An Assessment

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Re: An Assessment

Postby Labax » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:35 am

In rather recent news I've joined a good spin and go stable and plan to put in lots of volume with the goal of playing full time in the summer. I'll try and post some more regular updates in the near future.

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Re: An Assessment

Postby DanShot » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:56 pm

great news what spins you playing ?

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Re: An Assessment

Postby Labax » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:11 pm

3s whilst I work on range construction and nail down some theory but contract is starting at 7s

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Re: An Assessment

Postby Labax » Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:45 pm

So I finally buckled down and recorded the first "mini" episode of my podcast which covers my history and plans for the future.

Any feedback appreciated!

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Re: An Assessment

Postby Labax » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:32 pm

So professional I forgot the link

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Re: An Assessment

Postby Labax » Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:25 pm

So here I am, on another river met with the tough decision of either spew calling or over folding. What to do, what to do...


All jokes aside (for now), the above picture shows a look not disimilar to the one I embody whilst grinding. I feel it's largely a look of pensive thought combined with some underlying stress. Granted in a few weeks the christmas jumper will with all likelihood be retired (not making any promises though) but you get my point.

In prior threads I've somewhat omitted the regular use of pictures. Part of me has a great desire to live in the moment and not document every aspect of my life through photo's/video's. Memories are important though and I feel pictures do help give an extended insight into how someone is doing and what kind of experience they're having at that given time.

To demonstrate this rather obvious point I thought I'd share a picture of my desk in my room and use the picture to describe a bit of information about my current situation. I'm still not sure if I'm using this as a gateway to show my set up or in fact to dictate the effectiveness of pictures, maybe it's both?! Who knows maybe it's even to prop up my own self worth, a triple range merge perhaps. I promise to cut out the Micro's references for the rest of the post.

"Da da da dada da da da da dada"

I'll be serious from now on I promise.


So this is it, I bought a second monitor which I genuinely think is one of the best technological (hell maybe even life) decisions I've ever made. Why I didn't get one earlier is beyond me. You'll also notice that I have 2+2 in particular PGC open, I spend a lot of time reading PGC threads on here and I love the variety of people and games you see in the threads.

There's also some notes in the form of theory for both poker and my degree. It's roughly organised but useful to look at when I'm at my desk. One thing I do need to get better at is general organisation alongside setting out a timetable of what I need to do and be strict with it, this was all adviced in an "organising a heavy workload" workshop I went to at my university, definitely +ev.

The more eagle eyed of you may also notice a piano lurking in the corner, whilst I got it extremely recently and am I fish right now I find it's a great way to relax and take my mind off other things going on in my life. A definite aim for this thread is to showcase a fair amount about my life and I hope to get to the stage where I can create my own songs and post them on here.

I also have my maths homework which is still due as we speak. Going off the organisation point I made earlier I do need to be more diligent and efficient with managing work next semester.

I also have a water bottle, a stars thermos (actually v good quality and better quality lid than any other thermos I've earned, maybe doesn't stay as hot as others do but definitely worth it) and some poker chips.

I try and drink water most of the time but the Brit inside me finds it so comforting to sit with a warm drink at pretty much any time of the day. I do realise that caffeine is not an ideal supplement in regards to long run ev so if any of you have any suggestions for warm drinks that can be consumed 2/3 times a day with no potential health risks then let me know. And no I didn't just get scared about caffeine from WebMD I know from personal experience that the act of me trying to sleep is greatly affected by caffeine (why do you think I'm writing this at 5am).

The poker chips are there to shuffle and remind me of the ev of live poker. Who know's how much longer online (maybe excluding mtts) will be going on for. I should really jump on the horse at some point but for now I like being in my room grinding away, I like having personal space from time to time and grinding poker gives me that opportunity since most of my university work is done at the library.

So let's actually go into a bit more detail about myself now you know some vague things about my life.

I'm twenty and in my first year of an engineering degree at university in London. The degree could be going better, I could be more motivated and commited but it could also be going worse. I have a lot of mini exams over the next week so poker will take a slight back seat until those are over.

I love being in London and do plan to go out and explore more, I'm lucky to live with people who like seeing new things which definitely gets me out of my room and off my arse at times.

In regards to my poker history, I've pretty much played every format. From mindlessly semi-spunking MTTs to grinding zoom (BEish grinder here) I've epereinced a lot. I could go into more detail but I thought I'd direct you to a podcast I made about my history in poker, don't worry, it's just as jumbled and confused as this post so it won't be anything out of the ordinary.

So going to the current situation (even though it's mentioned in the podcast I respect the fact that not all of you will listen to it) I'm currently playing $7 Spins for the stable SpinBeasts.

