Friday, February 09, 2007

Yes Hoy, They Are Getting Tougher. No Hoy, This Is Not A Good Thing

Hoy asked me to comment on his blog about this, but I think I have more than I would want to cram into a comment to say on the subject. Yes, the games are now tougher than they were just a month ago. I actually thought the games got easier right after the law went through, but with Neteller out, there has been a huge change in the whole online poker landscape.

Personally for me the neteller thing was pretty big. I have 3k in limbo, but more importantly, I have no way of making transfers to and from the sites I play on. I am in no hurry to sign up with a new ewallet solution, and I am somewhat of a power user. I have funded at least a dozen other peoples accounts who did not want to hassle with neteller via transfers over the years. Those types of players are now gone. And those types are the most profitable to play against. The next type of person who is most profitable to play against are those who play a lot, but must continually replenish their roll with new Neteller funds. Those types are on the endangered species list, and are expected to go extinct in the next few months. That leaves the break-even and profitable players.

If you take a site like FullTilt for example, they rake money off the pot in cash games, and charge fees for tournaments. Unless the sum of all deposits exceeds the sum of all withdrawals plus all the fees and rake they collect, the total amount in accounts will drop over time. Normally, FT would offer a deposit bonus to correct this if it started happening. Now with the lack of methods to deposit, people trying to cash out directly (avoiding neteller), and no deposit bonuses, the total account balances must be in free fall mode right now. Given enough time all the money in online accounts will simply be raked away. The games are drying up period.

There are some other effects as well. People drop down in levels to find easier competition and for bankroll protection. So the games get tougher ultimately at all levels. If you could beat .50/1 NL in the past, you may have to drop to .10/.25 NL to stay profitable. MTTs will get tougher, and I am sure are tougher already. I am not sure why Hoy insists that the donks going away from MTTs is good. My MTT game relies on getting some donks money early, and later taking a nice chunk from the last surviving donk who has luck boxed into a decent stack. Its quite a bit more difficult prying chips out of a good MTT players hand. It will make them more of a crapshoot, not less.

What are the measurable changes? The play is tighter across the board in NL cash games. I have used 30%/players per flop as a criteria for table selection for a long time (I want higher than this). It was never a problem to get on 4 tables in a hurry 1/2NL and down meeting this criteria. With patience you could get this at 2/4NL pretty easy. Now you need to start looking to the microstakes for loose play preflop. Also, (I think Miami Don commented on this) there are more regular type multi-tablers per table than before. I like to look for a mix of mostly unknown and underfunded players to profit from at a given table. I do not want to be at a table with more than 3 profitable or break-even players. This is getting much harder to find as well. With the two criteria above, I am lucky to get on one table, and it might take a while.

So is there anything good that can come out of this? Not really IMO. My time playing is way down, but I like to play more for a profit than just for fun. My win rate/hr will come down as well. I may not drop down immediatly, but my days of taking cracks at 2/4nl and 3/6nl are over for now. The only bonus I guess is that you can play with good players at more reasonable stakes now if you want to work on your game. The players who stick it out and work on their games will be rewarded. I know this is a temporary situation, with legalization around the corner, so those who come through this with top skillz will be rewarded big when the donks start galloping back. Also live games will be donkariffic for a long time to come. Its hard to be a donk without finding ways to donk it up at the tables. More of them will go live now.



At 7:12 PM, Blogger lucko said...

SNGs are definiitely getting tougher fields. Less losing players in almost all of them.

At 7:19 AM, Blogger Chipper said...

Well stated. If the funds can't come and go freely, the total pool of money will simply shrink. The best will survive but the games will only get tougher.

That being said, if the only thing left for us is our local casino card room and underground games?

Something will happen soon to Full Tilt and Poker Stars. They are our last hope and if they don't do something soon - even they will shut their doors and then it will be done.

I'm also playing less now than before. I still see donks out there. As players become more despirate they may start donking it up rather than tightening up just to get some action.

The only thing left now is to sell what you have on the online poker sites for a premium to other players who want to continue playing. Anyone want my $500 on PokerStars for $750 into my PayPal? Let the bidding begin...

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

This is a great post, Blinders. I would be really interested to hear if others have the same experiences. Thanks for posting.


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