Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Half Action Stake To Finish Off The Year

It was my birthday Wednesday and I turned 49. Had a very very enjoyable birthday. My landlady took me out to lunch, then I played a couple of single table tournaments at the Wednesday night League game, after that I hung out with my friend Michelle who made the absolute best crock pot of homemade chili I've ever had in my life, and the following day spent some time with my buddy Joseph as we were on a blackjack adventure on the Strip. From Harrah's to New York New York over to Tropicana and down to Circus Circus and all in all a very enjoyable couple of days. 

I started out October playing at the live tournaments and then I decided since October was my birthday month that I was going to spend that month having some fun and I took all the money that I had online and offline and decided to have some fun doing whatever hit me at the time. I played blackjack, slots, some live games during the month both cash and tournaments, food and drink at my league games, roulette, and can definitely say I have a very enjoyable month for my special occasion.
So with my account cleared, I was going to put on a small deposit online and get back to grinding tournaments when my buddy Man in Black suggested perhaps we do another 50% half stake. We each put $150 into it for a $300 total investment and after discussion we decided we would finish up the year on a 50% tournament split. He provides half the money, I do the playing, and we split the profits. You will be able to keep track of the progress for the next two months on the right side of the blog. 

Earnings in 2016 could have been better than it has been and I'm the first to admit that if I could keep my mouse off the withdrawal button who knows what stakes I would be playing for online and live and what profits at this point, but I've had a blast this year, and I do not regret any of it however here is a rundown of how January through October has gone.

Total earnings:  $1541.71

The break down is as follows. For this purpose Misc Earnings will refer to bonuses, promotion money, and rakeback.

Misc Earnings:  $697
Home Games:  $120
Casino Earnings:  $585.50
Online SNGs:  $53.73
Online MTTs:  $978.45
1/2 Stake Paid Out:  ($272)
Stake Owed Out:  ($15.43)
Online Cash Games($605.54)

I could spend the rest of this year, on into the next, and the next decade trying to decipher why cash games are not successful for me and tournaments are. Unfortunately I've wasted 10 months trying to do that when in the end the answer is unimportant. Obviously, tournaments are my specialty. They were in 2009 and 2010 when I was ranked in the top 3% of over 1.7 million and 1.9 million online players respectively.  Looking at the numbers for this year it is blatantly obvious where my earnings come from and I should have simply accepted that fact 6 months ago or more, but as is usually the case my stubbornness got the better of me, but that is no more. I no longer care why I do so much better in tournaments than I do in cash games although I do have my theories. 

I believe I excel where the highest degree of skill is required and I firmly believe the highest degree of skill is required for tournaments far more than cash games. If a person has enough money in their pocket they can just rebuy and rebuy and rebuy and rebuy again giving them the ability to try over and over and over again especially in the lower limits online, but in a tournament, you screw up with your stack and you're gone, there are no second chances. Yes, there are rebuys and reentries, but even considering that they are limited to a certain time frame. 

You take your typical live $1/$2 cash game. A typical scenario is someone is dealt a small pocket pair even under the gun such as 44. Typically they're going to toss that $2 in the middle to try to see a flop and usually they will call a raise if someone raises behind them unless the raise is too large, and pretty much this is the way it's going to go probably 95% or more  of the time, but you take that same situation in a tournament and there are multiple scenarios. At times you're going to open shove, times you're going to fold it, times you're going to limp, and there are times you're going to raise and each of these circumstances is going to depend on a variety of factors such as what are the blinds, what is your stack size, where are you in relation to the money bubble, how many big blinds do you have left, and based on that your actions are going to be different in different situations and believe me if you do not know how to react under different circumstances in different situations in a tournament, you might as well just mail your entry fee in as a donation. There's so much more to think about than tossing a couple of dollars into the pot.  I can't tell you how many times that I have heard that tournaments are 50% luck. Bullshit!! That is the biggest crock I've ever heard. You do not maintain a respectable ROI over the long term playing tournaments that last three four and five hours or more if you are relying on 50% luck and anyone that would have the nerve to say that is about 10 beers short of a 12-pack. 

