Mar. 14th, 2008

peterbirks: (Default)
A fortnightly report of the travails faced by a poker-player trying to improve his "earn".

After trucking in at $30 an hour for the first 27 days of February, I mopved up to $200 buy-in, and added a quick couple of buy-ins to the profit, pushing me to $35 an hour for the month.

Since then, it's been a struggle. I'm up (just) for March, although I'm $200 down in open play. I really feel that I have a handle on the 8-handed tables and that I have just been running badly. And I'm still $200 up at the 8-handed tables for the month. However, overall, my win rate at $200 is less than half that of $100, meaning that I've gained extra volatility for less absiolulte return. Not good. The only compensation is far higher rakeback.

But, once you get to this level, you have to accept that there are more opportunities at 6-handed than elsewhere. Or at least, so I thought. I'm not so sure of this any more. I've certainly found the 6-handed much tougher to play, and I'm down $400 over a few thousand hands. And, unlike the 8-handed tables, I don't feel that I'm running bad. I feel that I'm getting outplayed.

This, I felt, shouldn't be. Many times I've been told that the 6-handed tables are softer. Well, maybe they are, for a certain type of player. Or maybe I'm just not used to the way the opposition is playing.

I'm persevering, but I'm not sure that I am right so to do. Every year I seem to have one game that I venture into, because I have been told how soft it is, only to get slaughtered. Omaha 8ob, Royal Hold'em, PLO (although in the last case I should have just stuck to $100 buy-ins -- I think it was the stake level rather than the game that killed me there).

I suspect that most poker players are like maths teachers -- not too hot on the empathy stakes. They know what works for them, but are very bad at putting themselves inside the heads of people who think in a different way.

But, are the 6-handed games really 'softer'? Sure, people are more likely to call you, but that's only of use to you if you are good at playing to the river and a fine judge of certain areas which, to be honest, I'm not that practised at. And, if I walk in at $200 buy-ins, I'm playing people who are specialist short-handed players. There's very little player overlap with the full-ring games. Sure, the occasional fish appears, but a player who sees 60% of flops in a 6-handed game is tougher to beat than the same opponent in a ring game. Yes, the theory is that the player will lose, so you want to be in a game with fewer players against him rather than more (because then there is a greater share for you). All that I know is .. well, it just doesn't seem to work that way for me. Once again, I suspect that part of the reason for this is that I have far less natural "feel" for the game than many of the poker writers. That means I have to go through long learning periods. Once I've gone through those, my strengths at the game (solid BRM, lack of tiltability, and a dislike of action rather than a seeking of it) bear me in good stead when it comes to regular profit. But getting to that point takes me a long time.

I'm not going to move back to $100 buy-ins en bloc, even though the month has been very disappointing so far, because I really do feel in control at 8-handed. But I have grave doubts about the 6-handed theory. Hell, all of the 2+2 posters seem to be playing short-handed rather than ring at the $200 level! That has disturbing implications for my future poker playing and possible moves up to higher stakes, and might entail some serious analysis of hands to see where I am going wrong.

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