the last couple months have not been good. in fact, april and may have been more or less barren, cashwise. though i feel that my play has improved tremendously in the last six weeks, my bankroll has been decreasing slowly but surely every day. and i have not been able to figure out how to stop the hemorrhaging.
i am well aware that variance is a normal part of a poker player’s career. downturns happen to everyone, particularly to players like me who do not play cash games or spend a lot of time grinding single table sit-and-gos (SnGs). for the present i have chosen to focus on multi-table tournaments (MTTs, for those of you not familiar with poker acronyms) and *some* multi-table sit-and-gos (MTT SnGs). in the big MTT tournaments, there are often thousands of opponents to get through, and it’s usually the top 10% who make it into the money. but making it into the money a few times won’t keep you afloat if you are playing a high volume of tournaments. the minimum cash is usually about 1.5x the buy in for the tournament. so you could buy in a tournament for $10 with 1500 opponents, and make it through 1400 of them to finish in 100th. you would win something like $15. you might have worked for 5 or 6 hours, and then basically just get your money back. whereas top prize on the other hand would be around $3000! the prizes are weighted disproportionately to the top few spots.
i’ve heard various statistics on how often good players should cash – i.e. the percentage of time they make it into the money (ITM) – and 15% seems to be a generally accepted number. i’m ITM 16% now, so i’m right around where i should be! i’m cashing in the correct *percentage* of tournaments that i am playing. the problem is, that lately i keep having these MINIMUM cashes, where i just barely get my buy-in back. and that doesn’t pay for the buy-ins i lose in the other 84% of tournaments i am playing where i DON’T make it to the money. in order to keep my bankroll healthy i need to WIN some of these big tournaments, or at least make it into the top 3 spots.
so i’ve been chugging along, still playing as many tournaments as i can fit into a day, and trying to figure out how to rectify this situation. i think one problem has been that after a large cash in early april i started playing more expensive tournaments regularly, and i need to go back to smaller buy-ins. this downswing has definitely been affecting my outlook, and the last couple months have been sort of emotionally harrowing, but the best players are the ones who can persevere in the face of disappointment after disappointment. it’s very hard to stay positive when you have a day where you get aces cracked three times in a row, or take a bad beat and finish just outside the money in a big tournament. that’s where the champagne comes in i suppose. and the gym. i’m getting (slightly) better at discerning when i am so tilty that i need to just stop playing and go do something else.
i’ve also started lessons with a coach in the last couple weeks (alex outhred) and these have been hugely helpful. i feel stronger than ever; now it is a question of synthesizing all this new knowledge into my own strategy, so that my game becomes profitable once again.
so i guess that’s where i’m at right now. in a bit of rut, but optimistic that i will be out soon. wish me luck!

About thegroupie

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8 Responses to downswing

  1. Dave says:

    Ahhhh this is why I don’t play MTT’s :) – I can barely handle the variance in STTs.
    Good bankroll management will pull you through, that and keep playing your A game, it’ll turn around. Good luck!

    • thegroupie says:

      yes i am DEFINITELY a stickler for bankroll management. my rule of thumb until now has been no more than 2% of bankroll per MTT buy-in, but after this bad streak i’m actually dropping it down to 1% until i can turn things around.

      thx for the comment.. i’m gonna check out your blog :)

  2. Rick says:

    This is amazing! I was wondering what happened to you after graduation. I am in awe.

    • thegroupie says:

      thanks rick!! i’m definitely enjoying life a lot more now that i’m done with school :)

  3. Greg says:

    After reading this, I thought you had read my mind!! I am going thru the exact same thing only I am cashing just a little more than you. But still, it is tough. Hang in there.

    • thegroupie says:

      thanks greg! in the last week i’ve started playing some more sngs to help balance things out. i think it’s been helping a little. but i’m definitely waiting for my UPSWING to come along :)

  4. Hello, groupie.

    We have played in the TPT together ( and I have noticed that you were a very solid player.

    I read the article in the LA Times today. Nice.

    After reading your post here, and looking at your stats, I was just wondering why you are playing on FTP, and not Pokerstars. Or are you?

    IMO, Pokerstars’ MTTs are way better in terms of structure, field and payout. Along with options (many different tournies for all levels).

    I used to play a lot of MTTs before switching to cash. (Deific MTC on Stars)

    How is your bankroll management? My general rule was 100 Buyins for whatever level I was going to play.

    Is yours something similar?

    Also, you should consider playing the cheap satties for $26 tokens, and then using those to play in the bigger Guarantees.

    Just some thoughts. Good luck!

    You are at my table tonight, with position on me….. uh oh

  5. poker camp says:

    Fantastic post, I really look forward to updates from you.

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