Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Results

Profit: +1937
Bonus: + 250
Games: 1516
Avg ROI: 22%
Hours: 102
Days: 22 / 31

Hourly: 18.99 / hr
Per Game: 1.28 / game

This was my first full month as an SNG grinder. I'm fairly happy with the volume, although it feels like I took off too many days. I'd like to average somewhere around 25-30 hours weekly, so I'm in the neighborhood. In the middle of the month, I developed a major leak ( overconfidence -> overly loose ) which lasted for a week and resulted in my breakeven stretch. I'm glad I was able to persevere through it, and finally fix it myself. If not for that, my profit would probably be closer to 3K at an hourly rate of $30. My goal for April is to get in 1800 games and clear 3K profit. I just want to maintain consistency and I definitely have room for improvement in that area as well as my FT and bubble play.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Breakeven Slump Busted!!

Had to seriously re-examine my game and realized that I've been making moves too often when I didn't need to. I suppose I've gone on a winning tilt. Just because I've become more knowledgeable about the game and that I'm a winning player, DOES NOT entitle me to win every pot. All that matters is my finish at the final table, and not necessarily how I got there. Outplaying opponents, or folding my way there are equally valid.

Despite making one major mistake late in the tourney (villain1 mid position raise, villain2 shoves behind, I call with JJ and busto against QQ), I still ran at my normal hourly rate. Time to maintain this discipline and salvage the rest of the month.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Breakeven Week

After the mid-month update, I wanted to put myself on a serious schedule and get some volume in so that I could hit my monthly goals for March. 430 games later, I am slightly below even. It's been pretty damn frustrating to say the least especially since I've been cruising along so smoothly for the past few weeks. Each day's session has been close to breakeven so it's not like there was a huge swing up or down. Feels like I've lost any edge I might've had in these games.

It's such a mind fuck. I'm trying to decide whether it's just the nature of variance, I've been playing too loose/tight, I've become too predictable/exploitable. I must maintain faith I suppose since it happens even to the best. If this trend continues, I might even step down a buyin level and hopefully start winning to rebuild my confidence.

On the positive side I achieved GoldStar VIP for this month and should be close to clearing out a $250 deposit bonus as consolation prize. Also I finished both "Kill Phil" and "Kill Everyone" so I feel my knowledge has improved a decent amount.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Overemphasis on ROI

Before this year I used to place great emphasis on having a high ROI. It's nice bragging rights and results in pretty graphs. However in doing so, I neglected some basic economics, namely that the most valuable resource is the one that is most rare. If there were a fixed number of trials, then having a high ROI is probably the most important thing. Examples would include playing a tournament series that runs 6 tourneys for a week, or Hellmuth's quest for bracelets given that he only has a certain number of years and opportunities to accumulate more.

However for most of us outside of poker and especially within online poker, TIME is the most valuable resource. We should aim to make each unit of time spent playing online poker as efficient as possible, which would imply maximizing our HOURLY RATE. Really, nothing else matters. And there are only a few variables in computing the hourly rate that we can adjust.


Basically, we can adjust our ROI or skill level, our average buyin, or the number of tables / hour that we play. As mentioned before I was quite a perfectionist, only 4-tabling so I could maximize reads and taking lots of mental breaks. I could've gone one step further, just playing one table a day to craft the best and highest ROI, but that would've gotten me nowhere.

This especially applies to the new / old school debate about single table focusing vs the mass multitablers. Perhaps my play isn't as optimal as someone single tabling, but my argument is that their play isn't 12 or 24 times better than mine. In addition, I get the benefits of diversification and lower volatility for free, as well as rarely going on tilt. I welcome your thoughts and opinions.


Here's my mid-month update. I'm up about $1340 / 672 SNGs for this month, so I'm confident I can hit 3-4K this month. This includes the fact that I've missed about 7 playing days so far and will make all attempts to heavily increase the volume for the rest of the month.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hello World!

I've decided to start blogging about my poker journey. This is mostly for myself to keep record and sustain motivation, and perhaps to get feedback from interested and more informed parties. I've played poker since 2003 as part of the WPT boom. For a year or so, my friends and I played a .25/.50 game 4-5 nights / week. I had a dozen stints playing online at Party Poker but with mixed results due to bad bankroll management. I had some more experiences playing at larger live 2/5 games, but with my tight style, I did well in the loose gambling games, and was outclassed everywhere else.

I didn't play much for a few years since I was devoting time to school and career. I would play a handful of times / year with friends but not much else. During the final spring 2008 semester of my MBA career, things were starting to slow down so I deposited $100 into a PokerStars account. I started playing small $3 45-man turbos and quickly built my bankroll up to $300 through a mix of cautious play and good timing. I switched to $6 / 45s and quickly built up to $1200 before switching to $12 /45s. I 4-tabled them in sets, so that I wouldn't get too bored and tempted to do something stupid, and so that each tourney would be at a similar stage of blinds / antes. With the 45 turbos, I felt that it was easier to navigate a final table that paid top 7 instead a normal SNG that paid top 3.

At the $12s I went on my first downstreak of $600 (50%). This forced me to revisit my game. I discovered the Harrington tournament series as well as online software to track opponent stats. I went on a strong streak building up to $5-6K (30% ROI) over the course of the summer. I continued to 4-table and had to mentally prep myself each time. This approach resulted in high ROIs, but low volume and moodiness. In other words, I was being too much of a perfectionist.

In fall of '08, I had my first prolonged 100 buyin downswing. My game had become too tight and exploitable. This was a vicious cycle in that it killed my motivation to play which killed my volume. In early February of this year, I discovered vers' blog and read the entire thing. I adopted a more automated aggro style and moved down to the $3 tables so that I could experiment without hurting myself. I began 8-tabling and then 12-tabling continuously so that I could ramp up volume and sample size. I made about $700 in a week with this method and made another $1000 at $20 / hr before moving up . At the $6's I've been averaging about $35 / hr. I made about $900 in February and expect to be up about $3000 in March. I'll be highly confident when I can clear at least 5-6K monthly.

I had my first coaching session with vers a week ago. It seems like I have most components of my game down. It was a huge confidence booster and I feel that my current strategy can scale up to the $27's at least. In the meantime I'll have to prove myself and my consistency.