Poker Road Warrior: Bad Beats, Variance, Steam and Mega Tilt
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Friday, September 29, 2006

Bad Beats, Variance, Steam and Mega Tilt

Lots of bummed friends in the poker world lately. Many of us are frustrated with losses lately. Good (some great) players that are properly rolled for the limits they are playing. ReelCrazy, ConnJure, Headwaiter, Gumby, TajMahal, Titokhan and of course, your hero (

I'm forgetting a few others but you get the idea.

I went on mega tilt last week in 2 different sessions. It's stupid and I know better. Looks like I have a lot to learn. NO SHIT, I have only been playing for about 3 1/2 years. Many are newer to the game than me. We gotta get better, shut off the steam valve and become better players and develop a plan to add to our bankroll even when in a bad rut.

Most are advocating taking breaks in our forum. I've had it with 2 outers and idiots chasing me to the riv is a common cry.

Many of our group only play multi table tourneys or sit n gos. High variance. Often fighting huge fields.

My Solution? idea? plan? Incoherent ramble: Play ring games. Play a level or 2 below what you know you can beat. If you play $100 buyin NL ring play $25 buyin for a week. Instead of playing 2 tables play 3. If you are a one tabler play 2. More tables less variance. Lower limits means worse players. 3 big things you are missing out on in tourneys (and sits) is deposit bonuses, reload bonuses and rakeback.

If you have not seen how much bonus money and rakeback you can make while 3 tabling you might be surprised. Those 6 hours you spent to get 2 outered on the bubble coulda been a 3 tabling session where you made some money and your whole 6 hour investment didnt come down to 1 or 2 HUGE hands. 6 hours to get beat by a guy that has a million reasons why he plays bad. "It was Sooooted", He "just had a feeling" on that gutter.

Lets go with a medium length session and low numbers to be conservative. You drop down to 1/2 limit ring, 6 max. 3 tablin. A 4 hour session where you play 1000 hands. You win at the rate of 1.0 Big Bets per 100 or $20 profit. Your rakeback profit would be about $33 (25%) and your bonus $$ cleared would be $25 (at some sites).

So you made $78 for 4 hrs or $19.50 an hour. If you have a bad session and lose $58 you break even. Note: At No Limit your rake will be about 30% lower. This hourly rate goes up rapidly at each limit/more tables. Also, strong players will have a much higher win rate. 2-3 BB per 100 is not uncommon.

Beat up on these horrible 1/2 players (or whatever level is low for you) for a while then go back to your tourneys. Hit a bad stretch in tourneys? Wash, rinse, repeat. As you improve add a table and move up a level. Many pro ring players can't afford to play tourneys full time! They don't wanna take a pay cut. Todd Brunson is a good example.

If you are struggling in ring and are not mainly a tourney player use the example above but just drop down a level or two. Let the high volume of hands against weak players lower your variance. Always have bonus money and RB to add to your profits or help soften the losses on a bad night.

If you need help getting rakeback or want a plan to always be playing off bonuses let me know. I did it for 2 years.

Grind out some profits when you are struggling. Restore confidence and punish all the new players at the low limit ring games.

Take a break if you need one. If you have done well in Tourney play why not crush low limit ring and take a break later with your BR flush?

When you are playing 1000 hands a day ( you see flop in about 250 hands) there are not any HUGE hands. Just a whole bunch of them. Easy, low stress, and good practice. In that 6 hour tourney you saw maybe 45 flops and 4 of them were huge and maybe 2 were coin flips. No wonder tourney players are getting burned out.

I'm no pro just a strugglin player and i'd love to hear other ideas or plans on getting our crew rollin' again. Forum


At 7:25 AM, Blogger HeadWaiter said...

Steve, I could not agree with this article more. The one thing I have to learn to do which as of yet I have not, is to go back to the lower ranks and dominate and rebuild what a few bad days have cost me at the higher levels.

I definately need to get a bigger monitor for the multi tabling because it gets a little insane on mine right now with windows popping all over the place. I could make that investment back in a week and it's stupid to not just get it.

I also need to get that rakeback going. I checked my numbers for the month and not getting rakeback cost me almost $800 for the month, that is almost a free rent payment! My problem there is that I signed up on all of these major pokersites well before the pokerboom hit and am not eligible and I am having problems getting someone else to sign up for me. I will get that figured out though because to be honest, had I been getting the rake back, I probably would have played more.

I am definately an advocate of taking a few days off. Regardless of if you are winning or losing as sometimes you just need to get away from that screen. I also advocate going and playing live at much higher levels to break up the monotony. As you have stated earlier, the net game is much tougher than the live game. The other factor is that with about only 40 hands being dealth live (if you are lucky) per hour, your risk is much lower so play the higher limit live game and make it happen.

Great blog article Steve and I think you hit the nail on the head here with quite a few of us that are getting clobbered by donks right now.

One more point and I will get off of my soapbox. One thing a lot of us forget, is that those donks may be moving up a level and learning how to play the better game. They are still chip slinging like they were in the 2/4 game or the 3/6 game and have not taken that major hit that will make them stop their bullshit. Hey, we were all that player at one time or another.

I do know that I will get it back but it still stings when you lose a week's hard work in 20 minutes to a bunch of 2 or 3 outers. But as I have said on many an occassion, we chose this life so we have to deal with it.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger GUMBY said...

I've been on a decent run lately. Not huge, but cleared an Empire bonus for $174 for 3 hours work. $80 bonus +94 with free poker chips and 4 free books. Only deposited $400 for the $80. Didn't have the $500 available. Some sites take too long to cash out.

I have cut back on playing lately. Just a personal decision. Still love playing when I can, but I found myself glued to the screen for hours at a time.

What I've tried to do lately is have a few sessions a day. I have a win goal and a loss cutoff. I play until I reach either one or 3 hours, whichever comes first. Then I do some housework, errands, or whatever, then come back and do it again. I only get to play about twice a week now, so looking for good sessions to keep my bankroll growing.

This may or may not work for some of you.

Headwaiter, there must be a site that you have not deposited at yet that allows rakeback. Talk with Sharky about where you can get that, it'll help tremendously.

Ever thought about World Poker Exchange. Its rakefree! Haven't played there, but I think there are restrictions about cashing out. I'd research before depositing.



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