From SNG Pro to CG Pro

    • From SNG Pro to CG Pro

      Hi everyone,

      Instead of a really long introduction, I will just direct you to my introduction post here on Poker Market New? Introduce Yourself!
      As you see, I am also IvicaIliev77 on this forum as well as Poker Strategy and 2+2. Some of you may know me (or not) but I hope that we will get to know each other in the future one way or the other.

      I played SNGs 6 max tournaments in the past. My level of studying and grinding them has reached a point where in my mind I don't feel good about my progress (I felt I was stuck and that my knowledge had so many gaps for real poker). It stopped being challenging for me, I needed more + always wanted to play CG, big pots and dominate opponents all over the place. Thanks to Spin and Goes I made that switch to CG (or NLHE SH) and now since mid December 2014 I am in the CG game.
      Very bumpy and swing type of road this CG but after this long of a drive I feel I have reached a point of matching and making even more money compared to SNGs.

      My poker career goals are to become the best player I can be but also to make the most money along the way. Those things usually don't go one with the other because not necessarily best GTO players out there are the best winners in today's games. Usually it is guys who understand how to maximize and exploit all the opponents at their table, style of play that very much diversifies from GTO style!

      My short term goal in poker (by the end of this year 2015) is to play steady on NL100 and be very solid winner (minimum 5bb+). Next year to play NL200 as a solid winner also. Those 2 limit goals will eventually bring profit goals and get me to have 10k+ months which brings me closer to my profit goal for retirement fund which is 300k$ within 5 years from now.

      What can you all expect in this blog?

      I will do frequent updates about my studying, grinding , exercising, healthy eating and overall life things.
      Intention of this blog will be to run it like all my other blogs (diary type entries with means for reflecting) but I also am open to answer your questions and hopefully prove to all of you that crushing mid stakes with high win rates is possible in today's games.

      I have taken coaching in the past with w34z3l from Poker Strategy. In the meanwhile I worked most with my study partner Max who plays same limits like I do. I have also worked with 1 very brutal reg who is among the best players I have worked with + worked with 3 more players that play nl100-200 limits.
      Currently I am not involved in any coaching and staking deal but I am in negotiations which I will make decision for very soon (extremely good deal for me).
      I also coach SNGs, Spins and have 1 CG student who plays nl50/100.

      My current playing limit is NL50. I was playing zoom tables mostly but since recently I switched to reg speed tables. They already seem a ton easier and I expect double digit win rate on NL50 soon with decent sample. I expect that my knowledge is already more then enough to beat NL100 pre RB but that I would struggle more on nl200 vs better regs.

      This is all for the 1st post of the blog. I will post in near future some info about my future coaching and staking deal and my plans for grinding and set ups etc!

      P.S. Any Jazz fans around here?
    • hehe...
      Jazz meets Poker (in my world):

      Will be [in], watching your efforts and (I hope so!) learning a little bit.

      Edit: This one is from a guy, I had the pleasure to be on stage with for some hours in 1982:
      Challenge-Updates und Kommunikation künftig via Skype;
      HIER nur noch Belangloses oder mal ne Hand.

      The post was edited 2 times, last by mistbaer ().

    • mistbaer wrote:

      Jazz meets Poker (in my world):

      Will be [in], watching your efforts and (I hope so!) learning a little bit.

      Edit: This one is from a guy, I had the pleasure to be on stage with for some hours in 1982:

      Very nice compilation mistbaer!
      I like how the backing at times changes time feel to double time. Guitar melodies are cliche lines but the best thing about whole melodic playing is that is made out of motives, sequence and repetition. Very well done.
      For me, this is not music for studying. I can't study ranges, theory,hands with this going in the background. My mind immediately starts decoding melody vs harmony relationship, what function is it, is it a chord tone or tension (available or "avoid" note), what kind of voicing is played under neat (whats in bass whats on top what kind of interval sound is it etc). So you can see why if I used this for grinding it would totally take my mind from tables and shift my brain to music because I am fanatic for those things :D

      Pat Metheny is just brutal guy. I meet him in Belgrade and hanged with him at that occasion I believe in 2002 or so. We talked about music as a career and also how I am doing at Berklee with Mick Goodrick. Mick was my private instructor for the whole time at Berklee and he is also guy who taught Metheny, Stern and Scofield with likes of Wayne Krantz and such. Brutal guy, think of NUTS poker player (whatever you consider that in poker maybe Internet maybe Ghalfond, Sauce123 etc) well Mick is that for music and guitar.

