#1 overall winner at $10/$20 NL on Pokerstars in 2010 - My story
Hey everyone, my name is Ryan. I played on Pokerstars under the screenname"YourDoom"
This is my story about how I grew from playing $10 sngs to being the #1 overall winner at $10/$20 NL on Pokerstars in 2010.
I recently stumbled upon a thread in the low stakes thread (somehow) about this $0.10/$0.25 NL regular talking about how he crushes his level at over 5ptBB/100, and how he refuses to move up to $0.25/$0.50. Apparently he's only beating $0.25/$0.50 at 1ptBB/100. This is because any table he sits at is nothing but "sharks." He concludes that $0.10/$0.25 is the most profitable and best game to play...
I remember this post vividly because it really got me to thinking about my own skill level as an online poker player, and gave me a serious revelation on online poker in general...
My online poker career started back in 2005. I was working full time as an electrical engineer and was grinding (and crushing) $10 nine-handed sngs on Party poker
in my free time. Doing this part time, my goal was to make $500 a month which would cover my portion of the rent of the townhouse that I shared with two of my buddies. I occasionally tried a $20 or a $30 sng, but found these tourneys to be way too tough and unprofitable. Once I took a shot at a $100 sng. I was extremely nervous. I distinctly remember the key hand. I was dealt AQ, and called a raise preflop. The flop was AA5. He bet and I called 3 times. He showed AK and I lost 60% of my stack. Everyone at the table started making fun of me. I typed "how can I fold that?" Someone typed back, "you click fold." I remember thinking, "wow, these games are way too tough for me." $10 sngs are clearly the most profitable games.
In the summer of 2007 I had since made the transition to cash games. I was working full time as a high school math teacher and playing online poker in my free time. Since I had summers off, I 3-tabled $1/$2 NL for a few hours every day and made 86 cents a hand. This was a winrate of 21.5ptBB/100 (43bb/100) ...even though I had no idea what that meant at the time, (granted, the games were much softer back then.) I occasionally tried to play some $2/$4NL, but this level proved to be much harder. I couldn't win. I concluded that $1/$2 NL was by far the most profitable game to play on FT. I remember posting my winrate in a popular poker forum
and EVERYONE was saying that I would never sustain that winrate; that it was impossible. Winning like that seemed normal enough to me, but maybe everyone was right. Maybe I was just a really lucky guy.
In 2008, I was playing $2/$4 on FT full time. Over the next six month stretch, I was winning at 10.5ptBB/100. I remember posting these results in some thread and having everyone fire back that was no way that I would ever sustain that winrate; that it was impossible. Again I felt like winning like that was what was normal, but maybe everyone was right. Maybe I was just a really lucky guy.
In June 2008, I was doing well enough that I decided to quit my full time teaching job to play online poker full time. This was when I found $3/$6 NL on PS. ($3/$6 rarely ran on FT.) And these games were amazing. From June 2008 - April 2010, $3/$6 NLHE was my main game and I beat that level at exactly 5.76ptBB/100 (the absolute highest winrate at that level on Pokerstars for any significant volume.) Again, when I discussed my winrate, I was told that anything over 3-4ptBB/100 was impossible to sustain for any lengthy stretch of time. Maybe I was just a really lucky guy.
During this stretch, I occasionally played $5/$10 NL, but could not beat the level as I just ran terrible all the time. (I can tell you the real reasons you "run terrible all the time" at one level higher than your main game.) Anyways, it was pretty clear to me...$3/$6 NL was the most profitable level to play. Anyone playing $5/$10 NL was an idiot. There was no value there.
In April 2010 I moved from $3/$6 to $10/$20 as my main game. I've been beating $10/$20 at right around 5ptBB/100 since April 2010 and had the #1 highest amount of winnings at that level of any Pokerstars player for 2010 (and #2 in the world among all tracked sites.) I received several posts on my PTR page about how hot I run and how NO-ONE beats $10/$20 NL at 5ptBB/100. Winning like that seemed normal enough to me, but maybe everyone was right. Maybe I'm just a really lucky guy.
So the point of my story?...Every level is beatable. It's all relative to your talent level. Never listen to the masses about what "can't" be done. If you can't beat a particular level, it's not because "you run bad at that level" or "there are too many sharks" there...you're just not good enough...yet. Also, in the long term, there is no such thing as "luck." Everyone's winrate over 4 years and one million hands is... well... your true winrate.