Thanks chris for doing this. The blackjack story is epic!
Name: Chris (ready2win)
Location: Berlin (Germany)
Main Game: Satellites / NLHE Tournaments
How long have you been playing: 5 years
Favorite Food: sweat-sour eggs
Q. Give us the poker history of ready2win. Where did you start, what are you playing now, and tell us about the recent tourney bink!
I started playing poker after I watched a commercial for Party Poker on TV in November 2007. For the next half-year I just tried out different games on different poker sites. I hardly knew any strategies nor I had any bank roll management. Besides this I was although very prone to tilt.
Around summer 2009 I took poker finally more serious and began to have some decent results in both cash and SNGs.
I planned to make 2011 the year where I finally make the breakthrough in the poker world so I can quit my day job. I started the year with playing the CAP games at Stars, but hit a pretty nasty downswing and moved my roll to FTP where I played both FR and 6max cash. On BF I withdrew my whole roll there and started to learn PLO on some euro network. Unfortunately I never got the hang of it and lost a big part of my bank roll.
After I sworn to myself to not play that game for a while I stumbled over the HUSNG lobby by accident. I played some and was hooked after the first match. I started out with some decent results but then I hit a pretty brutal downswing at the end of October. Of course I did something really stupid then: Playing way above my roll to chase my losses. Needless to say I burned my remaining roll in a few hours.
A few days after that I found chilin_dudes 2011 PG&C thread and I got a lot of motivation from reading it. So I decided to give poker a last shot and deposit another $100 into my Stars account. I kept playing HUSNGs in November and ended the month about break even. At the beginning of December I found those 235 FPPs sats to the Sunday Storm and since I had like 50k FPPs lying around in my account I took the chance and grinded them for a few days. I did very well in them and got a better conversion rate for my FPPs than being SNE. All of a sudden I had a decent mico-roll again and I decided to make satties my main game. As by now they are still my main game and I also mixing in some MTTs now into my session.
That bink was 4th March when I played my first full MTT Sunday. The 5c is one of the later MTTs I regged for on that day and I was lucky enough to take home the $1.9k for the first place. I came ITM very short being something like 83/89 but then I got some momentum going and came to the FT in 4/9 or so. I won a super important hand with AK vs KK (ace on the river) in a big pot when we where down to seven players and after that it was a pretty smooth sailing tbh even the HU was against a somewhat tricky player. We went back and forth a lot until he decided to open ship K3o for 20bb effective while I had KK to give me the chip lead back and a few hands later my 66 held against his A9o for the win. This was not only the first MTT I ever won but also my biggest score up to date.
Q. What do you do better then most people?
Not sure if I really do something better then most people but I put a lot of thought and work into my mental game and I am pretty proud where it is now even there is still a lot of room for improvement. During the years I realized that the mental game is what part the awsome from the good one in this game. Yeah, I bitch and moan about bad beats and not closing a tournament on Skype and/or in my PG&C thread from time to time like most others do. But I think that is just human. I am not a robot. I accept losing as part of the deal in this game but I dont like it. For me the key for a “perfect” mental game is not to neglect the existence of emotions when playing poker but to find the most optimal way to deal with them. I think as far as you realize that you have already won half of the battle.
Nowadays I see poker as just another videogame I play with money (or if you will the points) being the scorecard for it. But the money is not what drives me in the end. It is my passion for this beautiful game and my desire to compete at the highest level one day. So once I am starting to grind for the day I dont think about how much I won or lost the day before. I dont live in the past and can not make things unhappen. Every day is a new opportunity to let great things happen to you and all you can do is to prepare the best you can to let them happen. Everything else is not in your power.
Q. What do you think the most widely misunderstood concept is when it comes to poker?
That is a good question. If I have really to pick just one then I would go with the concept of “downswings”. It is such a widely discussed topic among forums and you can find a “How many buy-ins do I need for...” thread like every other week but yet it seems to me most players don`t have a really good understanding of it. That usual results into answers like “If you lose 300ABI [in MTTs] you are not a winning player” or similar stuff like that. However I can understand where this thinking comes from. People try to define things as best as possible because once you define a thing you remove uncertainity from it and have a feel of control over it.
But the truth is that there is nothing like a “standard downswing”. You can not say you will lose x ABI over y games and thats what you can always expect. Poker in general and espcially tournament poker just don`t work this way. You can lose 300ABI over 300 games and you can lose the same amount over 3k games. Heck, there are proven winning players who went on 700-1000 ABI downswings over 5k games. Downswings are no proportional allotment where you can predict a starting and an end point so no downswing is similar to another one. The truth is that at some point you will ran worse than you think it would be ever possible. And by the same time there is probably someone who is even running more worse than you.
