My Bankroll for Poker in Asia
I moved to Asia with $5800 3 years ago. It took a couple weeks to get set up again for online poker in Asia (PokerStars was banned in the US on ‘Black Friday’), and with initial moving costs I was down to around $3500 pretty quick.
Your first few weeks in any new city will be the most expensive, and while I was pretty good at saving money some things just can’t be avoided. Luckily I started off in Sihanoukville, Cambodia which is super cheap for digital nomad living.
When I first got online and grinding poker again I started kind of slow and was only making about $500 a month for the first couple of months. A few months in and my bankroll was right at $3k after paying my next months rent and I was starting to get a bit worried.
I was mostly playing MTTs with a few SNGs mixed in, and of course tournaments can be very swingy. I felt like I was playing well and the games were still pretty good. However they definitely were not as good as before Black Friday so I was not sure I would survive.
Finally A Heater
Three months after I arrived I had an upswing and it was a big one. Over the next month I crushed MTTs on PartyPoker and the roll shot up from $3k to $8k. Considering I was only playing 5 or 6 $11 and $5.50 rebuys a day and not much else that was a great ROI.
I still continued to win through Nov, Dec was a bit slow but Jan was nice. By the time I left Cambodia to check out Thailand and the Philippines I had $11k and was extremely confident.
Ups and Downs
During my month living in Pattaya I basically made no money at all. Then for my first two months after moving to the Philippines I made almost no money at all. I did have one huge day where I won two MTTs for about $1600 profit which helped, but it wasn’t enough.
At this point I realized that MTTs were just to swingy and a downturn could easily break me. Not only that but Party had dropped all of their guarantees significantly and started to take 3% on Skrill cashouts, it was not nearly as good of an option as it had been before.
I’m not a fan of playing live poker in Asia but I guess that could’ve been another option. My buddy has a TwoPlusTwo forum thread about playing live in cardrooms and casinos across Asia.
I hopped around trying out different things. I spent one of the most tilting months of my life trying to be a rakeback whore on Microgaming. It looked like the softest site I had ever seen, players certainly as bad as 2005 players, but I got my ass kicked there and had to give up.
Switching to Cash Games
After many months of making very little money I was back to around $5k and once again was getting concerned. I really had one more thing to try and that was cash games. If it didn’t work out I would have to jump back into MTTs with $4k and cross my fingers.
It was around September of 2013 and luckily I started off strong to get some confidence and breathing room. I was up to $7k after a month or two. Then I had some run bad for a month and treaded water, but around January I hit a big $5k rush.
Once again I was up to $11k and off life tilt. I had made money in 4 of the 5 months I played cash. I looked at a really nice condo and almost signed a 6 month lease and gave 2 months deposit. It would have cost me $2k just to move in.
I’m glad my life nittyness wouldn’t allow me to sign that lease because I made no money for the next 6 months. Meanwhile some grinders on the forums were winning 6 figures in live MTTs.
Games are Dead in Summer
The online games are totally dead in the spring and summer months now, unless the bad beat jackpot is high on sites with one of those, like 888 Poker where I mostly play nowadays.
In a 3 year sample size it has usually gone like this: make no money in European spring and summer, make money in European winter and fall months. The only people that play when the weather is nice are the grinders. The fish only play when they are frozen into their homes.
Now during the Summer months I just do online freelancing. It keeps me afloat living in the Philippines. Then pick up online poker again over the Winter months, especially when the 888 jackpot gets high.
My main goal in life is to keep my roll in the 5 figure range so that I can handle downswings.