MT 2010 online game plan

After grinding the SnG’s for the past 18 months on PokerStars and returning a tidy profit I’ve decided to give cash a real go online this year. Some may consider this a little foolhardy considering my SnG success but to be honest it’s slow progress and because I play large field multi-table SnG’s the games I play don’t fill up often enough at the bigger buyin levels so I figured 2010 would be pretty much the same as 2009 as I can’t really move up the levels as I would like, so unless I binked a MTT I could expect similar profits from my SnG grind in 2010 as I had in 2009.

Last year I did dip my toe in cash, but only for a couple of weeks. I started off playing 100NL, then quickly moved down to 50NL. I was only multi-tabling a couple of tables and probably played less than 1,000 hands. I was breaking even but to be honest that wasn’t good enough for me and I went back to the SnG’s. Obviously In hindsight I realise I didn’t give this a big enough sample and was too hasty to return to grinding the SnG’s but I was sick of my roll not moving and I simply wasn’t enjoying it as much.

So this year I have decided to give 50NL at real crack. I’m committed to a 100,000 hand sample which based on playing 9 tables at a time and 20 hours per week it should take me about 10 weeks to get my sample. I’ll be doing a monthly review / write up for the blog so keep checking back to monitor my progress. After taking some advice from other online cash grinders I’ve been told that 2bb/100 (hands) is a respectable win rate for a SnG/MTT player making the transition so that’s my minimum requirement in order to continue. Anything below that win rate may make me reconsider my game plan. After all the reason I want to give cash a real go this year is so I can make my dollars at a quicker rate than grinding the SnG’s. Naively, initially I thought I could achieve and maintain a win rate of 10bb/100 but I quickly realised that was a little over ambitious. Realistically a win rate of 2bb/100 is not something I want to maintain but I think it’s OK for the first 100,000 hands as I adjust my game.

I’m a complete technophobe and not looking forward to installing and getting used to Holdem Manager but I realise this is essential in order to increase my win rate. I’ve paid for and downloaded the tracking software and I’m now just trying to work my way around it. It is doing my head in to be honest, first impressions; I hate it. I’m not using any of the data or HUD’s yet, just simply trying to find my way around the software.

So far this year I’ve already played over 12,500 hands but things have not went well at all. After nitting it for the first few thousand hands or so I decided to loosen up a bit. Unfortunately I think I’ve loosened up to much. I seem to be the most active player at the table on all 9 tables and I’m just bleeding buyins. I thought by now I would be comfortably running above 2bb/100. In reality after 12,766 I’m running at -2.64/100 and -$337 down. Honestly, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve stacked off with house over house, set over set and ran 2nd nuts into nuts. I still do hope to have a win rate of at least 2bb/100 by the time I’ve completed 100,000 hands but I must admit it's looking less and less likely. Time will tell I suppose. Once I’ve fully installed HEM and I’ve become familiar with the software it should help. I also intend on uploading all my previous hands and any relevant information, assuming I can do this I’ll post again with some more accurate data. I’m not sure I can even do this but I do intend on buying my hand histories if possible so I can review my first 12,500 hands before I have another session. It’ll be interesting to see how my own stats read and hopefully I’ll be able to plug some leaks. I figured after 12,500 hands the variance would have evened itself out a little so I’m not going to complain about running bad but it certainly feels like I have. I was reading recently that experienced players should be spending more time reviewing their own game, in terms of reviewing hand histories & watching videos etc rather than just volume, volume, volume so this is something I may look at sooner rather than later.

First impressions of 50NL on PokerStars and I think it’s going to be a really tough grind but I think it’s 100% beatable. I love the idea of deep stack cash poker. I’d rather be playing 200 bb’s deep to be honest but 100 is plenty enough I suppose. If you can play the streets well and understand position and implied odds I think that 50NL is very exploitable but again time will tell. There is a lot of RB grinders & very accomplished players at 50NL and I’ll have to quickly adjust my game to facilitate all of the regulars. Cash poker is still new to me and I have a lot still to understand and learn but I’m looking forward to the challenge. 9 tabling 50NL on PokerStars is a bit of a baptism of fire I suppose in terms of learning & development. Maybe I could have bedded myself in at a lower level with less tables but like I say I'm enjoying the challenge. If it's to much and I continue to get owned I'll look at it. As a side note; looking at how active and loose I’ve been at the tables I think 6 max is maybe something I need to consider sooner rather than later. The downside to 6 max is the bigger swings in variance so I'll think it over before I make my final decision.

So, my plan for 2010 is to grind 20 hours minimum on either PokerStars or Coral at 50NL (FR or 6max). I’ll probably play a bit on both sites but the majority of my online poker this year will be with Coral. I’ll multi-table 9 tables at a time and should hopefully see about 55 hands per hour per table; 500 per hour collectively (more if I change to 6max). I’m hoping to make $1,000 minimum in the first 10 weeks. If I stick with PokerStars I should be able to grind enough hours to achieve SuperNova status and really begin to see the benefits of some good RB next year. It’s early days but doing a few number crunching I hope to be in profit between about $6,000-$10,000 for this year. I know that’s a pretty broad figure but I have no idea how well/bad I’ll fair at 50NL so it’s hard to give any type of solid figure(s) at this stage. Hopefully as I post up my monthly updates my data will become more and more accurate and I should be able to give a more realistic figure.

So that’s it for now. Wish me luck and look out for my January review at the beginning on February. Good luck at the tables for 2010.

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