Experiment

8/21/2014

Current bankroll: $128.41

The first month of this experiment is now complete. There were some ups and downs, but in the end, I was able to increase the bankroll by a little over 28%! I wasn’t able to garner enough points to earn my bonus dollars, so I have removed them. Here are the stats since the last update:

8/11/2014 $2.00+$0.20 DU SNG 9 10 -$2.20
8/11/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 -$3.00
8/11/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 $0.56
8/11/2014 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 3 10 $0.88
8/11/2014 $0 MTT 1696 5000 $0.00
8/12/2014 $2.00+$0.20 DU SNG 3 10 $1.80
8/12/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 $0.19
8/13/2014 $0 MTT 940 5329 $0.00
8/18/2014 $2.00+$0.20 DU SNG 9 10 -$2.20
8/18/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 -$2.02
8/20/2014 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 9 10 -$1.10
8/20/2014 $1.95+$0.25 SNG 1 9 $6.58
8/20/2014 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 8 10 -$1.10
8/20/2014 $1.95+$0.25 SNG 5 0 -$2.20
8/20/2014 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 9 10 -$1.10
8/20/2014 $1.95+$0.25 SNG 3 9 $1.31
8/20/2014 $2.00+$0.20 DU SNG 1 10 $1.80
8/20/2014 $1.00+$0.10 MTT 4 601 $32.98
Bankroll Total
$128.41

 

It is very interesting to note that I continued to show losses in my cash sessions. I am now really starting to think that there may be a leak in my cash game. I am going to start to keep the hand history transcripts to review them, and will report any findings here. This past week I also did not fare well in what had been my bread and butter, the $1.10 DU SNGs. Again, I think this is just a regression to normal, but I will keep an eye on it.

On the plus side, I started playing some $2.20 Regular SNGs this week, and did very well. However; even with this profit, I was still down for the week (and month overall) until I late registered the $500 guarantee $1.10 MTT last night. This was again outside the bankroll parameters, but just barely. Also, given that the stats have shown MTTs to be my most profitable game, and I knew I would have uninterrupted time to play, I felt the value would be there. Super glad I made that decision, as the 4th place finish out of 601 entrants as this single handedly saved my month.

It is important to point out though that this type of mentality can lead to ruin in the long run. MTTs are the game that statistically has the highest percentage of times losing, which is why the bankroll restriction is so stringent. As my stats have shown thus far though, it is MY strongest game. That does not give me the power to just completely ignore the guidelines, but an occasional small risk can sometimes work out.

Over the next few weeks, I am hopeful that I can continue to turn a profit in all games as I would like to play some qualifiers for some large MTTs coming up in mid-September. My bankroll will not allow me to buy directly into these events, but with some careful bankroll management, I may be able to get in on the cheap.

 

8/11/2014

Current bankroll: $97.23 with $5.00 pending bonus

The first week saw a large percentage increase to the bankroll, but the last 2 weeks saw me give it all back, and then some. Here are the results:

7/28/2014 $2.00+$0.20 DU SNG 10 -$2.20
7/28/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 $0.38
7/28/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 -$2.44
7/28/2014 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 4 10 $0.88
7/28/2014 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 8 10 -$1.10
7/28/2014 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 5 10 $0.88
7/28/2014 $1.00+$0.10 MTT 35 690 $2.08
7/29/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 $1.28
7/30/2014 $1.03+$0.07 HU SNG 2 2 -$1.10
7/30/2014 $1.03+$0.07 HU SNG 1 2 $0.96
7/30/2014 $1.03+$0.07 HU SNG 1 2 $0.96
7/30/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 -$8.00
8/1/2014 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 5 10 $0.88
8/1/2014 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 8 10 -$1.10
8/1/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 $0.48
8/3/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 -$5.82
8/3/2014 $2.00+$0.20 DU SNG 4 10 $1.80
8/3/2014 $0.95+$0.15 SNG 9 -$1.10
8/3/2014 $2.00+$0.20 DU SNG 1 10 $1.80
8/3/2014 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 1 10 $0.88
8/3/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 -$3.99
8/10/2014 $1.00+$0.10 MTT 215 476 -$1.10
8/10/2014 $2.00+$0.20 DU SNG 8 10 -$2.20
Bankroll Total
$97.23

