Friday, January 13, 2017

Retirement (The Next Step)!

Does anyone read blogs anymore lol? It seems fitting to make at least one last blog post on here though, considering this blog is where my “Team Online career” all started. Actually, I’m planning on rolling out at least a couple of more blog posts now that I’ll have some more time on my handsJ. After 7 years of playing poker professionally, I’ve decided that it’s time to hang up my skates! Retirement is a pretty loose term, as you’ll still see me at the tables but I’ll explain what I mean when I say “retirement” and why I’m choosing to go down that path in the rest of the blog post (or more like essay). Before I get into everything though, I really want to thank everyone that showed me support over the years…it’s been a fun ride together and would have been a far lesser experience without all of you!

Team Online Departure

After 6 years of being a part of PokerStars Team Online, I will no longer be with the team in 2017. There wasn’t much drama behind my departure (I didn’t decide to quit the team for whatever reason nor did I do anything outlandish to get cut) as my contract simply wasn’t picked up for another year, a fate that I was not alone in sharing. I obviously know why my contract wasn’t renewed specifically and have a pretty good sense of what’s going on with the team but I’m not exactly sure what I can and can’t talk about…so I’ll just leave it at that. I’m really thankful for the opportunity of being a part of Team Online-very few people get the chance to be on the team and I’m grateful for all of the awesome memories that I’ve had over the years as a member. By far the best part of being on the team was forming relationships with a lot of great people, colleagues and followers alike. Going forward, I’m not really concerned about losing touch with a lot of the people that I’ve met because many connections have become deeply rooted over the years.

Had I been offered my contract again, I almost definitely would have gladly accepted. It’s a pretty sweet gig to be compensated for playing poker…especially if you’re playing professionally anyways! Honestly though, when I found out that I would be getting dropped from the team I had a lot of mixed feelings…of course I was disappointed but there was also quite a sense of relief and excitement about my future.

Over the last few years, I’ve continued to enjoy playing poker but on a much lower level than the first few years of my career. When I first started playing full time around 2010, I remember waking up every morning feeling incredibly happy and excited to log-on and put in a big grind for the day. Time flew by when I was playing and it terms of winning money and moving up stakes, it felt like the sky was the limit. Obviously, between when I first started playing and now there have been a lot of changes to the online poker world and at least the big ones have been almost exclusively negative. I’m not just talking about what the sites have done or haven’t done either…Black Friday, games getting tougher and smaller, different countries being segregated and so many other factors have all contributed to my diminishing enthusiasm of poker over the years. Also, regardless of how I feel about the current poker landscape, I’ve realized that being on the computer for countless hours every day is also something that I want to try to dial way back.

There is certainly a fairly high opportunity cost of playing poker for a living financially speaking. There are a lot of ways that one could be earning money or building wealth for oneself and for me, I believe it has made sense to continue playing poker over the years but I’ve felt compelled to keep playing largely because of the incentives of the Team Online contract. I’ve experimented with many different game types over the past few years to test different ways of earning money through poker and also keep my interest in the game high. From PLO to tournaments to streaming on twitch…I’ve ventured down a lot of different paths and I really did enjoy dabbling in a lot of these formats, especially MTTs and twitch. These avenues were not exactly raking in the dough for me, however, and at the end of the day nothing seems to compare (monetarily speaking for me personally) to my bread and butter game: full-ring cash games. Unfortunately, there’s no more SNE anymore and even if there was, the thought of putting in a grind that large to obtain the status is not something that really interests me at this point. Of course you can make money in cash games without SNE but I think all avenues to success will require a ton of hours being put in on and off of the tables just the same. Long story short, without the contract I no longer feel like poker is my hands-down #1 option and I think it’s now worth it for me to invest my time and efforts in other areas and not exclusively in poker.

The Future

So, what’s next for me? Well, it’s always been my goal to use poker as a tool to generate capital to invest in assets that can build wealth over time. I’ve never envisioned playing poker professionally for my whole life and I’ve always knew that there would be an end point-I just wasn’t sure exactly when that’d be. Taking a step back from poker these last few months has kind of allowed me to realize that I actually already have enough equity to start accomplishing my ultimate goal...sometimes it pays to be a nit ;). As for what I want to invest in-I really like real estate and want to buy some rental properties so I’m currently in the process of doing just that. There’s a lot of time and effort that needs to be put into real estate investing so as of right now, my time in 2017 will likely be divided between the investing and still some poker to generate a bit of income while I try to not go completely broke.

