2018: A year of second places
Last blog I described 2018 till the summer holidays. I realize this was quite a positive blog, but up until the summer everything went pretty smooth. During my holiday I travelled to Sweden and Austria with family and friends. These were some great weeks after 'months of hard work'. My poker results had been way above expected and I also heard I graduated for my Bachelor degree while I was on the road. All in all nothing to complain about and I decided to take a gap year before doing a masters.
In this gap year I would focus on starting my own twitch stream, improving my pokergame and travelling. It started off great, the first streams were quite busy and I managed to ship a decent tournament every stream. I knew this couldn't go on forever, but I appreciated that I ran golden right when I started my streaming journey. It's not all about results, but it makes the beginning at least a little bit less difficult.
However, this turned around pretty quickly and I think it's fair to say the online grind has been brutal in September, October, November and December. The hard part was that this happened right when I started the studygrind with Raise Your Edge. I always tried to stay positive and RYE definitely was a help and inspiration in this. No excuses, don't be the complainer, don't tell bad beats, and grind it out cause champions always stand up one more time. Just to name a few things you get teached, but of course also because I love quotes.
In the end it's all up to you though, and I'm not gonna lie, some days I felt like I was knocked down. Getting destroyed at night while trying to make an honest but enjoyable stream, waking up, working on your game, and do the same again at night. The stream definitely made the bad days more fun, but it still could have been better. Normally, I'm not an insecure person, but having doubts about the quality of your stream and your pokergame definitely made me at least a bit insecure to a certain degree. I think there is absolutely no shame in admitting that, and having doubts can even help you grow in my opinion.
This doesn't mean I didn't enjoy these months. I learned a lot about myself, more than when everything would have gone close to perfect like in the first months of the year. In my third stream I even took over the biggest Unibet stream of the month. When you watched back then you probably understand I did this with very mixed feelings as the reason was sad. However, I think I delivered a great 12 hour stream, after coming home late at night after having some drinks and hearing you have to stream this big day. For a third stream without sleep because of the bad news and nerves I think I did pretty well. My stream would probably be bigger if I could deliver like that every day.
Namely, at the end of 2018 I started doubting if the quality of my streams is high enough. Although most people are positive, I haven't answered this question for myself yet. Answering this won't happen overnight, as it will obviously have consequences for the schedule. I may come across very insecure right now, but I think I'm not more insecure than most people, just a bit more honest as that is one of my Dutch qualities.
Luckily, moneywise I could save the bad runs online with my cashes in Dublin and Manchester. In Dublin I came 30th at the Unibet Open for a bit over a mincash. I gained a lot of experience here and I'm happy with the fact I had the guts to call AA preflop, as I should cause I had the perfect stacksize to do so. The plan worked perfect and the guy next to me jammed, the outcome is history. However, I busted like a boss, which is a big contrast to how I played on the UOS final table I talked about in my last blog, where I played scared money to the maximum.
I managed to get second in Manchester 2 weeks later for 8K pounds and a 2K Unibet Open package for London. Of course to get heads up you need an immense amount of luck, therefore I can't complain about my biggest score so far. However, I would lie if I would say it didn't hurt to lose that heads up. A few times one card away from victory, grinding it back up just to get another suckout. However, I'm proud I played my absolute A game till the very end despite the beats. In summary, I'm happy with the cash, but I would have loved to take the throphy home in a heads up that seemed to be a win almost always, just not this time.
I think this second place at the end of the year sums it up pretty good. Maybe I could have become first more often, including in Manchester, if I had put in more work. I studied a decent amount with RYE and grinded my fair share, but if I really want to become a crusher it simply wasn't enough. It's motivating though that I won an award of Dara O'Kearney for most improved player in 2018 and I appreciate this, but on the other side it feels bad that I didn't put in the full effort to actually deserve this prize. Everything starts with yourself and blaming others or luck will always be the easiest. I think I have it in me to play highstakes and battle the crushers of this beautiful game. However, if I don't put in the necessary work in to get there I'm afraid there will be more years of second places in the feature.
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