Sunday, April 03, 2011


My bankroll is at it's lowest point in 10 years. I was a skinny, wide eyed 21 year old (OK not that skinny and maybe more squinty and shifty than wide eyed) playing $3/$6 limit hold'em 10 handed at the Oaks club about 10 hours a week the last time I had this little to work with.

But I don't really need a bankroll anymore. The crushing vise of monthly expenses is now being held open by a paycheck. A paycheck that comes in good times and bad and reads exactly the same, down to the cent, every month.

I've seen a few of the top pros start with very small bankrolls (orders of magnitude less than I have) and turn them into something significant as a personal challenge. The point is to prove to others and themselves that they could start from scratch and make it all over again.

I've forgotten his name, but one of the top SNG players set a goal to take $5 and turn it into $10,000 in one month. One thing he had going for him was that he was a mental freak of nature and had an ideal set up in terms of many huge monitors allowing him to play up to 300 SNGs in a day.

Also he cheated. He lost his $5 bankroll many times and simply started again with another $5. I could make $5 Keno bets until one hit big and then say "Look! I turned $5 into $1,000 playing Keno! In the end, if you ignore the cheating aspect, he did it.

More impressive was Chris Ferguson turning *zero* dollars into $10,000. He started with freerolls only until he could scrape together a couple dollars and then shifted to playing at the micro stakes. Once he had $50 or $100 it didn't take him long to go the rest of the way.

I had about $3,000 when I started my career as a prop player in July of 2003. In April of 2004 when I went off totally on my own and starting playing 90% online I had about $10,000. In the good times from 2005-mid 2008 I kept at least $30,000 to work with and made a great living working about 30 hours a week. From the end of the flush years until the fall of 2010 I typically had a $10,000 bankroll and was still able to support my family of three entirely from poker winnings.

Now I have a job and a $1,000 bankroll. The job pays for the 3 bedroom house in Northern California, keeps the lights on and puts food on the table, but not much else. Playing poker is going to be the difference between bud lite and burgers or pinot noir and filets for a while.

For some people it might be hard to drop so far down in stakes. After all, I've played 6 tournaments with buy ins of $5,000+, 75-100 with buy ins of $1,000+, I have no idea how many $200-$500 buy in tournaments, and now I'll be locking horns with the $10 and $20 players. For me, I don't really care. It's not about the thrill of victory or getting in Carplayer magazine any more. It's mostly about dollars, partially about about fun, and a little bit about delivering soul crushing beats to egomaniacal college kids (You know who you are! I'm coming to crush you!).

My new job has exposed me to google analytics and I've discovered that I have about 500 people visit my blog each month which is more than I thought and makes me feel like I should get back to writing at least weekly.

I'm not sure what I can do with $1,000 playing 10 hours a week, but I'll try to keep you posted. Hopefully it will all be good news.

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