Kid With a Dream

I made the cover of Card Player Europe!  I’m pretty stoked as it’s my first cover and also the first for Danny Maxwell who snapped the photo.  He’s a really great guy from Irish Poker Boards who blogs and photographs for a lot of the Irish poker events.  It’s very well deserved for him and a long time coming (that’s what she said).  There’s also an interview inside that Rebecca McAdam did with me.

Photo by Danny Maxwell
My first cover!

Cool Story Pro

So, as is probably apparent to anyone who reads my blog, I have a real passion for poker.  I think it’s a truly beautiful and vastly complex game involving lots of math, logic, psychology, physical and timing tells, and more!  My original plan was always to get a PhD and become a professor (my first degree was in Physics) but when I stumbled upon poker with friends in uni, I immediately fell in love with the game.  Like most at the time, I first thought it was simply a pure form of gambling but my friend Craig — who introduced me to the game — quickly convinced me otherwise.  He would win our $5 tournaments more often than his fair share and was able to consistently guess peoples’ exact two hole cards before a showdown!

Partial poker book collection
Aboot 1/2 of my poker book collection

I quickly became quite obsessed with the game, trying to soak up as much information as possible.  I borrowed or bought every poker book I could find, browsed strategy forums, played as much live and online as I could, toyed around with software and calculators, watched endless instructional videos, and so on.  Part way through the final year of undergrad, I discovered that there was a university in Canada that studied computer poker: the Computer Poker Research Group (CPRG) at the University of Alberta!  I was fortunate enough to get a full post-grad scholarship to study anywhere in Canada so of course I took enough computer science courses to get a minor and joined the Master’s program at the UofA.

I loved the time I spent studying with the CPRG.  The professors, students, and programmers are absolutely brilliant and they’ve worked on a lot of really cool stuff over the years.  We even all got to take a trip to Vegas during the World Series of Poker for The Second Man-Machine Poker Competition our group was competing in.  After two years, I finished my thesis titled Using Counterfactual Regret Minimization to Create a Competitive Multiplayer Poker Agent.

Throughout all of school, I still spent a lot of time playing and studying poker.  I was playing LHE cash games and NLHE tournaments (before sync breaks existed!) and making a nice supplementary income for a student.   Soon after I started playing poker, I always had a pipe dream to eventually play professionally and become one of the best in the world.  When I finished at the CPRG, I was looking for a job and a few friends from the UofA had moved to Dublin, Ireland to do software development for an online poker company.  I was referred by one of my friends, interviewed, and got an offer so after getting my green card, my wife and I moved to Dublin.

I really enjoyed my time working in the online poker industry.  Again, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by really brilliant people who were very passionate about poker and/or programming.  I learned soooooo much  about programming and the inner workings of a growing technology company.  My teams in particular (Server and then Poker Data Analytics) were very close-knit, meme-centric, and all-round good craic!  After a little over two years of experience, the online poker industry going through a rather rough patch, and having great success in live poker (both playing and staking), I finally decided to take the plunge and realize my dream of playing professionally two months ago.

Since handing in my notice, I started out with some success which is always nice:

  • 35th, mincash, in the European Deepstack (Day 3)
  • 7th, for €14,700, back-to-back final table in UKIPT Galway (and near title defense)
  • 51st, mincash, in the Irish Open
  • 2nd, for $21k, in the Sunday Kickoff on Stars and my biggest online score to-date
  • a few other final tables online

Unfortunately, the cash games haven’t gone so hot so far (my high stakes LHE shots couldn’t have gone much worse) but overall things are prettyyy prettyyyy prettyyyy pretty good…

Here’s a recap video they did for the most recent UKIPT Galway:

I’m feeling really good about my live tourney game but I still have LOTS to learn.  I’ve been working on the shorter stack turbo/hyperturbo situations a bit lately.

New Place

Around the time that I decided to “go pro”, Melissa and I signed a lease for a new apartment.  It’s in the same nice apartment complex but has an extra room.  It’s a 3-bedroom where we use the two spare rooms for offices.  Melissa has her books and crafts in the smaller one and I have the bigger one for my office/mancave :).  There’s a couch and TV in there for video games because you know… all work and no play makes Nick a dull boy 🙂

Here are some shots of my current setup and The Office where I happen to spend a lot of time:

My current computer setup
My current setup
i.e. mancave
The Office

The desk chair is one I had custom-fitted and built by The Back Shop to my back/legs/arms as I was experiencing some back pain with my previous generic Ikea chair.  I figured if I’m sitting in the chair for half-days, I might as well be comfortable.

Thanks for reading and good luck at the tables!
– Kid with a Dream

2 comments Add yours
  1. Congrats on making the final table at Galway a year after winning it! It was cool to see Melissa cheering you on in the recap video.

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