Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Badblood's Question

BadBlood posed an interesting question the other day - What percentage of your working bankroll would you be willing to risk to play in one single freeze out NLHE tournament?
The responses ranged from 3-10% and most people advocating the lower ranges of that. Sounds like we’ve got a lot of smart bankroll management types out there, and they will likely be much more successful long term poker players than I will.   

Because I’m putting it all on the line.

Pardon the flair for the dramatic, but whattaya expect, it is PokerStage. I have committed to playing in the $1,000 WSOP event on July 10th. I’ve planned vacation time around it, and I’m really excited that the WPBT event falls on the same weekend. I cannot afford to play this event by any sane person’s bankroll management standards.

Now, before I get informed of the insanity of my decisions, I am not by any stretch playing with my mortgage money. When I decided in January that I wanted to play a WSOP event, and wanted to play the cheapest one available, I started working on the logistics. I had, until the unfortunate events of this month, a working bankroll of around $1,000. I have blown through about 40% of that since the beginning of March, so I will be trying to plug leaks and work on lower-variance games for a little while. Those 6-Max NLHE tables are hella fun, but high variance, at least if you’re my kinda donkey. So I started soliciting extra lighting design work.

For those unfamiliar with theatrical work, here’s a little insight into how plays get produced in a small to medium-sized city. Most of the actors are working either for free or for absolute peanuts, the kinda wages that keep grandmothers eating cat food. Directors are usually compensated anywhere in the $1-3,000 range, not a bad bump in the income if you have a “real” job, but not near enough to support yourself or a family if you consider that in the best of times you can direct one show every two months. If you’re a fucking machine. Real people tend to explode after about the third show in a calendar year.

By far the highest hourly wage on a small-market theatrical production is the lighting designer. We typically get the exact same salary as the costume designer and scenic designer, with far less commitment in time. My wife is a costumer, and she begins work long before the first rehearsal with research, digging through stock, etc. Then she is working non-stop through most of the rehearsal process with fittings, alterations, shopping, etc. I attend a couple of production meetings, look over the drawings and renderings from costumer and set designer, then watch at most two rehearsals. Then I go into the theatre, spend a couple of ridiculously long days and nights hanging, focusing and cueing, then spend a few late nights in tech rehearsals. Then I’m done, and I collect my check. I don’t even usually go to strike, that’s the job of the house electrician to pull color and do that crap. So for this work I collect an honorarium (did you know that honorarium is Latin for “I can’t pay you real money or anything approaching a union scale, but please, please, please do this project for me?) ranging from $500 - $1,500. That doesn’t suck as additional income.

So I starting actively soliciting design work to pay for my entry fee, and I found enough work to cover my entry fee, trip, and supplement the bankroll to pay for early qualifiers so that I might not have to throw my entire bankroll onto the table and light it on fire in a quest for a bracelet. So it’s not that I’m really putting my entire bankroll on the line, but I’m avoiding the traditional method of building a bankroll until I can afford the entry fees in favor of just losing my weekends for a couple months to pay for the entry fee. And, since my day job pays enough to cover all the other household bills, I can play this event with “found money.”

I guess if you look at it that way, I’m not really willing to put more than 10-20% of my working bankroll on the line at one time. Heh. And here I thought I was a gambooooler.


Klopzi said...

Just to throw in my two cents...

I'd say you can put any amount of money on the line as long as you don't care about losing it.

Realistically, the chances of making money on an MTT (especially a WSOP MTT) are pretty slim unless you're a tournament expert.

I think someone like Chris Ferguson averages 30% ROI for each tournament that he plays, but he's a tournament poker god.

Chris says that you should never sit with more than 5% of your bankroll. I think he's talking about cash games and not tournament play, but I may be wrong.

Maybe the simplest way to view this question is to ask yourself: How much of my bankroll would I be willing to risk, double or nothing, on a single flip of a coin?

For most people, the odds of winning a coin toss are much better than winning a tournament, but I think it's a valid comparison.

If the money you risk means anything to you, you've lost before the first card's been dealt.

TripJax said...

Good luck Falstaff...I'll be sending you my mojo.

drewspop said...

Sounds like a blast. Enjoy it and best of luck.

Joaquin "The Rooster" Ochoa said...

I will be rooting for you, brother.

GoHogs21 said...

good post boss....I like to read your blog mainly b/c you are on about the same level as me limit wise, although I do read most of the High Stake fuckers too..good luck to you though, and one other thought...RISK IT ALL!