Mentors podcast #10 – Playing for a living

Manhat and Vers talk about considerations when deciding to play for a living.


2014 Year in Review Podcast with Vers and manhat10ite

Vers and manhat discuss various topics and review poker in 2014. In their second attempt at a review podcast (the first one crashed), they discuss topics such as:

  • playing off peak hours
  • playing lower buyins
  • supernova chasing and RB chasing with too many tables
  • studying and being prepared
  • planning out your year
  • changes with Amaya, legislation, casino games
  • not sattying into stuff you can’t beat
  • controlling MU



2014 Year in Review By Vers

2014 was a bit of a strange year. It ended up being quite different than I expected. I came into this year with very little success in 2013 playing 180s and mtts. The site did very well, getting some very nice scores, which reassured my decision to move out to Whistler, but grinding mtts and coming up with a lot of disappointing finishes and only one win (a 5.10 hyper) left me stuck quite a bit on the year. My thoughts and focus coming into 2014 was mostly going to be on expanding the site and probably just playing enough to maintain supernova.

I had the goal of learning HU hypers, mostly because my housemates were playing $200+ level, but because it’s difficult to learn a new game, play many tables and get vpps, I was lazy and it took me too long to start. The first 3 months, I mostly just snowboarded, worked on the site, made significantly better videos (due to my use of icmizer and understanding of a lot of leaks I was teaching) and played some 18 man sessions at the end of the month to keep my base pace of 6500 vpps per month. Aside from playing most Sundays, I was really just playing 18s to break even and getting in very few games of HU, mostly because of bad time management.

Come April, snowboarding slowed down a bit, with worsening conditions, so I was at home, grinding a lot more. Wanting to learn HU and having more free time, I started in 15s, played maybe 1k games and realized at the end of the month I had screwed myself over a bit again. To keep supernova, I’d need to take a 30s shot, which went surprisingly well. My initial results in 30s (while getting sat) were very positive and it seemed like I could actually play them for vpps and profit. Also, I noticed my mtt game getting significantly better as I became better at hand reading, aggression and in general was just a lot more comfortable postflop, which was probably a huge leak of mine and many other mtt/180 grinders.

In terms of snowboarding, the 2013-2014 season was pretty disappointing. It hardly snowed until Jan, we had 1 sick weekend it snowed 100cm but the lines were crazy and it didn’t last. Feb/March were getting pretty solid and we enjoyed some pretty amazing days on the mountain. I also got a lot better at riding, doing park somewhat and finding more hidden spots on the mountain. I also started finding a lot more drops and attempting them, sometimes landing them too. We got some fresh tracks tickets, which meant you got a few runs in before the general public which was great, but that also meant waking up at 430am to line up for the gondola. After waking up at 430, I didn’t have that much desire to grind.

This was taken in the middle of January on a +10 degree day or so (with mdg0rd0n)

jan 17 spring skiing

In late March, I also went to Miami for Ultra music festival which was a nice break. I grinded a lot in April because I knew I would miss all of May in Thailand. We spent 3 weeks in Thailand and Laos, my first time to Asia. They were both very cheap and amazing places to visit and I got to do a lot of activities I had been waiting a long time for. Also, getting to eat thai food for dinner on the street for $1 was a nice change from heavily overpriced Whistler. Right before I left for Thailand, I also had a nice win in the 8r 2x turbo for somewhere around 10k.

Here’s a pic of the dune buggy we rented and drove around Vang Vieng, Laos.

2014-05-10 16.19.36

In June, I continued playing 30 HU, playing mostly 3-4 tables. I had some great runs on Sundays and had a stretch of 3 months where I won a few small mtts like the 3r 2x turbo, had a 2nd in the Sunday Storm (had a huge chip lead HU and lost somehow) and a second in the Hot 55 as well. Those 2 finishes were certainly disappointing given how much work I had done on my HU game, but to hit those FTs with only playing mtts on Sunday was certainly running hot. The rest of the summer, we mostly did outdoor activities in Whistler like disc golf, or hung out at the many parks here and went swimming. I still had pretty solid results in 30 HU hypers and started to mix 60s in on FTP… I also went to Vegas for about 10 days in June, the highlight being EDC music festival.

