Sunday, September 17, 2006

Moving Backward

Looking at some of the blogs I last read with any regularity, over a year ago, I'm struck with one thing:

Everyone's moved beyond me.

People that were at 50¢/$1 at the same time I was, three years ago or so, are now playing $10/$20, $15/$30, or higher, and beating those games. I topped out at $3/$6 as my regular game, with occasional—usually disastrous—forays higher. And now I can't even beat online $3/$6.

I'm mystified by much of this. I think I understand the game a lot better than I did a couple of years ago, when I was earning an adequate but not stellar living from the game. I think that I have to conclude that everyone else is improving faster than I have/did.

In some sense this is a rehash of the lament that drove me off the rails in the first place. Then, I thought, with some justification, that the natural progression was from (online) $3/$6 to (online) $15/$30, but I never got far enough ahead that making that step was wise. My frustration with that led me to do it anyway, with well-documented results. Heck, it's possible I was even +EV at $15/$30 (then), but the first downswing—which occurred almost immediately—busted me.

In another sense, this is overall frustration. I'm stuck, online, at 50¢/$1, and even $1/$2 is just out of my reach. At least, I more often feel out-played, at $1/$2: Those blind-vs-blind confrontations I talked about a couple of posts ago. And, despite my adoption of a plan to get my bankroll to where I want/need it to be, the weakest point of the plan is still how to get my game to where it needs to be. (The few hands PokerTracker has for $1/$2 since I got back—500 hands or so—actually show me as slightly positive in my $1/$2 play. But it doesn't seem that way.)

All this is doubly frustrating because I think I'm a huge favorite in the $3/$6 game at the "local" casino. Not that I'm guaranteed a win; I think even a long-term winning player probably wins only about 60% of his individual sessions. On the one hand, I should probably be spending more time there; on the other hand, I have at least two obstacles keeping me from doing so, one of which should be obvious. But that's not even the point; the point is, why should I be a favorite in one game, and feel as if I'm often outplayed in what is purportedly a smaller game?

Thoughts on the Online Game

The disconnect between online and live play is vast, for no readily discernible reason. The 50¢/$1 tables I've been playing are tougher than the $3/$6 tables I commonly play live. In fact, if I was at the casino and the game was like any of the tables I play online, I'd find a different table. A $3/$6 or $5/$10 game online is perhaps equivalent to a $10/$20 or $20/$40 game live, as far as skill levels. It seems to me that this disconnect is a Bad Thing, but I'm not able to really express why. It serves, in my mind, to further separate the online and live games into Two Different Things, which also seems to be bad. But, having said all of that, I'm not sure what to do about it. The obvious "solution," dropping all of the games below $2/$4 or $3/$6, would seem to annoy a lot of people, and the market is such that the microlimit players would always have somewhere to go. Ahh well, I'll think about this some other time.