Alright, so as 2018 is behind us, I decided I would take some time to reflect over the year that has passed. The wins, the losses, the experiences and the new perspectives gained. It’s been a fast and furious year, with many ups, and some downs. I’m doing this narration mostly for self-reflection, but maybe some of you will also derive some value from it! I’ll divide it up into 4 main categories: poker, investing, health/fitness and relationships.
Upswings and downswings
Pokerwise the year has been good, but not great. I had a very good first few months of the year, where I basically doubled my net worth between January and May. I had 5 tournament finishes in the classic 6th-20th place range, in MTTs with €150,000-€200,000 up top, which was frustrating, but also very motivating. As my bankroll grew, and I also felt I was improving a lot, I decided I was in a good spot to take some shots. As I have no real responsibilities in life (no girlfriend, no kids, no mortgage/loans), I felt like I did not have much to lose by taking these shots. If I lost a substantial amount of my bankroll, I would just move back down and grind it up again. So I started playing some €1k, €2k and €5k cash games, as well as some higher stakes MTTs. The cash games went decently well. We made money, but we did not crush it. The MTTs were a different story. In total, I think I played about 10 MTTs with buy-ins from $5000-$7000 in 2018, and I bricked them all. This is, of course, no anomaly, as you can play quite a few tournaments in a row without cashing, statistically. In all fairness, I was probably not ready to play all of these tournaments either. Most of them were very soft (WCOOP main, Millions Online and some live stuff), but there was a couple that I could have skipped. Combining this with downswinging pretty hard in 500s, 1ks and 2ks – and the year did not end up half as good as it could have been. I am not, however, gonna be too result oriented or regretful, as I knew that this was a risk as I moved up in stakes. I’m super motivated to keep working hard off the tables, to establish ourselves at those stakes in 2019!
Investment-wise it has been a pretty dull year. I exited the stock market completely in 2017, and I have still not re-entered. The reason I had for exiting in the first place was that the market was at an ATH, with stocks trading at multiples (PE ratios and whatnot) that were… IMO quite scary. The investments that I did do, was mostly buying action from other poker players in big events, aswell as buying a few Bitcoins. Looking back a year, Bitcoin was trading at around $21,000, while as of writing this blog it is at $3,800. Safe to say the bubble bursted, and the crypto streets have been pretty bloody all year. I got in at around $7k though, so it could have been worse. I also had one 5-digit (high-risk high-return) start-up investment that failed, so we lost some money there. All in all, we lost money – but gained some exp. points.
Health, fitness & handstand grind
On the health and fitness front, I had the healthiest year of my adult life to date. For the first few months, I did not eat added sugar. I limited alcohol consumption to 6 units per month, and I went to the gym 4-5 times a week. I was meditating daily or at least regularly. For the last few months I have been eating more crap, I’ve been drinking more alcohol, and I meditate… rarely. Gym grind is on point though, and I am still in better shape than I have ever been. Actually, my health graph looks a lot like my poker graph for the year. Might be a coincidence but I highly doubt it. Currently, my fitness-regime is concentrated around body-weight fitness aka “Calisthenics”, and by the end of 2019, I’ll be doing crazy shit like handstand push-ups, back levers and the planche. I mean, probably not, but we have to aim high, right?
Polyamory and confirmation bias
About two years ago, I was living in Budapest with my ex-girlfriend, whom I was together with for about 4-years. At the beginning of 2017, we decided to split apart, as we had different plans and outlooks on life. After the break-up, I left Budapest and moved in with some other poker players in a grind-house in Malta. I was gonna focus all my energy on studying and grinding poker, and I was determined to be single. This is where the confirmation bias part comes in. I kept telling myself that if I was to find a new girlfriend now, I should have instead just stayed with my ex-girlfriend (who was amazing). Subconsciously, it was like if I found a new girlfriend I would be admitting to myself that I had made a huge mistake. This feeling stayed with me for the next couple of years (to this date). I was convinced that the best option would be to stay single and that entering a new relationship was not really a viable option. First of all because of the aforementioned confirmation bias, but also just because of my lifestyle. I was focusing all my attention on poker, studying and grinding hard, often staying up all night and sleeping all day. I was also traveling a ton, doing about 170 days on the road in 2018.
I did, however, crave intimacy and non-poker relationships in my life, and I found myself getting anxious after spending bouts of time without any meaningful contact with the opposite sex. I had been reading about polyamory and how “biologically we were not meant to be with only one person anyways”. As this open-relationship/polyamory deal sounded pretty perfect given my lifestyle (and lack of staying in one place for long), I decided it would be a good fit. So for every new girl I met in 2018, I basically brought up the topic quite early and explained how I would not be interested in anything “serious” or monogamous. Some were fine with it, while others were not. Some said “let’s just see where it goes”, and then bailed after a few weeks when they saw that I was actually serious about not wanting anything more.
I eventually discovered though, that this approach was not a good fit for me (I should have just listened to my mom). I thought it would be great meeting many new and interesting people, gaining new perspectives and experiences, while still keeping poker as the main priority. What ended up happening (of course?) was that I ended up really liking some of the girls I met, which made it tough to simultaneously see other girls. Also, even though I was being 100% upfront and honest about my intentions with everyone I met, feelings still got hurt. I think it takes a special kind of human being to be able to not get emotionally invested if you spend enough time naked with someone. Personally, I definitely found it very challenging. In the end, I learned a lot about myself (and others) through this experience, but I think it’s a chapter of my book that I am ready to close.
As I am looking back at this last year, I am grateful for the people I have met, the experiences I have had and the perspectives I have gained. The last two weeks of 2018 was spent mostly reading books, reflecting over the year that has passed and also just relaxing with family and good friends. I am still considering how to spend 2019, as I feel like there are multiple viable options going forward. But this post is long enough so I’ll get back to those later. For now, I hope you’ve all had an amazing 2018, and that you got to finish it off with a bang yesterday! I celebrated it in Berlin with some good friends, good food and too much alcohol. I’ve heard that the GTO strat is to drink too much on the last day of the year, so you wake up with a horrible hangover on the first of January. This way you will make a promise to yourself to keep alcohol consumption low for the coming year and keep it to water and green tea.
Anyways time to wrap this up. Hit me up on any social media if you want to drop me any questions or comments. Always much appreciated receiving feedback from you guys!
Cheers and GL for 2019!