Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Thursday, May 18, 2006

On limit and on variance

Quick hits here. Check out my new banner for, courtesy of the lovely and talented Shelly. Email me or Shelly if you want one. With Bobby silenced, the rest of us can do a little bit to pick up the slack that way. Jason’s carrying the torch in a big way, but I’ll do what I can.

I’m still cruising along at Sun Poker, playing well above my bankroll at 2/4, but being fairly successful. Pokershare has taken an ugly ride on the variance train for me this week, with Jordan getting to witness me suck out a straight on the river against an incredibly passively played middle set, then get re-sucked by a rivered boat. Long term, I want that guy to just call me down with my pot-sized bet on the turn, but I really don’t want him to catch his river. In his defense, my straight was a two-gapper (leave me alone, I was BB in a limped pot and flopped the open-ender) so he probably thought he was still ahead at the turn.

Actually managed to cash out a tiny bit from Stars last night, the first time I’ve had money running in that direction in forever, and after busting down to $35 on FTP, have run that up to $150 with the help of my monthly sponsorship from FTP (bonus code FALSTAFF). The limit players on Full Tilt are just flat-out bad, but bad in a tight-passive way, not bad in a loose-suckout Party Poker way. I still can’t put together any long-term success on Party, clearing a bonus there this month and still managing to finish up down $55.

My style of play (LAA according to PokerTracker) is much more successful at a tight-passive table, because I play a lot of pots, and count on being able to outplay people post-flop. This only works for short sessions, because any player with any brains can catch up to what I’m doing after about 45 minutes, and then they can simply let me do their betting for them and pick me off with their big hands. So I bounce from table to table a lot and count on quick hit and runs rather than a long session with the same folks.

When I vary this is when I play a little higher than normal. I typically play $.50/$1 limit, but when I move up to $1/2 or $2/4 it’s on a site where I’m trying to clear a bonus, and lately that’s been on a smaller site with fewer table options. So I can’t bounce around the way I do at Stars and FTP, so I adopt a more traditional strategy of nut-peddling. I’ve found recently that even when I get really tight and focused on my play, I don’t do well when I play super-tight. My winning sessions are in the VP$IP 28-33% range, much higher than some folks like to roll, but that’s what has been working for me, and my online bankroll is currently higher than it’s ever been. Not that it’s exactly flush, I’m still pushing to crack $1K, but I’m knocking on the door at least, where a couple of months ago I was down to nothing.

So how did I rebuild? The old-fashioned way. I redeposited. I had about $200 dedicated to playing poker at the beginning of this year. So on January 1, I took it all to G-Vegas, and played solidly enough and sucked out HUGE twice (both on Gamecock) to win the thing. For the record, I fended off the suckout powers of the Luckbox heads-up, thereby leaving myself vulnerable to his kryptonite for the rest of 2006. That boosted my live roll up nicely, and the good folks at Full Tilt came on board this here blog as an advertiser, helping that out as well. So I worked my way up live and online to have a combined roll of about $1100 by the end of February, when the wheels fell off and I went broke. It took two months to do it, but by the end of April I was pretty broke. I had also redeposited another $200, and was still broke.

But I had $600 sitting in my little cash box for live play. Great and all, but I pretty much never need more than $200 to play the little games around here, so I took half that cash, stuck it in the bank, and shifted it over to Neteller. Then I took the rest to Merlefest and figured I’d start rebuilding when I got paid off my last design job. So I did. I stuck $200 on FTP and started playing limit, higher than before. I’d been playing the smaller tables, the ones I could “afford.” Remember, I’m playing with discretionary income, so the losses, while painful, do not affect my quality of life other than the wife not being thrilled with me for losing that money instead of buying things for us.

This time around, I jumped up a level. Ill-advised by all sound bankroll management strategies, but effective. My game was not working at $.25/$.50, but was consistently profitable at $.50/$1. Interesting. Wonder if the same thing holds true at NL? And indeed it has, paying me off far more at NL50 and NL100 than I’ve ever managed to clear at NL25. And not just in dollars, but in BB/100 win rates, which is a fairer measure. So this has only been going on for three weeks now, and it is entirely possible that I am riding the positive variance and will soon see a correction down to the levels I should be playing, but really, wouldn’t I rather play higher while variance is on my side and lower when she’s killing me?

And variance is one thing I’m trying to absorb. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that I play a high variance game. Period. I’m going to get in there and mix it up, see a lot of flops and try to force something to develop either with cards or with pure aggression. The next step for me is to realize when it’s not clicking or when a table is no longer good and to run, not walk, away. I’ve recently (last week or so) gotten to where I can feel when I’m in my groove online, when I’m calling the right people down with A8 for my third pair to bust their unpaired AJ, and when to drop my unmatched AK like a hot rock (still having trouble laying down KK in limit, even with the flopped Ace), but I can’t yet get a good handle on when it’s not coming, when it’s not gonna happen and I need to move on. So that table sense is something for me to work on. That, and saving bets when my gut says I’m beat. I’ll trust that gut when it says I’m ahead, but not when it says I’m behind. And when you have a gut like this one, it’s of a size that must be listened to.

Wow, this got long. If you’re still here, go on over to the Internet Live Music Archive and download the String Cheese Incident set from Merlefest 2000, with Sam Bush on Mandolin, it’s got a final song that’s simply an amazing jam.

1 comment:

Shelly said...

Thanks for posting the banner - great idea, btw. Hopefully money will never be one of this little girl's problems. Losing her mother is a big enough tragedy :(