“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”
That quote from famed artist Pablo Picasso can also certainly apply to the poker tables. For Javi, recently finishing the €5k NL 6-Max Micro program was a huge goal accomplished and now he has his sights on even more.
“For me, it was a personal goal just to finish and prove to myself that I can win online,” he says. “5k isn’t that much money, but taking into account that I have won almost everything in a very short period, and a short number of hands, has been very motivating.”
Passion for Poker
This 28-year-old grinder from Spain plays at the NL50-NL100 stakes on PokerStars and 888. Right now, Javi lives with his father and has played live cash games full time for a year and a half since finishing his university degree.
His hard work at the tables has paid off and now he has another goal – winning enough to move to another country or city and focus more on online poker. He wants to expand his online winnings, but also continue grinding plenty of live games.
During a school trip at age 17, a few friends introduced the young Spaniard to poker. As he says, “I just got trapped.” Poker became an all-consuming passion. His group of friends started playing regular home games and Sit and Go’s. If there were some free hours, the teenagers were playing poker.
After so much time with friends, Javi decided to give the online game a shot. He eventually deposited money in PokerStars and jumped into the multi-table action. It seemed only government interference could slow him down – literally.
“I had very good results and was on an incredible heater, but in 2012 due to Spanish regulation, I almost stopped playing. “In 2013, I decided to play more cash games and that’s the way I got into it.”
Live and Learn
Now with his 6-Max Micro program complete, he’s looking for more. He’s also always looking at improving his game – realizing there’s always more to learn. He realizes the importance of staying focused.
Listening to coaching and correcting mistakes is also huge.
“It’s important to be consistent, something I haven’t always been by the way, because you are your own boss,” he says. “Don’t be lazy, listen to what the coaches say and try to understand them. Write down everything you hear from videos, webinars, Skype sessions, or wherever you have the chance to hear what a coach has to say.”
Learning from others is also key – listen to players better and playing at higher limits, Javi says. He also offers tough advice for those who may not be playing to their optimal ability and wondering why they keep having bad runs.
“Ask better players everything,” he says. “On average, they are going to make fewer mistakes than you. Try to understand why they do what they do in every spot. And something that is very important to note, you are not a victim. Luck does not exist. If you don’t win enough or you have the feeling that you are on an incredibly bad run that never ends, then just start thinking that you are playing bad and losing money like a monkey in lots of spots.”
Javi is adamant that luck is only a concept and winning players don’t need it as part of their games. Accepting that has helped him stay on an even keel when playing.
“Since there are people that have been consistently winning for years, speaking long term, I have drawn the obvious conclusion that luck has nothing to do with poker,” he says. “So I just try not to get mad, angry, or sad. I assume that I’m doing a lot of mistakes and try to improve.”
One of Javi’s greatest strengths, he says, is his ability to reset and adjust his mind session after session. Tilt can be a game and profit killer – and he advises other players to learn quickly how to keep that aspect of the game under control.
“I’m always on a positive mode when facing a new session each day,” he says. “Lately I learned to get control of the tilt.”
In the Zone
Away from the live poker tables or games online, Javi enjoys playing video games online, working out at the gym, snow skiing, and hanging out with friends. He tries to stay in shape and keep his mind balanced as well – something not always easy for poker players.
And when it comes back to goals, Javi has some beyond just moving and making a living playing poker. Going broke is a regular story in poker, however, Javi hopes to break the stereotype and be smart with his winnings – and time.
“My goal is to have enough time in my life to invest in what I want,” he says. “Since money equals time, I want to win a lot of money to have a lot of time. To get all of this I want to climb into the mid-high stakes.”
If his pace of performance continues, that should be fairly soon. However, he admits that he is not always dedicated and needs to work on time management to help put in more hours online.
“That’s my leak,” he says. “I don’t have a predefined routine. I just go to the gym every day and play whenever I feel comfortable. The schedule is important. I’m working on it.”
What’s his advice to other players? The same advice he might give himself.
“Just keep grinding,” he says. “Put in more hours when playing online because that’s my biggest weakness.”
In May, Javi had an especially good month. He made €1,600, about one-third of the total profits he’s made as part of BPC. The best day was a €365-winning session playing NL50. May was the best month of his life playing online cash games.
Overall, BPC has been a huge help, Javi says, and he’s glad he’s part of the community.
“Thanks to BPC I have a much more solid game overall,” he says. “They help you a lot to put an end to all the bullshit, and help you focus on what really matters.”
While he may be having good days at the tables now, his choice to play poker wasn’t always popular with his parents. When he started playing, they didn’t like it and regularly told him: “This is gambling. It’s only going to bring you death and destruction. A relative of yours lost all that he had playing cards.”
That thinking has now faded. They started seeing their son was winning money and didn’t need to ask them for money. Javi even used winnings to pay for the last four years of his university degree.
“They had the old school mentality about the game,” he says. “Then when I started to play live cash games full time, they were just used to it. Now they see that I’m happy and that I can live on my own, and they support what I do. Everyone close to me supports me in this way.”
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications such as PokerNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.