Winner takes all: a bullish case for crypto tournaments

In my almost fifteen years as a poker professional, one of the most common questions I got, especially from my cash game playing peers was always, why tournaments? Why deal with the insane variance that comes with a flip in the late stages and all that agony? Why be tied to a schedule for these marathons? Funnily enough given the nocturnal schedule most poker players keep, my answer was always, “because I like to sleep at night.”

I like the complete serenity that comes with those elusive first place finishes, with the absolute terms of a win and the romantic, anachronistic joy of a physical bracelet – a real life trophy sitting on your desk or a virtual one forever linked to your avatar. Something permanent in one of the most impermanent of work environments.

And so, I put in the hours. I studied endlessly to refine my play, reviewed my hand histories over and over, worked on sims, and got coaching from the very best in the world. I did everything I could to maximise my chances – every night, one after another – to get that win. I wanted to log off at the end of a 12 hour Sunday session and sleep like a baby knowing that it was the best result possible.

Four years ago, I transitioned to crypto trading amidst the excitement for this revolutionary tech and concept. I felt the familiar uncertainty of learning a new trade mixed with the fervour of turning something unorthodox into an actual job while being told by everybody out there that it couldn’t be done. Moving away from poker was hard and more than anything, I missed one thing – the absolute decisiveness of a first place finish.

When crypto tournaments started to gain traction as a concept in 2019, I was elated. They also helped bring my trading to the next level. The first big change was in helping me to remove the bias in my trades. The attachment and passion I have for Crypto and what it stands for often stood in the way of achieving the best results from my trades. That bias does well in a bull run for sure – 2017 shitcoin runs, you’ll be sorely missed – but when the market turns full bear, as it inevitably, cyclically does, not so much. With tournaments, everything is just a building block to that win, to a higher ROI. Every position opened and closed, every short and every long, just one more step to the top of that ladder. I know it was only a psychological switch in my head and that all trades should be treated that way but trading in tournaments really crystallised the concept for me. All the study I put in for crypto tournaments spilled over and made me a better trader, overall. As my first poker coach told me almost twenty years ago: your ROI is not the result of what you know, but what you are able to apply of what you know under pressure.

Tournaments are what moved poker from seedy back alley cash game tables to being aired to the masses on primetime on ESPN. In 2013 the Moneymaker effect showed how an accountant from Missouri could qualify to the biggest stage in poker for a few bucks online and then win it all on national tv to become an instant millionaire. It sold a dream. Crypto right now, excluding Bitcoin, Ethereum and a handful of other really cool projects is little more than a MMORPG for traders. A levelled, accessible, equalising financial derivative fun park, unadulterated from vertical manipulation. Tournaments are the logical next step, pushing traders’ egos forward in a competitive rush.

January, 2020. Binance launched their very first trading competition. Finally the biggest exchange in the world entered the tournament arena. I placed top 10 in the daily ROI leaderboard 4 times, ending the two weeks tourney as best performer on pure ROI overall. I was hooked. Immediately I started looking for more, I wanted dates, websites, action. I wanted resources and possibly some good coaching as well. And here was the problem. A simple «crypto tournaments» google search gave me almost no results. «Crypto coaching» was same story. I was stunned. A smaller up and coming exchange called Interdax, which focuses on tournaments only, was basically the only other thing that popped up and that’s where I moved my action. I kept bringing home the wins but the fields were small and I wanted more, without having to waste my time digging around for scheduling and information.

After talking to other traders, researching, emailing and many, many hours spent in remote telegram and discord groups, I finally put together a calendar. A schedule.

And this is where iMoneyforum was born.

My team and I started building the cube. A neat, easy to use, graphically pleasing container for three main directories.

1. Crypto Tourneys:

Your one stop shop for everything crypto tournaments. First of all, a calendar, so you can stop wasting time and just have everything on one clear page so you can schedule your grind with ease.

Then, an agnostic exchange/tournament community and telegram channel to build teams and discuss strategy and grow together. Team resources are another sore spot in terms of accessibility and inclusivity for the many team competitions out there that lack an aggregator. Not everybody has a ready-to-go group of crypto enthusiasts, so they would have to miss the team competitions. Not anymore. Plus, playing those competitions alongside our team of professionals (who will share their plays and strategies in our team builder telegram channel) will increase your chances of winning and learning the tricks of the trade as you go. For free.

And finally, fresh educational content weekly as well as trade ideas and play by play analysis from top professionals in the space. Which leads us to the second macro area of our cube.

2. Academy:

Despite hours of research, I couldn’t find a single aggregator for one-on-one coaching and general training in crypto. Once again, you had to already be in the know or be willing to dig deep, jump some hoops, avoid the scams, and often overpay to get anything decent.

So, we started to recruit the best crypto trading coaches we could find. The process is ongoing and we are looking to build a roster that includes many different trading styles, covers all price ranges, and as many languages as possible – all things I found to be key in my many years of experience with poker coaching.

Then, we decided to take it one step further and not just offer trading coaches. What are some of the other areas where information is hard to find?

• We’d had similar problems finding good coaches and information during our spec mining days so we decided to put that right on imoneyforum, to save you the same trouble.

• I remember trying to throw good money for almost a year at an algo specialist, to have them build one to no avail. It shouldn’t be that difficult. We kept pushing the concept forward and then …enter Ronald Mannack – dev extraordinaire, MIT graduate, Co-founder and CEO at Starling Protocol.He’ll help you understand smart contracts, and the powerful capabilities they unlock. Do you need to build one directly for your business? He can do that too.

• And for those who need creative and website help, we have Marco Belletti, graphic designer and CEO of who will help you transition your ideas to reality and work on what is severely lacking in crypto right now- user experience.

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle.

Exchange Reviews:

In poker, you have rake. In crypto, it’s trading fees. They’re the taxes we pay to providers and the biggest burden we have as traders. Fees alone turn an estimated 25% of all traders from profitable to unprofitable. The percentage is even higher when we look at high frequency traders. To my surprise, there wasn’t an exchange agnostic resource out there to help traders get better deals and rake back, as well as navigate through the endless new exchange scams and perils with an unbiased set of reviews.

We needed a container where you can decide at a glance which exchange best suits your needs and get the best possible deal without endless streams of useless data or a bunch of hyped up bullshit.All of this while avoiding the perils of what still seems to many to be the wild west early days of a financial revolution. So we built one.

We are just getting started. We are excited to push this vision forward and are working tirelessly to continually add to it and grow our roster of coaches, experts and content providers as well as working with exchanges to offer better deals and resources to our customers.