Projects everywhere! Life is busy and awesome!

It’s been a while! I’ve been so busy with other things lately and, as a result my blog here has been sooo neglected. But SO much is happening right now. It’s so exciting!!!

The biggest thing I did recently was leave the $200 hyper heads-up division this past month. This was an extremely difficult decision for me and one that took me months to make.

I decided to leave mostly because of my Twitch stream. It’s not easy to stream heads-up because of the waiting times in between games (have to sit in lobbies and wait for people to sit). It’s also made more difficult by the fact that triers can sit me at any time while I’m in the lobbies. I like playing regs, but I don’t wish to play them live on stream. Not only is it ten times more difficult to play poker while streaming, I also don’t want the general public to know all my reg ranges.

For these reasons, I decided to leave. It was a very sad day for me, to be completely honest. I worked on my hyper HU game A LOT over the past year, and I had gotten infinitely better as a result. It was just time, though. I have new goals, and heads-up just wasn’t fitting in.

Most of the time I spend playing poker these days is on stream. I’m really loving Twitch! It’s fun to interact with people and it really motivates me to play longer hours. It is distracting and therefore it forces me to play around 50% of the tables I would normally play, but I really think it is worth it because I enjoy poker so much more this way. If you want to watch me play, you can find me at I stream every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, as well as some Sundays.

courtiebee twitch

I will say that streaming live is a lot harder than I thought it would be. The number of mistakes I’ve made while live on Twitch is actually quite staggering, haha. And people are often VERY quick to jump on mistakes. For example, the other day I accidentally folded a straight flush draw to a flop jam. I got absolutely BERATED by one guy in chat for doing this. He told me couldn’t understand how I was ever in the $200 division and he couldn’t understand how I could possibly be a pro.

There’s a lot of reasons for making mistakes on stream. The main reason is that I am simply more distracted and much more likely to make careless mistakes. I’ve checked back straights on the river due to being distracted and not realizing I had the nuts. I’ve incorrectly said my opponent donk bet when he was, in fact, in position. In the case of the straight flush draw, I didn’t realize he had a straight draw and completely neglected to see half my outs.

Sometimes the mistakes are inexplicable. I’ll be chatting away, see my hand, know EXACTLY what I have, but still do something stupid. And then I’ll think about it later and say, wtf, why did I do that? I’ll also just simply run out of time to make decisions because I’m spending too much time talking. I’ve timed out of huge pocket pairs and top pair situations too many times to count.

The good thing is that my mistakes are getting fewer and that streaming is getting easier. Like all things that require practice, I know it’s just going to take time. The experienced Twitch streamers can all play tons of tables and chat with their viewers like it’s walk in the park. I hope that soon I will be there too!

I’ve been playing mostly spin & go’s on stream, although lately I’ve also been playing MTTs. I have work to do in both formats, since both games are slightly different from HU SnGs. Like streaming, slowly but surely I’ll get better!

Life is so busy because my husband and I also launched a DFS website! It’s called Stack & Fade and it’s all about news and community. We have a daily fantasy sports forum for discussions and we’re really hoping to build the best DFS community around! If you have any interest in daily fantasy sports or you want to learn about it, please visit the site and have a look.

I’m definitely going to start updating this blog on a more regular basis. I have a lot of stuff to do, including setting up more social media and my YouTube. But it’s all coming. I’m so excited!

P.S. I feel so much better this year. Infinitely better. I think I’m overdoing projects slightly because I feel like I have to make up for lost time. But that’s the thing: I don’t want to waste this time that I have feeling good. I’ve learned that life is precious, gotta gogogo while you can.

twitching it up

I first heard about Twitch thanks to the fact I follow a couple Magic: the Gathering players on Twitter. I’d never really watched it, but I knew they streamed, and I wondered whether it would be a good idea for me to stream Magic. I’m not very good at Magic, though, so I gave up on that idea and forgot about it.

Poker then started to get pretty popular on Twitch, so I started paying more attention. My friend Bryan started to stream, and I really enjoyed watching him play poker and interact with his viewers. A different friend suggested that I stream, too, so I decided to give it a try.

