Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Meaningful Results or Random Walk?

Since making the small game modification I referred to a few posts back, I've now taken a profit at eight of the last nine sessions of 1/2 I've played. And the one losing session was the infamous double runner runner boat episode.

Have I uncovered the keys to the kingdom? I doubt it. (And obviously the answer to that question matters.) Still, it's a pretty interesting turnaround story. But in the meantime, there are some very good reasons to rejoice in the new game experience.

The first, and perhaps compelling, is that my current approach leaves me much more relaxed. I am enjoying playing more than ever. It also allows me some breathing room to "work the table." Last night at Bally's and IP I was able to ham it up something fierce, disarm my opponents, and then sneak up and whack them with the money stick... all while everyone was having a good time. Harmless little ol' me took the profits and everyone was still smiling. One nice man from Alaska even generously "coached" me at IP to help me improve my pre-flop decisions. Wasn't that sweet of him?

I'm now persuaded that it is much easier to make money between 10pm and 5 am than any other seven hour block of time. I don't know whether it's sustainable as a lifestyle, but it's hard to argue with the numbers, as my hourly winrate more than doubled during the late-night period. I have always been a night owl, and I have considerably better mental stamina than average. At that hour, I'm still playing my B+ game, while everyone else is lucky to muster a D game.

I have also have truly learned the lesson of the table change. There is no excuse in Vegas for sitting at a table full of iPod-wearing, sunglass-sporting, grim-faced poker dweebs. I will move at the first opportunity to the table where people are having fun, telling stupid jokes, laughing and flirting with each other, and generally having a grand night out. I am not, by natural inclination, an extravert ~ but if my livelihood is at stake, you bet I'm gonna chat up the people around me. No need to worry about me, sir! I'm just a fun-loving web designer from Washington, DC!

And that's just one reason for another practice I'm starting to take seriously: befriending staff at the ponds where the fish gather. I have now started introducing myself to some floor people and dealers, and soliciting suggestions from them about which tables seem promising. I am genuinely glad to make their acquaintance, and I always treat them with respect and cheerfulness, no matter their level of competence. As a result, there are already a few places here where I am recognized and treated well as a regular. (Which, to be honest, both cracks me up and delights me.) If I lived here, I'd definitely be buying gift cards for some of these folks' birthdays or Christmas or whatever.

I'll be very interested to see if my game tweak plays well at home too. The crowd that shows up at underground games tends to be tougher and more committed to the game and much better informed than the average low-limit casual player. But every time I come back from Vegas I feel like I've learned a whole lot, and it will be interesting to see how it changes my experience in my local games.


Blogger Mad William Flint said...

Being a regular is definitely one of my favorite things. There's nothing quite like getting a conspiratorial nod from a restaurant manager.

Yep. You're definitely one of those "closet extrovert" types.

Just you wait 'enry 'iggins. Just you wait.

9/9/09 7:16 PM  
Blogger matt tag said...

my kingdom to hear details of your adjustment.

9/9/09 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

she started cheking AK on the flop when it whiffs


9/9/09 10:57 PM  
Anonymous joxum said...

How much of the tweak is social and how much is game related?


9/10/09 7:19 AM  
Anonymous astrobel said...

Glad things are going better ! Do you plan to re-visit Vegas at some point next month ??? I will be there October 2nd-24th .

9/10/09 11:16 AM  
Blogger FkCoolers said...

Now you're starting to learn some tricks to improving your hourly profit in live games. Well done.

Table selection and table image can't be stressed enough.

The minute you open your mouth about playing on the internet or how someone should have played a hand you might as well stand up and cash out as soon as you've finished speaking.

A lot of floor people can tell a soft game from a shitty one and knowing your floor people will never hurt your game.

Lastly, I can't agree more regarding the hours you need to play to optimize your win rate which is why I've previously stated you need to give up any semblance of a social live to make your living at live poker.

9/10/09 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what your tweaks were but pleased to hear about your results. Even without changing your game, your conclusions about table changes and the time of day you play make great sense. During my recent visit to Vegas I was seated a few times at tougher than usual tables and decided to end that session and seek greener pastures. Oh, congrats on your high hand that you hit at the same time Grump hit his!


9/10/09 7:23 PM  
Blogger NewinNov said...

I read an article from an online pro that he earns the same amount Friday and Saturday evening as he does Monday-Friday.

9/10/09 9:16 PM  
Anonymous astrobel said...

Dear NewinNov,

That pro is not alone. My Friday-Saturday results are way way way better than the rest of the week combined !!!

9/11/09 5:24 AM  

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