September 12, 2011

Poker Prop Strategy – Tournament Action (part 2)

It is now clear that being a ‘fox’ is more lucrative than being a ‘farmer’ when it comes to tournament strategy, but the problem is that being a player who always goes for all the marbles is much more complicated than it sounds. Let us take a look at some of the numbers involved. Suppose you’re playing in 10 $1k MTTs, and you’re ‘farming’, that is you’re only looking to sneak into the money. You manage to get past the money bubble 5 times out of 10, but because of your faulty overall approach, you fail to make it far enough in the money and you end up with $2k (min cash) all 5 times. That adds up to a 5*$2k = $10k profit. The other 5 times you lose your buy-in which creates a $5k deficit. Your overall profit will therefore be $5k.

Being a ‘fox’ you aim for the win and you’re willing to take chances. Your more aggressive and daring approach creates more variance and 9 out of 10 times, you lose your buy-in. That creates a $9k deficit. That one time though, you shoot right past the money bubble and into the top spot, taking down the $300k top prize. At the end of the 10-tournament sample, you’re $300k - $9k = $291k in the black.
This example makes it clear that when it comes to tournaments, the money is the win.
I know what you’ll say. You’ll say: there’s no way in hell you’re going to win a massive MTT once out of every 10 times you play, and you’re absolutely, positively right. The same way you won’t manage to finish in the money 5 times out of every 10 while ‘farming’, you won’t win one of every 10 such tournaments either. If you take a second look at the numbers though, you’ll see that you can afford to lose a few hundred times before winning one, and still turn a more than handsome profit.

The numbers surely don’t lie, but the fact that you need an extremely large bankroll to be really successful when playing as a ‘fox’ is certainly there as well. Suppose you lose 200 times before taking down a $300k prize. That means you’ll lose $1k*200 = $200k, resulting in a $100k profit. While the profit margin remains huge, you need to have more than $200k in the first-place to be able to pull of such a move, and let’s be honest here: 99.99% of players do not have that kind of money to lose.
With all that in mind, it’s safe to conclude that at the end of the day – poker prop or not – being successful at tournament poker comes down to bankroll management.

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