      If you haven't hear of him, here is a quick live performance with my favorite all time musician Michael Brecker in Italy!

      This one is lovely duo take with Pat Metheny!

    • Quick update since Partizan Belgrade is starting in 35 minutes :)

      Couple of days ago (4 or so), I got conditional acceptance from one of my poker idols for a long term deal. Unfortunately at this moment, I can't complete that condition so I was left to open negotiations with other interested parties.
      Within 72 hours got 5 different offers from which 2 were as good as it gets in my opinion.
      I asked for deadline by Monday 3rd of August to make a final decision. Both offers that I got are absolutely +EV for me at this point of my poker career. The guys that offered them to me make 10k$+ per month, play Nl200+ and they are the ones that can teach me very well about table selection, HUD and player exploitation. They are not the best choice when it comes to GTO, but like I stated in the 1st thread of the blog, in poker best GTO players are not necessarily biggest earners today but rather the guys that can exploit tendencies of all different players with different leaks via stats.

      It is somewhat of a battle in me. I want to become best I can which definitely means learning GTO to maximum but at the same time I want to start having 10k+$ months in poker because that is one of the biggest advantages of CG vs SNG format!!! If I wanted to settle I could have stayed in SNGs stop improving and get 4-5k months mixing 15s and 30s 6 max and shooting higher stakes with table selection with bigger roll. I choose CG because I wanted to improve to maximum and also get to 10k+ months and reach my retirement fund faster!
      Unfortunately, the offer that I got from one of my poker idols doesn't work for me right now. My next best option is to take a deal that these guys have offered me. I would get maximum staking, start with nl50/100 mix, shoot higher stakes very fast, they would review my game whenever I want and when moving down after unsuccessful shot 1st time. Also the deal offered doesn't include immediate coaching but I can request it 7 times per month + get response to minimum 15 hands per week. Profit goal is very reasonable (less then any less I heard of!), % split is very good and those guys offer 2 things that nobody would offer in the world to me right now: 1) We can finish the deal after 2 months at any point if one of the parties is not satisfied with things accomplished (all defined in contract in advance what is minimum things set in terms of results!!!) 2) I get from their cut when the deal ends payed back from the coaching that wasn't held during the deal (example 7 coaching sessions per month were included in 1st deal but 2nd deal means that if I complete the deal in 10 months, that would mean 70 coaching sessions, say that I took 20 sessions during those 10 months only, 50 remaining sessions they would pay me back on top of the split because we didn't have those and that would add even more % to my cut!!!)

      I am more than happy with this deal and it will allow me to play STRESS FREE since I would get staking and yet it would motivate me to keep studying on my own and request sessions from them when I feel that I need them. In the beginning I plan in 1st 2 months to request 14 sessions to get their whole game plan pre flop and tackle post flop, and then the rest of the sessions will focus on either live or recorded sweats/analysis and topics that I want to cover.

      Very +EV deal for me, something that nobody in the world would offer me probably.

      Again, I will wait for Monday 3rd of August to make a decision. Perhaps my poker idol will come up with a way for us to work after all - who knows. I am now much more sure that I want to work with those guys because withing 72 hours they went up down and left and right to absolutely suit my needs and help me reach my poker goals ASAP.
    • Things that went on in between previous update and now:
      - Watched Partizan and Vojvodina games
      - Couldn't stop thinking about long term deal decision

      Partizan Belgrade played away vs Steaua Buchurest (Romanian team obviously). We scored vital away goal for 1-0 and also had 3 more very strong chances to score the 2nd goal but as it happens in football due to all those misses we ended up conceiding a silly goal from free kick where our keeper slipped!
      Regardless of the result, most of fans including myself felt like we should have won that away game but next Wednesday 5th of August we play at our home ground where we will dominate Steaua with 2 goals in their net for sure!
      Here is the highlights for the match for those interested:

      Vojvodina Novi Sad played famous Italian side Sampdoria, again away game. This one was for UEFA Europa League qualifier vs Partizan playing for UEFA Champions League.
      Vojvodina totally trashed Italian favorites and won the game by 4-0!!! Fantastic accomplishment for them as well as Serbian football. After our U20 guys won World Cup vs Brazil in Finals this is probably 2nd best news from our football team.
      Check out the highlights of that match:

      Long term deal vs playing on my own

      If you asked me today about my decision, I would tell it to you in % what I would choose.
      Both options are great and are +EV. They are also very close together and which ever one I choose it will not be a bad thing in any way.

