Friday, October 17, 2014

Fantasy Sports Links

I feel a little guilty even posting these but at the same time I think it's kind of stupid not to.  I'm posting links for the various fantasy sites so if anyone that reads my blog wants to sign up and signs up through the links, I'll get a portion of your rakeback.  It's basically the same deal as how affiliates work with poker.

I actually received several offers through the years to post links, banners, etc. in my blog in return for a fee and always refused.  I've never really done the whole affiliate thing but with all the interest in Fantasy sports and all the people contacting me with questions and interest I think it would be dumb not to post them.  So if you are interested in Fantasy Sports, have liked my blog, and would like to give something back to me, the links are below.

I also linked the 2+2 "Well" in case you haven't seen it - you can ask me anything there and I'll be happy to respond.  Also I linked a PokerFuse article that was written the other day about my transition to Fantasy Sports.

I actually had decided a few months ago that I wanted to keep my decision to transition to DFS kind of low-key.  Oops.  Well that's all out the window at this point.  I really wasn't expecting so much attention and interest.

DFS Links:

DraftKings: https://www.draftkings.com/r/SteveAvery

FanDuel: https://www.fanduel.com/?invitedby=ronniegant&cnl=da

DraftDay: https://www.draftday.com/invite/TomGlavine

If anyone has any DFS questions regarding the sites, feel free to email me at tony.pirone@gmail.com

2+2 Well: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/18/high-stakes-limit/retirement-poker-tpirahna-well-1479652/

PokerFuse: http://pokerfuse.com/features/in-depth/25931-online-poker-legend-quits-pursue-fantasy-sports/



Friday, October 3, 2014

Retirement

I’m officially retired from poker.  I've put off this blog post for a while trying to be certain that I’m done and while I’m still not 100% certain, I’m more certain now than at any other point.  That said I will probably play poker in some capacity in the future, even if only for recreational purposes.

A number of factors led me to this decision.  First and foremost, I’m sick of playing.  It was sometime last year that I realized I didn't want to be playing much longer.  I’m 39 years old now and it has become more and more difficult to sit in front of a computer all day with my attention constantly focused with decision after decision being presented for hour after hour.  Five years ago it was fairly easy for me to play six tables of short-handed LHE for many hours, remain focused at all of them, and have a pretty good idea of what was going on at each.  This year it felt like torture trying to playing four tables and I found it very difficult to have that same level of focus for any extended period of time.

More than just getting older, poker became less and less fun and more and more like work to the point where I've dreaded playing many days.  I've probably logged more online hours and possibly more hands of LHE than anyone alive. I started playing LHE over ten years ago and have put in a tremendous amount of volume each of those years.  I don’t know how many hours I played but I’d estimate I played around six million hands.   When I started I was eager to play every day and brought my laptop with me everywhere (literally everywhere) not of necessity, but out of a burning desire to play.  That desire is long gone.

Another factor that led to this decision is the current environment in online poker.  Making money in high-stakes online games is more about table selection, seat selection, and quickness to the tables than about actual skill.  The actual skill is still a prerequisite for making money but the vast majority of high stakes regulars at LHE are separated in skill by a fraction of a big bet.  So the other non-poker related skills carry much greater weight than they previously did.   I can’t really complain about these non-poker related skills as I've easily benefited from them as much as anyone and have been aware of their importance for quite some time.  But now that nearly everyone is aware of them, the landscape has transformed into a race to get to tables, and into a contest to see who can get position on the recreational player.  What was once an easy advantage has turned into a major headache when trying to multi-table.  If I was only playing a few hours a day at a few tables, I don’t think it would be much trouble to have all the tables open and hop on one immediately when a recreational player sits.  But when trying to multi-table for endless hours, also trying to keep every table open while vigilantly watching to see if a seat is about to be taken can be maddening. 

Much more than that, it takes away from the fun of the game and the actual game of poker itself. 