It feels great to be in a constructive environment surrounded by smart people who all want to improve. It's really made me realise the ev of studying and receiving coaching. To all of you currently grinding away hoping doing the same thing over and over will reward you with success, I urge you to post more hands and get into study groups and really work hard, it's worth it. I wish I "actually" studied way earlier in my "career" (I couldn't think of a word better than career..).

So poker wise whilst at university I plan to get around 1.5k games/month. In the summer though that all changes, I've been fortunate to win/run well enough so far to of made more money then I would of working a part time job all through the summer (and then some). As a result during the summer I plan to play spins "full time" for two/three months. I plan for one of those months to go somewhere in Europe and grind from there. I feel since I've got the freedom to play wherever I want I might as well make the most of it and not just stay at home in England all the time. I have so much to work on with poker but I'm really driven to give myself the best shot at making it work.

You can expect regular updates with the occasional chip ev graph and my thoughts about spins and how I'm finding them. Maybe I'll stream on twitch who knows, one thing I definitely want to work on is trying to be as positive and mentally secure as I can be whilst grinding. I'd say my mental game is much much better than it used to be but I hope to eventually get to that zen like stage where I give zero fucks about losing a 4x. I mean often I don't care but you know's there's always that one hand that sends y-.. I'll stop now.

Instead of just making this thread about poker I thought I'd also include a fair amount about self improvement and how I aim to get more out of my life and feel happier as a whole.

I feel I've come along way from the person I was 1-2 years ago, I was generally quite a cynical person often depressed and boosting myself up by laughing at other peoples misery, I mean I still watch Fail Army on a weekly basis but it's a far cry from openly criticising the actions of people close to me every other day to make myself feel good.

I'm now a lot more positive and try and find and enjoy the positive things in life, but just like in poker, you should always strive to go even futher and push yourself.

Giving a quick early morning self assessment I know I'm still relatively self concious and don't want to be seen making mistakes or failing. It can be something simple pushing a door instead of pulling it or dropping a book whilst walking to class. I feel there's a pressure on most people (including myself obv) to fit in, to wear normal clothes, to do normal things, to not stand out. So much so that I often find myself falling into the trap of doing things just because everyone else does them instead of really thinking about something independently.

Now granted, often the decisions which a society tends to follow are somewhat water tight (I said often ;)) but there's nothing wrong with questioning things a second time over.

Another thing which I guess ties into the above point is the fear of rejection. I've dealt with some hardships and got over them but I'm far from the perfect being in regards to not being afraid of rejection.

I recently watched/listened to a Ted Talk about lessons from rejection and it's really opened my eye's to the possibilities of just being forward and proactive and not holding back your opinions and not being afraid of getting rejected. Much like with my poker background I'll link the video right now.

I thought I'd address a point which... well none of you have brought up but whatever. This isn't I guess a stereotypical PGC thread, that's not me trying to be hipster or fire shots.

This thread is largely for myself, that doesn't in any way mean I don't want anyone reading to not gain anything from it or that I don't want any interaction, quite the opposite.

My point (which I'm rather poorly putting across) is that I doubt this thread will cater to the masses, this post, for example, is super long and I don't many people in PGC would read this long of a post from a random (I don't blame you either), also, a lot of the posts may be quite different, some more poker based, others more general life based, might be a fluctuation in length and time between posting etc.

If you do gain something out of this thread and find it interesting then awesome, whatever happens hopefully I can look back through this in the future and see what's changed. I'll be happy to answer any questions so feel free to fire away!

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Re: An Assessment

Postby Labax » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:59 am

I'm always reluctant to post small updates every day or two as I feel the most constructive posts I have are when I really feel like posting and making an active effort to talk about a lot of things on my mind. However, this might not be optimal. I feel my mindset for many years has been to let things drift by and to not be proactive about much until it's too late. Well you could argue it's too late currently which is why I find myself in this predicament again.

So yes, you guessed it, this post will talk about my current mindset towards life and poker and what I feel I need to change.

I feel one of the most important things that I need in my life right now is regular self-assessment. To me at least it feels way too easy to just let things fly by even if you're not fully content at where you're at in life. This has definitely caused me to not fulfill my potential in multiple aspects of my life.

However I'm not writing this to dwell on the past and talk about my regrets. You can't change the past, you can only learn from it. A reasonable example of a poker related incident is let's say running 200BI below EV in a year. It sucks and it's easy to whine and want sympathy, however, there's nothing you can do about it, it's no good imaging where you'd be if you ran like most people etc etc.

One thing I've realised over time is that humans are great at being irrational and not getting over things. In a lot of cases if we spent even a small fraction of that "irrational time" into proactive thinking about what we can learn from the experience then we would all be much better people.

I feel it's time to stop generalising and instead talk about my own battles with mindset and draw some conclusions. I've been playing spins for a while and let's just say I haven't had the start I was hoping for. I feel I've improved a bit but I still have some limitations in regards to applying strategy, as well as some mental game and focusing issue's.

