My downswing in poker descended to -200bb. Yikes. However, I've risen from the ashes to claim +100bb back. Today was a wash, ending right where I started. (So I guess I beat the rake, huh?)
Whenever I get the thirst for some poker knowledge, I like to hit the books in my poker library, starting with the oldest first, because the older books are usually the most basic in concepts, which allows me to deconstruct my game and rebuild.
I plowed into one of my favorites, Scarne's NEW Complete Guide To Gambling (All new for 1974! It's also a great read for learning how to beat those games at the state fair midway.)
Anyway, reading Scarne's passage on raked poker is pretty clear cut:
"Even the world's best poker player, playing against rank suckers, would eventually go broke bucking that 5% cut..."
I wonder what Scarne would think of online poker if he were alive today. Yes, his assessment is correct, under two assumptions:
1) The rake is not capped (meaning that it's 5% of the pot, no matter how big).
2) You have to play long sessions of poker. Most people don't play one orbit of live poker, unless they are moving to another game in the same room.
The first thing I decided to change after my big downswing was to play only one table of online poker. I realize that is too boring for some folks, but I also quickly learned I paid more attention and made better decisions.
My second change involved leaving the table (ending the session) as soon as I finished any orbit with a profit. In other words, I left if I was up, even if it was after 2 hands. I also left the table after 30 minutes regardless of profit.
While this sounds like boring, basic "hit & run" poker, it's really not. While struggling with the rake as a low level VIP, I have to manage the hands I play very carefully. When I am getting decent rakeback for my play I can consider multi-tabling again.
It will be interesting to see if I can make gold VIP playing only one table during a session. If I continue to climb, I'll move up in stakes instead of adding tables.
Now it's time to work on those fantasy football picks.