One year on Team Online
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to my wife about how time flies with our next summer US vacation coming up. Then it struck me when I realized that I have been a member of Team Online for over a full year now. I guess that makes me due for a write-up of my experiences and adventures during my first year as a member of this awesome bunch.
May - June 2013: The first games with a red spade
Playing the games I had been a regular in for years with my newly acquired red spade next to my name had quite a unique feel to it, and I would lie if I said it didn't make me at least a little bit proud.
In that sense it definitely helped me to bring both more confidence and A-game to the tables. Table dynamics also started to shift quite a bit as I realized some opponents who would try to force winning pots against me while others would remain tight and cautious.
In the morning hours when my regular table games lacked a bit of action I would fire up a couple of microstakes tables to play and chat with people who knew or didn't know me at all. Speaking of chatting, it was a lot of fun and quite a new experience in the online poker context to actually start chatting with villains, observers and followers. I wouldn't always find the time in my regular cashgame sessions but especially during longer MTTs or in microstakes table games I found it great to chat it up with people railing me or showing their support.
July 2013: The birth of "Grinding it UP!"
Monday, July 22nd I created the very first episode of "Grinding it UP!" I had already been running this bankroll building project successfully as a community adventure for and with German IntelliPoker members every year since 2010. The goal was to start out with $80 playing the lowest available 6-max no limit cashgames with 1-cent and 2-cent blinds and grind out an $8000 bankroll to use at the $1 and $2 blind level. Running and especially sharing the project has always been tons of fun. So I decided I wanted to go global on this now that I joined Team Online to share it with international followers too and ran the project again in 2014 by starting an English YouTube series.
At first, Grinding it UP! started out as a simple videoblog to document my progress in the project, but the more videos I produced the more ideas started popping up in my head about creating a different type of show with live play episodes, hand reviews, coaching, and a lot of other fun stuff mixed in to keep it entertaining at the same time.
The evolution of Grinding it UP! Includes the rise of:
− Tod(d), our "Team Online Donkey" mascot
− popular social media hashtags such as #GrindingItDown, #FischigeSpieler or #IHateFolding
− the #GrindingItUp gang (which you immediately become part of as a follower)
− our own Twitch.tv channel where I stream and record live sessions
By now my YouTube channel sports a total of 87 episodes and the series features a current bankroll of around $3,000.
August 2013: My first VIP Club Live event
This was the first month that would actually make me (as an online poker player and the latest addition to Team Online) leave my little nerd cave back home in order to meet up with other poker players and Team Pros in real life at the PokerStars VIP Club Live Party in Berlin. It was a great experience and I wrote a detailed blog post about it here - check it out if you are contemplating to go to one of the next stops. Maybe I will see and meet you in Hamburg when August comes around this year!
September 2013: Vegas Vacation
My wife and I decided to do a rather late summer vacation that year and toured the US westcoast that month. When we stopped in Vegas I decided it was about time to get my feet wet in the higher stakes cashgames again and I challenged myself to take a shot at the Bellagio's $5/$10 NL game. This in turn kicked off a chain of motivation, so once I got to my computer back home I stepped up to take shots at higher stakes 6-max online cashgames. Read about that here!
October 2013: Team Online Week
Time for an entire "Team Online Week!" Not only did our team go through all sorts of fun promotions with communities and followers, I was also given the opportunity to have exclusive coaching sessions with Ike Haxton, Randy (nanonoko) and Alex (Kanu7)! We recorded those lessons where my coaches went over a couple of my recent 500NL Zoom Poker hands with me. My teammate Andrè "acoimbra" Coimbra at the same time received coaching from Marc-Andre (FrenchDawg) and Mickey (mement_mori). You can watch all the productions for free over at PokerSchoolOnline.com!
November 2013: Adventures on the Isle of Man
Again, time to step out of the cave and make my way over to the Isle of Man, visit the PokerStars headquarters for the very first time and play a live event - the UKIPT Isle of Man. Read about that adventure here.
December 2013: More Vacation
I took some more time off from the tables to spend the holidays on another vacation with the wife. I also looked for some diversion in my daily grind by experimenting with the newly introduced Heads-Up Zoom Poker format. Check out the blog post with my report on how it went including a little Heads-Up hand analysis here.
January 2014: PCA!
January turned out to be the most exciting month of my entire first year on Team Online with my adventures at PCA 2014. I finally got to meet all the other Team Online members in person, work and enjoy a great time with them together in the Bahamas. I also had my very first professional photo shoot and got invited to do commentary for the German coverage of the main event which was my very first time broadcasting to so a big audience. I wrote a two-part blog about my PCA experience here
February 2014: Back to "Grinding it UP!"
...was a bit of a hangover month. I was mostly busy working on, developing and evolving with my YouTube series Grinding it UP! Check our some of the latest episodes with new bankroll milestones here.
March 2014: Team Online short film production
One day in early March, I received a message telling me to be available at the time of my birthday for my upcoming Team Online short film production. Yeah, that needed some time to sink in. I took a second look at all the great short films on my teammates that Ryan Firpo and his crew had produced. A year ago I would watch these myself and think "These short films are awesome, these people are awesome, being on Team Online must be awesome!" Now I am here, an actual member of this team, getting his own short film. Awesome!
My wife and I were super excited about Ryan and his crew coming over to our appartment and doing the filming with us. Time with the guys flew, and working with them was - as my team mate Katerina, who had her own short film shooting with them, rightfully put it - a truly unique experience. Our films are probably coming up very soon or might already be out by the time you read this!
April 2014: More VIP Club Live action
Back to the "Grinding it UP!" and new bankroll milestones ($3000 and $4000)! I only took some time off to head to Prague for a weekend and attend yet another PokerStars VIP Club Live party. Read about how I learned a thing or two about cooking Asian food over there.
Later that month I got re-invited to do more live stream commentary for the German coverage of EPT Monte Carlo which I really enjoyed again and hope to be able to do more of in the future too!
May 2014: The Poker Office
In order to separate poker in a more productive way from my home and private life, I started an office together with a buddy of mine. One day we simply had the idea of not wanting to sit at home alone when grinding anymore. We wanted to build a place where we could not only grind for ourselves, but also play and even teach poker at a real table too.
This turned out to be a great idea and by now I am commuting between my office and home on a daily basis. A short 10-minute bike ride gets me there when the weather is nice and as a side effect clears my head which in turn prepares me well for a long cash or MTT session. We have already invited the first students of mine over to hold a live poker seminar and coaching session with them. It was a real blast and we are planning to do that on a regular basis once I get back from vacation.
Looking back at this very first year, I see such deep of an impact that becoming a Team Online member has had on both my poker life and my life outside poker. I have been able to travel to new places in the world I would maybe never get to see, spread and share my poker enthusiasm with my followers, and meet so many great poker players from around the globe. This would most definitely never have been possible otherwise.
I would like to close this blog entry with two big shoutouts:
The first one goes out to all members of Team Online and our manager Chris, it is a pleasure and an honor to be on a team with you!
The second one goes out to each and everyone of you who supported "Grinding it UP!" stood at the rail of my MTTs, or dropped a line of appreciation in chat.
I'm now more than excited to go into the second year of my Team Online membership with new plans, new goals and hopefully tons of new adventures! But right now I'm off for my US west coast road trip with the family (and Todd is coming too). Follow me on Facebook if you would like to see pictures!