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The Mechanics of Grinding 180's (Article) The Mechanics of Grinding 180's (Article)

09-26-2012 , 11:56 AM
As a prelude, this article is aimed at people who want to get into ‘grinding’ 180mans. For those of you who are grinding for a living already there will probably not be a lot of valuable information in here for you. This is aimed at part time grinders looking to get into grinding for a living, players who have recently recieved a staking deal who haven't grinded before and players who are thinking about grinding 180's but haven’t got into it yet. The Using Your HUD section is some very vague strat, followed by an examination of grinder’s habits and how to structure your sessions / playing times.

Using Your HUD

I have recently given some thought to how grinders would achieve reasonable volume in the 180 man turbos and have come up with a few ideas for do’s and don’ts. When grinding 180 man turbos, whether it be as part of an agreed stake OR part of your own schedule, it is important that we maximise the amount of tables that we can reasonably play at any one time. I have personally never played more than 20 tables at any one time, and try not to exceed 15 tables for the most part. I believe in using your HUD and making sure you gain maximum from your opponents as opposed to labelling everything you do as ‘standard’. If a guy open limps in the late stages (or at any stage for that matter) after playing 14/14/5 over a reasonable sample, I would be less inclined to ship in marginal holdings as I would expect him to have a monster a good amount of the time.

Conversely, if in the same spot the villain is playing 80/4/1 I would fist pump ship in some marginal holdings and then some. There is no way you can come to these conclusions if your mass multi tabling without (or in most cases even with) a HUD. The same conclusions can be drawn for different types of reg, I looked at hand yesterday where I caught myself out by saying I would insta-ship this in his face. On reflection of his stats, I realised that he wasn’t opening anywhere near as wide as the ‘average’ reg in that spot and by taking some time to look at the stats I convinced myself that our holdings were probably no good vs his actual opening ranges.

Taking these things into account could be the difference between an ROI of 10% and 20%. Not only do you have to play half as many games to make the same money, but it will also have massive advantages in terms of variance. This 10% can be the difference between a 700bi downswing and a 350bi downswing. If you are playing under your own steam, looking up at that kind of deficit will be a tough thing to overcome for a lot of people. Also, if you’re playing as a horse, it could put a lot of strain on the relationship between you and your backer. Further, grinding out that kind of deficit will be time consuming, and it may be a while before you get paid again.

What I really wanted to talk about here was the actual process of opening tables up, and keeping a full set of tables open for as a long as possible. I have in the past developed some bad habits in terms of grinding and I wanted to talk a bit about them:

Grinding Off Peak Times

The argument I hear constantly for grinding off peak times is that there are less regs playing at these times. This may be the case, but the fact of the matter is unless you’re happy grinding $2.5’s and lower you will massively harm your hourly. The first detriment to your ‘profitability’ will be the fact that your ABI will decrease dramatically. If you usually play ‘all’ the stakes from $8’s+ then during these times you will probably struggle to keep more than 7 or 8 tables open of 8’s, 3r’s and 15’s (certainly no $35’s run during off peak times). This would mean bolstering up your tables with $2.5’s which, if you’re good enough to be beating the 15’s and 35’s, would be a relatively pointless exercise. If you cut your ABI from $10+ to $4 doing this then you’re probably going to be working for around half the money.

There’s a further consequence of starting early and grinding the off peak times. Usually when you have fewer tables open you tend to focus on individual hands and how you’re running a lot more intently than when you are playing at full capacity. I know myself that when I have fewer tables open I tend to start ‘board watching’ to see what happens after I shove, for those who suffer with tilt issues watching your tables bust early to a bad beat is not a good start to a session. Further, if it is a $15 table and another one doesn’t start for 45mins it can also lead to frustration. By the time peak time arrives you can end up tilted, not playing at all because you had a bad start or even slightly fatigued from spending the last 4 hours mass multi tabling $2.5’s and thus make less effective decisions and end up ‘botting’. I also find that if I am not in the right mindset I tend to misclick more frequently.

