Two Plus Two Publishing LLC
Two Plus Two Publishing LLC
 

Go Back   Two Plus Two Poker Forums > >

Notices

Poker Theory General poker theory

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-06-2019, 07:37 PM   #1
TheUntiltable
newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 39
#hands it took to become a winner

Hi guys

I’m posting this here because it relates to broad questions about learning in poker.

I’d like to know, for profitable players who started playing poker in or since 2013, how many hands you estimate it took for you to become a significantly winning player? Please include your main variant(s). Do also include your modes of learning and study ratio if you like, bankroll management style, as well as any tilt problems.

I’m interested to take an informal survey of this for several reasons. First, because if many people claim to have been winners from as soon as they started that will suggest something about the nature of the game, or about success in it—as it will if most people quote a much higher number. Second, I think that whilst many sites offer training and explanations of what people do/did to succeed in poker, there are very few places where you get a grasp of someone’s (or many people’s) overall journey. This will be helpful and encouraging to many other players out there. I am also just curious.

So please, given the conditions above, and *only if you are a solidly winning player*, please contribute with your answer. And be honest!
TheUntiltable is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2019, 10:34 PM   #2
Lezaleas
newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 39
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

took me 32k hands to become a 5bb/100+ winner at 888, I started about 8 months ago with their no deposit free dollar.
During those hands. I`d say I studied about 33% of how much I played, Which is still a lot, because I used to 1 table or 2 table back then. I don`t really remember how I studied back then, I remember I used to make many many ranges for preflop on equilab and I read plenty of free sites and forums. I had no idea what gto was back. Now that I think about it, I started reading tMoP right around those 32k hands,
I had no idea how to manage a bankroll back then and took several risky shots that failed. I never had any tilt problems, i`m kinda immune to it.
My only background before online was regularly crushing our monthly friends house game, about 7 fish with no online or live experience, just our house game
Lezaleas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2019, 10:15 AM   #3
TheUntiltable
newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 39
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

Interesting, thanks. What variant do you play at what stakes, and how many hands have you now played for this 5bb winrate?
TheUntiltable is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2019, 10:19 AM   #4
ZKesic
adept
 
ZKesic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Slovenia
Posts: 1,004
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

It originally took me around 30k hands (~3 months) to start making a constant profit at 10nl (NLH, party poker).
Around a month later I moved up to 25nl and started losing again. It took me around 1 more month to become break even there.

When you say "significantly winning player", it depends on what your definition of it is.
If we're talking about win rate, it took me around 30k hands.
If we're talking about having a nice hourly, it took longer:
30k to make ~$5/hour
100k to make ~$10/hour
300k to make ~$15/hour
1mil to make ~$20/hour
2mil to make ~$25/hour
This is where I am right now.

I used to study poker much more than I played it at the beginning. Mainly because I always loved poker theory and never really liked playing the game. I considered it work. I studied mainly with equilab/HM2 at the time and thought about poker through the day.
I've made a rule to stop study poker about a year ago though, since I don't think there's much that I can still learn. It's just a huge waste of time at this point. If you're making $20 per hour playing poker and spend 1:1 time playing/studying, you're basically only making $10 per hour. That's how I see it.

My bankroll management was always very strict (a lot of people tell me that I should be moving up, but I just don't like taking risks. I don't enjoy poker by itself, it's just better than other jobs).

I've never tilted in my life. Never even felt that "emotion". I honestly don't understand it, I think that it's some form of panic that people feel when they keep doing the same thing and it isn't working. Like for example if you were in a burning building, trying to get out... You would first calmly try to open the door... but it wouldn't work - you'd then feel panic (tilt) - that would make you try doing something different, something more aggressive to open the door.
Anyways, I think that the reason I never feel this is because I'm not enjoying poker. I don't play it for fun, it's my job. If I wanted to play a game for fun, I'd go play Warcraft or something... I'm not super happy when I win, I'm not very sad when I lose. If I don't feel like playing anymore I can always stop and just go do something else.
That's how I see it.
ZKesic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2019, 10:19 AM   #5
TheUntiltable
newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 39
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

Great full response ZKesic, thanks.

