Friday, December 12, 2008

The DON Magnifying Glass - Part #1 - The Poker Economy On Crack!

Well, a bit of a convoluted title - but hopefully this post will give you something to think about, the Double or Nothing SNGs on Stars have only been around a few months, they have been immensely popular - and just when you thought it was time to grind them for a living *pop* the profits disappear... the question is why?? This is actually the first of 2 posts on this topic... later I will look again through the magnifying glass and show how and why in-game errors are exaggerated in the DON games.

To my mind these have shown us a fast motion version of how the wider poker economy and poker games work. Take the normal SNGs by comparision... when the UIGEA first came around every grinder and his dog found themselves on Stars. The forums at the time proclaimed that this form of poker was dead, since everyone was a grinder and no fish - my view is that the games did suddenly get more difficult. Then over the next year or so some grinders moved up, some gave up, some went broke, some switched to MTTs, cash or found other sites to play for more profits... and the balance returned, a balance that enabled those who studied the game and worked on their leaks and the maths to make a profit once again.

Now we see the same thing happening with the Double or nothings much faster... in the space of a few months these have gone from being almost literally ATMs to the point where you have 8 regs all push-folding close to correctly at BB250! What happened??

The short answer is that word got around, strategy got discussed and enough people who at least vaugely knew what they were doing started playing 12, 18 or even 24 tables to make them less profitable for the recreationally based grinder who was able to make a profit by simply refusing to do anything stupid.

They reached the same point that the Stars SNGs reached 6 months after the UIGEA within 3 months... and IMO will come out of the other end of the process - by reaching an equlibirium - faster too.

Those players like me who do not have the time to play (or the inclination until Jan 1st!!) will step out, some of those grinders who moved over from the 'normal' SNGs will realise that with 2 less grinders per game the normal SNGs are now a more profitable use of their time... those who were able to make a profit only because they make slightly less errors than the fish will find themselves unprofitable against more thinking players and so on.

In other words over the coming month or so the ratio will switch back so that the games are profitable again - they will never be as profitable as when they were new, too many 'potential grinders' will be keeping an eye on the tables (or at least the forums) for that... the big errors will not be make quite so often, since selfish people like me have drawn up strategy guides... and so on.

I went through these examples in terms of games... there is a lot of inertia between sites (especially in the US where moving money around is that much more difficult) but this happens on a site level too - this is one reason I believe that we will see a new leader replacing Stars within 5 years... we will see.

GL at the tables, Mark

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