Friday, December 08, 2006

In the Future, There Will Be Robots

How's that for a headline that has nothing to do with anything, whatsoever? In any case, people have got on me lately for a lack of updates. Although I preemptively apologized for any lapses when I (re)started this blog in 2004, I find myself doing so again. Why this is bad is that I continually find blogs on the internet, and not only poker blogs, which spend most of their time apologizing for a lack of content. I'm basically okay with apologizing for this, but I'm not okay with every post beginning with an apology. So I'll try not to do that very much.

One of the main reasons for a lack of posts is that I'm actually running pretty well. Since the tone of this blog seems to be, "I'm a miserable failure at poker, and oh, by the way, at everything else, too," it seems a little out of character for me to post about what, truly, are relatively small wins. I've become, again, a small but steady winner, and my biggest problem is how to either increase my volume (the number of hands I play) or to transfer my small success to higher stakes.

The problem is, both of those have, shall we say, "issues" at the moment. My cash-game play has become rather limited, because I've been focusing on tournaments (about which more later). But when I've been playing, I've been playing a single table. I've noticed in live play my reads getting a lot better, and there's more opportunity for that at a single table than at two or three or four. But my cash-game bankroll is only sufficient for $2/$4, and really is too small even for $2/$4 if looked at from a professional point of view. I'd like to earn about $100 a day from cash-game play, but the limited number of cash-game hands I play really makes this unfeasible at these stakes. Still, $20 here and $50 there does add up, and with my expenses very low this might be enough right now. (That is, if it continues. I've moved my cash-game play to Full Tilt, and I've only been there a few days, really.)

The other major part of my play has been tournaments. I'm on something of a hot streak in these. I'm minor-cashing tournaments left and right lately, and final-tabled a $10 tournament at Stars last Saturday for a $600 win. (Fifth, I think.) The weekend before, I final-tabled a 130-man tournament at Soaring Eagle in Mt.Pleasant. Okay, I got tenth, but it was still a final table. (The big problem there? Tenth paid barely over two buyins. And Gil and I swapped 50% of each other, as mitigation against variance. So I made the final table, and actually profited about $30 from the experience.)

Since I've been back in Michigan (about six months), PokerTracker says my Return on Investment (ROI) is about 22% overall in PokerStars tournaments. My understanding is that an expert player considers that a tournament entry is worth about twice the buyin to him, meaning that he'll average a payout of about that much. I'm not entirely sure how that became the standard, but I'm not sure how the one-big-bet-per-hour standard for limit play came about, either. But in any case, the two-buyin standard would translate to a ROI of 100% (or slightly less, figuring in the juice for tourneys), and it's not there. I can hope my hot streak continues, and brings that ROI% up. (If I filter it to show only tournaments since Nov.15—a little over three weeks—my ROI is 104.72% (not counting my live final table). It's possible that I've "figured something out" recently, but it's more likely that I'm just running well, and I don't like to use so short a timespan anyway for reasons of volume: We're only talking about 49 tournaments.)

My day this week has consisted of a few hours of single-tabling $2/$4 at Full Tilt, followed by two or three multitable tournaments at PokerStars. Since I haven't had a final table since Saturday, that's meant a slightly up day at Full Tilt, and a day at Stars that's either slightly up or slightly down. So, overall, my days this week have been in the +$0 to +$100 range. Excellent? No. But I'm winning steadily, which is important enough.

Josephine Marsh, 1920–2006

Another reason I've been lax in my updates of late is that I ended up spending nearly a week involved with my grandmother as she failed and finally died. Although I'll miss her, and I'm sad that she's gone, this isn't a great tragedy because it really was her time to go. Her health had been deteriorating for some time, she wasn't as interested in the things she used to like to do, and it seemed that she was really ready to move on.

Because of this, the funeral affected me strangely. I wasn't as affected by the "Oh, Grandma's gone, we're all going to miss Grandma, what a shame, what a tragedy," because it really wasn't. It was time. What impressed me more was the concept of family, and how that continues on unabated. My grandmother was the last of her generation, but there were representatives of a new generation there: Great-grandchildren, great-grandnieces and -nephews. One of my uncles put together a family history which includes my great-grandparents on that side, and that was at the funeral, as were collections of pictures going back into the 1920s. My grandmother might be gone, but she leaves a pretty powerful legacy in all of us. It almost sounds like a Mafia thing: she might be gone, but the Family lives on. Since it gets less likely with each passing year that I myself will marry and have children, it causes me to wonder who'll mourn me when I go, and what my legacy will be.

The Continuing Saga

With snow now blanketing western Michigan, Gil seems pretty sure he'll want to move to Vegas early next year. Although I said January last time I posted anything on the topic, Gil would strongly prefer to wait until March or April, when his lease is up at his current apartment. It wouldn't cost all that much to break his lease, about a month's rent, but I think he figures that he may as well save his money. He also seems concerned about driving west in bad weather, a concern I think is unfounded. If we left in January, we'd leave Michigan when the weather is reasonable, and would take the Route 66 way through St.Louis, Oklahoma City, and Albuquerque rather than the more direct way through Des Moines, Omaha and Denver. So I think we'd miss out on inclement weather.

Barring a serious setback, I should have the $1000 I said was a minimum needed to go west, even if we left in January. I nearly have that now. A benefit of leaving later is that I would have time to amass enough to have the brakes and suspension overhauled on my car, something I've put off long enough. Gil has credit enough to use for his own moving expenses, which leaves only Dagny. Although Gil would likely help her out if she was a bit short toward amassing her own moving expenses, I'm sure he'd like to see some effort on her part toward acquiring them herself.

I guess the gist of this last section is this: I'd still like to go in January, but it's more likely that we'll go early in the spring.