Monday, August 31, 2009


By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

At the start of 2009, I was playing an average of seventy-five minutes of poker per day. Some days had longer sessions than others while I grinded (is it ground? like ground beef that they pick up off the killing floor of the slaughterhouse and make Jack in the Box burgers out of the floor scraps?) it out at the limit hold'em tables playing as many as I could at one time (but never more than 4 or 5 because I'm always multi-tasking and reading business articles, reading emails, and editing posts for Coventry).

Online poker was aways numbers game for me and I logged my time because I knew how to be a winning over the long run as long as I kept my focus and composure. The hard part was staying disciplined and playing textbook poker, which you need to do in limit. In short, those seventy-five minutes were boring but profitable.

Most of the time, I was going through the motions but the volume of the tables generated a steady flow of income... and made me a 10-time Iron Man on Full Tilt, whatever that means. The money that I won online in those months would not make my accountant's head spin. Since I was in the middle of writing a book, I took on less freelance work which meant that any extra money flowing in would be an added bonus. Playing online an hour or so every night gave me the chance to wind down the evening after an exhausting and mentally draining day locking myself in the office pecking away at the keyboards.

Online poker was also a remedy for insomnia. Instead of tossing and turning and trying desperately to fall back asleep, I decided to fire up PokerStars and fleece the EuroDonks.

Also, in the back of my mind, I wondered what it would be like playing poker for a living, or at the least playing it to seriously supplement my income. I know plenty of people who do it for a living, and some of them actually made money. But could I? And would I?

I honestly hope that it never comes to the point in my life that the only opportunity for me to make money was to play poker. If that happens, could I pay rent from my skills at the tables? Because if times really got tough, I would return to tending bar, writing $25 erotica pieces for porn shill sites, and spending the rest of the time trying to find a beatable low stakes game that my bankroll could handle.

After covering the poker scene for the last half of a decade, I know that it takes a special breed of person to be able to be successful at the tables, not to mention limiting all of the other negative variables that are obvious obstacles in the life as a pro. The cliche fits... it's a tough way making an easy living.

Alas, playing poker for a living is a job and not a lifestyle which many of you have a difficult time differentiating. And by definitions, all job suck (especially writing gigs). Some jobs have great perks like parking spaces, dental insurance, and massages from ex-strippers. But most of the time, you're going through the motions and waiting for the day to end so you can inebriate your senses or go home and watch TV or spend time with friends, family, or a loved one.

When the WSOP began, I stopped playing online poker because I had no free time. Once the WSOP ended, I was traveling and on a vacation from all things poker. Even though I'm no longer on vacation, online poker is non-existent these days. It used to be a priority, now it's an afterthought.

On the spur of the moment, I decided to host a Saturdays with Dr. Pauly for all those PLO junkies out there. Cliff won that one and we all had fun. I Also played online poker once when I was in New York City and that's because I showed up an hour late for an editorial meeting and had too much time to kill, so I sat in the food court across from the gelato place in the basement of Grand Central Station and fired up the virtual tables.

But I played online poker yesterday. Sort of. There was the Sunday morning blogger freeroll on PokerStars. The top 18 players won $109 tickets to the WCOOP. I only found out about at the last second and registered. I almost didn't play it and opted for sleep instead because I was up until sunrise the night before. After a long Saturday of writing, I tied one on Saturday night and stayed up much later partying than I wanted to. Alas, I woke up in time to play. Bad move. I should have opted for sleep.

Even though there were only 300 or so players, the freeroll was a Turbo format. Usually during freerolls, 1/3 of the field is sitting out while another third is playing like maniacs and busting out. That's the value... trying to pick off a pushmonkey with a less than marginal hand. Or taking coinflips early on in the tournament in hopes of doubling up early.

I didn't last very long. I stole a lot of blinds because everyone to me left was sitting out. That kept me about even stacked. One guy at my table kept moving all in pre-flop. I found A-K and called hoping that he had a smaller ace and at the worst, I was hoping for a coinflip since the blinds were rapidly accelerating. I found myself up against 9-9. I whiffed and lost my race. I headed to the virtual rail and sweated BadBlood and AlCantHang before they busted.

The WCOOP starts this week. There are several enticing events on the schedule. I might try a satellite or two or buy into one or two events directly... if I can finish the edits for Lost Vegas before the WCOOP ends.

Click here for the 2009 WCOOP schedule.

Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.

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