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Old 01-17-2008, 06:05 AM   #1
BigBadBabar
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Thumbs up 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

THE BABAR STORY

This, my 5k post, is going to be about many things: my poker story, some lessons learned, some graphs and stats, and an ensuing Well in which I will answer questions that you ask and we can have a discussion and hopefully I can impart some wisdom and poker knowledge and we can have a good time!


I started playing poker my senior year of college just in home games (spring 2004). One day a buddy told me about Paradise Poker. I played play money tables as procrastination instead of doing my thesis during those monthsÖ One day they had a promo where if you signed up for real money they gave you 2 dollars free without you having to deposit anything. I started with that 2 dollars and from that has stemmed my entire poker career as Iíve made well into five figures Ė thanks Paradise!

For several months I ground up on Paradise starting with the .02/.04 lhe and moving up until I had about $750 at .25/50. I remember playing all night one time and making like seven bucks at the 5/10 cent games and feeling like king of the world. The games were obviously indescribably soft and just by being tighter pf I was crushing. I had a full time job at this point so poker was just a fun hobby. I somehow online found out about bonus whoring and started doing that; my first new site was Party (August 05) and soon I was bonus whoring it and its skins, as well as lots of Pokerroom skins. I donít think I signed up for 2p2 until a few months later (Dec 05?). I chose the name Babar because TPK, my roommate at the time, had sent me a link to some old Babar video or something, plus I was a fan of alliteration at the time. Now people call me Babar in real life!

I soon moved up to .5/1 and then 1/2 and beyond and for the next really year and a half or two years Iíve just been bonus whoring at poker sites all over the internet; grinding limit games from 1/2 up to 5/10 on dozens of sites and skins. Up until fall of 06 I had a full time job so poker was just fun money on the side. I was doing 8, 10, 12, or more tables just pounding out bonuses.

Itís funny, but Iíve never had a ďbankroll.Ē Iíve always been different from most poker players that way. I would deposit into a site, clear the bonus, and cash out, and just repeat that over and over. I sometimes wonder how high (playing-wise) I could have gotten if Iíd created a dedicated bankroll and devoted myself to moving up back when the games were crazy soft. I bet I could have done okay back when Party was a fishtank since even now I can hold my own at 5/10 and the games are so much harder today.

Another interesting thing is that Iím basically self-taught. I played maybe 75k hands online at least before I ever found 2p2 or read SSHE. I still havenít read a lot of the books that people quote all the time (I mean Iíve read the basic ones but not the new stuff). I strongly feel that my experience and just the number of times Iíve been in situations is what has helped me to become a strong player, and so many times Iíve dealt with situations (hands, posts, discussions, etc) based on that ďfeelĒ and experience that I canít put into words or math or odds. Perhaps thatís why sometimes I come into a thread or discussion with a slightly different argument than a lot of other guys.

In fall 06 I left my full time job after two years and without any really clear prospects of what to do next I decided Iíd take a year off to plan my future, and during that time I supported myself through online poker. Bonuses and rakeback were pretty key since my winrate was not always stellar with the number of tables I was doing, but the volume of hands I was going through was pretty good. Sometime in 07 I started going down to Foxwoods with TehPokarKing and some other 2p2ers and went from 2/4 limit up to 5/10 and am taking shots at higher games today, still without a bankroll, lol. I also got mildly famous for my trip reports

Online I learned 6max as well and played that for a while, and lately (for the last 3 months) Iíve switched over to no limit to see what the prospects are there. Mid-high online fullring games like 3/6 and up are pretty much dead/donít often run and the 6max games lhe have a very high variance that can be very frustrating at times. I still play limit when I see good games, obviously, and I still post a lot in micros to try and help out upcoming players and to share some of what Iíve learned. Since fall of 06 Iíve had poker as my primary source of income and have paid all my bills with it and am slowly increasing my bank account at the same time, doing a lot less than 40 hours a week of work and having more fun and a more flexible schedule!



A couple of observations over the years:

Online poker has gotten a lot harder, even at limits like .5/1 and 1/2 that used to be joke soft. Some sites even now are rock gardens at those levels as Iím sure you guys are aware. Iíve heard it said the old Party 15/30 plays like a 2/4 today and I believe it. On a related note, the number of sites where Americans can play is tiny in scope today and all of those sites tend to be harder as a result. Perhaps in the future things will open up again!

