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Join Date: May 13
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  1. A Big Poker Month in 3 Ways

    October turned about to be a great month poker wise for me in 3 ways. First, and it had been awhile, I had my first 10k+ month since back in May. That’s the longest streak of not having any since I recorded my first ever 10k month back in October of 2014. In fact I hadn’t gone more than 2 months in a row without one during that entire time. As an FYI, my longest consecutive streak was 7 months in a row which included two different 30k+ months.

    As I mentioned last month, a new goal is to take a little more time off from playing poker than I had been previously doing. So my 2nd reason for it being a great month is I accomplished that as well. In October I only played 23 of the 31 days. 8 days off represents twice what I normally had been taking off. So to go back again above 10k but in less time than normal is very gratifying.

    Now obviously to get back again above 10k meant I had to get deep in some tourneys and that I did. Unfortunately, I didn’t win any for the month but in the 5 Sunday’s of the month I showed profit all 5 Sunday’s including a top 27 or better 4 of the 5 weeks in the Merge 40k. This included a 4th place finish the first Sunday of the month. I also finished 3rd in the Nightly $109 twice in a 4 day period during the last week of the month. Not too bad considering I only played that tourney 7 times.

    The final thing that made it a great poker month was on Monday the 30th, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolff signed into law a bill regulating online poker in PA. Ever since Black Friday, we’ve had to, like many others in other states, play on the unregulated sites. This was scary at times…as I’ve shared before, once during a Merge slow down in cash-outs I had a ridiculous amount of money “stuck” on the site and didn’t know if I’d ever see it all.

    Now we won’t have to worry about that. By mid-to-late 2018 we should be playing and hopefully from day 1 in a combined player pool with NJ, NV and DE. Even if we’re not, we will still have a very large player pool which should make for great guarantees. Many people don’t realize that PA trails only NV in live gaming revenue per year. Pennsylvanians love to gamble so once we’re regulated online, tournaments should be ripe with players.

    Of course the other thing I’m excited about is the regulated sites will be tracked by PocketFives. As you’ll read more below in my monthly Merge up-date, I was extremely disappointed when they stopped allowing tracking by P5’s 14 months ago. By the time we actually start playing, my P5’s profile will “officially” only show about ½ of my total career earnings. Also, my ranking in PA after having been #1 for almost 2 consecutive years has now fallen all the way down to #20 at the time of this writing. So I’m looking forward to climbing back up the ranks and trying to eclipse my personal best of #11 in the US and #971 in the world.
    Alright so let’s break down October…

    117…Tournaments Played
    53…. Cashes (45.3%)
    14…. Final Tables
    6....…Top 3 Finishes
    0……Wins
    $10373.94 in total cashes (108.94% 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: $457512.35
    Career Lifetime Total: $521806.99
    Career number of Cashes: 4116

    Follow my monthly results in real-time by following me on Twitter: @YourPokerPastor
    Thanks for reading...please post a comment with your thoughts or anything you'd like me to address in future blogs.

  2. One of the interesting reports I get from Poker Dominator is how many days I’ve played poker out of the total number of days possible. From April 17, 2012 when I started grinding the Merge Network through August 31, 2017, I played poker in some form 1709 out of a possible 1961 days. That’s 87% of all days in a 5+ year period. That’s about 1 day off from playing every 8 days or on average about 4 days off per month.

    To be honest, I take more time off than that from my job being a pastor. Every Friday is my day off for a day of rest and then I’m also given 4 weeks of vacation per year. So that means in the same time period I had about 400 days off from the church but I only took 252 days off from poker. Looking back on it, that’s a very unhealthy pace in so many ways. However, I never really minded it because poker is such a fun game for me and the fact I’ve crushed for the most part also helped it to feel more like a game and less like working.

    However, if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that 2017 has not been my best year. I’m in profit for the year but nothing like I’ve been the last few years where my profit has been near or greater than my church salary each year. The first part of this year I attributed a lot of it to running bad…which I was. However, as the year progressed the run bad wasn’t quite as bad but the big scores weren’t there either. That and the times I was running bad made for not a great attitude. In many ways I began to not look forward to the nightly grind. In my mind I was wondering each night in what ridiculous way was somebody going to suck out on me when it really counted. Mentally and emotionally I was in a bad place. Little did I realize how much the constant grinding was wearing on me.

    Finally, in September I decided to take a break. I was reminded of one of the habits from, one of my all-time favorite books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which is You Need to Sharpen the Saw. Basically it’s a reminder that if you’re sawing down a tree, ultimately you’ll get done faster if you periodically stop to sharpen the saw. Life or in this case poker, is the same way…unless you stop to occasionally rest and sharpen the saw you’ll burn out and not be effective.

    So in September I scaled way way back. I didn’t play nearly as many tourneys and overall I only played 17 of the 30 days in the month. Now that may still sound like a lot but remember my average was 4 days off in a month, whereas in this particular month I got 13 days off. I hadn’t had that many off in a month since June of 2015 when I basically had the entire month off, first from 2 weeks in Costa Rica and then the 2 weeks after that fighting the stomach bug I picked up while down there.

