November 2006
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$2/$4 or not $2/$4…?

So I thought I’d cracked it.  Felt pretty good about my limit game over a reasonable number of hands.  Then I went back to PokerStars, where in the past I’d been getting well and truely thrashed at this level, and it carried on looking good for a while.  Two bonuses cleared and over $300 up on top.  Now it’s all gone again.

My graph of the last 7000 hands (actually this includes some $1/$2 and $3/$6 too) makes me look pretty much like a break-even player with one very big rush, followed by an ice cold streak.  Really, that’s a performance I should be happy with, considering how well I used to do on Stars – definitely shows improvement.  But it’s inside my head again now: how can I tell whether I really suck at limit?

I’ve been here before.  The question is not whether I believe it when I tell myself these swings are to be expected, but whether I should believe it.  Sure, I’ve hit a bad streak.  It’s only a 100 big bet downswing which is not that unusual.  Or so you hear – I think I believe this now.  I did go through an extremely cynical phase of thinking the explanation of big losing streaks was simply misinformation spread by writers and professionals, probably aided by the card rooms themselves.  All of the above have a vested interest in keeping bums on virtual seats.

But how long do you keep going before you work out whether it’s just a run bad luck, or if you actually have a leak that needs to be plugged.  Blaming the maths could be a great way to convince myself I’m really great, but consistently unlucky.  Ruin then awaits.

If I’m going to live by the stats, Poker Tracker tells me that I’m not awful.  A little too tight still maybe, but not awful.  I’m sitting even after paying $300 in rake for those 7000 hands – winning about one big bet every 100 hands from players and giving it straight back to the house.  If you should only expect to make 2BB/100 then I’m one-third of the way there.

Also I appear to be bitching about breaking even, which really is not an event worth writing, and just a little greedy.  Sorry about that.  At least for now I’m even, although my confidence has taken a beating.  What I need is a goal to prove or deny my greatness.  The rate I’m playing, I should easily get 20,000 hands in this month, if not more.  I’m going to stick with PokerStars until that milestone and then take stock again.  Hopefully things will be clearer by then, but if it’s still the same story I really don’t know what I’ll do!

There’s no bonus to clear, but I should hit PlatinumStar level and clock up at least a hundred quid’s worth of Amazon vouchers so even if its inconclusive I’ll get some free shit.

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