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Poker Goals & Challenges Post your threads logging your travels up the poker ladder as you achieve your poker goals and dreams. "Challenges" does NOT mean prop bets, wagers, etc.

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Old 12-31-2017, 06:22 AM   #1
acbarone
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2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Hi, I'm Aaron, a 32-year old professional poker player who has been grinding a variety of formats for nearly a decade. Currently living in Chiang Mai, Thailand but my main residence is in Vancouver, BC.



For those who wish to read through hundreds of pages, my history is well chronicled on 2+2.

For those who wish to read a much more condensed version:

- Started playing professionally in 2009, solely 9-max Turbo SNGs
- Originally from the US, moved to Vancouver after Black Friday and my main game became 9-max Hyper SNGs (with a brief two month foray into 180-mans)
- Poker has afforded me the opportunity to work abroad (Sorta forced, I suppose) and among other places, I have lived in Chiang Mai, Vancouver, Playa del Carmen, Rosarito, and Puerto Vallarta
- 2x SNE (2014, 2015) and mixed in all 9-max formats/18-mans/Spins as SNG traffic slowly died
- Fully transitioned to Spins in 2016, somehow was able to shed my push/fold life and became a solid reg at the (previously) highest stakes. Made ~$350k in them in the past 2.5 years.

Spins continued to be my primary focus in 2017, but several factors have made me sour on them. I've seen my edge decrease slightly in the last half of the year, surely part of that has to do with the rise of bots/multi accounters but in all honesty, I also believe the reg pool has improved and the reg:fish ratio has worsened. Furthermore, I found myself more frustrated on a daily basis with the Spin grind -- a combination of dealing with the cEV swings, the real $ wings, playing HU vs competent opponents, etc.

Was looking for a change, for something different and for the last month, I've been dabbling in MTTs. Currently own/operate Psyduck Staking and I've always said that MTTs are the softest format, so I decided to put my money where my mouth is.



Rather encouraged by the lolsample, it's mostly offpeak and EV BB is ~20/100. Took off the past two weeks to spend time with family, travel to Bali, and deal with a nasty bacterial infection (i.e. intense food poisoning bug) so that's basically half a month's worth of volume. I think ~1500 games per month is doable and will go for that in January.

Here are a few random pics from the Bali vacation, I'll spare you the ones from my bacterial infection.


Healing waters of Titra Empil


GF admiring the view in Nusa Pineda


Here's a better pic of said view


Broken Beach


If MTTs don't work out, there's a job waiting for me at the Rice Paddy fields. Hopefully I'll earn enough to buy sunscreen.



Gorgeous two-story villa in Seminyak that came with our own private pool and waterfall

Even though I'm changing formats, my goals remain centered around volume/effort. I'm still relatively new to the MTT grind, so I'm not quite sure what will be attainable, so this is more of a wish-list than a goal-list.

2018 Goals
- Adjust to MTT life; it's harder to find that balance between business and pleasure because of the time-commitments required to play MTTs, so I need to be more vigilant about spending time on myself (Fitness, nutrition) and with others (GF, friends, family)
- Play 12,000 MTTs; Might seem like a lot, but I'm getting in 50+ a day fairly easily when I do grind. 50 per day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks a month = 1000 games.
- $250,000+ Profit; too optimistic? Maybe. Does seem a bit premature to set profit goals when I'm uncertain of my ROI/long-term edge in these games, but I'm willing to put in the work/volume. Besides, hitting a quarter of a mil sounds pretty cool so that's what I'm shooting for.
- Stay hungry and keep my options open: While I start 2018 with aspirations of acclimating to MTTs, I'm willing to change course if the ecoystem dictates it. So perhaps I mix in SNGs, short-handed cash on smaller sites, or even go back to flicking the occasional Spin -- I need to keep my eyes peeled for all possible edges and adjust if the wind blows in that direction.

Good luck all, and let's go.

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Old 12-31-2017, 01:16 PM   #2
The_Snook
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

GL mate, I always enjoy your updates (especially the food pics! ).

Best wishes for 2018!

Snook
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:40 PM   #3
hurtNCYDE
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

So in for this! My favourite thread to lurk in throughout 2017
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:49 PM   #4
MRW90
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Sub-a-dub-dubbed.

