April 24, 2011
With all the stuff going on in the poker world and my life i kind of just need to vent. Things have definitely stressful after black friday since i have about 20k tied up on the internet. The way things happened were so fast and took everyone by surprise. I went to bed Thursday April 14th and life was so amazing, exciting and optimistic. I woke up Friday April 15th and reality slowly crept in. Once I came to grips with what was happening i wanted to throw up. I felt like my future was in jeopardy and everything i had worked for was gone. They couldn't just come in and take all my hard earned money could they? Also i have 5k on the way that says its being processed does that get lost?
HOW DID I GET HERE?
Last night sitting in a 5/10 game at commerce it definitely made me reflect on how i got there. I was sitting in a game that i used to only imagine playing in. The idea of playing for 1k in a NL game seemed too crazy to ever happen to me. I started out by luckboxing an online tourney and then going down to commerce playing the capped 40 dollar bi 1/2 game that i now realize is flat out unbeatable bc of rake. But to get where i am now as i consider myself a professional poker player I had a ton of drive, optimism and will to grind out wins in the small games. This enabled me to start to get to higher games. As i went back to school I fell into playing online and found my niche in 6max NL and HUNL games on the 3 major sites. I luck boxed a few mtts and built my roll. But to be honest I wouldn't say i was a good poker player. I had the ability to beat the games but I lacked perspective, objectivity, and self control. I often tilted and punted money. I didn't have the ability to see the merits of an opponents play and thought everyone was bad. Most people were bad but not being objective and playing poker with ego leads you to the road to busto. I ended up downswing a lot at 1/2 and basically went busto when i went back to school and fell away from playing full time. Eventually things clicked I started playing 25nl Fr starting over and learning to grind, not tilt and just understand things for what they were. Basically i took the ego out of it. I continued to crush these games and hit some scores and over the last year i went from 25nl Fr to being able to hold my own in 1/2 and 2/4 NL games online. I was just starting to take shots at 2/4 in the last few months or so. I also made a ton at 100 and 50 rush. Id say in a top 5 all time winner at 50 rush. I had come so far then last friday went down and all this was in jeopardy.
April 15, 2011 is the day that no one forgets if you play online poker for a living. To steal a line from Adam form 2p2, " It's the day Kennedy got shot.' If you play online for a living your lively hood and and ton of money was at risk. I was in my bed and started to check twitter and didn't know what to say. But in all honesty this was inevitable and I think the writing was on the wall. Why else would FTP have the multi-entry tourneys and stars be in talks with Steve Wynn. I think that the owners knew but didn't know when and wanted to get as much money while the could still operate in the US market. That being said I am not happy this happened and would have preferred the timing be much different but it is what it is. Black Friday will change the poker landscape for a while in the US and i think that its going to be tough on a lot of players myself included.
So what does this really mean for US players. Well, we will get the money back and i think it will be sooner than later. But even so this leaves poker in the US exponentially harder to play for a living. I think maybe only the top 15% of pros can make a living playing live cash/ tourneys. And within that top 15% short term variance is going to play a huge roll given volume just isn't there live. Win rates will be skewed playing live because of the short term variance being so drastic due to the pace of the game. I do believe that win rates can be much higher overall but short term variance can crush some people while playing live. I do think if you are rolled to play above 2/5nl and play some mtts that have good value making a living playing live is doable but will be tough. I think if you have to play smaller than that its going to be tough and you flat out have to run good to make things work.
The biggest reason why i think so few will be able to make it in this tougher poker landscape is i believe that if you need to win to support yourself given the levels of difficulty your life has to be in order in all aspects. There will not be room for laziness, irresponsibility, or having any vices that will take you away from the game. Also being financially responsible will become extremely important. Basically there will be no room for error and things like flipping for dinner tabs, and bar bills will leave some players busto IMO. I do think making it in the new world of poker is doable but is a huge undertaking that i'm ready to go full steam ahead with. Basically among the players that play well enough to win those that have their lives in order will end up making the money and those who don't will go bust
The other option that I'm considering is moving outside the US and continuing to play online. I am going to see how games are developing on FTP/stars during wsop and see if its worth it. I think my hourly is probably highest online but if games are bad no point in moving to cananda to make money but its something I'm strongly considering. Given i dont go bust or anything i really think this is a good option if you dont have a family or any obligations in the US. The other thing is it might be nice to live outside US in Europe and enjoy other parts of the world.
So what happens next? We really have no idea but since we love to speculate I will join everyone in doing so. I think that short term this sucks and is obviously bad. But i do think that the government does not want to kill the market. Which is why i always though we would get the money eventually. Like i said its going to be hard but doable to maintain in the poker world but its not going anywhere and as long as people lack ability to be objective and logical poker will always be profitable. That being said just because its profitable doesn't meant that you can make a living off of it but i think that the smartest players will always be able to make a living off of poker. I think you will see a lot of internet kids take shots at wsop and go bust this summer for many reasons i stated above. I think you will see a lot of players just be over it and move on but there is good news imo.
What? good news? Yes there is good news. IMO this is rock bottom for poker in the US.( Can it get much worse lol?). So the only way to go is UP! I think that Online poker will be regulated and we will have 1 or 2 sites that are legal in the US and payment processing will be more solid that we are used to. This is good news! How good? Very Very good news. Also If its regulated and legal in the US you will see many many more recreational fish depositing and punting money in the online market. There will be a second poker boom. The US economy has shown some signs of recovery and if these two things can happen simultaneously I think we could see a huge second poker boom. It will never be like the party days when there almost was a win $$$ button but i think you could see games getting very good and alot of money to be made.