Recently, I made a change I hoped I would never have to make. One of the worst changes you can make in poker.
I’m moving down in limits.
I’ve been beating the 15/30 at PartyPoker for a few months (about 20,000 raked hands during that time period). I’d been doing very well — playing tight, but aggressive [Boy, you didn’t watch Rounders for nothing, did you? — ed]. It’s been lucrative — I’ve built quite a bankroll there.
Then, about a month ago, all that changed. I’m just not a winner. Yeah, I have winning sessions, but I keep a close watch on my results. While it’s still statistically possible that I’m just on a bad streak of cards, it looks like playing the 15/30 at Party isn’t profitable for me anymore. In fact, my expected value seems to have dipped from more than 2BBs/ slothoki to a slightly negative hourly reate.
How was I doing so well? Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- I was playing better. For some reason, I think I’ve started calling more. While check/calling has its merits against the occasional lone aggressive bettor when the pot is big, it’s a skill that ought be used selectively. And by selectively, I mean rarely. But on the whole, I don’t think that this is why my expected value has turned downhill.
- Not focusing as much. When you do anything alot, the average focus that you bring to the game declines. I think some of that happened to me. I lost some focus sometimes, and that stuff adds up. In mid-limits poker with decent opponents, there’s not much room for error. Poker is a negative-sum game, after all.
- Tougher games. I think this is the reason. I moved up to the 15/30 right as the WSOP was getting televised on ESPN, and the games were pretty easy for awhile. Granted, I didn’t see many idiots playing in the 15/30, but I think many people read the book, played a little, and then thought they were ready for some middle limits play. Sorry folks, it’s a little harder than that.
So, now that the bad players have given up, the games have gone back to normal. I still think the 15/30 at Party is beatable (especially at certain times), but it takes more concentration than I want to give to it. After all, I like to read the news and talk on the phone while I play.
So, where do I go down to? I really don’t know. I was playing the 5/10 at Party before I jumped to the 15/30. So I suspect I’m back to the 5/10. But it’s gonna be rough making so much less than I did when I played 15/30. Oh well.