Friday, January 16, 2015

The thinnest draw of all

When you're a 10% dog, you're drawing thin. When you're a 1% dog, you're drawing super thin. However, my friends and neighbors, when you're a .1% dog, that's the thinnest draw of all. It's when your only hope is running cards, and only two cards fit the bill. To win, you must hit one of them on the turn, and the other on the river; the order doesn't matter. When you're heads up after the flop, there are 990 ways the turn and river can play out, ignoring order. The thinnest draw of all is when only one of those ways enables you to win. That's precisely what happened to me last night, on hand 86 of the sit and go 8-game I played. I was dealt 6s Kc, and the flop came Ks 2h 6d. The game at the time was limit hold'em, and I bet it heavily all the way down the line. Imagine my shock when my opponent turned over Kd Kh. To win the hand, I would have needed to hit running sixes on the turn and the river. I was a .1% dog after the flop, and was drawing dead after the turn. My opponent had the good grace to remark "tough one"; I replied, "a bit of a cooler, I'll allow :-)"

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

 45000      5000           6        92     3        0


delta: $-50,000
sit and go balance: $1,595,950
balance: $9,557,230

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sit and go profit potential

When I last quit playing sit and gos, I did so because I saw no profit potential in them. I lamented the exorbitant increase in the entry fees PokerStars was charging, since that's what turned sit and gos from a winning proposition into a losing one for me. However, I failed to analyze the profit potential of 8-game sit and gos on their own, and that was a mistake. Based on the small data sample I have so far, 8-game sit and gos have a long term profit potential for me, even with the exorbitant entry fees. Here are my 8-game sit and go place counts so far:

place   count(*)
1           9
2          11
3           6
4           3
5           6
6           2


If I had played every one of these tournaments at the old buy in $50,000 / entry fee $800 structure, I would have made a profit of $1,030,400. If I had played every one of them at the new buy in $45,000 / entry fee $5,000 structure, I would have made a profit of $769,000. As it is, I've played a mixture of structures, including some at much lower stakes, so my actual profit so far is only $421,610. There are two huge takeaways from this analysis:

1. when I play sit and gos, I must only play 8-game ones
2. when I play sit and gos, I must try to play them at the higher stakes

#2 is easier said than done. The lower stakes tables fill up much more quickly; it sometimes takes an hour or more for a higher stakes table to fill up. Last night, I didn't have time to wait around for a higher stakes table.

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

   900       100           6       123     1     3510


delta: $2,510
sit and go balance: $1,645,950
balance: $9,607,230

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bubble Boy

Lately, I've been gravitating back to sit and gos from MTTs, for the simple reason that sit and gos are going on all the time, whereas MTTs run on a set schedule. It's like the difference between taking a taxi and taking a train. Since I can't predict when my time will free up to play poker, the sit and go option is the better one for me.

Every so often, it's good to take stock of how well or poorly I'm doing in sit and gos. Here are my current place counts:

place     count(*)
1           111
2           123
3           126
4           110
5            91
6            64


As you can see, my most frequent result is barely missing the money; just call me Bubble Boy :-)

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

   900       100           6       148     2     1890


delta: $890
sit and go balance: $1,643,440
balance: $9,604,720

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

IG;WS

The title of this post is a snowclone instance. The snowclone template it uses is XX;YY. The canonical instance which uses this template is TL;DR. TL;DR is shorthand for "Too Long; Didn't Read". IG;WS is my shorthand for "In Good; Went South", which in turn is short for "I got my money in good, but the hand went south on me" :-) That's precisely what happened on the final hand of the sit and go 8-game I entered last night. Getting your money in good has two prerequisites:

1. you go all in
2. you're a significant favorite to win

On last night's final hand, a PLO one, I got the money in good after flopping a set of aces. I was a 60.12% favorite after the flop, and a 72.50% favorite after the turn. However, my opponent hit his flush on the river, and I bubbled in third place.

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

   900       100           6        68     3        0


delta: $-1,000
sit and go balance: $1,642,550
balance: $9,603,830

Monday, January 12, 2015

A chip and a chair

This is the second time I've used this title; the first was on October 27, 2011. I included a reference in that post, and I'll do the same here:

An old poker adage says that all you need to win is a chip and a chair, especially since Jack “Treetop” Straus pulled off this feat in the '82 championship.

James McManus, "Positively Fifth Street"


On Friday night, I came very close to pulling off this feat myself. When I got slaughtered very early on in my nightly MTT 8-game, I decided to enter a sit and go 8-game instead of waiting around two hours for the next MTT. Playing aggressively, I was able to get to heads up with a nice chip advantage. Things started to go south from there, however, and I got severely short stacked. On hand 161, I had just 350 of the 9,000 chips in play, which is a mere 3.89%. At this point, the small blind was $250 and the big blind was $500. So I had barely more than one small blind, which is close enough to the proverbial chip for government work. Improbably, I ended up winning. I was sure this was the best comeback of my sit and go career, but actually it only makes it to #7, judging by percentage of chips in play at the nadir (of course, the percentage of chips in play at the zenith is always 100). Here are the top 10:

 0.0133 (        40       3000) 2014/0306/d hand4
 0.0317 (       190       6000) 2012/1011/b hand52
 0.0342 (       205       6000) 2012/0824/f hand16
 0.0347 (       104       3000) 2014/0314/d hand13
 0.0380 (       114       3000) 2014/0313/g hand19
 0.0383 (       230       6000) 2012/0824/e hand41
 0.0389 (       350       9000) 2015/0109/b hand161
 0.0450 (       270       6000) 2012/0830/d hand27
 0.0475 (       285       6000) 2012/0818/i hand17
 0.0483 (       290       6000) 2012/1031/b hand24


Note that I came back to win in all these dire scenarios.

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

  4500       500           6        21    54        0
   900       100           6       182     1     3510


delta: $-2,490
balance: $9,604,830

Friday, January 9, 2015

The usual suspects

Not surprisingly, I'm becoming aware of the PokerStars screen names of the players who do well in MTT 8-games, and hope they're becoming aware of mine. It's encouraging to realize that no player, no matter how good, is spared the roller coast nature of tournament play. I've been in first place several times before in a tournament, but it's super tough to stay up there. Well nigh impossible, in fact. As long as I can keep making the money in half the tournaments I enter, though, I'll continue to be one of the usual suspects :-)

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

  4500       500           6        63    41        0


delta: $-5,000
MTT 8-game balance: $112,290
balance: $9,607,320

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Another lossy win

Last night, for the second time in my MTT 8-game career, I made the money but still ended up losing money. In data compression, a "lossy" algorithm is one which loses some information from the original, so that when the compressed file is expanded again, it's not exactly the same. Typically, lossy algorithms are used on images or video, since the lost information is often not detectable by the human eye. Applying this concept to poker tournaments, a "lossy" win is when you make the money but your winnings don't cover the sum of your buy in and your entry fee :-) Unlike lossy compression, however, that difference is indeed visible to the naked eye.

buy_in entry_fee num_players num_hands place winnings

  4500       500           6       114    13     4790


delta: $-210
MTT 8-game balance: $117,290
balance: $9,612,320