Andre Coimbra's $100,000 challenge: looking back, moving forward

July is about to start and it will mark the beginning of the second half of my $100K challenge, which involves turning $100 into $100K playing MTTs. So it's a good time to look at the first half of the year to think about what went right and what went wrong to try to learn from past experiences.

First Quarter
I hadn't played much poker in the last months of 2012 and had't played many flops since 2010. My poker was very rusty and on the first day of the challenge I lost 30% of my challenge bankroll!

My bankroll management strategy was definitely too aggressive for someone that needed to (re)learn a lot of stuff! I moved down in stakes and for a while was very tight on bankroll management. I learned that bluffing players at these stakes was more complicated than I thought and I tried to play most of my hands for value while not bluffing much.

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Just another champagne session

I slowly moved up in stakes, played some 45 player sit & go's, 90 players sit & go's and then 180 players sit & go's. I had some wins at the 180 players sit & go's and won the Team Online depositers' freeroll.

Then I started playing scheduled tournaments and found it was pretty hard to manage the bankroll. Do I want to play tournaments with small buy-ins but big fields, or big buy-ins and smaller fields? I still don't know what the correct answer is!

During February I did well in some tournaments and I got my bankroll all the way up to $7K.

02/11/2013, NL Hold'em, $10 + $1, 2/2965, $3,488
02/25/2013, NL Hold'em, $3R + $0.3, 4/3377, $2,362
02/11/2013, NL Hold'em, $25 + $2.5, 2/337, $1,215
02/09/2013, NL Hold'em, $5R + $0.5, 5/1635, $1,102

Then I got a bit stuck at $7K during March, but at the end of that month, while I was recording a free strategy video for my followers, I ended up winning a huge $1+r for almost $14K, finishing March with $20K.

Second Quarter
During April I started feeling tired. I'd been working six days per week since the beginning of the challenge to learn, play, keep my two blogs updated, as well as my weekly vlog and the strategy content to help my followers.

The people in charge of Team Online said that I should take some time off. However, I was stubborn and in my head I was going to use April to prepare for the SCOOP and try to hit a big score, then take some time off during June. I didn't get any good scores and I lost 10% of my bankroll (around $2K), which alone is not a big deal. But I didn't learn as much as I learned in the previous months, I didn't produce as much content and I was feeling less motivated.

The SCOOP attack didn't go as I hoped, since it's pretty hard to navigate through huge fields consistently and I didn't have the best mindset at the time. While I was focused in putting in a lot of volume, I ended up not studying as much as I should and in turn I didn't improve as much as I would have liked.

May started well with a bunch of final tables at the beginning of the month, but I finished the month very close to break-even. During June I didn't play much, but I finished slightly up. As you can see the 2nd quarter of the year was pretty bad, since I didn't improve much and I lost 10% of my bankroll.

A lot of times when I was playing it felt like an obligation and I just didn't want to be doing anything related to poker. This made me feel quite bad about myself and I was feeling really really lazy, but the truth is that I was just burned out.

I took two weeks off and I spent some time thinking about what I want to do. I currently have $18K, have improved my understanding of how to play MTTs and six months left. Let's talk about how to turn that into more money for charity!


Bossing it at the World Series (not this year)

Goals moving forward
I'm planning to work six days per week during the next 12 weeks and then take up to two weeks off before starting the last quarter of the challenge.

I'm going to try to wake up at sunrise time (~6am) and go to sleep at sunset time (~9pm). Sure, I won't be able to play the biggest tournaments, but I think that the tournaments I will be able to play will be good to help the bankroll grow. I read that people are happier when being awake during daylight time.

The weekly routine
Monday is my day off, so no plans for Monday!!! From Tuesday to Friday I want to run in the morning to prepare myself for the 10KM Tejo race (September 15) and try to do a better time than last year (52 mins). I will also do some weightlifting after I finish work at the end of the day.

On Saturday and Sunday I will do some light cardio workout in the morning (maybe some indoor bicycling or a walk), but I won't do any weight lifting in the afternoon, so that my body rests and I'm able to do bigger poker sessions on the weekend.

On Tuesdays I'm planning to give four hours of free coaching to my followers (two hours in portuguese and two hours in english), record those sessions and share them on my youtube page. This way I can help the people that are following my challenge improve and the process will help me learn as well. I will also record my weekly vlog and do an evaluation of the previous week.

On the remaining days I'm going to spend some time studying situations where I felt less comfortable in previous sessions, prepare for that day's session by reviewing the concepts I want to work on, and only after that will I play poker!

This is important! I don't want to just grind for the sake of grinding. I want to be working on improving my game and trying different things in my game on a daily basis. I think that's the only way I have a chance to get good enough to finish this challenge. After playing, I want to write a blog in both languages and to keep a record of what went right and wrong from a strategy, mental, physical and food point of view, so that I can work on those situations on the following days.

As you can see, it's a lot of work, but I think that I can do it for 12 weeks as long as I have the right goals and the right mindset.

So, my work goals are to produce good content, learn about Poker and improve on a daily basis. My physical goals are to do better than last year at the Tejo Race, eat healthy 6/7 days, and not screw up my diet too much on the other day.
I think that setting a goal to learn and improve every day is much better than let's say "reach $50K" (even though the $50K would be nice), since I don't depend so much on short-term results that I have little control over and I can be happy with small improvements on a daily basis.

Anyway, this is a pretty big update so I will stop here. If you want to learn more about my challenge please visit my blog!

Andre acoimbra' Coimbra is a member of Team PokerStars Online. Read his bio page here.