Around 5 years ago, Manhat10ite and I were part of a SNG MTT forum that was very active and had some very amazing players in it (many of which are very high up on the TLB or have had a lot of online/live success). A lot of us didn’t really know what we were doing at the time, but our strategy worked and we were killing SNG MTTs in 2008. The forum founder invited myself and about 7 others to put in $1000 each to start a staking fund. I had done a little bit of staking on Parttimepoker, but aside from that, I really didn’t know much. But for $1000, I figured, why not try to back a few people and see what happened. It’s really funny how some very small life choices really affect your future. Over the years, we’ve gone from 8 management partners to 2. We’ve had coaches, lost them and added new ones for a variety of reasons. What really pleases me is that now, we have such a great group of coaches and players and that the vision manhat10ite and I had so many years ago has come to fruition. We started with 3 low stakes players, playing $3/18s and I think our high point has been 85 players. Oh, and one of those original 3 players got 2nd in a WSOP event this year.
It’s really amazing what you can accomplish with hard work and a bit of luck. There were definitely times where I was doing a $2.50/180 HH review at 3am wondering what the point of it was. But it’s paid off. We’ve seen the site grow so much in the last 2 years, both in terms of how it is run and how our players have evolved. We started so many guys at 2.50s and now they play mid and some high stakes MTTs. Sure there are a lot of players that don’t work out and often Manhat and I have no idea what someone may become. Of course, there is a lot of variance and luck involved in your possible poker career, but the players that always move up the quickest and have great results are the ones that are watching every video, putting in the time studying and actively thinking about their game (and helping out other players. I think I posted in every 9 man SNG thread on 2p2 for all of 2007). Staking $2.50 players is kind of like throwing darts blindfolded. You take a shot and just hope it works. That 2.50 player is hoping that hard work is going to pay off, just like we hope the time we put into coaching that player and making content pays off. It’s always rewarding to get to see a player really develop and crush the game, but at the start, we really don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s kind of similar to how the whole site started. We started with a lot of coaches and investors, some worked out, some didn’t, but manhat10ite and I, who stuck with it and always saw a vision have built something we can be very proud of.
Sure there are many times when I had my doubts and every time a new Wcoop and Scoop happens, I wonder if our bankroll can survive it. I remember in late 2011 when I couldn’t even reload a player for $500. Maybe we expanded too quickly, or had a bad run, or were still hurting hard from Black Friday. If we had hit a downswing at that exact moment, I’m not sure we’d be here today. We just had no idea how much money would be needed to sustain some swings. I’ve spent a lot of nights worrying about when the next score was going to come or when a player was going to clear makeup. We have had months where I just wanted the Wcoop to come to an end so I didn’t have to keep sending out massive reloads. I think this is where a lot of staking funds go bust and end up having to sell or drop their players. They just have no idea how badly people can run, how much work it is to manage a ton of players or how much money is needed to stake even a small amount of players. It’s nerveracking and frustrating (especially to see good players play fair below their capabilities), but it’s fun and rewarding so much of the time as well. Just like I am sure some of our players and graduates who are up well over 100k sometimes forget they started at $2.50s, I often forget that 5 years ago, I started with some basic ranges, $1000 and a vague idea of what staking was and decided to form a staking and coaching site.