Yet another factor (and there are many more) in the decision to retire was the constant travel after Black Friday.  As cool as it is to experience different cultures and live in exotic locations, it also gets old after a while.  There are a LOT of things in the US that I miss,  most of all playing pool.  I've spent more time playing pool in my life than I have playing poker to give you an idea and if faced with a choice of being able to do either (and being able to make the same amount of money) I’d choose pool in a heartbeat.  And I would of said that at any time during my poker career.

Enter the possible solution to all my problems: Daily Fantasy Sports

-Totally legal in the US which solves the travel issue (along with a host of other issues including the ongoing banking nightmare that stems from being an American online poker player)

-Extremely fun as I love sports and competition.   It’s a new challenge that I wake up every day excited to try to take on.

-Makes good use of a lot of my biggest strengths.  Math/odds, knowledge of sports betting markets and lines, psychology, bankroll management, etc. etc.

-A relatively new industry very similar to poker ten years ago in terms of growth and money making potential.  There are a number of other striking similarities but I won’t get into them here. 

It still remains to be seen whether I can support myself and family playing DFS and hence why I’m not 100% certain I’m done with poker.  I will say I’m very optimistic about my chances and have done exceptionally well in the nine weeks or so I’ve been playing.  One thing that is for certain is that I’ll be doing everything in my power to make it work and not have to come back to poker.  It wouldn’t bother me a bit if I never played another hand of online poker again (fingers crossed).

So this is likely to be my last blog post though I may post some personal stuff here from time to time.  Like if I’m lucky enough to play Efren Reyes in pool again J

I would like to extend an offer to 2+2, hopefully one of the moderators there will read this.  I would be happy to do a “Well” on 2+2 where I answer any and all questions related to poker.  I’d be willing to answer pretty much anything and would take the time to thoughtfully answer as many questions as possible.  I think I could probably do something on par to the Phil Galfond well that was done a while back. I actually have some downtime with DFS over the next three weeks so that would be the best time for me to do it.  I can be reached at tony.pirone@gmail.com

That’s hopefully it.  I hope everyone enjoyed following this blog, maybe learned something from it, and possibly gained some inspiration from it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Likely The End Of The Chase

Several people have asked me when I'm going to update my blog and I apologize for the delay.  I just haven't felt like blogging and the updates from here on out will likely be sporadic.  I know people really enjoy seeing my results so that's the majority of what will be posted.

I'm right about at would be the midpoint of the year VPP wise but it's extremely unlikely at this point that I'll try to make SNE.  I just don't have the same drive this year and have no interest in killing myself for next 2-3 months to do it.  This is my 10th consecutive year putting in this type of volume (6 on Stars and 4 on UB) and it's really wearing on me.  Things would be so much easier if I could play from the US but alas it is what it is.  So unless something changes drastically for me financially, I'm not even going to try.

My plan at this point is still to play about 40 hours a week but to try to play during the busiest times and play some really focused poker.  Playing 4-5 tables for endless hours makes it nearly impossible to be totally focused and motivated so I'm hoping the reduced hours help with that.

This is what the year has looked liked so far big bet wise:















It looks like a pretty typical TPirahna graph.


Here's what the year has looked like in terms of $ won:















This is by far the worst 250K+ hand stretch I've had in the last 4 years despite the recent upswing.











As you can see in the last screen capture, I'm actually down money at my three highest limits combined.  I believe only a month ago, I was down over 40K between the 3 limits so I feel very good about where I stand right now.  Funny how your perspective and emotions can change depending on whether the money was won and then lost or lost and then won.

I've played some really good poker the last few weeks, easily the best of the year.  I think making the decision to abandon SNE has given me a sense of freedom and control back.  It's refreshing in a way and I've felt really comfortable and focused while playing.  It makes such a big difference to want to play as opposed to being forced to play.  I'm still forced to play to some degree because I need the money but 40 hours a week seems like a breeze compared to the 70+ I was playing.

I'll have another update likely by the end of August.  Good luck at the tables everyone.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

May in the Books

I finally rebounded a bit in May and had a pretty respectable month.  In terms of big bets won, it's one of my best in the past couple years.