I’ve done two short test streams and one 2 hr stream so far. I didn’t think streaming would be easy, but it’s definitely harder than I thought it would be! Playing poker and talking and reading chat all at the same time has definitely been a challenge. It’s been pretty fun, though, so I’ll probably keep at it for a bit more and hopefully it will get easier 😉

My stream can be found at if you are interested in watching. I currently play up to $200 hyper HUs and $60 spins on stream. Action has been pretty terrible lately so I haven’t been playing as much HU as I would like to, but I guess that’s just to be expected during the summer.

I haven’t quite decided on my streaming schedule yet, so it’s best to just following my Twitter to find out when I’m streaming.

Oh and if you decide to watch, be nice. I’m a huge Twitch noob 😛 And say hi!

some boring update

My trip to the rheumatologist last month was uneventful. My medication stayed the same because I’m not considered stable until I’ve been off prednisone for 6 months, and my doctor wanted to keep things the same since I’m doing relatively fine.

I’ve felt pretty awful the last couple weeks, though, which sucks. I haven’t been sleeping well and I’ve been so tired lately. It sucks because I’ve really been enjoying playing poker these days, especially some of the $200 HU reg battles. I’ve been working on my game a fair amount lately, and I’m eager to try some stuff out. I can’t really do this when I’m not feeling well, though, since it’s basically just lighting money on fire when edges are so small.

I’ve been keeping myself busy doing other somewhat productive things. My husband is starting a website, so I’ve been editing a bit for him when I’m too tired to do anything poker related. Being an editor is pretty mindless, I can do it half asleep anytime.

I don’t mind the days when lupus makes me tired as long as I don’t lose my motivation. Days when I lack motivation are just the worst, though. Those are days when I know I’m not myself because when I’m feeling like myself, I NEVER lack for motivation. When I’m myself, I want to do everything.


Well I did it again, I took forever to update. Thanks to everyone that’s sent emails or messages elsewhere asking how I’m doing. It means a lot to know that people care!

If you kept up with my blog last year, you’ll know that I was really scared of getting off prednisone because of the withdrawal and the fact that some people relapse when doing it. I’m so happy to report that I got off it at the start of this year without complications 😀 I felt terrible and had withdrawal symptoms for all of January and much of February, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been and now those problems are all but gone. Mere words cannot describe how relieved I am to be off it. It’s such a dangerous drug.

I’m still on a bunch of medication, but getting off prednisone has been a huge improvement. I still have days where I feel like crap more often than I’d like, but the number of these days is less now. My good days are also much higher quality than they were last year. I feel less foggy, less exhausted, and a lot more sharp. Most importantly, I feel like myself again.

Getting off prednisone has also helped me to LOOK like myself again. A common side effect of prednisone is moon face, where a person’s face swells up and appears fatter than it was before the medication. I’m pretty thin, so it was easy for me to notice when my face bloated. I will admit that some of it was in my head. I knew my face was different, and my mind made me think that my face was a lot fatter than it actually was. But there was still a noticeable difference.

Last year I didn’t talk about how my appearance made me feel. I think I chose to not talk about it because it seemed so superficial and shallow to talk about when I had other pressing problems like liver toxicity and hallucinations. But honestly, it was really hard. My hair was falling out, I had a fat face, and I felt so ugly. It was just another thing to accept on top of everything else, and it sucked. I’m glad those times are over and I’m back to looking normal again.

Despite how terrible 2014 was, there are still some good things to take away. Overall I think I’m most proud of how I improved as a poker player. I didn’t have a lot of time and energy, but the time I had I spent studying poker and improving my game. As a result, I am a much better player than I was before I got lupus, and it’s not even close.

I wrote a lot of posts about running bad last year, and it’s because I did. I ran below expectation and was down for the year every month until November. I’m not gonna lie, it was hard. I was miserable, discouraged and tilted pretty much the entire year. My mental game became so bad that even when I was winning in December, every session I was utterly convinced that I was losing money. When I was feeling unreasonable, I didn’t care that I was going through standard variance and that the reason it lasted so long was because of my lack of volume. All I could think was that I had lost all year and that it was never going to end and HOW COULD I RUN SO BAD?

