Saturday, December 15, 2007

Deconstructing Ryan's decline

Ryan has been mentioning the setback to his roll while we have been at the tables. The most poignant part being that he has lost the equivalent of an original stake while completely playing by the BRM rules. The impact of course being that if he had started off his cake challenge with the exact run that he had recently experienced then he would be bankrupt and could never ever ever play poker again. Or at least would have to grind out months of freerolls to get a stake back.

This is very troubling. Of all people that I would expect to have a $50 decline, Ryan would be at the bottom of the list. Marsh could lose $50 in one hand these days and he had previously tilted off a large portion of his roll when he would even less afford it. Jasonland BRM rules means that Jason could drop $50 quickly as well. And we've seen what happens when you put $50 in Royal's hands. Will is down near the bottom of the list too but mainly because he is still buying in for $2.40 on the micro tables and it would take lotto-esque probability for him to get stacked thirty-some times in a row. Anyway, scary, because if it can happen to Ryan, it can happen to anyone.

So what's going on? Sure Ryan can kick a garbage can here or there but his actual play at the table is minimally affected and in fact he will generally try to play off of taking a bad beat (or getting d0nked on) to trap others. I have noticed a couple of time where he aggressively played his draws like an OESFD at lunch and his J pair and Club flush draw against my A6 two pair. And I recall those seeming out of character. I've also seen what seems like chasing more at the lunch game where he will call a flop and turn bet then fold on the river whereas I think he would more often try to steal along the way instead of just calling. He mentioned the term "scared money" a couple times as well. He says he's essentially missing on all cylinders; on Cake, at lunch, weeknights, and weekends.

I think that a snowball effect is one potential factor here despite Ryan's playing different games, stakes, and formats. It is likely that hands/plays/beats on a virtual .02/.04 table can be affecting actions on the real felt. It just seems too statistically infeasible for someone to run bad in three distinct different venues. Is it an OD of poker? Ryan wanted to sit out of the tourney to cut down on his table time and I know that Jeh and Marsh both have talked about how taking a break can clear the poker mind when they suggested that I lay off for a while when I was on a bad run. Certainly bad runs of cards has to be part of it. As Ryan was describing, pot it with AQ and miss. Later, rinse, repeat and you're bleeding off chips. Not hemorrhaging by any means but those all add up.

Let's figure out what is going on and how to fix it so we can all avoid the same situation.


Marshall said...

So what is the point of this again?

Sushi Cowboy said...

The point being that Ryan has $50 straight and from what we can tell, that just as easily could have been his first $50. With Ryan's solid fundamentals and dedication to making correct decisions at every opportunity, this seems like a rather extraordinary turn of events.

Now either something else is going on here that would explain Ryan's decline in bankroll or else there may be a flaw in the standard bankroll management principles that we have been following.

If Ryan started out the Cake Challenge with $50 and went bust, wouldn't you find that a highly unexpected occurrence?

Marshall said...

I guess I don't really see this as a big deal. Bad runs happen in poker. I have been on a pretty bad one lately where I can't seem to break through to the next level. But I will, and so will Ryan. He might benefit from taking a few days off or just playing some "for fun" only poker where he isn't tracking results.

And when did I tilt off a large portion of my roll anyhow? I take offense to that.

Marshall said...

Well Ryan is buying in for the full 4.00 and also has had a few shots at the 10.00 level, so no, I wouldn't see this as a highly expected occurrence. I think it would be foolish to think that he is playing his A game throughout this run, how could he? I have read all of his blog entries and he has kept it together admirably, but there is no way this run hasn't affected his play.

Look at Royal for example, he blew through his roll in less than on full day. He was obviously a bit more crazy about it, but he wasn't playing at the 25.00 buy in table or anything.

I have had swings all over the place. I feel that if I am going to be playing the best poker I can, I have to be able to endure these swings though. If I am not willing to mix it up a bit and gamble some, then I am not maximizing my returns either. Especially at the level that I am at now, while still lowly, you can't just nut peddle and get paid off like you can at the bottom level.

My point is that these swings are inherent to the game, and that A) it's to be expected and coped with, and B) if this is how Ryan had started out, he would have adjusted his buy ins accordingly and wouldn't have gone busto.

Sushi Cowboy said...

No offense intended. The tilt session I was referring to was your session in October when you bumped up levels to quickly recoup losses from a guy throwing a party.

Ryan might not be bringing his absolute A game but he seems perplexed enough at the dip in his roll that I wanted to post about it so we can get the discussion on the table. Ryan said he owned up to some bad plays here or there but it didn't sound like that would come close to fully accounting for $50 worth of roll. It was clear how Royal lost his roll but Ryan didn't sound like he had the answers for how his roll took the hit that it did.

