Losing coinflips often will make you a BETTER multi table tournament player!

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TailsAlwaysFails

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If you have half a brain, you probably read the title to this thread and thought: "WTF is this guy talking about? How the hell could losing all my coinflips and never connecting with the flop make me a better player?!"

Rest assured, it certainly does. When you're the type of player who is capable of winning tons of coinflips in a row, you become accustomed to the idea that this okay, that this is how you profit from poker. Scientifically speaking, you actually create "pathways" in your brain (from the formation of synapses at the prefrontal cortex) that drive your game towards scenario's involving coin flips. Basic statistics tells us that in the long run, you'll never beat the rake or your opponents consistently enough to make any significant money. In fact, if you're the type of player who thinks CALLING off your stack because it MIGHT be a coinflip, you're very likely losing lots of money. I wont bore you with bad beat stories, I've been playing long enough, and while I do consider my lifetime coinflip % to be well below 50%, I've learned that it is a good thing. When you consistently are forced to fold, steal blinds, make moves on pots to accumulate chips, fold, fold fold, and then fold some more -- you are learning the formula to winning a massive tournament some day. BUT THIS WILL TAKE TIME, TEARS, AND ATTEMPTS....also, a lot of $$, so take the advice at the bottom seriously when I say get a job besides poker.

I've always been a math guy. I don't believe in religion, ghosts, luck, or superstition any more than I believe in "Jack in the Bean Stock". However, I do understand that variance in multi table tournaments can be sheer insanity. It is NOT UNCOMMON to go months with a coin flip % under 35%.
I do WHATEVER I can to avoid these scenarios, but you don't win 100 man tournies by only getting it in with AK vs AQ or QQ vs 1010....at some point, you will push with a big hand & be called by one. FLIPS ARE INEVITABLE, they will happen.

Am I sure there isn't some Ancient Mayan Altar, where upon you can slaughter a goat, perform a magical dance, and sing a song to the Almighty Bulltilt Gods in prayer that you can hold with a pocket pair against BroadWay cards? No, I'm not 100%. I certainly hope that exists, because if it does, I'm going to get rich very quickly. However, until we're able to locate that, I have some good advice for GRINDING THROUGH THE VARIANCE.

1) Go to college, study HARD, GET INTERNSHIPS, get a well paying job.
This may not be an option for everyone, so just try to get a job if it isnt.

The reasoning behind this one is full proof guys. Making it through your whole life by grinding poker isn't just improbable, its a very dangerous road. Many of the people you see on TV aren't even that rich because they've split SOOO much of their winnings with backers. The ones that are, are certainly IMMENSELY TALENTED, but if I had to guess, I would say they hit the some CRITICAL pots at CRITICAL moments. Don't put yourself in a situation where "bad luck" can ruin your finances. Go to school, or work your ass off if thats not an option. Find a way to make good money outside of poker, because tournament poker, even cash game poker, can take years and years and years to level out the variance depending on many factors.

2) bankroll management.

This is simple really. You can't be playing for more than 5% of your bankroll at any given tournament if you really want to make money in this game. 1% would be ideal honestly, but that not always an option unless you're playing online. Be prepared for the WORST IMAGINABLE DRY STREAKS, because I PROMISE THEY WILL happen to EVERY one of you! Be prepared for the inevitable guys and gals, so when it inevitably happens, you're not knocked out of this game completely. If you have a good job, & manage your bankroll well, then all you need to do is continuously improve your game. To me, this is the easy part. I'm always critiquing myself and I really do think I learn something useful in 80% of the tournaments I play.


3) Become a grinder.

Sorry Tom Dwan wannabee's. You'll never be him. Cash games arent my forte so I wont speak on them, but if you want to be a successful tournament player, you must grind your ass off. Sheer aggression rarely works for long periods of time. Multi table tournaments produce to many spots where you can be slow played, and you will also make a name for yourself quickly like this. If you're running good, then you'll makes stacks on stacks. But that doesn't last, and when you cool off, you'll have a very difficult time stealing blinds or bluffing pots. Both of which you need to be able to do.

ALWAYS play position. Read as much as you can about tournament strategy online, watch you tube videos. Tournaments are ALL about beating the clock. The clock IS YOUR BEST FRIEND. It will take out more people in a day than you could hope to in a month. Take your time, remember how frustrated you feel at yourself that you called off a stack with a non sense hand when you had loads of time to wait around for a chance to either make someone fold thus stealing their blind, or just wake up with a big hand altogether.

