Like I announced in my previous blog this weekend I had a personal challenge to play lots of poker. I wanted to win the Low Ring Game Leaderboard at least once and play about 50.000 hands of poker in 4 days. I’ll start with Saturday and will walk you through these 4 days of grinding.
My girlfriend’s alarm is set for 06:45. I prefer not setting my own alarm so I can pretend I don’t have to get out of bed. I always ask my girlfriend to wake me up when she’s done showering, being woken up by your girlfriend just feels better then being woken up by your own alarm. It’s funny how you can play tricks with your own mind. I can’t remember that I’ve ever set my alarm to grind, I never grind during the day and isn’t not setting your alarm one of the big luxuries of being your own boss? I check the leaderboard which resets at 05:00 and see some players have already begun storming the leaderboard. Both are 100nl cap players and after the first 2 hours they are at 940VPPs. After a quick breakfast I fire up my tables and start at 07:27.
All day I try to keep the amount of $3/$6 6-max tables at a minimum of 12. If there are not enough tables I add some Full-Ring or $2/$4 6-max. After 2 hours I’m #7 at the leaderboard and getting 2.230 VPPs in 2,5 hours is above expectation. Around midday I take over the #1 spot and looking at my VPP-rate there is nobody who can catch me, however I’m only about 30minutes ahead of my competition and I haven’t taken any breaks longer then quick pee-breaks. I started the day winning some money but it looks like I’ve found the doomswitch. I start playing more then 12 tables for a long time, I just wanted to get ahead of my competition so I knew I had things in my own hand but this didn’t help my game a lot. After 7,5 hours of grinding there are still 13hours left. I eat while playing and the only thing I do besides playing poker is checking Twitter and every hour at xx:15 the new leaderboard ranking.
Now this feels like proper grinding again. I haven’t grinded for 10+ hours since April (Black Friday) and I kinda missed it. I’m out of “A State of Trance” podcasts and listening to the “Dance Department” podcast. I’m in a zone, doesn’t even notice what time it is but the only difference compared to last year is that after 10,5 hours of grinding I’ll have to do another 10,5 hours. I try to drop down to just 12 tables but these $3/$6 Full-Ring tables are just so juicy so I can’t resist the temptation. On Wednesday the #1 had 13.965, Thursday 15.860 and Friday 16.895 and for a long time I’m on pace for roughly 18.000. The 2 cap NL players are still grinding as well and are not to far behind. I can’t stop grinding now so why not brake the current record? Setting records is fun and since I’m almost there, why not? After 17,5 hours of non-stop grinding I notice my body aching for the first time, 14,8k VPPs so there is still 3 hours of grinding to go. I stretch a bit, walk around but quickly get back to my desk. At exactly 04:00 I’m done. 17.022,45 VPPs in 20,5 hours of almost non-stop grinding. 1180 Hands/hr and 830VPP/hr I could grind for another hour but I have the record and see no real reason to keep going. Happy with the #1 spot on the leaderboard, $1.000 won but an awful lot of money lost on the tables.
I wake up a little before 12:00 and got a headache. I never have headaches unless I have a hangover. Well there have been other occasions and it’s not a coincidence that I had these headaches after other long sessions of poker. When I grinded last year for SNE I played 12-15 hour sessions and always when I woke up I had a light headache, it’s probably related to my monitor which I’m constantly staring at. You don’t need more proof that grinding out these long sessions are not very healthy. I should probably lower my monitor brightness or use sunglasses which a lot of SNE grinders bought after they got promoted in the SNE thread on 2+2. I use this day to review my hands. I didn’t only want to grind out these hand just for the grind. I switched from Full-Ring to 6-max recently and since I didn’t really grind a lot lately I didn’t had a decent sample to know if I was doing the right thing. Analyze a sample of 5.000 hands just doesn’t really make sense so it was time to set a sample and see how good I actually do at 6-max.
