Rounding for Rent

The golden opportunity you are seeking is in yourself. It is not in your environment; it is not in luck or chance, or the help of others; it is in yourself alone.
–Orison Swett Marden
Ugh. 3 hours of restless sleep and a 4 AM wakeup to meet the masses at LAX on Monday morning. Luckily for me, the 200 people in line were too scared to use the automated check in machine, so I was checked in 2 minutes after arriving. I was looking forward to the trip as a chance to escape work and LA for a bit, but waking up at 4 kind of put a damper on my enthusiasm. At least I made my flight, which is more than some people I know can say.
I’m now halfway through day 2 of the conference in San Francisco. As I sit and listen to the IT sales guys BS their way through Powerpoint presentations, my mind drifts off to wondering why I didn’t value bet my top pair on the river on Sunday. There is no sales bs to listen to when you’re sitting at the table and extracting big bets from the fish across the table. Poker is pure in this sense– the money you make is dependent on your ability to make the most out of the cards you’re dealt, not on the whim of some clueless manager.
And thus we come to the appeal of poker as a career. I’ve been along for the ride as a couple fellow bloggers (Lord G, Jason at Poker Odyssey) have taken the plunge and decided to pursue poker as their only source of income. And the weekly updates in the 2+2 forum from DavidRoss give an inside look at the trials and tribulations of playing online poker for a living. The few occasions I’ve sat at the same table with DavidRoss have been fun– trying to beat this guy who’s sitting in a room in Canada somewhere, intensely focused on 4 tables in an attempt to earn his bread.
Although I have no real desire to play poker for a living, I do have a desire to play poker, and a desire to escape the 9 to 5 routine that my life is centered around. So in an attempt to quiet the little devil on my shoulder that occasionally shouts, “You could make a good living from this!”, I thought I’d break down the positives and negatives of playing poker for a living.
The Good

  • You are your own boss. You don’t have to deal with ridiculous requests from a manager, office politics, and all the nonsense that comes along with not being at the top of some organizational hierarchy.
  • You can pretty much define your own hours. Although you really have to play when the most fish are online, your schedule is pretty flexible. You can take a day off whenever you like (although you won’t get paid for it), and you’re not tied to the 26 vacation days that a company allocates to you.
  • Your results are directly dependent on your performance. Unlike my current job, where a superhuman effort is rewarded by only a pat on the back, you’re compensated for good performance on the poker tables (if the poker gods cooperate).
  • You can live anywhere you want. Of course you really have to minimize your rent, and you’d like to be near a B&M, but you can shack up wherever you want. In my case I’d probably move to Northern Sweden (the wife’s birthplace), where the cost of living is almost nothing and poker winnings go untaxed. Of course, I’d probably end up like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, chopping away at my monitor after losing PartyPoker style on a runner-runner flush.
  • Unlimited earning potential. In theory, you can move up in limits whenever you are ready, although the grinder has to be careful with variance and risk. Note that DavidRoss has stuck with the $5-10 shorthanded games for almost a year now, despite having the bankroll to move up.
  • The illusion of more time. Although playing 8 hours a day would leave you the same amount of “spare time” as would working 8 hours a day at a regular job, it frees you in many ways. I currently spend a couple hours playing poker a day, so those hours would be freed up to pursue other interests. I’ve also pretty much stopped working out, which I’ve always been committed to for my entire life up to this point. I am making the choice not to work out, but my main reason for stopping is the physical fatigue I feel at the end of the day and my lack of sleep. Since poker would give me a more flexible schedule, I’d be able to re-committ to working out, and probably feel a lot better mentally and physically as a result.

