Thursday, February 14, 2008

Variance & Tilt in micro stakes sngs

On average how many tournaments would you expect to win in a given amount of tournaments? I'm not sure exactly but we all have a rough idea in our heads, even if we have never articulated it to ourselves, that we are comfortable with. Beyond which we start to feel the pressure of not winning. This number is different depending on your skill level and the type of tournaments you play.

Beginning last friday, I've gone 72 tournaments without winning a single one. The buy-ins range from the $3 & $6 45 man turbo sngs to the $4 180s and a few low buy-in MTTs. Over this time i've had 2 2nd, 1 7th place finish in the $3 45 sngs, a 5th in a $4 180 sngs and a 214th in a $3 mtt... thats it. Over this time it seemed that i could not catch a break, that no hand was safe. It was just impossible to win a race. Villians called with complete crap and still won against me. It was brutal.

However, Variance in sngs and poker in general is inevitable. You just have to be prepared for it, be able accept it and continue to play your A game. How do you prepare for variance? Its one thing to know what variance is. But when your AA gets crushed by A2o or Q4o as happened to me just lastnight, its hard to sit there and go 'well thats just variance'.

For me, after playing 6 max cash games and having huge swings of hundreds of dollars @ 50nl i'm better able accept losing 20+ tournies in a row, after all its just not that much money. So first step in dealing with variance i'd say is knowing your tolerance level and having proper bankroll management. By bankroll managment i'm not talking about what is considered standard on the forums, but what you're comfortable with. Being comfortable for me means that losing 20 x avg. buy-in doesn't make me go "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE I JUST LOST $X DOLLARSSS!!!!"

The 2nd step is to realize that you don't 'deserve' to win, because there is no deserve in poker. An excellent article that illustrates this point is called The Grossness (or beauty) of poker. An excerpt taken directly from that article really illustrates this;

Three poker playing friends are each offered 100 separate bets in which they’re a 2 to 1 favorite. They can place a $400 wager on each individual bet. In other words, 65% of the time, they win $400; 35% of the time, they lose $400. Now at the end of the 100 bets, they compare results to see how they’ve done and to their surprise, each has a different bankroll, in some cases, thousands of dollars apart. Three different guys, all making the same wager. Three very different results and likely, three very different opinions of their game.


That said, I was still unable to completely accept variance and therefore experienced variance's closest relative;Tilt.

Even pros tilt, it is almost just as inevitable as variance. I personally think that its impossible to not tilt ever, but we can manage tilt. The key to managing tilt imo is recognizing what triggers your tilt response, recognizing that you are tilted and having a pre-planned response to being tilted.

I don't tilt as easily as i use to but there are several things that tilt me.

1. Consecutive beats over a short period of time
2. extremely poor play by opponents... e.g. L/c preflop with Q4o, Callings 2/3rd psb on flop with gutshot drw, calling another 2/3rd psb on turn with gutshot and a pair, then making two pair on river to take down my AA

These are the two that come to mind right away. I very rarely tilt because my AA loses to something like 77 AI pf or when it flops a set on the flop, but bad play as in #2 above gets me.

Of course there are different levels of tilt so recognizing that you are tilted is also very important. There is full blown monkey tilt, where you completely lose control. There is the slow creeping tilt, where you slowly get looser and looser limping hands you normally fold etc etc. There is tilt where you decide to play hands differently than you would normally; slow playing big PPs, larger than normal open raises with AK, etc etc.

To manage tilt effectively you should have a plan on how to deal with tilt... is it to stop playing and take a walk, sit out for a short while... take a few days off. i have one of those squeeze balls that i throw sometimes, other times i just stop playing for the night... in extreme cases i may take a few days off.

SOUND OFF: what works for you? how do you handle variance and tilt?

Add your ideas on the subject.

gl at the tables and don't tilt!

1 comment:

Noah said...

I usually watch a TV or visit a friend when this happens. Also-- play frisbee golf, go on a walk, anything to get outdoors and away from the computer.

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