After significant planning, discussion with friends and coaches, a growing disgust for my current employment and my growth potential there, I've decided to take the plunge and quit my job to play poker fulltime.
This is coming on the heels of a massive upswing, which is nice, because it's given me some living expenses money and significantly padded my roll. However, it's important to remember that a massive downswing is just around the corner and failing to account for it can truly mean financial ruin. :( So with that said, it's time to sharpen the skills, get into the chair, and take the reigns!
Essential things to focus on as a professional:
1.) Healthy Diet - This should be no problem as I generally eat pretty healthy overall. What I want to focus in on with this goal is making sure that I am eating breakfast early enough after I wake up, making sure that I am eating lunch at a reasonable hour, snacking healthily through out the day, and getting in a good dinner. I love cooking and am working to improve my repertoire. One of these will be coming my way soon. (It's sharp as FUCK! and highly acclaimed by people that know what they are talking about)
2.) Working out on the reg. - The gym is something that I had struggled to wrap my brain around for the majority of my life. I've been blessed with a super high metabolism (aka skinny kid syndrome) and haven't ever felt the desire to bulk up or get to the gym. About 2 years ago, my father lost 70 lbs in about a 4month span. It's done wonders for his energy, demeanor, outlook on life, and overall he's just a better person because of it. That really helped me get some perspective on it, and a little further down the line, I found the "Get better at this kind of shit for dummies" book in Built For Show by Nate Green. This book took away the guesswork that was preventing me from regularly going to the gym, and put me on a structured program and steered me clear fo a lot of misinformation. I began to see and feel results in a very short amount of time. However lately I've been slacking and it's time to turn that around. Gym 3 times a week every week barring injuries. I can get in and get out in like an hour, there's really no reason not to, besides I feel like it really does help your mental acuity! Booyah!
3.) Read dammit! - Right now this is what my list of books that I need to read looks like, consequently, that's also what my nightstand looks like. There are so many things that I want to read up on as well as some fiction stuff that I enjoy. Additionally, reading before bed, helps me get to sleep much better than watching a movie/video or listening to music.
4.) Writing - As I mentioned in my last post, writing is something that I see a lot of value in. I enjoy blogging, and find that when I am writing it helps me organize my thoughts in such a way that just ins't possible in other mediums. "The ability to clearly communicate with others is and always will be a valuable skill to possess." (loosely paraphrasing my father) I feel that that is something that I have always struggled with and am now working to improve. Any suggestions on this matter are welcome!
5.) Work on my start up. - More details once we get further along, but a friend and I have started our own company and I'll be putting in a good amount of work on it in the coming months (years?). The idea behind it is really really good and I feel that if we can execute, we will have something awesome on our hands. All of these things that I have mentioned so far are pretty non-poker related; they are also constructive. Something that I was discussing with WiltonTilt recently is that when you play poker seriously (pro or not) and you go through a really crushing stretch it's good to have something to take your mind of off the game and specifically off of losing. For me this alternative was usually in the form of another game. I love games! But when you are constantly losing in poker and then you don't do well in other parts of your life, it can really begin to take a toll on your psyche. Another game might not be the best alternative, and really what are you getting out of it aside from some temporary entertainment? I think that having constructive non-win/lose activities in my life will be a big part of keeping mentally stable enough to take this on seriously which brings me to...
6.) Getting in hands. - This was one of the major things the had held me back from getting to this point earlier. I never put in much volume. I had about a 250k breakeven stretch in 2008-2009. I would play a couple hundred hands every couple days, no real schedule to it, and while I was doing well and winning consistently on my good days, I was also FPS'ing and losing consistently on my off days. Variance played a large role, I was running like ass, but everyone runs like ass! I wasn't thinking sometimes, I wasn't always playing well, I was letting my ego take over and the humility wasn't there. I just wasn't putting in the hands or the work to improve. At the suggestion of jk3a in Episode 1 of Moneytrain to Midstakes I started getting my act together, got a real groove on and started putting in a lot more hands. It's just so much easier to play well regularly when you are playing the same games day in and day out. You learn who the regulars are, what their tendencies are, who the fish are, the game dynamics that exist. When you come and go willy nilly in the games, checking in once every so often you can't identify those things and what I ended up doing was usually blowing a buyin or so every session on things that I wouldn't have done if I had been playing in those games regularly. Additionally, as much as I hate to encourage volume for volume's sake, the rakeback really helps out. Getting a $19.06 rakeback payment was just kind of sad. Get your ass in gear if you're going to be serious about this shit!
7.) Homework assignments - I've been assigning myself homework assignments to improve my edge in the 6max games that I am regularly playing in. This means spending a lot of time in pokerstove and HEM and writing out my findings into some concrete nuggets of advice that I can write that my future self will actually find useful. Another part of this includes getting coaching check ups and reviewing a lot of hand histories in the forums to keep my thought processes in check.
8.) Staying Social - Remember that there is more to life than just poker. The relationships with non-poker friends are essential to staying grounded and not getting lost in your own little world of checks, calls, bets, and raises. Do fun things with your friends that you will remember (or remember the hangovers from) for the rest of your life. I love my friends and I love that they don't always understand what I do or why I will be glued to the computer for hours at a time. They don't have to understand, it's usually better that they don't. They just have to be the people that you want to be around and do things with. That's why they are awesome.
9.) Be good butters! - Don't ask, but it's really important!
Best of luck to you all! I feel like I've worked hard enough, ran well enough, put in the work and finally gotten to the point where I'm ready to embark on this! Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!