Sunday, May 06, 2007

NL Cash Games vs SNG Profits...

Looked at the when to move up levels theme for SNGs the other day... part of the reading / research for this involved looking at NL Holdem cash games. Now a small part of my brain can not help but think whether these would be more profitable on an hour-by-hour basis.

So, how is ROI for Poker Cash Games determined? The standard seems to be an acronym called PTBB - Poker Tracker Big Blinds this a figure of twice the BB in your current game and poker profits are measured by how many PTBBs you win per 100 hands... so what is the expectation scale for winning NL Holdem Cash Game Players??? Well here is the consensus from various forums / articles...

3 PTBB / 100 - Small and Steady, some leaks in your game...
5 or 6 PTBB / 100 - Not bad, especially for multi-tablers...
10 PTBB / 100 - Excellent results indicating a winning player...

So far so good, before moving on to other factors lets have a look at this in terms of real money won... first how many hands per hour? Average seems to be 60ish for full ring and more for 6-max games... we will go with 70 per table per hour. Lets work with 3 tables, some people play loads - others just one so we are up to 210 hands per hour (take of the 10 for a quick smoke break and to keep the numbers simple!).

Now we look at potential poker profits for an 'average' winning cash games player and an 'excellent' player at the various levels, using 5 PTBB for average and 10 PTBB for excellent as our basis... these numbers assume 200 hands per hour.

NL25 (BB= 25c) - Average Winning Player - $10 per hour - Excellent Player - $20 per hour
NL50 (BB= 50c) - Average Winning Player - $20 per hour - Excellent Player - $40 per hour
NL100 (BB= $1) - Average Winning Player - $40 per hour - Excellent Player - $80 per hour
NL200 (BB= $2) - Average Winning Player - $80 per hour - Excellent Player - $160 per hour
Of course over time it would be possible to add more tables... not sure at this point in time what the consensus is for reducing ROI in terms of PTBB for adding more.
Looks favourable compared to SNGs... for example if you multitable the 16's at 15% ROI and 10 tables an hour this would work out as $24 per hour, many people do not play this many of course (if anything 3 tabling cash games seems more realistic).
Another question would be the quality of the opposition on different poker sites, for example Stars and Full Tilt would have many more 'pro' players (including cash game grinders at the lower limits) while sites like my favourite Titan would not... again this would factor heavily into the ROI and Profitability calculations.
Not planning to move over just yet - given myself food for thought though (and hopefully a few readers too!) While SNGs are a relatively easy way to build your poker bankroll, it seems like cash games could be more profitable for overall.
GL at the Tables,


MrTynKyn said...

This thing are in my head making circles since I saw a lot of 2+2er get a sort of "make it big" when they pass to cash . I'm not sure "when" is the right time since I'm winning all months at sngoes.
How the pass has to be and at what level I have to start. I have a lot of friends and family who play cash , but all of them in different way so Its very hard to take advice from them.
What do you thing about the plan to pass to cash , levels , full or short etc .
Maybe the next research for you could be this topic.
Always happy to see your news ...

Mikey126 said...

I don't think ROI figures for cash and tournament play can be compared except (perhaps) as a return on bankroll. What's the return on a cash session after all?

Say we sat at a $0.50-$1 NLHE table with a $100 max buyin and left an hour later with a $10 profit. What was our ROI if we sat down with $100? What if we bought in for the minimum, say $20? What if we blew five buyins before getting unstuck? At the end of the session our bankroll has grown by $10. If it was $1000 a the start then we've obtained a return of 1% for our hour's effort, assuming our bankroll may be considered our "investment" - and if it's not invested, then we should probably be looking to employ it elsewhere, shouldn't we?

Mike (Woodhouse)

Mark said...

Good point Mike... ROI is really only useful in Tourneys / SNGs. Where the comparison is useful is in the hourly rates.

Of course, we are making an assumption that hourly $$$ is the only motive for playing, many people play for fun and / or a mental challenge too!

I agree with your observation there mr TK - 2+2 has always seemed a strange place to me. Great info if you look for it but so many immature or just plain nasty posters around... I have pretty much given up posting there but do check for any good posts now and again!

Cheers, Mark

Kenny said...

ROI can be looked at for cash. Tillerman wrote about it in his blog a year or so ago.

Basically he agreed with the other pro's that if you are always buying in for full and reloading when required then you can look at win rate in terms of your return on your original buy in investment. He found that at the lower limis an ROI of around 7% can be expected from a solid winning player with the figure dropping to 5% above NL$400.

So, if you buy in for $400 on three tables of NL$400 you have $1600 invested and at 7% could expect an hourly rate of $112.

This might allow for some direct comparisons with SNGs. For example a player contemplates a 'block' of 6 SNG at the $50 level and expectes them to take around an hour to complete. At 10% ROI he'd make $30 on his $300 investment.

meanwhile a NL$50 cash game player buys into 6 tables and plays for an hour at 7% returning $21.

The key advantage to cash though is that you don't have downtime waiting to get a new 'block' up and running and as you move up the levels it's less of a skill jump.

6-tabling $200 SNG's is a $1200 investment. The cash equivellant would be 6 tabling NL$200. There are a lot more fish at NL$200 than $200 SNG's. Also, there is a lot more scope to go MUCH further up the levels in cash.