When I say “significantly winning” I actually only mean of some statistical significance, so anything over about 50k as a sample would be worth mentioning. Above that obviously better, below that fairly meaningless (depending on variant).
TheUntiltable is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2019, 10:25 AM   #6
TheUntiltable
newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 39
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

Your thoughts on tilt are interesting. It is obviously irrational, but I am beginning to think that it stems more from a faulty conception of what poker is that is then expressed through other psychological avenues than the result of any of those deep-seated hang ups (which flaws everyone surely has to some degree). So I think the best path to sorting it may actually be firming up one’s expectations about the game rather than any of the deep-diving and introspection advocates by Tendler and most other mental coaches. That’s largely a topic for a future article though. My tilt largely revolves around feeling that I have played badly relative to my knowledge and skill—a perfectionism that is a common theme as both spur and bane in my life!
TheUntiltable is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2019, 10:38 AM   #7
ArtyMcFly
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
ArtyMcFly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Enchantment Under the Sea
Posts: 11,929
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

There's a thing called "survivorship bias". Many of the people that became long-term players did so because they ran very well at the start of their careers, and that enabled them to build their bankrolls (or at least not go busto quickly) even when they weren't very good. I could list several famous tourney players who have said "I won the first tournament I ever played, and was immediately hooked on the game."

For me playing cashgames, I made quads vs a boat and the nut flush and tripled up on about my fifteenth ever hand, so I was up 2 buyins very quickly. (On average, it takes a 5bb/100 winner about 4000 hands to win 2 buyins). As I was a nitfish that ran well, it took me a while to lose those two buyins of profit. By running well initially, I didn't need to deposit again while I learned the game. Since I obviously couldn't keep making quads vs boats, I dropped back to my initial starting roll after about 30,000 hands, but then I got a HUD, started taking the game more seriously, and basically had a positive orange line for the rest of my life.

After 50,000 hands, my EV was about 5bb/100, but after 100k, it was up to about 8bb/100 (this was in 2012, when games were stupidly soft in comparison to today). It's been slowly dropping each successive year, and now it's below 5bb/100 again.
I've said this before and I'll say it again. If I'd lost all of my initial deposit (a measly $32, which was just 16 buyins for 2NL), I wouldn't be posting today. I would have quit poker before I'd really started.

EDIT: I also think that if I was starting today, but with the knowledge I had in 2012, my $32 deposit would not last very long. I'd have to run insanely hot to still have anything left after about 20,000 hands. Indeed, I had a 16 buy-in downswing a few months ago, and that's with my "superior" knowledge/skillset. :/
ArtyMcFly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2019, 10:41 AM   #8
ZKesic
adept
 
ZKesic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Slovenia
Posts: 1,004
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUntiltable View Post
Your thoughts on tilt are interesting. It is obviously irrational, but I am beginning to think that it stems more from a faulty conception of what poker is that is then expressed through other psychological avenues than the result of any of those deep-seated hang ups (which flaws everyone surely has to some degree). So I think the best path to sorting it may actually be firming up one’s expectations about the game rather than any of the deep-diving and introspection advocates by Tendler and most other mental coaches. That’s largely a topic for a future article though. My tilt largely revolves around feeling that I have played badly relative to my knowledge and skill—a perfectionism that is a common theme as both spur and bane in my life!
I was always very much like this too. I wanted my strategy/gameplay to be perfect in every aspect and until I'm 100% perfect, I'm afraid to even consider moving up.

Though for most people, the tilt comes from the exact opposite reasons I think. They tilt because they think that they did play perfectly, but have gotten unlucky or that the opponent played badly and won. The fact is, that even if someone goes all-in preflop with 27o and you have AA, he has some% equity. If 27o had 0% chance to win, the guy wouldn't even go all-in, right? It's expected that he wins sometimes. The same way you should feel lucky when you win with AA (since you didn't have 100% equity). If you think that this guy is somehow constantly taking money from you, you should consider that he might even be outplaying you (intentionally or accidentally). Maybe you are overfolding vs all-ins and are only calling the nuts for example. In that case his play might even be optimal. You have to be very self critical and open minded in poker and never call people bad (even in you mind). It's the wrong mindset.
Especially being mad at players that you think are bad is something that just doesn't make any sense.
ZKesic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2019, 01:07 PM   #9
Lezaleas
newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 39
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lezaleas View Post
took me 32k hands to become a 5bb/100+ winner at 888, I started about 8 months ago with their no deposit free dollar.
During those hands. I`d say I studied about 33% of how much I played, Which is still a lot, because I used to 1 table or 2 table back then. I don`t really remember how I studied back then, I remember I used to make many many ranges for preflop on equilab and I read plenty of free sites and forums. I had no idea what gto was back. Now that I think about it, I started reading tMoP right around those 32k hands,
I had no idea how to manage a bankroll back then and took several risky shots that failed. I never had any tilt problems, i`m kinda immune to it.
My only background before online was regularly crushing our monthly friends house game, about 7 fish with no online or live experience, just our house game
I play NLHE 6max cash almost exclusively, and those initial 32k were at 888 1NL (which is sooo fishy). My 5bb has remained consisted trough 5NL to 25, since then. I've almost played 200k hands now
Lezaleas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2019, 01:36 PM   #10
ZKesic
adept
 