As for what poker I plan on playing, I’ll likely be taking a very, very risk-averse approach where I do some kind of bankroll build from the micros by playing a mixture of tournaments and cash games. I’m going to do what I feel is fun for me and doesn't put much money at risk and I’ve always enjoyed moving up through the ranks and doing various challenges for myself.

I want to close this post by saying that I don’t want you to think that you can’t make money in poker anymore…the cash games and tournaments that I played in last year actually seemed quite good. I’ll still be out there on the virtual felt grinding away plenty in 2017…my point is just that for me, it feels like it’s the right time to put poker on the back burner and focus on other things!

I’ll still be around on all of my social media so don’t be a stranger…and of course,

gl at the tables!



Friday, February 26, 2016

Team Pro Online Week Is Back and It Starts next Week!

Next week, Team Pro Online week is back and I can honestly say it looks like it's going to be the best TPO week yet!

https://www.pokerstars.com/…/promotio…/team-pro-online-week/

Here's a pick of the cliff notes and full details can be found at the link but basically, there will be EPT packages up for grabs, some freerolls and the popular Zoom Pools again (where you win 7x the money you win from Stars pros). Perhaps most exciting, you can even change your avatar to mine ;) !



Looking forward to an exciting week!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2015 Recap and 2016 Plans

2015

By the end of 2015, I had to earn more VPPs in December than I had accumulated over the rest of the year! I worked very hard in 2015 but my time was spent spread out over a bunch of poker-related things and although my hours playing at the tables were there, a lot of my grinding was done at micro stakes for twitch purposes (and just in case you didn't know, VPPs can be hard to come by at 2nl ;)). My annual VPP target was 100,000-a number that I have exceeded many times since turning professional but last year took quite a different direction for me and I left myself with a lot of work to be done by years end.

The December grind was incredibly tough and comparable to when I achieved Supernova Elite back in 2010. I actually found the grind harder this time around and especially towards the end, had to endure sleepless nights and a lot of stress. I had to make all kinds of sacrifices to achieve Supernova, including turning down VIP seats to a Canucks game and pushing back my vacation flight by two days. Even with the additional time, getting Supernova came right down to the wire on December 31st and I finished around 4:30pm and basically just shut down my computer and hopped into a cab to the airport. My girlfriend was amazing throughout the whole month and even packed my suitcase for me and laid out clothes for me to change into to wear on the plane after I finished playing on the last day. I was literally waking up, playing for a couple of hours, showering and eating for about 30 minutes and then got right back to playing over the last bit of the grind. I did not go to bed. I think that I need to write lines like they used to make you do in school to prevent this from happening again...something like "I will not do this again,I will not do this again". My gf also had to sacrifice two days of vacation and endure the stress with me so I need to make it up to her big!

At the end of the day, I'm happy that I was able to achieve Supernova for the potential that it may bring in 2016, especially with the opportunity to remain with Team Online. 2015 was certainly disappointing financially for me but as I said, I made some decisions that I knew wouldn't make me a lot of money now but could pay dividends down the road one way or another. I'm feeling recharged from my vacation and eager to get to work...with that said, my plans for 2016 are outlined below and I think it's fair to say that it should be an interesting year.

2016

Looking ahead to the rest of 2016, I'm excited about trying to tackle a different format of poker other than cash games-tournaments. I dabble in MTTs already but mostly just during COOPs and other special tournament series but for the rest of this year, I'd like to shift my focus away from cash games and primarily towards tournaments.

There are plenty of reasons for the move from cash games to MTTs. First, I view the transition as an interesting challenge and something new to try and succeed in. I've played cash games almost exclusively now for many years and in terms of stimulating my interest I think that MTTs will be much more exciting for me to play simply because they're something new and different. Second, I really want to put a lot of time into twitch this year and I think that MTTs lend themselves to be more interesting to watch for people than cash games. With tournaments, the action is always building and the deeper you get in a tournament the more exciting it becomes for everyone involved. On the other hand, there really isn't a beginning-middle-end when you're playing cash games and while there are some cool challenges that can be done in this area, I think that MTTs seem to have an easier time retaining interest. Finally, with the VIP reward changes now in place, there is a lot of incentive for me to move away from my traditional mass-tabling, high volume approach to cash games. Even without the changes, the current cash game environment seems to be pushing players towards playing for quality rather than quantity anyways. I will remain playing some cash games at a lower volume but with reduced tables, I'd assume my hourly rate would be a lot lower-to the point where experimenting with different poker formats likely makes some sense to see if I could increase it.

