Alright, I admit part-defeat. The other day I came THIS close to having to move down levels that it made me sick, figuratively speaking. Only 87 cents to go before level drop-down (with two games running).


Fortunately, Pokerstars acted as last-minute saviour by refunding a $11 Sunday Storm buy-in that I had won a while ago in a satellite but then couldn't translate it into a spectacular final table finish, due to a mass disconnection problem, well, ahem, at the very start of the tournament.

With these unexpected $11 of extra wiggle room before being forced (by my own rules) to drop-down to the $1.50 SNG level, I decided to confront the beast head-on, mixed in a few 1.50 with my usual 3.50 SNGs and managed to inch my way back up to just over a hundred dollars, my mental relaxation threshold. Only then was I able to take a step back and evaluate what had happened:

In my last "hanging on to 3.50" games, taking place dangerously close to the nasty red drop-down line, I had felt myself stiftening up. I really, REALLY, didn't like the idea of having to play 1.50 SNGs.

'But in your challenge you said you would', you might remind me. Yes, I did. And I still essentially would - if it wasn't for the rather late realisation that my current 30 BI rule is way too rigid.

'JWK24' said so straight away in his comment on my post #1, telling me I would need an incredible 100 BIs to be on the safe side. Now 'brettnz' has joined in, making the same point.

I was sceptical at first. After all, I had established my rules using the SNG Bankroll Calculator. Based on my long-term ROI and ITM in 6-max SNGs, a bankroll of $148 was considered Pro, $111 Protected and $81 Risky. I had decided to take the middle road and go for roughly 30 BIs.

What I had not factured in, I realise now, was that variance in turbo SNGs is, of course, considerably higher than in regular SNGs (twice as high, at least). So I really should have doubled the number of BIs to a minimum of 60 BIs.

In the meantime I have come to the realisation that, for me, even 60 BIs are not enough.

Players with nerves of steal might be able to play their very best A-game with the last single BI on the line before having to move down levels. Well, I'm not one of those. I can feel the pressure creeping in when only getting close, at about 5-6 BIs to go, where I will start playing results-orientated rather than focussing on playing correctly. Not good.

'Da', you will say, 'why then did you only give yourself so little room for manoeuvre before having to move down?'

Because I was too ambitious, I guess. And I didn't think I would be off to such a bad start. And I didn't think I would handle a bad start that badly.

Taking in brettnz's recent comment on my challenge, though, I finally understood why I wasn't doing too well. It wasn't just the too low BI number, being an unsufficient protector against natural variance.

It was the fact that, on top of that, the rigid BI rule aggravated a problem that I have independently from variance: I play considerably worse under pressure. And boy, did I put myself under pressure with my 30 BI rule.

Having learnt this the hard way (why take the easy road if you can go a round-about, bumpy way?) I will finally listen to 'JWK24' and 'brettnz' and increase my minimum BI requirement from a lousy 30 to a healthy 100 BI.

Unfortunately, this implies a tough choice:

A: moving down to 1.50 AND depositing another $50 (at least), as I would need a minimum of $150 to play at this level, or

B: sticking with my 3.50 limit and depositing a hefty extra $250 (at least) to make it the required $350 minimum bankroll.

Both options hurt - but A hurts even more. I have real trouble imagining myself grinding 1.5 at two tables until I reach $350.

I don't know about you, but for me this would only induce another form of tilt: frustration about too little bankroll progress (optimistically assuming that there will be progress in the first place).

I could, of course, compensate by mass multi-tabling, but I'd prefer to stick to my two tables for the moment. From experience I know I'm playing better this way. It prevents me from going into my EV- auto-pilot mode.

I also draw some comfort and (modest) confidence from the fact that, even though my recent results suggest otherwise, my long-term stats thankfully tell me that I do have an overall positive expectation at 6-max SNGs. It's a meagre 4% ROI over a sample of 669 games (enough for a rough estimate).

But it includes some really stupid auto-pilot, mass multi-tabling (loosing) sessions. Eliminating those in the future should bring me closer to a reasonable ROI of around 8 to 9 per cent, I hope.

By dropping down to 2-tabling at $1.50, I would also forfeight any chance of clearing my next $50 VIP Stellar Reward, expiring in 6 weeks, and risk losing my SilverStar Status. Totally EV-!

You can tell now that I'm really desperate to avoid the 1.50 level.

Which leads me to the one and only logical conclusion: I have to take the very bitter pill and deposit another $250. And since I'm splashing out, I might just as well give myself a head start and not repeat last time's mistake of depositing the bare minimum, putting myself under immense pressure from the very game.

Gulp. Said and done. I now have a healthy bankroll of 120 BIs, giving me some nice 20 BIs to work with at the 3.50 level.

It's the biggest single deposit I have ever made, but it's also the most sensible one. It is super high-safety and super low-pressure, leaving me with enough air to breathe and a real chance of testing my skills, unburdened by the imminent threat of going bust, just as they always say. I consider it my "peace of mind" investment - and one that, having learnt what I have learnt, I would no longer want to do without.

I do hope that it will pay off in the long run. And if it doesn't then at least I know that I have given myself the best possible chance to succeed, in terms of bankroll management, that is.

So, my revised challenge rules, from now on are:

#1: 2-table 6-max turbo SNGs

#2: Iron minimum bankroll rule: 100 BI (3.5/350$, 7/700$, 15/1500$)

#3: Drop-down level: when hitting 99 BI red line

#4: Switching gears to regulars, instead of turbos, when moving up or down

#5: Tilt-stop: net 10 BI loss in one session

#6: MTTs: the odd 18/45/180 SNG, Zoom tournament (max $2.50), freerolls and Big Bang.

#7: Shots at $11 Sunday Storm or Sunday Million 50 Seat Gtd Satellite with FPP rewards only. 

And finally: I solemnly swear here and now that, if I do drop below the 100 BI minimum of $350 for the $3.50, I will humbly play at $1.50 (and work hard on quickly moving back up again...). No excuses, no questions asked.

Arrgh, this one was hard...

See you at the tables or here.