Sometimes I Lose

Hey guys,

Two videos in a row!  This one is just me talking with no plan.  I was thinking that would make it more of a “blog” than, I dunno, a speech.  I covered my recent downswing and my own mentality during downers, my NYC condo, and I forget what else.  As always, feedback and questions are much appreciated.


58 Replies to “Sometimes I Lose”

  1. Nice video, Phil, thanks for sharing your thoughts on a downswing, been going through that myself, not nothing compared to you.
    Hope you get back in action soon, and crush it.

  2. Your Legendary Slide Apartment in New York?. Man that was a neat place… All the best, man..Hope you bounce back real strong.

  3. Phil,
    This is the first time I’ve watched or visited your blog and I’m now a huge fan. I will definitely be visiting it frequently and keeping up to date on what goes on in your poker game. Best of luck to you in poker and in life – hopefully I’ll see you at the tables someday?! 🙂 Keep it going, man.

  4. Do you ever think about “what’s in my poker roll?” “how much am I willing to lose?” “do I want to drop down?”, before you’ve busted your account?

    I feel like every time I’ve busted my account, it’s a complete blur until right when the account is busted. Then, I snap back to reality and begin to soak in the reality of the situation.

    I’ve never been one to plan on only losing X amount. Or think, if I bust my account, I have X amount to reload. It feels really defeatist/negative


    1. Yeah, sometimes it happens kind of fast…

      I never have more in my account than I’m okay with losing, so I guess I’m prepared in that way. Different systems work for different people. I know some people use daily stop-losses to control themselves because they need it. As long as you play within your BR, whatever method keeps you doing that is cool.

  5. Sad to hear you’re selling your NYC place. There was an article about your place in the news last year. Sounds like you put a lot into making it what you wanted. I mean people don’t put a slide in a nyc apt they’re not planning to spend a lot of time in. Unless your the worst house flipper ever 🙂

    The article described the building as a “frat house” and your place sounds like 2x the size of the next biggest unit. Might take a while to find the right buyer.

    You mentioned in one of your pokerstatic videos that you had a roommate. Sounds like you don’t anymore. Have you considered trying to find 3-4 new roommates? If the article was accurate, that might be easier to find than a buyer for that building.

    Have to leave your country, leave the home you built… FU Black friday! Big downswing too. I’d start to feel bad for you if you didn’t already win so much 🙂 Just make sure you don’t pull an Archie Karas!

    You seem like one of the most level headed “new breed” of poker players I’m sure the big upswing is coming.

    Sounds like Mikey moved to CA too? Make him start blogging again. Want to hear stories about him getting caught taking pics of busty canadian chicks on trains or whatever he’s doing there. Or even better if you, Mikey and Bruiser are ever in a skype call together and you want to post it on your blog that would be cool too 🙂

    1. Thanks Micro. Yeah, it’s definitely a bummer selling the place I put so much time and money into to make it my own. Oh well, life happens.

      I’ll try to get Mikey and Bru to contribute.

  6. Really like this unplanned approach, feels even more “honest” and very easy to relate to. Keep up the good work and may the plo-gods be with you!

  7. Phil, terrorize the 25/50 guy for a while, grind a 100k and 4 table 50/100 for a bit.. Easy Peazy u will be back into 200-300k and nighty night for the rest. All the best.

  8. Absolutely love your blog. I find it difficult to keep up with everyone that tweets, etc., so I have a handful of blogs that I bookmark and read frequently and since I discovered this one I had to add it to my rotation. I appreciate the insight. It allows the audience to get a feel for what it’s like to be a high stakes player. Not often someone of “celebrity status” shares their highs AND their lows. One question for you. We all know BR management is important, but for high stakes players what would be a general buy-in number? 20 buyins? 50? 100? I’m more of a limit player myself and tend to stick to 300 BBs as a number before moving up. Or, when I do play NL I like to have 20 buyins of 100 BBs.

  9. Im in Bangkok airport after having 2nd worst downswing ever, and having to take 3 weeks off to get some sun and sanity back, and this blog is a good boost now that im on my way back to the felt,

    cheers, and good luck!

  10. Hi Phil, i rail you from italy and sometimes i grind my -it room site tables, with your tables on the other pc.

    During that session, in your opinion, what is going whore? hitting in 3betted, not great SH to play with, a lot o random trips random str8 or something like that in your opponents hands, or other?

    For example, today i lost like 750bb and right now, i’m not very sure about if i lost it ’cause i’ve played not so well or just cause i hitted very low in 3betted pot, runned whore vs casual cards in my opponent sh or stuff like that.

