Monday, November 7, 2011

Random PM I Received

From time to time I receive PMs on 2p2 that for lack of a better word are pretty random. They come from all sorts of people, most of whom I've never met, with all levels of experience and understanding of poker and what it means to play the game for a living. I have endeavored to respond to all of them (although I have a "chin up soldier" one that is still owed a response) because well that's just what I should do. People have sought out my opinion, and the least I can do is give it. For some reason I've decided to turn this one into a blog post; I'm not really sure why, but as you know I've been looking for more poker related things to write about so maybe this will work out well. Here's the PM:

Hi Jesse,

I thought you'd be an appropriate person to ask this type of question because
1) I respect you as a human being (never met in RL but judging by your posts / blog)
2) I respect your understanding of poker strategy
3) You have lots of live hours logged (I hope you track results)

So the situation is that I started playing live ~6 months ago when I moved to the US. Before that (and before the BF, obv.) I played online - primarily heads up limit, but also FR. I logged some 150K hands of HUHU at 4.5BB/100 - stakes 3/6 through 15/30 and some 100K hands of FR/6 max at 0.7BB/100 - same stakes. I don't play fully pro, just a side income as I have a day job that pays me well. Basically, anything that pays me less than 40-50$/hour is not worth my time.
Now getting closer to the question: I logged 315 hours over last 6 months, it's roughly 50% 20 and 50% 80 game - some in (Casinos deleted for anonymousness's sake). My result was a loss of $29 per hour. I felt like I was running pretty bad over this entire period (like card dead then a bad setup and then card dead again etc'). But I also realize it can be very subjective. I am seriously thinking now that there's a high likelyhood that I am doing something wrongly and should reconsider my game (including the question if I should play live at all - I don't HAVE to play). Based on my online results, I want to think that I don't suck at poker in general. But would you think that my live results sample is significant enough to draw any conclusions now?
315 hours are 12600 hands or so. I absolutely had like 20K breakeven / slightly lose stretches online but live it takes like eternity in wall clock elapsed time. Thoughts ? What kind of longest break even / losing streak did you have in your live carreer?
Sorry if my questions are a little ill formed, but I think you understand my dilemma.

OK, so let's try to take this step by step. First of all I'm glad my online persona comes off as worthy of at least some modicum of respect, and yes obviously I track my results (anybody who doesn't track results, or even thinks that someone like me might not, maybe isn't thinking about things the right way, but that's not important). Moving right along, you played a ton of HUHU hands and absolutely destroyed it. This obviously shows that you have some talent/skill/work ethic and should be completely capable of beating any of the live games I frequent. However you played a lot of full ring and 6max hands and, while you did win, didn't have nearly as good results. Also, all these hands were played when you lived outside the United States, which lead me to believe you played them on lol Party Poker which from my understanding means all your opponents were borderline retarded (not that most of the people I play against are not, but crushing games on Party just isn't the same as grinding out a big WR in the Stars 5/T 6max games). Also remember that .7 bets per 100 equates to win rate of like .25 bets per hour live.

Your basic questions seem to be "am I doing it wrong" and "should I continue to play"? The second question really needs to be answered by you and you alone. Do you enjoy playing? You are in the ranks of "serious recreational player" right now, logging something like 10-15 hours a week (which I assume means you play like maybe twice during the week for a few hours, then once on the weekend for a longer session), and to be honest the choice to continue or hang 'em up should be based on your goals. Is your goal just to have fun? Are you having fun? Or is your goal to make money, and if so, is it worth the stress of losing to try to make that money?

Next, losing $29/hour doesn't really tell me much when your hours are split between 80 and 20 games. How did you do in each game? If you played 300 hours of 20/40 and lost $9,000, I'd tell you that you're almost certainly doing it wrong. I mean, you could just be running bad, but there is strong evidence that you're missing something in addition to perhaps getting a bit unlucky. However, if you actually lost $1000 playing 20/40 and $8000 playing 80, meaning you're stuck something like 75 bets, it's a fair bit more likely that you're just getting unlucky. Your word choice and the information you presented, however, lead me to believe that you're maybe thinking about this the wrong way. If I were you I'd probably stay out of the 80 until you get your sea legs under you and feel comfortable. And if you feel the same comfort level in the 80 as you do in the 20, well then trust me you're doing something wrong because that just simply shouldn't happen. In the 20 you should know what they have, what they intend to do with it, and how to win the most money almost every single time. In the 80 you should be confused about what's going on in a hand way more often. So in short, the answer is as usual "it depends."

One piece of advice I will give, at least for 20, is that you're probably showing down WAY too much and giving opponents credit for ranges that are WAY wider the ones they actually have throughout entire hands (including preflop). If you were playing 5/T huhu online and all of a sudden end up in a live full ring 20 game, this is only going to be natural (it took La Peste a little while to get used to this, but to my knowledge he is now running roughshod over the LA 20 games like a true boss). But without details, I'm sort of just guessing here.

My advice would be to stay out of the 80 and focus on playing 20 and figuring out the differences between online and live play. There are spots where default online lines quite simply are very large mistakes, and if you're not aware of this you are in fact probably doing it wrong at least to some degree. I'd also caution you against assuming you can make $50/hour playing live poker. I think that $40 is almost a pipe dream in most 20/40 games (if you're not game selecting hard core and I assume you're not because you have a life and just play whenever you can play). I've certainly had stretches like you're describing, especially when mixing stakes, so it's possible your results are just noise. However the evidence suggests that you've probably got some leaks, and it would be a good idea to try and review some hands to see if you can plug them.


Dustin said...

You are right about having to get used to the ranges Jesse. I still give people way too wide of a range. Online kind of stained my brain that way.

that_pope said...

The only ones you have to give large ranges to postflop are the really good players and the true maniacs. Everyone else a turn raise means exactly what it should mean, you are beat.

Captain R said...

For the record, this was not me. I wouldn't have written 1) and 2).

jesse8888 said... mad bro?

Captain R said...

Sorry, I turn misanthropic when I lose EVERY FREAKING DAY for 3 months straight.

Despite all that, I still like your blog, bro.