This is the closing post of the time vault project for this year, and what a year it was. I feel like I have invested my time very well in learning. Since I joined PSO about maybe three years ago, the Time Vault promotion may have been the more interesting, challenging, motivating and time consuming activity I have ever participated in when it comes to poker.
The advice and positive responses I have been receiving from the community whenever I post a question on a forum or about a subject in the blog session has been extremely useful. It’s great to have this sense of community even in such a competitive game as poker. It was very nice to join the Skype group, add PSO members on Twitter and participate in the forums.

Summarizing the poker year

I joined the Time Vault Challenge with a bad plan. It was bad because it was based on a monetary goal rather than a personal growth goal. Not that there is something wrong with monetary goals, on the contrary, but you need to have a little more on your suitcase in order to succeed. Inspired by projects such as Acoimbra’s 100k or Felix 80 to 8000, I stated my project “30 to 30K” which included study as well, but the difference is those professional players had already invested many hours of their lives on study and practice before starting their projects and my poker career just started. Needless to say, it didn’t quite work out to keep the first 30 dollars and I soon realized I needed a better approach.

The best moments

The project then became a sort of quest on getting better at the game, finding my specialization, trying out a lot of games, learning all I could lay my hands on. I traced a plan on how to proceed with the Time Vault Challenge: created the blog, made a map on my desktop with files I would need, an alternative blog with Wordpress to host the pictures, a spreadsheet in Excel to keep up with the daily bankroll development and generate graphics, study material. The time vault became instead of a challenge, a whole study project.

My approach to using the material at PSO was first taking all the interactive trainings, and then watching lots of videos and following lots of live trainings. I became a regular at live trainings. With some blog posts being awarded with a ticket, I cashed my Big Bang first tourney in March, third place. That was great! I invested some of the in treating myself with Pokertracker 4, which you can buy directly using your Netteller card, and also bought a book series on poker tournaments.


The worst moments

Not having a stable professional and personal life has affected me in every aspect and of course my performance at the poker games. I named my thread “Setting up goals for poker & life” for a reason; I am in a period of my life where I feel I need to change, to move forward in a different direction. This year has been a big step towards change: change of profession, change of environment… I moved to another house in another city, I started a different job in another profession, this adds some extra stress in the adaptation process. Not the right state of mind to sit down calmly and take important decisions at a poker table. This whole year I have recovered already from health issues from the past year (shoulder infection, which limited the movements of my left arm, and ouch, very painful) but have been in many stressful situations. Now I am luckily already settled in my new house, my arm is fine and everything seems to be going the right direction. Let’s hope 2014 will a much better poker year with putting to practice all the study hours I made this year.

The key point

The key point to my Time Vault Project happened before the project began, but played a big role during the whole process. It’s the tournament analysis made by Dave The Langolier of my play in the Big 8,80 in the Big Stack Series. These are two videos of hand analysis which I like to watch over and over, to compare my play at that time and my play now, to remind myself to create better habits and take better decisions. Very often when I play a big field MTT I will put this video on and have it on the background, comparing the situations in the video with situations I come across at the tables, reevaluating my decisions as I play. In my first blog I placed the links to this series, have a look if you like. My game has changed -a lot- since that time.

What I have learned with the Time Vault Project

It’s confronting to take a distance and look at myself, my game, my actions and decisions. As the time went by, since I made this a study project, I have technically learned many things but I think the most important one has been self-analysis. Reading my thread back, I see a different player at the beginning then I see now, I see a different mindset. Having the opinion of others on the hands I played, participating in the live trainings, home games tournaments and cash game classes, watching the analysis of other players, using the Leak Tracker function within Pokertracker 4, this all adds to make me aware of what I am doing, and why, and how to make it better.

From now on

From the second semester on I took out to follow the suggestion of André Akkari about how to become a professional poker player, step by step, what I called the Akkari Challenge. The Akkari challenge consists in a specialization training towards macro MTT’s. It starts with 100 dollars bankroll and the lowest buy-in available for STT’s, going from STT to SNG to MTT as the bankroll increases and dedicating as many hours to playing poker as to studying it, watching videos, following trainings. I have followed this plan, about halfway through lowered the buy in level to 50c and right now I am playing 50 games such as the 90 men, 180 men sit and go’s.  I am not happy with the results so far but very, very happy with the process and I know here at PSO I am on the right track to study and succeed in becoming a good, professional poker player.