Now it is of course scary for most players to admit that there is no way to say what a “standard downswing” is and that you have no complete controll over it at least in the short term. So they keep labling this as “normal” and that as “abnormal” downswings. Add this fact with a lot of outdated informations about bank roll management out there back from the day when games were insanly soft so you could probably play a $50ABI with a 200ABI bank roll and never had a real risk of ruin and you understand where those “ZOMG 300ABI downswings not possible for winning players” comments come from.
Q. What has been your largest struggle in poker thus far?
If I have to describe it with just one word I would say “discipline”. The discpline at the table to make the right plays, the discipline to put in the nessacary volume and the discipline to put in enough hours into my game to improve it. I am just not a very disciplined person by nature and have definatley problems to live be strict schedule for example. It got a bit better over the years but I still have problems to put in enough volume. I also had my fair problems with tilt in the past but like I already mentioned I worked a lot on that in the past with the result that I am more or less complete tilt free most of the times.
Q. What has been your highest high, and lowest low?
In regards to my highest high I think I have to name my recent bink for sure. For the lowest low there are a few I still remember. One of them me busting my entire bank roll at black jack about four years ago. At that time I played on a Merge skin and one day discovered their black jack tables. I had an appointment with some friends of mine later that day so I just opened four black jack tables, clicked the “auto run” option and went outside. When I came home my whole bank roll was gone. Another very low point for me was in October last year when I played midstakes HUSNGs while being on mega tilt and busting my roll again.
But to be honest nowadays I try to avoid that peaks at least when it comes to emotions. I didnt go crazy after my recent bink for example. The next session I played after it I just thought “Well, that was that and now lets try to win some more money”. On the other side I also dont get upset anymore about lossing session. Those where in the past so no reason to be upset about them the day ater.
Q. Who is your biggest inspiration?
I think when it comes to my overall approach to the game especially in terms of dedication I would say Kevin “WizardOfAhhs” Thurman (needbeer on 2+2). In my opinion he is the definition of a “true grinder” espcially considering the fact that he is battling such a serious illness and still set the VPP record in 2010. After I read his story the first time I got a lot of inspiration from him. I also got some inspiration for sure from chilin_dudes 2011 PG&C thread which gave me the idea for my current PG&C thread. There also some MTT grinders I look up to without naming them because I dont want to start to discussion who is really good and who is just on a heater and there is also the chance that I just forget to name one who would definatly have to be on that list.
I know it sounds somewhat like a cliché when player says it but Phil Ivey is also a bigt inspiration for me and maybe even my biggest. I mean he is just the greatest of all time. He is just sick good in all games at the highest stakes. He never shows any emotions at the tables and just had that complete indifference about money which you need to get on the very top. I will prolly never be as good as he is but I will try my best to get as close as possible.
Q. Where do you see yourself in poker in five years?
Well, I hope by that time already played a few years full time. My ultimate goal is to be a excellent mixed-game player competing at the highest stakes possbile. That is what I am really striving for in the long run. I think the biggest accomplish I could have by then is to win the WSOP $50k Player`s Championship. Tbh I would rather like to win that one than the Main Event. Also at least one online tripple crown would be nice but who knows, maybe even a live tripple crown? One other big dream I have is to be a sponsored pro preferably by PokerStars of course.
I know that sounds all very dreamish but who knows what the future will bring, right?
Q. Who is going to be the 2012 main event champ?
Since I am not playing the it I dont really care ;) But seriously, I would like to an amateur winning it because that is always good for the game.
Q. Pick 5 guys to play a home game with. Who are they?
Phil Ivey, given his is my absolute favorite player and to bluff him out of a pot just one time would make an awesome story for the rest of my life lol
Tom Dwan, imo the second best player after Ivey and also a great challenge to play against
Doyle Bronson, because he did so much for the game and he has prolly a lot of awsome back in the day stories to tell
Shaun Deeb, a true online MTT legend for me and prolly a cool guy to have around in a home game
WizardOfAhhs, like I said one of my biggest inspirations and I would like to get him know in real life
Q. Favorite Forum?
I am not browsing the fourms a lot nowadays tbh so I think I pick PG&C. Sometimes you just find really good thread there which gives you a lot of motivation and a different view on the game.
Q. Pick a “one time” for the next 6 months. This blog/thread is good luck.
I mean after my first four figure score it would be neat to have my first within the next 6 months. But to be not that selfish I think I would spend my “one time” for poker not being regulated here in Germany within the next six month. I think that is far more important to me in the middle term to be honest.