More Time Grinding, Less Volume (Breaks)

I have heard about a great deal of people (and I have being guilty of this in the past), taking breaks mid way through a session. This is fine if your learning the game and loading ‘sets’, but after that taking breaks midsession (especially during peak times) will massively disrupt your volume. The consequences of stopping registering, playing down to 0 tables and then loading up again are more dramatic than I thought.

Let’s say we have a 6 hour window in which to grind. The hero grinds for 6 hours, registers continually for 4hrs 30mins (the tournaments take 1hr 30mins to run) and then finishes his session. The villain has the same 6 hour window (but decides to take a 15minute break half way through his session. Both players have the same capabilities and both 20 table, and would play an average of 40tables an hour at full capacity.

It takes 15 minutes to load a full set of 20 tables which the hero keeps open for the remaining 4hrs 15mins. This means the hero plays 170 tables in the 4hrs 15mins, plus let’s say another 8 tables to allow for the opening 15mins. So the hero would expect to play 178 games each session.

The villain spends the same 15mins loading up to capacity. He then registers constantly for 1hr 15mins, and then stops for his break. During the next hour and a half, no more tables will be added so the villain plays 50 tables during that set + the 8 table allowance for the initial registering period. This means the villain ends up playing 58 tables times two sessions, or 116 games total.

Apologies for how rough my math is. In conclusion, taking a 15minute break out of a 6 hour session will force you to play around 65% of your potential volume. And when you’re considering playing poker for a living, that’s the same as being offered a 15 minute break in exchange for a 35% pay cut.

External Factors

I’m sure that a lot has been covered on this subject before but I will go into it anyway. When I am playing, I might as well be at work. It has taken some harsh lessons in my house to get this point across. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean that you are anymore available than if you were away working in any other environment. It is important that other people in your house respect the fact that you are working and leave alone to get on with it. You need to make the people who might pressure you understand that you cannot just walk away from your computer at any given time (unless it is a real emergency of course) to do something else. You should get this across at the earliest possible convenience or else it only gets worse. I have recently achieved ‘Zen’ in my household and when the office door is shut I might as well not exist.

If you are playing for a living there is no excuse for not having a back up emergency internet connection. I know in the UK you can buy internet dongles on a pay as you go for as little as 20 with a 3GB allowance. Having a laptop would also be advantageous in case the power goes out (or a fuse trips).

Summary

It has taken me a year or more to learn all of these lessons and put some kind of structure in place that works. I now have a fixed time that I start which happens to be at the start of the peak time (which currently seems to be around 5.30pm GMT), I continually register everything till I start to become tired or fed up. As you become more accustomed to grinding you will be able to play for longer hours, but I still believe I do some of my best work in the first 3-4hours of a session which I wouldn’t waste on grinding the 2.5’s before the peak time starts.

I have also found that when I was tempted to play in the morning as well as in the evening, it felt like my whole day was committed to playing and that I didn’t have much time for anything else. If you set yourself a start time (in my case 5.30pm), you can structure the rest of your day away from poker and not have it take over your life. You should also allow yourself some days off. I have found that taking some days off after a big win or a decent upswing is the best way to go. You can relax a bit more knowing that you have money in the bank and feel like you deserve it.

If you have any questions or comments the please fire away. I am sure there’s a load of typo’s and other issues I have over looked.

Last edited by furo; 10-05-2012 at 12:45 PM. Reason: fixed some details by OP's request
09-26-2012 , 12:10 PM
great post tom
09-26-2012 , 01:08 PM
Some good stuff.
09-26-2012 , 09:45 PM
If you ever call me a "2+2 keyboard warrior" again, I'm just gonna link you this thread...

Hah, good post mate.
09-26-2012 , 10:04 PM
I have a question. How is your table ninja sng opener setup? Do you have 1 setting for 3r/8/15s? Or do you have a slot for each of them?

