Recently, I made a change I hoped I would never have to make. One of the worst changes you can make in poker.
I'm moving down in limits.
I've been beating the 15/30 at PartyPoker for a few months (about 20,000 raked hands during that time period). I'd been doing very well -- playing tight, but aggressive [Boy, you didn't watch Rounders for nothing, did you? -- ed]. It's been lucrative -- I've built quite a bankroll there.
Then, about a month ago, all that changed. I'm just not a winner. Yeah, I have winning sessions, but I keep a close watch on my results. While it's still statistically possible that I'm just on a bad streak of cards, it looks like playing the 15/30 at Party isn't profitable for me anymore. In fact, my expected value seems to have dipped from more than 2BBs/hour to a slightly negative hourly reate.
How was I doing so well? Here's what I've come up with:
1. I was playing better. For some reason, I think I've started calling more. While check/calling has its merits against the occasional lone aggressive bettor when the pot is big, it's a skill that ought be used selectively. And by selectively, I mean rarely. But on the whole, I don't think that this is why my expected value has turned downhill.
2. Not focusing as much. When you do anything alot, the average focus that you bring to the game declines. I think some of that happened to me. I lost some focus sometimes, and that stuff adds up. In mid-limits poker with decent opponents, there's not much room for error. Poker is a negative-sum game, after all.
3. Tougher games. I think this is the reason. I moved up to the 15/30 right as the WSOP was getting televised on ESPN, and the games were pretty easy for awhile. Granted, I didn't see many idiots playing in the 15/30, but I think many people read the book, played a little, and then thought they were ready for some middle limits play. Sorry folks, it's a little harder than that.
So, now that the bad players have given up, the games have gone back to normal. I still think the 15/30 at Party is beatable (especially at certain times), but it takes more concentration than I want to give to it. After all, I like to read the news and talk on the phone while I play.
So, where do I go down to? I really don't know. I was playing the 5/10 at Party before I jumped to the 15/30. So I suspect I'm back to the 5/10. But it's gonna be rough making so much less than I did when I played 15/30. Oh well.
If you have any other thoughts on why the 15/30 might've gotten harder for me, let me know. Also, if anyone else has found that their online games have gotten considerably harder in the past month or two, let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!