The most often asked question I get about poker is, “Is it ok for you as a pastor/Christian to play”? I’ve answered that in blog posts, articles written about me, and in video interviews so I won’t answer that again right here. However, there are 4 other questions that I get quite a bit that I thought this month I’d take some time to address…
Question #1: Why don’t you play more often live?
This answer is two-fold. The first is I just don’t have time. Being a pastor demands a lot of my hours in a week so other than while on vacation, playing live tourney’s is just not a feasible option most of the time.
Second then is the ROI from my live vs online grind. I have a casino about 15 minutes from my home but their nightly tourney is $80 and only get a couple dozen people. It’s been over 3 years since I last played there and I actually won the tourney for something like $750-$800. However, a few nights before that I had won an online $33 tourney for over $2000. So the more I thought about it the less sense it made to play live when online I can stay home and enjoy all it’s amenities while also being able to multi-table for a much bigger possible ROI.
Question #2: Why don’t you play cash games?
First, is because I enjoy MTT’s way more than cash but the real reason is because of a personal conviction of mine. As a Christian I am trying to serve and help people as much as I can and never want to take advantage of someone. In MTT’s I know that most people are playing recreationally and because it’s a fixed buy-in we know going in exactly how much we’re going to invest.
If I remember right the 2nd year after New Jersey regulated online poker they released a report that showed that their typical tournament player was in their late 30’s with over 70k per year in income and the average buy-in was just a little over $10. In other words, a bunch of people playing recreationally with dollars they would have probably spent on some other form of recreation.
Now you might be asking, “But aren’t the cash stats probably pretty similar?” And the answer to that is probably yes. However, in cash games you can usually table select (I saw this week PokerStars is changing that). What this means is it’s much easier to “prey” on bad players. I’m not saying that’s wrong for you but for me personally it is. My goal is never to hurt someone financially and the risk of doing that is much greater in cash games where you can just keep stacking someone over and over again with the hope they just keep re-buying. For me personally that would be wrong.
Question #3: Why don’t you stream?
I’m very humbled anytime I’m asked this because it means that people want to watch me play. However, as I’ve examined the pros and cons of it, the cons far outweigh the pros. In fact, it is this way for most.
Ultimately you must decide, do I want to be a good steamer or do I want to be a good poker player? Are there some who are able to do both…absolutely but for most it seriously hinders their game. Oh sure some even still eek out some profit but not the kind that could be won if they didn’t have all the other stuff happening.
Now don’t get me wrong I love streamers and have made a lot of great friends that are both streamers and people I’ve met in the chat. For me personally though knowing that I need the poker money income to supplement my salary from the church, the ROI of streaming (new friends, followers, subscribers, etc) was not as great as just concentrating on my tables. Oh sure there was always the outside shot I’d become the next big thing on Twitch (highly doubtful) but the work needed to do that is just time I don’t have to invest.
Question #4: Why don’t you play on WPN (ACR/True/BlackChip) very much?
While I do play on there from time to time I love what streamer ShipDon’tDie recently asked in a poll. “What would you rather do…play on ACR or die in a grease fire?” Grease fire won hands down. I happen to agree. I despise their software. For whatever reason when I’m multi-tabling it just doesn’t “fit my eye” very well. I also hate the tremendously long late registrations. While my preferred site (Merge) also has long late reg, with smaller fields it means that tourney’s can wrap-up in a reasonable amount of time and not require me to be up every night until 2-3am.
Ok so with all that said, how did my February grind go? Surprisingly, I was able to play way more than I thought I would. In fact, I played the most MTT’s I’ve been able to do in about 1 ½ years. Guess that’s what happens when you get a lot of things cancelled because of snow and extremely cold temps.
So I grinded my way to another profitable month and added in a few more tourney’s on BetOnline. This was the first site I had played post Black Friday. I then stopped after I found Merge. From time to time though I’d jump on in the past 2 years and micro grind the little bit I had on there. Not surprisingly, I couldn’t beat the micro-grinders because while it’s easy to beat just 1, if every hand you have 5 people in a pot no matter how much you raise, it’s just not going to work out. So I decided to put a deposit on and as soon as I started playing bigger stakes my chart started going up and to the right!
Here is February’s breakdown…
32..…. Final Tables
15.......Top 3 Finishes
$8089.62 in total cashes (36.2% ROI)
Now onto my Merge up-date. For those not familiar with my blog, Merge stopped allowing Pocket Fives to track scores on September 5th 2016, so what I’m doing here is tracking where I would have been had they not stopped tracking. I do play some on other networks but Merge gets out 95% of my volume so I thought it would be fun and motivating to keep things going as if though it never stopped. I use Poker Dominator to track all tourney’s so these are the most accurate and up-to-date numbers as of the last day of the month.
Merge Lifetime Total: $541,864.10
Career Lifetime Total: $611,886.12
Career number of Cashes: 4773
Follow my monthly results in real-time by following me on Twitter: @YourPokerPastor
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