The term "grinding ball" is one that my friends and I use when referring to putting in a lot of hours at the poker table. It might have been subconsciously born from the actual act of spending hours rubbing their ball sack on uncomfortable poker room chairs, but hey, what do I know? I have a biscuit (that's a Honey Boo Boo reference. I love you if you got that).
ANYWAY, enough balls talk. I've been putting in major hours playing poker these past few weeks. In the past year, actually since Black Friday, I've been lazy. I would put in sporadic sessions here in Vegas when I wasn't traveling, but the long periods of time between playing was really detrimental. I think that the ability to focus at a table for long periods of time is a skill that needs to be honed, exercised, and up kept. So, after EPT Barcelona, WPT Paris, WPT Malta and four weeks in Europe, I was SOOO ready to get back to the felt.
I decided to make it a priority along with work and working out (I'm training for another fitness competition). So, here's what I did: First, I fixed my sleep schedule. I started going to bed between midnight to 1 a.m. and waking up at 8 a.m. Once that was under control, I starting playing in the mornings. I would wake up, eat breakfast, work for an hour or two and head to Aria. I'd play as long as I could (which wasn't that long at first). Then, I'd go work more or work out, depending on what I needed to get done. At night, is when I do almost all of work (writing, strategy podcasts, articles, interviews etc). [Sidenote: Working from home at my own desk when I'm not traveling is one of the best parts of jobs. So lucky] After that, if there's time and I'm up for it, I'll go put in another poker session, but NEVER play past 1 a.m. Having a set sleep schedule makes the rest of my life easier and more efficient. I cannot stress enough the importance of this. I have learned that it is much better to give up some game EV for life EV. Take care of your mind and body and I promise, it will pay dividends more valuable than whatever you might make in that one session you decided through your sleeping time.
Like, I said, I have put in tons of hours, for me that is. Sixty hours so far this month to be exact in 20 sessions. This has been incredibly difficult because I'm also pushing my body to the max with my training, but it's been so rewarding because I'm seeing results. My game is making huge improvements, I'm making less and less mental mistakes, and trusting my instinct. That said, I know I have a ways to go. I tweeted a couple times during my sessions and I noticed that whenever I do, I'm always asked what I play, where, and what advice I can give them. It dawned on my that many of my Strategy with Kristy Podcast listeners are people just like me. They want to crush live, low-to-mid stakes. I thought about what has helped me the most, and really, it's been my friends!
I decided to begin an ongoing, multi-part series about live grinding (balls if you will). When I tweeted a request for questions to pose for live pros, I couldn't believe how many responses I got. I'm so excited for this because 1) this is obv what you guys want and 2) this is what I know! On top of that, I have the best sources ever for interviews. I know who the best and biggest winners are and luckily for me, they are my friends and willing to be interviewed.
Here is the first installment:
At the end of the month, I'll post my results as well. For now, if you have any questions or comments, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. I came across the reel for Johnny Chan's new show, Full House. I play with a lot of the grinders featured on the show here in Vegas. Maybe that's why I feel awkward after watching this, but it could be a fun show. What do you guys think?