Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Interesting times

“May you live in interesting times” is perhaps the most famous Chinese proverb. But there’s a twist: it’s not actually Chinese. The first literary reference to it as Chinese is ascribed to Sir Austen Chamberlain. The most plausible theory is that the phrase was coined by Austen’s father, Joseph, a politician who used it in a speech in 1898. Somehow, the theory goes, his son was unable to believe his old man was capable of  such a clever turn of phrase, and determined that he must be plagiarising the Chinese. Joseph had another son, Neville, who knew only too well the curse of living in interesting times, but that’s another story.

We now live in interesting times.

Be careful what you wish for

At the start of lock down, I was almost happy. I’ve long harboured the suspicion that I’d be a lot happier and a lot richer if I never left the house. Lock down seemed the perfect time to test that theory.

You see, at the start of my career, before social media, before podcasts, before anyone in poker knew who I was, I pretty much just played online. 10-12 hours a day every day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. I loved it and lived for it.

Over the years the other stuff gradually crept in. Live poker, this blog, social media, coaching, the Chip Race, the books and all the other stuff I do...all rewarding in themselves, but part of me always saw them as a distraction from my one true love: online poker.

So lock down seemed almost like an opportunity to go back to what I loved doing the most. I decided I’d go back to playing online every day.

And how did that work out?

For two weeks it was nothing short of amazing. I had the two most profitable weeks I’ve had in several years. The games were amazing as hordes of live poker players with nowhere else to go logged on to poker sites for the first time in years. It felt like printing money. In my inner circle’s chat group I joked one night that I’d had a bad evening because

“Only made 1k tonight”

This encouraged me to shut down everything else I do, even my own study, and devote myself exclusively to the online grind. The prevailing wisdom among online pros was that this boom couldn’t and wouldn’t last long, so it seemed prudent to prioritize the grind above everything else.


Pride comes before a fall

As we went through Unibet Online Series, SCOOP and Powerfest, turbulence was encountered in the form of my worst ever downswing online.  Suddenly playing every day wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be, and I was relieved when the series ended.

It was time to rethink and regroup. One thing that was crystal clear was I can no longer grind every day like I did at the start of my career. I need breaks and the other stuff I do to mix things up.

PKO Poker Strategy

A couple of weeks ago, Barry Carter and I published our second book on poker strategy. This time we looked specifically at the strategy of PKOs, which are slowly taking over online poker. Most sites now have more PKOs than any other type of tournament, and those that don’t have them yet are all apparently introducing them soon. So even if you don’t currently play many, now is a good time to get in on the ground floor as far as learning the strategy goes.

If you have bought the book and enjoyed it we would be very grateful if you could rate and review at Amazon: your reviews really helped us with Poker Satellite Strategy.

If you haven’t bought the book yet, maybe this excellent PokerNews review by Lyle Bateman will persuade you to do so.

I did a couple of podcasts to promote the book, Talking Global Poker and Thinking Poker, both of which should be out soon. I may do a few more in the next few weeks. Speaking of podcasts I did a long one with Domantas Sniezka which he broke into two episodes of his Chasing Passion podcast, covering both my poker and running careers pretty comprehensively. As I’ve said it’s long, but a few people told me it’s their favourite of the ones I’ve done.

I'm also scheduled to do a live AMA on top UK poker Facebook group  UK POKER ROOM on Wednesday July 22nd at 7 PM. I did one of these last time for Poker Satellite Strategy and it was a lot of fun so please come along to it with any questions you might have on PKOs (or poker in general).

Other content

In addition to keeping the Chip Race going throughout, David and I decided to launch a fortnightly YouTube spin off called The LockIn. It’s basically an unedited chat similar to the topical segment that kicks off every show, but with a guest. One thing poker teaches you is to know when to fold when something doesn’t work, so we set targets for viewer numbers and agreed as soon as we slipped below we’d stop. We haven’t reached that point yet so the show goes on.

I’ve kept busy churning out strategy articles for PokerNews, PokerStrategy and CardPlayerLife. The best way to keep up with stuff like this is to subscribe to my free strategy newsletter.

I also produced a new video with Jason Tompkins specifically on how to go about building a stack in the early stages of a live tournament. This is available for $100 from dokepokercoaching@gmail.com. I have a few more videos in the pipeline and one new major project so watch this space.

That’s all for now folks

This is my first blog in almost four months, the longest I’ve let go between blogs since I started. The honest truth is I’ve felt a little uninspired on the blog front, but I’ll try not to let as long go until the next one.

In the mean time I just want to say I hope you all are getting through these interesting times and lockdown with your health and sanity intact. Be careful out there!



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