Obviously the bad run did end. Like I said, I finally got on the positive side of the coin late in the year and ended 2014 with a profit. I finished the year a ton under EV, however. In total I ran over 100 average buy-ins below expectation, which equated to >$40/hour below EV. I will say that one good thing about running poorly is that it forces you to improve your game. Maybe I would be a lot worse at poker today if I had run hot last year.

Another positive of last year was my husband. My husband stuck by me through everything, no matter how depressed, bitchy, mean, selfish, or hopeless I got. I feel so lucky to have him. If I could, I would wish for everyone diagnosed with a chronic and life changing disease to have someone in their life as wonderful as he is.

As for this year, I’m pretty optimistic about it. I’ve been able to play a bit despite my drug tapering, and so far it’s been not good but also not bad. I’ve been reviewing on a regular basis, something I plan on doing all year to ensure I keep improving as much as possible. When I feel well, I intend to play as much as I can. Online poker isn’t as good as it used to be, but there’s still money to be made if you have the skill and the motivation.

Of course, my health is my first priority. I have to take really good care of myself to ensure that I don’t flare up and get forced back on prednisone again. Later on this month my doctor plans to reduce a couple of my drug dosages a bit, too, since the meds are carcinogens and it’s ideal to be on as small a dose possible. I’m a bit worried about it, but hopefully nothing too terrible happens. I expect to feel bad for a short time while my body adjusts, but in the end I should be able to handle it and feel decent again sooner than later. I hope.

my favorite drug

I know… it’s been forever since I last wrote. Thanks so much to everyone that’s sent me a message or left a comment checking in. It means so much to me that there are people that check this blog even though it’s been AGES since my last post.

My life is boring these days, which is actually really nice. Around this time last year I was in the States with pneumonia and a couple months of hell in front of me. Today I’m at home playing heads-up poker and the biggest thing I have to complain about is the terrible action.

I’m still on prednisone, so I’m not stable yet. I have a lot of really tired days still, especially when I’ve recently tapered my dosage. Next year, when I finally get off it, I think it’s going to get a lot better for me. I’ll obviously still be limited to some extent thanks to lupus, but I’ll be able to enjoy life without prednisone side effects.

Prednisone is famous for its side effects. If you google it, the Internet is full of horror stories about it. It really is the most amazing and most horrible drug ever.

I’ve definitely had my share of side effects. I have some water retention in my face, so some days my face is puffy. It’s weird because it looks like I’ve gained a lot of weight, but then you look at my body and I’m as skinny as ever. And it’s also weird looking at past pictures of myself and being like, oh, I used to look wayyyy better… I’m not super vain and obsessed with how I look or anything, but I really could do without a fat face. So kinda looking forward to that going away.

What I’m most looking forward to is no more insomnia and no more severe mood swings. The insomnia was worse at the start of the year, but I still get a few nights every month where I can’t sleep. The mood swings suck the most, though. Usually if I’m too tired to do productive things, I still WANT to do them. On moody days, I’m depressed, unmotivated, anxious, restless, and just really unhappy. I never used to feel this way pre-lupus, so I’m assuming it has to be with prednisone and I really hope these days stop once I’m off it.

I’ve had a variety of other short term strange side effects from the drugs. In January I had really nasty peeling skin all over my body. I’m pretty glad that stopped. I also had a month in which I couldn’t stop eating and probably ingested 2 years worth of sugar. I was eating burgers and 3 ice cream sandwiches almost every day, which is really odd for me because I’m usually a really healthy eater. That also passed after January, which is good because I was definitely heading for diabetes at that rate 😛 (although I think prednisone can also cause diabetes, so it would have all made sense)

Earlier this year I had chest tightness and breathing problems, both of which are really scary. This was at the same time as a lot of irregular heartbeats, which was really uncomfortable and unsettling.

I had a really strange period of time when my arms would get pins and needles really fast when I put them in a certain position, and eventually they went numb if I kept them that way. That lasted a couple months and now it doesn’t happen anymore. Another thing that happened recently but doesn’t happen anymore is my hand was shaking when I held a spoon or any other object in mid-air.

