Is online poker rigged? (A look at bank roll management)

    • Thebridgedoc
      Thebridgedoc
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      Joined: 27.08.2011 Posts: 20
      So, I'm not really a blog writer as such. I've really barely written anything on the subject of poker. This is my first time and so we'll break new ground together. I hope, though, that you agree with my musings here.

      I best address the question in the title first. No, I don't think online poker is rigged. I don't have any proof as such that can deal with the thousands of conspiracy theories out there but the statistics seem to back up the fact. According to poker tracker, I've been dealt pocket aces about as many times as I can expect to and they seem to win, from an all in pre-flop, about as many times as they should.

      I mean I have seen bad beats - we all have - but what really intrigued me was: I seemed to perform far better at poker when I was playing within my bankroll. I've lost my bankroll a couple of times (never ghastly sums but not amounts I need to discuss) and it always seems to happen when I don't follow bank roll management rules.

      "HANG ON!" I hear you cry. "So far you've said nothing that I couldn't read in countless other articles."

      So I'll make a hypothesis for you:
      Poker only appears rigged when following bad bankroll management.

      I'd be interested to see whether you agree or disagree but I believe there are a couple of reasons that this is backed up.


      1) The obvious; Variance

      So I have a $100 bankroll and enter 2 tournaments for a $50 buy-in
      In the first one I run well until the later stages I push with Aces and someone else pushes with Jacks - He catches a set and I am busted out.
      In the second - I get aces again and once again get it all in pre-flop: this time I go bust against KQ suited that manages a flush.

      and yet, If I were playing in $3 MTTs (argue whether this is good or bad BR management amongst yourselves elsewhere), the same thing could happen in the first two tournaments but the next 8 that you get aces in will win for you and suddenly you're up rather than down.

      BUT this stuff has been rammed down our throats anyway, it's our own choice if we chose to ignore it.


      2) Psychology

      Now I suggest you take note of this one, it's less well published. Bad bankroll management WILL throw you onto tilt and will emphatically effect your play. If you were planning on taking a Saturday playing the game and have $10 in your account and start attacking the $3 MTTs you will, more often than not, notice you are not playing optimally. Think about it, we all love aces but as our M-factor or CSI or whatever you call it, get lower - it's common knowledge that we no longer have the comfort of being tight. We have to play the less good hands to stay afloat.

      Now! You're sitting there with a marginal hand that has a positive EV push but you are agonising over the decision, which should by rights be trivial.

      "It's my last $3 - If I lose now I will go broke" and if you are taking time to consider the trivial push like there is a thought behind it then you are definitely folding too many marginal hands.

      I have noticed that when I play with insufficient bankroll, my results are poorer than when I play with a reasonable bankroll. It's just how the psychology will grab you. If you are the sort who will play his last $3 tournament the same way as $3 from a $1K bank roll, then bravo to you to.

      This is not meant to be preachy but it is meant to point out that inferior bankroll management may affect play.




      In conclusion - Bankroll management doesn't have to be as black and white as some sites will have you believe but it isn't far off. Find out what games you can beat and make sure you have a decent roll for them. You'll find that your graphs look more positive in the long run. Also, remember, bad bankroll management will affect most people in the way they play - don't let this be you.
  • 17 replies
    • BLOWMEBABE
      BLOWMEBABE
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      Joined: 24.01.2010 Posts: 222
      Don't give a any fk about BM - this is the reason why I busted my roll few times.
    • DrDunne
      DrDunne
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      Joined: 29.12.2010 Posts: 3,345
      yeah the effects of winning/losing affect you MUCH MORE when following bad BRM. obviously if you play underrolled the effects of winning/losing are going to be distorted. its why people gamble in the first place - to get the rush. i think i read some research about it not even being about winning but the anticipation of winning that draws people to it. so the way i see it, playing underrolled is obviously more like gambling so we will care a lot more about winning and losing when using bad BRM.

      and you definitely have a point about BRM affecting play, but that links in with my first point about how the effects are amplified. either way, many people need to learn about BRM the hard way. i know i definitely did! from what i can gather, the most important thing with BRM isn't number of buy-ins, it's the level of comfort a certain number of buy-ins gives you.

      i think given the fact that the effects of winning/losing are amplified with bad BRM it can sometimes appear as though the gods of poker are conspiring against YOU and only YOU to take your money. i think i actually agree with your hypothesis. definitely don't really care about AA being busted by 22 AI;pf where the 22 hits a set on the flop when i have BRM. but it would obviously be rigged if i played the 1 hand with most of my bankroll lol!
    • Atoks
      Atoks
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      Joined: 01.06.2008 Posts: 1,354
      Good piece. A lot of the newer players should read it and hopefully realize it's message. I'm (relatively) experience with BRM and still I can't help but watch the numbers go up/down and wonder when I'll have the right amount to do stuff with it. That's my own personal BR struggle so yeah ... some thing take a long time to really go away.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 8,962
      Somebody else -- verneer maybe? -- in a PokerStrategy article said this:

      You must play like money means everything, yet at the same time play like it means nothing.

      From that I understand that you must play to win, and must be highly motivated to win, but you must be able to disregard the losses as trivial.

      OK, I just remembered why I thought of verneer:
      His sig line reads:
      "If you want to be good at winning, you have to be good at losing" -- Tommy Angelo

      As the OP indicates, you accomplish this w/ good BRM.
    • gadget51
      gadget51
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      Joined: 23.06.2008 Posts: 5,622
      It's a common theme amongst the top sports people. Steve Davis the snooker player said the way winners play is to play every shot like their life depends on it, then walk away like it means nothing if they fail. I tried it, tough or what!? :)

      On the point of the question though, I have always [well, nearly always :) ] used very nitty bankroll management. It is actually a positive in some ways that there is no way I can replace my bankroll if I went broke; learning bankroll management was and still is, priority one for me.

      So my bankroll management helps me stay away from tilt, yet if I start losing a large proportion of it, I still feel pressure from it. This last is a different animal than bad management of funds though.

      Always an interesting and hugely underrated topic. Nice one Thebridgedoc.

      Mal.
    • aceonetheriver
      aceonetheriver
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      Joined: 26.12.2008 Posts: 591
      Originally posted by VorpalF2F

      "If you want to be good at winning, you have to be good at losing" -- Tommy Angelo


      can anyone explain this?
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 8,962
      Originally posted by aceonetheriver
      Originally posted by VorpalF2F

      "If you want to be good at winning, you have to be good at losing" -- Tommy Angelo


      can anyone explain this?
      I lifted the quote from verneer's signature -- his blog is called "An American in America" -- you might want him to go into greater detail, but I'll have a stab at it.

      Think of the phrase "poor loser". Usually someone who throws a fit when things go badly. They stomp from the room, turn the tables and chips over, yell, scream etc. Think Devilfish or Phil Hellmuth for example.
      A poor winner, on the other hand, gloats, berates their opponents for their stupidity, talks trash, belittles or humiliates their opponents etc. Tony G comes to mind.

      Niether of these extremes is +EV long term. You must learn to keep it all even, calm and relaxed. Doyle Brunson and Daniel Negreanu come to mind.
    • FatSunny
      FatSunny
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      Joined: 22.05.2011 Posts: 389
      Well written dude ive got a mate who i will be making read this you have put into words what ive tried to tell him about his style of play but failed.
      Thank u
    • gavinonymous
      gavinonymous
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      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      Originally posted by VorpalF2F

      OK, I just remembered why I thought of verneer:
      His sig line reads:
      "If you want to be good at winning, you have to be good at losing" -- Tommy Angelo

      As the OP indicates, you accomplish this w/ good BRM.
      thanks OP, nice read.

      that quote goes back a long way, probably back to days of early blues. this lyric comes to mind.

      yeah, I know nobody knows
      where it comes and where it goes
      I know it's everybody's sin
      you got to lose to know how to win

      hmm.. like to see a thread about gambling songs?
    • Thebridgedoc
      Thebridgedoc
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      Joined: 27.08.2011 Posts: 20
      Thanks guys for the positive response. I thought it was quite an interesting point that BR management is more deeply important for many reasons and people don't appreciate that.