When I delve in a bit deeper I feel that there is definitely some entitlement issue's. I get tilted pretty easily losing vs fish and often find myself berating other people when they play badly which is pretty laughable considering my own game isn't exactly water tight.

I find it hard to know what approach to take when battling both positive and negative variance. Let me explain, of course there's a lot of variance and it's easy to argue that you have little control over the results over around 1000 spins. It's also very easy to put it all down to variance and take the blame away from yourself when running bad. This, whilst it makes one feel comfortable, is also a detriment to one's self improvement.

If we flip the tables and jump into a scenario in which we are running good it's extremely easy to be in the limelight. Everyone's congratulating you, you're happy because you haven't had a losing session and your CeV is great etc. I mean you've put in the work right? Why wouldn't you deserve this. However this can also lead to overconfidence which is why self assessment and especially perspective is so so important.

All in all I think there is a line which can be drawn between variance and input. Whilst it's different for everyone I feel very no player has this completely nailed down. And it makes perfect sense why no-one has, it's because we're human beings, not robots. We don't fully understand variance, and it's unlikely we ever will.

I'm in a current spot where I know I have to improve but I also feel slightly unfortunate in regards to negative variance. My CeV is pretty bad for 7s and whilst I have a million things I can improve on it's also hard to deal with the fact that after a lot of reviews of hands in my DB there often isn't much to be said apart from "that's unlucky", "that's a cooler" etc.

And I again I could go on about how bad I've ran but I can't change that. I could also use the same quotes to make myself feel better and prop myself up and weight my current results more on variance.

All I need to care about is how I'm playing and not the short term results but it's far easier said than done. It's hard to disconnect after the session, it's natural for everyone to have a change in emotion based on how the session has gone.

So let's draw light on some positives before concluding about what I plan to change.

For one my parents are extrememly supportive of me playing, I guess being in a stable is effectively a receipt and they know I'm somewhat smart and it suits the kind of things I'm good at.

Actually fuck it I want to draw on something I've thought about for a while, and that's self assessment vs external assessment and what to take from both as well as reacting on improvement and advice.

I wrote about how self assessment is extremely important earlier on in this post. Assessment from others is also very important as it's very easy to lie to yourself about the reality of the situation you're in.

Again we can draw a line where the net advice would be optimal but again that's hard to find and also dependent on other factors like your own current mindset and who's giving you the external advice. I feel too much of either one is pretty terrible and I've been thinking a lot about this.

I find reacting on improvement and advice is incredibly important and something I'm pretty bad at. Over the past couple of days I've realised a pretty big flaw in my thought process. I'll give you an example.

So from the age of about 14 to 18 I was a very cynical person. Everyone was an idiot, that advert on tv was stupid, that guy is a mug, these people don't get it. This just made me an asshole and generally unpleasent to be around, as a result I was a pretty big introvert and was depressed at times.

Now I'm happy to say I've moved on-

There it is, "moved on" is what I wanted to type at that point in time. Just because I'm not the exact same way I was a couple of years ago doesn't mean I'm completely cured of being a cynical asshole.

It's very easy to improve yourself as a person and completely detach yourself from what you used to be and strike it off as it no longer being an issue. However, actually moving on from anything is in my opinion extremely difficult to do and maintain in the long run.

The issue with that mindset is you feel that aspect of your life is no longer an issue and you don't need to work on it. I used to get tilted to absolute fuck playing online chess when I'd make a mouseslip at 14 years of age after playing for 40 minutes. Has my mentality whilst thinking changed for the better since then? No shit. But that doesn't mean I don't get annoyed when playing poker now. However, I found myself time and time again telling myself I had a good mental game instead of thinking about how I should improve it (this ties in with the irrational thinking point).

So what can I do to move forward in a positive way from this point.

For a start hold myself accountable for most things. Whilst it's true none of us have as much control over things as we think we do, I feel it's still more plus ev to maintain a high concenctration of accountability instead of the polar opposite approach. That means posting here more often and admiting and noticing my own faults more often by spending a lot more time having constructive independent thinking.

I can also set myself a better routine by eating and sleeping better as well as timetabling my work and university. Having a routine is the foundation needed to succeed at anything in the long run. I've been slacking at this and hope to improve.

The potential drawback I see through this is generally being a lot more emotionally volatile as a result of constant self assessment. A big reason as to why I feel I've been passive and not proactive in the past is due to the fear of being upset or anxious. I still feel it's worth a shot.

Whatever happens in the future I can happily say I'll always be grateful for poker. Never have I encountered a game in which you can learn so much about yourself and pick up so many valuable skills. People often say once poker players retire they have nothing, I'd argue they have more than most people. I hope to keep playing and improving and make 2017 the best year for me both on and off the felt.