Every time I told my husband about one of these strange, annoying, or scary things that my body was doing, he would google them and then announce to me that they were prednisone side effects. Eventually I was like, wtf, is EVERYTHING a prednisone side effect?? And the answer is yes. Everything is a prednisone side effect. Or can be. Prednisone does everything.

I’m down to 2.5mg of the stuff. It can be really tough to go from 2.5mg to 0 for some people, so I’m nervous about when I have to make that step. Overall, though, it’s so nice to be on a lower dose. If things go well in January 2015, I’ll have been on it a full year. I hope my body forgives me for being on it for so long. The long term side effects of it are infinitely worse than any of the short term ones I described, so it’s extremely important for me to get off it ASAP. Wish me luck!

Spoonie Theory

My friend linked me to a wonderful blog post about “invisible illnesses” and how to explain them to normal healthy people.

“Christine Miserandino, a lupus sufferer, was at a café a few years ago when her best friend asked her what it really felt like to be her.  She was moved by the fact that her friend truly wanted to understand in a visceral way what her life was like.  So she grabbed 12 spoons.  She explained that most people are given an unlimited number of spoons each day to do whatever they want, but when you have an invisible illness, your spoons are numbered and you have to use them very carefully so they take you through an entire day.  

She asked her friend to list off every activity she did from waking up.  With each activity, Christine explained the huge effort that it took just to get through it and with each activity mentioned she took away a spoon.  She explained that at that rate she’d have no spoons left in no time and not be able to get through the morning!  So she explained that she had to very carefully parse out the spoons–and not do so many things that she had taken for granted when she was healthy. Her friend quickly understood — and apparently so did the rest of the Invisible Illness world.  The word Spoonie has now become synonymous in the social media world with Invisible Illness.”

I love this explanation of how it feels to have lupus because it’s something that is so much easier to understand than my usual explanations. I often explain to people that I’m more tired than I used to be, but that doesn’t accurately describe how it is at all.

The truth is that, as explained in the blog post, I have to pick and choose what I do. I can go get my car fixed during the day, but that means I probably can’t cook dinner later at night because I’ll be too tired. On a good day I can clean my bathroom and do laundry, or I can play poker. I can’t do it all. And on bad days, I can’t do any of it.

It’s hard for “normal” people to understand because to many of them, it just seems lazy. They can go to work during the day and then get dinner with friends at night. If I have a dinner date with someone, I better be home during the day and I better be taking it easy, otherwise I’ll feel like crap at night.

It takes an entire day for me to play a few hours of poker. I usually wake up feeling really bad until I’ve eaten and taken my medication. Once I eat, drink, and take some meds, I feel a bit better but rarely well enough to play poker. While I’m waiting to eat lunch, I try to review some hand histories to get my brain working.

After lunch (which is often in the afternoon for me because I usually wake up pretty late) is when I start to feel more like myself on the good days. I’ll review, warm up, and then start playing. I can play 2 to 4 hours depending on action and how I feel on any particular day. It makes me really happy to get in 4 hours, almost like I’m a normal person.

My doctor says that when my medication is stable and I’ve been off prednisone for a few months, I’ll start to feel more normal again. Right now I have a really hard time stringing together days where I feel well enough to play poker. But in the future, despite having lupus, I should be able to. I just have to be patient.

I’m really not a patient person at all. But I guess I’ll have to learn. Or go crazy trying.

It might be a sore throat?

I think I’m sick. My husband has a cold, so it makes sense. But I don’t really know for sure because I feel cold-like symptoms (lethargy, body aches, fatigue) on a regular basis, so I have no idea what’s what.

My throat feels funny though. I have some post nasal drip. Those aren’t usual for me, so I guess I’m sick.

It sucks. I just want to feel better so that I can do things. I haven’t felt good the last few days and I feel so bored and restless. I hate sitting around. It’s the worst.

I think I was the wrong person to get lupus. Someone that likes to play video games all day and do nothing should have gotten it, not me :/


lupus and poker

So glad it’s June! I had my worst poker month (dollar-wise) ever in May. I guess the good thing is that it came after my best poker month ever in April (since playing HU). Unfortunately, both months pretty much cancelled out and I’m around break even playing poker this year. Yawn.