Marshall said...

Well I didn't "tilt off a large portion of my roll" in that case, I did gamble more than I should have, and I was tilting very hard, but I played very controlled poker at the upper level and got myself back to even for the night by doing that. In that post I was just pointing out how dangerous is can be to move up levels.

About Ryans swing, I am chalking it up to normal variance, but I am curious what he has to add.

Sushi Cowboy said...

OK, Marsh. My bad. I misunderstood your post then.

Still, the point is that proper bankroll management is supposed to protect you against normal variance. By only exposing a small portion of his entire stake to the inherent swings of a game like poker, a player should be able to ride out a string of bad sessions and catch a heater before going busto.

Ryan said...

Didn't check work email or TNP all weekend, here.

I think I would have dipped to buying in for $2 or even $1 had I started my Cake challenge with this bad run, but it's still disconcerting to take a $50 hit to my roll while playing at .02/.04 (I think there was one or two .05/.10 sessions in there, too).

I don't know if/how all my poker is intertwining. I don't *think* I've let Cake results affect my live play, it's pretty compartmentalized in my mind. I've been unhappy with my play of late in every format, but I can't point to Cake and say it's affecting WNP, or point to SLP and say it's affecting my Cake or what have you.

I could tell you all *how* I feel my play has been substandard, but that's not info I want to rush out and share with my regular opponents, frankly, it's just something I want to correct.

I will say this much, though: losing can lead to pressing which leads to more losing. One thing I realized in the course of my global poker downturn that I *can* share is that I needed to take a step back when I kept taking steps forward.

In other words, I was trying to squeeze poker in at every opportunity, even moreso than usual. Every lunch, every WNP, and every opportunity at home that I had for Cake, I was taking.

In the past week plus, I've reversed that, not feeling like I *have* to play at lunch, or being able to say, "The family is in bed, and I'm *not* going to play poker."

I'm sure I could have arranged to play in the tournament on Friday, but I opted out in favor of some family time before coming over to play in the cash game.

This has helped. It's like, the more I cared about it and the more I tried to "shoot myself out of the slump" by playing at every possible time, the worse I felt about it.

At some level you have to accept that poker is a hobby that can put you in a really foul mood sometimes, which is also true of Magic and any other competitive game. You don't ever hear about knitters throwing their wool down in disgust because they missed a stitch or whatever.

I'm rambling a bit now, but the bottom line is that if there's anything universal about my poker during the Cake slump (I'm coming out of it now), it's that I was pressing on all fronts. As soon as I let off the gas and put poker in its proper place with the proper perspective, it helped.

Bob Loblaw said...

Look at Royal for example, he blew through his roll in less than on full day. He was obviously a bit more crazy about it, but he wasn't playing at the 25.00 buy in table or anything.

I want to chime in here to state one more time that my 17-hour run was a joke. Yes, I did put in $50, and I did go into it thinking that it would be my start into the Cake Challenge. But that quickly changed when I d0nked off a bunch of chips. According to Ferguson rules, I would have stopped the outward flow by just standing up from the table and not playing at the level I was playing. But then what was I going to do with my time in Oklahoma? I wanted to play, and I wanted to occupy my time. After that first night, I wanted to play recklessly. And if I had won anything while playing recklessly, that would have been great, but I never intended to actually turn that into a full-blown Cake Challenge.

It may sound like I’m making excuses for not being able to succeed at the Cake Challenge. But the truth is, I don’t really count this run as my official entry into the Cake Challenge.

I’m very close to actually doing that, though -- stay tuned.

Bob Loblaw said...

Re: Ryan’s dilemma. I am interested to see if we can pinpoint any issues and change things, but I feel like it all boils down to a bad run. We’ve all been there: Back in the SNP days at MB & Jason’s house, I went on a two month run where I kept purging money. Cards simply were not there, and I was forcing the issue.

Marshall said...

I think it's interesting to see the mirror effect of this as it applies to the session itself.

When you are pressing in a session or chasing losses, it's entirely difficult to make get anywhere. But when you let the game come to you, you can do well. The problem is, sometimes the game doesn't come to you and you have to just keep folding. You have to be willing to accept the fact that at the beginning of a session, you might not have any playable hands for the whole thing, and you might not win one big pot all night. Hard pill to swallow.

I really hesitate to call Ryan's run of late a "decline" of any sort. He is running bad. It's that simple. We all face these situations, but the absolute key is to not let it affect your game. He is properly rolled and way overqualified for the stakes he is at, but these runs happen anyway. I think the best thing is to simply avoid a tilt disaster, which he has.

Often a short break is needed also. Or at least a stepping back a bit, which he has done and I know from experience that it helps me a ton to do that.