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I Love Variance

Since February 16th when I completely changed my table selection I was cruising right along making $340-$350/hr. All was good. That was then. Then there was the last 2 days. On Tuesday I lost $14,637.30 & on Wednesday I lost $10,682.50. I'm pretty sure that Tuesday my single biggest losing day for days in which I didn't play any $1K+ SNGs. I'm pretty damn sure that the 2 days combined are my 2 biggest losing days in a row not playing any $1K+. That put me back to slightly losing pre rakeback for the year. I'm still averaging $256.10/hr since February 16th though so it's not all that bad. I can't say it's not a little scary looking at players like spacegravy & bigjoe2003 on 10,000 to 20,000 breakeven/losing streaks but I don't think either of them table select so I would think that is the biggest factor there.

I've recently been thinking about how silly it is of me to have being the most profitable SNG player pre rakeback as 1 of my goals. It's a very conflicting goal. For one, it's conflicting w/ the main goal of maximizing hourly rate. Since Feb 16th over half of my games have been on Cake. Of those games on Cake about 2/3 of them are super turbos. The profit from super turbos comes mainly from rakeback. I doubt more than a 1 to 2% ROI is sustainable at $100+. However, the rakeback & how quick they are make them extremely profitable overall. That profit doesn't add a lot to sharkscope stats. I wouldn't even be surprised if I make more in rakeback this year than I do gross SNG profit. When you have a goal you should be willing to do things to strive to achieve that goal. I'm certainly not going to sacrifice hourly rate for such a silly thing as being the most profitable SNG player pre rakeback. I'm also not willing to play extra hours to achieve this goal. So what's the point of having it as a goal? I don't think there is one. I think it's just something I'm used to. If there wasn't rakeback then I wouldn't even play super turbos & would play games that are more profitable before rakeback, but that's just not the case so let's scratch this silly goal. It's also extremely hard to repeat w/ so much competition these days. I was the most profitable 6 man SNG player pre rb 2 years in a row. I was ALMOST the most profitable SNG player 2 years in a row but a -$30K Dec 2007 plummeted me from almost a lock to 3rd. Other than myself only Kenny05 was a top 10 repeat from 2007 to 2008. The other players weren't even on the radar 1 year or the other. In fact, I think the only other top 20 repeat from 2007 to 2008 were DDBeast & phatchoy888. The point is that w/ so many good SNG players out there these days & the high variance of the game, it's very difficult to be the most profitable year after year. Maybe I'll still turn out to be the most profitable w/ rakeback (or at least for 6 max) but maybe I won't even come close in that category. I think it's good to be competitive, but becoming too competitive just adds extra stress & is kind of silly. My friend Justin (69madman69) also brought up a great point that being in the public eye also adds extra expectations. Between my blog, sharkscope, & interviews I've become pretty well known to SNG players. I not only have to worry about meeting my own expectations, but also the expectations of everyone else. The point is that it's almost pointless to worry about this kind of stuff. I'm 25 years old. I make a shitload of money. I'm engaged to a wonderful women. I have a great family & friends. I have a sweet house & car. Whether I make $300K or $600K this year isn't that relevant in the big picture. Most people would be thrilled to make the low end of that range, especially for playing a game for a living that many people play for a hobby. Proving haters wrong & living up to fans expectations isn't all that important in the big picture. That said, I am very competitive so it is hard to not think about it at all. However, I think it's important to still have some competitive edge, just not to take it too far especially in a game like poker where things like variance are completely random & out of your control.

I realize that I'm part of the reason why 6 man SNGs have become so tough. 6 mans used to be softer than 9-10 mans. Then people saw how much money players like me & Kenny05 were making & decided to start playing 6 mans. I advertised it on my blog. My sharkscope stats were very public. Now the games are much harder. However, we're much better off now than we were 2 years ago. While the 6 max SNGs have gotten much harder, the volume of players that play them has also multiplied many times over. Games run a lot more at each level & at higher stakes than they did before. In 2006 & early 2007 the highest 6 man SNGs available on the big networks were $119/$121 & the $100s filled extremely slow. Now $500s go off at a decent rate, $1Ks go off, & $100s go off at a very good rate. You can now make just as much money off rakeback as you used to total. I used to spam the chat box asking people to email support to add higher stakes 6 mans. I got Cake to add every level above $120 & also the very popular super turbo format. It's crazy how far 6 man SNGs have come in the last few years.