 

Not exactly what I was hoping for, and there are some disturbing trends:

  • Cash games have been my biggest weak point. During the first week, I showed a profit in cash games of $4.14. In the last 2 weeks, I have a loss of $18.11. This is basically showing that the reason my bankroll is now below a starting level is due to cash games. Does this mean I do not know what I am doing when playing cash? Possibly. It could also just be variance. In examining my notes, it looks like I took some beats in situations where I was getting my money in good. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there is not a leak in my game though. It seems as if in the sessions where I posted a loss, I played bigger pots than the sessions I showed a profit. While playing big pots when you have the best hand is desirable, it also exposes you to larger losses when you get drawn out on. I will have to continue to monitor this situation moving forward.
  • First non-cash in MTT. This was to be expected, and will not be the last. MTTs are losing propositions as soon as you register, until you make the money. As MTTs typically only pay around the top 10% of players, losing will be the norm. However; I am most troubled by the fact that I played a MTT when the bankroll didn’t support the buy-in based on my own guidelines. While the value was there to potentially justify the entry, this can be a slippery slope, and should be avoided.
  • $2.20 DU SNGs are not as profitable for me as the $1.10 games. This may just be a product of the fact that I’ve played more of the lower buy-in game rather than an indication that I cannot play the higher limit, but again I should closely monitor this.

Looking ahead, I will probably play more $1.10 DU SNGs this week, sprinkle in some cash (playing conservatively), and will be playing in some MTTs. The MTTs I will be playing in are freerolls though, so no hit to the bankroll.

 

7/29/2014

Current bankroll: $112.60 with $5.00 pending bonus

After a successful first week, the first day of week two was a mixed bag. I played in a total of 7 games, compared to 12 all of last week, and posted a loss on the day. In addition to the overall loss, I also posted my first loss in a $1.10 DU SNG, on the bright side, I played my second MTT, and am now 2 for 2 in cashes.

This brings up an interesting point. I feel my best skills are best in the MTT game, so why am I not focusing my attention there? There are a number of reasons for this., here are a few of the most Important:

  • Time. Playing in MTTs requires devoting much more time to play. As I don’t often have a lot of time in big blocks, playing in a lot of MTTs just isn’t feasible.
  • Value. The SNGs that I have been playing, allow for me to almost double my monetary investment, usually in about 30 minutes or so. In MTTs, you need to play for much longer than that to even get in the money. The MTT I played last night had a small $500 guarantee that was almost assuredly going to be reached, but also had a re-entry time of 2 hours and 15 minutes. This means that I would have to devote at least about 5 times as much time to the tournament to try and win as much money as I could in just 1 SNG. Granted, the allure of MTTs is the money up top, but winning every time is not realistic, so I have to consider the dollars/hour that can be generated playing other games. The first MTT I played had a large guarantee attached to it, and looked like it was going to have a large overlay. Because of this, I could earn more money, potentially, in a shorter amount of time than a regular MTT. While I am not going to stop playing MTTs, the value in terms of dollars/hour simply isn’t there unless I make the final table.
  • Bankroll guideline. As discussed below, I am restricted to playing MTTs only when I have 100 times the buy-in. The smallest buy-in on Carbon is $1.10, so I am at the maximum allowed right now. The reason why MTTs have such a high buy-in restriction in the bankroll guideline is simple. Variance comes in to play much more when playing in solely tournaments than any other form of poker. Generally, to make money in a tournament, you need to finish in the top 10%. Whereas SNGs can be either the top 33% or even top 50%. This means that you will lose more often in MTTs than any other game. Cash games are a little trickier to put an exact percentage on as your win rate varies in each session by the number of players at the table, skill levels, how many people reload after busting, etc. But, in a cash game, if you bust, you also have the option to reload. In a SNG, or MTT without re-entries or after the re-entry period is over, you cannot reload, you have lost.

