Suggestions on building a bankroll from $300 to $3000 on PS

    • KidVancouver
      KidVancouver
      Basic
      Joined: 06.03.2013 Posts: 13
      So I'd love to get some advice on building up my bankroll. This site/forum seems to have much better general advice and users willing to offer helpful specific suggestions than some of the others I've been on (cough 2+2 cough).

      My situation is this, to give you some context. I'm a recreational player that would like on-line poker to one day provide me a decent side income, and if possible, a full time bankroll, transitioning to a live game one day. I primarily play on Pokerstars, although I've also recently opened a Full Tilt account as well. My time to play is somewhat limited since I have a regular job, so I'm mostly on for a few hours each night, and on weekends. I've read a fair amount of the strategy books and trolled forums, as well as been getting real-money experience in the games for about 4-5 months now. I wouldn't say I'm in the upper tier of math/strategy experts, and by no means do I play close to a perfect game. But I use a HUD, understand M-Zone, know a fair amount about player tendencies, and 3 and 4-betting strategies. Essentially I know the fundamentals and can final table SnG's and the occassional satellite.

      My biggest issue is picking the right spots to play in on Pokerstars. I like the format of MTT's and SnG's and don't want to grind cash games, so that's out. I am also -ev when multi-tabling more than 3-4 games, so I don't think I would do well grinding 10+ tables. I find I can't concentrate enough on playing correctly if I've got more than a few games going at once. So essentially I need to find the best risk/reward spots to play in to maximize my ROI. Ideally I'd love to turn my $300 into a few thousand over the next few months just to prove to myself that I can do it. Up till now I've been picking very high variance, low $ entry spots and I've lost about $500 over 5 months total playing moderately good poker.

      SO, my question is that given my parameters what do you think of the following game selection options:

      #1 - $1.50/$3.50 18-180 man SnG's. This seems to be the "safest" approach, but I've found in the past that the games on PS are pretty tough even at these levels with a lot of regs in them. So playing decent poker I'll final table at least half the time, but only cash or ship maybe 1 out of 7 of these. This gives me something like a 5-10% ROI, which means that since I don't mass-multitable this is going to take a long time to build up a bankroll. It probably doesn't even work out to be worth it from an hourly rate standpoint at the $1.50/$3.50 level.

      #2 - $.50 to $2 Satellite Rebuys. This is where I've done the best, but it's pretty high variance and not what I would call skill poker. But the risk/reward is the highest. If I can cash one of the $1.50 Sunday million Satellites and redeem that for $215 I don't need to win very often to make it profitable. And I've cashed a few of the .55 $55 Satellites which is also great risk/reward. Given my limited time available to play these seem good, but I feel like I'm gambling rather than playing skill poker. It's also tough to go for a week or two without cashing as they psychological effect of losing 30-40 satellites in a row sucks.

      #3 - $1-$5 Guaranteed Freezeouts. I've done ok in the "Bigger" and "Hotter" freezeouts, but they are long time investments which don't justify the min cashes. I've never final tabled one of these as the fields are huge (1500 to 10,000 players). It feels more like I'm playing "real" poker than the rebuys, but the variance due to the field size is huge. I feel like I could play these for 3 months and maybe only final table once or twice. And if those aren't for 1st-3rd place it's 3 months of time wasted breaking even.

      #4 - $5-$15 Guaranteed Freezeouts (i.e., the Sunday Storm, Big $11, etc.). I've done fairly well at these, with a decent ROI, but any kind of losing streak is catastrophic. I ran badly and lost about 30 of these in a row which bankrupted my $300 bankroll earlier in the year. Conventional wisdom seems to be that I should play up to $1500-$2K in bankroll before jumping back into these levels so I can absorb the variance.

      #5 - $1-$2 Rush tournaments on Tilt. I just started playing these a couple weeks ago. The pro's are that I cashed one for $50 pretty quickly, and that you can play a LOT more volume. This is very appealing to me given my time constraints. Also, the player base on FT seemed a lot softer than PS. The con is that because you can play so much volume and they are a bit of donkfests you can blow through your bankroll quicker. Again, this category felt vaguely more like gambling to me than playing skilled poker.

      Are there any I'm missing? Timed events?

      Basically, the bottom line is that for a reasonably skilled amateur player where are you going to get the most bang for your buck on PokerStars with a $300-$500 bankroll? What game selection should I be looking at? thanks!!
  • 31 replies
    • UPAY4DINNER
      UPAY4DINNER
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 21,923
      Hey KidVancouver!

      First of all welcome to PokerStrategy.com as I see this is your first post :) You are right, this forum is pretty damn awesome and helpful!

      I empathize with your scheduling and I also hold down a permanent job and have a family. It looks like you've spent quite a long time thinking about your options which is great. You haven't dived in head first and said.... I am going to do this and play that etc.

      You are already a level ahead of most players at this point!

      Now then, to the crux of your post, I think it will benefit from a move to our MTT Discussion board. Our resident Asaban will be able to help you out a lot better than I can.

      I will give you my own personal suggestions later on :)

      Welcome to the community again and I really hope you enjoy your time here.


      Best regards,
      Gary
    • KidVancouver
      KidVancouver
      Basic
      Joined: 06.03.2013 Posts: 13
      Thanks Gary.

      Yeah, the only reason I posted on the Pokerstars forum was that I'm primarily interested in picking my best spots in relations to their field sizes and MTT structures, although like I said I'm experimenting a bit with FullTilt now as well. But if the MTT discussion board is better suited to that, great.

      It's wonderful to be welcomed on here, and from what I've read and explored in some of the forums here it's night and day from other sites I've browsed in the last few months. I'm looking forward to being part of the community here and improving my poker results. Cheers!
    • Asaban
      Asaban
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 22.09.2006 Posts: 8,241
      Hey KidVancouver and welcome to the tournament strategy forum =)

      First of all I would suggest to try to get used to playing multiple tables. Adding one at a time, but constantly adding more until you can manage at least 9 tables (the more the better) without making too many mistakes.

      Your hourly will improve and at the same time you will manage to fight variance more efficiently. Playing 4 tables is very ineffective in the long run.


      As you already figured out, the 180men/90men turbo mtsng's would be the safest way to build up a bankroll. But playing these requires multi- or even masstabling skills in order to get a decent income.

      You shouldn't be too focussed on your hourly though since it will be very low for quite some time anyways.


      I can't say much about your second option since I have never played satellites extensivly. The variance is very high for sure and the structure is very bad most of the times. Knowing how to play according to ICM is essential here!


      #3: You can even play them for years without cashing significantly - especially if you don't play a big volume. I recommend at least 350 avg Buyins in order to play them savely. Bankroll management is very important when it comes to mass field mtt's. Without proper bankroll management you will most likely encounter serious bankroll problems at some point.

      #4: See #3. Bankroll Management!!!

      #5: Valid option. Personally I prefer the 180s at Pokerstars though.


      My personal suggestion:
      Play mass field mtt's according to proper bankroll management (mainly 1$ and below with a few shots for 2$, no rebuys!) and mix them up with 90men and 180men (maximum of 2,5$, no rebuys!) to fight the variance a bit. Always fill up to the maximum number of tables you can manage and try to increase this number step by step.

      More expensive tournaments (>5$) are way out of your comfort zone and shouldn't be played with a three digit bankroll. Not only will your bankroll get into troubles quite fast, you will also be scared of money when it gets into late game.

      Get comfortable at the micro limits and move up steadily. This way your bankroll as well as your skill will keep up with your limits.

      If you have any further question feel free to ask!

      Regards,
      Asaban
    • KidVancouver
      KidVancouver
      Basic
      Joined: 06.03.2013 Posts: 13
      Thanks Asaban, that's great advice. A couple of followup questions.

      So when you're multitabling 9 tables, how can you possibly keep track of the stats and tendencies of the other players at the table? Or do you find that stuff just isn't as important as keeping multiple tables going? Because from what I can see when I watch vids of people who mass multitable they're essentially just playing their cards with specific strategies (c-bet, 3 bet, floats, etc.) and not playing the other players, which every poker strategy book you read says is a horrible approach. I've always read from successful players that the cards don't matter nearly as much as how and when you're betting and what your opponent is doing. Can you really have that level of nuance if you're playing 10 tables at once? It feels like chaos to me when I get above 4 tables.

      More specifically, let's say I'm multi-tabling 10 tables. Every 1-2 seconds I'm going to be asked to make a decision on whether to call, raise, or fold a bet at one of those tables. There is no way I'm going to be able to follow the flow of the game at that table to know who has been betting what, what their steal %'s are, how often they are C-betting, who is on tilt, etc. Even with a HUD you just can't process that level of information in 1 second before the next table beeps at you. So it seems like when you play 10+ tables at once you're just betting based on a very limited set of player information as well the cards in front of you. Am I wrong about that?

