John Tabatabai is running bad. He’s a poker player and he’s not winning. And he knows why he’s not winning: he needs to play more hands. Tabatabai is 23 years old. By the time he was 20, he had won and lost $100,000 at least six times, playing online. But back then, a poker-lifetime ago, he wasn’t counting. Now he’s monitoring his profits and losses daily, keeping his betting levels in step with his mood and the poker gods, eating well, getting plenty of rest and striving to play 50,000 hands a month.
But the way things are going, he’ll have to “destroy” the $5-$10 no-limit hold’em level (where the player to the left of the dealer has to make a blind $5 bet, and the player next to him a blind $10 bet) before he even thinks of moving back up to $10-$20 games or higher. “There’s nothing worse than moving up too quickly,” he says. “Losing a huge amount of money, that hurts you. Then you can’t play your game.”