ZKesic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Slovenia
Posts: 1,004
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lezaleas View Post
I play NLHE 6max cash almost exclusively, and those initial 32k were at 888 1NL (which is sooo fishy). My 5bb has remained consisted trough 5NL to 25, since then. I've almost played 200k hands now
wtf is 1NL
ZKesic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2019, 01:47 PM   #11
TheUntiltable
newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 39
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

ArtyMcFly--thanks very much for another detailed response. What variants do you/ did you play?

Exactly what you write about survivorship bias had occurred to me as a possibility, and part of the reason I wanted to start this thread was to see if it bore out. But I can imagine, though it may be outweighed by the survivorship bias, that there may also be at least something of a motive factor in the other direction, however: that those who lose initially may be spurred to keep playing to recoup their losses. But I think that that is likely to be a weaker factor.

It is also interesting to note that some strong players didn't have such smooth starts. Indeed, I don't know the poker biographies of that many of the best players, but Doug Polk is a striking example. He is clearly someone who began by losing (cf his famous post on these forums at a low point) and then became one of the best players in the world. I don't know if there are many supporting examples of that kind, but it makes me wonder whether the doggedness and self-honesty you get from acknowledging that you are a losing player but deciding to work through it might persist, leaving you less settled with your own abilities and more attentive to your mistakes throughout the rest of your career. In other words, that whilst a player who started off winning might be more likely to be content with his game, a player who overcame losing like Polk might be more likely to continue to be self-critical. Poker would persist in seeming a more threatening/ serious matter for such a player and they might continue to put more effort into game development than someone more closely resembling Zkesic's self-description above, where it's not seen as so significant (no offence ZKesic, I know nothing about your game! And in any case the perfectionism you mention in your second post belies this actually being true of you).

I'm at a funny point w/r/t poker. I started playing in about 2013, and played for about six months. The first night I played I deposited 50 on 888, ran it up to about 500 in half an hour, playing with absolutely no idea what I was doing, then lost it all again immediately the next half hour. Nevertheless, I was left with the impression that poker could offer such gains in so short a time if you played your cards right...

That next six months (which coincided with a not-so-great period in my personal life) or so saw me punt off about 3k, a not-damaging but not insignificant amount of money. I took a break for several months, but kept up my interest in the game a bit, still reading about it etc. I got in touch with a famous pro who was then writing a blog that would eventually become a book, and we started talking about philosophy and poker via email. I'm a writer, and eventually we made an arrangement where he gave me 1to1 coaching via Skype and I would edit his chapters for the book. I probably became a slight winner at this point (50nl hu, but not bankrolled for it). Shortly afterwards I stopped playing, thinking that I had managed to turn a monetary loss (and a period I had found v psychologically stressful) into something positive, in terms of helping this chap to write a (imo) brilliant book, in the creation of which I was proud to have played some small part. Then I quit playing til recently.

As a writer, I'm waiting to get a novel published myself, having recently signed with an agent. In this interim, as I wait to hear from publishers, I thought to start playing poker again, and my interest in it reawakened. So about three or four months ago I took it up again, playing on Winamax in France (where I live). It's quite a soft site, but the game has evolved once again, and over the last few of months I've become stuck about 2k euros (c75k hands). It's been gradual, but definitely results largely from 1) My inability to allow myself to log a losing session, and running up stakes occasionally to chase; 2) Some aggregated tilt, wanting to get unstuck so I can relax more when I play such that I will be able to more readily accept some losses; 3) Not taking my opponents seriously enough/ being able to conceive that they get good hands too, and getting out of the way! Finally 4) I also am possibly too doggedly hardworking, in that I am capable of pursuing something for hours beyond my capacity to be doing it optimally, IE when I am tired. This doesn’t matter for other pursuits (like writing or academia) but it clearly does for poker!