    I wish you all the best and a soon back to the HS floor.

    (sorry for my english, hope it sounds good)

    yomik 🙂

  11. Hey Phil. Could u probably say something about finding new friends in Canada? Or are there any poker players/other people around u already know :-)?

  12. Hey phil, your such an intelligant guy, i look up to you alot! your video has helped me understand some things about myself. I went on a massive downswing myself back in september and self restricted myself till may which i regret now but , gives me time to make a plan i guess. im only an 18 year old canadian, ive been playing for four years now. my card playin and reading abilities are at a strong lvl but i fail badly with brm and emotional control. any advise?

  13. Hi Phil, Thanks for sharing your poker life with us.I have watched a lot of your video’s to improve my PLO game. I am now a winning player at micro stakes. I look forward to watching you bounce back on pokerstars. All the best mate.

  14. Hey Phil,
    I just wanted to let you know how appreciative I am of what you do for this community. It’s fun for us to sit around in nvg and speculate on how much money Ivey has, how Tom got so famous or how Viktor got so sick, but I wish people outside of the community thought of you when they thought of poker. You dispel literally every negative connotation that comes with the word ‘poker’. From a live poker perspective you’re a honest, stand-up guy who works extremely hard at what you do. From an online perspective you’re a down-to-earth, intelligent yet normal guy, who can carry a conversation, relate to people outside your computer and I would assume spit some decent game on a night out. 😉 I also appreciate how much you give back to us. It easy to just take your millions and do your thing but you consistently take the time to tell us what’s going on in your life and help improve our games through 2+2 posts, video blogs, and interviews. Poker is one of the only sports/activities in the world where professionals have the opportunity to be involved with their fans individually and I think that’s one of the coolest things about it. While I’m not friends with any professional poker players I have had the opportunity to be in contact with Tom, Ben86, Krantz, Observer84, and hopefully now you through facebook, twitter, 2+2, and blogs. However the only way I could get in contact with Tom Brady would be to do something that would likely get me arrested. All those things aside though, I think the thing that has made me respect you the most is this move to Canada. You clearly don’t need the money and could have taken this year to travel, enjoy life, play some live tourneys, and all around relax similar to what other FT nosebleed pros are doing while waiting for decent games to return to the US. However, you pick up your life and move to another country to grind your brains out at games that are 1/10 the stakes and likely just as tough as you played on FT. Even though monetarily these haven’t been the best months of your life, it has given me so much respect for you to watch you put in 10k hand sessions against good players when you don’t have to simply because you love to play. I know this has dragged on and I apologize for that but I just wanted to encourage you keep working hard. I know it can be frustrating to have weeks similar to the one you just had and no matter how detached you are it can drive you nuts. I just wanted to let you know how much respect me and so many others have for what you’re doing and I hope you continue for many years.
    Best of luck and may you always run good,
    Nic Morgan

  15. Whats up Phil? I agree with a earlier post – do a tour of the new place & your computer set up.

    Nice blog. Just wanted to know your opinion on game styles effect on swings. I know a player like isuldur is prone to take bigger swings than a winning nit. How much variance at high stakes (25/50 & >) can be reduced by playing relatively tighter than your opponent? Hope this makes sense.

  16. Pokerstars doomswitched you for your public discussion about the bumhunter etc problem. They just dont like negative publicity…
    I mean come on how could you lose 600k???? Your not Isildur…. Anyway you took it like a man^^ and your really a great ambassador for the sport.
    What do you think are Raiseonce PI and Fakelove88 PA??

  17. Hey Phil,
    I really appreciate all of the videos you make, all of which seem to improve my game tremendously. Watching you commentate the durrrr million dollar challenge against Ilari was biggest improvement my game has ever seen. It must be a headache playing such high stakes against kamikaze players like isildur and IlariFIN, but eventually the cards break even and you will come out to be the big winner.

    If I were you, I would take the week, or even the month off, and finalize some of the things in your personal life, like your condo sale. Then put in some big study/review sessions, before you jump back into the action. Weather or not you want to start out slow or not is really your call. If you want to build up your confidence, then maybe get back into 25/50 6 max, with a low number of tables.

    I consider you to be the best PLO player in the world and I think that if you keep your faith in the game, and an eye on your bankroll, you’ll do fine.

  18. very inspiring about how to deal with downswing

    great job Sir Phil

    This is the first time I watch your video and mow I’m hooked gonna watch all your videos

    $2mil Upswing for Sir Phil coming up…

  19. Phil,

    I hope things turn around for you. I really like your style of play. Remember you have a lot to be thankful for and that money is just money. Take care.