Having said all that, I’m glad I played the MTT last night as it saved my day from being a bigger loss. However; I may have been better served taking those 4 ½ hours and playing 9 DU SNGs instead.

 

7/28/2014

Current bankroll: $114.12 with $5.00 pending bonus

The first full week is in the books! Here’s how the first week looks by the numbers:

Date Limit/Buy-in Ring/Trny/SNG Finish Players Profit/Loss
7/17/2014 Deposit $100.00
7/21/2104 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 2 10 $0.88
7/21/2014 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 4 10 $0.88
7/21/2014 $0.99+$0.11 DU SNG 1 10 $0.88
7/21/2014 $2.00+$0.20 DU SNG 10 10 -$2.20
7/24/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 $4.08
7/24/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 $0.46
7/25/2014 $1.98+$0.22 KO SNG 3 9 $0.64
7/25/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 -$0.90
7/25/2014 $2.00+$0.20 DU SNG 3 10 $1.80
7/25/2014 $0.02-$0.04 NL 9 $0.50
7/27/2014 $2.00+$0.20 DU SNG 3 10 $1.80
7/27/2014 $1.00+$0.10 MTT 969 14039 $5.30
Bankroll Total
$114.12

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself! I played a total of 12 games (7 SNGs, 4 NL cash, 1 MTT) posting profit in 10 of them. Regardless of the stakes, I will take that winning percentage every time. However; part of being a winning player is learning from your play, win or lose, so what did I learn this past week?

  1. Play without distractions. Both of my losing sessions were played when I was trying to squeeze the games in to a short window of time. Because I stay at home to take care of my infant son, many times I am only able to play while he is napping, or if my wife is home and taking care of him. All of the winning sessions, except the MTT, were played as soon as I put my son down for his nap, giving me roughly an hour to play. This is more than enough time to play a double up SNG, or play a little cash and be able to get a feel for the players. So, just like any other time you decide to play poker, live or online, make sure that I can focus on the game, and not worry about anything else.
  2. Micro stakes are fun too! While it has been quite some time since I have grinded away playing for these small stakes, the nature of the game is still the same. Naturally because the stakes are so low, people are going to play much differently, but part of the fun is watching how people play in these games, and how quickly, and eager, they are to blast off funds. It should prove interesting as I progress to see the different behaviors of the players as the stakes go up.
  3. There is a lot of value in playing double ups. Double ups can be a double edged sword, pun intended. The rake is pretty large in these micro SNGs, additional 10% of the buy-in, but if you are a winning player, you can still grow your bankroll by significant percentages by only playing in these. Essentially, these SNGs are a 50-50% shot. If you consider yourself better than average, then you would take that percentage every time. I plan to continue to take advantage of these fairly easy plays.
  4. Information is power. Well, duh. It is funny, I have grown so accustomed to having information during MTTs that I really felt out of sorts without it. If you were following along on Twitter while I played the $25k frenzy, then you know what I am talking about. I have enjoyed the fact that Carbon allows me to play via mobile, specifically on my iPad. My office is located directly across from the baby’s room, so trying to play in there on my laptop and multi-screen setup is not always possible. There is a drawback though; the software allowing play on my iPad is not conducive to playing MTTs. I had no way of knowing how many players remained in the tournament, how many places paid, chipe leaders, average stack size, how close the money bubble was, and where the pay jumps were. I think that many of us, if not all, take this information for granted. If we are playing in a live tournament, all of this information is displayed on the tournament clock. If we are playing on-line via pc or laptop, we can have multiple screens open, so getting the information from the tournament lobby is a piece of cake. With the software from Carbon for the iPad, you can only have one window open at a time, and none of the aforementioned info is on the screen. I even tried leaving the table to go to the tournament lobby, but because I was registered for the tournament, every time I left the table, it automatically re-opened the window to take me to the game. Moving forward, I will probably have to limit my mobile play to just cash & SNGs as I felt way too uncomfortable without this information.

