After years of being a tournament player, after moving to Las Vegas and attempting to grind tournaments in a live setting, after putting money on wsop.com in order to try to grind the selection of tournaments there, I have made the decision to make the transition to a no limit cash game player permanently. Yesterday was day 1 of the transition.
I am not eliminating tournaments completely, but I will not play them online any longer except for the weekly $500 freeroll on wsop and any other decent prize pool freerolls they may have and aside from that only live tournaments will be played and the tournaments that I do play are going to have to meet certain criteria. when Alysia Chang staked me to that tournament at the Orleans a couple of weeks ago she didn't realize it, but she set in motion a change in me that I can never return from. That tournament was a $125 buy in, first place was over $4,900, and most importantly it had 30 minutes blinds. I loved every moment of the experience with the exception of not cashing for her, but I loved the structure, I loved the time of the blind levels, I pretty much love everything about it and from that moment on I knew whenever I play a tournament here in Las Vegas it's got to have 30 minute blind levels, or because of cost concerns and I have to do a tournament that has 20 minute blind levels the starting stack size is going to have to be at least $10k, a good sized field to make the payouts worth the time invested, and a decent structure.
With this in mind and looking over poker Atlas as I often do any tournaments that I play in Las Vegas in an attempt to build towards the $10,000 are going to have to be, from what I can tell, a minimum buyin of $65. It definitely gives me options, but I'm going to have to take a day where I go to the different casinos and get a copy of their structure sheet to see just which is going to be the best. Binions has an $80 one with $15k starting stack. Planet Hollywood has an $80 tournament with a $1.5k guaranteed but it says first place gets a thousand and second place gets $500 does this mean they only pay two spots for their $1500 I'm not quite sure of that. The Rio has a nice tournament only $60 but they start their blinds at 100/200 so no thanks. Treasure Island has 2 tournaments a day with a 12k starting stack at $75, but I have been told that their structure is pretty bad. Golden Nugget has 2 tournaments a day at $65 with a $10k starting stack. The Orleans has a $75 tournament with a 10k starting stack, but would have to check the structure sheet to make sure its the same as their Friday night $125 buyin tournament and finally The Mirage has a $65 $10k starting stack tournament. As I said I'm just going to have to go around to the different casinos one of these mornings and get structure sheets from each of them to see just exactly what's what.
So what caused the transition to me making the decision was a variety of things. The absolutely horrendous experience I had been running to in online tournaments was definitely part of it but I had stated before that I would like to be able to grind $1/$2 live no limit cash games eventually. As a matter of fact Pokerdogg and I have some comments going back and forth where I asked from his experience certain questions about bankroll. While it's true that tournaments can offer large sums all at once is also true that you can go many games, days, weeks, months without so much as a final table appearance. Cash games are going to be a more steady climb, a more steady income.
In Las Vegas cash game players get the perks and can make a mint in comps depending on where they play and tournament players get squadoosh as Norman Chad is so often fond of saying. I will also admit the 1400 big blinds won in under a thousand hands open my eyes significantly. Yes I know that's a rarity even at $2NL, but just considering the possibility that if that had been on a $1/$2 live cash game it would have been $2,800. Now the only thing I have to do is work my way up the ladder and prove myself at each level and this evening just before 6 p.m. I begin that transition, but instead of $2NL, I decided to make my beginnings at $10NL with a $118 dollar bankroll.
Yes, I know it's only 11.8 buyins, yes I know I'm under rolled for that level, and yes I'm willing to take the chance and for more than one reason. The first is that playing for pennies I'm extremely bored, I can't help it, I just can't continue to play for pots that are $0.18. The second reason is that $10NL on wsop generate significantly more points then do the $2NL games and that's understandable considering the stakes are five times higher but the reason the points are significant is I have $120 in bonus money waiting for me. I'm not even sure when it expires, but for every 100 points I earn I get $10 in bonus cash and I just can't clear it playing $2NL. The bare minimum would have to be $10NL so for the reasons stated above I'm willing to make this attempt under rolled.
