The weekend is over. I'm not richer for it, but wiser. Last time I updated my blog I was quite a bit in the plus since I reset my challenge on January 7, $639 to be painfully honest. Painfully, because I have since dropped down again, at some point to as low as $173. That was a wake-up call. Had I not just given a lecture about bankroll management last time around?

Ahem, yes, that was me. It turns out you don't just have to know about bankroll management and put rules into place. You actually also have to apply them. Yes, seriously. They don't apply themselves just because you think you've finally got it. 

It turns out I had got it, in theory. But not in practice. My BR management slipped again, probably right at the time when it most certainly shouldn't have. It appears I have a little soft spot for trying too hard on weekends. That's when I'm most likely to just shush my inner bankroll manager and let the greedy wanna-get-it-all-now demon come out and take over. 

When I dropped below the $200 yet AGAIN I decided that this was going to be the very last time. This time really. So I have once more tightend my BRM rules. And I have introduced a new feature.

As for the rules I will now apply the 1% rule. It usually applies for MTTs and is pretty conservative. However I play satellites and there isn't much good advice on BRM for this format out there. Now, the 1% rule states that you shouldn't buy into an MTT for more than 1% of your bankroll if you want to be relatively safe from the risk of ruin. It's due to the high variance in large field MTTs where the prize structure is weighed very heavily towards the final table and the top 3 finishes.

I have decided that I will tweak the rule a bit and account for the fact that the satties, as opposed to MTTs, have a very flat payout structure, meaning that you basically only have to min-cash in order to get a ticket, even if you just literally cling onto one single chip once the bubble bursts.

The chances of making a profit are therefore way higher in a satellite than in an MTT and the variance is way lower, especially in mega satties and those that have a very good seat to price ratio, like 1 in 5, or 1 in 10. The Sunday Million $2.20 rebuy satellite is closer to a 1 in 20 ratio (about 5 seats in a game of 100 players, exact numbers depending on how liberally the players rebuy) but I'm still profitable according to my stats. 

So I will apply the 1% rule in the sense that I will not buy into rebuy satties with single buy-ins higher than 1% of my bankroll, knowing that I will of course be rebuying a number of times thereby pushing the actual total buy-in to the ballpark of between $6.60 and $17.60. I know this sounds pretty expensive, and it is. However, I've done some research:

According to my stats I win about 1 out of 11 Sunday Million satellites I play. My average buy-in is $13.20 and that includes some crazy stupid instances where I just kept rebuying for a really long stretch of time until I reached the add-on period which, as it turns out, wasn't a profitable move at all. 

I have won the most tickets with a total buy-in cost of about $6.60, which is basically the initial buy-in of $2.20, the $2.20 rebuy (I always instantly rebuy to increase my chances of building a big stack early on) and the later add-on (another $2.20) when the blinds hit 10.000 and the rebuy period ends. The add-on increases your chip stack by 30.000 chips, in contrast to the 3.000 chips you get for the same price before the add-on, so you should never ever miss out on this substantial increase of your stack and the chance of covering more greedy opponents. Stack size is key at this stage where one lucky flip can catapult you back into the first ranks.

The other interesting fact about my frequent wins with a $6.60 total buy-in is that chances of winning seem to be decided pretty early on. If you manage to build a big stack early in the game you're in even better shape once the add-on is added (whereas the shorties will have to shove pretty soon to live or die, you can afford to wait for a good spot).

If, on the contrary, you just hover over the rebuy chips stack size for most part of the game and keep rebuying frequently you might manage to get lucky later on but the rare times this happens won't offset the high costs of that strategy. Below in the table you'll see why (yes, I know I'm a nerd...). You'd have to manage to win at least 1 out of 5 games which I don't think is likely given the luck element in the unavoidable late game flips (I therefore marked this zone grey).

The spreadsheet shows the average number of buy-ins (horizontal) or total buy-in cost - and this includes the initial buy-in, rebuys and the add-ons - in relation to the number of games you need on average to win a seat (vertical) and the $ per game that you can expect to make given your averages as a result (please let me know if you spot a math mistake), all of this with regards to the $2.20 Sunday Million rebuy satellite.

With my given Sunday Million $2.20 rebuy stats, an average buy-in of $13.20 and a win 1 out of 11 games, I make about $6.35 per game. It's not huge, given that making it to the finish line can take up to 2 and a half hours, boiling down to a $3 hourly rate. Not great, but at least I'm profitable. And that's a good starting point. 

Even more encouragingly so, the table shows the potential increase in winnings if I manage to tweak my averages ever so slighty towards a lower average buy-in and a higher number of games won. Say, I manage to decrease my average buy-in from $13.20 to $11, my expected profit per game instantly increases from $6.35 to $8.55. If I also simultaneously manage to win 1 out of 10 instead of 1 out of 11 games my profit per game increases to $10.50. That's almost double of what I make now. Not bad for such a small change, huh?

There are a number of ways to reduce the average total buy-in cost. For one, I have a leave-the-game-once-the-blinds-hit-1.200 rule when I'd have to rebuy for $2.20 or $4.40 just to have barely 2 or 4 buy-ins respectively. Not good at this stage of the tourney when the add-on is still so far away.

One exception I make is when I'm in late position and have a good chance of open-shoving into very few players left behind me. The other exception I make is when the blinds are 6.000 or higher, it's only two more blind increases until the add-on period and there is a lot of stalling at that time of the tourney (remember you have a reaction time of 30 seconds and that's not even counting your time bank). Then you'll easily get to the profitable add-on period for just 2 or 3 single rebuys. Once you do get there you're of course very short, only just 30.000 chips, equaling 3 big blinds. But if you manage to get lucky and double or tripple up (it's shoving frenzy) you're very nicely back in the game. And that's definitely worth a shot.

One way to increase the number of games won is to be more careful when calling all-ins with marginal hands. I've noticed that ocasionally I tend to call off short stacks with less than an optimal range, hoping to increase my stack. As a result I sometimes dwindle a big stack down into a medium or short stack, busting sooner than I needed to if I had waited for a better spot. Yes, I might be missing out on a few edges, but what are those worth if you're out and watching from the observer rank? 

The last rule, or feature, I mentioned: I will readjust my allowed tournament buy-in limit at the end of EVERY single session I play from now on, as kind of a new cool-down ritual, excluding myself from buying into tournaments with single buy-ins higher than 1% of my bankroll. This way the decision is no longer up to me when I'm most vulnerable, in the heat of the moment. I only have to be disciplined for one single minute a day in order to stay within my bankroll for an entire day. No cheating possible. I basically trick myself into a bankroll management.

So far it's served me well. I managed to build my roll back to about $400 with ups and downs, higher ups than low downs, and that's thanks to my new feature. It was tough not to play the $11 Sunday Million mega satellite, admittedly. But new feature is new feature. There was temptation, yes, but no technical way to give into it. Gotta confront your biggest mental weakness head-on. If nothing else helps than just use technology like the good old responsible gaming tool. It's the most reliable bankroll manager and tilt stopper I know. And the coolest part about it: it's totally free. 

Good luck at the tables and keep me honest, plz!



Challenge summary:
Starting bankroll on 7th January 2017: $100
Current bankroll: $396
Total profit since challenge reset: $298