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Old 09-09-2020, 03:21 AM   #1
whittiphil2
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2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

(xposted from r/poker, but some interesting discussion there so also interested in others views)

Hi all

When I was 24 in 2006/07, I grinded a $50 deposit into playing NL200 and NL400 (i.e. 1/2 and 2/4 blinds), mostly on absolute poker, while I was at university. Obviously there are massive amounts of stories more impressive than mine, but I thought some might get a kick out of what the games were like then vs now, and a few other thoughts.

Why I started again in 2020

I was a bit bored in lockdown but really enjoyed playing poker with friends over work (on a free site with video calls, with settling up $ after) so downloaded some poker clients to see what the games were like nowadays.

I ended up getting into it, signing up for upswing for 1 month and then RIO for 1 month (both good, but as you'll see below, probably not worth it given the state of the games).

I started in 2020 with a $150 deposit, and after ~70k hands it's sitting at $1300.

But the games are tough. I mean: insane. If you can't bet 25NL - don't feel bad. 25NL now is like 600NL used to be in 2006 and I'm not kidding. It's f'ing ridiculous. In 2006 if someone 3bet they had AK, AA, KK, or were a maniac.

I watched hours of upswing and RIO, and I can't believe the level these guys are teaching at. Literally no one was talking about blockers in 2006 at midstakes. Like, if someone had said I should vary call/bluff based on the fact that my hand held a busted flush draw I would have thought they were some weirdo ASD rainman. People probably did that at high stakes but they didn't talk about it.

Now, people seriously raise the question of whether the NL500 zoom is the toughest game on the planet, and it probably is! That is crazy! I was **** compared to good players, and I beat NL400 (non-zoom admittedly), for higher rates than the all but the very best players seem to beat NL500z!

Games in 2006/07

Let's talk about winrates. We used to measure winrates in "pokertracker big bets", which were 2x blinds. So if you played NL400 (I did), beat the game for 4ptbb/100 (I did), before rakeback (which I also got at ~50% on absolutepoker (lol) with bonuses + rakeback when rake was lower than it is now (!)), it meant that pre-rakeback I was winning at what people call 8bb/100 now. And then I got prolly 1.5bb/100 from rakeback as well.

I don't have my old pt database, but I have a saved old forum post when I "retired" (finished university, had 3 breakeven months at the 2007 games (lol), and got a professional job).

Over the 2 years I played an average of 14 hours a week, and won (with rakeback and bonuses) a total of $99 400 USD, for an average of $68 USD per hour.

Anyone remember that guy EMPIREMAKER2 or whatever his name was? Dude had played 100k hands at something like a 7ptbb/100 winrate (that is, 14bb/100) at NL$1000. Sure run hot but come on!

Games in 2020 and why it doesn't make sense to start poker now

Let's say the high point of poker for all but the very very best is the NL500zoom game. Let's say you can get 1k hands in per hour, and with bonuses, your winrate is 2bb/100. From my understanding, this is a very solid winrate at this game. That is 2 x 5 x 10 = $100 USD per hour.

That is pathetic. You would have to have immense natural talent, insane dedication, and huge grinding to build a massive bankroll to be rolled for it, and your reward is $100USD per hour?

Reality check: by the time you get to NL500zoom, it's probably harder than it is now, and the new game will be NL200zoom. Maybe you beat that for 4bb/100, and now your hourly rate is $80USD/hour. And what about next year?

In 2006/07, people talked about the good old days of 2004. In 2011, they were talking about 2007. In 2014, they were talking about pre-black friday. Now people hark back to 2014.

In 2025 they'll be talking about how easy the games were in 2020. If they're not it's because widespread real-time solvers have actually destroyed the game and it's just not being played.

Look at Doug Polk. Dude is a legend but is struggling coming back playing NL400 HU(down 30 buyins?) to train for his match against DNegs.

Mikka Anttonen put it well when he said (here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2POAdRI31vo) that it just doesn't make sense to start a poker career

Conclusion

I brokeven after bonuses/rakeback at my cashgames (NL10 to NL50) in 2020, but won a few MTTs which gave me all my profit. I'm not going to be playing any/much more online poker but I'll leave the money online in case I want to play some MTTs in a few weeks.



My suggestion:

- If you like poker as a hobby, softest online games are low stakes MTTs, so maybe fire up two of those if you're keen to play some poker.

- Seems like live poker is way easier. Home games are still fun.