The Bad

  • The risk factor. You never know if you’re going to have a bad run and not be able to pay the rent. Smart play and careful bankroll management can help prevent this, but you deal with the daily stress of winning your bread.
  • A waste of resources? Part of the pleasure I get from doing my job well is that the programs I produce end up making someone’s life slightly better. If we ever got funding for the big project I’m working on, my research might actually improve patient care. But until the funding goes through, the code I write will only assist people in their administrative tasks, and could probably be written by someone else. For me, satisfaction in a job comes from the ability to use my unique talents to produce something that could not easily be produced by someone else. Since I’m not really doing that right now, I’m not satisfied. While collecting bets from other players is intellectualy stimulating and satsfying, I don’t know if I could handle the idea that there is no hope for me to “make the world a better place.” Snicker all you want, deep down I really do want to help people, even if the political obstacles in the way are tough to overcome.
  • Detachment from “normal” society. This might actually be an item for the “good” section, I’m nost sure. In general I feel like normal society is pretty boring and stifling, I wonder if sitting in a casino or in front of a computer all day would ruin me for a future endeavors. But in “the real world,” there are a lot of serendepitous opportunities that result from the people you meet and interact with at a “square” job. I’ve heard that better opportunities exist in some of the high limit games (you can develop some pretty good business relationships), but you certainly aren’t going to find many opportunities while gridning away at online poker.
  • Ruining something that I really like. Once you start playing poker for a living, it’s highly likely that the appeal of the game wears away. It would be a shame to lose something that I get a lot of pleasure from.

So that’s my short list. I may end up trying to grind out a living from poker someday, but now is not the time. I am going to give my computer skills a shot and try to do something with my talent and education before diving into the world of pure poker. What I probably should figure out is a better way to balance my non-work hours to find some sort of equilibrium where I’m not wondering what I “should” be doing. I want to write, read, work out, play music, play poker, and spend time with the wife, but I have yet to figure out a way to fit all of these things in the 9 to 5 schedule.
If I was single, I would probably try some sort of test run– grind it out for 30 hours a week for a couple months and see how it feels. Lucky for me, I have other commitments that I enjoy taking care of– otherwise I’d probably end up falling asleep at the tables after a string long post-work poker sessions.
I’ve received some great comments about my last few posts, as well as several shout-outs from some of the great poker blogs out there. Thanks to everybody for the feedback, I really enjoy hearing from all the smart poker players out there and I get a big kick out of thinking that my writing is actually provoking some critical thinking about poker. I try to hit all the poker blogs daily, and each blogger’s take on the game usually forces me to think about my own perspective.
(Begin Shill– skip this paragraph if you already have an Empire account)
I got a couple emails from people wanting to take advantage of the Empire bonus and shoot a couple bucks my way. If you’re interested in opening up an Empire account and getting $100 bonus dollars, shoot me an email (replace the underscore in the address) and I’ll get you set up.
(End Shill)
Poker Blog Patrol
I finally made it over to Poker Perspectives and was amazed and overjoyed to find Maudie’s discussion of movies on Spice (“Sexterminators”) and The Hammer in the same post. Yes, you know where this is going. Poker and Porn, two of the most lucrative industries on the web, combine for the first time in… “Hammer Time,” starring Fill Hermouth. The climactic scene (pun indented) features Fill going “all-in” with the hammer.
I think we just reached a new low here at Cardsspeak.
Word from Grubby is that The Quiet Lion is dominating in the PartyPoker Million cruise after day one. Go get em Richard!
The Grubster also tightened the screws and crushed the ring games, and in typical Grub fashion, plans to throw it away buying into the Party Million Dollar Guaranteed tourney (600+40) buy in. If he won this thing, I have a feeling he’d see if he could blow the entire prize money by entering every WPT event on the tour. Good luck Grubs, I’m always pullin for ya!
Whoops, I just looked at the clock and I’m supposed to meet my boss and co-worker for some schmoozing and BS. Nothing like blogging on the company dime in some posh hotel. Now if only I could get my wireless card to work and hit PartyPoker in the conference rooms…

Royale, No cheese, To Go

“Luck affects everything; let your hook always be cast. In the stream where you least expect it, there will be fish.”
When you start your session off with a Royal Flush, you know it’s going to be a good day. I just didn’t realize how good… but after an hour and a half on 3 $3-6 tables, I walked away $453 richer. So was it the cards, was it me, or was it the other players? Of course it was a mix of all three, but I think the heaviest weighted of the three factors was the terrible play of the other players. I think Sunday is officially “Calling Station Day” on Party, and if you hit a few big hands, you’ll be paid off nicely. Yes, I was rivered by two out runner-runner hands a few times, but the Poker gods stuck to the probabilities most of the time. I’ve had to pinch myself the last few Sundays when I see what these people are calling me down with in PokerTracker. Repetition for effect: Sunday afternoon-evening is the most profitable time to play at PartyPoker.
Unlike Otis at Up For Poker, I wasn’t able to catch the actual screen shot of the Royal. So here’s how it looks on PokerTracker’s “replay” screen:

