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Deep Game Selection Thoughts

Posted by Prabhat Mukherjea on 2012-12-11 at 12:00 AM

As some of you have noticed, I haven’t been playing much lately. One of the reasons had been that I had been on an extended downswing and the continuous run-bad for over 1,500 games had taken its toll. Yesterday, I suddenly decided I had had enough of randomly wasting time, and I started playing. For a change, I stopped playing my usual games and decided to play only turbos and hyper-turbos last night. 15 bricks into the night, I finally got my first cash, a 1st in a 15$/180 man. After that I was much more relaxed, enjoyed myself and had a good night shipping another $15/180 and a 8/180 and having an FT in a 35/180.

Last night caused me to have a think about my severely flawed game selection (TLDR warning).

I think its fair to say that game selection is not the focus of PGMP and I personally never did much thought about selecting games. I have always just registered most of my default tournaments and its not like there has ever been any thought process behind why those are/were my default tournaments. I don’t regret this. Unless you play tough games to begin, you don’t learn anything and I think many beginners/weak players who from the beginning were taught about rakeback grinding/bonus whoring/ fish hunting and similar techniques miss the larger picture, which is that focusing that time on learning they would make much more in the long run.

At this point of my career, it is safe to say that improvement in my game won’t come from grinding the Big 22 or Big 11 or random 27$ Freeze outs. Thus until it comes to real tough high-stakes tournaments, I should think about game selection. I spent some time thinking about this and reached some very surprising conclusions. I really would invite comments on some of these conclusions.

1) Contrary to the popular theory that turbos are unplayable, in fact, regular speed freeze-outs are a waste of time, at least for me. The average running time of a regular tourney on Stars is 7 or 8 hours, and some go as much 10 or 11. In any case, on average you would be playing 2 to 3 and a half hours in them. Compare this to a 180 man turbo which runs around 1 hour and 45 minutes, or even one of the Hotter tourneys that run around 4 hours. In these you would spend an average of 35 minutes to 1 hour and even less in a hyper-turbo. Logic suggests that maintaining buy-in constant, I would need to generate 3 or 4 times the ROI in the regular speed tourney to justify playing it instead of a turbo.

2) Some people would probably argue that they do expect to generate that much more ROI in a regular tourney. Some observations on this: Slowing the speed of the tourney does not spontaneously increase your ROI. All it does is to give the better players more time to display their edge. In particular, this boils down to the following: with deeper stacks they can play creatively and try to maximize their edge by doing unorthodox things ([U]this is the exact opposite of how PGMP teaches us to play early on)[/U] or they can hope that idiots will just gift us chips in some manner or we cooler someone, though obviously it’s just as likely that we get coolered. As a matter of fact, the standard in most freeze-outs is not so poor that we can expect significant parts of our ROI to come from people playing terribly- most people play at least tolerably well and avoid making huge mistakes. Thus as a matter of fact, I don’t believe that ROI’s in excess of 80-100% (and this is the absolute theoretical maximum IMO, only beasts will come close) can be generated unless the field size is huge and full of weak players.

3) The other line of argument here is that turbos have a very minimal edge. This line of thought is espoused here [url]http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/61/mtt-community/turbo-rake-vs-normal-rake-discussion-1185862/[/url].

Interestingly, the OP ProtentialMN himself, provides ROI stats for the top 30 players on the TLB (this is a problematic proxy for turbo skill for various reasons). As far as I can see, the ROI edge isn’t enough to off-set the time edge assuming the time does matter you and that at some point, number of tables becomes a constraint as far as you are concerned.

For these reasons, apart from the fact that my turbo ROI is apparently much [U]higher[/U] than my regular ROI, I am going to focus almost exclusively on turbo MTTs apart from obviously big value FOs in the future unless someone convinces me otherwise.

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Prabhat Mukherjea

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