PokerStars School: Tell us a little about yourself, name, age, job, etc...
Mr.Balzter: My name is Chris Baltzer and my screen name is "Mr.Balzter". You can find me regularly on the 2NL and 5NL 6-Max tables on PokerStars. I'm 33 years year old, married with two kids and work full time as Machine Shop Foreman in Windsor Ontario, Canada.
PokerStars School: How did you first get into poker?
Mr.Balzter: I've always liked card games and played one home game tournament years ago in which I did pretty well. (Was dealt AA in the first hand and ended up all in preflop with 6 callers, easy game, right?) I started playing online just over a year ago. I was just looking for a game to play on my phone for fun. After about 6 months I started mapping out a plan to transition to real money play. I figured if I could hit 1 million dollars in play money, I should be able to do just fine at 2NL. This is when I first started to "study" poker. I hit the one million mark after about 3 months of play. After that I joined Pokerstars School and made my first deposit in September 2018. For study I rushed through the Beginners Bankroll Challenge Course, mainly in an effort to receive freeroll tickets.
PokerStars School: How many hours a week would you play poker? And how much time do you spend reviewing hands and studying the game?
Mr.Balzter: At the end of December after 3 months and 100K hands I had blown through my 50 buy-in Bankroll at 2 NL. This is when I decided to create (or copy) a more focused study plan. I also invested in some tracking software and an equity calculator to give me more tools to aid in my off the felt work. I now generally spend 1hour a day on focused study which is broken into three parts. 1) Hand review which focuses on the weeks' specific study topic. 2) Database Review focusing on my frequencies and my opponents' frequencies, again focusing on the weeks' study topic. 3) Recorded "Focus Session", this is where I play one or two tables speaking through my decisions.
PokerStars School: So what materials would you use for learning? Do you real books, watch videos and/or streams?
Mr.Balzter: Having a much more structured study routine really helped me to improve. Usually, the first video I watch is from Pete's Basics of 6-Max series. I also use "The Grinders Manual" as my textbook for study. Since I work over 50 hours each week I try to listen to as much content as possible, usually between 5-6 hours a day I listen to some type of strategy content at work. The video archives on Pokerstars are filled with 100's of hours of free content. Listening to this amount of content I started seeking out longer videos. This when I first started watching Twitch streams or past live trainings from Pokerstars School. The Langolier strategy videos in the Poker Stars Archives are one of my favorite resources. However, this is very passive study and its important to have time set aside to listen or watch actively.
In January 2019 it timed out where I was able to watch Pete start to stream live and I felt I hit the Jackpot. Personal coaching can be very expensive and having him there live is a gold mine. This was also when I started to study seriously. Each week I can ask him questions on my study topic and he can answer them instantly. I also started going through PokerStars School with much more focused attention. The idea now is "mastery vs overload."
PokerStars School: Do you think Twitch has changed the way people are learning about poker and how to play it?
Mr.Balzter: I find Twitch streams, and Pete's, in particular, to be very lively. Pete is hilarious and extremely knowledgeable. I think a lot of people are watching streams for "edutainment". New players could watch Pete as a good place to start, his stream is very easy for experienced players and total novices to watch. Some streamers videos can be dry and if you're not very interested in the subject then they can be hard to watch. With his streams you can watch for the comedic value and random games he comes up with on top of the strategy. His stream also adds a nice break from listening highly theocratical strategy.
PokerStars School: If you could pick a topic for a Twitch poker stream what would it be and why?
Mr.Balzter: So, if I could pick a topic for a stream it would be student hand reviews or database reviews. This would allow listeners to get very specific insight from a top coach into their own game. But I think it would have to be done in a way where Pete's comedic side could run rampant. Maybe a "Torture the Carrotman" stream where people submit their worst played hands and Pete can help them plug the leaks he finds.
PokerStars School: What advice would you give to new players thinking of taking up the game of poker?
Mr.Balzter: Again, for new players watch the "Intro to 6-Max Series" and follow the Carrotmans Twitch Streams on PokerStars School. With those two things, you should have some fun while learning this beautifully complex game.
Oh, and it's been three months and 150 thousand hands (about 1 1/2hr of play per day) and I'm happy to say I've recouped my initial bankroll twice over and I'm winning at 6bb/100.
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