Poker the last 12 months
So here it is, an honest and forthright tale of my last 12 months playing Poker. Some background information first…
I first played draw poker in my early teens, playing for 10p/20p pot limit. Jacks or better to open, split deck 7’s and up and 4 players maximum. I tended to win more than I lost, but then blow it all on sweets, football stickers and soft drinks. Bankroll management was not a term I was familiar with J
I started playing Texas Hold ‘EM about 2 years ago with a foray into the Fitzwilliam Club in Dublin for their regular Thursday Freeroll Game. It was a Free entry game with unlimited €10 rebuys up until the end of the 4th level. Prizes were tickets to the big end of month game which had a €250 buyin.
Back in those days there were normally only about 2-3 tables of players in this and it was fairly relaxed, there always seemed to be at least 3-4 tickets as well, but this was heavily subsidised by the Fitzwilliam Club to generate business I guess. Anyway I moved from the Freeroll to the Wednesday Night €20 game, this allowed 2 rebuys and a topup, I had quite a lot of success in this finishing in the money in 4 of the first 5 I played in and turning a nice profit. Of course I didn’t really realise how lucky I was at the time, hitting runner runner flushes and gutshot straights seemed a part of the game. Pot/Implied Odds was not a term I was familiar with J
Interestingly, nobody ever complained at the table, or made any smart comments about how big a fish I was, they just tapped the table and said nice hand…how times have changed.
What I didn’t like about those games was the time they went on until, if you did well you would be there until 2-3am, with work the next day it was too much and I stopped going to the club. Around the same time a group of friends of mine set up a home game and I used to play in that every week with interesting results. As it was more about the beer and the craic there was some really strange play and it was hard to be consistent when you’ve just had half a tray of Rolling Rock beer J but it was good fun and it stoked my interest in the game.
Soon after that I started playing online at Victor Chandler Poker, just in the .10c STT’s and .01/.02c cash games. To be honest I never knew what I was doing, if I liked the look of the cards I’d play the hand, any hand with an A was a godsend and if I had two picture cards I felt I was in heaven!!
Single Table Tournaments:
Over the course of the first 12 months I moved up from .10c to $5 STTs, but moved away from cash games completely. I couldn’t make money at them, I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to be doing and STTs where fairly easy money. I found out about a local game that was played every Friday and played in that, after I’d won 2 in a row there in March of last year I decided to start taking the game seriously and track my play and results. People tend not to want to share these results, and with good reason, but I’m going to give an overview of my last 12 months, without going into any real specifics…or not too specific at any rate. It’s an exercise for myself as much as anything else.
I started off with playing 200 $5 STTs, I could afford to play higher than that, but I felt more comfortable starting at that level. My ROI over those 200 games was 27%, I’d turned a relatively healthy profit, but more to the point I felt that I could beat the game at that level and I was willing to take it up to the next level. While I was still predominantly playing $5 STTs I also dabbled in the $10 and $15 games at the same time. Over the course of my next 200 games I had an ROI of 22% and an overall ROI of 24%. I’d noticed that the quality in the $15 games, wasn’t really any different to the $5 games. So with the help of a very good player who gave me some insights and tips around STTs, I moved up to $25 as my mainstay game.
My first 100 games at this level I completely smashed the game coming in with an ROI of 47%, WOW what have I been wasting my time with the lower games for!! Over the course of the next 500 games my ROI stabilised at around the 15% mark, respectable if not earth shattering. Then I had my first “Bad” 200 games, ROI of
-14% over 200 games, I hadn’t changed the way I was playing, what was going on??
Over my last 600 games I’ve had an average ROI of 6%, nowhere near good enough, and although there have been bad beats and outdraws there are some serious leaks in my game that need to be addressed.
So over 1800 STT’s in 12 months I’ve an average ROI of 11.5%, I’ve wagered just over $40K in 12 months. This area needs to dramatically improve over the next 12 months if this Poker thing is to be worthwhile for me.
I said that I moved away from cash games, and I did. Up until around September of last year the most I’d wagered in cash games in a month was $140…last of the big spenders J
Around September I started to play on different sites and avail of first deposit bonuses, this generally meant having to play cash games in order to generate rake, in order to clear bonuses. So I jumped in at .25/.50 and .50/$1 on FT and Tribeca and started to educate myself about cash game play. Now I’m the first to admit that I’m a bad cash game player, I have huge leaks in my game and I’m struggling to figure out how to close them, e.g. two of the 5 hands that have cost me the most $ over 30K hands are QQ and JJ, and that’s in every position, not just an overall figure!! Granted I’ve lost a huge chunk of money twice with QQ against KK on a K Q x board but even at that, there are problems that need to be addressed.
So over my 30K hands I’ve an average ROI of 4%, shocking low, and some of the biggest problems I have ironed out in STTs keep haunting me in cash games.
Not being able to drop an overpair
Paying too much for drawing hands
Failing to drop a set on a bad board
Areas that every day I say I’m going to stop doing this and everyday I fall into the same problems. I also seem to always start behind, i.e. I’ll lose 25% of my buyin early on a table and then spend the best part of a session clawing it back. I’m still on a huge learning curve when it comes to cash games, and I’ll be spending the next 3-4 weeks going back over a lot of my hands and noting down what I should have done differently.
Multi Table Tournaments
So this whole tracking thing kicked off in March last year, after I’d won two local games for a total profit of €1.8K. While these were total crapshoots, they made me realise that I need to track what I do if I want to be successful at this game in the long term.
Unfortunately MTTs are not an area where I’m very strong. I make a money finish in around 1 in 6 MTTs that I play, but these finishes tend to be towards the bottom end of the money, and as I’ve only played 500 MTTs my sample size is way to small to be considered indicative. What I have noticed is that over the last few months I have had far greater success in MTTs and gone a lot further in them that I had done previously. I’ve read both of Harrington’s books and I really feel that they are helping develop my game and feel confident that I will get a major win or two this year in MTTs. I’m playing a lot more recently and as I said, I’m playing better.
I still believe that there is a huge amount of variance and luck required to win one of these, and more so online where players will call you down with almost anything. On the plus side I rarely go out when I have the worst of it when the money goes in, over time that will have to count for something won’t it??
Overall I ended the year in profit, four figure profit, and I believe that for at least the first quarter of the year I didn’t know what I was doing. Now I know I don’t know what I’m doing but neither do the majority of online players :D
So I’m confident that I can push on over the next year and make more money.
However, when I look at the time that I’ve put in to make that profit I sometimes find it hard to justify. Sure it’s a nice secondary income, it would be nicer and far more worthwhile if I could double my current average monthly profit, but to do that I think I need to either move up a level in terms of STT’s or start playing far better in cash games. At least these are things that are within my control.
Some stats for those interested
Average Number of STTs per month 157
ITM % for STTs 41.69%
· 1st Place 36%
· 2nd Place 34%
· 3rd Place 30%
Average Hours played per month 69, in order to make this worthwhile I need to make at least 5 figures profit from poker over the next 12 months. Here’s hoping I can do it.
The 5 most important lessons I’ve learned over the last 12 months, in no particular order
Bankroll Management is absolutely Key if you’re to make a go of this in the long term
Judge hands not only on how you would play them in that position but also on consistency of betting patterns and previous action you’ve seen from that player.
Even the worst players get big hands
Patience is the key to success, be patient and wait for the hands to play, don’t feel you have to get involved because you haven’t played a hand in 20 minutes
AA is just a pair, a good pair, but just a pair. Don’t be afraid to let big hands go (still learning this one)