I've thought quite a lot about what I think is the best plan for me in terms of playing MTTs and also streaming them. There's a lot of things to consider, such as my starting bankroll, how many tournaments that I want to play per day, how best to spend my FPPs, what satellites might be good to play and then there's my streaming schedule to make as well.

When it comes to my MTT bankroll, I could really start as low or as high (within reason) as I wanted to. I have the funds to be bankrolled for the Sunday Majors but I'm not naive enough to think that's the best idea...just because you have the bankroll for certain stakes doesn't mean you're going to be a winning player in those games. On the other hand, I don't think that I want to start at the smallest micro stakes games either due to the time it could take to grow a meaningful bankroll. As a result, I think that I'm leaning towards starting on the more conservative side, with a bankroll around $1,500, which will allow me to play tournaments anywhere from $1-$15 as I'm planning on sticking to a 100 buy-in bankroll management system. Nothing's really set in stone and we'll see how steep the learning curve is for me to pick up MTTs-I did primarily build my bankroll from MTTs back in the day but I have a feeling that people may play a little differently than back then ;)

As for twitch, my main aim is just going to be for consistency-sticking to a streaming schedule that will be at the same time and day every week. I haven't made it yet (need to make my MTT schedule first) but right now I'm thinking about streaming 4 days a week, probably during the week and with additional streams for special occasions. I will probably do a mix of 3 days MTTs and 1 day cash games. For the cash game streams, I'll likely be doing my cash game challenge (or cash game ladder) like I did last year.

As for my financial goals for 2016...well, I really don't think I'm in a position to make any sort of accurate prediction of how things are going to go for me. Something that I've always wanted to do since I first started playing poker is to have a bankroll that's big enough to play all of the Sunday Majors, so let's aim for around $20,000-why not?

If you have any tips or advice for me when it comes to playing MTTs on anything, I'm all ears :) Stay tuned to my twitter (@frosty012) for my streaming schedule and you can watch the twitch channel here: http://www.twitch.tv/frosty_012

gl at the tables!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cash Game Challenge-2nl to 1000nl on Twitch




 If you’ve seen me playing at the micro-stakes at PokerStars lately, it’s not because I’m busto (well, not yet anyways!) but because I’m in the middle of doing a cash game challenge and am streaming part of the action on twitch! Depending on how things go at the tables, you may not see me at the micro-stakes for very long because the idea of the challenge is to start at the smallest stakes and finish at the higher end of the mid-stakes relatively quickly. Allow me to go into the full details of the challenge, explain why I’m doing it, how it’s gone in the early stages and why you might care enough to even try it for yourself. 

The rules of the challenge are quite simple and straightforward: Starting at the lowest cash game level offered at PokerStars, 2nl, win 4 buy-ins of the next highest level (5nl) and move up! Once at 5nl, win 4 buy-ins of the next highest level (10nl) and move up again. Keep repeating the process of winning 4 buy-ins of the next highest level and moving up until reaching 1000nl. The buy-ins that have already been won carry forward and count towards the next level. There is no moving down levels at any point of the challenge…if you reach a certain level and then lose 1-3 buy-ins, you remain at that level until you either win the necessary 4-buyins of the next level or lose 4 buy-ins total of the current one. When you lose 4 buy-ins of the current level, the challenge is over (initially, if you lose 4 buy-ins at 2nl you may restart the challenge).

                I’ll give you an example of a possible challenge scenario to help illustrate the rules if they aren’t crystal clear: I start at 2nl and win $20 (4 buy-ins of the next level-5nl) so I move up to 5nl. I win $20 more at 5nl, bringing my challenge total to $40 (4 buy-ins of the next level-10nl) so I move up to 10nl. I initially lose $30 at 10nl, bringing my challenge total down to $10 but I do not move down…I then win $52 remaining at 10nl and my total becomes $62, which is now enough to move up to 16nl. I continue this process until I reach 1000nl and the challenge is completed!
 
So, why did I decide to create this challenge for myself? I created the challenge for a few reasons: First, I think that it will be something fun to stream on twitch and it should really be an inclusive adventure for everyone. I got the idea for the challenge after doing my “Cash Game Ladder” streams, where the goal was to go from 2nl-200nl by moving up after winning only 1 buy-in of the next level. After doing the ladder successfully multiple times, I decided that it could be fun and entertaining to expand that concept and set my sights on a higher end point that could potentially bring much more rewards financially! Second, I personally want to use this challenge as a vehicle to play higher stakes than I’m normally accustomed to. My regular limit is 100nl and although I’ve played mid-stakes games in the past, I’d like to make more of an effort to include a higher percentage of mid-stakes tables in my game selection. Third, by successfully completing this challenge, maybe I can help motivate some other people that followed my journey to do their own challenge or put forth a greater effort to advance their poker career.