So this half action stake or half action sell off or whatever the hell you want to call it that me and Man In Black are involved in actually got started on October 28th and we'll go from October 28th till December 31st. Hopefully over the two months and 4 days this covers I will be able to make us a respectable amount of money. That is not to say that things have exactly started out like a house on fire. 27 tournaments and only three in the money finishes. The earnings are only $30 and the ROI is 31% which is below expectation for me as in 2016 after 542 tournaments played my current ROI is 45.17% . I know 31% is not horrendous and I also know that the ROI is the bottom line in tournament play, but only finishing in the money 3 times in 27 tells me I am currently running below expectation. The 55 minute $3 Deepstack Rebuys I am running cold as ice in and have gone 0 for 10 and am really struggling in. Been knocked out by opponents hitting 2 outers in at least three of them and runner-runner flush in another three, but that's poker and I know I am overdue for at least a couple deep runs in these soon. The 85 minute $3 Deepstack Rebuys I am 1 for 3 with a fourth-place finish in the $800 guaranteed that was worth a $94 payout, but another area I am running a bit chilled in is the freezeout tournaments in which I have only gone 2 for 13 and am currently losing ($0.44) in these and that is very unusual to say the least. My struggles specifically are coming in the $5 buyins. 

Beginning in November which technically speaking it is now my first tournament of the day starts at 8 a.m. and my last tournament starts at 7:30pm, but if I run deep in that one I will toss in the 11 p.m. $5 NLH freezeout.  I am no longer trying to do this each and every day, 7 days a week and am taking Wednesdays and Thursdays off. Those are the days I play in my NPL League games and also a couple of days a week it gives me the opportunity to sleep late.

The area on the right side of the blog where I keep track of my current bankroll I am only listing 50% of what my actual account balance is because since I am in a 50% stake the remainder belongs to Man in Black so to save time I am only listing the as the current bankroll what actually belongs to me however twice that amount is available for tournament play. When the available balance is $350 I may start tossing in the 930pm $5 Deepstack Rebuy, but that has a habit of not getting the minimum players needed and when the available balance is $400 I am going to start tossing in a $20 Deepstack Freezeout here and there. 

As far as my current goals go the very first one of which is to keep the damn mouse off the withdraw button. I have earned $1,541 this year playing both Casino poker, online poker, and home games and every dime of it got spent. I don't really regret it because I've had a lot of fun this year, but I'm certainly not going to reach my monetary goals by going out, having fun, and spending money. My current monetary goal is $2,000 which will give me a full month's worth of tournaments at Sam's Town and then I will reevaluate after that month is over, see what the earnings are or consequently what the losses are and judge from that point if I need to grind online for a larger starting bankroll or if I can continue on under the current circumstances, but for awhile I will be grinding online again to build up that $2,000.

Well that's a wrap. Only going to get about 4 hours sleep tonight if I'm lucky so it will definitely be a caffeine pill kind of day tomorrow, but will be able to sleep in the following two days. Let's hope I can start running at least to expectation extraordinarily soon. Take care everyone and I'll see you at the tables.

Bankroll:  $165.43
Goal:  $2000
Progress:  8%


  1. First of all, glad to see your post. I was wondering if you were ok since it had been a long time from your last post.

    I do believe there are some different skills required for one to be successful at tourneys versus cash games, aside from the core poker skills common to both. But did you really just said you are successful in tourneys because it is a more complicated game and requires more skills? You sound like one of those guys that say they can't win because their opponents are too terribly at poker, they need to play against good players that will respect their raises.

    You know what the players who keep on rebuying are called? ATMs. Their rebuys don't just disappear, they end up in other people's stacks.

    I am sorry to say this, but most of the time when one play tourneys, one is playing short stack poker and short stack poker is easier. The part that is trickier is adjusting strategy as the avg stacks go from deep to shallow. Their are other differences too, but I think this is the one major biggest factor.

    1. Yeah I tripped over that too. Deep-stacked poker is more complicated and nuanced. That's universally accepted.

    2. One of the cash games that I play is routinely 250-400BB effective, and it's a very difficult game due in part, I think, to fewer all-in/fold decisions. At <100BB in 4-bet preflop, a call means the flop is generally an all-in scenario, vs at 300BBs, there's still a lot of play left.

      Personally, I love the live cash players who sit down with 50BBs and will shove flops with any pair, lose, and rebuy for 50BBs. Easy money!