Why I'm Thinking Of Quitting: An Essay

I

is'n'ers

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I've been playing online pretty much every day for 3 months, with the hope of making consistent money out of a hobby I've enjoyed for three or four years now. I've read the books, got the hands under my belt, and - through mainly $10 SNG, but also $5-$10 tourneys showing a profit of $600 over the first month (average of four games a day) - I felt like it could be a real possibility.

After that however, I moved up to the $20 SNG but didn't fare as well, and ended the month only about $50-$100 up.

This month I've been playing the $10 SNG again, made $150 in four of them, then, with a mixture of bad beats, two bad plays, and a general absense of cards (or calls) at the right time I didn't cash for 11 games in a row. I'd never been on this kind of run before, and was relieved when I finally won one and got a 2nd in a $6 bounty the same day.

Turned a corner I thought. No such luck, after a barren five or six SNG's again, and having noted the SNG structure did not fit the techniques espoused in several leading theory books, I decided they'd become too much of a lottery. I'd particualrly seen complete meglomaniacs and people getting consistently lucky prospering. I'm never going to do that, instead relying on playing solid poker, making the odd move, and sticking by my guns when I had to in the latter stages. It seemed to have completely stopped working though, although I'm pretty sure I wasn't doing anything much different than when I was showing such a profit before. Certainly nothing drastically different, and I actually thought I was playing much better, but perhaps this is a problem in SNGs?

So a couple of days ago I moved onto the $0.10-$0.25 cash games whilst also playing the odd $6-$18 bounty. In the cash games I'm about $30 up from 3 sessions but I haven't particulalry enjoyed playing them, which is why I pretty much played SNG's exclusively before.

However, what's really got me doubting this whole shabang as a while is the four tournaments I've played over the same period.

The first tourney I had KK first hand, raised pre-flop, on a 9 high flop, and again with a Q on the turn (no s8 or flush on board). I called an all-in reraise having already put half my chips in. If they were beating me with a set or something on that board then fine, I'd pay them off. They had Q9.

Next tournament I get to the first break just below 1,500, not long afterwards I go all-in preflop with KK again. I get called by JJ and 99. I'm looking forward to tripling up until a 9 hits on the turn. The winner, who's call cost him half his stack told me he 'had' to make the call. Why, I don't know.

Next tournament I get to the first break with 2,000 and limp with 66. I get reraised 300 by someone I've seen enough of to pretty confidently put on high cards. I decide to call then get it all in if the flop is something I like the look of. It's not a usual move by me, but one I was willing to try in the circumstances for 1/4 of my stack. The flop comes down 778, perfect for me - I know they haven't hit it - I check, get the big raise I want and go over the top to get called by AK. They have nine outs, but I'm pleased with the play - until I see runner runner Jacks come out.

Next tournament I am hurting, but I'm figuring things can't go like this if I stick to my game - which is basically tight and solid with a few moves thrown in based on keen observation. I play tighter than usual, until I find myself flat calling in the small blind with QJd. There are 6 to a flop which is AK5 of diamonds. I have the nut flush. I check then call a pot raise by the BB, everyone else folds. The turn is a 10 of clubs, I check then call an all-in. The BB flips over the 4,5 of diamonds..... guess what the river is? Well, it is a red two, but luckily the suit is hearts. Now, if it'd been a diamond I can guarantee I would have never played poker ever agan!

However, a couple of hands later I get nervous when I look down at KK. I put in a hefty raise, then call an all-in reraise, which turns out to be AK. My cowboys, for once, hold up. Now I've gone from near the bottom of the field to top five and I'm feel like I'm finally getting a little justice.
That is until my KK all-in reraise gets called by the one stack at the table bigger than me. They have AA and I'm on the rail again.... KK having busted me out of 3 out of 4 tournaments in a row and I haven't come remotely close to the money.

Next tournament, about ten minutes ago, my AK suited is busted by AA.....

Now, I know any poker player goes through troughs, and you have to keep the faith and yadda yadda yadda, but at the moment I'm really thinking that something is wrong.

I'm still happy with my game, and that I'm a good player, but if I'm consistently getting busted out like this, then it doesn't fill me with confidence about the latter stages when, as we all know, you need a bit of luck at the best of times.

It just seems that there's far too many mines to dodge to make consistent money at this, although supposedly good play will prosper over time. Is the only way to make consistent money to play the cash games pretty much like a robot, be supremely naturally talented, or to be consistently lucky?

