Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Random PM #607

I've always made it my policy to answer any question anyone asks me. Someday that may change, but for now it's how I roll. Here then is a PM I received on 2p2 with a ton of questions, interspersed with some perhaps vaguely useful answers.

Hey jesse thanks. I was looking through google and saw you had a blog called jesse takes a shot.

I'm from the east coast though so the only limit holdem action though that is close to Borgata and Foxwoods. I was primarily an online sng player and did that only as my income before Black Friday. I have played limit holdem but it was small stakes online back like 6 years ago maybe but never bothered to study it much. I had read small stakes holdem maybe 3 times though.

I am very curious about how much can one person who play limit holdem possibly make a year? I spoke to a few people and they told me 1BB per hour was basically not possible in the current condition and most live pros make 0.5BB per hour.

I agree 100%. I think that that's very difficult to make a full bet per hour while playing serious hours. In order to achieve a bet per hour I think you need to game select and quit aggressively when conditions go south, and doing that really cuts into your hours total.

The thing is assuming a player does 40hrs a week and say 0.5BB per hour and say this was 20/40 limit... that means this player would make $20/hr and $800/week. I know most pros will take some vacation time and lets say out of 52 weeks, they play 48 weeks during the year. That woud come out to a bit under 40k pretax. Now assuming it was 40/80 limit... that would be $40/hr x 40 hours= $1600/week. $1600 X 48 weeks = $76800 pretax. Now i know many pros who make a lot of money like those big NL players take a ton of vacation time and play little, so are these estimates for limit holdem way too high?

There is nothing inherently wrong with your math, but hours played per week and weeks played per year are very individual choices. There really is no way to tell how much volume you'll be able to put in until you take the leap and give it a go. From my experience and knowledge of friends' habits, roughing in 2000 hours a year is way too high. 1500 on the other hand is completely reasonable; I booked over 1800 last year. Also remember that the swings associated with being a .5 bet per hour winner are quite large. The 40/80 player you mention will need to withstand $25K downers to make that $75K.

In a 20/40 limit thread, you mentioned that a winning pro would make between $5k-$80000 a year playing 20/40 limit. Is this true? I had assumed someone who played like 40/80 limit for a living would make 100k a year if they were a very good player but it seems like this number is a dream? Also, there has to be players who play 20/40 or 40/80 limit for a living who have had losing years right?

I was making a dramatic point, but I do believe it to be roughly true. The vast majority of "pros" with reasonable win rates at 20/40 will book years in that range. Of course losing years can happen, but if you actually played a game 40 hours a week for an entire year and lost money, the odds of you having a substantial (greater than .5 bets per hour) win rate are extremely long. Regarding making $100K/year playing 40/80, it's possible but extremely difficult. Given that you're asking these questions I'd say you've very likely currently not capable of it. That doesn't mean you couldn't get there, but you probably have a long way to go.

I had spoken to someone who played the 20/40 limit game at borgata for like 9 months and then quit because he hated the live poker life. He did say he made about 37 per hour which was just a bit under 1BB. He told me based on his calcuations, the most a 20/40 limit player could make a year was 75k and when you said this, i know for sure he means that he has to be running very good for the year. Also, not sure if you know this but at borgata, theres like just 1 or 2 tables max during the week only at 20/40 and no 40/80 there unless its the weekend. I read you play in LA where that is the mecca to play limit holdem.

How many hours did he play, and what is the rake structure? The long run is very, very long and few if any players ever see it in live limit hold 'em. By the time you get there so many things have changed (your opponents, the rake structure, your skill level) that in effect you're trying to reach a new long run. People tend to play fewer hours when they're running good (weird but true), so I'd guess your friend played only like 1000 hours; a $37/hour win rate over that time frame sadly means very little. Sure he probably is not a losing player, but that's likely about all we can say. Paging callipygian to do some fancy math....

I was just wondering if you say limit holdem is worth learning? I mean, i played NL at the casino but its just very dry and boring to me especially if you play a TAG game. Someone told me that even though he played 10/20 limit... though hes an older guy he said its very easy to get bored playing live NL because there are so little decisions and you would get bored.

