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How many hands until proven profitable?

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  • How many hands until proven profitable?

    How many hands do you think need to be tracked before variance has evened out and your bb/100 becomes an "accurate" indication of whether you are winning or losing at you stake?

    I figure 100,000(100k) should be enough but wonder what you think?

    [My game is 2NL-Zoom]

  • #2
    100,000 isn't perfect, but should give you a reasonably accurate idea of what results you should expect in the future.

    The only times I think it would be necessary to play more to get a better idea is when you are either mass-tabling 16+ tables or if you are looking making poker a legitamite source of income (job).

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    • #3
      Practical Purpose

      Originally posted by RockerguyAA View Post
      100,000 isn't perfect, but should give you a reasonably accurate idea of what results you should expect in the future.
      In the practical sense I am trying to figure out the safest time to move up to 5NL. Bankroll considerations aside; I want to be sure I am a winning player at the lower stake first.

      Should I be looking for 500,000(500k) hands? or is 100k for my sufficient for my purpose?

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      • #4
        As it is so often in poker the answer is "It depends."

        Do you play a loose aggressive game? If so your variance is higher and it takes a bigger sample to find your true expectation.

        6-max or 9-max? 6-max is higher variance and requires.

        My guess is that tight but reasonably aggressive player at 9-max could probably get a good idea with 100k hands but an uber-LAG at 6-max may require 500k or better.

        Good decisions.

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        • #5
          Well in my opinion playing at 5NL is a much more valuable way to spend your poker time than playing at 2NL. More skill and challenge involved so you should learn and improve at a faster pace. The goal should be to move up to 5NL quickly.

          100k hands played at 2NL should be sufficient. I agree with TrumpinJoe though, LAG play does produce greater variance. If you describe your style as LAG you may want to shoot for a bit more than 100k.

          If I were in your position, I would not be too conservative about this and try to move up to 5NL sooner rather than later.


          Another important factor to look at besides if you're a winner over a set of hands, is how big of a winner you were. If you show a 1BB/100 profit at 2NL over 100k hands, it may be adviseable to continue playing at 2NL until your winrate improves. The skill level will increase dramaticly from 2NL to 5NL so that 1BB/100 will quickly turn negative if you're skill level does not continue to improve. So how big should your winrate be after those 100k hands? I don't know. I just want to make the point that if you are near break-even you can expect to become a losing player when you move up, atleast at the beginning.

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