I'm starting to study cash games a little. In a few years when Paula & I start having kids it would be very convenient to play cash games because you can start & stop whenever you want. I would probably still mix in $180+ SNGs on Cake when I had the time, but having my main game be cash would certainly be easier. If I did this & was successful in cash I'd also probably start up a SNG training site. This is all merely a possibility & far in the future.

I've seen the effect of my table selection entry at the tables. Players who never table selected before are beginning to table select & that's good not only for them, but for the rest of us. I'd recommend telling good players who don't table select to read my entry. While most players who don't table select are simply people who are running above expectation, don't understand variance, are extremely ignorant, & are too arrogant to even consider it, if even 10% of the players listen it will have a large positive effect.

Having a week break to go to AZ in March was nice I have a ton of family there. Me, Paula, my mom, my dad, & oldest brother Jeff went & we stayed at my aunt's. We were talking about going to a Suns game while we were out there but were too lazy to check the schedule. Our 1st day there we finally checked the schedule & they just happened to be playing the Cavs at home that night. Shaq & Lebron are 2 players I wanted to see play live before they retire so it was quite ideal to kill 2 birds w/ 1 stone. We had to pay through the nose since it was the Cavs & it was that day. We got 3 tickets that are usually like $80 each for $500 something. Oh well. Lebron didn't disappoint. At the end of the game my dad made a comment that Lebron & Shaq didn't do much. In reality Lebron had 30 points & a triple double. It's funny when the superstars do these things how it just seems so natural. People just come to expect these things from them & don't even realize how impressive it actually is. While in AZ we went hiking w/ our friend Jeremy (thevosh, voss1313's older bro) who lives in AZ. We also rented a boat & did some other fun things. It was a good break.

After you read an entry I recommend checking back for comments between posts. If you skip the comments section of this blog you're missing a lot of good questions and answers.


Month of March 2009:
Hours played: 141.38
SNG Profit: $20,801.02
Rakeback/Bonuses: $18,828.87
Total Profit from Playing: $39,629.89
Staking: $5,545.65
Total Monthly Profit: $45,175.54

Year of 2009:
Hours played: 461.97
SNG Profit: -$1,173.26
Rakeback/Bonuses: $83,719.13
Total Profit From Playing: $82,545.87
Staking: $14,270.65
Total Yearly Profit: $98,816.52

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( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 2nd, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
yes sir job well done i have been seeing table selecting done as welll even though profitability hasnt increase yet lol we r atleast getting thorugh to people that u must table select honeymoon time soon hhaha ur a nut.....

Apr. 2nd, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
Super Turbos
You know, I was wondering why all the Super Turbos on Cake were 6-max instead of full ring.
Apr. 2nd, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
I really enjoy reading your blog. I learn so much every entry you make, especially putting variance into perspective! -Thanks
Apr. 3rd, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
I have been railing some of your sit and gos on Cake the last couple of days. I was always amazed at your constant agression in the late game. It seemed your opponents would call you light but always be slightly ahead. How much of this little downswing is running bad (variance) as opposed to opponents adjusting to your pre-flop pushing range. Can you define for me what running bad means to you? Specifically as it relates to the end game.
I should say I am no expert at sit and gos and envy your reusults :)
Apr. 3rd, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)
Re: Variance
I doubt much of it has to do w/my opponents adjusting to my calling ranges. Most players call pretty terribly. I think it's mostly due to the games being tougher & variance.

Apr. 3rd, 2009 12:43 am (UTC)
I am often baffled why poker players give out free advice. Your in depth discussion on table selection is a perfect example. I have a theory. You're trying to get all the other good players to table select so you are left alone to play all the fish at the higher stakes!!! A ha! :)

Great blog:)


Apr. 3rd, 2009 01:14 am (UTC)
You'll notice I NEVER give out strategy advice. I won't even post a single hand. Advice on table selection & variance isn't going to hurt me. Most of the people who listen to this advice are going to be good players. If bad players had any worried about table selection they probably wouldn't be playing period.

