Monday, February 15, 2010

Poker player math

So, I've had questions from people since starting this. The questions that I wanted to talk about today is one that comes up fairly often, and its an important questions to regard when deciding to play poker full time. I also feel that once this questions can be answered correctly, it is at that point that poker can begin to become a full time career.

So, that question is normally a very simple one to answer, and when asked to someone with a job that pays a certain dollar amount per hour can be answered within seconds. How much money did you make today?

All you non-poker players, answer the question in your heads and think about how long it took to answer. 5 seconds? ten? Ok great.

Now all you poker players, answer the same question and think about how long it took. The answer isn't hiding in the Cashier tab on your poker client, it isn't accesible by logging onto sharkscope, and in fact, the question should be able to be answered just as quickly as any other person out there.

So here is where poker player math comes in, and is probably one of the hardest concept for those outside of the poker community to wrap their heads around. Today we will deal with the ever popular Player A, and his exploits into the poker world on a specific day.

Now Player A plays primarily $12 NLHE 180 man tournaments on pokerstars. His average ROI is 30%, so for each tournament he plays, he should expect to earm $3.60. Player A on this particular day played for 8 hours and managed to play 80 tournaments, resulting in playing ten games per hour. However, variance decided to be the hateful beast that it is, and Player A failed to cash in any of the 80 tournaments. So, the questions is, how much did Player A make per hour today?

Lets do the math the non-poker player way, and then the poker player way.

So, as a non-player we would look at Player A's losses for the day. He played 80 tournaments at $12 a piece and made $0 profit. Therefore, he lost $960 dollars over 8 hours, or made -$120/hr today. Wow, Player A is terrible.

Now, lets do the math the poker player, or correct, way. Player A played 80 tournaments at $12 a piece and made $0 profit. Player A played 10 tournaments per hour. His normal hourly rate is $3.60 per tournament. Therefore, Player A made $36 per hour today. Wow, Player A made $36 an hour. Thats a hell of a lot more than I make.

You see the difference? Short term results in poker mean absolutley zero. Player A may have lost 960 dollars today, but what about when he wins 3000 the next day? Short term results mean nothing. Long term results, ROI over a large sample of games divided by hour played = your hourly rate. Regardless of how much you have made or lost that particular day. When you are able to seperate Short term wins/loses from the bigger picture, you are well on your way to becoming someone with a professional mindset. Those outside may never understand that, and maybe they aren't supposed to. Maybe thats why we are poker players and they are not.

Just something on my mind today.

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