Well, September has come to a close, and it's time for my (semi)regular monthly recap and review of my game:
Tournaments. I played only eleven 9-player Sit-n-Gos during the month, netting a grand total of just $0.20 for the entire effort. Yikes. I also played a couple of 45-man games, plus one 90-man tournament with a $26 token. I crashed and burned in both of those games via ugly beats. The bottom line for tourneys this past month, in other words, was dismal. I played very little, and when I did I was lucky to just break even. SnG's are a funny beast; it's tough to make any money at them if you don't play regularly. Winning at SnGs requires a very fine balance between cautious play and throwing-caution-to-the-wind. A while ago, I spent an entire month concentrating almost solely on SnGs, and for the first two weeks I was barely breaking even. The last two weeks, however, I got progressively better, finding my groove, so to speak, and making a tidy profit. In other words, I think if you're going to play SnGs for profit, you have to take them very seriously, play regularly, and not pollute your game with cash games or other forms of poker.
Cash Games. Most of my play this month has been in cash games. I dabbled a bit in $25NL, played a few sessions down at 1/2-cent and 2/5-cent, plus I donked off some cash in a few hands of $1/2 limit, too, but my real focus this month was $10NL full ring. I experimented with different looseness and aggression tweaks, plus did a lot of different multi-table experiments; I played anywhere from 4 games up to 16 games at once, seeing just how far I could push it, and what would happen to my win rate. The bottom line is (a) I can indeed play up to 16 games and make money; but (b) it's not as profitable as six or eight game sessions. When I jumped back down to 1/2-cent, I made a nice, linear profit with little fanfare in 14-16 games, but in the $10NL games I find that my "sweet spot" is around 6-8 games, max.
Another interesting thing to note is if I look at all my cash game hands for the month (32K in total), I earned $0.55 per 100 hands, with a relatively tight VPIP of 14.5%, and a respectable (but not great) PFR of 8.5%. My WTSD number is a solid 22%, with a nice W$SD of 58.5%. All of this translated into a decent profit of $176 for the month. Not bad....
...but there were some pretty big swings along the way. Part of this was due to my experimenting with 16-game Hyper Poker (a.k.a. Whack-A-Mole, as Mr. Multi calls it), and part of it was due to just variance of the game, but too much of it was due to just bad stretches of poker. During a few sessions in the middle of the month I pushed my game too hard, trying to "will" the cards to win, rather than getting off losing hands and trying to minimize losses.
I also lost money in the middle of the month when I first started stealing too much from LP (somewhere up around 80%), and then, after getting spanked doing that, started stealing too little (down to 25%). My average steal percentage as a result ended up at 38% for the month. I think for me a better number is around 50%, so I believe I left some money on the table in this area.
One area that I think I did do well at was lowering my cold-calling percentage. I do tend to call raises with small and medium pocket pairs when I'm getting the right implied odds, but I rarely call in any other circumstance. I'm training myself to be a raise-or-fold player, and I think this has helped my game a lot. As a result, my CCPF number is a very reasonable 6.7%.
Another interesting thing to note is a comparison of my current 14% VPIP win graph to the same data if I had only played pocket pairs, which equates to a VPIP of roughly 6%. My profit would have essentially doubled. Even better would be if I had played only pocket pairs, but also added in the big face cards from KQo through AKs. Taking this latter approach would have resulted in a VPIP of about 10% total, and my profit would have increased even more significantly. The three charts, below show these difference; the first chart is my actual profit, the second is the same data filtered for just PPs, and the third is PP's plus KQo+ hands. The difference between the three graphs is striking.
Which brings me to October and my immediate future poker plans. I'm probably going to continue the Whack-A-Mole experiment, but I will cut down somewhat on the number of tables I play (probably at most eight games), and also cut down my VPIP considerably, playing PPs and KQo+ for the first few weeks to see how that works. I'm very curious to see if these two things in combination will result in a higher win rate. I suspect it will, but in any case I will report back my findings next month when October is history and yet a new month begins.
For now, September is dead, long live October.
All-in for now...
Profit for Month:
Theoretical Profit for Month if I'd only played pocket pairs:
Theoretical Profit for Month if I'd only played pocket pairs and KQo through AKs: