Planet Mark's Blog. Thoughts, News And Strategy For Poker Tournaments Of All Size

HUDs Get Banned Plus Go Big or Go Home

Poker is proving me right... slowly.

Go back a few years and I was the lone voice saying that the high-volume rakeback model was sufficating the games. The almost instant targeting of new players using software tools was making online poker into an unpleasant place for new players to venture! Well, slowly things are changing as more and more sites refocus on recreatonal games. B***da were the first to go, then Unibet and now Party Poker has banned HUDs and put in other measures to stop the newbies being targeted (anonymous seating in SNGs for example). The really big story is PokerStars, who are progressively tightening their rules for HUDs, seating scripts and 'advice engine' type software. Is there anyone out there who would bet against a further tightening soon, followed by another...

This is great news for anyone who does not make their living playing 12+ tables using tools. There will still be room for pros, and I genuinely wish them well. At the same time it will be possible for new players to get used to the games before losing their bankrolls, which can only be a positive thing for a new generation of players.

Go Big or Go Home!

The text below has been adapted from my recent newsletter. You can receive these monthly 'nuggets' and my infamous SNG Blueprint course by signing up on this page.

I think that the old advice about careful bankroll management, slowly moving up levels and grinding your way up is badly in need of a rethink.

This just does not apply to the way most of us play poker.

Sure, if you want to make a living playing 8+ hours a day, well, then you need some discipline.

Though really, how many of us really aspire to sitting alone in front of a computer for a career?

I have been around online poker for a decade now, and have seen all sorts of players come and go. The majority of us want to make a profit, play regularly in balance with work / social activity (at least after the first 6 to 12 months love affair with the game fades…) and keep getting better along the way.

For most people. Grinding 1/20th of your bankroll to keep a steady profit is nonsense.

I’m going to suggest the opposite.

Most players would enjoy the game more if they took bankroll management with a pinch of salt, took a shot at the bigger games and gave themselves a chance of doing something really special with poker.

Maybe that is the chance to fly to Vegas (or Berlin!) and enjoy a World Series of Poker event?

Maybe it is a shot at the Sunday Major at your preferred site and the chance of $20k+ in prize money.

Maybe it is scooping a couple of pots and building your bankroll by $500, when previously your wins and losses were 1/5th of this max.

The Alternative

This is where the 10 year perspective comes into play.

The alternative to going big or going home is that you’ll grind yourself out of love with the game. I have seen players with solid win rates at $400NL give up the game… they reached the point where every hand was a drag instead of a challenge.

Yeah, but What about the Risks?

Clearly, the risk is that you lose your poker bankroll and need to reload… the reward, especially for those who run good, is a big boost.

There are plenty of compromises which mean you will not be flipping burgers to get that precious bankroll back, some of these are listed below.

How to Go Big without Breaking the Bank

Satellite qualifiers are the obvious answer here, these usually attract a lot of recreational players (especially at 888) and are even softer than the regular tournaments. My recommendation is for the larger fields, where you do not need to win / finish in the last few places to get a seat in that Sunday Major or Live Event. Enough recreational players make bubble mistakes that you’ll often find yourself gifted into the paying spots.

Along with the super-soft satellite qualifiers at 888, you can check out this article for more on where to find the best satellite qualifiers.

For cash game and sit n go players, a great alternative is to build your bankroll in your regular game and then give yourself a shot at the next level with just a few buy-ins. That way you’ll have the backup of returning to your regular game if you bust, and also enjoy the advantage of a big boost to your profits if you run / play well.

If you are a recreational / part-time player, please – don’t grind your way out of love with the game of poker. It is time to go big, or go home!

GL at the tables, Mark


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