- Cash games might be good for you if:

You live in a very poor country and incomes in the local economy are low AND

You are exceptionally smart and dedicated AND

You can't emigrate AND

You have exceptional mental strength/health and won't suffer the burnout all others would.

Anyway, hope this helps someone.
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Old 09-09-2020, 03:39 AM   #2
smartDFS
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

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Old 09-09-2020, 07:31 AM   #3
SandraXII
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Thanks for the post.

We're at a point where the pool is smaller today and a lot of regs presumably know where they stand edgewise in a given lineup now, which makes me wonder how there are even as many games running as there are. Say there is a 6 max table at 100NL or whatever with 5 regs and one slightly fishy guy but by no means a whale. What business does the 5th best player have to be at that table in his own mind?
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:01 AM   #4
dingdongdonkey
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Quote:
Originally Posted by whittiphil2 View Post
(xposted from r/poker, but some interesting discussion there so also interested in others views)

Games in 2006/07

(...)

Over the 2 years I played an average of 14 hours a week, and won (with rakeback and bonuses) a total of $99 400 USD, for an average of $68 USD per hour.

Games in 2020 and why it doesn't make sense to start poker now

Let's say the high point of poker for all but the very very best is the NL500zoom game. Let's say you can get 1k hands in per hour, and with bonuses, your winrate is 2bb/100. From my understanding, this is a very solid winrate at this game. That is 2 x 5 x 10 = $100 USD per hour.

That is pathetic. You would have to have immense natural talent, insane dedication, and huge grinding to build a massive bankroll to be rolled for it, and your reward is $100USD per hour?
I agree with much of what he's saying. What I don't understand however is how $100 per hour is supposed to be "pathetic". I guess his judgement is flawed due to his own experience from back in the day. Just think about how much time and effort it would take even a very smart person to get a job that pays this much. $100 per hour equates to >$200k per year if you work >40 hours per week. What he considers "pathetic" is actually a very, very good salary in most industries and most countries. Then again, your "salary" might drop to 0 in the years to come ...
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:08 AM   #5
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Very few people can play online 8hrs a day+study time +no benefits+ slightly more uncertain future than in other professions + this is "best of the best" hourly and elites in other professions make more.

However, poker has other benefits, mainly that it's fun and genuinely interesting game that we get to play for a living.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:09 AM   #6
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Lets not even start about the opponents you will be playing that aren't people.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:39 AM   #7
8gameisfun
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

It is hilarious to me that people still believe money is made on .com sites playing NLHE/MTTs/PLO.

Honestly, this whole post reads so antiquated that I'm kinda glad the "new regs" are keeping their secrets close to the chest.
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Old 09-09-2020, 08:52 AM   #8
Ataman
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Iím curious to hear more about your experiences with the training sites, Run it Once and Upswing. Which courses did you purchase, how did you like them? Which do you recommend?
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:38 AM   #9
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8gameisfun View Post
It is hilarious to me that people still believe money is made on .com sites playing NLHE/MTTs/PLO.

Honestly, this whole post reads so antiquated that I'm kinda glad the "new regs" are keeping their secrets close to the chest.
The sites have stats on how many profitable players they have, so money clearly is still being made by some players.
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:55 AM   #10
8gameisfun
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

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The sites have stats on how many profitable players they have, so money clearly is still being made by some players.
Sorry, I meant: Serious money.
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:58 AM   #11
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

why would anyone want to play on pokerstars in 2020? I guess they hate money?
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Old 09-09-2020, 09:59 AM   #12
KossuKukkula
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Make 80-100$ hourly and call it pathetic when the majority of the working people makes 25$ hourly. If you can't beat NL25 and compare it to NL600 years ago then you prolly shouldn't play poker at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redator View Post
why would anyone want to play on pokerstars in 2020? I guess they hate money?
Because the games are better than other sites, cashouts are instant, the client is still the best one out there and the games run pretty much 24/7. Allso being taxfree helps.

Last edited by KossuKukkula; 09-09-2020 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:03 AM   #13
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Why View Post
The sites have stats on how many profitable players they have, so money clearly is still being made by some players.
Where is this information found?


Are you a winning player?
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:07 AM   #14
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

I really enjoyed reading your post. Yes, the games are extremely tough to beat these days. Sounds like you're doing really well playing MTT's, which is no easy feat. Keep us updated on your journey.
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:35 AM   #15
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Quote:
Originally Posted by KossuKukkula View Post
Make 80-100$ hourly and call it pathetic when the majority of the working people makes 25$ hourly.
What you and others missed is that he clearly wrote his statement applies to everyone except for “the very very best” and specifically to NL500 Zoom.