I use the latter, and I 20 table. Once I'm up to 20 tables I like to reduce the number of 8s that table ninja is set to load, and increase the number of 3r's and 15s. I find during peak times, I really only need 2 buyins to keep me at 20 tables once I have that many up (unless I bust 5 tournies in quick succession). I'd much rather go deep in a 3r, 15, or 35, so I really only use the 8s for fillers.

What are your thoughts on 3rs vs the f/o variants? Does the deeper stack play and higher potential ROI out-weight the extra time they take to finish?
09-27-2012 , 05:58 AM
I think ROI in the 3.5r's is over-estimated by most people. Most tracking sites just apportion the ABI for the tournament. Assuming you double rebuy at the start and always add on, depending on your style of play during the rebuy period you're ABI will probably be around $15.

You would have to use your HUD to find out what your ABI is and work out actual ROI. Assuming your ABI is around $15 (again just going on real rough figures), and they take roughly 2.5hrs as opposed to 1.5hrs, you would have to make an additional 66% on your ROI to make it profitable. Just to clarify here, you need to multiply your existing ROI in the $15's by 1.66, and NOT add 66% on to your ROI. So if you make 15% playing $15's, you need to make 25% ROI playing $3.5r's. Further, you would also pay less rake playing the rebuys, so you add further value there.

I don't use the SNG opener anymore. All the registration popups are handled anyway so you only have to click the register button. This was I can manually control the amount of tables I have open, and have an easy access to the tournament tab when I want to register turbo mtt's on the side. Because I use a stacked system, I have my tables on one screen and the lobby, skype, browser and anything else on the other screen. I have found that the SNG opener steals focus too much and can miscount tables and register short. If I am ITM of three or more tournaments I might want to let some tables drop and focus more on my deep runs, as this is where we make all our money.
09-27-2012 , 07:09 AM
The general variance that sharkscope is out (over around 30 regs that I have looked over audits for is 12-15% with the odd ones like stragerpoker being out by 35+, when trying to factor in the best hourly per game you also need to account for the slight gain you get in a $15/35 from FPP's especially if you are regging all games.
09-27-2012 , 10:57 AM
Awesome thread....thank you very much.
09-27-2012 , 12:41 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by #TBO
The general variance that sharkscope is out (over around 30 regs that I have looked over audits for is 12-15% with the odd ones like stragerpoker being out by 35+, when trying to factor in the best hourly per game you also need to account for the slight gain you get in a $15/35 from FPP's especially if you are regging all games.
I am only ballin rough figures here, but I would have thought the less rake we pay the better our return. When rake is paid, we only return say 60% of the rake paid through FPP's, stellars and the like (again I've not looked at the actual figures and I know it varies depending on VIP status). This rate of return would be constant for all rake paid, therefore paying less rake would be more advantageous. So if we pay $1 in rake, we return say $0.60 vs paying no rake and still having $1.

I could maybe have shortened that whole process out by saying that paying rake isn't +ev.
09-27-2012 , 12:55 PM
If someone doesn't have the roll for $2.50/180s, would 90 mans suffice for now to build a roll?
09-27-2012 , 01:20 PM
What's ur roll. U mean 2.50 90man regspeed? U can start grinding 2,50's 180 safely as soon as u reach 400-500 BI IMO. Cheers
09-27-2012 , 03:02 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbcoop
What's ur roll. U mean 2.50 90man regspeed? U can start grinding 2,50's 180 safely as soon as u reach 400-500 BI IMO. Cheers
Ah sorry, my roll is $100. Did you mean $400-500?

I meant the 50c and $1 90 man turbos.

I started with a $50 roll, played 2NL cash built it to $150, took a shot at 5NL, ran bad lost some and since then have been learning SNGs. Have played about 1000 games so far for a slight loss, mostly 45 turbos, but have just switched to the 90s as they have the same structure as the 180s, and seeing as I think I want to be a 180 grinder it made sense right?
09-27-2012 , 04:32 PM
Thanks for posting this
09-28-2012 , 01:16 AM
Nice post.
I would like to ask one question.

