2010 in review

Posted: January 2, 2011 in General

With a modest £180 win on the 30th, I’ve now played my final live poker session for 2010. This means it’s time to look back on the last twelve months and see if I can draw any conclusions that’ll stand me in good stead for the coming year / decade / lifetime.

In 2009 I made my lifetime greatest net profit at the poker table of £8,265. The majority of this was won at a series of private games with the Canines, however the game changed significantly towards the end of the year. An influx of newer wilder players suddenly rendered my TAG approach insufficient to regularly beat the game. In fact, continuing to play my old style under these conditions for the first month of 2010 led to a rather rapid £2,000 deficit to start the year off. I felt the new game was beatable but required a much larger cash investment than I was comfortable allocating to this part of my life, especially with an impending property transaction in April. Instead I elected to adapt by trying to find a few new venues and player pools to try my skills against.

One of the new boys at the Canine table had previously mentioned a West London venue he’d played at once or twice and felt was quite beatable, so I thought this would be a good place to start. Indeed it proved to be the case, and just mixing in five sessions at this new location along with my normal game allowed me to restore my 2010 deficit to -£1,100 by the end of the first quarter. Second quarter was a bit of a non-event, with only fourteen sessions played as backdrop to the effort of moving house. However I was able to get the deficit under a grand, despite taking my first ever losing session at the new venue, my play notes for that night reading “£1/2 NL – totally card dead 6 hours, lots of stealing but stacked a few times when they found hands against me“.

Third quarter was a bit of a non-event, no major wins or losses but net loss drifted back above a grand. Quite a few of my play notes indicate a prolonged bout of running card dead, so I guess I wasn’t really enjoying a game that’s supposed to be a profitable hobby. However things picked-up rapidly from October onwards. I kicked the quarter off with a decent win at the Empire (“£1/2 NL – ran good – pwned guy with quad 9’s for +250 and +50 bonus, good check on river with nutflush +200, few other good plays, stupid call of overbet with TPNK vs AA -250, stupid limp/raise pre vs LAG -125“), and then didn’t really look back, picking up about a grand a month for the last three months of the year – to finish 2010 a little over £1,500 to the good.

So, I think three major lessons to learn from the year.

  1. Clearly venue choice made a big difference, my twenty sessions logged at the Loose Cannon yielded a net loss of £2,000, but more than counterbalanced by twenty-one sessions at the new venue with a net profit of £4,000. I was broadly flat across all other venues, which included a weekend at Dust Till Dawn (-£500) and a session in Macau (-£80 : “Macau $10/$20: Albie played like a fool“).
  2. Searching for “drink” or “drunk” across all my player notes for 2010 brings back a list of 15 sessions, only three winning sessions of +£6, +£50 and +£30 respectively, and a net loss of £3,000!! I drink so rarely at the table that I was sure that this wasn’t a big leak, but clearly avoiding these few sessions would have tripled my year’s profit. The same search across 2009 data yields only eight sessions and a net loss of £300, so I’ll have to lock-down this terrible habit as part of my batch of 2011 new year resolutions.
  3. Undertaking a piece of analysis suggested by the Baron, it appears that the date in the month that I play correlates strongly with net profit/loss. I suspect that this may be a result of different pay days for my average opponent – the poker professionals will play day-in day-out, but the amateurs only when they have spare money, i.e. the first few days after pay day. Plotting a graph of net profit and session volume by day in the month (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc) for all the public cardrooms I play in yields the following (click to expand):
    As this is commercially sensitive information (!), I’ve arbitrarily started the graph from the day in the month that showed the greatest profit, so suggest you don’t read anything into this beyond the general trend of periods of profitability and loss from month to month. I’ve also excluded any outlier results, chopping off the top 3% and bottom 3% sessions, so long-tail results don’t skew the data. Clearly I need to diarise poker for certain parts of the month, and perhaps find something better to do with my time for the periods in the month when I tend to be up against a better class of player (oh, and by the way – the graph doesn’t appear to correlate with my own pay day, so while that may be a contributing factor I don’t think it’s statistically significant).

As I had the data to hand, I thought I might generate a similar graph, showing profit/loss by day of the week. There are a few additional points that would seem to back-up the conclusions drawn so far.

  • Clearly I play most frequently on a Friday and Saturday night, however was somewhat surprised to note that Friday’s are more profitable on average than Saturday’s. I suspect this relates to venue choice. On the Friday’s I’m more likely to be playing at the new venue, on the Saturday’s it seems I’m more likely to be playing at the Empire.
  1. I haven’t played too many Tuesday’s, but they’ve virtually all been losing sessions. The Tuesday data correlates strongly with my list of “drunk” sessions, and looking back at the year this makes sense, as we’ve had a series of last minute ‘fun’ games at the Fox and the Loose Cannon that it appears I didn’t fare too well in. It’s good to blow-off steam once in a while, but if I’m going to continue to play in these I’ll have to do so with a strict limit on the amount of cash I’m willing to put into play.
  1. Alan McBride says:

    Fascinating analysis and insight. I guess the key question is where’s the new venue?

  2. fLuke says:

    Ah, that’d be telling Alan… 😉

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