I agree completely; live NL is horrifically slow and boring.

I also spoke to a guy named Barbadar? Do you know who that is? He is a coach apparently from what i saw in his profile here on 2p2. He told me he plays limit holdem for a living but does it online mostly even though he lives in the us so games are not good but does play live sometimes. He also told me live limit holdem is really tough to make a living and that its better to just play at least 2/5NL instead. Would you agree with this?

I assume you mean BigBadBabar, and yes I would definitely agree. To a player just starting out with a SNG background and a likely limited bankroll it makes much more sense to learn and play live no limit, if you could avoid the above implied problem of wanting to kill yourself every time some douche bag tanks for 2 minutes on the turn with a flush draw.

The thing is when i played online before BF... i made mid 5 digits and it wasn't stressful at all since i heavily multitabled sngs and there was fpp i got from stars. I know that in online, its not that hard to make mid 5 figures if you are a decent player espeically when there is fpp which converts into dollars on pokerstars. And many who play a lot of tables can lose 30k a year but then make 100k from Supernova elite for a 70k profit.

You must have been a very good and dedicated SNG player; I can't imagine playing that many of them, but the fact that you apparently did speaks volumes about your potential to succeed at any form of poker.

Also, i was reading your blog and you mentioned you might quit playing soon? Is the limit holdem live really stressful as it sounds in many of your posts? I had spoken to someone and said i thought that life might be fun in a way and that person told me yep thats what they thought first too. Then after 9 months, it felt depressing and thats why he quit.

I am not quitting, but have toyed with it recently. I have other reasonably appealing options available to me, and am probably making a financial mistake by continuing to play. The main problem I have is dealing with all the assholes here in Southern California. So in a nutshell yes it is very stressful; it's not glamorous, it's not even that much fun a lot of the time, and you might get very bored and angry. It has turned me into a horrible person, and done far worse to far better people, so be extremely careful as to how you proceed.

Also, im curious but why didn't you play NL instead of limit? I read a lot of people who do a lot of hours who have winrates of around $35 per hour at 2/5NL. And from what i read, it seems like $35/hr is very hard in limit in at 40/80 limit? Is it because you get extra money on the side as a prop? I read you mentioned you are a prop at the casino so you get like an extra XX amount of dollars per hour? How much do you get by the way? Because i'm thinking if you get $10/hr at the minimum, and make say $30/hr playing, thats pretty decent. But when i look at online players, there are so many who play online and do like 12 tables and easily make $50 per hour after rakeback and they don't have to do the whole live poker where they have to travel, wait for games etc. Would like your thoughts on this if you played online previously.

I play limit because that is what was available in the Bay Area (where I started playing live seriously), because I hate live NL because of the reasons we've already discussed, and because my disposition is better suited to limit. Also limit hold 'em is more fun. $35/hour at 2/5 NL is either extreme run good or preposterously bad opposition, IMHO, but I know nothing so take that with a grain of salt. Propping is an added benefit or I guess option you have as a limit player, although there are NL props, but it had nothing to do with my choice to play limit instead of NL. I won't say exactly how much I make, but the industry standard rate for a prop is usually between .5 and .6 bets per hour (of the highest game propped), and much of that income is usually paid in the form of rake reimbursement (and therefore is not reported). Also I don't know many people who make $50/hour online, at least in the current environment, and I know even fewer who can 12 table for 8 hours a day. When I tried to play online seriously it was hard work for me to 4 table for 2 hours at a stretch. But that said yes.

Sorry if all my questions went over the place. I'm just typing my thoughts/questions as it popped into my head.



that_pope said...

Pretty sure $35 an hour at 3/5 NL is not the top of the earnings potential for a great player.

jesse8888 said...

Seriously? That's just stupefying if it's true. I always assumed that a WR of like 6 bb per 100 (or $30/100 hands) was pretty good, especially in a high rake environment, and that since you play usually 17 or so hands per hour win rates were low. You're talking about a WR of literally 25-30 big blinds per 100; that's possible?

that_pope said...

NL people are usually talking about PtBB...