It sounds a lot like you’re parodying my response to the thread someone else started asking about momentum.
Which, I think is pretty apt, considering that “momentum” is basically a type of psychological edge. So, well played, sir.
My point in the “momentum” thread was that the probability of the cards being dealt over a series of hands are disconnected, and the probabilities of what happens in one hand have nothing to do with what happens in the next, from the standpoint of what order the cards happen to be in after a shuffle.
What is connected in the series is the players mental states, habits, skills, perceptions, etc. whatever you want to call it, let’s just call it their psychology. Which does get influenced by hands and outcomes, despite our best efforts otherwise.
So if you wanna talk about “momentum” in that sense, I’m all for it. As I said then, it’s not in the cards. It’s in people’s perceptions and mental state. And it’s better understood when different terms other than “momentum” are used, because “momentum” has no power to explain anything.
So anyway, I do (and did) agree with you on those things, only preferring a more accurate analysis and vocabulary to understand it. But I think you knew that.
In this thread, I’m thinking specifically about the pscyhological edge that may accompany (or not) playing outside of your usual stakes level. There’s a lot of factors potentially at play, and they can work for or against either the player who’s “slumming” at low stakes looking for fish they can easily beat, or for or against the player who’s moving up to stakes that their bankroll may not be ready for, but who might have the skills necessary to do well, provided they can find the confidence and perform under pressure.
I’m looking for your thoughts, as well as those of others.
I’ve been playing HU SNGs for most of the summer, and it’s been interesting. At times when I can’t find a player at 100k, I’ll sometimes see a player waiting at 2k, 5k, 10k, 25k, 50k, and I’ll jump in without a second’s thought, because to me the stakes are throwaway. I put in as much preflop on a ring table some nights, so it’s literally nothing to me to fold those hands on the flop if I don’t like the board texture, and I can dump the entire game if I felt like it and it wouldn’t mean a thing to me from a bankroll management standpoint.
Usually I can win these small stakes games easily. Fish are fish. Once in a while a low-ranked player will give me a surprisingly good game, and if I don’t give them credit because I think they are probably not very experienced, or else not very good if they have <100k in their bankroll, I may be surprised. But usually not. And when I am, it’s absolutely worth the 2-10k of valueless chips that I paid for the privilege of being outplayed by them.
Conversely, I’ve moved up in stakes very slowly, only after spending a long time at my current “comfortable” stakes level. When I’ve moved up, at first it seemed scary. Am I ready? Will these players eat me alive? Can I stand to lose in one game what I used to win in 3 or 4? But it doesn’t take very long, and I eventually feel comfortable again. But at first I feel like I have to play perfect if I’m going to win, and of course, that’s a loaded notion full of trouble. What do I mean by that anyway? Being extra tight and nitty? No; nits do not play perfect poker, they play nit poker. I don’t know what I mean, I just mean I can’t afford to make a single mistake. Of course, many of the mistakes we make, we don’t ever realize. But at first, that extra-concentration and focus that I put into the games does seem to help me win. Eventually, though, I relax and just play my game my way, successfully sometimes, less so other times.
It was like this when I moved up from 10k SNG to 25k, and when I made the “big” leap from 25k to 100k. I feel as comfortable at 100k now as I did at 25k a year and a half ago. I do well enough at 100k, and if I want to I can play 250k SNG tables and not feel like it’s any different for me. Just a slightly bigger payout when I cash. I feel like, if I were properly bankrolled, perhaps I could play at any stakes level, against whomever, and hold my own. But I’m sure if I sat in at a 10M table with 1/3 of my bankroll which has taken me almost 2 years to build, I’d be super uptight about not taking more chips back from the table than I came in with. I wouldn’t be able to play with that same, relaxed feeling that I can when I’m risking less than 1% of my bankroll. But would that necessarily be a bad thing? Would it make me play better or worse?
I think it’s not just a question of “would I play better with more at stake” but also “what are the differences in the play that I may run into at higher stakes, and how quickly can I make the necessary adjustments to play profitably?” Not knowing how players may play differently at the next level, I think, is one of the bigger contributors to the anxiety that accompanies stepping up to that level.
Having seen some hands replayed from tables where people are sitting on a few hundred million chips, I see some plays that I just can’t comprehend making myself.
On the other hand, I might be able to comprehend myself making them, one day.
I might have gotten closer very recently. I played a good player in a 50k game, called a 3BB raise with 54o, and flopped into a straight draw, which filled on the Turn, an 8. The card filled a set of 888s for my opponent, who raised my pot-size bet, and I jammed, he called, and fortunately the straight held up and I won the game in one hand. I still feel it was a slightly idiotic call (I had the idiot end of the straight after all) but in a HU game, often you’re fine getting it all in with top pair, at least when the effective stacks are very short. A year and a half ago, I don’t think I could have made this play. I would have folded the 54o from the SB rather than put in 0.5BB to see a flop with it. With 100BB deep stacks, I was willing to play it, and it won me a game in one hand.
A couple of weeks ago I tried a 1M game and won it in one hand, shoving KK into AA and rivering KKK. You know the one, I posted it on the NH Thread a few weeks back. I was lucky as hell to win that, but what surprised me about it wasn’t that I sucked out and cracked Aces with Kings, but that I was as comfortable making that play at a 1M buy-in game as I would have been in a 100k game.
I’m not consistently at this level ever day, but the days when I am seem to be coming more numerous as I continue to study the game and practice.