Today I have a pleasure to talk with one of our members who moved all the way up from $7 to $100 Spin & Go’s. And what a ride it has been!
Anyone else would quit poker after failing three shots at $60 Spin & Go’s. But not fi_sh_ark_84!
He used to be a professional trader, working 12-13 hours a day, but then he discovered poker. What happened next? Find out yourself:
dolareq: Hello, fi_sh_ark_84, thank you for agreeing on this interview. You are our Diamond member and you belong to the elite group of players who were with us from $7 Spin & Go’s. But before we go into that, it would be best to introduce you to our readers. You are mainly an online player, but your history with probability, mindset and grind started with trading. Could you please tell us more about that?
fi_sh_ark_84: Hello to all Smart Spin members! Thank you for having me, it is a pleasure :) Since I remember I loved cards, chess, mathematic and stock exchange :) When I was young, I was playing 5 Card Draw, but I got bored of it and next few years I took on chess. Nice game, but without prospect to win money - I mean, you can’t have it as a hobby and also earn some money.
When I got older, I started to get interested in stock exchange. At first I was getting familiar with graphs, strategy etc. :) When I felt “ready” to earn easy money, I made my first deposit. And that’s how it started :D
Fast profit in the first month got me convinced I discovered Holy Grail and I will be a millionaire (laugh). From that time I was only losing and I was not even following ground rules of trading (same thing can happen in poker). Still, I kept learning and depositing, but one day I took too much risk and almost lost it all. This was an important lesson which I still remember and I will never forget.
That day, I dropped trading. I needed to sort it out in my head, but one thing was obvious to me: my future will be connected with winning big amounts of money from other people :D
After I finished university (and few months after this memorable loss) I got a job in a company where I could come back to trading with someone else’s money, which was similar to staking poker players. I thought “BINGO!”. Just from the start I started learning from the professionals and I was spending about 12-13 hours a day at work. In the meantime, I “discovered” poker and I was playing recreationally about two hours a day.
It was at the end of 2009. I spent five years as a futures trader and I’ve been constantly winning nice amount of money. But at the same time, I moved up to $15-$60 Turbo Sit & Go’s and I was thinking about poker more and more. It was so much easier for me because stock exchange and poker have a lot in common, so it was not difficult to connect both activities.
Not so long ago...
dolareq: Five years is a lot of time. So, what have you learned which is useful now in poker?
fi_sh_ark_84: Trading taught me one thing: you can’t take a shortcut. If you are not paying attention, a loss will be inevitable. There is no room for mistakes. You need to develop as a poker player, standing still is going backwards. You need to devote a lot of time to this, if you want to achieve anything. Without analysis there is no progress. Without good mindset you can’t play efficiently. Without preparation to your session - coming earlier and doing important work before you start playing - you are increasing the risk of losing money in the first minutes of your session.
Every thing is useful in poker and to be honest it is a little easier than trading. You start with easier opponents and you are steadily moving up and starting to play with more skilled opponents. But trading starts from high stakes - from the start you are against the best players and systems based on artificial intelligence, so there is no room for mistakes and cheap learning. Yes, you can invest less money, but you still play against them. In poker, with lower stakes come worse players.
dolareq: Seems like you were good at trading. Why did you drop it for poker?
fi_sh_ark_84: I was playing poker alongside with trading. My job forced me to trade about 12 to 13 hours a day and don’t forget 2 more hours for commuting. You can’t do it forever, if you have a family. I’ve known it from the start, but somewhere along the line I hoped I can cheat the system, work less and have more time for private life, but it did not work out. When my family was getting bigger, I was cutting my time at work more and more. When I got down to about 9 hours of work a day (and 2 hours of commuting) it started to go really badly for me, frustration started to grow. I was between a rock and a hard place. There were moments when I dropped poker, even for one year, because I could not play. But at some point I realized I need to develop my poker skills because it will be my next job.
I steadily started to put more time into poker and then the time came when I could smoothly replace trading with poker. It happened at the end of 2014.
