I want to start with a story which is more than 10 years ago. I played small stakes and had the dream of playing the WSOP Main Event once in my life. That was my ultimate goal. Back then there was the EPT stop in Dortmund and it’s quite close to my hometown so the local private clubs offered 300€ sats, which was way too much for me as a student. I decided to play some feeder sats and failed of course. I watched the final table coverage and was fascinated, I was sweating hard for my German fellow Sebastian Ruthenberg and watched his game. At that point I realized that even though the event is so close to me from a distance perspective, skill wise I was light years away.

I worked hard on various skills to get there somehow. Before you even consider to become a live pro you have to ensure that you are an online pro. Online pro´s require mostly skill to beat the game therefore they build an edge by studying game theory. Additionally they need mental strength and bankroll management which goes hand in hand with money management.

Now, be honest with yourself, ask yourself these questions:

Did I work hard on my game and gain an extraordinary edge at the mid-high stakes online ?

How is my mental behaviours off and on the table?

How good and respectful am I able to work with the money I earned?

If you think you are at least 9/10 for each question you could start thinking about getting into the live scene.

Why is live poker so attractive to many players ? There is one obvious reason. The fields are quite weak compared to the buy in. Another reason could be to “see the world” or get some rest from playing online day and night. But the gap between online and live is quite a lot bigger than most expect. I have saw a lot of mistakes that player’s have done which results in going broke. Mostly it’s a combination of playing tournaments they don’t beat with an investment which is way too risky. Why not take small steps like most of us did in online poker as well ?

Start at your local casino and play the 100/200 weekly comp. You get a feeling for how it feels like to play live and additionally you can work on  “live tells”. Player’s in the local casino are giving away a ton of obvious tells and you should start to recognize and exploit them. The next step could be a smaller live series which is not to expensive.

Keep in mind that you should always ask yourself the questions before making another step. Going to an international stop for two weeks is really expensive. So make sure to save money. Share a room with your buddy, book your flight in advance and don’t spend thousands of €’s for sushi and champagne (or bananas in monte carlo).

I would suggest to stop going to live trips if your bankroll drops to a certain amount where you have to start selling action at buyins between 109-215. Online games should always be the bread and butter. The variance in live tournaments is huge, because you can’t play as much as online. Make sure to swap a little instead of firing hard on yourself. A common mistake is to invest the whole markup money you earned from your staker. Just a simple example; you are getting a nice markup for the 111k onedrop, lets assume 1.20, there is no need to have 20% of yourself as long as your bankroll is 6 digit for example, wouldn’t it be smarter to invest that earned money into the 2k main event the following weekend ?

From all what I have learned is that a stable mindset and a good bankroll management is as important as a good theoretical approach. Make sure you work hard on all factors and maybe you will end up sitting next to me 😉

Last but not least I would love to tell you how I finally got to vegas. I was backed back then and there was a 70$ subsat on Partypoker with decent overlay. I won the sat and I got lucky enough to win the 700$ sat for the Vegas package in 2013. It’s for sure not gto, so don’t try it my way. You might end up sitting below the bridge.


Dietrich Fast

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