GLGL!
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Old 12-31-2017, 11:44 PM   #5
Derp!
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Subbed. Nice rice farmer's tan!
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Old 01-01-2018, 04:28 AM   #6
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Good luck with your new goals
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Old 01-01-2018, 06:04 AM   #7
rotisseur
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

snap-sub

GL with all of this. Have already told you that i personally find this Volume Goal really ambitous. But with your Background its probably easier than i could imagine.

The toughest and most important Goal will be keeping up that proper Work/Life Balance imo. Just make sure to stay a happy Person despite the Lack of Flexibility/being forced to grind looong hours with short Breaks only. Dealing with the Swings mentally won´t be that much of an Issue for someone running a Stable i guess. Fingers crossed for a great 2018!
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Old 01-01-2018, 10:50 AM   #8
alejolb
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

All the best to you mate, snapfollow!!!
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Old 01-01-2018, 12:36 PM   #9
acbarone
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Snook View Post
GL mate, I always enjoy your updates (especially the food pics! ).

Best wishes for 2018!

Snook
Food pics coming soon! GF has most of the Bali photos, waiting on her to send them to me and I'll share them here.

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Originally Posted by hurtNCYDE View Post
So in for this! My favourite thread to lurk in throughout 2017
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Originally Posted by MRW90 View Post
Sub-a-dub-dubbed.

GLGL!
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Originally Posted by Derp! View Post
Subbed. Nice rice farmer's tan!
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Originally Posted by LonelyBox View Post
Good luck with your new goals
Quote:
Originally Posted by alejolb View Post
All the best to you mate, snapfollow!!!
Much thanks!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rotisseur View Post
snap-sub

GL with all of this. Have already told you that i personally find this Volume Goal really ambitous. But with your Background its probably easier than i could imagine.

The toughest and most important Goal will be keeping up that proper Work/Life Balance imo. Just make sure to stay a happy Person despite the Lack of Flexibility/being forced to grind looong hours with short Breaks only. Dealing with the Swings mentally won´t be that much of an Issue for someone running a Stable i guess. Fingers crossed for a great 2018!
At first glance the volume goal (12,000 games) seems like a rather daunting number, but when I break it down it doesn't look so difficult. Certainly helps that I'm able to mass-table. Of course, it might get more difficult when I go through the inevitable downswing or when life gets in the way, but for the next two months (while I'm in Thailand) I think it'll be easy.

You're def right that the life/work balance is going to be a challenge and I'll probably set some monthly goals/freerolls in here regarding that stuff.



2018 is off to a decent start!
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Old 01-01-2018, 01:30 PM   #10
bob_124
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Nice choice re. Chiang Mai, I had the chance to visit about a year ago and loved it. Seems like a great place to live.

gl with your goals!
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Old 01-01-2018, 01:41 PM   #11
Egption
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Commenting to get on 1st page.

I apologize to MTT regs, I created this monster.
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Old 01-01-2018, 03:24 PM   #12
TheTyman9
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

def in, enjoy your threads, gl in the change to mtt!
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Old 01-01-2018, 06:17 PM   #13
big tunna
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Looking forward to following. Assuming your playing entirely on Stars? Also you state some off-peak. What time do you start grinding and do you think there's enough offerings to maintain a healthy ABI that is more +EV than grinding peak hours? Being a UK guy I've often toyed with the idea of grinding more off-peak but everytime I get up early and look at the lobby it just feels like a ghost town but softer/smaller fields should take a lot of the stress away. Anyhow, gl man.
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Old 01-01-2018, 07:18 PM   #14
Knittle
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Goal 9: Let me move to CM and be your student for 80% of my profits...

:-)


Haha good luck boss. Living the dream I want to be pursuing soon.

