quickly, because the chip leader was a shoving machine (and a luckbox, for that matter ). But I'm pretty proud that I didn't get tempted to reg some of the higher buyins; only had 2 x 25 euro tickets that didn't get me any profit. 

 Last story to be shared is from a 50 e qualifier for the Supermoon. I can't remember if I started from 2 euro or from 2 e ticket won from a 0.40 euro flip. Anyway, from 2 euro I got a ticket to a 10 e qualie (there are also a few flip tourneys to a 10 e ticket ) and then to 50. I decided to eventually play after almost a month since winning that ticket. I doubled up pretty quickly, because one of my opponents decided to go all in with top pair, bad kicker ; the other one I was lucky to flop a set against 2 pairs. At that point I was 2 out of 14; first 4 players to win a ticket for the supermoon...and the fifth to cash a nice 222 euro, because  it overlayed a bit, but not too much to have another ticket to be won. Slowly my chips started to go away from me; the chip leader on my left 3 bet me almost every time I played a hand, putting pressure on my nitty game ( like he was supposed to do ). Eventually we were 6 players, and if one player busted, i was going to blast my 72 off to win those juicy euros ( I was like: f**k the ticket, gimme the cash !!! ). One of the short stacks went all in a few times; no one called. The chip leader then started to go all in, same result.  I blasted my last 3 blinds against the chippy, he called with a pair of tens;  probably would have called with almost any 2 cards because he had so many chips. The tens held and I was out, wondering how I missed such an opportunity to triple my bankroll; the only thing I had to do was sit and wait...but I waited a bit too much. So, that's it for today. Don't forget to focus your inner zen for better results 😊

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