Thanks for reading guys.
I hope it has shed some light to some good players going through a tough time in their life. I know I would have loved to have heard all this early in my poker career. For anyone in college reading this, get your butt in the career center. Use the resources available, get a great job, and "swing for the fences" out in vegas with earned money. It'll make things much easier if things don't go your way, and if they do....then you're set!
 
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braveboat

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What a great post!

I absolutely agree that flips are part of the game, and the sooner we realize this, the more tournaments we're going to win. The choice often comes down to flipping with pot odds, or blinding off into oblivion. And in secondary fashion, it leads to taking top prizes instead of min-cashing or worse yet, not surviving the bubble.

As far as the career advice, couldn't agree more. Most of us will never be self-supporting poker players. The best bank roll management for the masses is being able to afford re-depositing when we need to.
 
topper39

topper39

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Thumbs up man, very inspirational reading.
 
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nygmen2007

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I played in a live tournament on Monday, and chopped 6 ways for 640.... I must say it was the best tournament I ever ran good in.. I was chip leader with 6 left by a lot but was not greedy, and took what i could because these races could have changed... I lost one race the whole day, never won that much... I know it does not last with winning races, but in the long run it can help..
 
PokerFunKid

PokerFunKid

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Thumbs up man, very inspirational reading.

^^ agree.
It might sound wierd but i get what you're saying. Welcome to cardschat!
But for some people it might also be bad. They will lose hope, maybe tilt etc. But this is a great post for someone losing a lot of flips. You'll win more in the future hopefully. Don't tilt and get the good things out of the bad things. :)
 
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TailsAlwaysFails

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Thanks guys, it means a lot to me that other players found this useful. I appreciate all the positive feed back sincerely. And you are certainly correct. I have lost an inordinate amount of flips lately. 9/10 times I was the one pushing, I almost never call off my stack with a coinflip UNLESS I have AK/AQ and the blinds are about to wreck me.

The reason for that is simple, you have many weak aces dominated, and at worst, you're probably flipping. When you call with 77 66 or 88....AT BEST, you're flipping unless its a short stack pushing, where as hopefully he has an Ace rag or a very very small pair.

And until the blinds are significant, I wouldn't even hesitate to drop AK or AQ pre flop for a sizable re-raise. Most of these times where I've lost my flips, its been for 100-200k tournament chips (tournament usually has anywhere from 1M or 1.4M chips in play). So, that means the blinds are usually quite high, and the pot is worth pushing on with marginal hands like 66 77 88 or AJ and such. Most of the time I've had between 60-100k and the dead money in pot is north of 6-10k. I do believe this variance will end, but I know it wont end in such a manner that I go on a heater or win a shit ton of coinflips in a row. Hopefully, I'll go back to winning half my coinflips and I'll be able to take down a large score every few tournaments.

"The worst variance forges the strongest players"

I made this quote up based on a similar quote I heard about bad beats making the best players. It has helped me a lot a times of sadness. No matter what the donk says, repeating this to yourself can really help as you lose yet another coinflip on the final two tables for 15% of the chips in play. If you think you're streak isnt possible, I truly understand your pain. If you're strong enough, you'll grind through it. I dont expect to win my massive tournament until I'm in my late 20's. And I'm only 23 right now! Thats why I'm going to grad school now!
 
veltins

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Great post Buddy ..absolutely loved reading it. agree that career andjob Comes 1st , then poke . when you dont have pressure ,then you will love and enjoy it even more an then Comes the flip part. fliping is very essensial in mtt poker or any kindof poker . if you want to win any mtt then fliping deep is the best way to do it. those scareto flip only can make itm , means mini cash most of the time, but cant go to ft or win it

You are 23 and you understand this Point so clearly which many others dont. goodjob and you are on a right path
 
scorpion1367

scorpion1367

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Totally spot on post OP could not get better advice imo ......scorp
 
S3mper

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Hello and congratulations.. Your first post on Cardschat has been better then all my post combined :eek:

T'was a good read!

Though I disagree with one thing.. I always sacrifice a chicken before big tournaments. It clearly and obviously works a little over 10% of the time, so it must mean that it helps! I don't know if the Mayans sacrificed chickens but the S3mperatirians do.

Yes, S3mperatarians are a real thing. They must be otherwise how do you explain the fact that the spell checker didn't mark it as wrong? You can't!
 
