Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tournament Poker on a Short Roll

After I mentioned last week my goal for 2009 to withdraw more money from online poker this year generally, and to keep my balance on all the poker sites lower than I have generally in the past, I received an interesting comment from someone who wanted to understand how I can possibly expect to reach my attain my other goal of continuing to take shots in the $55 buyinand $129 buyin nightly tournaments that I have had the most success in over the past couple of years. It's a good question, and there are a few answers, but I thought I would post my response here so everyone can see my plans.

First and foremost, I have significantly scaled back my poker playing over the past couple of months from what it used to be, and I expect that to continue. That's probably the first and foremost way that I expect to be able to take shots at this level of buyin mtt's and yet not run out of money. It's that simple. Contrary to what some people may believe, I don't play these things every day, and there are plenty of nights where I don't play any of them. And there are also plenty of nights where I cash in these tournaments, and win myself a couple more buyins in so doing. It's nothing I get all excited about and would not even merit a mention here on the blog, but when I play the 50-50 on full tilt for example, run down to 37th place out of 985 runners and then bust for a $200 payout, that $200 might not sound like much compared to what I've won for winning this tournament, but it does translate into four more free buyins to the 50-50 later that week, that month, or whenever. Even the $86 cash for busting in 140th place counts for something -- it basically lets me play the 50-50 again later, plus nearly buy in to another 50-50 after that without having to take hardly anything out of my full tilt account to do it. So by playing less and making all of my mtt cashes count, that is the first way I have found to play on a smaller balance.

I also wanted to address something else that was mentioned in the comments. The commenter last week said that in order to buy in to the 50-50, you should have a balance of at least $2000 on the relevant poker site. Now I have seen numbers like this calculated in a few of the many poker books I have read, and there is merit to them. They are based on math -- tournament expectation, standard deviations of tournament returns and the risk of ruin calculation that results, and in general needing 40 buyins to a particular tournament in order to play it sounds a bit high to me but it's in the ballpark of what I've seen elsewhere. The thing is, those calculations are not referring to your account balance in a particular online poker site; rather, those are referring to how big your bankroll should be in order to be willing to buy in to a certain level mtt. In my case, within reason the bankroll money is not an issue, certainly not when talking about a $50 buyin tournament. I may not have much money currently on full tilt, but I have various ways of getting more money onto the site if and when I so choose. So, while my balance on full tilt may only be, say, $550 today, I could still easily choose to play the 50-50 for a $55 buyin because, even though that sum represents 10% of my current balance at full tilt, it's not 10% of my entire poker bankroll. If I lose a few hundy playing and failing to cash in the 50-50, that's ok. I can just re-fund another $500 into full tilt out of what really is my poker bankroll. So, while I would never recommend that anybody play a tournament that represents a cash buyin of 10% of their entire funds available to play poker, it's not really much different than having 10 grand in the bank but using 10% of the money in your wallet currently to buy in to a specific tournament. There's no math that says you can't use 10% of the money currently in your pocket to buy in to a particular tournament, and likewise those risk of ruin calculations many of us have read are not applying to the amount of money in your online poker account at a given site either.

Lastly, and most importantly, are the changes I'm goigng to make -- and already have made for the past couple of months -- to the way I play my tournaments in order to be able to live within the smaller online balance on the online poker sites on which I play. Put simply, I'm going to play as if I only have that smaller amount of money on these sites, rather than playing as if I have 5k or something sitting in the cashier there. So, for example, now it's back to playing those token sats every once in a while rather than buying in direct to the nightly $26 mtts. Now it's back to playing one of the 7:40pm ET turbo sats to the 50-50 on full tilt, or the $22 hyper-turbo sats into the stars 70k every night. No more buying in direct to these things like I always used to. That's how I can expect to play the 50-50 and the 70k every night despite only having a few hundy on those sites at any given time. Because now, I'm going to satellite in to the 50-50 for $14, and if I don't win the sat, then I don't play the 50-50 that night. If I don't win my luckfest hyper-turbo sat on stars, then I don't play the 70k that night. And no more trying a couple of satellites but then just buying in direct anyways after I fail to qualify. Period.

The best part about this style of play -- other than the saving money part of course -- is that I've found I actually enjoy it. I like trying to grind it out, winning my way in to $26 and $50 tournaments. I like the sense of urgency, knowing I need to win a sat to even be able to play the real mtt I'm looking to play. I like knowing I need to win myself a half a buyin at the cash tables in order to be able to play the $100 tournament I like in an hour. To be honest, it's like going back in time, because doing this is exactly the way I started outwith my online poker play. Before I ever made any significant cashes, I used to play those token sats all the time on full tilt. I used to insist that I grind out the buyin at the cash tables before sinking money into any online mtt. So I've been there before, and I am enjoying my return to that strategy now.

So there it is, that's how to play the big mtts without making big direct buyins to do it. All it takes is a little bit of cash, a fair amount of skill at satellites -- in particular turbo structures -- and a lot of time and determination. If you have these things -- and I know from past experience that I do -- then there is a pile of mtt cash for the taking on the major online poker sites, just waiting to be nabbed every single night of the year.

Labels: ,


Blogger corron10 said...

you have an email, have a question..

3:44 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Cory, do you have an IM account? AOL or Yahoo is fine, if you tell me your address on either I will contact you later today.

3:47 AM  
Blogger oossuuu754 said...

good post Hoy, I have employed the same philosophy.

4:12 AM  
Blogger corron10 said...

i'm on AIM, corron10

4:40 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Satellites are so soft, I'll never buy in again, unless I do because I'm weak and lazy.

But really. They're soft. Good luck Hoy.

5:19 AM  
Blogger Chad C said...

Ever notice those with all the advice and calculations are those who have never won a thing??? There is no exact number of buy-ins any one person should have for MTTs..... If you can afford an MTT and you want to play it, you play it, its really just that easy! For people that are retarded and claim to play for a living I would imagine limits would be good though. Poker = Fun for 90% of those who play it. The other 10% take the shit way to seriously and attach numbers to everything. One can usually find that 10% "rockin" the $10/Beginner SNGs......

11:58 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home