I played about two and a half hours tonight maybe a little more before I decided to call it a night and had a fluctuating session specifically on one table in particular, but ended up over 2 buyins, a $23.04 profit in 651 hands mostly 4 tabling. That brings the bankroll to just over $141 which for me means 14 buyins. Not perfect but better than 10.8. Hopefully I can continue on an upward trend and get the bank roll to where it needs to be to play this level comfortably. speaking of playing levels comfortably herein lies a problem. In order to grind $1/$2 or $1/$3 live no limit cash games I need a bankroll of $10,000. That's based on 30 buyins of the $300 maximum table limit most of the poker rooms here in Vegas have. Actually 30 buyins comes to $9,000 so let's just say another $1,000 in expenses and round things off to an even $10k. How in the name of Christ am I going to get my hands on $10,000.
Believe it or not it can be done grinding cash games online and it can be done in 1 year, but many things would have to happen to pull it off. I would have to grind a minimum 1000 hands a day each and every day or average it out to that, I would have to achieve and maintain an earn rate of 10 big blinds per 100 hands played overall through all levels and I would have to be successful at each and every level and not be forced to drop levels because of bankroll management rules which I will adhere to religiously. I know what you're thinking. This coming from the guy grinding $10NL with less than 11 buyins starting out and I would not blame you if you are thinking this because let's face it, it's fact, but considering this is one of the two lowest levels on this site and also considering that I should be able to reload come December if necessary at this point it's a reasonable risk.
Taking this one step at a time the first thing I have to do is see what's available and how many of it is available. Seeing that today was Tuesday which is typically the slowest day of the week I figure this is a good indication of the minimum available to me on the site. By noon time there were at least two tables of $10NL, $20NL, and $50NL available. This works for me as I do not want to play online higher than $50NL because quite frankly I don't want to keep that much online. $1,500 available online to play $50NL is more than sufficient.
There are no time frames involved in this process it is simply hands played. Assuming I can achieve and maintain a 10bb/100 earn rate how many hands do I need to play to get me to the next level. The $118 that I started the transition with will eventually be withdrawn and this grind will be completed with nothing but poker earnings at the cash games. With that said, I need $600 to play $20NL and $1500 to play $50NL and $10k to make the switch to $1/$2 live. If the 10bb/100 earn rate can be maintained and achieved, I need to play 60,000 hands at $10NL, 45,000 hands at $20NL, and 85,000 hands at $50NL. How long that will take is completely up to me. It will depend on how many days off from poker I take, how many hands per day I play, it's all on me. The more time and dedication I put into this the faster it will be. Believe it or not in a perfect world it could be as quick as 190 playing days, however the world is so damn perfect.
Day 2 started out poorly. Down 3 full buyins in the first 400 hands played the loss increase to 4.5 vines after 600 hands. Two flushes that got beat by higher flushes and AA and KK getting cracked all led to this. Not a good thing especially when you consider I do not have a lot of buyins just yet to work with. I started with 10.8, increased it to 14 after the short session on day one and after the first 600 hands I had less than 10 buyins in my little bankroll. However, variance being what it is I knew the only solution was to play through it. After about 940 hands I had picked up half of buyin back but was still down 4 full buyins. On a good note I noticed that 1000 hands was going to take me 4 hours or less to play so I quickly realized that that the thousand hand minimum that I'm looking for each day should be easily obtainable especially if I'm putting in 8 or 10 hour sessions with short dinner breaks that is provided these small bankroll. I'm starting out with can compensate for the swings and variance.
I was down $45 at my lowest point after about 900 hands. The session went just over 2000 hands and in the next 1100 hands earned back 2.5 buyins so the day was a $20 loss. After 2600 hands I'm only up a couple of bucks but the first 900 hands were brutal. AA and KK cracked a combined 4-5 times and had to lay down AA another time. Had 3 or 4 flushes beaten by higher flushes, it was painful to watch never mind to play through lol. I'm going to shoot for another 10 hours tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. And hopefully with the breaks that I take I'll get close to the same volume that I did today.
On a final note I received an email from somebody I will call "Alan", not his real name. He has a Spanish Website and asked my permission to take some of the entries from my blog and translate them into Spanish articles on his site and for this he is willing to pay me a one time fee of $50 which he said he will send to my PayPal within 48 hours. I agreed to this and feel kind of good that somebody considers my blog highly enough to pay for using some of t. It's a really good feeling more than I can even describe.
Well, that's all for today guys and gals. Tomorrow is another day and I'm hoping the final1100 hands today is the course I can run through the session tomorrow. Take care everyone and I'll see you at the tables.