Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Performance Comparison

In my line of work, we're often tasked with comparing two or more sets of data and asked to determine if and why they're different. To make a proper comparison, the data first has to be normalized to a common ground. Once complete, we can breakdown overall differences into their component parts.

It was with this line of thinking that I wanted to compare my performance in the $25NL and $50NL ring games online. I'd been winning on a pretty regular basis at the $25 level, often times posting 3x-6x buy-in wins. In fact, I even registered an 11.7x buy-in win when I grew a $25 investment into $293. That was a fun night.

Before I get ahead of myself, in a NL ring game, I believe the proper way to normalize results is on the buy-in level. For example, a $100 win at the $25 level is equivalent to a $200 win at the $50 level. Pretty simple. For limit players, the common normalizing factor is the "big bet." You'll often see win rates posted using BB/100 hand units or BB/hour rates.

Without question, my win rate at the $50 level is much lower, both on an absolute level and a normalized level. In theory, at the higher levels, I could perform worse on a buy-in basis but post bigger absolute profits. Similar to how a $15/30 player can win more money than a $2/$4 player but win fewer BB's/100 hands. I don't believe this is rocket science.

The bigger question, aside from "How am I doing?" is "Why are the results the way they are?" There are several factors.

1. I believe the players at the $50 level are actually better than those at $25. Even at Party. I know, it's hard to believe, but I'm seeing fewer boneheaded plays that would normally double me up. Don't get me wrong, there are your share of call-your-whole-stack-on-a-draw guys, but they are fewer in number.

2. My level of play in relation to everyone else is most likely worse. I seem to be having a harder time putting people on a set of hands than before. Sometimes, I'm so far off that it's amazing. My penchant for calling people who I'm putting on draws who really have made hands has grown to an alarming percentage. One example was the following hand. I'm holding A,Q and see an A-high flop which is all diamonds. I have no diamonds, but bet out after the flop. I'm min raised by an MP player and call. My interpretation was he did not have the flush yet, but rather held the K of diamonds and was on the nut draw. I check-called his turn bet, a non-diamond. When the river was also not a diamond, I put him all in. He paused and I thought I was good. I wasn't. He held Q,T of diamonds and probably only paused because he only had 2nd nut flush. I guess I can look at this hand and say I played it according to my read, it's just that my read was wrong.

3. Variance at the higher buy-in levels is going to be higher. At least perceived variance is. I've still yet to condition myself to think in terms of buy-ins lost and won and have a tendency to still look at absolute dollars. This is wrong. For whatever reason, based on the kind of person and player that I am, the only way to condition myself away from this line of thinking is time. Over time, I'll get used to the level change. I've only been playing at this level for about a month and a half and I can say I'm still not used to it completely. I'll get there, but as with most things poker, I must have patience.

Another thing I've noticed of late is that while I am bookkeeping my results rather meticulously, I believe that I'm not as results oriented as I have been. Last night was an example of where I made a couple of good decisions but ended up on the losing side to 3 and 4 outers. I pushed with the best of it and that is the name of the game. I can honestly say that if I were a winning player who relied on luck to catch their hands, I wouldn't feel as intellectually satisfied. There is winning, and then there is winning by playing superior poker. In order to accomplish the latter, you have to go through phases of losing by playing superior poker.


More congrats to our man Otis on his latest life-changing endeavor. I've had the good fortune of meeting Otis through blogging and can honestly say that he deserves everything he's earned. Those of you that have had the chance to meet him will agree that he's just good people.


Best of luck to DutchCantHang, err, AlCantHang at the LA Poker Classic. I purchased my piece of him at eBay. Hopefully my piece is something innocuous like an earlobe or something. There are some pieces that I simply do not want, especially those that come in contact with butter knives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anything especial.