If you haven’t downloaded the newest Patch for PokerTracker you are missing out. It has a new function which automatically generates player notes for every player (based on the recorded data for that player) and automatically exports them to Party. Now when you’re looking to choose a table, you can see if you have notes on the players. If any of them are maniacal, then you can pull up a chair right next to them. Pat at PokerTracker rules.
After today’s insane session, my bankroll is very healthy, and I now have more than enough bankroll to move up to $5-10. The $3-6 games I play pretty much on autopilot, and I sit down expecting to win every session. I know I’ve been on a good run lately, but I feel confident I can beat the hell out of these games. To give you an indication of how soft these games are, I’m up to 4.8 BB/100 hands after 11K hands of $3-6. I’m a good player, but not that good. Good cards and terrible players have been very lucrative.
One of the things I was happiest about today was my ability to keep playing my normal game even after I’d gone up big. In the past I’ve been somewhat of a bad winner. When I’ve gone up 20 Big bets or so at the beginning of a session, I’veo often left the table or tightened up in an effort to hang on to my winnings. Of course this is nonsense, since one of the reasons you’re winning is usually because the other players at the table are worse than you. Today I was able to keep pushing my edges and playing my usual poker, rather than allowing the winning to affect my play.
Movin’ on up?
So what’s next? Take a shot at getting into the WSOP? Move up to $5-10? The poker-playingest blogger I know asked me if I was going to move up to $5-10, and it got me thinking. I have played 5K hands at $5-10, and done quite well, but the games are extremely tight and filled with tricky players. In my limited experience at $15-30, the games seemed much looser than the average $5-10 table. What’s worse, the wait for the $5-10 full ring games is always a joke, with 10 players on the waiting list for each table.
I told Grubs that I think there is a big gap between $3-6 and $5-10 on Party. It seems that the lowest limit players work their way up to the $3-6 games, but never seem to graduate to the $5-10 games. You’ll find a wide variety of skill levels at $3-6, but at $5-10, tight-aggressive is pretty much the rule. This makes the $3-6 tables a lot softer, and of course the variance is much less.
The Intrepid Card Player offers an excellent summary of the types of fish you can find in the $3-6 aquarium:
“3/6 is where things start the change. Here, you’ll find the Gamb000ler. The Gamb000ler wants action at decent stakes, so he’s got no time for anything below 3/6. The Gamb000ler will play any two cards, for any price, and is often ultra-aggressive. Here also, you’ll start to see the “money farmers”. There are some career poker players here who are more then happy to take the Gamb000lers money. Intermixed are the more “well to do” Gee-Whiz types who just got through watching WPT and want to play some poker, but since they’re rich, they don’t see the point in playing for nickel/dime antes. Most of these guys are playing the Sit-and-Goes, but occasionally you’ll see one pop in to the limit game.”
So I guess I’ll keep being a “money farmer” for now, until I’ve harvested this season’s abundant crops on PartyPoker. But how long can I keep up the grind for? I guess we’ll find out. Maybe I’d be better off taking my place in line in the big tourneys and trying to get that one big finish that you can live off for the rest of your life. I’m not a longshot kind of a guy, but how good is Moneymaker’s life these days? Or maybe I should just take a piece of Iggy in the WSOP.
I’m travelling to San Francisco this week, so I’m constrained to playing a single table on a tiny laptop screen. Maybe it’s a good time to try out some of those WSOP Dreams tourneys on Empire. Speaking of Empire…
Shilling out
So I finally joined the affiliate bandwagon and am attempting to make a couple measly bucks off this blog. You’ve heard it before… if you like reading this blog, and haven’t yet signed up for Empire, sign up using this link. The Bonus Code “EP0686” will get you a 20% bonus, as well as a big hearty thank you from yours truly. If any of you Party addicts want to get the bonus money by moving over to Empire, email me (remove the “nospam”) and I’ll let you know what to do.
I feel dirty now. Time to hit the shower and then join Grubby in the Choice freeroll. If you have ever, at any time, played 50 hands at Choice, you’re automatically registered. Grubs pointed out that I was registered, so I might as well see if I can push my luck to its limit and win the $300 first prize.
New poker blog: go check out Bill’s Blog, and make sure to see his pic with Shana Hiatt. Bill and I have a lot in common, if this quote is any indication:
“First off, I have what I refer to as ‘intellectual obsessive-compulsive disorder.’ I tend to take on hobbies and become obsessive about them. Not unhealthy obsessive but I like to learn all there is to learn on a topic.”
Also check out Part II of “Canterbury Tales” at Halverson 3K‘s place. They don’t call him “Three Kings” for nothin.
I leave you with one more quote, which I just couldn’t pass up. Apparently Steinbeck wasn’t a big fan of the grind:
“Luck or tragedy, some people get runs. Then of course there are those who divide it even, good and bad, but we never hear of them. Such a life doesn’t demand attention. Only the people who get the good or bad runs.” –John Steinbeck

