Monday, February 06, 2006

NL Again

Limit hold 'em is the game I've spent most of my time playing over the last 14 months, but my return to no limit poker makes me want to make that my game for a while.

No limit is simply too profitable to ignore. I would be foolish not to play no limit because there's more dead money lying around there.

No limit is the game that's popular right now, and that's where most of the fish are to be found. Additionally, the nature of the game means that you can really punish bad players with big bets and bigger pots. You can double up in a heartbeat if you play your cards right.

But limit is still my favorite form of poker. I like the thousands of little decisions you have to make in hopes that they add up to something. I like that your stack is always taking small steps forward or backward, while hopefully moving more ahead than behind.

The fact is that while I've been making money in limit for quite some time now, the pace of the bankroll growth is slower than I would like. Playing shorthanded $5/$10 games, the higher variance makes me question whether it's really worthwhile to fight such tough battles for between 1 and 2 bets per 100 hands.

Ah, the long run. In limit, while winrates and profits regress toward the mean over time, the short term is a real pain in the ass.

Is it worth it? What will make me the most money in the long run?

That's what it all comes down to. I still believe that limit poker holds more long-term earning potential, but for me to feel like it's worthwhile I need to be playing higher limits. And to play higher limits, I need to rebuild my bankroll after drawing on it for living expenses in Santiago, Chile and then in Atlanta.

The goal for now is to make the most money I can as quickly as possible. I've improved my limit game at a steady rate -- I can identify many more of my mistakes now than I could a year ago, when all I could tell myself was that I was confident in my game for whatever it was worth. Knowing how much I still don't know is a sign that I'm beginning to get a clue.

Dammit, no limit is too good of a game to neglect. It's my first game; it's the game I always return to when I need safe earnings. And these $200 buy-in games are so damn soft. Most of the time, those players will fold in large pots to a simple continuation bet or well-placed check-raise. They know just enough to be scared, and I know just enough to put the fear of God in them with a big bet as they throw their cards into the muck.

This means that I'm recentering my goals again.

My plan is to play no limit for at least the month of February with my eye on restoring my bankroll to levels where I can play $15/$30 limit. Once I get to that level, I will have to make a tough decision: Should I stick with no limit or switch back over to the limit ladder?

1 comment:

cc said...

Will be interested in how you fare. I oscillate (probably too much) between the two, wanting to play limit then feeling forced to play NLHE. Be ready for the big donkified variance downside when you get crashed out by stupidity. I would think you'll weather it fine, but I will be interested in how you progress and your thoughts.