Courtney Gee Poker Blog

Emotional Stress, Big ROI, Advice for Moving Up

Created By: Courtney Gee
08 February 2013
Posted in: Courtney Gee Poker Blog, The Online Grind
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January was a mixed bag for me. If you’ve been reading my other blog, you’ll know that I’ve had a lot to deal with outside of poker.

Someone very close to me is battling alcoholism and things took a turn for the worse late last year. For the last couple of months, I have basically been trying to make sure that she doesn’t die.

Helping her out has been very time consuming, but the biggest impact on me has been the emotional stress. Even when I’ve had some spare hours to play poker, it’s sometimes been very difficult to focus.

Emotional stability is extremely important when it comes to playing well and I certainly haven't had it these past two months. I took a lot of days off in December and January as a result.

I tried to make the most of the quality hours I did get in January, however, and fortunately ran really well. I played primarily $100s to $200s with a few $300s here and there and was able to achieve a 3.5% EV ROI. I’m not sure if this ROI is sustainable, but I’ll take it while I can get it!

Decreasing Average Buy-In to Pad Life-Roll

I cut back on the number of $300s I was playing because I wanted to temporarily decrease my average buy-in and build my bankroll a bit.

I had decided to pad my backup living expenses with a portion of my bankroll, and I didn’t feel comfortable playing a $200+ average buy-in with the bankroll that I had leftover.

My average buy-in is around $150 at the moment, and I’m planning on keeping it this way until I profit another $10k. This will give me some cash for expenses and also add a healthy amount to my bankroll.

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If I play the volume I’m planning on playing in February, I might be able to get this done in a month (assuming I run at expectation). At the latest, I better have this done by sometime in March.

That said, I almost certainly have a big enough bankroll to play full blown $300s by a “normal” player’s standards.

Basically, though, there are two types of players: those that move up as soon as possible and just move down if they lose some, and those that don’t want to move down once they move up. I’m in the second category.

Win More and Get Better before Moving Up

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking shots, but I suspect they are a lot worse when it comes to hyper HU.

Once you get up to stakes $100+, you actually start to get tested by better players. Sure you can run good versus them at first and shoot up to high stakes, but you’ll lose it back really fast if you’re not actually skilled enough to be at that level.

And unlike some forms of poker (like multi-table tournaments), you’re pretty much guaranteed to lose the money if you’re a mediocre player because regs have the ability to sit you relentlessly.

In my opinion, the better way to do it is to build a bankroll that has some breathing room at the stakes you want to move up to. Work at becoming a better player so that when you do move up, you can stay up.

I think this is much better than taking shots at higher stakes HU and just moving down when you lose 20 buy-ins (or however many it is for you).

Obviously the method of moving up and then moving down when you lose some works great if you’re an established regular that won’t get tested as much at the higher buy-ins, but this isn’t the case for most players.

Most players aren’t respected and have to battle to get left alone. If you’re going to battle, you may as well have enough money to battle for a while, win, and then stick around to enjoy your lobbies.

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