So that’s the week 1 recap. Hope you have enjoyed this new feature on the website so far. As always, feel free to let me know your thoughts, either here, or via Twitter @YayMeGrothe

7/25/2014

Current bankroll: $104.72 with $5.00 pending bonus

3 cash ($0.02-$0.04) sessions & 1 SNG ($1.98+$0.22) logged since the last update. But wait, didn’t I mention before that I wasn’t going to sit in the cash games until my bankroll got a little higher? Didn’t I also state that I was going to avoid the $2.20 SNGs until I had built up a little buffer? Indeed I did, so why the change?

In the past few days, I had a conversation with Chris “Fox” Wallace, the man who put together the guidelines I am following for this experiment. He told me that he did a similar test a few years back, and determined that for the “Unprotected” bankroll, an acceptable level of play is 25 buy-ins as opposed to the 45 buy-ins I was following. This easily gives me the flexibility to play the $2.20 SNGs, but how does this impact my cash game selection?

While the 25 buy-in rule for cash at a $4.00 buy-in is still at the top of the bankroll limit, posting one loss in this game no longer limits me to only being able to play $1.10 SNGs. With this in mind, I felt very comfortable giving the cash game a shot. If I posted a loss, I would have been very comfortable going back to just playing SNGs until I built the bankroll back up.

Have questions or comments about my decisions? Feel free to post your comment here, or on Twitter to @YayMeGrothe.

That’s it for now, as always, I will post via Twitter through @YayMeGrothe when I play next

7/22/2014

Current bankroll: $100.44 with $5.00 pending bonus

Feels good to get my first losing session out of the way 🙂

This is a good lesson in patience, and time availability. Yesterday I had plenty of time to play a few games, and even write my thoughts on game selection. I made it a point to talk about why I was choosing the $1.10 double ups over the $2.20. Today, I didn’t have much time, but I wanted to get a quick game in if I could. There were no tables with players waiting at the $1.10 level. At this point, I should’ve just logged off and come back when I had more time. However; I saw a $2.20 double up with one open seat, and, buoyed by my success yesterday both live and online, decided to play in it. While not the biggest mistake ever, I broke away from my plan. It could’ve worked out ok, but much like anything done that deviates from a sound and thought out plan, it didn’t. I was the first person to bust. Lesson learned, again.

7/21/2014

Current bankroll: $102.64 with $5.00 pending bonus

Had enough time to jump on and do my first multi-tabling session. Played two $1.10 double or nothings and made it through on both! I apologize I couldn’t play more today, was just trying to fit some playing in while the baby slept. Have live tournament tonight unrelated to this experiment. Will hopefully have time tomorrow, but realistically won’t be back on again until Thursday 7/24. I’ll still take a 2.64% increase to my bankroll everyday! At that rate, it wouldn’t take very long at all to grow this into something I can really start to play with! But I digress, I know that rate of growth is tough everyday…patience, be the tortoise 🙂

7/21/2014

Current bankroll: $100.88 with $5.00 pending bonus

So, the first session is in the books. I played a 10 handed, double or nothing SNG. Total cost $1.10, $0.99 entry + $0.11 fee. I finished in the top 5, paying me $1.98, for a profit of $0.88. Not too bad for the first session as I logged a win! Many of you may be wondering why I chose the game I did, so I will explain below.

