Thursday, December 15, 2005

Clearing points can clear your bankroll

As I wait, ever-so-slowly, for more trip reports to creep in from all the Las Vegas bloggers (get on it, Poker Geek and Change 100), a thought occured to me.
It's taking longer to clear my points at Hollywood Poker than it is for all these bloggers to turn in reports.
I have a Mac, so I am not as much of a bonus whore as the lot of you, but I'm still taking advantage of promotions when they come.
The problem is, I do not have a huge bankroll. There are three reasons for this:
1) I have a 6-month-old, and babies eat money more than they eat formula (which, by the way, costs $25 a can).
2) I am a reporter, and reporters make about $1.25 an hour.
3) I am not Phil Ivey. I am not even Phil Ivey's brother. I like fish, and can eat fish like the rest of you all, sometimes by the finfull and sometimes all night, and yet, at times, I find the old adage You Are What You Eat is so very, very true.
So, I play .25. I do well there. Pretty darn well, in fact, if I do say so myself. Well enough to think about buying a new computer with the money after a few more months.
But playing .25 doesn't help you clear your bonus quickly. And that encourages me to stay on.
And the best way to lose money is to play beyond your streak.
The last couple of nights, I've swallowed huge pots early. Now, when you do that, you expend a certain amount of energy in taking the chance, analyzing the situation and then feeling the elation after you collect your money.
In fact, it takes much more energy to play a big pot once than to play conservative, card-dead poker for an hour-and-a-half.
But, when I win a couple big pots early, normallly I'd jump off, pat myself on the back and call it a night.
Now I'm pressured to keep playing to get the points, and whether I know it or not, I don't have the mental energy for it after a few big pots.
Ring games are by far the hardest game for me, even though they are usually full of donating donkeys. When you've only got a certain amount of money to spend on poker, you know that one mistake can cost you. In a tournament, I'm (usually) able to recover from a lost pot, and if I can't, well, I've only spent $5-$20 for an hour or two of poker, right?
During last week's painful, soul-crushing losing streak, I, in fact, was up several times, but I ignored the voice in my head, the "stop now, you've done enough" voice, because the other voice said, "Well, you only need 40 more points for your $25!."
This week, during my winning streak, I have quit while I was far ahead.
So far, it's worked.
I wonder, in fact, if the difference between winning and losing streaks is just knowing when to quit.
Bonuses, after all, are no good if you don't have a bankroll to put it in.

No comments: