You must do the things you think you cannot do.

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, November 16, 2009

Poker Experiment

On Friday I got curious. I wanted to know how far someone could go playing online poker, starting with a $5 balance. In the right hand column further down the page, you'll see a line chart (like the one directly to the right). I played a little on Saturday and Sunday and pulled the account up to its current standing of $6.15, which makes me laugh inside--such risky stakes!

Because I think it will be fun for others to follow along, I'll try to keep it updated. I don't play every day, and when I do play I don't always close the day out in the green (note: besides statistical deviations, drawdowns, subpar playing, etc, I can let my anger get the best of me).

In order for this experiment to have any chance of success, I currently play only on the $.02/.04 limit tables. The buyin is $.80, which, if I were doing bankroll management correctly, should make my starting amount at least $8.00. But, because these tables tend to be playgrounds for the bored and, at most, battlegrounds for rookies, I can get away with the underfunding of my bankroll.

What I look for are loose games, which are easily identifiable by large "average pot sizes" and a high "percentage who see the flop." If you have people willing to raise with shit, and you can keep from playing that same shit (takes some discipline), then you have an edge. That's the best thing to have when playing poker, trading stocks, or doing much of anything in life.

I can play up to four tables at a time; I prefer playing six player (i.e. short handed) tables, because I find it easier to figure out my opponents faster. But, because of these preferences, and the attributes I search for in the paragraph above, I do not always find four tables I can play at once. On Friday and Saturday, there tend to be more games, and I may get four good tables. But, during the week I am happy with about two. If I play one, I read, listen to music, or watch a movie as well. This is because my brain quickly becomes restless and I end up playing like a donkey.

In any case, this should be fun. Let me know if you (or a blogger you follow) keeps track of a poker bankroll. I'm interested in following a few outside of my own. In addition to the above information, I will also keep some of the more interesting rounds/hands for public analysis, where you can criticize my idiocy and I can boast (mostly the former, as it tends to be more prevalent).

(DISCLAIMER): Be careful when playing poker. Most sites charge at least a 5% rake, meaning the game is "negative-sum". If you have no edge over the other players, you will not make any money in the long run. Your edge also must be able to make up for the rake. All in all, if you're not doing this for fun, you better have a good plan for winning. Most people lose. So, please don't open a big account because you see me doubling my micro account (and should it ever get any bigger, please do not fund a poker account thinking you can do what I can--I play and study the game a lot more than average). YOU WILL MOST LIKELY LOSE MONEY OVERTIME IF NOT AFTER YOUR FIRST FEW HANDS/HOURS!



  1. Anon,
    A great post and a noble endeavour.
    Your return to date is excellent - 40% return over 2 days - annualised the return is infinite!
    One can find many postings on well known forums with details of players' win rates and bankroll growth.
    Also, on the subject of trying to make serious money by playing poker (semi-)full time you could try who posts very candid updates on his ongoing playing exploits.
    Keep up the good work.
    John (aka The Masked Financier)

  2. It was bad enough having to follow this for the trading content but poker as well now :-)

  3. Thanks, John. Haha--it's amazing how big the returns seem to be when starting with relatively little. But, I'm all for infinite annualized returns! fullringgrinder seems like a good blog, thanks for the suggestion.

    L&W, you just wait for the fantasy football section of the site to get started. And the following week: gourmet cooking =] (jk jk!)