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August 2018 Results- "Not All Variance is Created Equal"

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Which would you rather have? Run 14.17 bb/100 ABOVE expectation or run 8.18 bb/100 BELOW expectation? Most likely you’re going…”Duh Gilbert who doesn’t want to run better than expectation?”


Ok, let me ask you another question. When would you rather have Aces cracked by Pocket Sixes and lose a 30bb pot…the first hand of a tourney when you started with 166bb or on the money bubble for your last 30bb making you the bubble boy?


Again you’re going, “Duh, that’s a no brainer. In the first scenario yes a bad beat hurts but I’m still in the tourney. In the second, I’m out of the tourney and worse yet I didn’t make any money”. In the above scenario, your bb/100 of having Aces cracked by Sixes would have the same negative expectation for both cases, yet one seems way worse than the other doesn’t it?


I bring all this up because how you run early in a tournament can often greatly overshadow your overall bb/100 number. Let’s say you’re the one with the Pocket Sixes in the first hand of a tourney that cracks Aces. But instead of a 30bb pot, let’s say you stack the person. That is going to hugely inflate your bb/100 showing you running greatly above expectation. Flip the scenario and now you get Aces cracked for say a 10bb stack and your bb/100 below EV takes a hit but not too bad.


So let’s go back to the beginning of this post. Those were my numbers for the first 10 days of August and then after a day off, the next 4 days after that. During those first 10 days that I ran +14.17/100bb, I was early in tournaments running hot and building stacks. However, in the late stages of tourney’s I was either getting bad beated right at the money bubble or shortly thereafter. As an example, I played the Nightly $109 on Merge 6 times in those first 10 days and 4 of those times I was either the stone bubble or 1 off the stone bubble. In each of those 4 times I had QQ+ and each time I was ahead pre-flop. Long story short, even though my bb/100 showed I was running hot, in real money I had lost about $1300.


After the day off…a mental health day if you will…I was back on the tables and over the next 4 days I ran horrible early but great late. Picked up a win, had a 3rd place in the Big Ticket, then won the Nightly $109 and the next night was set-up for back-to-back wins but finished 4th after a bad beat. All in all, despite running 8.18 bb/100 below EV I had about $7300 in profit.


The moral of the story is, while over time your bb/100 will all equal out with you running both good and bad, both early and late, looking at it daily or even monthly doesn’t tell the whole story. In fact, overall for August my bb/100 was below expectation despite the fact I had a very profitable month.


Also we tend to remember/dwell on bad things in our lives much more than we do the positive. I once saw a study that showed for every negative thing someone says about us it takes 15 positive things to offset it. I think it’s the same way in poker…we tend to remember the bad beats we take way more than the ones we put on others. Overall this can lead to us having a very negative attitude, which in turn will hinder our play because we’re thinking that the worst is going to happen or we tell ourselves, “I just run so bad” which impacts how we play a hand.


So with all that said, keeping making the right decisions pre-flop, and on each street and let the cards falls as they may. Yes, go ahead and check your stats is you want but remember..Not All Variance is Created Equal!


In addition to a great month on the tables, it was a great month off as well. It was good to get back into the swing of things at church after my vacation and we’re getting settled into our new home as well. I was also honored to be asked by fellow pastor and poker player Rob Gardner to be on his Twitch Stream (www.Twitch.tv/pokerpastor) for an interview. You can watch the full interview on his Twitch VOD or you can watch it here.


In it we covered a wide-range of topics covering poker, life and faith. The feedback we’ve been getting has been very positive. Give it a watch and let me know what you think.


As for my actual August stats, let’s take a look…

157..…Tournaments Played

64…..Cashes (40.8%)

22..…. Final Tables

6.......Top 3 Finishes


$14,908.28 in total cashes (47.50% ROI)


Now onto my Merge up-date. For those not familiar with my blog, Merge stopped allowing Pocket Fives to track scores on September 5th 2016, so what I’m doing here is tracking where I would have been had they not stopped tracking. I do play some on other networks but Merge gets out 95% of my volume so I thought it would be fun and motivating to keep things going as if though it never stopped. I use Poker Dominator to track all tourney’s so these are the most accurate and up-to-date numbers as of the last day of the month.

Merge Lifetime Total: $520,158.42

Career Lifetime Total: $585,867.18

Career number of Cashes: 4544


Follow my monthly results in real-time by following me on Twitter: @YourPokerPastor


Thanks for reading...please post a comment with your thoughts or anything you'd like me to address in future blogs.

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Thank you very much for writing this, I am just deciding well but I am having pure bad beats. what you have written encourages me to move forward !! regards from argentina!

Edited by Matias123

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Thank you very much for writing this' date=' I am just deciding well but I am having pure bad beats. what you have written encourages me to move forward !! regards from argentina![/quote']


Glad I could help and hope your variance turns around or at least turns around in your favor deep in tourneys!

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Yo Lester how have you been bro? I talked about you in the interview I linked to in the blog. Thanks again for pushing me as we climbed the PA ranks together a few years back!

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Which site do you play on for Merge? I play ACR or Bovada, how are the tourneys on this site versus the others?

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Which site do you play on for Merge? I play ACR or Bovada' date=' how are the tourneys on this site versus the others?[/quote']




Merge used to be the big network post black-Friday for US players but then they decided to make the site more rec friendly so they cut all benefits. For those that needed the points, rakeback, etc it was devastating so many players jumped over to ACR. This has left most of the guaranteed tourney's on Merge with player pools of between 100-400. Like ACR the most frustrating part is the extremely long late registration times. While smaller players pools have their benefits, the biggest drawback is the higher buy-in tourneys like the Nightly $109 and the Sunday Big Ticket $162 is filled with regs...most are decent to somewhat competent so variance definitely plays a role. Overall I like Merge because their software is far superior to to ACR and the smaller field size means that even with a long late reg process, the average tourney can be won in a 5-7 hour period.

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