      Main thing that is holding me from going into long term deal of any sort is belief in myself. The main reason why I am considering some deal is staking to play without pressure higher stakes and keep moving up. Coaching part of the deal is +EV but coaches mentioned themselves that they don't consider they could provide me much value if any since their style is exploitable mine is more towards GTO but I also understand well exploitable strategy.
      So this internal thing in me is telling me to keep pushing and fighting. To dedicate next 3 months 120 hours grinding NL50, increasing life and poker roll, have money to go to USA for even longer period of time and to have option after that to choose what to do for coaching. At that point I can afford going into long term deal with my poker idol (which was initial idea for long term deal) or to hire coaches which I consider would provide me maximum value for money and time invested - where those other coaches certainly fit.

      So the way things look right now at 4:08am Friday is that I am closer to continuing to grind on my own to rebuild roll then accepting deal. Why? Only because I have this thing in me that keeps me to push and believe in my ability - when everyone else would give up and go for a deal I will choose to prove to myself that I can overcome this pressure and crush despite it!

      Monday 3rd of August is the deadline I have set for decision making. It is the day for USA visa interview as well. I will be in Belgrade from Saturday (1st of August) all the way to 6th of August most likely since Partizan is playing vs Steaua on Wednesday the 5th and I do not want to miss this game + plan to hang with family and best friend from Boston.

      What will happen after I get back is resuming the yearly challenge and setting monthly challenge where emphasis will be on grinding.

      Hope you found something useful in this update. Most of times putting things on paper, weighting pros and cons is all it takes to make the most +EV decision in life. I have done this tonight and this is why I am very much leaning to continue playing on my own and then hire outside help for hourly!
      Enjoy your weekend on and off the tables!

      P.S. "Winners never quit and quitters never win!" Vince Lombardi
    • Really quick update!

      I had a great night sleep and was thinking hard again today about long term deal vs playing on my own.
      I am 99% sure that I will choose to continue playing on my own!

      Idea will be to do minimum 2 months of 120 hours grinding, 8 tabling regular speed tables on NL50, with minimum expected bb of 5bb/100. Post RB that should lead into 8k in those 2 months of grinding. From 8k I can save up way more then 5k and have very comfortable roll to hire coaches for hourly or to enter the deal with one of my poker idols. It will also allow me to go to USA 1 month without feeling pressure because of it!

      Now, I am about to finish packing and at 7pm I leave for Pancevo. I will be in Belgrade and Pancevo from Friday to Monday afternoon. In those days I will do 2 coaching sessions and grinding in the bus + at some free times at home of my best friend and his brother + my brother from Herceg Novi.

      The decision of continuing on my own is make or brake one. I am sure that I will prove to myself once again that I can handle all the pressure for BR for poker and life and that I can own any reg on NL50. In fact I dare to say that I will have more than 5bb/100 8 tabling but my target will be to play 60 days 4 hours per day and this will be a challenge + studying + coaching and other life things!

      Stay tuned, I will probably do update when I return from Pancevo and Belgrade on Monday or Thursday (after Partizan Belgrade game!)

      P.S. I am taking my Jazz guitar with me and I very much look forward to some jamming with my best friend and his brother!!!
    • Back from Belgrade and Pancevo!

      The most important thing poker wise to update is decision about long term deal vs playing on my own.

      I have decided to play on my own for time being. I have enough BR for life and NL50 limit. I also got tourist USA visa and now I am motivated more then ever to grind and earn additional money to visit USA ASAP. I will write about that trip when time gets close for it.

