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

The Poker Mistake That Costs You 40% of Your ROI

This post ties in with my January monthly newsletter. If you are looking for the Carbon Sit N Go tokens offer details, or links to the articles in that mail, then you'll find them at the bottom of this page. For everyone else, I’d like to introduce the single most common mistake poker players make. You can keep telling yourself that you have great reasons for ignoring it – though at the end of the day the math does not lie.

40% is a big number, and one I do not use lightly. While I use Sit N Goes as the example below, this mistake applies equally to all poker formats.

Increase your poker ROII’m talking about 40% of your profits – compounded. If your ROI from SNGs is currently 6% over time, then you could be earning 10%, if you make 3BB / 100 in your fast-fold game of choice, then you might be able to make 5 - and so on.

Not just 40% of today (or this month’s) profits. A bankroll that stays small over time that prevents you moving up comfortably. One mistake could be the reason you are still grinding the $5 SNGs (or whatever game…) rather than comfortably beating the $10’s or $20’s.

For many players, this mistake is quite simply the difference between making a small profit and losing money over time.

OK - I'll Get To It: Here Is The Mistake

Most non-professional players focus on their ‘playing’ skills too much – and fail to appreciate that finding the softest games, with the fewest profitable regulars and actively game-selecting is a MAJOR factor in your profitability.

The math clearly shows that you should avoid games with ‘pro grinders’ even if you have a profitable edge against them over time.

Let me show you an example from the world of SNGs:

Lets be generous and say you have read the Blueprint course, studied ICM and know how to adjust through the different stages of a Sit N Go tournament. Your ROI over time is a fantastic 20%. For each $10 you invest in the games, you come away with $12, that’s a poker ATM as long as you can get the volume.

Now, 3 regulars appear, each of them with a 10% ROI over time. You are better than them, though they still take money from the games. Over time they each take $1 for every $10 they invest. They take most of it from the fish, not from you – in fact you take some money from them. However, you are now looking at a less profitable game, even just excluding their buy-ins from the long-term pot of cash available to distribute means we are already talking about only $70 being up for grabs (assuming a 10 handed $10 game). 20% ROI on that basis is approx $1.40c per profit game.. already almost 30% below where you could be. Now we need to remove the profits from the regulars (minus what you’ll win from them). Sure, the math here is simplified - no take for the rake, though for me the message is both loud and clear.

Next we add in 2 more regulars who are more or less break-even, and we could easily be halving your potential returns... my 40% in the headline might even be generous, especially during the 'reg-filled' daytimes.

Yet, if you are like most players, you’ll be more focused on working out which spots are best for a check-raise when the board is paired (something which might be incrementally profitable, though we are talking a tiny percentage).

Cash games work in exactly the same way. In fact, since there is no ‘tournament life’ to consider, the opportunities for regulars to isolate the fish and grab their money before you do are more numerous. A couple of grinders skilled at isolating fish could turn a profitable game into a loss-making one over time very quickly indeed.

Being Honest With Yourself About Table / Site Selection

I know what you are thinking, ‘but PokerStars is just so much better than other sites’. Yeah, I love their software, their promos and their choice of games too… really.

The thing is, every pro-grinder and his dog also loves that site.

To coin a phrase, comparing the skill level at PokerStars with other sites is a real eye-opener.

Sure, you’ll have to stagger your games a little more, and maybe mix and match buy-ins on occasion.

I’m telling you loud and clear, there will be a major difference in your profitability.

  • Losing players can become break-even or small winners, overnight.
  • Break-Even and small winners can start to build a poker bankroll.
  • Those looking to move up will see their bankrolls boosted, making the transition more comfortable.

My recommendation for non-US readers is 888Poker (now the 2nd biggest site and way more recreational). They’ll even give you $88 free to check out their games with no deposit. Test it with the free cash, if your eyes are not opened by how crazy-soft the games are…. Well, I’ll be very suprised.

Carbon are my top choice for US players, as promised below are the details of my new deal for 2015, $10 in SNG tokens with your first deposit.

More information on table and game selection here at SNG Planet:

Carbon Poker SNG Tokens Offer

New for 2015 – as covered in my January Newsletter – here are details of the $10 SNG tokens at the US-Friendly Carbon Poker.

The deal is this: On top of the 200% welcome match + free HUD software download + 1 Month of training you’ll get 2x $3.50c and 2x $1.50c tokens to try out the Sit N Goes.

This offer is for new players using Coupon Code FREESNGPK during registration.

It is a great chance to take one or more of these games down, and get your bankroll off to a flying start. Carbon has been looking after US players brilliantly for more than 8 years. Check them out for yourself over at

Links to Articles in the Newsletter

For those looking for the articles linked in the Jan Newsletter, here they are:

- SuperNova Elite 2015 (sure, this does contradict what is above, this one is aimed at those looking to make the jump to becoming an online pro)

- HUD Setup for Sit N Go Players (includes somewhere that you can get Holdem Manager 2 for free!)


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