Posts Tagged ‘ROI’

Deadspin explains “Why You’ll Never make A Living playing Live Poker Tournaments”

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Many people are familiar with the website Deadspin.com, which covers major sports gossip. Given the focus of their site, Deadspin doesn’t exactly do a lot of poker features. That said, the piece they turned out on Why You’ll Never Make a Living Playing Poker Tournaments was quite impressive.

The article takes off on a Bryan Devonshire CardPlayer article about how difficult it is to be a tournament pro in the US. And Deadspin breaks down the math on this subject, providing some very interesting statistics and analysis along the way. The post begins by discussing online poker star Chris Moorman, who, over the course of 39,000 online tournaments, had a median ROI of 26.5%. So if Moorman spends $1,000 on a poker tourney, he’s making $265 in profit on average.

Of course, hardly anybody is as good as Moorman at online tournaments. What’s more is that Americans can’t play at Full Tilt or PokerStars like Moorman, unless they move outside of the US. So many Americans are forced to grind at smaller online poker sites and US-based tourneys.

This creates a huge problem because, as Deadspin points out, even a gambling capital like Las Vegas doesn’t offer many weekly tournaments with $1,000-plus buy-ins. So outside of the WSOP, many grinders are left playing in $150-$300 buy-in events where it’s hard to capitalize on a good ROI.

For this reason, many US pros try to make as much money as they can during the WSOP. Unfortunately, the high level of competition leaves many players with a much smaller ROI. Deadspin gives several statistics leading to the conclusion that two-thirds of the best WSOP players are losing money each year.

The Deadspin article certainly creates a grim, but accurate portrayal of what many American pros face today. So do players give up? The problem isn’t quite this drastic, at least for semi-pros, who can still make a good deal of money on non-regulated, US-friendly internet sites. However, the big-time pros will probably keep living outside of the Untied States until the regulated online market includes far more states than just Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey.

Multi-tabling and its Effect on Poker ROI

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

As we’ve talked about in the past, return on investment (ROI) is a very critical concept for poker tournament players to understand. ROI shows you how much money you’re earning back based on the amount you are investing in buy-ins. If you’d like to learn more about ROI, check this out.

Moving along, some people worry about multi-tabling because they know it’s likely to have an adverse effect on their profit rate. For example, if you go from playing one table to playing 4 poker tables, your ROI could drop from 15% to 8%. Now this might sound like a significant drop, but it’s actually a good thing – as we’ll explain.

Focus on Overall Profits

While we’d all like to have a pretty ROI, the most important thing to focus on is your overall profits. Using the previous example – where your ROI drops from 15% to 8% – let’s say that multi-tabling four tables helps you go from playing two MTT’s daily, to playing eight MTT’s daily.

With the situation where you’re only playing two MTT’s, you’d be earning $3 per day (20 x 0.15). Looking at the eight MTT’s per day, you’d be making $6.40 in profit per day (80 x 0.08). Taking this further, you’re making over twice as much money each day by multi-tabling four¬†tournaments, as opposed to playing just one.

Finding a Balance

Like we showed before, playing more than one table at a time can turn into a lot more profits. However, it’s important to understand how multi-tabling too many tables can hurt both your profits and ROI.

To illustrate this, let’s assume that you move from one $10 MTT at a time to multi-tabling six MTT’s, and your ROI drops from 15% to 1.5%. Assuming you’re still able to get two $10 MTT’s in daily while single-tabling, you’d now be playing twelve $10 MTT’s daily; unfortunately, your daily profits have fallen from $3 to $1.80 (120 x 0.015).

Obviously this is too many tables for you to handle at once, and the multiplied simultaneous decisions are hurting your overall profits. That said, you’ll need to move up slowly when it comes to multi-tabling so you don’t end up hurting your game.

Poker Tournament Bankroll Management

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Just a few days ago, we discussed the importance of using¬†ROI to measure how profitable you are in poker tournaments. Of course, return on investment numbers don’t exactly give you a handle on poker tournament bankroll¬†management, so it’s worth discussing this concept more in-depth.

Starting Amount

The best place to begin with poker tournament bankroll management is your starting amount. Now there’s no one-size-fits-all starting bankroll that will satisfy every player’s situation. But a nice, conservative number for most players is 40-50 buy-ins for the limits they want to play. To illustrate this, you would need $500 if you mainly played $10 + $1 buy-in poker tournaments.

Why are so many Buy-ins needed?

One question that some beginning poker tournament players have is why they need so many buy-ins in their starting bankroll. And the answer is that there’s a lot of downswings and variance involved in poker. For example, you might go through a period where you don’t cash for 15 straight poker tournaments; then you’ll finally cash again, only to go through another cold streak right afterward. That said, you need a fairly large bankroll to survive these swings until things turn around for you.

Keep learning Poker Strategy

The ultimate goal of poker is to make a profit, and the only way to continually do this is by studying poker strategy whenever you get the chance. This is especially the case if you want to build your bankroll and move up in limits. Relating this directly to your bankroll, it’s a lot easier to effectively manage your roll when you are a good player who’s never in immediate danger of losing everything. Long story short, keep learning poker strategy so that you can continue building your bankroll.

Surviving SNG Losing Streaks

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

While sit and go poker tournaments offer some of the easiest competition in the game (comparative to stakes), there is one thing that can hurt you in these poker games: losing streaks. For example, let’s say that you have a $180 bankroll, and you fail to cash in six straight $5.50 buy-in tournaments, place third in one, then fail to cash in another four straight SNG’s. At this point, your bankroll is hovering around $134, and you might seriously be considering dropping down in stakes.

Now you’re going to need to think about a few factors before dropping down. First off, it’s important to realize that a really good return on investment (ROI) at the $5 buy-in limit is 10%; if you’re a decent player, expect around a 5% ROI. In any case, you’re going to be looking at small edges, and losing streaks are bound to happen, so you can’t drop down in every instance.

Going further, by looking at our aforementioned bankroll example of $180, this is enough to cover 36 buy-ins. Now 36 buy-ins is better than 20, which is what most people try to start with; however, it’s a better idea to start with 50 buy-ins so you can survive the downswings that often happen in SNG’s.

The one obvious thing we haven’t discussed in all of this is that your skill level needs to be somewhat advanced – even for the $5 buy-in level. A good rule of thumb is to spend 80% of your time on the table, and the other 20% studying poker strategy. Sure it’s more fun to put all of your focus into making money on the tables, but you won’t improve much by avoiding the strategy altogether. In summary, try to have at least 50 buy-ins in your bankroll, and study strategy whenever you can.