'The Grind' - Pro Poker Strategy By Mark Seif & Absolute Poker.
In May 2001, I decided to take a break from practicing law to go to the WSOP. I'd just tried a multi-million dollar case, and I was a little burned out. I usually played poker three times a week and this was the norm for the past decade or so.
I play poker since I was six, and had been playing in high stakes games since I was 19. I'd mostly played at Commerce Casino. At the time, I was playing $80/160 Limit Hold'em. Sometimes, I'd play No-Limit or Pot Limit Hold'em with Bobby Hoff, Carl Mckelvey, Billy Carson, Johnny Chan, Eric Seidel, Mark Weitzman, Ted Forrest, Layne Flack, and a few other super-tough old school guys. A few times, Phil Hellmuth played with us. We all liked that.
We'd been playing since the early 90's, and other than an on and off, regular game at Ocean's Eleven, it was unusual to find a No-Limit or Pot Limit Hold'em cash game. Each of us bought in for $5,000 - 10,000 usually, and as the night progressed it wasn't uncommon to be up or down $20,000 - 30,000. While that might not sound like a lot now, it was considered a very big game.
I've always been an action player, so I enjoyed the big swings. There was nothing I enjoyed more than playing high stakes poker.
While I bombed out of a few of the WSOP tournaments right away, I went on a sick heater right away and kept playing higher and higher. I played No-Limit and Pot Limit Hold'em and Pot Limit Omaha. By the time I had to go home and back to work, I was up over $700,000!
Man, wouldn't it be just great to be able to play poker for a living, I thought, as I had a couple drinks on my flight home. I figured with the money I won and the money I had made from practicing law I had an adequate bankroll to give it a shot. So, I did. I went to the office the next day and gave my notice!
Needless to say, almost all my family, friends and coworkers thought I had gone off the deep end. "You want to be a poker player?!" I always replied, "of course, have you ever been a lawyer?" In any case, those close to me didn't understand the most important reason why I wanted to be a poker player - time freedom.
Being a professional poker player meant that I could work when I wanted to, where I wanted to, for as long or as little as I wanted to, and most importantly, I would be in charge of my own destiny.
Don't get me wrong. I loved practicing law, but there were certain times I didn't enjoy it as much. My lifestyle as a trial lawyer afforded me considerable financial security, but very little personal freedom. After several years of this type of "grind," I was ready to try a new one.
So that's how the poker grind began, albeit a somewhat different grind. But, make no mistake, it's also a grind. You're probably wondering, how can I say that after I just told you how I entered poker for the time freedom? That's a good question and I'll try to answer that next time...
Author: Mark Seif
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