Wednesday, August 01, 2007

How to Waste Time and Money

I've known this for a long time, I've posted about this too many times, let's hope I finally get it. MTT's are gimmick poker and not many people make money at them.

I just updated my poker numbers for July and I wasted way too much time and money chasing a score in MTTs. Way too much. My cash game numbers were consistent again but it's those fucking MTTs throwing way too much shit off.

Here's the deal or at least how I see it. If you play a MTT usually 10% and sometimes 15% of players get paid. The real money is in the top 3. Do the math, 3 players out of 1000 get most of the money. If you are playing just to cash you'll get clobbered over time. Barely squeezing into the money is a waste, it's top 3 or bust if you want to make anything.

You want to have some fun? Go to Big Stack and put in your favorite player or bloggers name and look at their Full Tilt results. The numbers are off a little because they don't make the adjustment if you satellite into something but they are close enough. Go back to the BBT final numbers and really take a look there too. For 95% of players, chasing the Big Score playing MTT's in big time (-EV) over time.

That's why there is only an extremely small number of players who make real money playing MTTs. Most pros pay their freight from cash games occasionally taking pops at big scores in MTTs. Now the small sample of players who make it in the MTT world do very very well, the rest are losing players, in lots of cases big time losing players.

Do the research, read the books, check out the sites that keep track of results and tell me why so many people, myself at times inlcuded, play lotto poker in hopes of one day hitting that big score. Hey if you're thinking of making it in the poker world as a pro here's my bit of advice, Learn to successfully play cash games! They are the bread and butter, they pay the bills, and they give you the freedom to take shots at big scores.

If you're a recreational player and play for fun and some extra money, chart and check your results. You'll be surprised at over time how much money you piss away. Anyway I hope I finally learned my lesson and I concentrate mostly on grinding away the cash games occasionally taking shots at score. Occasionally.

Well I started betting baseball again last night and started things off 2-0. I also quickly remembered how much more I like sports betting than playing poker. Now there is no way I'm giving up poker for sports betting but I look forward to the end of baseball season and of course football season is right around the corner and I'll be looking to supplement my income in the sports book. I'll keep you up-to-date on my progress as I continue to grind out a living in Vegas.

We start a new month and I look forward to getting off to a fast start playing some long cash sessions at Bellagio this weekend. I basically took last weekend off from live action instead donking around some online and rereading some of my poker books. I'm trying to get my mind fresh as well as looking at some strategy issues in the never ending journey of finding leaks. We all have leaks, some more apparent than others, and for me finding them, making adjustements, learning, getting better, and making good decisions is the goal for the upcoming month of August. I feel good where I am and after three break even months I'm looking to turn the corner and get back to the winning ways.

Since I bitched once again about MTTs, don't forget about the August edition of the Big Game this Sunday. The hope is we get at least three tables for the first post BBT Game. BTW thanks again to Mookie for making and updating the banner. Go play his game tonight BTW.


At 1:16 PM, Blogger cmitch said...

MTTs are fun but, you are definitely right, the real money is in the cash games.

GL with the Bellagio games.

At 1:25 PM, Blogger Mike Maloney said...

Nice of that site to not include my big MTT cash. Of course I'm negative if you don't include that in the data.

At 1:42 PM, Blogger bayne_s said...

He's still KOD

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Chad C said...

"MTTs are fun but, you are definitely right, the real money is in the cash games."

Please rephrase that cmitch, the real money is in the tournaments (if you are good enough to win it). Cash is consistent, not "where the real money is".....

At 2:17 PM, Blogger lj said...

that is one scary site. kick some ass at bellagio this w/e!

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

I'm missing my recent win but still positive numbers.

But I will agree, I can make much more at the PLO and PLO8 cash games with less hair pulling then a 4+ hour MTT.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger cmitch said...

"Please rephrase that cmitch, the real money is in the tournaments (if you are good enough to win it). Cash is consistent, not "where the real money is"....."

OK, OK. The real BIG money is in the mtts, but the real CONSISTENT money is in the cash games.

BTW - I though KOD was becoming KOC?

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Dammit... I can't get to that site from work. STOOOOOOOPID WORK!!! Cash is king... but every time I see someone make a big score, I think to myself, well, I can do that. And that would be a nice addition to my bankroll... and several tournaments later, I'm making up for the buy-ins at the cash games... stupid tournaments... Oh yeah, see you at the Mookie, BBT freeroll, and the Big Game. :)

At 5:22 PM, Blogger DP said...

Chad C aka cracknaces aka KOD - what is your hourly rate for MTTs?

I say that because I'd be interested in seeing the data that supports your statement:

"Please rephrase that cmitch, the real money is in the tournaments (if you are good enough to win it). Cash is consistent, not 'where the real money is'....."