Unsurprisingly, I haven’t played a lot of games so far in 2014. The reason I was able to have my best/worst months despite lack of volume was that I raised my average buy-in due to playing heads-up turbos in addition to hypers. Last month I ran hot at my highest buy-in turbos and this month I ran bad. I also ran bad at everything else I played this month, so there’s also that 😛 Overall I ran 40 average buy-ins below EV which is pretty standard but still pretty annoying.

I’ve run bad all year which has been easy to do since I haven’t played many games. It honestly really sucks being unable to play volume because downswings seem to last forever. I have to just keep telling myself that this is the way it is while I’m sick and unable to put in the hours.

Due to my currently unstable medications, I’m not exactly sure when things will turn around and I’ll be able to put in more hours of poker. I’m really hoping it’ll be sooner than later, although I probably shouldn’t expect it as long as I’m tapering off prednisone. I hope that sometime in the next few months I’ll at least figure out which medication my liver and body can handle. And then hopefully I get off prednisone by the end of the year.

In addition to rust and variance and maintaining skill, I’ve also had to deal with the realization that I possibly can’t achieve what I wanted to achieve in poker before I got sick. Poker has been my life the past however many years. It’s been the only thing I’ve worked on, and it’s been a lot of time and effort to get to the stakes I’m at today.

It’s pretty depressing to realize that because of lupus and the fact that I can no longer put full time hours into the game, I probably can’t move up in stakes like I had wanted to last year. Last year I was playing some $300 HU hypers, but this year I definitely can’t do that. Moving up takes a lot of hours, hours that I don’t have right now.

I don’t think this will always be the case, but for now it definitely is. Thankfully I do well at the stakes I’m at now and I’ve worked pretty hard to ensure that I remain at the top of my game. At least if I keep doing that, I might have the option to pick up where I left off once my medication is figured out and my body becomes stable.

travel bans

I travelled for the first time since getting sick last November. A good friend got married in Portland, so my husband and I drove down there for three nights. It’s just a 5 hour drive and I didn’t even do most of the driving, but I felt extremely exhausted for the entire trip. It was a nice wedding, but overall it was pretty tough for me. I was surprised at how bad I felt the entire time.

I’m not really supposed to travel right now for a variety of reasons, the main ones being that I shouldn’t be too far from my doctors and healthcare and I’m not supposed to be doing anything that tires me easily. I actually had a trip to Australia booked and planned for this past March that I had to cancel due to my diagnosis. I’m pretty disappointed that I didn’t get to go because I’ve always wanted to go to Australia.

I definitely won’t be planning any further trips anytime soon. It’s just way to exhausting and I really can’t predict how I’m going to feel at any given time. This is especially true given that I’m still on prednisone and currently trying to wean off it.

I went down to 25 mg of prednisone today, the lowest dose I’ve been on since the start of January. I feel pretty bad at the moment. My body hurts, particularly my hands, wrists, and ankles. I’m really tired and lethargic, my chest feels weird, and I just feel awful overall. I’m trying to get myself to do things, but the only thing I want to do is go to bed.

I’ve read about people feeling horrible for an entire week when tapering prednisone once they get around 20 mg or less. I really hope this doesn’t happen to me, I can’t stand the thought of feeling like this for longer than a day or two. Although since I don’t really have a choice in the matter, it’s probably best if I just don’t think about it.

Some good news is that reducing my Imuran dose seems to have fixed the liver problems I was having. My liver enzymes are still too high, but they are vastly improved from last month’s blood test. My hair also appears to have stopped falling out, which is a pretty sweet bonus. If this continues to next month, it will show that my body just can’t handle the dose of Imuran that my rheumatologist wanted me to be on. I’m not sure whether I can stay on a lower dose or whether I have to switch drugs, though. At least it means that I can probably keep taking the herbal medication that my TCM has been giving me.

little things

Today I went for a blood test and it was the first time I ever refrained from telling them I was afraid of needles.

Yes, this warranted a blog post. Small victories, right??

P.S. I’m still afraid of needles

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