How are you liking CM? What visa are you using?
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Old 01-01-2018, 08:43 PM   #15
jdawg91
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

gl big bossman <3
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:09 AM   #16
blakkman08
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Gl sir we ll play way more together than I d like this year
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:36 AM   #17
Brokenstars
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

in and gl
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Old 01-02-2018, 04:26 AM   #18
acbarone
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Quote:
Originally Posted by bob_124 View Post
Nice choice re. Chiang Mai, I had the chance to visit about a year ago and loved it. Seems like a great place to live.

gl with your goals!
It's a fantastic spot for me to put my head down and grind; CM is inexpensive, has an endless number of coffee shops, lots of solid restaurants, and the weather is great for 11 months of the year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knittle View Post
Goal 9: Let me move to CM and be your student for 80% of my profits...

:-)


Haha good luck boss. Living the dream I want to be pursuing soon.

How are you liking CM? What visa are you using?
80/20 sounds pretty sweet.

On a a standard tourist visa at the moment, the one immigration automatically gives upon entry. Will only be here til mid March so there was no need to get anything else. I do have to get it extended in a few weeks, but it's mostly painless process. Just gotta head down to the mall, fill out some paperwork, and sit around for an hour. Easy peasy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Egption View Post
Commenting to get on 1st page.

I apologize to MTT regs, I created this monster.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTyman9 View Post
def in, enjoy your threads, gl in the change to mtt!
Quote:
Originally Posted by blakkman08 View Post
Gl sir we ll play way more together than I d like this year
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Originally Posted by jdawg91 View Post
gl big bossman <3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brokenstars View Post
in and gl
Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by big tunna View Post
Looking forward to following. Assuming your playing entirely on Stars? Also you state some off-peak. What time do you start grinding and do you think there's enough offerings to maintain a healthy ABI that is more +EV than grinding peak hours? Being a UK guy I've often toyed with the idea of grinding more off-peak but everytime I get up early and look at the lobby it just feels like a ghost town but softer/smaller fields should take a lot of the stress away. Anyhow, gl man.
Majority of my volume is Stars but I'm still mixing in several other sites. During off peak I've got like 4-5 sites running and adding Spins/SNGs if I've got the table space. Have played a few peak sessions tho and they're quite fun, just need to be careful to not over-reg and end up with 30+ tables. Oopsie.

So far I've played mostly offpeak (530 AM to 3 PM GMT+7), a handful of peak (7 PM to 4 AM) and one midday session (2 PM to 10 PM). Still not sure which one is most profitable but in terms of enjoyment, the morning session is my favorite -- Smaller fields, softer opponents, more table space/less mentally taxing, and it's nice to get a lot of natural light in the room while grinding.

Will be doing peak tonight, starting up in 2.5 hours after I hit the gym and grab dinner. Hope the heat continues!
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Old 01-02-2018, 08:39 AM   #19
day'n'night
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

In and gl !
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Old 01-07-2018, 06:36 AM   #20
acbarone
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Quote:
Originally Posted by acbarone View Post
Will be doing peak tonight, starting up in 2.5 hours after I hit the gym and grab dinner. Hope the heat continues!
The heat most definitely did not continue.



Don't need to bore you with runbad details, as we're all familiar with how that works.



I'm actually not that surprised/bothered by the downswing; after playing almost exclusively offpeak in December, I've done only peak hours so far in 2018. ABI is also a tad higher. Given the fact that I'm in larger fields with better opponents, it makes sense that my edge goes down and the variance goes up. In that small sample, I'm actually breakeven at games below $80 and all of the losses are from ~50 games of higher stakes. Boo.

Money-wise, playing Spins has prepared me to stomach much more brutal downers. Worst day in Spins was like -$7500 so this little downer isn't even at that point (yet). Big thanks to PokerStars for introducing such a high variance format that I've become numb to smaller losses!

On the plus side, I've clearly been mashing volume. Based on results alone, it's natural to wonder if I should lower the table count but no plans to change anything yet as the EV BB is still at ~15. And that's only counting Stars/888/Party and not the softer untracked sites, where my edge is surely higher. Will stick to the peak schedule for the next two weeks, continue to build up a sample, and then re-eval afterwards.

Hardest part of playing peak hours in Thailand is that my sleep schedule is completely messed up. Went to bed last night @ 9 AM and woke up an hour ago. I've got a mild case of seasonal affect disorder (self diagnosed) and really enjoy sunlight/warmth, so missing out on most of daylight could be a problem long-term. Additionally, I don't love grinding at night when it's pitch black outside and the only light I see is from my computer screen. That probably isn't good.