      For now, the most important thing is to play in next 60 days 240 hours of NL50 regular speed poker, focusing on 8 tabling. There will be problem with traffic as I currently only mix 2 clients so with current setup in 240 hours I don't expect more then 120k hands at best!

      Tomorrow I might go to see Partizan Belgrade game in Belgrade vs Steaua. After that on Thursday, my best friend from Boston has a gig in Pancevo which I plan to attend. On Saturday there is another gig that I was planing to attend.
      So the way things look now, I might leave tomorrow (Wednesday) and get back on Sunday. Or something along those lines.

      I spent the day treating my brother, best friend and another great friend for USA tourist visa I got. Great times.

      Some future updates, expect some actual poker update with hands played, mental game, spots and such.

      Enjoy your remaining week on and off the tables!
    • Time for a challenge!

      Why now?
      I got USA tourist visa and I plan to go there for minimum 4 weeks. After thinking through where I would go and how much time I would need there, I have landed on 7 weeks stay instead of 4 weeks in USA.
      I have not yet purchased plane ticket. Idea was to fly on 23rd of September which is exactly 7 weeks from today!
      I will stick to that deadline and set my goals for remaining 48 days before traveling to USA. For this to work, I will need to earn minimum 5k euro or $ in this time frame!

      48 Days Challenge

      Goals are quite easy to lay out
      - 100k hands on NL50 regular speed tables
      - 10bb/100 post RB or between 4 and 5bb pre RB (different RB on different clients)
      - Approximately 48 days of steady 4 hours grinding (closer to 200 hours of grind x 500 hands per hour)
      - I will purchase plane ticket as soon as I hit 5k post RB

      Some observations and expectations:
      - I will go for minimum 2k hands per day and even more (depending on energy levels) 8 tabling
      - I can choose to finish the challenge as soon as I hit 5k post RB
      - I play only 2 poker clients which makes it difficult for table selecting so win rate will most likely swing and suffer but I am looking to add 3rd and 4th client in near future also for easier table selecting and higher win rate pre RB
      - I will not go to Partizan Belgrade game today nor take long trips like in the past month or so (20+ days of vacation!). I will rather focus fanatically to get this challenge fully completed and by 23rd of September be ready to purchase a ticket for 4 or more weeks for USA!
      - Expect some diary type update every day during the challenge with emphasis on mental and tactical game and focus on how much variance played vital roll that particular day. I might also discuss some tendencies from other regs on regular tables and recreational players.

      Today is Day 1 and I am about to start my 1st session so lets get rocking!

      Music for the challenge
    • 1st session update:
      54 minutes
      635 hands
      EV 16.3bb/100
      Running at 39.2bb/100

      Won KK vs AKs (opponent 5 bet shoved HJ vs CO) , KK vs AQo (fish limp shove HJ vs my BTN CO ISO and SB call) and BVB fish r/calling 34bb with 75s vs my AKo. Rest of the plays are standard somewhat although there are couple marked hands to go through at the end of the day.

      LOL sample, but nice start for the challenge none the less :f_cool:

    • After 2 sessions:
      117 minutes played
      1200 hands
      EV 25.3bb/100
      Running at 43.4bb/100

      Too many hands to go into detail now. I remember cooler where I cold 4 bet vs HJ and CO fish (who had 24bb) with AKo and HJ called CO got it in call call. Flop was Axx, I had pot size bet behind, I shove for value HJ calls and turns 1 combo of AA :) Fish had JJ. So that is 1 buy in drop that you see on the graph. Other winning came mostly from good bluff catches, very good value bets and fish spewing vs me (calling 4 bet shove with K2o vs my AA CO vs BTN???).

      Overall good stuff. Was playing 9 tables at times. I got 3 more hours before Partizan Belgrade starts and 2 more sessions to play. Lets do this!

    • After 3rd session:
      181 minutes played
      1852 hands
      EV 16.1bb/100
      Running at 28.1bb/100

      Interesting session. There are lots of spots that are not big hands but rather hands that were border line. I choose to fold them but once I do HH review in depth I will check out if there was missed call on some of them. My gut feeling tells me that I missed at least 1 profitable call. Also this session was full of bad run outs for me in 3 bet pots in particular. I could have won half buy in more for sure but I am happy with the end result. Focus was C+ B- at best so when I look at the big picture I am happy that I dealt with all those spots good enough not to burn any money - which was not the case 6 or 3-4 months ago in CG. Definite improvement in mental and tactical game, no doubt.