As originally laid out, I will be trying to grow this bankroll using the bankroll management chart below, and using the numbers in the “Unprotected” column. Using these numbers, game selection looks like this with $100 in the current bankroll:

LHE         400 big bets = $0.25 big blind

NLHE     25 buy-ins = $4.00 buy-in

SNG       45 buy-ins = $2.22 buy-in

MTT       100 buy-in = $1.00 buy-in

For the most part, I will not be playing limit. While I understand that many poker purists believe this to be the ultimate form of the game, I think that most of my readers are more interested in how this experiment applies to no-limit. Additionally, I believe at the super micro stakes level, many more people play “no fold-em hold-em”, making it a much more difficult game to beat. So this narrows my focus to really the 3 no-limit game types.

The lowest cash game NLHE on Carbon is $0.02-$0.04, with a max buy-in of $4.00. When I sit in a small/medium stake NLHE cash game, I prefer to sit with the max buy-in allowed. Following the rules set forth above, I could’ve played this game. However; if I had a losing session, I would no longer be able to afford playing the smallest stake NLHE game available to me, so I think I could protect my bankroll by making a smarter choice.

There are some $1.00 MTTs available, but you have to remember that every game that a casino hosts, online or live, has a rake or fee attached to it. In the case of Carbon, the fee would be $0.10, so the actual buy-in is $1.10. Following the guidelines above, my bankroll would have to be at $110.00 at a minimum for me to play. So clearly MTTs are out for now, except possible freerolls.

This leaves me with SNGs as my only option. The smallest SNGs on Carbon are $1.10 & $2.20. With the guidelines laid out above, this means that I could’ve played a $2.20 SNG, but much like the reason for not sitting in a cash game, I did not want to limit my game possibilities if I had lost. Losing my first $2.20 game starting at $100.00 would’ve brought the bankroll down to $97.80. 45 buy-ins x $2.20 = $99.00, so again, I felt I didn’t need to take the risk yet. The $1.10 SNGs are going to play much the same way that a $2.20 SNG does, but with my starting bankroll, I can play many more of them before I have to consider adding my own funds to the bankroll again. $100.00 / $1.10 = 90 available buy-ins. This means I would have 45 total buy-ins available to me at $1.10. Odds are that I am not going to lose 45 straight SNGs, so this seems like the perfect game to start in.

There are many types of SNGs available: regular 9-handed, hyper turbos, heads-up, and double or nothing. In a normal or turbo 9 handed game, I would have to finish in the top 3 to show any type of profit. Since I am just starting this new bankroll, I would like to have better odds than 33% if I can. This leaves heads-up and double or nothings, both of which mean I would have a 50% chance of making a profit. Being that this is my first time playing on Carbon, I am unfamiliar with the blind structures in use, and how the players react to them. A heads-up match could prove volatile, while in a double or nothing situation, I could sit back and let the cards come to me, and let other players bust each other for me. Now, it didn’t play out that way as I led the table until the final hand, but again, trying to keep my bankroll management principles in mind, this seems like the safest bet game to play for now.

So there’s the explanation of why I chose the game I did. The explanation above my lend credence to those people that say this endeavor is uninteresting, but I disagree. The whole reason I am doing this experiment is to demonstrate exactly what it takes to be a true winning player. While the stakes that I am playing are not very high, they are appropriate for the bankroll being used. All too often people get lured in by the potential for large payoffs, and will end up risking a larger part of their bankroll than they can realistically afford to lose. Granted, this bankroll I am putting in play is not my true bankroll, for the purposes of this experiment, I am playing it like it is. For those players that want to really know how to grow their poker bankroll, and they are starting with a larger starting amount, the principles still hold true. For example; let’s say that your bankroll is $200.00 and you want to play in a live game. Almost every known casino offers a $2-$4 limit game, with usually a $100.00 max buy-in. Based on the bankroll management chart, you would need a bankroll of $1,600.00 (400 big bets x $4) to sit in this game, so clearly you will need to find a much smaller home game to sit it. Now let’s say that you have a starting bankroll of $1,600.00. Now you could sit in the $2-$4 game, but if you post a losing session, you are back to finding home games again.