Poker: Hobby, Sport, or Profit?

“I had discovered that a person does not have to be this or be that or be anything, not even oneself. One is free.”
–Walker Percy
Work and social commitments (ugh) have kept me off of the poker tables for the last couple of days, although I did manage to eek out a couple of short, barely-winning sessions on PartyPoker. I did get to engage with a thought provoking session with a reader via email, who brought me back to the question of “Why do people play poker?”
The reader astutely pointed out that although PartyPoker may be the most profitable place to play, it may not be the best. If our goal is not to win the most money, but to challenge ourselves intellectually, then most likely the site with the most fish is not the best place to play.
I’ve been struggling with this question for a while now. It always seems to appear in different forms, but it really comes down to “Why do you play poker?” Note that this is not the same question as “Why do you play poker rather than do X?” where X ranges from watch tv to saving the world. It could be reformulated as, “What is your goal as a poker player?”
The answer to this question has wavered over my short career as a poker player, but it always seems to fall across 3 categories. Poker as a hobby, Poker as a sport, or Poker for profit. I gonna break it on down for ya.
Poker as a hobby
Sorry, but I’m going to have to go to Webster’s:
hobby–a small Old World falcon (Falco subbuteo) formerly trained to catch small birds (as larks)
That’s actually the first definition! Let’s go to number 2…
hobby–a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation
Ahh. So Webster tells us that the most important attribute of a hobby is that its purpose is relaxation. So poker as a hobby can be looked at as a form of relaxation. This is very interesting from a personal perspective, since I’m very bad at relaxing. If I’m not doing something, I get anxious and start pacing, and eventually find something to do, whether it’s drink a beer or meditate on pot odds. But poker is a very active form of meditation– just you, the cards, and the other players, and your mind churns away trying to figure out if your hand is the best, and why the hell the maniac in seat 1 keeps reraising. Although I enjoy the relaxation aspect of poker, my desire to improve and “win” seems stronger than my desire to “relax”.
Poker as sport
Webster’s definition of “sport” sucks, so I’ll do my best…
sport–an activity in which a group of competitors attempt to achieve a defined goal according to a set of agreed upon rules
A little-known philosopher once said that all sport is just a sublimation of war. It’s a way that humans can satisfy their instinctual urges without killing or getting killed. I agree with that to some extent, and see sport as a way to combine knowledge, skill, and instinct to defeat one’s competitors. So if we look at poker as sport, the most rewarding game would be one in which we utilize our unique abilities to win our opponents chips (which act as the scoreboard). Thus, the dream of the poker-for-sport player is be to consistently beat the best players in the world for a single big bet per hour. This player would be happy even if the limit was .01/.02, if he or she was sure that the other players were playing their best. The problem is, increased stakes usually result in an improvement in play. If someone’s rent money is on the line, it’s a lot more likely they will be taking the game more seriously and concentrating a lot harder.
I think this brings us to the WPT/WSOP folks. I find it very hard to believe that these tourneys can have a positive expectation for anybody. Most of the people in these tourneys have plenty of money to burn, and I would think that 99% of the players have lost a considerable amount of cash on this tour. Short term luck is the most important factor, and with a 10K buy in, your expectation is pretty low. But you’re playing against the Lederers and the Iveys, the most skilled players playing their best game. And if 10K doesn’t hurt your bankroll, who wouldn’t enjoy doing that?
Poker for profit
And we come to the grinder’s perspective. There are many who would argue that those who are not playing poker to win the most money are not true poker players. This attitude goes hand in hand with one of my most hated quotes: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” What matters is not how you played, it’s how many chips you bring to the cashier when you rack out. Of course, if you sucked out a 2-out runner-runner to win those racks, that’s not important.
The grinder’s pleasure comes from watching his bankroll grow steadily. He knows that his small edge will add up over time, but the “thrill of the chase” is not for the likes of the grinder. Poker for profit relies on being more disciplined than the average player, sacrificing the thrill of gamb00lin it up for the pleasure of slowly and steadily bleeding the gamblers dry. Some might argue that this is a perversion of gambling– “seeing all the angles but not having the stones to play them”.
But poker for profit doesn’t have to be a grind. The grinder knows his odds, and can shed his grinding shell at any time. The true grinder never leaves the grind, always minimizing risk for the sake of a slow and steady profit. But a grinder can “roll up the stake and go to Vegas”, knowing he’s good enough to beat any game with a little short term luck.
The Verdict
I’m still working it out, but I’d have to say I fall somewhere in the middle of poker for profit and poker for sport. Right now I choose the grind– 3 $3-6 tables of straight-forward poker. But it’s still somewhat of a challenge, as I’m still learning a fair bit. But I’ll often hop on the more challenging $5-10 shorthanded games, where psychology and knowledge become more important and result in bigger profits (if you can withstand the huge swings).
My hope is that when I finally tire of robot poker and have extracted as much knowledge as I can from the $3-6 games, I’ll be able to move on to the $5-10 shorthanded games armed with knowledge and a fat bankroll.
Or maybe I should just stop blogging so much and play some damn poker. Shut up and deal!