      Will do 1 more session now and then Partizan Belgrade game at 8:30pm!!!

    • 48 Days Challenge

      Day 1

      After 4th session:
      241 minutes played
      2298 hands played
      EV 13.5bb/100
      Running at 22.4bb/100

      Roller coaster 4th session! Lost 2 stacks right in the beginning. 1st stack was Kxs where I flopped 2nd nuts flush in 3 bet pot BTN vs SB. Turn we got it in and opponent had nuts flush - all read less of course! 2nd stack was brutal 4 bet pot where I value bet flop and x/c opponents turn shove. I took whole time bank to brake down his turn shove vs my check range and decided to call which was the right thing to do!!! Opponent had AQss while I had AJo on Jc4s9s8c! Opponent hit his T for gutter on river and took away the whole stack. Now, before with such 2 scenarios where I played my best but lost, my mental game would have went down and I would have lost more. Today I managed to climb back and return to 250 euro profit for the day.
      Later in the evening, will review marked hands and do hand reading for all the spots that were shaky.

      Now going to deserved rest and to prepare for Partizan Belgrade game that starts in 32 minutes!


      Was listening to this song through out the grind 4th session and some of the 3rd!


      Day 1 graph:

      Picture of the day:

      P.S. Boston feeling much closer after days like today!
    • 48 Days Challenge

      Day 2

      After 5th session:
      300 minutes played
      3022 hands

      EV 11bb/100
      Running at 18.9bb/100

      "Only" 33.47 euro won pre RB in this session or 7.83bb/100. Very interesting session in a lot of ways. Some notable hands from the session. AhQc BTN vs BB 3 bet pot where I cold pre. Flop hit top pair + BDNutFD, opponent c bet 2/3 OOP and I call. Turn is another heart which was 4h , full board being Qx8h6h4h, opponent checks I bet vs missed and he x/jams , I bet/call TPTK + nut fd, he turns 1 combo of QQ :) So similar spot to yesterdays 1 combo of AA on Axx when I had AK. That was 1 buy in lost. Another cool hand, I open AQo UTG, BTN cold calls and BB as well. Texture is Ac6h4h where I have AhQx. SB donks 1/3 mway I call and so does BTN turn is another 6, now SB keeps donking 1/2 this time I call BTN folds. River is yet another 6 so now I have full house sixes and aces, opponent bets 19 into 20 $ pot and I call he has A6o LOL GG. Cooler or not, you be the judge but I am never folding in that spot especially after it runs out like that 6 6. Some very good bluff catches in the session and value bets. There was one tricky hand with 130+bb effective with KK where I cold called 3 bet where I didn't want to 4 bet and fold to 5 bet - very debatable hand. Felt I lost minimum in that hand as Axx flop came and opponent double barreled I called flop and turn and folded river with KK IP.
      My focus was probably C to B- in this session. I think I could have made more money and played some spots more agressively especially red line wise. Also, most of my pre flop action did not go as planed and that is why red line is not where it should be ideally.

      Graph after 5 sessions:

      Heading now to 2nd session for the day but before that , music for the day!

    • 48 Days Challenge

      Day 2

      After 6th session:
      362 minutes played
      3749 hands

      EV 14.8bb/100
      Running at 22.5bb/100

      Easy game session. Think I made 130+ euro in this session pre RB. Didn't really have any difficult spots + some opponents donated me money which helps always. Very happy with my river play when it comes to extracting maximum value, was working on that mentally and tactically, doing my best to predict how average opponent and regs act with different action sequence or bet sizing , especially on river. It is paying off obviously which makes me happy. All the off table work coming to strong life! 1 spot where I lost a half stack vs recreational player was when I bet called his shove with KK with a spade blocker and flop was 85ssx, he got it in with FD+SD (combo draw) where he got straight flush on the turn, GG.

      Graph after 6 sessions:

      Short brake before I proceed to 3rd session for the day. In the meanwhile this music going in the back ground - very good stuff from Metheny as always!