      As for SnG's, is it worth playing the 18-45 man mtsng's or is the payoff just not high enough to justify it? Do you find the 90/180's are the way to go?

      By the way, I do tend to play Rebuys with a single-bullet approach, which has been hit or miss. The variance is huge there, and they're mostly just lotto players. But when you hit them the ROI is quite high if you're playing a single-bullet, patient approach. I can often get in the money where even a min-cash is a 10-1 ROI ($10 paid on a $1 entry).

      Again, thanks for the advice. I'll hopefully be frequenting these boards more often as the information seems quite helpful to improving my game.
    • ShadDoneWin
      ShadDoneWin
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.08.2012 Posts: 161
      With limited time periods to play, 6-18 man sng's are your best bet and if you get pretty good at them, you'll be able to play more tables and will move up pretty fast. With $300 I'd start at $3.50 and just slowly try to add more tbales like what was said before.

      On another note, try another site. Both PS and FT are pretty solid and you won't get the best rakeback/VIP deals there. Further to this, if you were to sign up to a new room, you would also benefit from a bonus, which in your case would be $600.

      Good luck
    • Asaban
      Asaban
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 22.09.2006 Posts: 8,241
      You have to make your decisions based on less information if you play more tables. Still, the HUD provides you with the most important stats and you can easily play ABC-poker in the early and midgame using just your HUD and playing your hands.

      In the late game you will normally have way less tables since you bust out in some of them frequently. Therefore you can concentrate on the particular table a lot better. Since this is the time when money is earned it is most important to have the full attention on table flow and specific reads.

      So basically you are registering a lot of tables early on and filling up to the maximum each time you bust at one table. As soon as you hit late game you won't replace tables anymore and will therefore be able to play your best poker when it is necessary.

      This might cost you a few spots and therefore a few BB in the process, but at the same time you will have way more options for a deep run and you can play a way bigger samplesize.


      Regarding the 18 and 45men mtsng's:
      They are absolutely valid options. Problem is, that they need a way better understanding of ICM then the bigger ones. Furthermore they are quite similar to SNG's. I wouldn't recommend mixing SNG's and MTT's as a beginner. Therefore I would choose the bigger mtsng's (90men and 180men), because they are very close to standard mtt play and you won't have to adapt a lot while playing them at the same time as standard mtt's.


      Rebuys:
      I wouldn't recommend playing rebuys unless you are willing to invest into at least one rebuy and the addon (making it 3 Buyins total). Otherwise you will lose a lot of value compared to players who take rebuys and addons. In general I would recommend at least 1500 Buyins for mass-field mtt's at pokerstars (300 Buyins is the minimum amount for those big player fields; the buyin for rebuys consist of the initial buyin, the initial rebuy, one double rebuy as a backup and the addon --> 5*300 --> 1500).

      Your single buyin approach leaves you with a big disadvantage and a massive loss in EV. It is still profitable most likely, but it shouldn't be as profitable as normal freezeouts that way.


      Again: If you have any further questions feel free to ask!

      Regards,
      Asaban
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 8,907
      Hi KidVancouver!

      You sound rather well organized, and you've got some great advice so far.

      Your name seems to indicate that you're from Vancouver -- is that correct?

      I live up the valley a ways.

      Have you ever played at any of the local live venues?

      I also have a full time job and at least one other hobby, so I know what it's like to try to find enough time to play.

      For that reason, I play only cash games.
      Currently, I'm not even playing NLHE, but having a good run at 5-Card Draw.

      All the best,
      --VS
    • KidVancouver
      KidVancouver
      Basic
      Joined: 06.03.2013 Posts: 13
      Heya Vorpal.

      Yes, I'm in Vancouver. I've been very interested in trying out some of the NLHE tournaments locally, but have yet to go. I know River Rock is supposed to have a good facility. Are there any you recommend?

      I'm going to put some of the advice here to action now and try upping my volume to see if I can 8-table tonight in the 90/180 MTT's on PS. Cheers.
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 8,907
      Yikes!
      Jumping to 8 might be a bit heavy.

      Add them one or two at a time to see how you can handle it.

      I've been tempted to try out the Friday nights at Fraser Downs, but so far haven't been able to haul my arse of this chair.

