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.

18 comments:

  1. BigBadBabar here. Sent you an email.

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  2. confusing that im sad that the one who "stole" most of my money is gone :( wish you all the best, you were really a great player.

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  3. Tony, could you describe Fantasy games? How are you going to make money there and what sites are you going to use?

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  4. You need to right a book!! Come on please!

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  5. Here's a link to the 2+2 Well if anyone has any questions:

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

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  6. Tony,
    What a run it has been for you. I am sure you could always walk into any Casino and play some 80/160 when you felt like it. Your odds have been pretty damn good from what I hear. Hope you get to make it down to play some One Pocket at the Broken Rack or Family or Hardtimes. I guess instead of playing big money One Pocket, you could ease into some 40-50 a game and play our favorite game of One Pocket. Let me know when you can play a session for a few hours. -JG.

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  7. Hey thanks Jeff.

    I can't wait to play pool. I'm back home but trying to get caught up with so many things. I'm also planning on selling my house in the next few months. Around all this I'm trying to work on DFS and get a guage on how much of my time it's going to take up.

    But it's inevitable I'll be back on the green felt. I think I'll have a better idea in a couple weeks. I'll definitely let you know. and some 50/game 1 pocket sounds good until I can get back in stroke. Basically starting over again as I really haven't played the last few years. Talk to you soon

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  8. Ah come on tony! why stop the blog now :(. surely your loyal following of readers are enough to keep for you to keep updating us on your adventures the same way you did with your poker blog! We're invested in you, not just your poker.

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  9. Currency based question:
    I withdraw in GBP. I play in USD and therefore win USD. What conversion strategy should i use to maximise/minimise loss/gain during trading currency for withdrawal. I believe the transfer rate varies from 0.6-0.64 depending in the currency markets. and i tend to store maximum 40 buyins in my account for any level. What was your strategy/rules?

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  10. Hey Duttywinee,

    Can you post this in the 2+2 Well? The links are above, I'll get to all the questions there. Thanks

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  11. Hi Tony,

    Everyone else said enough about your tremendous work over all those years, Bravo.
    You are very competitive, probably like everyone else playing. I think when you are getting older, other things in live are becoming more important. I am not saying the competitive area disappears, but the appreciation of all other things in live expands. You have proofed yourself enough and you are a competitor, looking for a new adventure.

    I wish you all the best with your journey and you know what, I was away for a while and turned on the PC, opened pokerstars and it was still there ;)

    ME HAPPYBEE

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  12. Thanks a lot for HappyBee. There's a lot of truth to what you're saying.

    Good luck at the tables.

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  13. while your journey has come to an end mine has just begun...just wanted to say thanks. i am one of those you inspired. if its just income you're after now i think you're in a position to maximize your passive and portfolio income along with your DFS. Income from rent and bonds add up and before you know it you wont have to be so overworked anymore. Its all just a matter of budgeting and reinvesting wisely. Play Kiyosaki's Cashflow 202 if you havent already.

    Thank you and congrats! :)

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  14. Happy to hear that okneechan. Thanks for leaving a comment and for the sound advice.

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  15. Hey TPir. dougnutz here. Not sure how else to reach you, but I've founded a leading hockey analytics outfit -- we should talk about whether we might be able to work together in your new endeavor. If you're interested leave a comment directed to me (IJay Palansky) with your contact info at www.depthockeyanalytics.com. And if you're not interested, then best of luck to you.

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  16. Wow you're a blast from the past. I'm on the verge of giving up on hockey :) I will check it out though, thanks!

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