From First to Worst: Shame In the Poker Blogger Tourney

“Losing doesn’t eat at me the way it used to. I just get ready for the next play, the next game, the next season.”
–Troy Aikman
The shame. The humiliation. The second poker blogger tourney took place last night, and I had a blast… for the 10 minutes I survived. That’s right, yours truly busted out first– 28th out of 28, after racing out to an early chip lead. I caught two straights in the first orbit, and was able to bluff my way up to 2700 chips with AK to take a commanding chip lead right out of the blocks. I figured I could play tight and coast to the next table, playing only premium hands and mucking everything else.
Of course I picked up QQ in the small blind, and reraised Jason, who had thrown out a small raise from early position. He called, and when the flop came J-rag-rag, he bet out. I put him on AJ, and reraised a little to see where I was at. Jason went all-in, and I called…
True’s instantaneous-all-in went by in a flash, but I did manage to see that Jason did indeed have AJ, and caught his third Jack on the turn, and my stack was halved, back to 1300. Ah well… “that’s poker”.
Back to square 1. The very next, hand, I picked up AJ spades on the button. Someone in middle position raised 3X the BB, and I called, wanting to see a flop. The flop came A-club-club, and the better put out a baby bet, which I called. I put him on AK, and I figured if my jack hit I’d get paid off handsomely. Sure enough, the jack came on the turn, although it was the third club on the board. He bet, and I pushed all in, representing the flush and confident that my 2 pair was best.
Of course, he had AA and I was gone in a flash.
That’s the third time in my last 3 tourneys that I’ve been knocked out by AA. What are the odds?
I was somewhat comforted by the fact that Iggy was the next to fall, joining me in the shame of the early exit.
The final table was exciting, and features a lot of bluff steals by both big-stacked Pauly and short-stacked Felicia. If I could get have the respect that Felicia gets, I might have gotten 27th instead of 28th.
Congrats to Otis (Up for Poker), my man Chris Halverson, Pauly, Stick and Move, and Felicia for their excellent play and ability to last more than 3 orbits.
Some of the highlights for me were the Grubby vs. Grubette brother-sister battle, with the two of them coming over the top of each other several times. A little sibling rivalry always gets the chips moving. I also enjoyed BG’s comeback from a short stack to get himself in position to win the tourney.
Next time I’ll try to last till the 5th orbit.