      --VS
    • KidVancouver
      KidVancouver
      Basic
      Joined: 06.03.2013 Posts: 13
      I actually did ok going up to 8 tables last night. Final tabled 4 or 5 of them, and got 2nd in a couple of the 90 mans. My heads-up game needs a bit of work as I haven't made enough final tables to have a great feeling for the level of aggression needed in HU versus when to pick your spots. But the advice here so far was good, and I feel like I'm moving in the right direction. For the last few months I've just kind of being playing in a random assortment of high variance, low stakes MTT's on Stars and treading water. Good experience but my bankroll wasn't growing.

      So a couple follow up questions after my first night of more extensive multi-tabling.

      #1; I loaded up to 8 tables and was able to keep up and make reasonably good decisions early on. At one point I tried to go higher and loaded up 2-3 more and found I couldn't keep up. With 12 tables going I physically couldn't click fast enough and was getting timed out on tables. How in the heck do people mass multi-table? I don't understand how you can just physically click that fast.

      #2; Multi-tabling software? Useful? A necessity? I haven't played with table ninja, but I know it's popular. What does that give you that cascading or tiled tabled on Ps doesn't?

      #3; Screen space. I tried tiling 8 tables (4 on each monitor) and I found that I just couldn't see the cards and bets well enough. On my 22" monitors I couldn't see the information that clearly. What's the secret there? I ended up doing full screen tables and just using the make-active option to bring them to the front. I don't like that I can't see all the tables at once, but it was better than not being able to discern the information on the tiny screens.

      Thanks for answering my beginner'ish questions as I begin the journey to more efficient multi-table grinding. Cheers!
    • VorpalF2F
      VorpalF2F
      Super Moderator
      Super Moderator
      Joined: 02.09.2010 Posts: 8,907
      I don't use Table Ninja, but I believe that it can stack tables in such a way that the table currently requiring action comes to the top.

      I use similar software though, and it works fine.
      One feature is that if you need more time at a table you can park it elsewhere while you go through the stack and attend to any tables where you can hit the "fold to any bet" box, 'cuz you're not going to play them anyway.

      Now you have time for your important hand.

      I typically tile 4 NLHE -- and that is the limit for me if I want to actually observe the other players, and think about their ranges, rather than just playing my own hand.

      Even so, I don't 4-table NL25, just up to NL 10
      --I'm talking about cash games, I don't do SnGs

      --VS
    • Asaban
      Asaban
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 22.09.2006 Posts: 8,241
      First of all it's a matter of personal choice if you use programs like table ninja or not. It's main benefits are comfort options that make mass tabling easier. For example you can assign hotkeys for fold/call/raise. Furthermore you can automatically open new tables as soon as old one's close. There are a few more options. You may find all information required on the table ninja website.

      Personally I don't use table ninja and I don't think it's necessary for multi-/masstabling.

      Playing more then 8 tables needs a bit of practise of course. You can't expect to increase the amount of tables from 4 to 10+ within one day. Take it slow and you will most likely be able to manage up to 10 tables.

      Regarding screen space I know of several people having similar problems. These people use the "stack tables" option in most cases.
      Personally I can minimize the tables as far as possible without getting problems. I am using a 30" as well as a 24" monitor.

      As always: If you have further questions feel free to ask!

      Regards,
      Asaban
    • KidVancouver
      KidVancouver
      Basic
      Joined: 06.03.2013 Posts: 13
      Thanks for the tips guys.

      Re: Table Ninja, yeah, I played with a bit but found that 90% of what it does I can do on Pokerstars already (hot keys, bring tables to the front when active). It was just another app running to keep track of. It did have a few cool features, but to be honest the thing that annoyed me the most about it was that it also beeped when tables were needing attention. So between PS beeping to play and Table Ninja beeping it was too much. I couldn't find any sound controls but maybe they're buried in there.

      So far so good with 8-tabling. One thing I did is make a custom HEM2 profile for multitabling. I made the stat HUD font bigger and bolder, and created some color coding for me to be able to see relevant information on small tables easier. Mainly I just look at VPIP/PFR/Aggression to know if I'm playing nits or aggrotards. With that layout I can see the relevant information pretty well on 2 monitors.