  20. Evening,
    Just a little stone in your shoe, u obviously gonna shake it off and continue, walking like a boss.
    Best regards Phil


  21. Wow, Phil Galfond is replying to comments 🙂
    Very helpfull video…

    One BIG question to you, Phil: I struggle to understand how to exploit ppls in plo, although I can decently exploit them in nlhe.. In the end if the day when i play plo I just do not understand where is my edge over regulars…
    It *should* be in getting notes and playing exploitatively but it seems like i am doing smth wrong and i can’t get what..

    Maybe you have an idea where to look at?

  22. Amazing to hear a player of your caliber talk about your mindset on a good size downswing. I know if I was as calm as you about it and planned my next move more carefully I’d be a better player! This is something I have to work on thanks for letting us into your thought process!! Great vlog.

  23. Phil Galfond the one and the only….i really belive you are good at omaha, top 5 in the world. you make a ton of money from poker. whats next for you??? i dont understand why you move to Canada to play poker? I know poker is sweet to play when you have results, but you have enough money to make good investmants and just to have a good life with your familly. Whats is the point to go in Canada, to be a stranger in other place, just to play online poker.
    If i was you, and i am not sadly, i would make ohter decisions better financialy and social.

  24. Cool post and good to see a good guy being honest in a game based on dishonesty. In my humble opinion stay away from those 100-200 ante games for the moment, start winning again lower then return to the ring 🙂

  25. Hey Phil,

    Don’t waste your time and energy on grinding for youst a few bucks!
    I heard about your big downswing and saw you on 2k tables it looks like you have to grind your rolle up again but man you are one of the best omaha players in the world don’t waste your energy!
    A year ago or something i was in the casino with David Benyamine, maybe you know that he is playing all the time he can, there was just a small 2k table and he said to me “I won’t play because I can take the same energy and thoughts for an higher table and can win much much more”
    You have to leave your home and move just for that thats so sick man!
    Maybe you should find someone to stack you for a year are so till you be back in bussines. Maybe I know somebody who could help you!
    write me if you are interested!
    reagards Patrick

  26. Thanks for sharing. I´m sure you will be back soon. Sometimes you get tested and it will make you grow even more for the future. Notice that every 10 years, new pokerplayer with different style comes along and killing the game for the earlier generations. Only the absolut top players can adjust.

  27. Wow haven’t seen you in vids lately, but damn you have obv been training a lot!! Well done, looks so much more helthy now

  28. Phil,

    keep up the great attitude. it takes a solid, solid player to withstand such swings, and I’m certain your words will help many players who need advice losing part (or most) of their roll. best of luck

  29. Phil, you are probably one of few guys I would never ever worry about. You are a surviver, and have a great talent for poker so I understand why you are always so calm after big losses.

    I’ve been around in the hu-world (holdem) since 2006, but Ive been sticking to nl2k (some nl5k) for the last two years and I know exactly how you feel, and what you describes.

    I lost €40k a couple days ago and I start to think (as always) about the time it will take to win it back (at nl2k). The amount isn’t really a big deal but what I see as the big loss isnt the 40k, it is the hours I will have to put in to get it back. But ive really started training myself to not care about the topnote, because as you say, we cant control it and therefore not worth spending my energy on it. It’s just numbers, who cares?

    The next day everything feels fine again, I know im in control of my life. I know I wouldn’t risk it all and it can go 6 months and I could still pay my rents. No big deal. Just move on.

    What can really make me feel good about myself as i’m sure you also think after tough swings is that whatever happens I will always have my knowledge of poker intact within myself, and I will always have the contacts and friends helping me out in tough spots so everything is safe. There will always be games and edges for you.

    You are one of my idols within poker, and your attitude towards this game is just absolutely flawless. Professional all the way out to the fintertips.

    I rarely write anything but just had to give you some credit 🙂

    You will always be around as one of the toughest players as long as you want, keep us updated and good luck at the upcoming games.

    (Im from Sweden so apologize me for my incomplete english) 🙂

  30. -Phil,

    Your the man dude, this was the first Video Blog i watched of yours but i like it. and honestly as hardcore of a downswing 700K is, its GOT to be easier to bounce back having the respect @ the tables that you do. as well as the BR.

    Agreed with the person above about an Isildur topic would be cool.

    Any ideas on how someone can get into tournament directing?

  31. Hey im sorry to hear about you having to sell your apartment but ever since i saw it i was interested in buying it. Would like some more info (like actual location) so if you get a chance shoot me an email.

  32. Hey Phil,

    Great vid, I’m a big fan. I wonder do you still share/discuss poker hands with your friends? One more question, do you plan to do any more videos for I think this is/was a great website and was rivalling some of the more well known sites and IMO it was better. Rootbone and on the table were awesome.

    Good luck and best wishes…

  33. Someone mentioned that you could talk about Isildur too, and I agree, but not just to talk about your thoughts on his game or whatever. Insight into why he seems so ahead of the curve, and its really an article about you without having to brag.

    What are your thoughts about two of the best learning by playing each other and does this play push the game for everyone etc.

    I’m curious about the fact that I can’t find out exactly where he learned from and can’t really ask him…and then your ‘contacts’ is ‘find someone who knows me’…

    Well I get that people like that have to be private but its funny that some of the best people in there arts seem to be cut off from the leading ‘school’s’ and ‘schools of thought’

    any thoughts on what you and Isil share in common?

  34. You look really fresh, keep that up 😉 Really enjoy your thaughts, it makes me feel good just hearing someone reflecting and thinking of life in somewhat the same way I do 🙂 looking forward to the next!

  35. You are so sick! i am currently on like a 25 bi ds and feeling pretty horrible. this is not the first time i have run this bad but it seems to affect me just as bad everytime. after watchin this i feel that it will be much easier for me to deal with. nice one phil!

  36. Very nice video but i am totally disgusted with the whole online poker industry!
    A few days ago Pokerstars blocked all the players from Philippines (including me) from accessing money games.
    After playing for years they did not even give us an advanced notice.
    Total disrespect ! And after 5 days the support team still does not reply. Plus we cannot even cash out.
    In the past years we have witnessed that Poker is a true Circus with criminals bots cheaters collusion etc etc
    Absolute Poker – UB – FULLTILT ( still have money frozen there.)
    Phil are you sure you were not playing against a BOT ?
    I am disgusted with poker pro’s being involved in scams
    and that Kahnawake Mohawk Territory needs a total clean up.
    Imagine pokerstars can just change the rules any day any time
    with total disrespect for the members?
    What next ?
    I have lost all my faith in online poker.
    It sucks that some pro’s that swindled millions are still out on the streets free and playing poker elsewhere.
    Online poker has a very negative image and in ways i’m happy
    that Pokerstars blocked us so we can no longer deposit money
    to finance their TEAM !!
    wtf?? to hell with online poker,, there is a better life out there.
    Stay well Phil

  37. Dunno if my last msg was published?
    Briefly i was saying the whole online poker industry
    (full of scandals) is on a Downswing.

  38. When you can create a business up big enough, it’s respectable.
    In modern business it’s not the crook who is to become feared most, it does not take honest man who doesn’t determine what he or she is doing.

  39. Hey bro, I am really impressed with your attitude. For many years you have been someone who has always been there in poker, someone I always looked up to but never really followed due to the nature of our games. (I play heads up sng’s). I really hate to see you had such a big downswing. I can see how you are and your attitude is very similar to me in the way you take things and the honesty behind your feelings. Your a really good icon in poker and hopefully will cross paths with you some day. It’s rare I find people who I think I can benefit from meeting and I think you are one of them. I am really happy you talked about the house ownership because I literally just decided not to buy a house in England for them very reasons, and to see your happy you are selling it just really reassured me I am making the right choice. I could really do with keeping all the pressure of me, as I am not used to having out goings which is one of the biggest reasons for me moving up to high stakes so fast, I would hate the pressure of having a house change things. Anyways, I really wish you the best on your next sessions. Just remember to breath and keep thinking of what you said. This is your new situation, your new bankroll, make the most optimal movements/decisions from this point onwards. I will follow your blog, check out mine if you have time, no swet if not. GOGOGO.

  40. Phil… your honesty and openness is much appreciated. You’re only human, facing huge consequences. Fascinating and inspiring, truly.

    But when you’re ready to retire, you should move to Canada and marry me 🙂

  41. Dear Mr.Phil Galfond,
    first of all I am a huge fan of yours and I was wondering if you could give an advice. I play on Party Poker and I started with about $150. Lost like 90 on .10/.25 and then I decided to play some black jack on the website. Now I have like 2.5 k , I had a really good running streak. Now, I decided that I don’t want to play any more black jack, my question is , Do I go back to .10/.25 or do I go more since I have better bank roll ( I have been playing for almost 3-4 months now )
    thanks phil.

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