Do The Time Warp
Throw your mind back to August 2014. The poker world is getting its optimism back from the dark days after the US DOJ torched Full Tilt to the ground and made smores over the embers. Meanwhile, in Norway, a small time 6-max grinder and recently mostly graduated university student is enjoying the long Norwegian summer days between getting his bachelor’s and starting his masters.
What does he do with his summer hols? He does what we all do and boots up his laptop to play a little poker logging in under his avatar’s aka of Vidarbusk.
He’s been playing for a while a little micro-stakes grinding at 6-max hold’em tables and turning a decent profit at the PLO games (circa $500 in his best month). He’s done a bit of coaching but in the past, it’s always been pitched at the wrong level and his game has got more spewy somehow in those periods.
So he’s been looking for something a little different; as he put it, he was in a place where he’d been playing “a bit of micro stakes 6 max NLHE and PLO where I was your regular TAG-fish. I lost a bit at NLHE and won a bit at PLO. With a couple of lucky MTT finishes, I think all in all I was a bit over breakeven. I’ve also done quite a bit of sports-betting beside my studies and made about $2,500 on that (about half being from bonuses). Now I want to give poker a go again, but this time do heads-up as it seems to be the best way to become good at poker.”
On the 27th August 2014, he signed his coaching for profits contract with Best Poker Coaching. And it’s about to make all the difference for him.
Welcome To The BPC Family
Vidarbusk, like all BPC’s students, kept a blog of his time under our coaches’ tutelage. His begins: “I’m a Norwegian student kind of taking a break between my bachelor’s and master’s degree. I say kind of because I lack one course and I’m retaking some exams. I’ve had three fine years living the student life, but now I’ll dedicate the next year to learning and grinding heads up poker.”
I think we all know what “fine years as a student means” – once a degen always a degen… and in Vidarbusk’s line gambling runs deep. With a retired jockey for a dad and an early start at trying to beat the tote he was born to the gambler’s lot in life. Vidarbusk’s first time betting on horses was at the age of 9 though he’s anxious to point out this was back “when it was still legal to bet as an underage in Norway.”
All in all, he seemed like fine clay for he BPC mould. He got dug right in with work, having his first sessions with his coach Rovar after a week or so of settling in.
For Vidarbusk the results were pretty immediate. He was turning over the usual couple of thousand hands that are used as a barometer of the new player in double-quick time, and getting down to the nitty gritty with Rovar in his first sessions as soon as he could.
“This week started pretty bad results-wise, but then made a turn after a coaching session with Rovar 🙂 Still got a loss for the week, but the last three days have been pretty decent. […] It also feels like I’ve learned quite a lot. It really is remarkable how much it helps to think through hands, try to solve them and then see what the coaches reply with.”
He posted this image after his first few weeks:
Noted that the white line, at the nadir of the graph, is where he signed his Coaching for Profits contract.
More To Poker Than Just Poker
Like a lot of players, for Vidarbusk the biggest leak was not lack of knowledge but the habits of consistently applying that knowledge. “I’m pretty sure discipline and focus are my biggest struggles when I’m not getting decent results. I think this is why vacations fuck me up so much, the discipline goes to rock bottom and then I need time to build it up again.”
If you’re just clicking buttons, you lose.
Luckily this is one of the major advantages the BPC programme has over most coaches. The courses are not just about nailing the right lines but about every aspect of professional poker from setting up your workstation, to managing your notes and hand histories, to the vital mental game and tilt control.
When he started his CFP contract in August 2014 he wrote a list of his main goals: to make a comfortable living at poker, to have opportunities to travel, to avoid a miserable 9-5 hour gig bookended by an hour’s commute each way, and to go pro by August 2015.
Somehow he managed to balance his gruelling poker training with getting his masters and sure enough when August 2015 came around he was stoked for what looked to be his biggest month ever.
The month before, in July 2015, he had attended a BPC Seminar in Slovenia, and the Mediterranean climate took his fancy. As he made his transition to his first month as a pro he also upped sticks and headed south.
“I went to the BPC Seminar and learned a lot about what I should do outside of poker. I also met most of the guys in CFP which was very nice. While I was there I made up my mind that I will relocate. So that’s what I did and now I’m in Slovenia […] This marks the start of me having poker as my only income. Before I worked a side job and got some student loan. I’m almost certain it will work out fine, but either way, I’m going to step it up.”
By mid-August, that dream looked a little fragile. One year exactly after he had signed up, he had his biggest losing day ever crossing the terrifying four-digit threshold in one heart-breaking session. That’s the downside to getting good enough to move up stakes: the swings get bigger. But they cut in both directions.
It was time to put that mental game training to work. Which he did admirably. A setback that might have caused a spiral a year ago was cured with a couple of rest days and some focused study on the game.
So it was that 28 days later, he hit his €60k profit mark and fulfilled his contract and the horrors of the four-digit loss were erased in a sea of euphoria.
Just under a lucky bakers-dozen months and he’d made solidly middle-class bank playing a game he loved. That’s the Norwegian dream.
Anno BPC One
Having beaten the contract, as it were, Vidarbusk opted to stay on. He’d done some coaching during his time as a student and now that he had graduated, he was on board for helping others achieve the same results that he had enjoyed.
He had gone from having his best month before BPC be about a $500 win playing pot limit Omaha to a ~$6.8k month, without rake back. But he wasn’t ready to call it quits and coast writing that “at the beginning of the project I would be happy just to reach 2/4 and grind that, and don’t get me wrong, I am happy about it, but I’m pretty sure I can reach further. […] So yeah, now my main goal will be to reach high stakes. Maybe I’m just riding on high confidence from an upswing, but still, I want to play high and knowing myself I’ll work much more effectively by putting it as a goal. It’s time to have some high ambitions.”
Rovar took care of his training for the most part, although he had Gordon for some of it too. What was their secret to his success? Well, Vidarbusk found the BPC coaches useful because they are, “direct and honest, they don’t talk any bullshit,” as he told an interviewer. “It’s great how it begins from a solid foundation, then goes step by step up, so you’re not confused by all the advanced stuff.”
Having been a student, he now brings all that he learnt from them – and more – to his work turning schmos like his past self into pros like his present.