Apr. 3rd, 2009 06:06 am (UTC)
Table Selection
What up Hub,

I liked your piece about table selection. I'm definitely taking that into consideration going forward and I'm sure it will help my results. It's impossible to avoid you on cake though, if I did I'd never get to play.

I put a link to your blog in mine, hope that's ok.

See you on the tables,
Apr. 4th, 2009 12:18 pm (UTC)
Table Selection?

How do you table select? I know you are trying to not play with other really good players. With the number of tables and sites you play, what is your process of table selecting?

Apr. 4th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Table Selection?
As I've said before, I can estimate my ROI based on who is signed up. I have a table selection chart that I've made w/ calculations already done factoring in buy-in, ROI, rakeback, & how long the game takes.

Apr. 9th, 2009 06:16 am (UTC)
your blog is great! it's so insightful and not full of hidden boasts or anything of that sort

Apr. 21st, 2009 11:08 pm (UTC)
Blog Suggestions
Given your record, you really need to market yourself better on your blog. As one of the best SNG players in the world, your blog should really do a better job of marketing you and your skills to a wider audience.

I'd suggest scrapping the cheesy blue background for something readable (dark text on a light background), I'd get rid of the entire header, and I'd add tasteful poker theming throughout.

In other words: hire a web designer with some of that hard-earned gravy and start being as aggressive about your online presence as you are about your poker game.

-A reader.
Apr. 26th, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
My Poker Facebook
I read your blog all the time and I joined this new site call www.mypokerfacebook.com and was wondering if you would join and copy your blogs on that site so more people could see it, I know a few others on the site that reads your blog also. The site is only 3 weeks old and they have around 600 members that I'm sure would like to read your blog also, the site would probably give you your own blog section if you asked. Well hopefully you join because your blog is very good. Thanks
Apr. 29th, 2009 01:43 pm (UTC)
I was wondering what do you use for tracking sngs and the results on cake, as I have searched and didn't find any software that supports cake and naturally i would like to see how many hours i spent at the tables, all in EV etc things you don't get from sharkscope
Apr. 29th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
There is no tracking software for Cake. I don't keep track of all in EV on any site. I just worry about hours, profit, & hourly rate.

Jan. 7th, 2010 10:37 am (UTC)
pokerstars choices for team online pro
Completely unrelated... but I saw the selection for team online pro... I'm sure it came down to the 2+2 forums and people that were actively blogging and even making videos. Most of the players appeared to be pretty active on the forums... There was even a player NICP who was the woman who made it the farthest in the main event this year. She is pretty bad, I can only hope that her MTT game is better. But her husband is a team pro member... hmmmmm (in bitter tone)
I started playing more regular speed games. From a table selection standpoint the games are MUCH SOFTER on stars then the turbos. I've been trying to table select more...and have been killing the cash games in Vegas "particularly at the hard rock" Is cake going to start sending you to the main event and other televised events? It seems silly not to, I mean your skills are certainly there, and a little TV time could make them a boat load more $...and attract some well needed fish to your site. I might start playing on cake again...Everyone and their mother has to go for elite until Feb. or March when they burn out... You know how it is.

shawnden (from fish to decent to ...)
Jan. 8th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
Re: pokerstars choices for team online pro
Yeah I didn't really pay much attention to it cause I figured I wouldn't even accept even if offered anyway, but I had to put in an application & at least see the details of the deal. If I really wanted it bad I probably would have been more active w/ my blog, the forums, etc...

As far as pokerstars making bad players "pros" that's no surprise as they have done this in the past, as have other sites.

Yeah unfortunately people often get things because of who they know & not what they have accomplished.

Cake has to plans to start sending me to televised events or start up a pro team anytime in the near future.

Sometimes cake is soft & sometimes it's just overloaded w/ regs. It all depends who is on. There's a bunch of new regs this year. I'm trying to figure out their skill level for table selection (I've started table selecting on cake but w/ much looser requirements because of my deal) and am pretty sure most/all of them are at least breakeven, which isn't good for the ROI obv.


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )