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"That first Boot Camp made all the difference....I think most importantly, Boot Camp initially gave me access to cohesive guidelines for play. Now it is a continuing source of knowledge and support."
Lynne Mitchnick: Successful Entrepreneur Closes Business to Become Professional Cash Game Player
Lynne Mitchnick had run her own highly successful market research company for seven years when she first considered getting serious about poker. Not sure how committed she wanted to be, she took her first WPT Boot Camp in December of 2007. Three years later, she was ready to turn pro.
“That first Boot Camp made all the difference,” she says. “I loved being among so many smart people. And I just fell in love with the notion of how intellectually challenging poker is!”
At first Lynne found the game a little too challenging. Although she could hold her own at a live $2-$5 game, she was, by her own account, a losing online player.
“I could not win online to save my life,” she says. “I just thought I was unlucky and tilty. I didn’t understand that online players knew the math much, much better—and that if I was going to win there, I would have to learn it, too.”
At Boot Camp, Lynne learned that “consistency of betting matters more than I had thought it did.” She also discovered that she hadn’t fully grasped how to analyze hand strength. Most importantly, though, she found that the more she understood the intricacies of the game, the more fun poker became.
“Poker became this thing I want to master,” Lynne says. She credits her first Boot Camp with “introducing me to the real complexity of poker, to how challenging and how fun it could be at the same time.”
“After that first Boot Camp, I wanted to give up my business,” she says. “But in order to do that, I had to believe that there was a reasonable possibility that I could earn at least something comparable playing poker.”
Lynne gave herself six months to become a profitable online player and began to play seriously online. Although she didn’t quite make her deadline, she was profitable eight months later, and by then, she was hooked on the game. Every year, she returns to take another Boot Camp, which she says gives her “an ongoing understanding of the poker community, opportunities for networking, and a support system. I have also learned how to use various tools to help me improve my game, such as Poker Stove and Poker Tracker.”
“I think most importantly, Boot Camp initially gave me access to cohesive guidelines for play. Now it is a continuing source of knowledge and support. Going to Boot Camp is like a periodic dose of increased poker edges. While each edge may be small, their cumulative effect definitely boosts my win rate. The instructors are great and go out of their way to help you with all aspects of poker. For example, they have been instrumental in helping me develop good bankroll management strategies. And other students are enthusiastic participants, so I learn from them too. ”
In between Boot Camps, Lynne works hard on her game. As of 2011, her hourly win rate averaged from $80 to $100 live and $30 to $35 online. So she transitioned out of most of her market research business to a full-time life in poker. And she loves the way poker offers her never-ending challenges and possibilities.
“I felt I’d gone as far as I wanted to go in my field,” she says. “But poker is something I want to keep working at and studying. Because the game constantly evolves, even if you have a really great game, that game is going to at some point require adjustments, so you have to keep learning. If your game is static, you’re going to eventually stop being as profitable.”
Lynne has also had a fair amount of tournament success, with prizes totaling more than $150,000. Now that her cash game is solid, she’s looking forward to improving her tournament game too. Since she began her career as a professional, she has been excited about how her poker life will evolve..
“I love the freedom and intellectual challenge,” she says. “I like the large majority of people in the poker community. And I like winning! In fact, I’d say I love winning!”