Thursday, August 20, 2009

10,000 Hands of No Limit Cash Games

Anyone who plays poker seriously will tell you that the games are much better at night than during the day. Many of the pros want to live normal lives so they play during the day and relax at night (some of them are sickos who play just about every waking moment and play at all hours). On the other hand, for working people playing poker is the relaxing.

Of course things get a little hazy when you consider than when it's morning here it's evening in Europe and well while we're at it we can throw in the rest of the world too. But since 80%+ of the players on pokerstars are from the US for the most part thinking of day and night matters when you're trying to find the best games.

The point I'm getting to is my normal 6-max limit games suck in the morning! I need something else to do when the games are bad. European players almost always play no limit or pot limit games so getting the evening crowd from Paris, Amsterdam, London and Moscow is out of the question.

On top of that no limit hold'em is where all the newbies, rookies, and total novices are. That is where the growth of poker is right now.

I've had two stretches of four or five months where I played almost exclusively no limit cash games. The first time around I won $11,000 the first month and $17,000 the next. I'd thought I'd hit the big time. Then I lost $11,000 the next month (still my worst month ever) and broke even the month after that. The second time around I bailed out because I wanted to go for Supernova Elite and I calculated that 6 handed limit cash games were the best way to do that.

Now I'm thinking NL cash might be worth another shot. I've dabbled a little playing 500 hand blocks here and there this month and I've had some success. More importantly I'm shocked at how bad the play is and how unprepared the players at the mid stakes are for very aggressive play. Also the specific way that FPPs are computed has changed in the past two years so now I'll be able to make more points than I used to.

My plan is to do a little bit of a stronger testing of the waters. Between now and Sunday I'm going to play 10,000 hands of $2/$4 blinds 6 handed no limit cash buying into each game for $200 (half the max). If I run my stack up to $400 or more I'll jump out of that game and into a new one with a fresh $200 stack. This will hopefully keep me from facing the difficult decisions that come up playing deep stacked which can be extra tough when you don't know any of the players!

While 10,000 hands is a pretty small sample size and $2/$4 is pretty small stakes for me these days (I've played as high as $25/$50 blinds). But it's a good place to start and get acclimated to the style of play. Breaking even or having a small win or loss won't tell me much, but if I break off a $5,000 win that will tell me something. While this isn't nearly a sufficient sample size to precisely predict my long term results in terms of game play, it's plenty to tell me how many FPPS I can expect to make long term. I think it's going to be about .75 base FPPs per hand and I'm thinking 10 cents a hand (or $1,000 total for my experiment) is par for the course.

I'll try to keep you posted. I'll also try not to totally blow off this experiment which is the kind of thing I've done in the past. I'm trying to be a new man these days. A better man. And one of the things a better me is going to do is do what I say I'm going to do!

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