Overall, I'm still very concerned with my mental state.  I'm completely unmotivated and going through the motions way too often.  My primary focus is on VPPs every day and it feels like torture trying to reach the VPP goals I set.  I have some moments or hours of clarity where I'm thinking clearly, focused, and know what's going on at my tables.  But those moments are few and far between.  Far more often I'm in sort of a haze just going through the motions and struggling to focus.

As I mentioned in my last post, there's nothing left in the game for me except money.  There's no other incentive or motivation at this point.  Despite some of the obvious problems with PTR, it at least gave me something to shoot for - being the leading $ winner at the various limits or racing for the all-time $ lead.  I wish that aspect was brought back, it least would give me something else to shoot for.  As it stands, my poker days are numbered.  When I get home in the fall, I'm going to work hard to transition into some other forms of gambling that I enjoy more.

As far as my mass multitabling plan of low-limits, it lasted about 3 days.  I believe I won 510 BB's in 3 days 6-7 tabling 5/10 to 15/30 but I'm confident it's some of the worst poker I've played in a long, long time. I have a lot of difficulty committing myself to doing something where I know I'm not doing it to the best of my ability.  It frustrates me to know I'm making countless mistakes that could be avoided by dropping tables and slowing down. There's a trade-off of course which is I earn VPPs at a much faster rate.  So at this point I've modified my plan and am alternating between playing some "mindless" sessions where I'm 5-6 tabling low limits and focused (at least trying to focus) sessions of 3-4 tables from 10/20 to 50/100.  I'm done at the moment playing 100/200 and 200/400 and it's unlikely I'll play very much more in the future until Poker Stars fixes their non-random button issue.  It's to the point where many of the games are totally unplayable because of the rec players hopping tables - this inevitably causes the players that aren't starting the tables to play more blind positions than non-blind positions.  Additionally, it's a lot less stress not having $40K-$100K swings every month or two.  Ultimately it will mean less money but I think the tradeoff of less stress is worth it at this point.

On the VPP front, I'm about a month behind pace, currently at 340K VPPs.  It seems like every day I wake up with a goal to do at least 5K VPPs and I consistently fall short.  It's very hard to believe that I once did 7K per day for 3 months straight.  5K seems like an eternity these days.  I have no idea if I'll make SNE this year, at the rate I'm going, it doesn't look like it.  Hopefully I'll find some motivation and drive somewhere.

Good Luck to everyone at the WSOP and online in June.



Monday, May 26, 2014

Serious Variance

I figured this would be as good a time as any for my annual, sometimes bi-annual, post on just how utterly insane the variance in this game is.

My prior fifty thousand hands leading into this month looked like this:




















My next 57Kish this month have looked like this:




















Even that graph doesn't do justice to how insanely well I've run.  I'm up over 1800 BB's pre-rake which I'm quite sure is a one month record for me











This could be the time to get carried away with myself and talk about how I've mastered the game, have soul reads on all the regulars, and am ready to jump into the 1K/2K games (pretending they ever ran) because I'll never lose again.

Nothing really could be further from the truth and that line of thinking greatly increases the chances that my next 50K will look a lot more like the 1st graph and a lot less like the 2nd (I've made this mistake many times in the past).  I've played well this month but it's all so subjective.  When you consistently run into the bottom of your opponent's ranges, sure all your bluffs are going to work and you're going to feel like you're playing your A game.  When your opponents are consistently running into the top of your range with their bluffs, you're going to feel like you're "owning" them.  When you win 70% of the 15+ BB pots you're involved in, you're very likely to be on a massive heater and actually start believing that you should be winning that percentage of big pots on a consistent basis.  In the end, it's all just variance.

I say this every year and will keep saying it, do not under any circumstances underestimate the variance in this game.  50K hands is nothing, 1000 big bets (won or lost) is very little.  The key is to stay even keel with your emotions and be focused on one thing: making the best decision possible with all the information you have available, each and every decision.

I'll have another update at the end of the month along with some details on how my low-limit multi-tabling plan went.

Good luck everyone.