Friday, September 30, 2011

23 days, 100 SNGs

As I've been telling you, I have recently experimented with a pattern of doing four Bodog single-table sit-and-go tournaments a day, two in the early afternoon and another two before I go to bed. (Sometimes there's an extra one or two thrown in if I feel like it, or if I get knocked out of one extremely early.) I had been doing this for a couple of weeks before it occurred to me that I should probably be keeping track of my results. Nearly all of the SNGs I have done in the past two or three years, prior to this month, were HORSE games on Full Tilt or PokerStars, and the skills for that don't translate very well to no-limit hold'em. I thought that I probably had a lot to learn about optimal strategy, and that a spreadsheet would help me spot problems and successes.

I started on September 8 and just now completed #100. They have all been $5.50 entry fees, ten-handed, non-turbo, paying top three spots 50%, 30%, 20% (i.e., $25, $15, $10).

Results: $550 spent on entering, $665 won, net profit $115, return on investment 1.21.

Broken down by place of finish I get this distribution:

1: 17
2: 10
3: 9
4: 6
5: 12
6: 12
7: 12
8: 12
9: 5
10: 5

I am very pleased that #1 is my most frequent position in which to finish. I also like that I'm pretty good at managing to avoid going out in the first two spots, and that I bubble only rarely. I'm cashing 36% of the time, and when I make the money, I'm just about 50% to take first.

The fifth- and sixth-place finishes are mostly OK. That is, they are disappointing but mostly unavoidable. By that stage of the game, I either have a comfortable stack and can easily make the money or I'm short and have to find a spot to shove, which is just bound to blow up a good percentage of the time. It's still the right way to play.

But the fairly large number of seventh- and eighth-place finishes is an area of potential concern. Talking it over with Cardgrrl a couple of days ago, she suggested keeping notes on how those occur, which I think is an excellent idea. My sense is that most of them are bad beats and coolers, with the decision-making process correct. These are the situations that Shamus aptly calls SIGHs--"so it goes" hands. However, without keeping records on what happened, this might be wishful thinking and/or selective memory on my part.

Looking at the pattern over time, you can see that I struggled some at first, but then seemed to figure out a good formula for winning more consistently:

What I had to learn was to be extremely tight and patient through the first few levels, and to mostly remove bluffing from my repertoire of moves. These games are so filled with horrible calling stations that bluffs just spew chips. Value bet, value bet, value bet.

I hope that now that I seem to have settled into a generally winning approach, my ROI will increase, as that ugly section of early negative results fades into the distance.

Incidentally, I discovered an unexpected psychological phenomenon in myself: Being able to chalk up a first-place finish in my spreadsheet was at least as powerful a motivating factor as the money. I knew I was tracking my results, and that I would end up reporting them here sooner or later. I wanted to have good numbers and a good-looking graph both for my own pleasure and to show my readers. Neither the $5 entry fee nor the $25 top prize mean much to me in terms of my overall poker results. As a result, sometimes it was tempting to shove in marginal situations or make curiosity calls that I knew were most likely losers. In such circumstances, I would have a flash of a thought that the amount of money involved was trivial and didn't matter, but then that would be followed by the sobering realization that I'd have to enter a bad finishing spot in my spreadsheet. That usually cleared my head when the money was insufficiently motivating. I had not expected that to be the case, because winning money has always been virtually my only reason for playing poker. It is, however, another argument for keeping good records.

I have not tracked how many hours I've invested, but I know that it's a dismal hourly win rate overall. That's OK. My goal was to see if I could figure out how to beat the game with reasonable consistency--which I think I have done--then go from there. In order to increase my hourly return, I plan to start doing either three $5 games at a time or two $10 games at a time (probably some of each strategy, alternating by days), and see if I can keep up or even improve my frequency of first-place finishes while doing so.

I'll let you know how the next 100 go with those variations in place.


Anonymous said...

Poker Tracker works with Bodog. It will create a standard hand history for each hand and give you the full run of stats. Considering the uncertain state of US online play, it might not be worth getting if you don't already have it, though.

Anonymous said...

careful grumpy

one of my usa buddies plays bodog and just had a 2k check bounce on him =[

gl with it