      It's slow going but I'm up to $360 from my $300 "starting" bankroll. I know that's not significant in itself, but I've had some pretty good individual results. My best finish ever was yesterday in the Bigger $5.50 ($40K guarantee). I placed 52nd out of 12,000 players. I wish I made it a bit further as the payouts got exponentially larger from there. Unfortunately I had 2 pairs (K8 or K10, can't recall), got all the chips in, and the guy sucked out on me with a 7 to Jack straight on the river. Ouch. Always seems to work that way for me. I get close to the end and someone sucks out. I've been nipping at a final table in quite a few of the "Bigs" on PS and even a Sunday Storm, but luck always seems to run out at the end. All things considered though I was pretty happy and played fairly well for 8 hours to make it past 11,950 other players. And I won a 90-man SnG last night, and final tabled a couple others. So not too bad. I'd be up to $400 if it wasn't for my bad habit of wanting to play some of the $1 rebuys and satellites. I think I'll stick to the freezeouts and 90/180 mans this week and work on my game and study. I'm hoping to grind up to $400 this week, but I know how variance goes, so there is just as much of a chance that I'll grind down to $250. (-:
    • doctorkgb
      doctorkgb
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.04.2009 Posts: 1,263
      MTT bankroll managment is your first goal to absorb and implement. You will burn your roll almost for shure if you play 11$ and 5$ huge field MTTs with 300$ bankroll.

      Play 90man and 180man at Stars (non rebuy) with BI that never should exceed 1% of your bankroll.
    • KidVancouver
      KidVancouver
      Basic
      Joined: 06.03.2013 Posts: 13
      Agreed. I don't play them regularly. I only play the Sunday storm because for $11 you're getting into a $300K guaranteed pool. And I'll play up to the $5 Bigger/Hotter MTT's. Honestly I've found if you play ABC poker on those big fields for the first 2 hours you're usually only a few good/lucky plays from being ITM. I even read somewhere that the most +EV play in those fields is to sit out the first 2 hours, which I think isn't that far from the truth. Then instead of facing a 12,000 person field, you're slightly below average stack with 4,000 players left and a ton of dead money in the pool.

      But yeah, 90% of my play is going into 90/180 man non-rebuys at the $1-$2.50 level right now. I'm going to grind those for a few weeks and see if I can move up after that. I'm at $360 so I could start mixing in some $3.50 non-rebuys. At what level do you find the competition getting much tougher generally? Is the $1-$5 90/180 competition all about the same, and it's just a matter of staying within your bankroll? It seems from what I've heard that the competition doesn't get really hard until you get over $10-$20 BI's.
    • doctorkgb
      doctorkgb
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.04.2009 Posts: 1,263
      Originally posted by KidVancouver
      At what level do you find the competition getting much tougher generally? Is the $1-$5 90/180 competition all about the same, and it's just a matter of staying within your bankroll? It seems from what I've heard that the competition doesn't get really hard until you get over $10-$20 BI's.
      I play MTTs recreationally only, so I acn't give you correct answer, but 7+ should be with more better regs. Regs mostly play 45s and 90s, as well.
    • Asaban
      Asaban
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 22.09.2006 Posts: 8,241
      The competition gets harder with each $ you add to the buyin. It's not significant, but it's a steady process. The higher the buyin, the more regs you will find. Therefore the shark vs fish ratio will get lower and lower. You most likely won't realize until the very late game, but since this is the part where you earn the money, the extra sharks will cost you $.

      I wouldn't recommend playing anything out of your BRM. Furthermore I wouldn't recommend playing tournaments with just 100 Buyins except for 45men and 90men mtsng's. Every tournament with more players needs a bankroll of 200 ABI's or more (for tournaments like the Big 5$ I would recommend at least 300 BI's).

      If you really want to play tournaments that are out of your BRM (which doesn't make a lot of sense for a lot of reasons) I would recommend playing qualifiers that suit your buyin range to try to qualify for the desired tournament.

      Weekly or even daily shots on higher buyins will only slow you down in progressing to higher limits regularly. You will need way more time to climb up in limits if you play these mass field mtt's without putting any volume into it.

      Regards,
      Asaban
    • KidVancouver
      KidVancouver
      Basic
      Joined: 06.03.2013 Posts: 13
      Gotcha. Very good advice and I'll certainly heed it. I'll stick to the 90/180's in the $1.50/$2.50 range for a few weeks and see how I do, slowly building up my tolerance for 8-table regular play. Hopefully I can build my bankroll up to the $500 range by then and go from there.

      Someone mentioned not mixing in 45's because the strategy was more like STT SnG's than the MTT 90/180 SnG's. Valid?
    • Asaban
      Asaban
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 22.09.2006 Posts: 8,241
      Well - in the end it's a matter of personal choice. You should concentrate on one particular MTSNG format. The 90/180men are more like MTT's and need less knowledge about ICM. 18 and 45men MTSNG's are a bit more like SNG's and need more knowledge of ICM.

      Play whatever you enjoy the most and/or play best.

      Regards,
      Asaban
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