Thoughts as I close in on 28M chips

It was toward the end of November that I started to play less each night, and stopped contending for the Astral League promotional chips. I’d been playing reasonably well at 25k and 100k stakes over the last year, growing my bankroll slowly, and usually winning a little bonus at the end of each week, assuming I did well.

It wasn’t a conscious decision, but after a bit of time I came to the realization that collecting the promotional chips was distorting my sense of how well I’m really playing. Yes, it’s impressive to play 20 SNGs a week and finish in the Top Ten against players who are playing 30-70 SNGs in the same span of time. It’s impressive to finish ITM 50-60%, and win 5-6 of those games, when I have a good week.

For a time, I kept playing mostly 9-seat SNG at the 100k Pegasus level, and just not playing as many of those games in a week. I’m not exactly sure when, but I gradually switched over to playing more 3-Max and Heads-Up SNG format, and for the last few weeks have been playing mostly that, and maybe a handful of 9-seat SNGs each week – fewer than I was playing in a day before I made this shift.

The red line in this graph represents the cumulative chips I’ve been awarded by Replay for Bonuses and Promotions, and as you can see the last big vertical was around the end of November, when I took my last Astral League bonus. By the looks of it, I’d done pretty well that week, pulling down about a million in bonuses from having won the November monthly SNG leaderboard for Pegasus league.

Since then, I’ve been just taking in the 2500 daily login bonus chips, and that’s it.

I dipped at first, running particularly poorly through December, and then leveled out, and more or less broke even from about the middle of December through about the beginning of February, at which point I started winning again. I had a great night on 2/26, winning about 2M in chips, including a big payout from a 250k MTT, and then have run more or less break-even again from then until about a month ago, when I started to gradually win more, and I’m currently running pretty good. It’s been a bit more streaky over the last month, I’ll win 4-5 games in a row, and then lose 3-4 in a row.

I’m pretty satisfied with my past 7 days results:

Last 7 Days Overall Su M Tu W Th F Sa
Tournaments Registered 47 2 6 0 13 15 7 4
Tournaments Unregistered 7 0 0 0 3 3 1 0
Tournaments Refunded 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tournaments ITM 17 0 4 0 3 5 3 2
Tournaments ITM% 42.5% 0% 66.67% 0% 30% 41.67% 50% 50%

I’m focusing less on volume and more on quality, playing fewer games when I’m tired, and stopping when I run bad rather than try to play through it or “win it back”.

Where do I go from here? Keep playing 2- and 3-seat SNG games, and focus on bringing up my win rate? Go back to 9-seat SNGs? Play more MTT? Ring?

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Where do you go from here? That depends on what your goals are.

If the goal is to climb the chip-rank ladder, I would suggest that cash (ring) games are the best option. In cash games, you are not locked into your seat (you can leave without penalty) and don’t have to deal with escalating blinds. This gives you a lot of options as you don’t need to be focused on building a stack like you need to do in tournaments. Of course, building your stack is a goal in cash games, but you have the luxury of time to pick and choose your spots, since the blinds never increase. It’s also the case that there is no cash bubble in cash games. You don’t need to outlast the field to cash.

There are also big swings (variance), but with patience you can do well. This month I have been up and down (I have swung between 75m and 106m), but last month I managed to double my stack. Since January (when I decided to apply myself at poker), I am up over 200%. Keep in mind that I am just a ABC123 player and am only beginning to figure things out.

That said, I have never played a tournament, but I would expect that that format is probably better if your goal is to increase your poker skills – tournament play requires a lot more thought than cash games. In tournaments, there are more factors to consider in any given situation, and the escalating blinds increase the need to play a wider range.

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Definitely agree. I’m also going to make the assumption that building your bankroll is important & generally the goal. It might seem like the obvious goal but its not always the case depending on the player.

Personally Im a little biased bc I love ring & think its generally more profitable. You will need to practice & learn & adjust your game to be most profitable. I’m making the presumption your predominantly a SnG/MTT player? Ring, MTT, & SnGs are all quite different. I play SnGs well but certainly need a lot more practice & concentration to do better at MTT. I just havent played MTTs in years & very well understand my lack of skill & experience.

I think you would do well at a 500/1K 9MAX ring playing 2 tables. These tables 500/1k run 24/7. Its easy to make a decent profit for a few hours play. I don’t exactly know your style per say but I think MTT players tend to be disciplined & understand position & play a strong range that will beat the loss players at these tables. You could play lower although you probably want play higher if your comfortable. Unfortunately I see that 20/40k 9MAX is the only regular game which is really above your bankroll.

My only suggestion is in general try to play long sessions @ your highest desired stakes to be most profitable. I like to try & play for 2+ hours if Im focused on building bankroll. The longer you play the better you will understand you opponents & be able to outplay them & profit huge. Even if I lose my stack I try to stay at the table, especially if I’ve gained valuable info on Villain. If your looking to play short sessions, are tired etc lower your stakes a little.

The good thing about ring is you can play at your own pace, without blinds raising pressure & take a free break when ever you need. There are also some decent players worth chatting with.

I do like SnGs too for the fact they can be played fairly quickly & force action through blinds raising.

Yes & No. Its rare that poker players are fairly equally good at different formats ring, SnGs, MTT. You can bring your skill set & knowledge from one format to another but its unlikely you’ll perform equally well.

All that said ultimately I think its also important to play what you enjoy. I would deff try experimenting a little with cash. Start low & if your comfortable work your way up. You can check the Dashboard to see daily profit or profit loss page. Maybe set a target for daily/weekly profit based on average play. Try & work out your previous average daily/weekly profit. This might be tricky to work out with the cumulative bonus chips etc.