Variance is unreal and almost unknowable and sample size is king. I donít know how many times people post on 2p2 asking about 800 hands, or 4000 hands, or 20000 hands. Theyíre not enough to determine anything. Iíve had two breakeven stretches of around 100k hands in a sample only seven times that and I know Iím a solid winning player. So I tend to mock, berate, and belittle people who donít really know what the variance beast is like, or who have tiny sample sizes and think theyíre the best or worst player ever as a result. When I played 6m limit Iíd regularly lose or win over 100 BB in a day. Iím not really sorry about the 2 outer you just took in a 14 BB pot, or the 37 BB ďdownwingĒ youíre on today. Keep some perspective

The best way to improve your online poker game is to play online poker and discuss it with others who do (preferably those whose games you respect). This is obviously really, well, obvious, but thereís really no substitute for putting in the hands, seeing what spots cause you trouble, and posting about them on 2p2 and talking about them with respected players in the forums or on IM. People who quote SSHE mindlessly or people who donít play online and then try to talk about poker online are often the recipients of my gentle or not so gentle derision.

The micros forum is a solid forum and even today although many have moved on, there are still many solid players here, both noobs and veterans, who can really help your game if you let them help you. Be humble, ask polite questions, and maintain a sense of humor. Although the internet is serious business that doesnít mean people are always right or that their word is always gospel. Ask around, compare opinions, and use the search function to see how thoughts have changed over time. I obviously consider myself a good poster and good poker player with good insights and opinions but Iím sure some people disagree with me or think Iím annoying or trollish sometimes, and thatís fine. The same goes for all of us. The good thing about micros is we often tend to reach a consensus and usually that consensus is correct or close to it. Take advantage of that.

Use common sense with your money. Donít gamble with money you canít afford to lose. If poker is a hobby for you then build a separate bankroll that IF YOU LOST IT ALL IT WOULDNíT AFFECT YOUR NORMAL LIFEíS FINANCES, and try not to put yourself in a situation where a lot of your roll is at risk at any one time. Donít leave large sums sitting online if youíre not using them. I had $3k trapped in Neteller for months during that whole fiasco and I know guys who had way more in limbo. If you go pro, keep a large bankroll and be cautious with it.

Iím sure more observations will come up in the thread.



Some numbers:

Iíve played about 750,000 hands of limited hold them, 500,000 of which are in my graph below. The rest is on sites without PT compatibility or were lost in my old laptopís database when I spilled soup on it. I have about 100k hands of NL as well as maybe 50k of other games I dabble in like O/8.

Lifetime Iíve cleared 104 bonuses (signups, reloads, etc) on over a dozen networks with countless skins, most of which arenít legal for Americans any more and some of which donít even exist as sites any more! I kept (and still have) very detailed records of every site and bonus I ever played on and the results of each one. Ask if you want more details.

My lifetime winrate at all levels combined is 1.6/100 with the majority of these hands coming at 1/2 and 2/4. Ask if you want more details.

My biggest downswing is about 850 bets, most of which is in the downswing in my graph and the other 250-300 of it happened concurrently on a site that doesnít have PT. It was also on that site that I had my biggest loss ever in one day (210 BB iirc) and I selfbanned myself from 2p2 for a week as a result! My biggest BB win ever in one day is 173 BB. Iíve had plenty of downswings of 200-300 bets so I donít really consider those to be out of the ordinary nor are you the first person ever going through one.

Iím sure more numbers will come up in the thread.


Iíd like to make it clear that if anyone has any kind of questions about anything in this, or any other questions for me or poker questions, please ask me and Iíll do my best to respond! It took me a whole day and night to compile all my aliases in PT and merge the data and the graph, so you better ask, lol. With this large of a sample size perhaps someone might be interested in some statistics/winrates that I can check? What hands win at what rate? If anyone has any questions about bonus whoring, I consider myself an expert. If anyone wants to talk about variance, swings, money management, etc, same thing. If anyone wants to talk about being pro, I can do that.

