Levels

I got back into Vegas a couple of hours ago. Busi and I spent 3 nights in Utah this weekend getting in some much needed snowboarding time. I’ve been snowboarding somewhere between 10 and 15 times now and even though that first run is still a little awkward, I’m at the point where I can make it from top to bottom without a fall, linking turns and just enjoying the ride. The green circle runs are a breeze and the blue square runs, while sometimes challenging, are doable. I avoid the black diamonds (for now) but am content with the selection I have.

Busi, however, had only spent a total of 1 day on a board prior to this trip. Her first run this weekend saw us spending about 45 minutes attempting to get down a green trail. That’s just the way the personal snowboarding journey goes. The first one or two efforts are pain filled and spent getting used to falling. But after she took a lesson and used her natural determination that she shows with everything else she does, she made vast improvements and was eventually spending more time grinding the board edges instead of picking herself up off the snow. It was pretty impressive to watch her progression begin and she made big strides over the course of the trip.

It was good to take a break from the poker tables for a long weekend. My previous week in Vegas was spent chasing the dream of binking a live tournament thanks to the WSOP-c being in town. The circuit events at Caesars brought the expected attributes: good sized fields with reasonable buy-ins, great structures and soft competition. But my hopes of winning some sort of jewelry (what’s with the WSOP fascination with such adornment? I don’t even wear a watch.) were further prolonged by bricking all 3 events I entered. The PLO ring event was particularly brutal as I went out in 23rd place, a bit shy of the 15 money spots, and particularly because of the fashion in which I was left crippled by some drunk kid who decided to gamble vs me. But what can you do.

Away from tournaments, I’ve been on the standard live cash game grind around Vegas, but have been trying to mix more 2/5NL into my rotation. My year-to-date results at that level are crappy (if I remove my 5/5NL home game results I am breakeven there). The sample size is still pretty small but it seems silly to me that I can’t break through to that level full time, as the competition doesn’t seem exceptionally tougher.

I am completely confident in my game at the 1/3 level. I still make mistakes, of course, but my results there are great. I might be running above average at 1/3 so far this year, as you can see from my hourly rate, but this includes a couple of ridiculous beats I’ve taken lately (dude ships $450 into my flopped two pair with a gutter ball and gets there, ho hum). Moving up in stakes is equivalent to getting a big promotion at your job and is what every professional cash game player should be working towards.

I can crush the green circle runs of the poker ladder and feel like I’m on the cusp of steadily grinding down the blue square trails, but as soon as I step off the chair lift the board finds an ice patch. I do know that never falling is only a fantasy, but it would be nice to link a few turns at the next level and enjoy the ride a bit more there.

Away from the poker grind itself, I’ve really been enjoying working on creating content for two projects. The first is this website, and I have more ideas for things to post that I look forward to getting to. The second is a podcast that I’ve launched with a couple of fellow writers: “Pokerati” Dan himself, and poker beat man-about-town Dave Ferrara. The show is called Vegas Grinders and we’ll be bringing a weekly stream of Vegas poker happenings, as well as discussions about what it’s like to do this grind for a living. The first episode is already posted and can be found here.

All feedback about both the podcast and anything that I’m posting (or not posting) here is more than welcome. Additionally, if there’s anything in your poker world that you want to discuss, hands you have questions about, or any communication you have the urge to initiate, please do reach out.

See you around as we try to get to that next level.

4 Comments

  • Paul
    5 years ago

    It seems like your sample size for 1/3 is too small also to be very meaningful. is it possible you’re running way way above average there rather than just “above average”??

  • Andrew
    5 years ago

    Hi Paul. You’re right, 12 sessions and 72 hours is a small sample. I think upwards of 1000 hours is when a sample really starts to hold water, although you can probably get a fairly clear picture with a few hundred less. This hourly rate is unlikely to be sustainable; 10-15bbs/hr is a good, solid hourly, and 15-20bb/hr is very good (among the best).

    I do have many more hours of experience at these limits but for the purposes of this blog I wanted to start my stats anew at the new year. I am happy with my hourly rate at the smaller stakes (1/2 and 1/3) but would be happier if I could get my 2/5 hourly up to that 10bb/hr threshold.

  • Paul
    5 years ago

    10-15 bbs/hour is sustainable long term at $1/$3???? A good $1/$3 pro can make $30-$45 an hour???? Wow, if that’s true, I was totally misinformed…the pros on 2+2 are talking like 2bbs per hour is about all you can hope for after you’ve gotten your 500,000 or 1.5 million hands in or whatever the long term is.

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