Wednesday, November 09, 2005
I'm frustrated with donkey poker. I thought about saving this post till tomorrow, when I've had time to sleep off my current frustrated state, but I decided it would be better to just spew now and get some honest feedback from all of ya's.
I just got home from Trump. I've been playing $3/6 limit hold'em there for 15-20 hours a week over the last 3 months or so. My overall profit rate is just under 2 BB/hour.
I should be happy, right? Grinding out a nice little part time income...
I'm not happy. I'm frustrated as all hell. I keep a spreadsheet and notes (offline) on my sessions. I have a grand total of one losing session that I completely attributed to poor play on my part. On the other hand, I have quite a few where sickly unlucky cards were the culprit.
Before you start defining variance for me, I understand that not every session can be a winning one, and bad luck happens.
Correct me if I'm wrong here, but aren't I setting myself up for MORE "unlucky" sessions by regularly playing in games where 7-8 people see every flop and 5 of them call it down to the river? Sure, my flopped nut flush getting cracked off by a rivered full house tonight sucked - but would it have been as likely to happen against better players who knew how to fold 7-5 offsuit for a raise preflop?
Here's the thing: games as loose as the typical $3/6 game at Trump require you to make big hands to win. Premium hands preflop aren't likely to hold up - they're a 50/50 race, at best, against a large field of opponents. So - if you aren't "lucky" enough to be making sets, straights, and flushes, you aren't likely to win any money in any given session.
When poker is played in such a way as to turn it into a literal crapshoot, that (to me) sounds a lot like gambling. How, then, can I argue that I am striving to play a skill game? There's no skill in getting lucky.
There is skill, however, in reading opponents, and making plays to take advantage of situations. How, though, do you read an opponent that will call down any number of bets and raises with Ace high or bottom pair, and catch on the river? There's no reading them. You bet your strong hands and grind your teeth hoping that your hands hold up.
Where's the skill in that?
So far, I've stuck to playing $3/6 because a little voice in my head has been saying, "You're not crushing this game, therefore you must not be ready to move up." Ignoring atrociously unlucky sessions, though, I *am* crushing the game. I told myself before Vegas that if I came home with my bankroll intact that I would move up to $6/12 and try it out. I haven't done that yet.
I think maybe it is time. I know - there are going to be fish there too, and I WANT some fish... just not 7 of them!
Tonight, at a 10 handed table, there were three of us who were "good" players - me and two others (if I may be so bold as to consider myself "good"). The rest of the table was so insanely loose and quite honestly moronic that I couldn't help but marvel at the situation. J4 suited was a typical example of hole cards at showdown. Offsuit connectors were also very popular. King-Ten offsuit was raised under the gun a few times, as was Jack-Ten offsuit. K-2 suited was perfectly playable. Make it stop! Please! There's just no beating these people.
Well, I take that back: a couple regulars I know of do beat these people. They play 12 hours a day, every day, and play top 10 hands only (literally), folding on all missed flops and not playing ANY drawing hands. They manage to make a decent profit. Maybe if I had 12 hours a day to sit and fold, and then pray for my aces and kings to hold up, I'd make more money. That, to me, isn't skill either. It's just patience. Rock solid patience.
There's another voice in my head saying, "what the hell are you bitching about? You're up $250 in the last 2 weeks since Vegas... shut up and take your lumps like a (wo)man!"
I dumped a buy-in tonight on a very unlucky session. (A buy-in = $100 for me). It pisses me off, because of all of the big hands that I lost, only ONE was to a legitimate hand. The rest were goofy ass two-pairs and 3-outers. At even the itty bitty tiniest higher level, those hands wouldn't have even been played preflop. ($3/6 is the lowest game spread at there). I don't think most $6/12 players at Trump would play them (only because there are more regulars in that game, and a good number of the regulars, from my experience, are solid players - maybe even too tight in some cases).
Am I just being a whiny ass? Should I chalk the unlucky sessions up to variance and keep grinding it out until I'm paying the mortgage at $3/6? Is there more harm than good (aside from potential bankroll damage) in taking a tiptoe into the $6/12 waters?
I've already debated the switch to NL, and decided that I don't want to go that route for cash games... not right now, anyway.
$3/6 just feels like a crapshoot to me, and players' lack of respect for the game at that level is driving me nuts (that, and the suckouts are just emotionally brutal). I'm looking for a higher quality game.
What do you all think?
OK. Time for bed. /end rant