The Education of A PartyPoker Player

“There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.”
–Hermann Hesse
To play or to write: that is the question. I feel more like a poker writer than a poker player, as I just left 43,090 players on Party in the middle of a winning session so I could blog. Well actually, the Missus came home and it was time to get dinner, but I signed off of Party with the intention of writing. As I reread this last paragraph, I’m a bit appalled– I had the shotgun in hand and the barrel full of fish was overflowing, but I sign off to write a blog post?
Well, that’s not the whole story. I did a quick hit and run, ratholing $107 after 15 minutes on $3-6 table. Amazingly, this entire profit came from the all powerful J7s, thanks to an idiot who slowplayed AA, and a lucky turn card. I’ve been banned from posting hand histories, as several readers have told me that they immediately leave the site if any semblance of a hand history appears in a post. But anyway, I turned the top 2 pair, and was able to get a few raises from AA guy in, and a few more from a poor guy that flopped 2 pair (J6o). I wouldn’t have even played this hand if I wasn’t in the small blind, but Mr. Slowplay made my night by not raising.
Moral of the story: Never, ever slowplay AA on a loose table.
Corollary: Play loose from the SB when the implied odds are huge.
Rewind to Sunday– After an incredible week of cards on 3 $3-6ers (+775 for 10 BB/HR), I finally watched my luck go dry, dropping $70 on Sunday afternoon. The tables were good, as usual, I just couldn’t seem to pick up a hand. But I took my beats happily, and quickly dropped $70 in an hour session. After running so good all week, I wasn’t disappointed when my draws didn’t hit– it’s all part of one lifetime session. In the past I’ve had to remind myself of this fact, but when none of my 8-outers hit, there was no frustration– the idea “if I put in the hours, I will win” seemed to be deeply ingrained.
I think I’ve turned a corner. After 10 months a play, I can now accept the bad runs– the lingering wonder in the back of my mind asking if I’m a good enough player to win is gone. I know that I’m a winning player, and I can confidently answer the question “Did I play well and just hit a run of bad cards?” with a yes. This idea seemed to be part of the “lose small, win big” philosophy that I’ve been trying to follow for a long time now.
So I happily moved over to a $30 multi table tourney, as I just wasn’t “feeling it” in the ring games. I’m not sure why I joined, as I was around the 1300th player to enter, and we ended up with 1400 altogether. After doubling up when I hit a flush about 30 minutes into the tourney, I picked up KK in middle position. A loose guy in early position raised, and I doubled his bet. He reraised, and I figured I’d either get 4000 chips early or bust… this tourney was going to last all day, so why not? I pushed all-in, and so did he, and with Party’s new “show the hole cards before the flop” on all in bets, my death was quick and painless. If you can’t guess what he had, you haven’t played enough at Party.
I was actually happy to go out early. I think in these huge Multis, your only chance is to amass a lot of chips early and use the big stack to pound away until you’ve got a big enough stack to outlast most of the field. So I’d make the same play again in a heartbeat. Moved on from there to an NL $50 and was able to take $30 off the table with a measly top pair. I cannot stress enough how soft these NL games are.
After a few more beers it was time to take on the Missus in a heads up tourney. The loser had to do the dishes for the week. In the 10 or so Heads-up tourneys we’ve played, I think she’s beaten me 6 times. I cannot put her on a hand, and since I am hyper aggressive heads up, she’ll often catch her 4 outer on the turn and punish me on the river. Yesterday was no exception. I caught a straight against her full house (which she caught on the turn with her Q7), leaving me severely short stacked. And she put the nail in the coffin by slowplaying her AA beautifully, as I pushed in with my KT after a King flopped. I have to admit that I was seriously outplayed, and bluffed on the river more than a couple times. The girl is a natural.
After that brutal beating, I felt my luck had to turn… I gave myself one more drunken shot to recoup my losses against the late night Sunday party crowd. I found an overly aggressive $5-10 6 max table (these tables will be the end of me), and promply won 15 big bets in 11 hands. This is why these games are so good: I flop 2 pair and overly aggressive guy caps it on the flop. I bet out on the turn, and OAG raises, and I just call. An Ace hits the river, and I figure he paired his Ace kicker, so I check, he bets, and I call. He turns over KT for top pair, decent kicker, with no draw on the board, and I rake in the 12 BB pot. A couple hands later, I take my 77 to the river with a flush on the board, as OAG raises me, and bet into me the whole way. I check and call, and he turns over Q4 for bottom pair, after 3 betting the flop. No wonder Davidross has destroyed these games and Grubby lives in a Party 6 max seat. It just takes 1 overaggressive player to make your day.