Well I didn’t do good at all but saw a lot of opportunities for improvement. The first thing is that I shouldn’t grind more then 12 tables at the same time. This seems really simple but it just isn’t. When you play 12 tables and a new table opens up it just feels so tempting to add that extra table. New tables are often filled with more fish so it makes sense as well but what I should do then is closing another table. I never close a table because I feel I would miss out or something like that, it’s just plain stupid. It’s easy to grind more then 12 tables, I could probably keep grinding 18 tables non-stop. 90% of the time it feels pretty okay but that other 10% of the time you just know you are playing to much tables. It’s also just impossible to notice any real gameflow at the tables. Most people probably think this isn’t even possible at 12 tables but you get used to certain things, some people already get confused after playing more then 2 tables, other people can soak up all information even when playing 24.
The other thing I could improve is my 3-bet range. I have a pretty standard list of what I open-raise which only changes in the cut-off/button/smallblind depending on who is sitting to my left. However my 3-bet range is way to loose. This comes from the fact that I’m used to Full-Ring tables. When I look at people’s PokerTracker stats I think, wow they play loose. Which actually isn’t true because 6-max stats are way different then Full-Ring. That’s probably the hardest thing to which you have to adapt. I still have to get a better feel for the 6-max stats and looked at my own play on how to tighten up my 3-bet range. With these two things in mind I fired up another session to see if I did better at the tables. I put $100 up on twitter for anybody who caught me playing more then 12 tables and started playing with my new 3-bet range in mind. With only 12 tables I’m still playing 1000+ hands/hr which is more then enough. I did a lot better and was ready for the next day. I had already decided I would go for it again, now with my “improved” play I could hopefully do a lot better. With the $1.000 extra “rakeback” it’s an ideal moment to “practice” so I went to bed around 00:00 and had set my alarm again for 06:45.
This time it’s my own alarm which wakes me up at 06:45. I jump out of bed, get some food and have breakfast behind my pc. I start playing at 06:54 and I’m already #1 again after 2 hours of grinding. I try to keep it at 12 tables and seem to do a lot better. I’m just more in control of what happens and although I’m still losing, I have the feeling I might actually be able to turn this into a profit. When I see I have a small upswing I hope it continues but unfortunately it’s never enough to get into the green. I play some Full-Ring tables on the side since there aren’t enough 6-max tables and like Saturday I seem to do pretty fine on the Full-Ring tables so it makes sense to play these. However soon I’m again playing more then 12 tables, haven’t I learned a thing? I was feeling happy with my improved results and the competition was a lot less then Saturday so I felt I could grind this out pretty easily. My afternoon was a little messy. The cleaning lady comes by, my girlfriend drops by twice and the distractions don’t help my game. I really don’t like to have people around when I’m grinding, still one of the bottlenecks to actually start living together with my girlfriend as well 🙁 After a small upswing I’m back where I started again and I’m still doing better then Saturday but I think it’s a good idea for a proper diner break. After an hour I fire up some tables again and stick to playing 12 tables, it doesn’t help at all as the results are really really bad. It’s 23:00 and I don’t see the point to grind some more. I’m way ahead of my competition and they have probably already given up a long time ago. They probably know I can grind out 17k VPPs if needed so why even bother? Since there are still 6 more hours to go I can’t go to bed just yet. I watch some TV for 2 hours and see that Mieses88 is gaining ground pretty quick all of a sudden. He grinds LHE as well so if needed I can always grind the exact same tables as he does so there is no way he can ever get passed me. I do however have to grind some more and start playing again around 01:00.