Iíd been putting this off for a while and itís nice to do it. I sometimes feel like one of only a few micros vets who actually played and plays a lot of hands online, so sometimes as a result I post brusquely or with a chip on my shoulder in response to certain posters or points of view in the forum. However, if you can get past that, Iím a nice guy who loves poker and I still post here because I like helping out. Hopefully you find my story interesting and useful and I hope we can get a Q and A session going and some useful things can come out of that as well. Thanks micros and to all the guys who got and kept me going along the way (Wookie, TPK, Xhad, BBBushu, and others Ė no offense if I forget you for the time being). To all the people Iíve helped, youíre welcome, stay in touch, and keep asking. I'm now testing the market - offering coaching - to see if anyone is interested. I guess PM me since that should be a private thing.

Okay Iím sleepy now. More later.

Yours in gogogo,
BigBadBabar.


PS. Oh and by the way, Iím switching back to BigBadBabar now as my main account. Iíll still check my PM box on BadBig for a while until we all get used to this one again.

PPS. Okay now Iím hopping into the well.

A stranger is being shown around a village that he has just become part of. He is shown a well and his guide says "On any day except Thursday, you can shout any question down that well and you'll be told the answer".
The man seems pretty impressed, and so he shouts down: Why not on Thursday? and the voice from in the well shouts back: Because on Thursday, itís your day in the well.





Last edited by BigBadBabar; 01-17-2008 at 06:26 AM.
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:14 AM   #2
JavaNut
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

First.

Nice story, will try to find something to ask later.

Great to have the real green elephant back
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:22 AM   #3
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

Sup BigBB?

welcome back. Sure its been too long coming but this was a nice read. Congrats on sticking with it and churning out 1.6BB/100. Nice bro!

I knew you played alot of hands but i didnt quite now how many. I can only dream of playing as many hands per month as you do.

What I'd like to see is a $$$ graph as well as the BB graph!

Thanks for all your contributions on teh forums.

Gogogogo down down down to valuetown

oz
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:22 AM   #4
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

Making an appearance cuz I got linked here.

Grats Babar -- glad to see you haven't given up like I have.

Hope all others are doing well.

-aK13
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:24 AM   #5
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

Sick graph. 8,000BBs!

It is quite amazing how similar our paths are. Bonus whoring --> Real Playing+Rakeback churning is so standard.

You need to come back and start crushing Mid-Stakes Live again. Nina, you, and I need to keep moving up and dominate the Poo-flinging world.
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:28 AM   #6
BigBadBabar
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

hi guys, i'm going to bed now, and when i get up i'll answer all questions / comments that await me!
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:36 AM   #7
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

tl;dr why did it take so long?

LOL JKS GUNNA READ IT ALL!

grats bbb

also, now you need to start working on the late 1k post for your other bbb account.
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:41 AM   #8
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

Best hand you ever played? Worst hand?
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Old 01-17-2008, 06:45 AM   #9
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

oh, while you've got your pt all pimped out, you should post your stats. NL too pls!
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Old 01-17-2008, 07:34 AM   #10
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

5K YO!!!

Congrats Babman, very good post great read. Ur observations should be read by all.

Also ZOMG SHIP dat cheddar for ur last 70K hands WOOT!!

Questions on ur stats:

- How many hands of 6max have u played?

- What sort of numbers do u have for ur blind defence/steal also wr in those spots?

- What are total LHE BB & SB VP$P's & wrs?

Questions for ur well:

- Can u see urself quitting LHE entirely for NL?

- Do u think in 5yrs time poker will remain ur primarily source of income?

- Grinding must take it out of u, is there any one key tip u can apply for tilt control? (apart from Pop Tarts LDO!)

- Who rly is better @ Smash Bros u or Drew?
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Old 01-17-2008, 07:45 AM   #11
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

Good post Babar. Congrats on 5k post and also your results. I had no idea you have been playing full time for so long. Not a bad 750k graph either mind you. On average, how many hands a month would you play? How many hours a day? Do you try and split up your sessions in a day, or try and play a big chunk in the one go?
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:20 AM   #12
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

Babar,

What made you decide to go semi-pro? Do you think you would be better off overall had you started a bankroll? What is the toughest thing about doing what you do? Which posters on this site have influenced your thinking the most, if any?

