One Goal (Micro SNG blog)

    • Salivanth
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Hi guys. Welcome to my SNG blog, and let's get right into who I am and what I'm aiming for, shall we?

      Who am I?

      I'm a 21-year-old Accounting student from New South Wales, Australia. I like Poker, Starcraft II (I'm writing this in between GSTL games, for any other fans out there), and mathematics. I'm currently waiting for a Precalculus class to start on a site called Coursera. I didn't pay any attention in high school, which is why the stuff I'm learning is pretty basic, but I've recently discovered a new appreciation for the subject. For some reason, everyone around me thinks I'm good at maths when I have less knowledge of it than a high school graduate. I think they're confusing "Good at maths" with "Can do arithmetic really fast.".

      What do I want?

      I want to earn money in online poker. I need to save around 250-300 bucks in order to travel to Sydney to see my Dad around New Years; we watch the cricket every year, and it's a tradition that's very important to him. He paid for my flights last year, and I really don't want that to happen this year. I used to tutor Year 10 and below students in mathematics, and I'm starting that up again, but there's no guarantee I'll actually get clients, and that was worrying the hell out of me, to have very little control over whether or not I'll actually make any money out of it this time.

      Cue poker. I've played it on and off for quite some time, and my biggest problem is being unable to decide on a game, because I keep psyching myself out by wondering about the higher stakes, and whether there's money to be made there, how hard it'd be, etc. etc.

      The rational response to this is "Who the fuck cares, dude, just cross that bridge when you get to it." but it's still a problem for me. However, this new approach solves that problem. The question isn't "What game should I play?" but rather "What game gives me the best chance to make this money in the next three months?"

      The answer is turbo 9-man SNG's, the game I've played successfully and consistently for the longest, pre-Full-Tilt-explosion.

      But no, really, what EXACTLY do you want?

      Good question, mate! Let's put some numbers in.

      Technically, my goal is to reach 250-300 bucks (We'll call it 300) in three months, but then I'd have no bankroll to speak of. That's hardly ideal, so here's our set of goals for the next three months:

      Level 0: Reach a bankroll of $300. This ensures I have the money for the trip. This is the bare minimum. It'd be acceptable, but only acceptable.

      Level 1: Reach a bankroll of $400. This'll let me withdraw the money, and keep playing. That'd be good, I guess, but can we do better?

      Level 2: Reach a bankroll of $530. This would be a good place to reach. It'd allow me to withdraw $300, and still have enough to continue playing at the $3.50 buyins at PokerStars. This is the goal I'm aiming to achieve across three months.

      Level 3: Reach a bankroll of $750. This would be the best possible goal that's somewhat realistic. This'd allow me to withdraw $300, and stil play at the $7 buyins at PokerStars. I don't expect to reach this goal. I need to reach Level 1, plan to reach Level 2, and hope to reach Level 3.

      We have three months to do this. Specifically, in order to have the money and withdraw it to my bank account in time (Though this isn't technically necessary, as I could borrow the money from my Dad and return it a couple of days later, I'd like to do it this way.) I need to complete my goal by the 26th of December.

      I'm not going to be setting volume goals, because it's extremely difficult to tell how many games I'll need to reach my goal, since it'll involve moving up in limits, which is impractical to keep track of due to my fluid BRM style.

      Wait, what?

      Bankroll Management - Be like water. (Aka, MTT-style.)

      So, what's the traditional approach to bankroll management and moving up limits? You pick a number, let's say 65 BI's for SNG's. Then, you calculate how much money you need to move up. To move up to the $3.50's, we require $3.50 * 65 dollars, or $227.50. Then we move all our tables up at once.

      I tried this once, and when I moved up, I got OBLITERATED. I was playing better players, had no experience of the limit, and was playing scared. Clearly, something was wrong.

      Fortunately, I've read enough blogs to recognise an interesting concept that good MTT players (and even some high-stakes cash players) use. The concept of ABI, or Average Buy In.

      What they'll do is, they'll play a variety of stakes, but what matters for their BRM is that their ABI stays below a certain value. If their BRM is 200 BI's, and they have $20,000, they can play a $200 tournament as long as on average, they stay under $100 per tournament.

      So how can we apply this to SNG's?

      ABI is actually much easier to calculate for SNG's. I play my SNG's in sets, so to calculate the ABI, all we need to do is take the average buy-in of our set. For instance, if we wanted to play a set of four $3.50's and four $1.50's, we'd have an ABI of $2.50, and thus need a bankroll of $162.50 (65 BI's) in order to play that set. If we have less or more, we can play 3 or 5 $3.50's and fill out the set with $1.50's.

      The advantage of this is it should be much easier to move up the limits. Psychologically, moving from 8 $1.50's to 8 $3.50's is much worse than moving from 8 $1.50's to 6 $1.50's and 2 $3.50's. Additionally, it gives us experience at the limit, to find out what works and what doesn't. Eventually, we move up for good, when we hit 65 BI's for that limit, just like normal. The difference is, we've been playing $3.50's in ever-increasing amounts ever since we hit 40 BI for them, so we're fully prepared for the transition.

      In order to keep things from getting too weird (Like trying to play 1 $3.50 and 11 $1.50's with an ABI of like $1.67), I'm putting a hard minimum of 40 BI's. That is, I'm not allowed to add any $3.50's to my set until I have $140 in my bankroll.

      The disadvantage is that it requires more calculation, and more fluidity. I need to be prepared to be continuously adding or removing higher-limit SNG's from the sets as my bankroll fluctuates.

      The second disadvantage is that nobody else seems to do this. That in itself is no problem, but poker players are smart. It's very possible that there's a hidden pitfall in this "fluid BRM" that I'm not experienced enough to see. If that's the case, hopefully someone here can point it out.