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Well said, Don. The longer I play the game, the more convinced I become that, for all but the best of players, cash games are what it's all about as far as building and maintaining a bankroll. Like you said, cash winnings are what enable most of us to take some shots at the mtts.

Two things though -- #1 there are a small number of players who are able to consistently profit from tournaments. All of us mtt guys know the names of these players when they show up next to us at one of our mtt tables, the guys who have made a few hundy large from mtts over the past 12 months, etc.

And #2, let's be honest, cash games can be a real grind for most of us after a while, but hitting it big in a large mtt is about 10,000 times more fun and enjoyable than just about any night playing cash. And of course the prize for a "perfect" night of poker at the cash tables is what, maybe 4, maybe 5 buyins over a few hours? In an mtt it can be several hundred times the buyin for the event.

Nice post.

At 11:15 PM, Blogger KajaPoker said...

Here's a stat I read on Plan3tGong today:

"Here is an idea from one of the top poker rooms... the July Average was almost 9,000 ring-game players at peak times (US evenings I guess...) but 60,000 tournament players! This ratio was repeated at between 6/1 and 8/1 at all of the larger poker rooms."

There's A LOT of dead money in tournaments. I should know :-)

At 1:08 AM, Blogger Pseudo_Doctor said...

-2k don...your a donkey...j/k interesting post but I dont agree with that tourney's are a waste of time and money. Cash is king no doubt but like Chad said in his post you can't expect to sit at cash and win the amount you could win in tourney's unless UR playing in the BIG GAME at the bellagio...

At 6:02 AM, Blogger osinsh said...

Tend to agree with You more, than with Chad, yes.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Patch said...

"If you're a recreational player and play for fun and some extra money, chart and check your results. You'll be surprised at over time how much money you piss away."

Recreational players EXPECT to piss away money over time. Or at least they should. They're there to have fun, not make money. Sure, everybody wants to win, but for the recreational player it's about the rush and the fun of it all and the chance to win the lotto.

This is exactly why tournaments are so popular. I can plunk down $11, play poker for several hours, and have a shot at winning $thousands if I get a little lucky.

If I have a bad run, I go home a bit earlier than expected, but I know up front what my total exposure is. For me, that's almost always less than one buy-in at a cash game.

If I have a bad run at a cash game, even with reasonable discipline and no tilt, I can still be out several buy-ins before I give it up. And it may well happen in the first 30 minutes of play.

I agree that for steady, regular income (at least as much as honest gambling for a living could ever provide), cash games are the way to go. But for the recreational player, I think tournaments are a lot more bang for your buck. And all those recreational players should mean lots of dead money for the tournament pros.

At 6:08 PM, Blogger surflexus said...

It's a good valid point Don. My only problem is my cash stats would reflect my opinion almost as strongly as your MTT results probably reflect yours. I do OK at cash games but I know I'm going to consistently make money (not huge, but hey it's better than losing money) in MTT's which I don't always do at cash games. To each their own I say.

At 3:50 PM, Blogger lucko said...

FTP mtt's are rigged.

I have definitely been knocking a lot reducing the amount of MTT's out of my schedule. The WSOP I ramped up on them just cuz the ME is the tits. I am planning on diving heavily back into the cash scene again.

At 8:26 PM, Blogger Buffalo66 said...

There is no question MTT poker has the highest variance. You can go months without a cash.

However, it's easier to make a living playing MTT's when you're being staked.

Staked players are basically freerolling in the MTT universe.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Blinders said...

It all comes down to the rake. Cash games is around 4%, MTTs 10%. 4% can be beat, but 10% is very tough to beat. Thats why more people make money at cash, and almost nobody makes money long-term at MTTs. Mtts are funner though, so if you are playing for entertainment value and not to earn cash, MTTs are the way to go. I pretty much only play MTTs now, but my mindset is very different this year than it was last and the year before that. I play for fun right now.

At 4:21 PM, Blogger Frank said...

The Bigstack Site Does account for mtt satellites. they are noted by a blue "T" chip.

At 7:08 AM, Blogger Sciolist said...

I don't really know why there's so much debate about this, it's pretty clear.

The variance in MTTs is huge. Absolutely massive. I doubt that many live "tourney pros" really appreciate that. It's entirely possible that the best player who ever lived has played 100 $10k events and never cashed.

The variance in cash games is not so huge, so you can more quickly tell if someone is a winner or not.

Furthermore, the win rates in cash games are higher than tournaments, it's just that it APPEARS higher in tournaments as someone gets insanely lucky and wins a huge amount. Over the long term, the cash player will have won more.

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