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!
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