Tonight's the last day of the Winter Series and I'll be going hard today/tomorrow. Going to take a mandatory off day on Tuesday or Wednesday, not because I'm tired/burnt out quite yet, but because I need to have my tourist visa extended at the immigration office. Still waking up each day eager and excited to grind, and today is no different. Going to enjoy the remainder of natural light and get to work in a few hours.

Binks incoming!
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Old 01-07-2018, 10:57 AM   #21
RE-DOUGH
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Subbed & GL. It seems to me that a lot of the pros are switching to MTT full time lately. Thoughts?


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Old 01-09-2018, 07:46 AM   #22
DJSirMatthew
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Subbed again this year, so binking will come now

Pity to hear year started with a downer. Agree on sleep schedule being so important and getting sunlight even more important. Most important though : use more sunscreen

Gl & kuptgw
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:57 AM   #23
acbarone
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

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Originally Posted by RE-DOUGH View Post
Subbed & GL. It seems to me that a lot of the pros are switching to MTT full time lately. Thoughts?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Can't speak for everyone, but personally I'd still be grinding SNGs if the volume didn't die when Stars introduced Spins. And I'd still be grinding Spins if the RB system was anything reasonable. Heck, I'd probably still be grinding Spins if I felt the botting issue/rampant cheating was under control.

MTTs seem to offer a soft landing spot for someone with my skillset. Proficient in push/fold/reshove type stack sizes thanks to my SNG history, and decent enough at actual poker theory/postflop after cutting my teeth in Spins. At least that's what I'm hoping for.

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Originally Posted by DJSirMatthew View Post
Subbed again this year, so binking will come now
Glad you're here, didn't bink anything the last few days but now that you subbed I can start doing that. Starting now, can't wait to quote your post after I ship something.

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Originally Posted by DJSirMatthew View Post
Pity to hear year started with a downer. Agree on sleep schedule being so important and getting sunlight even more important. Most important though : use more sunscreen
Still up ~$3k for the year and while that's not bad for a week of grinding, it certainly feels gross after being up ~$8k a few days ago.

Got another week or so of vampire life and then it'll be back to normal. The sunscreen is solid advice, but one benefit of sleeping during the daylight tho is that I don't get sunburned.
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:06 PM   #24
the4bettingmonk
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Agreed that MTTs are the way to go for 2018 generally. Sucks that 6max and 4max have really fallen out of favour. I'd imagine your ROI in shorthanded games would be really good.

Even ACR is doing a $1million GTD tournament now it's clear sites are v interested in the PR leveraged by good MTT offerings.
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Old 01-09-2018, 03:39 PM   #25
Knittle
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Re: 2018: Tasty Food/Trip Reports/Tournaments

Quote:
Originally Posted by acbarone View Post
It's a fantastic spot for me to put my head down and grind; CM is inexpensive, has an endless number of coffee shops, lots of solid restaurants, and the weather is great for 11 months of the year.



80/20 sounds pretty sweet.

On a a standard tourist visa at the moment, the one immigration automatically gives upon entry. Will only be here til mid March so there was no need to get anything else. I do have to get it extended in a few weeks, but it's mostly painless process. Just gotta head down to the mall, fill out some paperwork, and sit around for an hour. Easy peasy.













Thanks!



Majority of my volume is Stars but I'm still mixing in several other sites. During off peak I've got like 4-5 sites running and adding Spins/SNGs if I've got the table space. Have played a few peak sessions tho and they're quite fun, just need to be careful to not over-reg and end up with 30+ tables. Oopsie.

So far I've played mostly offpeak (530 AM to 3 PM GMT+7), a handful of peak (7 PM to 4 AM) and one midday session (2 PM to 10 PM). Still not sure which one is most profitable but in terms of enjoyment, the morning session is my favorite -- Smaller fields, softer opponents, more table space/less mentally taxing, and it's nice to get a lot of natural light in the room while grinding.

Will be doing peak tonight, starting up in 2.5 hours after I hit the gym and grab dinner. Hope the heat continues!

Got my plane ticket ready to CM, lets get it

lol.

Really have enjoyed reading this thread man.. hopefully I get to your level soon!
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