Thursday, December 16, 2004

Sigh. Three more SnGs, three more cashes. Two thirds and a second. No firsts. But a hearty $37 profit on a $33 investment and three hours time. Is that good? I think so.

I know many of you are dealing with hundred dollar swings from night to night, but frankly, I have no desire to dive into that deeper part of the poker pool. I’m quite content to eke out a meager profit for 1-2 hours of time per night. I can watch television, talk to my wife and kids, check my WhatIfSports teams, and still make money.

Dugglebogey mentions here that online poker players should aspire to higher and higher levels to increase our individual expertise and profit potential. I disagree. The Peter Principle (for those who are younger than 30) asserts that:

In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence.

I think that applies to online poker as well. Online poker is inherently hierarchical: With the higher limits comes the assumption of higher abilities. As each of us conquers a given level, there is the desire to ascend to the higher level and, by inference, a higher ability. Eventually, we will attempt to ascend to a level which is beyond our abilities, and we will LOSE money. However, online poker isn’t like the job market, where the experience becomes a marketable commodity. Even if I fail miserably at a job, I can apply somewhere else and claim “Managed twenty employees” on my resume and possibly get some other schmuck to give me another chance to manage. Putting “Played 5,000 hands at $10/20” on our resume doesn’t mean someone else will give us our $1000 bankroll to try again.

One of the benefits to “settling” into a specific game and/or limit is that others will adhere to the Peter Principle by rote. The better players will move up to a higher limit and the lesser players will move up to replace them. The profitability of a given level might actually increase over time because of this dynamic. Think about it. I’ve been steadily profitable at $11 SnGs recently. Others that are profitable might seek to bump up to the $22 or $33 games, while successful $6 players might be considering a move to the $11 tables. Who would you rather play?

My goal is to have fun. I have more fun when I’m profitable. But whether your goal is profitability or fun, you’re better off finding a game you can beat at stakes you can handle and staying there. If not, you’re just setting yourself up for a fall.


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