      The other point is people often act like sheep with rigid rules for BR management - it's an important thing to get right but x number of buy ins for game type y is not necessarily the best way of thinking about it.

      On saying this, however, if you can't actually come up with an effective system for yourself. These rigid rules may be your best bet.

      This is, to a certain extent, opinion but in all situations it's better to THINK than to follow rules. I suppose this was the reason that I wrote the post in the first place, to get people thinking about BR management.
    • jleonra
      jleonra
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.03.2012 Posts: 53
      nice thread, indeed when you are underolled you don't play optimally, i know this because i play in 2 dif rooms, in one i had $50 (now $32) and in other i have $206, and in the first room i can't play good icm because if i bust of the sng my BR suffers a lot so I usually end up pushing crap when i have 3-4 BB left.

      On the other hand, in the other site it doesn't really hurt me that much if i bust in a tournament since it is a very small fraction of my roll :P since i play the $1 sng.
    • dailytear
      dailytear
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      Joined: 21.08.2011 Posts: 749
      Originally posted by VorpalF2F
      Originally posted by aceonetheriver
      Originally posted by VorpalF2F

      "If you want to be good at winning, you have to be good at losing" -- Tommy Angelo


      can anyone explain this?
      I lifted the quote from verneer's signature -- his blog is called "An American in America" -- you might want him to go into greater detail, but I'll have a stab at it.

      Think of the phrase "poor loser". Usually someone who throws a fit when things go badly. They stomp from the room, turn the tables and chips over, yell, scream etc. Think Devilfish or Phil Hellmuth for example.
      A poor winner, on the other hand, gloats, berates their opponents for their stupidity, talks trash, belittles or humiliates their opponents etc. Tony G comes to mind.

      Niether of these extremes is +EV long term. You must learn to keep it all even, calm and relaxed. Doyle Brunson and Daniel Negreanu come to mind.
      Originally posted by verneer
      Your learning really takes off when you achieve a certain inner-calmness about what you are trying to do. In college, I went to listen to a legendary coach talk about success. He said "soccer must mean everything to you. It must also mean nothing at the same time." I had a hard time wrapping my head around that at the time, and still kind of do. Basically - you must fully commit to the process and don't let bad results cloud you.
      cherish the love :heart:
    • ohmesohrny
      ohmesohrny
      Basic
      Joined: 08.10.2011 Posts: 19
      nm
    • wuzhe
      wuzhe
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      Joined: 14.03.2011 Posts: 1
      Bankroll management is important. But, strange you havent noticed some things, like if you just try to witdraw your funds from poker room - bad beats starting to appear a lot... Online poker is rigged, they are "making more action", just look:
      Edited: Link removed
    • GothMoth
      GothMoth
      Silver
      Joined: 20.05.2010 Posts: 1
      Luck matters only if you count on it. The poker is rigged posts are mainly written by players who play under-bankrolled and/or high variance formats.

      For example the micro MTTs in PokerStars (fields +1000) are much more luck-dependent than the similar ones in smaller sites with 30-200 players.

      BRM is essential for long-term success especially in recent tougher games. When players are equally skilled BRM and mindset are the difference between winning/losing.
    • Post removed

    • SDK1987
      SDK1987
      Moderator
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      Joined: 12.11.2008 Posts: 27,940
      Originally posted by wuzhe
      Bankroll management is important. But, strange you havent noticed some things, like if you just try to witdraw your funds from poker room - bad beats starting to appear a lot... Online poker is rigged, they are "making more action", just look:
      Edited: Link removed
      I’m afraid you can’t post links of competitor sites and that’s against our Our forum principles
      That’s why I have removed your link here.

      Cheers,
      SDK1987