2014-06-20 23.18.12

A nightclub in Whistler with 360flip019 and Al3x_J0nes:

tommys same shirt

We regularly order food in Whistler using fake names:

2014-08-25 20.23.07

2014-08-21 11.36.54

One of the hikes around Whistler:

2014-08-12 16.21.44

The site also had gotten some new higher stakes players and we had a few pretty solid scores. Everything was going pretty well, but news about Amaya taking over was looming too so everything seemed like it might be about to change. In September, I grinded a ton, about 2500 games in the first 10 days of September because I was going to Nepal to climb to Everest Base Camp later in the month. Again, another amazing experience and something that I had dreamed of doing with my Dad for quite a long time. It was grueling, cold, sickening at times, and base camp itself was a let down because of the sherpa strike, no one was camping there to reach the summit, but we got to climb another smaller mountain instead and see the sunrise from 5600 metres up. We had wifi once and a while and I got on it whenever I could to check to see news about stars and Amaya as the takeover was occurring. Here’s a picture of the deserted Everest Base Camp.


The day before I got back, I asked my housemate about any developments regarding Amaya. Nothing had happened, but he said that they were starting a 30s cartel. Having not played for 3 weeks and not really being connected with other 30s regs (my housemates all played 200s+ in the 200s cartel), I was not immediately chosen, which meant I would have to battle to get in. Over the last 2 months, I’ve played about 2400 games vs the cartel with some good stretches then some pretty awful run bad and card distribution. Some guys destroyed me before and others I wanted to play got kicked out. As of now, I’m still not in, but my volume in HU has eased off a bit. My main goal for early December was to be supernova, so I could spend the time snowboarding, visit my family and see my girlfriend a lot more. Amaya raised the rake in HU hypers and with the introduction of spin and goes, people felt the need to start a 30s cartel, which sucked for me, but playing only regs was solid practice. I feel like I improved a lot still and learned how to use some more complicated analysis programs. I wouldn’t say I’m giving up with getting in, but rather just easing off on my volume this month as I have played a lot the last 2 months to keep supernova. I also started playing spin n goes, unsure of how profitable they can be. The variance is insane and the rake is extremely high, but no ones games are tracked and I don’t have much of a sample so I can’t comment on them much. My mtts results since the summer have been pretty mediocre, without many runs, but I’ve probably skipped a lot more Sundays than previous years.

The mountain opened about a month ago, but the conditions have been pretty awful. We got a ton of rain which was supposed to be snow, which ended up washing a way a lot of snow. My family came out to visit and enjoyed terrible conditions and a lot of rocks. Luckily, the last few days have been pretty amazing and it’s snowed a ton. These pictures are reminding me of how much I like living here, despite some downsides.

2014-12-12 11.36.07

2014-12-12 12.40.34

I can’t really think of any wise words to say in summation. It was a pretty solid year for me in terms of personal development. I got a lot better playing poker, learned a new game format (which I can’t open sit because of cartels) and I had very solid results in mtts considering relatively low volume. It certainly helped to make up for a hard year in 2013 of grinding and losing overall. Just seeing my 2014 sharkscope for mtts is pretty ridiculous. Pretty low volume and some very big hits considering an abi of $31. It is certainly the best year I have had pokerwise in a few years. The site did ok, it didn’t grow as much as I thought it might. We have some players with a lot of potential and some have had great scores. We also have a ton of people with very inconsistent play which I can’t understand or fix. It is certainly frustrating at times to see good players play badly or have players with large motivation issues. It is just a rule I guess in staking that players will always be in makeup and I can understand how hard it can be to play well in that position. Thinking more about my future aside from poker, I have certainly learned a lot of lessons through running the site. I am still very fortunate to be included in it from the start and I am thankful for all the hard work I put in those first couple of years when I didn’t really think what it could turn into. All those late nights of coaching $2.50 players, doing a 1 hour session and having them say maybe 3 words seems a bit more worthwhile now. It always surprises me how badly players can run (or I can for that matter) and sometimes how it seems like everyone performs badly at the same time (I’m reminded of a lot of bad Scoop and Wcoops).

One thing never surprises me though… the players who are willing to work the hardest and think deeply about the game improve more and they experience the results they expect sooner or later. People who are finding excuses, thinking it’s hopeless, complain about games getting to hard will continue to struggle. Learning a new game from scratch was certainly difficult and not profitable at all, but it’s been very good to find a game format that not only heavily strengthened my overall full ring/6max game, but a game that I can play around my schedule and still enjoy a well rounded life and the pow days on the mountain.

Sorry for not updating the blog very much, but sometimes it doesn’t seem worthwhile to talk about how I’m running or make audio podcasts when I think we have a pretty limited audience. Also, when it’s not solely about poker, I think it’s a lot more interesting to write and read. Anyways, hopefully you’ve enjoyed my drawn out wall of text and good luck in 2015.


Sorry for the lack of updates as I was in Thailand for a month. Manhat and I will be in Vegas for a week and will try to do a few more podcasts while we are there. We’ll be there from Jun 17-25, hanging around the Rio mostly so if you’re around, come say hi. I’ll be the one who looks like he’s hanging around a lot with his Dad.