Monday, May 26, 2014

Serious Variance

I figured this would be as good a time as any for my annual, sometimes bi-annual, post on just how utterly insane the variance in this game is.

My prior fifty thousand hands leading into this month looked like this:

My next 57Kish this month have looked like this:

Even that graph doesn't do justice to how insanely well I've run.  I'm up over 1800 BB's pre-rake which I'm quite sure is a one month record for me

This could be the time to get carried away with myself and talk about how I've mastered the game, have soul reads on all the regulars, and am ready to jump into the 1K/2K games (pretending they ever ran) because I'll never lose again.

Nothing really could be further from the truth and that line of thinking greatly increases the chances that my next 50K will look a lot more like the 1st graph and a lot less like the 2nd (I've made this mistake many times in the past).  I've played well this month but it's all so subjective.  When you consistently run into the bottom of your opponent's ranges, sure all your bluffs are going to work and you're going to feel like you're playing your A game.  When your opponents are consistently running into the top of your range with their bluffs, you're going to feel like you're "owning" them.  When you win 70% of the 15+ BB pots you're involved in, you're very likely to be on a massive heater and actually start believing that you should be winning that percentage of big pots on a consistent basis.  In the end, it's all just variance.

I say this every year and will keep saying it, do not under any circumstances underestimate the variance in this game.  50K hands is nothing, 1000 big bets (won or lost) is very little.  The key is to stay even keel with your emotions and be focused on one thing: making the best decision possible with all the information you have available, each and every decision.

I'll have another update at the end of the month along with some details on how my low-limit multi-tabling plan went.

Good luck everyone.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Stake Variance Continues in Costa Rica

My frustrating year continues:

In terms of money won, it's my worst start to a year in nine years as a pro.  It's easy to blame it all on variance but I've also been less motivated this year than any other and feel like I've played some of the worst poker I've played in recent memory.  I'm sure the truth is somewhere between and it's some combination of running bad and playing bad.  One thing's for sure, I've run terribly at high limits.

I've given serious consideration to quitting online poker or at least doing it in a reduced fashion and pursuing some other interests,  As nice as it is to visit all these exotic locations, all the travel is getting tiresome and I'd much prefer to be home. Also the grind of playing ten to twelve hours a day for nine months is really wearing on me as well.  The idea is to be happy and even though I have the last three months of the year off, I'm not too happy the other nine.  This has been in the back of my mind for a while and I think it's only a matter of time before I pursue something else.

I decided yesterday to make a pretty drastic strategy change in how I'm approaching things.  Up until today, I've been trying to play the majority of hands at 30/60+.  The result of this is a lot of downtime when no games are running, a lot of lobby/table watching which takes away from focus on the games and a lot of frustration with the table hopping (and the unavoidable consequences that come with this) that's en vogue with the high limit recreational players these days.

So my new plan (for now at least), is to 6-8 table 5/10 to 50/100 and try to earn 7-8K VPPs a day.  I'm pretty far behind SNE pace as is and if I continue what I'm doing currently, I'm either going to have to play fourteen hours a day to make it or make a third trip at the end of year for at least a month.  More than that though, it's a much less stressful and faster way to make SNE.  I don't anticipate I'll be able to make as much money as I have the last three to four years but I think the tradeoff of not being stressed out and having a lot of extra time off is worth it. To be frank, I'm pretty fed up with the whole high limit situation as is.  The two biggest recreational players sit in the same seat every time and most of the regulars starting tables are always seated in the seat that guarantees them position on these players or start tables with the button.  So without having all the tables open and constantly monitoring them, it's near impossible to start a game with the button or get position on these players.  Combine that with the fact, they're often playing short sessions and changing tables, it's one big headache and a costly headache at that.

If I end up sticking with this plan, I should be able to earn about 200k-240k VPPs in a month and be done by September.  This would give me an extra month to relax and really focus on the high limit games if I decide I want to.  At that point, I can have all the tables open, be able to get good seats, and not be distracted with other games since I'll just be focusing on those.  I also can 2-3 table those games and really hone in and play my best game as opposed to multitabling, lobby watching, and constantly trying to shuffle tables in and out.

That's the plan anyway.  I will have an update in a month or so with how it's going.

Good luck at the tables everyone.