Should I just forget about making money from this long-term and go back to being recreational? Should I finally agree my mum's right? Any advise very appreciated, and well done if you managed to get all the way down here at all!
 
dj11

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I felt like that last week, when for probably 10 days or so, the poker gods treated me like I was a kick ball. It changed, as I knew it would. It was the longest downswing I've encountered and affected my mood while off the table.

If you are familiar with a bell curve, you will know that most of the time the cards are average. But some of the time the cards are rotten. We all hang around waiting for that time when we get to enjoy some semblance of that far right corner under that bell curve.

Treat your poker as a hobby, enjoy an occasional win, but IMO don't rely on it for an income. There may come a time when your game has changed and all of a sudden you are sitting fat, making money hand over fist. Until that comes DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB !
 
bubbasbestbabe

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Egon Towst

Egon Towst

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I know the feeling. I`m on a downswing at the moment, and I have made a loss 5 of the last 6 days. One of those times when you`re folding everything and getting really bored for want of anything playable. Then, when you finally do get a hand, some other b*st*rd has a better one. :(

Take a break if you need to. Don`t get mad or depressed. You can`t play good poker in a bad mood and, if you are not careful, you`ll make matters worse by adding bad play to bad luck.

I think maybe you should throttle back on your ambitions, too. Your post suggests to me (and I think BBB and DJ reached the same conclusion) that you probably aren`t ready yet to go pro.
 
titans4ever

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Here is some math so you can see where you should be at what you are playing. This is average so you will do better some months and worse others.

playing $10 SnGs you should have a ROI (return on investment) of about 10% (easier math but most players are between 8 and 15%). You average playing 2 a day (guessing since this is a hobby and not your job). You are spending $22 a day to enter and 30 days in a month. That is $660 in buy-ins. You should make an average of $66 ($660 x .1 = $66) a month at that pace on your SnGs.

You are way above that for the months you listed in your first post. I know you do other things that can boost your bankroll if you place well in like a huge multi table tournament etc.

I just think your expectations are alittle high since you had such a great first month that made $600. Nobody could sustain that pace of profit for long. You have to look that you are still making money each month. There are lots of people who do not make anything or lose some each month.
 
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guitarpicker69

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I think you should take a break for a week or so then go back and see if things have changed.
 
tonymaclennan

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Maybe try some Ring Games?

I also like every other member here know where your coming from, I had to put my game to rest for today after boosting my balance by $60 then loosing it again through a series of bad beats.

Also, make sure your relaxed when playing, because if you start getting frustrated or desperate to take a pot down, you may find yourself making stupid moves that cost you dearly!
 
aliengenius

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This:
 

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I

is'n'ers

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Thanks

for the comments, all are appreciated.

It's a little depressing to hear that I just got lucky for a month or so and getting KK after KK busted is to be expected at times.

I'm pretty amazed to hear I can only realistically expect to earn $1 an hour if I'm playing $10 SNG's, but having just read the sobering 'Building A Bank Roll' article recommended maybe I will have to do just that!

I still have lots of other questions - but they can wait. I'll just say thanks again for the measured encouragement. I think we all know I was never seriously considering quitting!
 
Dorkus Malorkus

Dorkus Malorkus

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I'm pretty amazed to hear I can only realistically expect to earn $1 an hour if I'm playing $10 SNG's...

Well, this isn't entirely true.

If you're playing $10 turbos, the long run ROI% 'cap' is probably about 25% (it could be argued it's a few % less since UIGEA but let's go with it). Seeing as the turbos take on average 45 mins to complete (obviously depending on the site and structure), you're looking at $3.30/hr. Learn to 4-table and although your ROI cap might level out at 20% ($2.66/hr), your average estimated profit will hit over $10/hr.

Or you could forego multi-tabling if it's not your thing and just move up if/when your bankroll allows. The ROI% caps will reduce as you move up in levels though, just as they do when you add more tables.

Of course, all the above is assuming you're a very good player. ;)
 
P

Playmaker

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There is so much Variance in Poker esp when you Play Sit n Gos...I like Sit N gos myself and yeah I know it can get pretty frustrating when you go all in with the best hand and get sucked out so often etc.... You have to remember not to be results oriented because all you control is how you play your game and remember over the long haul if you go in with the best hand you will win more often then lose
 
Egon Towst

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You have to remember not to be results oriented because all you control is how you play your game and remember over the long haul if you go in with the best hand you will win more often then lose

Excellent point.