Is there a tool or something to see players left for tournaments on stars on the table? It gets a bit annoying to scout on the bubble with only even 4ish tables.
09-28-2012 , 04:02 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by testaaja
Nice post.
I would like to ask one question.

Is there a tool or something to see players left for tournaments on stars on the table? It gets a bit annoying to scout on the bubble with only even 4ish tables.
I am not 100% sure what your you mean. If you mean how many players are left in tournament then ninja updates the info tab every few seconds (assuming you have the auto refresh info box checked) and you can see how many people are left. After playing a load of these and reviewing them you get a good idea of where you are in the tournament. Although not true in all cases, the bubble usually comes up around blind level 500/1k.

If you meant can you see who is left, then I'm not sure its something you need to worry about. Just play vs the people who are on your table at that time and adjust to each individual.
09-28-2012 , 08:15 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsom87
If you mean how many players are left in tournament then ninja updates the info tab every few seconds (assuming you have the auto refresh info box checked) and you can see how many people are left.
This is exactly what I meant. Thanks.
10-02-2012 , 04:20 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalo
If someone doesn't have the roll for $2.50/180s, would 90 mans suffice for now to build a roll?
Just realised I missed this. If you search the forums, someone has created a variance calculator spreadsheet. It allows you to simulate large quantities of games and will tell you what the max downswing / upswing is based on your ROI. Its certainly helpful and a real good indicator of what you can expect.
10-04-2012 , 11:41 PM
nice thread
10-05-2012 , 06:04 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsom87
I am not 100% sure what your you mean. If you mean how many players are left in tournament then ninja updates the info tab every few seconds (assuming you have the auto refresh info box checked) and you can see how many people are left. After playing a load of these and reviewing them you get a good idea of where you are in the tournament. Although not true in all cases, the bubble usually comes up around blind level 500/1k.

If you meant can you see who is left, then I'm not sure its something you need to worry about. Just play vs the people who are on your table at that time and adjust to each individual.
Since stars took away the refresh button this doesn't work for me any tips?
10-05-2012 , 12:36 PM
nice addition to our welcome to mttsng thread
good job tomsom!

keep this thread on topic guys!

Last edited by furo; 10-05-2012 at 12:41 PM.
10-05-2012 , 12:46 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pastor
Since stars took away the refresh button this doesn't work for me any tips?
I just loaded up a table and it seems to work fine for me. Ninja still selects the info tab and I believe that Stars now automatically updates the box every few seconds.

If Ninja isn't automatically selecting the Info tab, check you have all the current updates (both stars and ninja), and then go to Annoyances and check the Automatically select info tab for tournaments box.
10-06-2012 , 07:19 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsom87
I just loaded up a table and it seems to work fine for me. Ninja still selects the info tab and I believe that Stars now automatically updates the box every few seconds.

If Ninja isn't automatically selecting the Info tab, check you have all the current updates (both stars and ninja), and then go to Annoyances and check the Automatically select info tab for tournaments box.
Have all that set. I think the problem is that the stars refresh isn't as frequent as I was previously getting with TN. It's only really a problem with satellites, but applies also near the bubble in 180's, you can think there are 23 left when there are 20. You can see the problem easily in large field mtt's by changing tabs from the info tab and back again, which refreshes the players left.
10-15-2012 , 07:10 PM
Im currently grinding out de 2.50's on a part time basis and was wondering at what roll could I take a shot at 8's ?

Ps. very nice thread op ty!
10-15-2012 , 10:02 PM
good post but i still think 30tabling and 40 tabling has its advantages to 15tabling with a higher roi per game
10-16-2012 , 07:46 AM
Stars has a refresh button in info tab, the little bended arrows button before text. And thanks for really good post OP, getting into grinding 90man 1,5ko's at the moment.

      
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