Tuesday, June 07, 2005

"Go To" game?

Double As had a typically good post today, this time reflecting on his experiences and how he thought about maintaining a bankroll and moving up limits. One part in particular got me thinking:

"If you're past the beginner stage and think you know the game and can beat the avg newbie, then I think its time to put your money where your mouth is. I'd play more than I studied and put in the time to build a roll. You'll continue to learn just by playing and you'll learn things that only come with experience. Move up the limits as fast as you can without putting yourself at risk to lose more than you're willing to put back into your account. Find a go-to game. It could be $10 SNGs, $20 HU matches, or $25NL. Find a table that is your ATM. You're comfortable there and you think you can always go back when running bad. It'll give you confidence and help maintain the roll."

Anyway, what I started thinking was, what's my “go to” game? I've have some moderate success at large MTTs in the past six months, but nothing huge, a 2nd place and 3rd place, most recently (as sweated by F-Train) a 4th place, half a dozen cashes clearly not worth the hourly opportunity cost, a sizeable number of thankfully early bust outs, and the occasionally painful bubble or near-bubble popping. All in all, marginally plus EV but not hugely so and hardly steady enough to be a bankroll backstop.

Another candidate for me has been 50 PL Omaha, which is a reliable winner that unfortunately becomes surprisingly mind-numbing the way I play it: very tight opening requirements, basically nothing that doesn’t have a reasonable chance of getting to the nuts, trying to play those hands for no more than one moderate raise pre-flop, followed by a quick retreat after the flop unless the nuts or at least a draw to the nuts is there, and relying on a very high frequency of idiot calls at the 50 level--it works but I don't think it makes me a better player.

Following F-Train's track, I've also tried the 2-4 through 5-10 razz tables at Full Tilt. This I think can also be a positive EV forum , but in Mr. Asshats' terminology, requires great tolerance for building brick houses against "jagweeds". Perhaps I could play it better, but over time my frustration, while never leading to huge losses, has lead to occasionally very high variance. In any case, the tables in this game are frequently lacking players, so it would be a hard bankroll sustainer even if I had the discipline and masochism to play it right.

On the other end of the spectrum is my cash no limit game. My live play is reasonable at this--I'm no Daniel Negreanu, but I made a fairly steady but by no means quit-your-day-job income against some tough and frequently hyper aggressive competition at Playstation before the NY's finest determined it to be a threat to society (I'm the "Wallstreet Lawyer" quoted in the this story--my celebrities quote was a paraphrase encompassing a few well known pros plus a certain extremely highly paid New York Yankee known to cheat at his own sport (not with steroids, but rather with the old karate chop), whom I know once played the 5-5 no maximum NL there with some success, and the reporter (or her editor) apparently did not find the analysis of the NYC poker club scene I gave in her in a 30 minute chat worthy additional words, though I’ll likely post some thoughts on this here for those interested or uninterested, electrons are free). Online, unfortunately, results are pushing me to think I've got to stay away. Although I've gone on 1500+ swings in 3 day periods on Full Tilt's 1-2 and 2-4 tables and had a few other good runs on other sites, being brutally honest requires me to report online no limit play is on the balance a large lodestone on my bankroll. After awhile, I must conclude it's not always bad luck--I've lost a buy in or two too often and not always against a suck-out artist. The game I like the most apparently does not like me very much.

That leads me to what I suppose is my "Go To" game: $50-200 sit and gos (I'm leaning toward the 100s). For some reason, the stakes are just high enough to keep me disciplined and tight, but low enough to allow my long sought after aggression not only to come out, but become rewarding. I've only gone up to this level since April, and only started systematically (i.e. Pokertracker) tracking it for the past week, but clearly something has been sustaining my bankroll and this has got to be it. The sample size for Pokertracker is very low, but recent results from 100s are very encouraging, in 9 tourney's fully logged in Pokertracker in the past week, I've spent 981 to win 1710 (which includes one 1-2 chop discussed in my last post), yielding a return on income of 74.3%, finishing in the money 7 times with an average place of 3.6 (weighting the chops as 1.5, plus 3 2nd places and 3rd places).

In the two months preceding that, I had not thought my results were quite that strong, but in writing this post, I've gone back and parsed my e-mails for win notifications cross-reference against the last 100 tourney's I'd played on Stars (which ended up being less than that going back through my account history, even including the wife's recent $2 habit). Although I can't figure out the average place, in 25 $50-200 9-player sit and gos on Stars (only 2 of the latter, with a few 55+5 and 105+9 turbos mixed in though I've stopped those since I don't like the blind progression), I spent $2087 to win $3528, with a ROI of 69%. I did however also play a few 10-player sit and gos on Party and UTG with net losses (I’d guess about $350 total), plus 3 of 4 successes on Pacific with 5 and 6-player sit and gos (about $300, including 1st in one 5-player $200).

Given that notwithstanding the above, my overall online play in this period is only up about 1500, I'm wondering if I should play nothing but these sit and gos. They require patience, but not 4-5 hours patience. They offer full table and short-handed play. They mix in some very strong players against gamboolers who apparently don't mind tossing in the benjamins now and then. In short, they offer interesting play, a continuing learning environment and consistent winnings.

Why then do I continue to insist on blowing my wad at the cash no limit tables???


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