I just got knocked out of a tourney when I lost two key hands in close succession, first with KK, then with QQ. In both cases, a chump with an inferior hand went all-in against me and got lucky. Ten minutes earlier, I was among the leaders and feeling confident.

I wouldn`t exactly say I`m pleased about it, but I certainly won`t consider quitting because of it. I know that, had those hands gone the more likely route, I`d probably be chip leader now. Next time (or maybe the time after) they will, and I will be. I can wait. :)

The time to consider your future in the game is if you are the chump, and it`s you who are putting your chips in the middle when you are behind.
 
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is'n'ers

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Yes, but....

Well, this isn't entirely true.

If you're playing $10 turbos, the long run ROI% 'cap' is probably about 25% (it could be argued it's a few % less since UIGEA but let's go with it). Seeing as the turbos take on average 45 mins to complete (obviously depending on the site and structure), you're looking at $3.30/hr. Learn to 4-table and although your ROI cap might level out at 20% ($2.66/hr), your average estimated profit will hit over $10/hr.

Or you could forego multi-tabling if it's not your thing and just move up if/when your bankroll allows. The ROI% caps will reduce as you move up in levels though, just as they do when you add more tables.

Of course, all the above is assuming you're a very good player. ;)

This is kind of what I'm perplexed about. I got a ROI of basically 100% on $10 SNGs over 60 games over my first dedicated month of playing. Now, however 'lucky' I get, I can't do that playing solid, observational poker if I'm not of a certain standard familiar with the SNG structure, although I conceed these results were more than I could normally expect.

Then over the next month of around 40 games this ROI dipped to something like under 5%.

I just find it difficult to believe that this kind of swing is either a) to be expected due to the variances of poker and b) the only way to make a better profit is to play turbos (when luck increasingly comes into it), and multi-table (where you're not making plays on observation - the most fundamental tool you should use to put yourself ahead of the game).

Are all these books and advice on how to play winning poker wrong? Or are they only relevant in the main to $100 plus buy in tournaments where the levels are 30 minutes plus? (or grinding out cash games of course - where I suspect the majority of pros make their living wage)
 
Mehman

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i nearly went apeshit earlier today at the amount of bad play and bad beats i was getting in an earlier session i played today, but instead of going bonkers i just left, i went for a walk and came back and found myself more composed and now find myself well up, everyone gets bad beats dude it's just part of poker, an annoying part just think if the donks don't get paid off here and there they won't come back and you won't get to felt them!.
 
Effexor

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I know how you are feeling. When I started out, I deposited $100. Within the span of about a week I had more than doubled my bankroll. I thought to myself "This is a friggin gold mine, I can make money at this!!!". Then over the next month or so I consistently lost to where I was at only about $130. At the beginning I'd start with $4 and log off with $40, later on I was busting out 3 and 4 times a night.


A couple things contributed to this. First off, I wasn't as good as I thought I was. And secondly, there is this thing in poker called variance. For example, lets say you get all-in preflop with 2 black aces against 2 red kings. It is entirely possible to lose that hand 5 times in a row, the Aces are a %80 favorite, but will lose %20 of the time.

For another example of variance, look at my signature. One can "expect" pocket aces once every 221 hands, or about 0.4% of the hands you are dealt. Look how long I've gone atm without getting aces. Situations like these, although unlikely, do occur.
 
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is'n'ers

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I'M STILL TOTALLY FED UP

Okay, I know you can't say anything other than, 'That's the way it goes, keep at it, get your money in with the best hand etc, etc....' BUT I really need to tell you about what happened in my last four tournaments in a row, as it perfectly encapsulates why I'm getting really disillusioned.

First tournament; going along nicely with half the field gone, get poker QQs, get reraised, go all in vs 66. They hit a six. That only leaves me with 1,000 chips, so four hands later I've got 10,10 in the big blind I reraise all-in a couple of limpers, get called by K7 suited. They hit a King on the river.

Second tournament; for fairness, I have to point out I got pretty lucky early on when, despite raising 5xbb with KK in late position, the SB called with JQo, and hits and AK10 flp. When I get reraised I HAVE to with my trip Kings, even though I know I could be in trouble (as the sb has made some loose preflop calls). Fortunately another 10 hits on the river. The only other piece of 'luck' I get is when my all-in AQs hits vs 55 late on. I just make the money (not even doubling up my original investment) after having to fold AK when I got a call behind me preflop and I miss the flop, and deciding to defend my blind with A2 against an aggressive button (who has KK).