Anyway, you know I you, dude, and congrats on finally doing this post. Oh, and I LOL'ed at the fact that you were enticed to play online by the prospect of two free dollars. Ship the fruit & grain, please!

Best,
Ben
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:24 AM   #13
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

BBB, heres a well type question for you.

In your opinion, which 5 micro posters have the best avatars? Which 5 have the worst avatars?

Last edited by OziBattler; 01-17-2008 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:58 AM   #14
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

Welcome back Green Elephant! Do yo see any changes in the rankings of the big 3 console systems this year? Which system do you own? Would you buy a PS3 just for the Blu-Ray player?
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Old 01-17-2008, 08:59 AM   #15
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

Great post. It'll give us casual/beginner players something to aim for.

* As you've developed as a poker player, which leaks do you remember identifying in your game? Which were the hardest to fix? Are there any that you are still working on?

* Are there any stats in your PT database that surprise you? For example, hands that you think should be profitable but aren't and vice versa?

* What factors do you attribute your success to? (I'm looking for specific skills here rather than a generic 'I'm usually better than the people that I choose to play against.' Although, of course, table and seat selection may be among the skills.)

And finally, thanks for helping those of us that don't always 'get it' immediately.
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:10 AM   #16
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

Dear Mr. Babar Sir.

I have in general switched to playing NL, have read PNL, the little green book and SuperSystem plus Dan Harrington, from which I feel I have my ABC game in place, playing TAG, perhaps with a little too big T.

In general I play NL25, buying in with $10, 40BB and I do ok, but far from crushing the games.

I think it is about time for me to start utilizing the PT numbers and reads (notes) on other players in my game.

What I don't really have a clue about is which reads/numbers are best to start with, or in other words which will show an easier and less risky profit, bearing in mind I play rather tight and not very deep.
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:23 AM   #17
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

bbb,

one of the biggest things i've discovered in my own recent switch to NL is that it's much more possible to figure out how big of a winner or loser one is. The advantages tend to be much more solid, and show up directly over shorter spans of time. Also, leaks gush into waterfalls quickly. Just a comment there i suppose.

-have you ever received coaching? which coach do you feel is the best value?

-name a non-poker book or two that can really help with one's poker game

-essential software for multitabling (outside of PT and PA hud)

-pre and post session rituals?

-you're very good at networking 'poker buddies.' Thought on the value of this and how to do it?

thx!
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:40 AM   #18
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

if you were trapped on a desert island for the rest of your life, would you rather be with a creature that had:

a) a womans top half and a fishes bottom half (like a mermaid, the chick is hot)

or,

b) a fishes top half and a woman's bottom half (a little like this, but female)

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Old 01-17-2008, 09:41 AM   #19
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

also on a more srs note, great post...
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:49 AM   #20
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

Wow, have you figured out your annual return on investment for those two dollars?

Good story, makes me want to quit my job, go home and sit in front of my computer for the next six months. You kept saying that you post terse replies but I find the opposite to be true. I think of you as the defender of the noobs like myself. When some of the more arrogant vets step in and degrade a new poster, you're there to put them in their place and give some helpful advice at the same time.

My question to you is: What type of work schedule do you keep? You mention that you work less than 40 hours a week but do you tend to work say four long night time sessions or break it up into 15 or so shorter sessions at various times of the day?
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:52 AM   #21
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

Hey Todd.

I don't have much to ask or add here, but I just want to say thanks for chatting over the past few months and keeping me on an even keel re: avoiding tilt and yelling at bad beats, etc.

It's been really helpful.
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:11 AM   #22
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

5000th post + a well it feels like Christmas morning!
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:05 AM   #23
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

kit vs babar, 10 rounds, who wins?

serious questions:

1) most underrated micros poster?
2) most overrated micros poster?
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Old 01-17-2008, 11:44 AM   #24
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

How old are you?

Where are you originally from?

Where did you goto school?

Where do you live now?
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Old 01-17-2008, 12:03 PM   #25
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Re: 5K POST: THE BABAR STORY + WELL

Do you ever get bored by the grind?
What do you do to avoid the burnout?
What do you think you'll be doing in 5 years regarding poker (pro travelling the world, still online grinder, live at Foxwoods, pure coach, etc.)?
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