    The funny thing about that particular time was, after all that time off, I came back fresh and had one of my best months ever with over $31,000 in cashes. That then led to a few more months of an epic heater. So I should have known better and took time off sooner. I bring all this up because sure enough during the last week of September when I began grinding again (although smaller stakes), I began having deep run after deep run. I won’t spoil next months blog but I’m writing this in the early morning hours of October 2nd after having just wrapped-up my Sunday grind. For the day, I cashed 6 of 7 tourneys for about 3.5k. So you might say the time off has again cleared my head and I’m hoping for another heater to close out the year.

    So the lesson going forward is I need to be more intentional about scheduling some poker breaks so I don’t go through a couple month stretch like I recently did. I appreciate your holding me accountable to this in the months and years to come.

    Alright so how did September’s limited grind go? Well because of the playing smaller stakes and the limited volume it was one of my smallest months ever. But again that’s ok because I feel it will be made up for in the near future.

    75…Tournaments Played
    39…. Cashes (52%)
    5…. Final Tables
    2....…Top 3 Finishes
    1……Wins
    $2672.40 in total cashes (7.88% 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: $ 447138.41
    Career Lifetime Total:$511433.05
    Career number of Cashes:4063

    Follow my monthly results in real-time by following me on Twitter: @YourPokerPastor

    Thanks for reading...please post a comment with your thoughts or anything you'd like me to address in future blogs.

  3. Typically we vacation in June since it’s our anniversary and birthday’s but this year my grandmothers memorial service was scheduled for the beginning of the month and then my niece had her senior recital and graduation which we wanted to be a part of. So we decided we’d do July but then my wife got called for jury duty for the entire month. So by the time August rolled around I was really, really ready for vacation!

    As most of you know my full-time job is being a pastor which in some ways can be a 24/7 job. However, my typical day has me doing church work from 9-5 or 6 and then I start my poker grind usually around 7 and wrap-up anywhere between 1-3 depending on how deep I get in tourneys. Basically it’s like having 2 full-time jobs. So the plan for August was to take 3 weeks off from my church work and limit my poker playing to smaller MTT’s like I did last month so regardless of whether running good or bad the results wouldn’t impact my mood in any way while we were vacationing.

    We had a great 3 weeks! Some highlights included doing a 9 mile hike which included 21 waterfalls, getting to meet and have lunch with PA grinder Brkwng3, doing a day-trip into New York City, touring Longwood Gardens, and spending a week in Atlantic City which included some great meals and the Air Show featuring The Thunderbirds.



    Also, while in AC, I was able to play 2 live tourneys. The first was on the day of the eclipse which was a $120 deepstack 10k GTD. 203 people entered with 27 paying…unfortunately I busted 33rd. I felt I played well the entire day with the only mistake really being a hand about 20 or so before my bust-out hand where I made Cbet that I probably shouldn’t have.

    The other tourney was a small daily, but deep-stacked tourney at The Golden Nugget. The level of play there was so bad it was funny. In one hand early in the tourney I flopped a set on a very wet board. After a donk bet and a caller I raised to charge draws. Only the caller guy called. The turn brought 4 to a straight on the board plus a possible flush. The tourist guy immediately and very excitedly says I’m all in. The whole table burst out laughing. The bet was for almost 5x the pot so I sigh folded. It was just that kind of day…every hand I made was just slightly beat or got outdrawn. Then towards the end in these pot where 3 to 4 limpers was quite common, I ended up not having good enough hands to shove. Needless to say I didn’t cash in this one either.

    Also, while in AC, I was able to play on PokerStars NJ. This was my first time on PS since Black Friday and was very exciting. I put $100 on with the intention of playing some $10 and less tourney’s and either running it up and cashing out before going home or making sure to bust the entire $100 by the last day. I had been told how soft NJ sites are and oh boy the NJ grinders weren’t kidding. I haven’t seen that bad of play since pre-Black Friday. My biggest problem was an extreme amount of run-bad. I ran 27bb/100 below expectation for the week. Regardless though, I had a ton of fun playing the software again and the bounty builder tourney’s are awesome. They essentially kept me rolled the entire week because I was making the money back in bounties but then would have bad beats just short of getting in the money. I also played the Spin and Go’s to stay rolled for the week…again the level of play was terrible. At the end of the week I was slightly short of break even so I played some larger events but failed to cash. More so than usual though, I’m hoping and praying Pennsylvania gets regulated soon so we can have the superior software and bad player pool like NJ, DE and NV do.

    As for the rest of my online grind, I played a lot during the beginning of the month and then a lot less as we started to actually be on the road towards the end. Thankfully it was overall another good month even with intentionally punting the PokerStars bankroll.

    155…Tournaments Played
    64…. Cashes (41%)
    14…. Final Tables
    6....…Top 3 Finishes
    3……Wins
    $5180.32 in total cashes (15.95% 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: $ 444473.21
    Career Lifetime Total: $508760.65
    Career number of Cashes: 4024
    Follow my monthly results in real-time by following me on Twitter: @YourPokerPastor
    Thanks for reading...please post a comment with your thoughts or anything you'd like me to address in future blogs.

 
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