I think the people who grind these stakes come from all walks of life and have all sorts of different reasons for playing. They also come from all over the world as well. Here is a breakdown of the data regarding the top 10 countries that visit this blog.
And the biggest section on the pie chart (the gray section), representing nearly 1/3 of all traffic, is the rest of the world. Were all in this crazy game together. I think that telling the stories of some of these people might help personalize the very impersonal world that online poker can seem at times.
I decided to start with the following person because he is the first one to show me undeniable evidence that my book, Crushing the Microstakes, really works. So this will be a solid brag imo!
I get quite a few emails and pm's from people saying nice things about my book but this guy was the first one to show me a 100k hand graph. That is the minimum amount of hands that I believe is a statistically reliable sample size in poker. And his results are certainly quite impressive.
But I also wanted to interview this guy because I don't know him very well at all (basically just the brief email exchange that we had last week). However we have played a pretty insane amount of hands against each other at NL2 and NL5 I am sure. I remember him well as a solid dedicated grinder.
One final note. Andrew's English is admittedly "terrible" in his own words. I have touched it up where ever necessary at his suggestion.
Name, age and location?
My name is Andrew. I am 43 years old and I am from Ukraine. I am known as "andrewabc" on Pokerstars. If someone says it's too late to play poker at this age don't believe it. You can draw from live experience with reading your opponents. So if you are 40+ welcome to online poker!
History of your poker playing career?
The first time I saw poker was on TV. It seemed pretty boring at first. But soon I learned more and it interested me so I decided to try playing online. I made my first deposit on Pokerstars and played NL10 and NL25. Predictably I lost all my money in a couple of days. It wasn't such as easy game as I had thought.
So I decided to try again at NL5. I played for several months and was still losing money however. It wasn't the progress that I had hoped for! But I didn't like all these river coolers and bad beats so I decided to go play at Party Poker for awhile. Once I lost my bankroll there I finally realized that it wasn't the site that I was playing on that was the problem, it was my game.
So I decided to start all over again at NL2 and really learn poker.
How many tables do you play at once?
These days I am playing 20-22 full ring tables but normal speed ones only. Pokerstars has an enormous selection so it is pretty easy.
Do you play for fun? Side income? Full income?
I'd like to become a poker pro one day. Can I or not? That is the question!
How many hands have you played in total?
I have played a total of 723k hands at NL2 and NL5 according to my Hold'em Manager data.
What made you decide to purchase Crushing the Microstakes?
When I began to learn poker I asked myself which book should I read. There are tons of good books out there but when a NL200 pro writes about how to play the lowest limits it doesn't always work out very well. I knew about the outstanding results of BlackRain79 at these limits so I couldn't pass up on getting this book.
How has it helped your game?
I bought the book in December and read it twice. January 2012 is the first full month of putting it into practice. I have had my best month ever in more than a year of poker. Last year my best month was 5.8bb/100. My winrate has doubled! I know everything in this book works. My graph and stats prove it.
Click to view
What are your future plans in poker?
This year I would like to get to NL25. As Nathan said "moving up in stakes can be a big deal." I will move up to the next level when I am crushing my current one. I think I still make a lot of mistakes and want to improve more. And maybe some day I will be able to go for SNE at NL200-NL600. Who knows?
I would like to thank Andrew for taking the time to do this interview and congratulate him on the outstanding improvements to his game.
I hope you all enjoyed this. I have never conducted an interview before. I plan to be more in depth in future ones. I think there are many more interesting questions that I could have asked. If you have any comments or suggestions on who you would like to see in future interviews please let me know below.
And if you have any questions for Andrew I am sure that he would be happy to answer them below. Ask soon though because he told me he is going on vacation in two days!
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