Third tournament; my third of the day. I get AA in the sb and decide to slow play it against four limpers. The flop hit J8x and I raise it, I rereraise a reraise and we get our chips in. They have AJ. They hit a third J on the river.

Fourth tournament; Just happened. I raise AA 4xbb in late pos, I get reraised allin by bb. I call. He flips over 10,7 offsuit. They hit a Seven on the flop, a Seven on the turn and a Seven on the river - just so I know that my AA definitely didn't beat 10,7 off suit....


Hand #43807654-40 at Mon630amBounty-004 (No Limit tournament Hold'em)
Started at 25/Jun/07 07:08:23
delbhoy20 is at seat 0 with 1835.
blahnik style is at seat 1 with 2075.
Tks 4 da cash is at seat 2 with 2690.
buffman1 is at seat 3 with 3350.
Phred007 is at seat 5 with 2750.
StarWalkerZou is at seat 6 with 2825.
dawgheaf is at seat 7 with 1425.
JokerJer is at seat 8 with 2790.
ME is at seat 9 with 1260.
The button is at seat 1.
Tks 4 da cash posts the small blind of 20.
buffman1 posts the big blind of 40.
delbhoy20: -- --
blahnik style: -- --
Tks 4 da cash: -- --
buffman1: -- --
Phred007: -- --
StarWalkerZou: -- --
dawgheaf: -- --
JokerJer: -- --
ME: Ac Ad
Pre-flop:
Phred007 folds. StarWalkerZou folds. dawgheaf
folds. JokerJer folds. ME raises to 140.
delbhoy20 folds. blahnik style folds. Tks 4 da cash
folds. buffman1 re-raises to 3040. theobs goes
all-in for 1260. buffman1 is returned 1780
(uncalled).
Tournament all-in showdown -- players show:
ME shows Ac Ad.
Flop (board: 9d 7s 3c):
(no action in this round)
Turn (board: 9d 7s 3c 7h):
(no action in this round)
River (board: 9d 7s 3c 7h 7d):
(no action in this round)
Showdown:
buffman1 has Td 7c 7s 7h 7d: four sevens.
ME has Ac Ad 7s 7h 7d: full house, sevens full of aces.
Hand #43807654-40 Summary:
No rake is taken for this hand.
buffman1 wins 2540 with four sevens.
----------------------------------------------------------------


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagrh.

I refuse to believe that it's UB's fault, or anything other than 'one of those runs' but REALLY....
 
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I

is'n'ers

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OH.... MY.... GOD.....

So then I go play a cash game to minimise donkage. I play on the $0.25-$0.50 to minimise the minimisation.

I'm six hands in when THIS HAPPENS


Hand #42331982-22597 at New Castle (No Limit Hold'em)
Started at 25/Jun/07 07:56:19

pokerdeputy is at seat 0 with $33.95.
Larv is at seat 1 with $68.30.
scooter_10 is at seat 2 with $35.70.
Cardicub is at seat 3 with $47.90.
bmm32180 is at seat 4 with $48.45.
achtung127 is at seat 5 with $38.60.
ME is at seat 6 with $49.25.
chymera1 is at seat 7 with $52.30.
AnabolicSmurf is at seat 8 with $58.25.
fiddym is at seat 9 with $19.15.
The button is at seat 1.

scooter_10 posts the small blind of $.25.
Cardicub posts the big blind of $.50.
pokerdeputy: -- --
Larv: -- --
scooter_10: -- --
Cardicub: -- --
bmm32180: -- --
achtung127: -- --
ME: 7s 7h
chymera1: -- --
AnabolicSmurf: -- --
fiddym: -- --
Pre-flop:

bmm32180 calls. achtung127 folds. ME calls.
chymera1 folds. AnabolicSmurf calls. fiddym folds.
pokerdeputy folds. Larv folds. scooter_10 folds.
Cardicub checks.
Flop (board: 2h Ad 7d):

Cardicub checks. bmm32180 bets $2.25. ME raises
to $4.50. AnabolicSmurf folds. Cardicub folds.
bmm32180 re-raises to $6.75. theobs re-raises to
$22.50. bmm32180 goes all-in for $47.95. theobs
calls.
Turn (board: 2h Ad 7d As):

(no action in this round)

River (board: 2h Ad 7d As Jc):

(no action in this round)


Showdown:

bmm32180 shows 7c Ac.
bmm32180 has 7c Ac Ad 7d As: full house, aces full of sevens.
ME mucks cards.
(theobs has 7s 7h.)