The majority of biggest winners at NL500 Zoom probably spent significantly more time on studying poker than I did on getting an MBA from a big name business school.

The $100/hour number is also one that comes with significant variance and no benefits. No idea how people feel about it today but in the past there was some kind of consensus that high variance poker income was comparable to a regular well paid job with benefits that paid 50% of the poker hourly.

$100k/year pre tax in a first world country for somebody near the top of their profession, for example right below a C-level executive at a larger company, isn’t what I would call “pathetic” but it’s certainly below average. In the US with its famously overpaid middle management jobs I would even say way below average.
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:51 AM   #16
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Imagine quitting poker in 2007.
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:10 AM   #17
KossuKukkula
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

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The majority of biggest winners at NL500 Zoom probably spent significantly more time on studying poker than I did on getting an MBA from a big name business school.
True but stupid people like me can't make it going schools so need to find other paths. It's allso choosing to do what you like to do so it doesn't feel a job. And for the hourly we don't need to pay taxes and Finland is heavily taxed country so it helps allso.

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Imagine quitting poker in 2007.
Lol this. Imagine thinking omg games are getting tought better call it quits. They have pokeroffices and stuff now.
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:51 AM   #18
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Quote:
Originally Posted by KossuKukkula View Post
True but stupid people like me can't make it going schools so need to find other paths. It's allso choosing to do what you like to do so it doesn't feel a job. And for the hourly we don't need to pay taxes and Finland is heavily taxed country so it helps allso.



Lol this. Imagine thinking omg games are getting tought better call it quits. They have pokeroffices and stuff now.
1) I doubt that any of the 200z+ regs would have troubles succeeding in corporate environment. Intelligence would not be a limiting factor for sure.

2) dunno about 2007, but by 2010 the prevailing sentiment was that the games are tough and "it's over"
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Old 09-09-2020, 11:51 AM   #19
8gameisfun
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

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$100k/year pre tax in a first world country
The good thing with poker is that you can make first world country money while living literally anywhere else.
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Old 09-09-2020, 12:05 PM   #20
KossuKukkula
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

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1) I doubt that any of the 200z+ regs would have troubles succeeding in corporate environment. Intelligence would not be a limiting factor for sure.
We can agree to disagree then. Obv some might but if you beat zoom200 doesn't mean you can succeed in corporate enviroment. But that's just my opinion.
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Old 09-09-2020, 12:14 PM   #21
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Quote:
Originally Posted by KossuKukkula View Post
Make 80-100$ hourly and call it pathetic when the majority of the working people makes 25$ hourly.
actually, the majority of working people makes <3$ hourly, something to keep in mind

good op btw, I feel very similiarly, which is why I transitioned out of poker in 2017 (and my last 2 years were honestly quite miserable)
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Old 09-09-2020, 12:55 PM   #22
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krax View Post
1) I doubt that any of the 200z+ regs would have troubles succeeding in corporate environment. Intelligence would not be a limiting factor for sure.

"


Last edited by Cpt.Hawk; 09-09-2020 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 09-09-2020, 05:00 PM   #23
whittiphil2
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Quote:
Originally Posted by KossuKukkula View Post
True but stupid people like me can't make it going schools so need to find other paths. It's allso choosing to do what you like to do so it doesn't feel a job. And for the hourly we don't need to pay taxes and Finland is heavily taxed country so it helps allso.



Lol this. Imagine thinking omg games are getting tought better call it quits. They have pokeroffices and stuff now.
True, but I quit after a 150k hand (2.5 months of play for me at the time) breakeven stretch and at the time wrote "this game is no fun when you're not regularly winning", and I stand by that.
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Old 09-09-2020, 05:16 PM   #24
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

Quote:
Originally Posted by KossuKukkula View Post
Make 80-100$ hourly and call it pathetic when the majority of the working people makes 25$ hourly. If you can't beat NL25 and compare it to NL600 years ago then you prolly shouldn't play poker at all.



Because the games are better than other sites, cashouts are instant, the client is still the best one out there and the games run pretty much 24/7. Allso being taxfree helps.
Majority of working people in the first world countries. Most of the people don't even come close to 25 dollars per hour.
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Old 09-09-2020, 05:26 PM   #25
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Re: 2006/07 small and midstakes grinder returns and reports on state of the games in 2020

someone should tell OP empiremaker bets 7 figures on nfl a weekend and probably was running bad at poker in that sample
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