So 1 week of triple $3-6 and last nights quick $5-10 romp left me at just under 1K profit, over 13 BB/100. I know I’m running hot, but I’ll take it after the brutal beatings I took last Saturday on the $5-10 shorthanded games.
PartyPoker Ramblings
I suspect Monday night is the biggest PartyPoker night (43K players tonight) because all of the B&M players get home from work too late to get out, so Party is their best option. If I played for a living, I would make sure to max out my hours on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights. Remember that “Monday night is PartyPoker night” and your bankroll will thank you.
I’ll eventually get around to an entire post on B&M vs. online play, but for now here’s a quick reason on why online poker is much more profitable for LOW LIMIT PLAY than B&M play:
1. Multi-table play: playing multiple tables allows you to play against worse players with a much lower variance, since you more than double the number of hands you can play. 2 $3-6 games have a significantly lower variance than a $6-12 game, and the players are usually significantly worse. Thus, between the greater number of hands and the poorer players, your expected value is much higher in the 2 $3-6 games. Think about the difference between 3 $3-6 tables and a single $9-18 table.
2. Rake: in LA, the casinos are just raking the hell out of the players without conscience. In a $6-12 game, they’re taking $5 off the table per hand, or $150 per 30 hands. Party takes a max rake of $3 in a $3-6 game, so you’ve got to win at least 2 or 3 pots more per 30 hands in the B&M than online to achieve the same win rate.
3. Convenience: I posted about this in my last post, but the drive and wait time to get to the B&M really add up. You’re missing out on at least an hour of play just getting to the game.
4. Table Selection: In LA, you sit where they put you. Yes, a lot of B&M players are regulars, but online you have the capability of taking detailed notes on each player (thanks Pokertracker). I’d much rather have a choice between dozens of tables than be placed at a table that may be full of solid players.
5. Player skill: At the $6-12 level, most of the players I face are decent players. There are plenty of calling stations, but for some reason there tend to be less over-aggressive players at the B&M. Maybe it’s the potential embarrassment of losing in front of 10 other people, but you don’t see people capping the flop or turn without a huge hand (exception: the occasional maniac and the wild weekend table). It is rare that you’ll be re-raised without the other player holding the nuts. In the somewhat frequent case where the entire table is on tilt, the battle against the schooling fish will have your bankroll hurting as you’re drawn out on 6 or 7 times out of 10. At 30 hands an hour, it only takes a few of these suckouts to put you in a bad way. It’s true that the average B&M player is considerably looser than the online player (you don’t come all the way to the casino to fold), but often this leads to schooling, which is tough to overcome (see my previous post regarding this for more about this).
So there are my top 5 reasons on why online play is significantly more profitable than B&M play for low limit games (up to $6-12 I’d say). Of course, live play is much more fun than online play, but if profit is your main concern, stick to the pixels.
A couple of shout outs
Thanks to Felicia, who directed me to for a good deal on Doyle’s “Poker Wisdom of a Champion”. The guy willed himself to health after cancer took over his body and doctors said he had a 10% chance to survive. I can’t wait to read it.
A long overdue thanks goes out to the mighty Boy Genius, who continues to pump out thousands of words per day. I haven’t hit BG’s blog for a couple days, and now I’ve got pore over pages and pages of posts to catch up. I can’t wait to hear his brother’s take on the LA poker (and horses) scene– hopefully my poker tour-guide advice results in a few racks. BG, if your head doesn’t explode when your trifecta is coming in at the same time as you’re dealt pocket aces, the futon is yours…
And my post isn’t complete without the daily shout out to 6pac. I know, I know, enough already, but the guy continues to churn out great posts and keeps on bringing hordes of new readers to us blue-collar bloggers.
Thanks for making it this far. 95 degrees in the city of angels, I forgot how hot this damn city gets. You can keep your lamborghinis, your Sharon Stone sightings at lunch. I gotta get back east, where people actually read books and don’t spend their life savings on their car…