Nevertheless, I feel that in the last month or so my poker thinking has become *way* more developed; I've gone through a kind of wall or stepped up a level. Despite being a lifetime loser I am good at the game in the sense that if asked I know what I *should* do, to play a hand well. But for whatever reason I find it difficult to dump hands in which I am invested, and give up the chance of winning in the short term (even though it is more likely by my own estimation that I will lose the hand than win it) for the sake of a better overall/ long-term strategy. Clearly something is going wrong in my thinking. But in the last couple of weeks I have played several sessions where I have entirely overcome this. I have also been ill over the last month (and somewhat ill before that), and these winning sessions have of course exactly coincided with when I’ve been feeling physically (and mentally) capable. So I know I have the capacity to overcome this.

So I’m thinking of making a fresh start of it. Changing my username (you can on Winamax every few months) and trying concomitantly to turn over a new mental leaf. I’m very conscientious, and I really want to ‘beat’ poker. But so far I haven’t managed it! It’s as part of this reconsideration of the game that I wanted to gather the experiences of others. Polk’s story has definitely helped my confidence, as he’s the player with whom I feel the most in common in general. So any positive advice and encouragement you might have would be immensely welcome…I’m asking for it and would be extremely grateful for words of advice or encouragement.

And do please continue posting your potted poker biographies as per initial post!
TheUntiltable is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2019, 05:17 PM   #12
ZKesic
adept
 
ZKesic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Slovenia
Posts: 1,004
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUntiltable View Post
It is also interesting to note that some strong players didn't have such smooth starts. Indeed, I don't know the poker biographies of that many of the best players, but Doug Polk is a striking example. He is clearly someone who began by losing (cf his famous post on these forums at a low point) and then became one of the best players in the world. I don't know if there are many supporting examples of that kind, but it makes me wonder whether the doggedness and self-honesty you get from acknowledging that you are a losing player but deciding to work through it might persist, leaving you less settled with your own abilities and more attentive to your mistakes throughout the rest of your career. In other words, that whilst a player who started off winning might be more likely to be content with his game, a player who overcame losing like Polk might be more likely to continue to be self-critical. Poker would persist in seeming a more threatening/ serious matter for such a player and they might continue to put more effort into game development than someone more closely resembling Zkesic's self-description above, where it's not seen as so significant (no offence ZKesic, I know nothing about your game! And in any case the perfectionism you mention in your second post belies this actually being true of you).
I always believed that the best thing that can happen to a person who walks into a casino for the 1st time is to lose every single game that he plays. This would most likely demotivate him to continue gambling. So yes, I agree with you. It's probably better for a person to start off in poker with a downswing than for him to start sunrunning. If he runs very good at the beginning, he will usually start moving up confidently (up to 200nl let's say) and once his luck ends he's gonna go broke. However, because he's been playing 200nl till now, he'll often keep playing those stakes even when he reloads (people are stubborn when it comes to moving down). Because of which he'll continue playing vs regs way out of his league and it will be very hard for him to improve.

But in reality I don't really think that how you run for the first ~10k hands affects your life poker career all that much hah. I'm sure that if I started off with the biggest upswing ever, I would be just as capable as I am right now.

I did actually start off by playing HU hypers. I hit a 50bi under EV downswing in 4.5k hands and changed games to NLH to lower the variance. Who knows, maybe that's why I hate variance so much today. But I don't really think that's the case. I barely remember those times anymore.
ZKesic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2019, 07:20 PM   #13
Lozgod
grinder
 
Lozgod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 538
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZKesic View Post
wtf is 1NL
$0.005/$0.01. Didn't know that existed. lol.
Lozgod is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2019, 11:46 AM   #14
TheUntiltable
newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 39
Re: #hands it took to become a winner

Anyone with any advice? Or more potted poker bios?
TheUntiltable is offline   Reply With Quote

Reply
      

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:55 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2008-2017, Two Plus Two Interactive
 
 
Poker Players - Streaming Live Online