Hand #42331982-22597 Summary:

$3 is raked from a pot of $98.15.
bmm32180 wins $95.15 with full house, aces full of sevens.

I give up..... no I don't I go get another $50 to no doubt give to some idiot
 
A

Adman

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Dude, if you want to make money playing poker then forget tournaments and focus on Limit cash games. There is just too much luck involved in tournament poker to make it a viable income source. Lots of people will disagree with me but trust me on this one. Most professional players make their living at the limit cash games. Most full time tournament pros are constantly broke and borrowing money etc. I have made a fair amount of money playing poker in the last couple of years and by far the most profitable endeavor are short handed limit cash games. Be prepared though, you must be adequately bankrolled because the swings are brutal. 150+bb downswings are common and when they hit they are demoralizing.
 
dj11

dj11

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Adman, meet stormswa. Stormswa meet Adman.

I see a rampaging contest in the making......
 
Egon Towst

Egon Towst

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I really need to tell you about what happened in my last four tournaments in a row,

Ok, I sympathise, but four in a row is really not significant.

I once saw a casino roulette wheel come up red 14 times in a row before it hit a black. The odds against that are approximately 16,000 to 1, and yet I saw it with my own eyes.

Unlikely is not the same as impossible.
 
I

is'n'ers

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Ok, I sympathise, but four in a row is really not significant.

I once saw a casino roulette wheel come up red 14 times in a row before it hit a black. The odds against that are approximately 16,000 to 1, and yet I saw it with my own eyes.

Unlikely is not the same as impossible.

Yeah, I know and I appreciate the placid calmness of your posts. I don't want to just bore you with bad beat stories either - I've got my dad for that!

It is just the context of it happening so SO often.

I don't know, maybe I'm playing too tight and I need to realise that I'm playing relatively low steaks with short levels so I need to open up a bit. But on the other hand, such cuircumstances mean reads are harder to go on because of the general standard of play, meaning that you really should just be showing the best hand (even though even this seems to be ill-fated). I also think that I shouldn't change my game just because I keep getting beats that range from the unlucky to the absurd, and very little in return. Any thoughts?

I guess I have to just keep plodding on in the hope that at some unspecified time in the future I'll have something to show for it.

BTW: I managed to graft out a $30 profit when I stuck in the cash game. It took nearly four hours, the guy who got the full house against me ended up offering up his chips to someone else and it was deathly boring - but I still made a profit (well, if you discount the $50 I lost first off), which was character building I guess!
 
Clocwork

Clocwork

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It's POKER

Iv'e read your "essay" lol and it sounds to me like your on a lil down slope, but theres no where else to go but up from here on out!! so stick to it man, kepp playing your game. I was curious about the books you've read?? let me know
 
Kenzie 96

Kenzie 96

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As stated above, if the downswing you are on is really bothering you, you have answered your own question. Stick to the, poker is a fun, enjoyable & possibly profitable hobby. Seems to me that when one decides to try to make some serious money out of this game they almost instantly become results orientated. Bad beats, bad luck & bad cards & bad plays by your opponents that get paid off become a burden & a personal affront rather than just the normal ebb & flow of a great game. Hell, you might as well be workin.
 
B

bw07507

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Your story sounds very much like something I encountered about 3 months after I had been playing. I had built a bankroll of around 300 dollars from a 5 dollar freeroll win playing only SnGs. I had about a 80% ROI over my first 2 months for about 80-100 tournaments, cant remember the exact number. I was thinking to myself this whole time, those people that say 25-30% ROI is the best you can have are crazy, i can pull out 80%.

Then, the downswing hit. I didn't cash in 12 straight SnGs. In that stretch my KK ran into AA preflop 4 times in a row, and I was sucked out on almost every other SnG. I was trying to figure out what the hell I could possibly be doing different for weeks. I thought of quitting and finally, after a few weeks in the red, I started to do better again. You really are just on a bad run and if you play solid poker you WILL turn it around again.

I know how disheartening (I think thats a word) it can be to go on a downswing after you were on such a great run before hand, but that is how poker works. As long as you follow BR management rules and you are a solid player, you never have to worry about going broke.

Take some time off and then try playing again in a few days. Hope luck changes for you.
 
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