      So where are you at, right now?

      Another good question! Currently, my bankroll stands at $121.92, split across PokerStars and Full Tilt.

      My current set is 6 tables; 5 $1.50's at PokerStars, and 1 $2.25 at Full Tilt. Due to Full Tilt's low traffic, there are very few regulars...but the reason there aren't regulars is because the traffic won't support them. This is why I'm only mixing small amounts in; there aren't enough games to do anything else, but I get a bit of a boost with the higher buy-in and slightly softer game that makes it worth losing the VPP's, especially since the amount and stakes I play are going to keep me at BronzeStar until I move up.

      Short-term, my first aim is to get the multi-tabling machine going. I used to play at 8 tables; I'd like to get up to 10-12 for peak volume. I've moved up from 4 to 6 over the last 2 days, also building my BR from $100 even to the current total. Over the next few days I want to get back up to 8, then start adding tables as I feel I can handle them.

      The second aim is to get to $140, where I can start mixing in a couple of $3.50's into my set, increasing my ABI and hopefully increasing ROI at the same time. I'll be assuming ROI's of 8% for $1.50's and $2.25's, and 7% for $3.50's once I get there, if I ever need to estimate my ROI for volume purposes or something. This seems to me to be a nice, conservative number.

      The third aim is study. I won't be studying all that much, as I'll be focusing mostly on playing, but I do intend to do some ICM training via ICM Trainer and watch a few videos. I watched Chenny8888's introduction video today and got a few nice tips out of it. (I'm not calling anywhere near wide enough BvB, for one. Also, it really is perfectly okay to be at 1400 chips after the first 15-20 minutes, having played like two hands the entire time.)

      With that in mind, for anyone qualified to answer; what are the most essential SNG videos on the site for a beginner to watch? Bronze or below is a bonus, Silver or below is a necessity; I should reach Silver within a week or two if I play every day, and I'm currently Bronze.

      I don't have any rigid goals for the first week or month or whatever. I don't want to set a volume goal since I don't know how many tourneys I'll have to play to reach my goal, and I don't want to set a monetary goal because my bankroll should grow exponentially as I raise stakes; if I need to make $450 in 3 months, $150 in Month 1 is unrealistically high, and $150 in Month 3 isn't ambitious enough.

      Well, this was supposed to be a fairly brief opening blog, but I guess that didn't happen. My day-to-day posts should be a lot shorter, since I want to focus on playing over maintaining this thing. So I'll try and keep following posts to a reasonable level.

      To anyone who read the whole thing, or even most of it; thanks for your interest! I tried to at least format it a bit for you :) Hopefully I was able to make your day worthwhile, since you probably don't have much left of it after reading the whole thing. :P

      Thanks for reading!
  • 3 replies
    • Salivanth
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Poor day today; 19 SNG's (Two sets of six and one of seven) and I'm not sure how often I cashed, but it wasn't often. Down about 20 bucks in total. Not much else to say; I've had worse days.

      Due to some issues with the set of seven, I'm going to go back down to 6 for another day or so. Good news is, I'm getting some volume and playing each day, so there's that.

      Bankroll: $102.02
    • Salivanth
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Well, like an idiot, I ended up accepting a request to teach a student trigonometry, despite not knowing trigonometry. So, the last 2 days have mainly been spent learning an entire unit of trigonometry. Tutoring > poker in terms of earning potential for this trip, so it took priority. Even counting the 2 days of math cramming, I'm still earning like 4-6 bucks an hour from it AND I know trig now.

      I've also signed up for an Introduction to Logic course via Coursera, which is really interesting; basically word algebra, applying mathematical concepts to formalise inferences and deductions. Did the first week today.

      AND I signed up for a Statistics One course, because of COURSE all the interesting courses had to all happen at once. I'll have to catch up there, but fortunately, my Pre-calculus course doesn't start for another week, I'm on holidays from TAFE, and my Logic work for the week is already done, so all I need to do is tutoring, poker, and statistics, with the odd TAFE assignment thrown in if I get the chance.

      Wait, this is a poker blog! How'd that go?

      I played 20 SNG's, two sets of six and one of seven. (The last SNG was when I got eliminated very fast from a set of six, and replaced the table.) I about broke even, ending up losing about half a dollar. I think I'm ready to stay at 7 tables now.

      I'm starting to incorporate more selective aggression into my play. I find when I stop playing for a long period, that kind of aggression is the first thing to go, as well as when I'm playing too many hands at a time. So it's good to be getting that back on 6-7 tables. I'll spend another couple days here, then move on to 8 tables.

      I'm still looking for good videos; I want to watch and incorporate the concepts of at least a few videos to build my game before I get to $140 and start adding the $3.50's into my game.

      Full Tilt continues to be softer than Stars, so I'm still adding 1-2 FT tables in every set, and it's working well for me. Now I just have to put in the volume and the money will flow back in eventually. That, and stop making silly mistakes that on some level I know are mistakes, but make anyway...

      Thanks for reading!

      Bankroll: $101.36
    • Salivanth
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      No poker today, for a fairly good reason. My trigonometry tutoring has extended, and along with an unexpected windfall from elsewhere, I have about $250 from the two combined. So...I don't actually need to keep playing, for this flight.

      I'm going to keep playing to save for textbooks, but I'll be doing it more casually from now on.

      On another note, I checked the new SNG articles, and HOLY SHIT. There's so much info there, it's overwhelming, and they advocate an extremely aggressive style compared to what I'm used to. I'm looking forward to learning it, but I think I'll be adding hands to my repertoire quite slowly, as I steadily add more Poker School 2.0 concepts to my game.

      Still looking for video recommendations.