A few weeks ago, I had a post up that talked about Daniel Negreanu’s quest to turn $10 into $100,000 by playing micro limit cash games on Pokerstars. I received a story from someone (forgive me, but I can’t remember who…though I think that it was @swyyft) about Chris Ferguson, and his challenge of turning $0 in to $10,000, something that he did (check out his beginnings here http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/pro-tip/ChrisFerguson/100). Reading this gave me one of those “I can do that” moments, and who knows, maybe I will. But it provided some real difficult challenges for me personally.
First of all, I was following Negreanu’s challenge of playing in only cash games, and documenting my play. I haven’t used a program like PokerTracker or anything of the sort. I was simply charting on excel, my starting bank roll, my ending bankroll, and the number of hands that I played in the session. I was kind of up and down with my progress, but somewhere along the lines, I found that I just wasn’t having any fun playing in the cash games. That was a real problem.
I found that for me personally, I just enjoy playing in tournaments much more. I like the competitive aspect of playing in a tournament. I like the structure. And I like that all the players start on the same level, with the same chip stack. In cash games, it bothers me a player can come in, play two hands, and then take off. How can you get a read on that?
But the tournament structures left me questioning how much do I buy in for. As I type at 4:30 PM on Tuesday afternoon, I am currently sitting on a bank roll on Full Tilt Poker of $55.44. It’s short of my $100 goal which I have yet to reach, but I’m proud of that considering the fact that I began with a $50 deposit, and have played A LOT of poker during that time. I haven’t had to put in additional funds, but I have received some bonuses, and also I’ve leant some money to friends. All in all, it tells me that I’m about even on my tournament entries vs. my tournament winnings. And I’m very proud of that.
Three things got me thinking about this particular post. First, I watched Jordan (@Jordie21 on twitter, a regular member of the home game and a member of Team7Deuce) play in a $6.60 Knock-out S&G on Full Tilt. He ended up winning the whole enchilada for a prize of $144 plus $10 for the 10 KO’s he got in the tourney. He accomplished this task after the both of us entered a $3.30 tourney (same structure) and I outlasted him to cash in 6th for $13. This is the second time that I’ve railed on Jordan during this type of even where he’s won it, and I’ve played with him enough to know that I can out play him about 50% of the time. I thought well, if he can do it, why not me?
Secondly, I got a “tweet” from @panndyra talking about her frustration in earning a cash in a recent online tourney. I’ve experienced this a lot. She made it through the bubble with some really good play for a long time (roughly 90 minutes) and the cash paid a whopping $1.70. Considering that the buy in was $1.10, a $0.60 net isn’t exactly all that nice of a return on the investment given the time invested.
Thirdly, I watched a video of Chris Ferguson courtesy of the Full Tilt Poker Academy (which I’d recommend just because its free information http://www.fulltiltpoker.com/poker-from-the-rail/full-tilt-poker-academy/full-tilt-poker-academy) where Chris describes the methods of bank roll management that he used en route to turning his $0 to $10k, starting in Free Roll tourney’s and then progressing into cash games and low buy in tournaments.
If you’ve listened to Chris Ferguson talk about the strategy that he employed with managing his bankroll, his advice is to play for no greater than 2% of your bankroll for tourney buy-in’s. So I’ve played in a lot of low buy in tournaments with the same result as @panndyra. Basically, if you just finish in the money, you’re basically getting your buy in back. The money in most tournaments is top heavy, with most of the cash going to the top 2 places, so the goal of really increasing your bankroll has to be to place in those places.
I found that to certainly be a challenge as many of the players make strange plays late in a tournament because they’ve never been there before, and lately, I’ve been really unlucky. But seeing Jordan do it a couple of times gives me the confidence that I have the ability to turn those good runs, into REALLY good runs and nice cashes. And it’s needed if I want to take my $50 to $100. I've had a couple of 2nd place finishes in the $3.30 KO S&G before, and the $44 payday was nice. But I haven't been able to crack the final table consistently enough to roll my bankroll above $100 yet. I got to $93 once, but that was as close as I've come.
My goal of running my bankroll to $10k or $100k by playing cash games has recently changed a little bit, as I’ve been having much more fun playing poker again by playing in tournaments and S&G’s. I enjoy the MTT’s much more as I enjoy the challenge of overcoming a larger field. So my goals have really become such:
1) Have fun. To me, every other goal doesn’t mean a thing if I am not enjoying myself. I enjoy the game of poker too much to sacrifice the fun in the game.
2) Run my online bankroll to over $100 – from there I’d like to grow it, but I’ll take steps in order to do that
3) Don’t go poker broke. I’ve gone broke on Pokerstars a couple times, and have uploaded a few small amounts on there. My goal with Full Tilt is to consistently keep my account well above $0, and never have to place another deposit in my account.
I see some challenges with these goals, namely that if I am to follow the advice of Chris Ferguson, then I can’t buy into a tournament for more than about $1, which will yield a very small return on my investment. And it requires that I play some really lucky poker late in the tournaments, as my good play doesn’t really seem to be quite enough to get me over the hump.
I find that with the larger buy-ins that I’ve played in (The TPT being the most regular at $5.50, and the Midnight Madness the other at $11) I’ve fared very well. In fact, I have an overall profit on those tournaments which tells me that my tournament play is more suited for players with a larger bank roll. But I really believe that I have to earn my way into the higher buy in tourney’s before I continue to really adhere to the advice that Ferguson gives.
I’ll continue playing in the TPT once every other week on Full Tilt (the other week, I'll be playing on Pokerstars) simply because I love that event. But I’ll play mainly $3 buy in tourney’s because I tend to do pretty well in them most of the time. Hopefully, I can avoid going poker broke. If I do, then I’ll reevaluate. But I want to avoid spending most of my time playing for $0.60 profits, as that just doesn’t seem to be a real good investment of time, or maybe, I just don't have the patience to slowly increase my bankroll at that level.