Bankroll management/building is all about patience. Yes, it is possible for you to take a big risk by buying into a MTT with a large percentage of your roll and winning big, but the odds are stacked against you. If you want to truly build your bankroll in a way that ensures you do not bust, and will be playing this game we love for many years to come, the first thing you need to learn is patience. Remember the old story of the tortoise and the hare? The tortoise always gets to the finish line, and I believe that is something we are all trying to do.

 

7/18/2014

Current bankroll: $100.00 with $5.00 pending bonus

Welcome to my new micro bankroll management experiment page! This page was inspired in large part by the Basic Bankroll Management article that Chris “Fox” Wallace published on pocketfives.com way back in 2005. What will follow on this page is a timeline of attempting to turn $100 into as much as possible following the rules that he set forth within.

How I will do this is simple enough, and hopefully entertaining, and quite possibly, educational.

I have created a new account on carbonpoker.ag under the screen name yaymegrothe. I chose Carbon as I have never played on the site before, and I wanted this to be a complete clean slate. I had to create a new screen name as my standard “mnpatsfan” has been taken. I actually wondered if I had created this account long ago, but I have no record of it, and I have tried numerous passwords trying to get into the account to see if it was me, but I have failed every time. I have deposited $100 into this new account. Following the principle laid out in Fox’s article, I will attempt to grow this micro bankroll into as much as I can! You really should go read the full article, but the basic premise that I am going to follow is laid out in this graph taken from it:

While technically this account would fall into the “Unprotected” category, I am going to follow the “Protected” guidelines. Here are the reasons for this:

  1. The Unprotected guidelines allow for wild swings in the bankroll and I want to try and take this as seriously as possible
  2. The Pro guidelines do not apply as this is not the source of all of my funds
  3. The Protected guidelines are the most appropriate under Fox’s own rules for the chart
  4. This experiment is somewhat intended to be used potentially as a blueprint for people who would like to build a serious poker bankroll. While I am only starting with $100, and many would say that is not enough to start, that is kind of the point.

I want to start small as many people who initially get into the poker scene may not have a whole lot to play with, and would suffer if they lost.

Next, I want to share this journey with all of you. To that end, I have created a new Twitter account: @YayMeGrothe. Whenever I am going to sit down and play, I will post on Twitter via this account what game(s) and table(s) I am playing at. This will allow you to watch and/or play with me if you so choose.

After each session, I will post the results to this page. I will lay out the game(s) I played, the profit/loss, and where the bankroll currently stands. I will also include any potential bonus dollars or bad beat jackpot winnings. When/if the account grows large enough where I would want to make a withdrawal, I will also post the amount here. Given the volatility of online poker funds, I do not want to keep too much on the site. However; these dollars will still be considered part of the overall experiment bankroll, and I will keep them separate from other funds. If there were any interesting hands, I may post then here as well for discussion. Additionally, by conducting this experiment, I may find parts of Fox’s guidelines to be more or less helpful, and I would post those observations here.

This experiment is not for me alone. I am doing this because I think it will be interesting, but mostly because I want to have some interactions with folks about the process. Feel free to leave comments on the website, or hit up the @YayMeGrothe Twitter handle.

As always, I will continue to do this only for as long as we all enjoy it. Let’s have some fun, and see just how much we can grow this thing together!

2 thoughts on “Experiment

  1. Hey Man,
    Can’t wait to see how you do. I have not put any money on a poker site since Black Friday but have managed to start to build a small bankroll from the freerolls. Good luck on your experiment.
    THanks,
    Robbie

    • Thanks for the post Robbie!
      Yeah, I have to admit, I am leery of the online poker scene, especially using a site I have never used before. However; I did use Bovada the last couple years, and had great success pulling money off of there. I’m a little more skeptical of Carbon as I have heard both good and bad stories about it, but that is part of the reason I am starting out with a relatively small dollar figure, and will grind away in the micro games.

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