If you’re like me, you don’t exactly love risk. That might sound a bit strange coming from a poker player but I’ve always been someone that practices strict bankroll management and good monetary habits. As a result, my downswings are relatively small but my ceiling is also capped by the limits that I play. I’m excited by this challenge because although there will be a lot of variance that comes with a 4 buy-in stop-loss, the risk that comes along with it is very small as well and the rewards are potentially huge! Think about it, if you make it to say 100nl and then lose, you’ve invested your time but have lost $0 in terms of money…in that respect it’s low risk. On the other hand, if you make it to 1000nl (or whatever end point you’d be happy with) and instead of losing the 4 buy-ins, you end up staying on an upswing then you’ve just catapulted yourself through the limits and have now stuck at a level where you’re likely earning way more VPPs and overall money. It all sounds pretty good in theory at least but we’ll see if I’m still singing the same tune after I’ve had to restart 47 times :)

Speaking of restarting the challenge, I’ve already got my feet a bit wet in it and have some early progress reports. I ended up making it as high as 50nl before losing the 4 buy-ins at that level and had to restart so I’m currently at the bottom of the ladder again. If I remember correctly, I was down to my last buy-in at 25nl before making a solid comeback at that level and before that, everything below 25nl was fairly smooth sailing. I’ve learned quickly that the variance in this challenge is certainly going to be high but I’m not that discouraged by having to do a quick restart. It seems as though there’s going to be a lot of progress and regress throughout this challenge so I’ll need to be mentally prepared for it! I will be doing this challenge throughout August so once again, you can follow the action at http://www.twitch.tv/frosty_012 and we’ll see how it goes…


Gl at the tables!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Team Online Wedding


Pic 1.jpgNaoya, Ike, Alex, Tyler, Greg

When you're an online poker player, it's not often that you find yourself in a situation that lends itself to formal attire (or pants, for that matter). But on this day Naoya, Ike, Alex, Greg and I were dressed to the nines - the occasion was that big.

We had arrived at the wedding of fellow Team Onliners Andre "Acoimbra" Coimbra and Katerina "Katerina289" Malasidou in style. Each of us had journeyed from all around the world to Sintra, Portugal, and it felt good to be reunited for a common cause.

The wedding was an amazing event and the festivities that unfolded after this photograph was taken will remain vivid - long term memories. However, before I get too far ahead of myself, let me go back and explain exactly how my journey unfolded, because it almost never happened in the first place.

Three months prior to my departure I received the official wedding invitation from Kat and Andre. I was honoured that the engaged couple would think of me as someone that they would like to have as a part of their special day, but given the geographical distance between us I was initially reluctant to go.Whenever you're travelling to another continent there are obviously a lot of travel costs involved as well as big time commitments. I was on the fence about going but as soon as I told my girlfriend the news, and saw her eyes light up at the opportunity to travel with me, I knew that I was going to Portugal.

Pic 2.jpg

My girlfriend and I travelled around The Algarve (stayed in Lagos), Lisbon, and Sintra over the course of our stay in Portugal. Each place we visited was fun and interesting in its own right, but our favorite destination was Lagos. It's hard to beat the stunning beaches and relaxed atmosphere of The Algarve.

To access some of the world-renowned beaches that we visited, you had to walk down some massive staircases because they were at the base of tall sandstone cliffs. I joked that if you weren't in beach shape when you first arrived, you would be once you got done with those stairs!

pic 3.jpgTeam Online... online

In Lagos we stayed in a quaint apartment complex that featured very large rooms, a kitchen and an oasis-like pool. The apartment was in-between the town of Lagos and the beaches, so it was ideal for us in terms of where we wanted to spend our time. It even came with free Wi-Fi and I was able to play the Team Online Freeroll from my iPad! I think I bubbled...

pic 4.jpg

The next stop was in the city of Lisbon for a few nights. We'd been getting by fine with our minimal Portuguese vocabulary, but during our first breakfast in the city something was definitely lost in translation!

