Thursday, August 27, 2015

Poker at 35 vs Poker at 25

10 years ago I was 25 and in the midst of a fucking magical 6 week period. I got married on July 16th and a few weeks later won the main Pokerstars Sunday tournament which that day had 3,407 players and a $215 buy in. I went from having $400 in my Pokerstars account to high five figures.

Two Sunday's later I finished 4th in a $215 tournament on Party Poker with over 2,000 entrants and picked up another $30,000. It was nuts.

I went from grinding in $50 and $100 single table tournaments making $200 a day to playing most of literally the biggest tournaments online (which weren't all that big - $100 with rebuys every day, $500 buy ins once a week, and $1,000 buy in once a month along with whatever $215's ran) and the biggest cash games (either three $30/$60 limit games or three $10/$20 no limit games - there were no nosebleed stakes games those days) almost overnight.

And I won.

I can't believe I was able to just jump into the $30/$60 limit and $10/$20 NL games online and do anything but get fucking smoked. But I actually won regularly in those games. This is really an indicator of how soft the games where in those days that I wasn't a cash game specialist by any means and I could just play solid and that was enough. These days you have to be truely gifted to win at those stakes online.

Another thing I remember about being 25 is I still had hopes and dreams of being the best player in the world or at least in the top 10. I was actually a little upset when I turned 25 because Phil Helmuth won the WSOP main event at 24 and I no longer had the chance to be the youngest winner ever. But at that point I'd been on a steady upward trajectory for 5 years. Every few months I was better than I used to be. Every few months I'd make more money than the few months before. It was all up, all the time!

I'm 35 now. It's been almost 5 years since I gave up playing full time and got a job. Of course Black Friday came a few months after than and the online poker world got turned upside down. One obvious, but interesting note about this is that no one I'm playing against plays online. Anyone who has picked up poker in the past 5 years hasn't had the benefit of blitzing through thousands of hands a day. There is no substitute for that experience. I'm so far ahead that they'll never be able to catch me. I should be able to continue to crush them indefinitely. This is a very comforting thought and I try to think about it often.

I've also notice that I really enjoy playing again. I did not enjoy playing when I was 30. The pressure was too much and a lot of the joy got sucked out of it for me. At 25 I loved to play and at 35 I'm feeling that love again.

The last big change is that I use fuck a lot more in my blog posts these days. Fuck, fuck, fuck. See what I mean?

I'm back in fucking action tomorrow at the Oaks.

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