I’m going contrary today. You see, there are questions which come up again and again on poker forums and blogs which really should never need to be asked.
The reason is, that if someone is asking them, the answer will almost always be ‘no’. If the answer to any of them was a ‘yep, sure’ then the person involved would not need to ask them at all. This post is meant to be light-hearted with just a smattering of cynicism.
Question #1 – Is My ROI Sustainable?
This one gets asked over and over by newer poker players.
The answer is invariably ‘nope’ even before I have read their details. What most players do not get is the huge sample size required to be even a little certain that their return on investment is close to a true reflection of their ability.
For SNGs we are talking 1000’s of games, for cash games you should not even ask before 200k hands and for tournaments… well, the variance lasts longer than most of the players do.
What you need to add to this is that the new players who ask this have often experienced the better side of variance in their first few months. Logically speaking, those who hit average or bad streaks early give up before they ask the question.
So, when someone plays 300 SNGs, manages 12% and asks if they can risk their future financial wellbeing on these results – the answer is no.
For those players who do have a big enough sample size to show something close to their true ROI… well they have experienced the ups and downs and have been playing the game long enough to know what a fickle mistress poker is.
In other words, they would not need to ask the question in the first place.
Question #2 – Should I Move Up Buy-In Levels?
This question is often surrounded by some variation of:
- Too many donks sucking out on me at the micro-limits; or
- I want to play where someone respects my raises; or
- A nice big ROI on a small sample size (see #1 above)
The fact that this question has been asked at all means the answer is a definite ‘no’, so big a no that it is probably worth shouting it into the face of the unfortunate novice repeatedly until the reality sinks in.
NO! NO! NO!
Grim reality shows that poker is a game of adjusting to and exploiting the weaknesses of your opponents. If a player can’t do that profitably at the lowest buy-ins with the most fish, then they will be eaten alive at the higher buy-ins. People will spot weaknesses as wide asa London bus, and play in such a way as to make them pay. What often happens is that the novices do not have the skills to understand what is happening to them. They will see themselves as ‘unlucky’ to have their aces cracked, while the better players pretty much knew what they held and played perfectly against them.
When you are good enough to beat one buy-in over a decent sample, take a shot at the next level up. Rinse and repeat… If you need to ask, you are almost certainly not ready for the move.
Question #3 – Should I Become An Online Poker Pro?
The life of an online poker pro is far from the glamorous, balla lifestyle that you imagine.
In fact, on the whole, it is pretty grim.
Yep, I know you love the game at this point in time. In fact it might well be your passion, your hobby and your income stream all mashed into one. Why should you bother with those boring college classes, or putting up with that asshole of a boss, when you could make even more money doing what you love to do??
Well, because 6-months from now you’ll probably hate poker and hate your life.
You’ll need to play evenings, when the fish are online. You’ll need to keep up a high volume, with no slacking. You’ll need to focus, so that means sitting alone day-in day-out.
And that is just for those players who are already certain that they can beat the games over a decent sample size.
Then there are the downswings.
When poker is your living these can get right under your skin, your whole life can seem like a black hole, sucking your motivation away along with your bankroll. Think you have already experienced these and come out the other side? Nope, you haven’t even begun to understand the brutality of a real downswing.
Even winning players don’t last more than a couple of years.
If you need to ask whether you should become a poker pro, then you already know the answer is no.
If you know, right in your heart, that you are the 1% who will make it long-term out of the 10000’s who try. Well, then you do not really need to ask the question, do you!
Right, I’m off to move up levels to where people respect my raises! If you are still determined to make the transition to pro, then make sure you check out my loyalty scheme comparison calculator today.
GL at the tables, Mark
Submitted by Planet Mark on Tue, 01/21/2014 - 12:00