After we'd had some food I went back inside to order two pieces of watermelon. I pointed to the fruit inside the case and thought that I had successfully explained what I wanted to our server... it wasn't until she came out and dropped two massive watermelon displays on our table that I realised I might have not been as clear as I thought. Bon App├ętit!

pic 5.jpg

One cool experience that we had in Lisbon was tracking down a highly-rated cocktail bar that operated as if there was still prohibition in effect. For example, the entrance of the bar was subtle and you had to ring a doorbell to be let inside. Once you entered, you had to walk down some stairs and the bartenders were all dressed in old-fashioned attire and the place had a really exclusive vibe to it. My girlfriend and I actually met up with fellow Team Onliner DaWarsaw earlier that night and the three of us were able to enjoy some of the more creative cocktails. One of my drinks came covered by a glass of smoke and one that Greg ordered had a flame underneath it and came in a paper bag!

Pic 6.jpgThe happy couple

The last leg of our journey was to Sintra- the location of the wedding. The day had finally arrived and my girlfriend and I had accompanied Greg to the ceremony, where we were greeted by Andre and then reunited with Alex and Ike, as well as their significant others. Naoya and his wife were running late but ended up arriving just on time before the ceremony started!

The ceremony was very touching and although nobody spoke any English I didn't feel out of place. Two things that I thought were a really nice touch, including having a live choir for the music and tossing flower pedals to the bride and groom as they exited the church! It really did seem like a fairy tale.

Soon after the ceremony everyone migrated over to the reception venue (where the "Team Online Wedding Crashers" picture was taken). It was a little tricky to actually get to the garden for cocktails, especially for women in high heels, as everyone had to walk down a dirt trail carved into the side of a mountain...there were some tumbles but no serious injuries.

Drinks led to dinner and then dinner led to more drinks, dancing, and even more food later on (including soup randomly at 11pm, apparently that's a thing!). I tried my hand (feet?) at Greek dancing and didn't do too well, although most people looked like they were making it up on the fly just like me anyway.

I had a lot of great conversations throughout the night and learned a couple of new things about my teammates. Such as Alex is apparently a rock-paper-scissors strategist, but Ike not so much.
Some people were playing a "RPS" drinking game. Let's just say that I said goodbye to both Alex and Ike at the end of the night but I'm pretty sure only one of them remembers!

Pic 7.jpg

After a great experience in Portugal, I'm very thankful to Kat and Andre for the invite and for also showing us around Lisbon. Even with only a couple of days before their wedding, they still insisted on meeting up with my girlfriend and I...I think that says enough about them being truly great people and now they make one amazing couple.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Twitch Subscribers-Win a Share of My SCOOP Action

Hey everyone, hope you're all enjoying the SCOOP :) I've cashed in 2/3 SCOOP-M events so far this series and I'll be giving away 10% of my action in SCOOP 23/24M to twitch subscribers. There will be a freeroll this Saturday-May 16th for all subscribers and the top 2 finishers will each win 5% of my biggest cash between the two SCOOP tournaments.

You can find full details of the tournament and how to sub @ http://www.twitch.tv/frosty_012. Thanks for the stream support and gl in the SCOOP!

Monday, April 13, 2015

New Custom Mod Site Now Live @ frosty012mods.com!


Hey everyone! Although it's already been made public on facebook and twitter for a few days now, I'm excited to finally be finished making my custom theme/deck and website and everything is now live at frosty012mods.com.

I've designed a custom theme and deck for functional grinding purposes and I focused on simplicity and maximum HUD space. There's an extensive list of features and details about the theme here and the deck here but the cliffs for each are as follows:

Easy Theme

https://frosty012mods.com/?product=easy-theme



















The essence of the Easy Theme is the simplistic and functional layout design, tailored for the avid multi-tabler. With minimal clutter, text and distractions I designed the Easy Theme to allow for maximum HUD space and intuitive seating in order to optimize grinding.

Easy Deck

https://frosty012mods.com/?product=easy-deck



















The “Easy” deck is designed to make grinding just that-easy. The relatively large font that’s used for the letters and numbers on the cards was designed to make it easier to see what matters the most across all table dimensions (the card values!). The 4-coloured card backs are meant to stand out in a way that makes interpreting the different suits fast at a glance, without being too overwhelming in brightness. The suit images below the card values are meant to be subtle and serve as a quick reminder as to what the colours on the card backs actually represent. The whole decks comes together in a simplistic way that is appealing to the eye but most importantly, ultra functional for online grinding at PokerStars.

Thanks to everyone for all of the interest in the theme and purchases made already. Let me know if you have any comments or questions, thanks!