Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Hello Strangers

Sorry it's been a while. :)

First off, I'm very appreciative for all of the comments and e-mails that I received after my last post about my Dad passing away.

It was pretty devastating when I received the news from my mother. I was out in Vegas and had been up for two days at the time. We had gone out on the Friday night and carried on all the way through to the Saturday night; when we went to the Calzaghe Vs Hopkins bout. I finally got in around 5am on the Sunday morning which is when I received the phone call from my mum. I think the fact that I was so exhausted and drunk made the news even harder to deal with at the time. I have never cried so much.

Everything went very smoothly back in England. The funeral went very well, and our family, and extended family, has become even closer as a result.

When I returned to poker around the middle of May I decided to move my action over to Pokerstars. It's hard to believe just how poor the service was that I was receiving from Full Tilt Poker. I was bringing in well over $150,000 a year to them in rake yet they couldn't be bothered to reply to my e-mails. And if they did eventually respond then it was some generic response informing me how I could earn an extra $25 by introducing a friend to the site. I mean, what the fuck is that all about!?

I use my eldest daughters name (Narena) on Full Tilt. On Stars I use my yougest's, MeleaB.

I only had about $200 - $300 in my Pokerstars account. I didn't want to re-deposit, and I didn't want to play lower than 200NL (I never have done, other than a few hands of 100NL when there weren't enough tables running of 200NL at Full Tilt on the odd occasion during the early hours.) So I bought in short at 200NL on about half a dozen tables until I had enough to open up a few more tables. Then I opened up some 400NL until I soon had several hundred dollars, and enough to play some tables full stacked.

By the middle of June I had reached Supernova Status, and I began to wonder how viable it would be to attempt SNE status. I kept detailed daily notes of my poker P&L and VPP earnings so it wasn't hard to project what rate I was going to have to maintain through until the end of the year. I was used to playing 6-7 hours a day anyway, but I was going to have to increase that rate for nearly 6 months.

On Full Tilt, I ran at 2.75ptBB/100 (5.5BB/100) over a sample of about 2,000,000 hands playing the max number of tables (12, then 16 when they increased the cap.) Now, I have no problem playing 24 tables on Pokerstars but it does take it's toll when you have to average around 10 hours a day! There were two or three days early on where I had to question whether it was likely that I would reach SNE. After considering all the factors each time (e.g. time commitment Vs reward) I decided that it was worth the effort.

However, in order to be able to maintain the pace I needed I decided to switch from full-stacking to experiment with short-stacking. Despite a significantly lower win-rate while short-stacking it did enable me to complete the required number of VPPs each day. When I was fresh I would revert back to full-stacking, and I would never rathole, so often my long sessions started as short-stacking but finished as full-stacks on many of the tables.

I played 1,380,000+ hands (11,400/day) (620k VPPs) during the last 4 months. I only made around $9,000 in winnings but I still made $62,000 during that time with bonuses, plus the pro rata portion of SNE tournamnet value and increased 2009 earnings (due to the increased FPP multiple.) shows me as break-even during this period, although they only have around 80% of my hands mined:

Here are my results for the six full months on Stars:

Jun-2008 $22,387
Jul-2008 $15,143
Aug-2008 $10,750
Sep-2008 $15,091
Oct-2008 $20,275
Nov-2008 $12,393
Dec-2008 $14,017

+ tournament entries (WCOOP + Monte Carlo Package) worth around $20k or so.

Having played many hands while short-stacking during these last few months, my conclusions on this "controversial" topic are:

*It really isn't possible to have a win-rate too much higher than break-even at 200NL (before bonuses) simply because of the rake. If a full-stacker wins a $400 pot, he pays $3 in rake; just 0.75%. Whereas if a short-stacker wins five pots of $80 then he pays $15 in rake; 3.75%. Obviously full-stacker win smaller pots too, but this increased rake fee (in terms of a percentage of the pot) is significantly more for short-stackers. Obviously as you increase in stakes (400NL and above) then this becomes less of a factor due to the cap of the $3 rake. If I was to have to repeat my SNE quest in such a short time span, then I would probably spend the time at the NL400 tables.

*Most short-stackers at 200Nl are not very good, and most lose a fair bit of money due in part to the high rake that is paid. Despite that, most of the regulars would still see a profit once bonuses are taken into account.

*It's probably the best option for full ring cash players desperately trying to reach SNE status (or some milestone) by the end of the year, rather than playing higher stake limit cash, unfamiliar (to cash players) SnGs, or 6-max cash games. Many good, profitable players took a big hit in the final month or two of the year in their attempt to reach SNE.

*I don't think short-stackers are really anything for people to make a fuss about for the most part. Obviously I'd rather have a fish sitting down with a full stack, and- admittedly- I do find myself mumbling "Fucking useless short stack" when I'm playing with a full stack, but a fish is still a fish. It's better to have him at the table with $40 than for him to be elsewhere. I don't like players that rathole though. It's like playing a game of football, the other team scores first and then they declare "OK. That's the end of the game!"

I decided that I would keep my screen name to myself for the first few weeks while playing on Stars. Later on I decided that I would wait until I made SNE and updated my blog in the new year before I gave out my screen name (not that it's a big deal anyway.) I also started posting as ROM Amnesty (which is an anagram of Smart Money) on the Two Plus Two poker forums.

Going forward I will be playing less hours per day so I intend to play full-stacked 200NL for now. I may step up in stakes at some point, but I've been saying that forever. It's just too easy and comfortable to mindlessly play 10,000+ hands a day where I am. I may also experiment with some short-stacking on NL400 just to see how profitable that can be. (The bonuses alone will be worth around $80 an hour as a SNE.) I also hope to play in Monte Carlo this year, and possibly the WSOP Main Event, but we shall see.

Anyway, all the best to everyone at the tables, and Happy New Year if it's not too late for that!