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Re: An Assessment

Postby Labax » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:24 pm

So as the year draws to an end and I take the next two days off from grinding (mainly to get some uni work done before Jan 1st but also to take a break and come back refreshed) I thought I'd lay out some goals for 2017.

Before jumping right into the goals I'd like to go into a bit of detail about goal setting.

So at the start of every year PGC is littered with a good 100+ new (and some old) posters who set out goals for the year ahead.

"Here's where I crush 2k17"
"Let's make it happen this time"
"My journey to the top"
"Spinning My Way To-

You get the picture just insert a midly motivating title or you're good to go. General rule is better you are, smaller your title needs to be, the stake you're playing already attracts enough clicks, dw. ;)

I'd guess around 1% (maybe 2%) of those people succeed and the large majority bail out within the first couple of months. This (in my eyes) is largely due to poor goal setting.

Poor goal setting often comes in the form of pure unrealistic and uncontrollable goal setting.

"Have a 1k month before April!!!!!!!!"

Let's say you're currently playing 25z, hell maybe even 50z. Unfortunately you have next to no control over whether you have a 20-30BI month within the first 4+ months of the year. This goal is entirely dictated by variance and a wasted goal to have on your mind.

"Always book a winning month"

Again variance see above ^

"Be at x stake by x"

Variance ^ (spotting the trend yet?)

"2017 2z -> 200z"

Again this in completely unrealistic not only since it's incredibly hard to move up the stakes now, in the period of a year even if you did have the potential to make it to 200z (the irony is people who title their threads like this likely don't) you'd have to run really well in regards to shot taking etc to get up to that stake.

And now I'm going to bring up a point, a point which I've brought up in this thread previously and will likely bring up many times in the future.

People aren't good enough at taking accountability and looking into their current approach. The issue with a lot of these "Micro>High Steaks" "$1k month" goals is that's all those people have. They take next to no interest in their current thought process and how they're going to get there. They don't mention potentially improving their routine, eating better, exercising etc. It's just a narrow minded view which is just an empty dream in most cases.

Some of you may know that I browse a fair amount of threads and for most people (I should do this for everyone). I ask a simple question.

"What are you going to do differently next year?"

I feel if anyone out there is looking to make a proactive change in their life in or out of poker they need to take a massive look at themselves and think what they're doing currently and why it's bad instead of dreaming about what it would be like to be a sicko at the end of the year.

An issue with people who often do this is they have this "I'm a slob, now I'm going to crush" attitude, with no actual small fundamental goal setting.

This is the thing I want to see people have in their threads for the year ahead, it's always eye catching to have some sicko vamos goal and everyone says "in glgl" but I think it's way higher ev to nit pick what you're failing at currently and make some small improvements so you give yourself a solid foundation to grow off so those long run goals are actually achievable.

With that being said here are my goals:

Have a set daily schedule for uni work and poker which fluctuates based off of Timetable/Lectures.

No caffeine after 6pm - I like warm drinks in the evening and I've bought decaff tea. This links in with the point below.

Sleep at least 7 hours a night with a constant fixed sleep schedule - Having those talks to 3am with flat mates or someone in the stable can be ev in some regards but a good schedule will be way higher when looking at long run ev. To have a good schedule I've installed f.lux on my computer which takes away harsh lights which harm sleep, I'll try and have 20-30minutes after my session before I go to sleep to relax.

Exercise/Get fresh air - The Ev of doing this is way higher than people think. It doesn't even have to be for long either, just a 15 minute jog or walk can do wonders to ones mindset. To make this be a successful goal I need to allocate time for it. I'll say a walk everyday and a run Monday/Wednesday/Saturday and whenever I'm super tilted.

Play Piano/Keyboard 30-60mins every day - I feel having some balance off the felt and away from studies can be +ev and playing really takes my mind off everything else. Issue is with this as a side hobbie is there maybe isn't enough room for self developement as I'd like (e.g from reading) but there's something magical about music and listening and playing it which I just love.

Have time for other people in my life - I've be lucky enough to have a few friends who I can learn a lot from and who are definitely plus ev in my life. Whilst I can't spend every hour of every day talking to them or visiting them it's still important to make time for them.

Be efficient with my time - This ties in with the routine point but making the most out of every minute I dedicate to something. If I have a set time where I'm doing Fluid Mechanics Revision from 2pm-3pm I can't waste the first ten minutes on my phone or procrastinating.

"Huh, no long term goals?"

Not really, I mean long term wise I just want to try and become a better person and poker player. I feel if I do all the above to a high standard there's no reason why I wouldn't be able to achieve lots from poker and uni/life.

I guess a mini one is putting myself in the best spot for the summer after exams where I'll be playing poker full time for the holidays. I want to work as hard as I can on my game to put myself in the best position possible to make the most out of the 8hrs a day I can invest in poker during the summer.

I wish you all the very best for the year ahead.

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