And now he is battling regs at $100's. As he says: "He was a good reg at $100's, he knows I am 3-barreling here almost always so why should he donk his value hands? If he is donking, he is turning some hands into bluff or just bluffing his missed draws."
dolareq: You played many different formats - 9-max Turbo’s, 6-max Turbo’s and Heads-Up HyperTurbo’s - but you have never accomplished anything bigger. Looking back, what do you think was the reason you did not go past $30 buy-in?
fi_sh_ark_84: You are right, I started with 9-max Turbo Sit & Go’s and then got into 6-max Turbo’s. I had a few HU coachings with Bakudranski when he was playing at $30 Turbo Heads-Ups
I was still developing my game and at the end of 2014 I moved to Heads-Up Hyper Turbo’s. At first, it was just for a moment, I wanted to get better at this part of a game. I was coached by my good friend Erandiel (and now also a Smart Spin member) and he argued I should stay with HU HT’s - he convinced me :) I started at $15 HU HT’s and not so long later Smart Spin was founded.
dolareq: Did you decide to apply right away?
fi_sh_ark_84: My mind has been always set on development :) And Smart Spin’s founders are known and professional players, there is a lot to learn from them. I did not have any reasons to hesitate.
dolareq: How did your journey through the stakes look like? I’ve heard you took four shots at $60’s and you were fighting with them for about half a year?
fi_sh_ark_84: I started at $15 Spin & Go’s on 11th of March. I’ve seen so many weak players… and I did 15 cEV per game. I was wondering, “What the hell is going on???”. Easy opponents at the tables and I am losing money. I compared myself to them, I was thinking where I am in this system.
Analysing, analysing, playing. Still 15 cEV. I moved down to $7’s and got 90 cEV. I got back at $15’s and there was still 15 cEV. Again, going down to $7’s and again 90 cEV. I was going to drop it because how was it possible I could not beat $15’s?!
But there was even more analyzing, working on mindset and I had another shot at $15’s. And I succeeded. After 1000 games I moved up to $30’s and it was great from the start. Not so long later, I got a first shot at $60’s, I think it was 20th of June. The game was really difficult and I got back at $30’s. The story of “$7-$15” was repeated, but this time it took me about 5 months.
There was a moment when I moved down to $30’s and I could not win there. It’s not good for your mindset. I thought I had ruined my game at $60’s. I thought it was time to give up, how long would you take it? Why are they beating me at $30’s?? It was a long fight with my mindset, but I was still constantly analyzing my game. Volume got lower, I started analyzing even more - it was tough. Moving up to $60’s was like hitting a wall. Finally I managed to do it! I think it was my fourth shot. I had a nice cEV after a decent sample and my confidence returned.
dolareq: How was your mindset? A lot of people would quit after third time.
fi_sh_ark_84: Mindset? Terrible, I am still having problems with it However it’s a lot easier when you are more aware of the game, you know when you are playing bad and when you are just running bad. If you do not realize that, you will blame everything around you. But I learnt my lesson few years ago with trading - I don’t blame anyone. Sometimes it happens, but I am quickly catching up on it and I am trying to get straight, even though it’s taking some time :) You can have bad run, but so what? Who cares? It’s usually caused by bad plays. Then you start looking at other people. A lot of professional players are earning money, but not you. Are you some kind of target for variance? Actually, these questions are motivating me to analyze more and to look for more mistakes. And I always find them, sometimes I am grabbing my head.
If you love something and it gives you a chance for good life, you can’t give up. If you do, you will lose both things at once… and mindset. I can’t let it happen to myself, it would be too much :)
"I knew him and I thought "what is he openshoving at 25 big blinds?" - and I just snap called. But it will not work second time as he may adapt his play."
dolareq: But everything ended well and you started playing at $100 Spin & Go’s. How is it going now?
fi_sh_ark_84: The story repeats itself - again. I played some $100’s, it was OK, but then it was not. I moved down to $60’s, sorted out my game and in the next 7-10 days I am going back to $100’s. Get ready for dropping some dollars to me, guys!!
dolareq: And what are your plans now, for 2016?
fi_sh_ark_84: The plan is simple - to stay at $100’s, to make a profit playing at least 4 tables and learning to coach our members from lowers stakes, so they could attack higher stakes easily, without stress and with good attitude :) Coaching, the other side of poker, is now really important to me, I have a lot of things to work on right now. I hope our members will be understanding and will approach my coachings with curiosity because with every session I will learn more from you and you will learn more from me!
dolareq: Thank you for your time and good luck at $100's!
fi_sh_ark_84: Shoutouts to everyone! GL!