Venice's Introduction to the Thread.
I make a rule to not change someone's post unless it violates a rule. However this is the exception. Not because APD's post is bad (it is good), but because there's lots of discussion back and forth on winrates, and some people are just looking for a simple answer to winrates and bankrolls.
The simple answer is that winning is good. The majority of people playing poker lose money. Poker is a worse than zero sum game because of rake. Therefore if you are winning, you're doing well.
Harrington wrote that if you are beating a live game for 10BB/hr, you're crushing it. That's $20/hr at 1/2 and $50/hr at 2/5. That doesn't mean that you can't beat it for more, it just means that over time winning that much means you're vastly superior than your opponents. Most people don't sustain that over a long period of time because they move up to win more money.
The second simple answer is to stop worrying about what your sustainable winrate is. In order to get a big enough sample to statistically generate an accurate winrate, you and your opponents have play thousands of hands exactly the same way. Poker doesn't work that way. If you aren't improving your play over that amount of hands, you're falling behind your opponents. Therefore, the results are meaningless.
Finally, Kurt put it best that you need 20 buyins to play a level.
On to the rest of the thread.
So here it is... The Win Rate thread (and other finances)!
This thread will basically be a containment thread and will stock pile all of the questions and answers about winrates. I would also like to include bankroll management and other finances into this thread. Bottom line is this, if you are worried about a win rate you should probably be worried about bankroll management also.
Instead of starting this thread like all other winrate threads by asking the question, "What is a good hourly/winrate at live 1/2?" I would rather take the time to explain a few tools live players have to help us with it and to also help us become disciplined. The "whats a good rate" questions I am sure will be asked time and time again.
Online players have some superb tools that they get to use. HUD's, databases, OPR, PTR, Shark Scope, and the list goes on. Live players have one thing, our memory. As we all know the human mind is prone to what is called human error, or in a lot of "winning" poker players cases exaggeration and forgetfullness. I think its important to discuss how we go about keeping track of all this information that will be important to and for our games. So get your pens and pads ready, or phones, and get ready to start logging!
What goes into a winrate? A lot of people simply log the hours played, the amount they bought in for, and the amount they cashed out. At the end they calculate it all together and wala a winrate or, like most live players use, an hourly rate. This is probably the easiest way to do it. When I first started logging my play I would bring a binder with me that kept all my poker "stuff" in it and I would log it into the book at the end of the session. If I had forgotten the binder I would make a quick note in my phone and write it later. I always made it a point to do it right then and there though. Never ever wait! Human error will kick in.
Times have gotten much more advanced though. Live players now have some pretty useful tools that we can use. First one I will talk about is Poker Journal for the Apple fanboys.
Poker Journal by Michael Golden is a program that will track both your live and tournament play (and any game you would like to add to your database) and calculate everything for you. It will give you your hourly rate, time played, average won, average lost, sessions won and lost, and much much more. It will also graph your sessions and run reports for you. You want to know what day or time has been the best to play or what location is the most profitable? Simply filter your stats and its all there. It will also run live cash games. You hit start and the clock goes a ticking. Unfortunately it runs only on the iPhone and iPod at the time and is $12.99.
Next is www.*************.com
. I personally have not used this, but going to the website and looking at some of the screen shots and reading the FAQ it looks pretty solid and its FREE!
Others on here use this site and I will let them add what they feel is appropriate.
Last is cardplayer.com. Their format is very simple yet boring. If you want something quick and easy with not too much detail then its for you. It definately beats a pen, paper and calculator, but I would go with one of the other ones personally.
There are others, but I think those are some pretty good examples. So why go through all this trouble to tell you about these tools? Simple, you want to know what kind of winrate is to be expected then start logging. What I do is not going to be the same as what you do or anybody else does. Not only will you start to learn about winrates at the different levels but you will be able to disect your game and learn many things. It will teach you discipline. When you are making it a point to log each session you will start to treat your poker more like a business and become more serious about it. Also important is to log your expenses. You need to know if you are spending too much and if it is affecting your roll.
Bankroll is another important thing. I think we all can agree that 20 BI's at 1/2is a good starting point, but if you dont want to wait to save up $2k just to play some poker there is nothing wrong with taking shots. In our world (casinos) this is the smallest game offered and we really have no choice. I will leave the bankroll information out for now as there are many different opinions on it.
Last thing I want to add is that this needs to be a place where people compare rates and notes with little to no brags. If you are going to come on here and brag you better have some proof (I gave you some great material above) and many hours to back your claims up. For those that have been wanting to log their sessions now is the time to start. I can see many good self challenges coming out of this and more disciplined players.
Thats it for now. Let the questions begin (and reappear many times).