After a little more then 1 hour I’m really fed up with grinding as the results are not getting any better. I stop grinding but after the hourly update of the leaderboard at 02:15 I see that I’m not safe yet. There are 3 more hours to go and Mieses88 is 3.000 VPPs behind, that’s doable for sure but not easy. A couple of minutes later I start grinding again and at 03:30 I’m at 12k VPPs and know for certain he is never able to beat that. I check my results, clean up a bit and surf the web. At 04:15 I check the hourly update again on my laptop in bed. I’m still 1.500 VPPs ahead and it’s just not possible to grind that out with only one more hour to go. He is playing 18+ tables but tables are breaking up and he is playing a lot of $2/$4 or Full-Ring tables. There are even some $3/$6 6-max tables on which he isn’t playing so I figure out he probably isn’t even going for it. He is just grinding what he always does and for a SNE in November it isn’t that strange to grind out 10k+ VPPs. #1 again and really done with poker since in the end I have about the same results as Saturday, pretty disappointing.
I wake up at 11:30 after a short night sleep. I need to pee and plan to get back to bed as soon as possible. I check the leaderboard to see the end-results of Monday.
You got to be fucking kidding me? 60VPPs…. 60? I doubt Mieses really stopped grinding after he beat me by 60. I actually think that he did about anything he could and finished 60VPPs ahead of me at exactly 05:00. That’s like 5 minutes of grinding. Wow I feel like a sucker. I’m awake now and just can’t believe it. I already thought around 23:00 nobody could catch me and started grinding again at 01:00 till 03:30 and that still wasn’t enough? I watched him play till 04:30 and was so confident he would never be able to beat me, wow, just wow! It’s pretty obvious that I’m a big sucker and he is my new hero, wow, just wow! I wasn’t really happy with how things went on Monday but now I’m really pissed at myself. Pretty annoyed I’m watching some TV-Series which I haven’t done in 3 weeks. Some friends ask me wtf happened and getting reminded about it doesn’t make me feel any better. It’s just $200 less and in two weeks I’ve probably forgotten about it but I still feel like a sucker.
I’ve played about 45.000 hands in 3 days of poker and decide not to play anymore on Tuesday. I wanted to play 50.000 hands which I didn’t achieve but I did have fun grinding till about Monday afternoon. At least I know I can still grind like last year if needed. With all the rakeback and the $1.800 I won from the leaderboard I broke even which means I grinded 41 hours for nothing, I’ve had worse results but this isn’t great of course. I did qualify for the $500k freeroll so maybe I’ll just ship that one. When I went to bed at Saturday I was thinking if I could achieve SuperNova Elite again next year if I wanted. That’s just isn’t possible. It would mean 28 hours of grinding each week when playing 12 tables of $3/$6 6-max for 45 weeks. I have a job, a girlfriend and just don’t have to time to do it again. I’m far away from moving up, I’ll probably have to move down to be realistic so going for SNE just isn’t an option. Grinding for a “bigger” goal would really make things easier for me but it just isn’t going to happen. During these 3 days I’ve played some Full-Ring as well and noticed how easier it is. For one reason it’s because I’m more comfortable with the stats but there are also less (rakeback) pro’s playing Full-Ring. I would like to keep working on my 6-max game but really have to improve a lot still. I’ll probably go back to $2/$4 again and keep working on my game. It improves my Full-Ring game as well so it can’t hurt much anyway but grinding out Full-Ring really looks attractive. It’s a lot more fun when putting on some green numbers on the screen and even when losing pretty big at the 6-max tables I did win some money at the Full-Ring tables which says a lot. However there just ain’t enough tables running anymore at Full-Ring to really make it a grind, which is just to bad.
I’m going to keep grinding the 6-max tables for now, by playing 45k hands I have learned a lot. I will have to stick with 12 tables for sure and since I have a lot more information about my opponents I should start table/seat select as well. On most tables there are 1/2 people who are winning, 2/3 rakeback pro’s and 1/2 fish. It doesn’t make sense to grind tables with 5 good pro’s or 3 good pro’s and 2 rakeback pro’s. I have tagged most of the regulars by now and this should be a great help. I’ll have another 20K VPPs to go for my next milestone bonus, playing these 45k hands was a great help and I’ll use the remaining month to play some more 6-max, work on my game so at the end of the year I can decide what to do next year. The Leaderboard promo is still going till Friday so maybe you can try to break my record 😉