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thefatman313

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Playing tournaments is difficult, you must learn to wear different hats for the different stages throughout.
 
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SnowedIn

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100% agreed with OP. As soon as I accepted/understood this, I had a much better mindset.
 
quick

quick

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So true. I ran real deep in a tournament tonight and a coin flip did me in, but it also saved me many times
 
kingphil02

kingphil02

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Great read I hate coin flip hands but even I play questionable hands at times knowing I should have folded. And u know what I sometimes suck out for a big pot. My hang up is always when I have the nut straight and I get call shoveing all in by a goof who thinks I'm bluffing and needs the board to pair up for his boat. I don't know how often this go's on. This is a clear fold for the caller in my eyes. I sure fold when their a straight on the border its been bet.
 
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bnasp2

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Still without at least some coin flip you cannot get too deep. What you need is to collect some chips without flips also, and only enter good flips.
 
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pain_pain_go_away

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As has already been said (a few times), this is a great post, you've manage to hit a number of nails, right on the head.
As for getting a job so that you can finance your life even when you're on a downswing, this is very important as you can't win every game & sometimes it can be a long wait between sizable wins.
For my mind, I also believe that good bankroll management is just as important as playing good poker, because if you can't manage your bankroll, you can't hope to have sufficient buy ins to allow you to make the next big win. This is something I learned myself through bitter experience.
And of course the dreaded coin flips, I'm hoping to win one of those someday myself! ;)
Again, great post Tails, you seem wise beyond your years, I reckon you'll like it here.
WELCOME TO CARDSCHAT MATE! :D
 
2Pacavelli

2Pacavelli

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great post, sometimes the victories leave us accommodated , and only the evolution in the game will make us reduce the variance.
 
Martinez

Martinez

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One of the best and certainly one of the top pieces of advice I have read here. The amount of coin flips I have lost recently is above average, saying that I have had my fare share of winning them over the years.
I'm only a recreational player and have work and the only time I play above my BR is if I win a ticket to a high buy in.
 
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titomurcia1214

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Extensive post but very important for the player who is just beginning, study to be someone in life then you can do whatever you want with the poker, no one will return the lost time there is no easy way to victory
 
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stevieboy4

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Excellent post! I subscribe to a couple of your theories myself,esp: Bankroll Management, of which(bankroll) i have significantly lowered in last couple of months because of cold streak:( when things turn around i will gradually increase it.
 
Michael Paler

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Nice post and welcome to the site.
 
or3o1990

or3o1990

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Nice post. I play a lot of sng's and I play a little too aggressive sometimes resulting in more flips than I should be exposing myself to. Aggression is obviously a useful tool given that your opponent can fold. However, lately I've spared no chance to re steal any raise when I'm holding a pp.
 
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TailsAlwaysFails

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Thanks everyone
My poor flip percentage continues! Missed another massive draw tonight. Pushed on the flop into a an 8500 pot with exactly 8500 chips behind me. However, there was a raise infront of 2500 that I couldn't move off. He had AA, and was NOT the type of player who was ever going to fold that on the flop, regardless of the fact that 5 players saw the flop. I didnt HAVE to make the push, but it certainly wasn't a bad spot. Eventually, this will all turn around and I'll win half my flips again. I dont expect to go on a counter heater (though that would be welcomed!) I'm just looking forward to running average again.

On the bright side, I got into grad school today officially. So I'm getting my career path straightned out. This is something you always have control over! For a select few of us (the unchosen ones), we will have long long dry periods where flopped sets are nonexistent, flushes and straights seem rare at best, and even getting ahold of top pair king kicker is by far and away the best hand you've gotten ahold of for multiple tournaments, but remember- you can turn this terrible luck into a strength. If you can make it through those periods, you'll have "seen it all" and wont' be phased by periods like this in the future. Plus, you've already taken my advice and your career in on track, so you're not worried about your bankroll depleting!
 
yonosemanana

yonosemanana

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Use the rule of succession to find out if you are +EV or -EV

The formula is still used, particularly to estimate underlying probabilities when there are few observations, or for events that have not been observed to occur at all in (finite) sample data.
 
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trancefan

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Well when I hear coinflip I consider it 50% vs 50% or very close to it. Somehow I see people calling what I would consider bad beats, coinflips. Something like my QQ vs his AJ and he hits one J on flop and second on river. Is it just weak players that have a wide definition of a coinflip or is any strong but not nearly nutted hand considered a coinflip.
 
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