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  • Dear PSO members

    New league, VPP accrual, -ev thinking, skill levels, holes burnt in my poor little brain <tags>

    I'll start off by saying I'm more of a lurker than a fully fledged PSO member, indeed during the Sunday Million ticket PSO promotion I was abused at the tables for coming to take advantage of the school.
    You can check my stats and the few posts/contributions that I have made: that's far from being the case; however if the general ethos of my posts seem to come out of left-field, this might go towards explaining that a tad.

    However, there are a few recurring themes that I would like to address if I may.

    First and foremost, PokerStars is a commercial venture.

    Their revenue is, as I understand it, tied into a surcharge levied for providing the service of hosting the pokertables, cash games and tournaments, the poker software, development etc etc.

    PokerStars has created fora for their community, no doubt as part coherence and customer stickiness, as befitting this day and age of cyber association and expression.They could have left it at that but they went a step further and, after the development of intellipoker, brought a School to their public incorporating a league, promotions, bonuses and above all - training material.

    The school is not a consumer democracy. Sure certain aspects of group-consumer action and opinions feed-back into the way the service is provided but the bottom line decisions are made by employees who are responsible, ultimately, to the board of directors / owners of the corporation.

    It is natural to express one's dissatisfaction or wishes, but manage your expectations - if you scream into the void, do not expect your echo to hold much weight. Considered arguments carrying observations and alternatives, voiced in the correct place are likely to have more effect...

    The free to enter league, carrying a top payout of $150 ~ $1,500 depending on your level of development as a poker player - is seemingly no more.

    Whilst many may hold this opinion, I do not.
    In essence the league moving forwards holds to the same underlying principle; however, it has evolved with a more clear directive and integration.

    By this I mean, this is a school - a place of learning. The league, I would venture, has been constructed as a competitive environment for the community to improve their game, using the material provided and each other as competitors within this incubator environment. Whilst the majority would be able to improve their future real money game from within this protective bubble a few stars would rise that could be groomed by the site to be their new poster boys and girls.

    Underlying this league, both now and then, are training materials and courses; a fora for discussion and development and a tiered reward structure based on your development as a player.

    The main difference is that there is now far more distinction in the varying categories of skillsets / development of the playerpool, as perceived by PokerStars. We can all argue till we are blue in the face whether this is solely a commercially minded move, or whether it is more closely tied into a distinctively segregated, and more structured, teaching and development environment.

    There are 3 effective tiers in the school at the present time: VPP per month <20 players, VPP per month >20 and <150 and VPP per month >150.

    These VPP brackets are a function of your development as a poker player as perceived by the school, not something you should be going out to attain per se. By this I mean, if you are a break-even or better player at NLHE2 or PLO2 playing some 800~1,000 hands per week you will fall approximately within the 20VPP per month or 150VPP+ bracket. Or in other words, 2 tables a day for an hour a day, 5 days a week.

    This VPP accrual should be a function of the level of your poker development. If you are a beginner, or a skilled player without a bankroll then you will be restricted, by common sense and bankroll management, to playing the smaller buy-in games, fewer hands, fewer tables and by consequence will accrue fewer VPP per month. This is just a function of where you stand in your development, it is not permanent and with time, and the teaching materials you will be moving up to a level whereby you will be acrruing more VPP and move into the next "school bracket".

    By no means should you be going out to "earn 150VPP" and spend X USD this month doing so. There is no price-to-VPP expectation and thinking any way along these lines is so counter-intuitive and -EV it burns a hole in my head each time I read it. I'll try and explain why.

    Firstly, we're not all at the same stage of development, so instead of screaming at people: If you're earning X VPP and losing Y USD then you're a losing player and should learn / not play this game - encourage self-awareness.

    If you are not breaking even, or beating a game, then there are obviously some issues indeed. Firstly, are you playing at a level that is above your current development? Are you playing NLHE100 trying to make VPP150+ per month when really your skill level is a better fit at NLHE2? Do you have the game to play NLHE100 but only a bankroll to accomodate variance at NLHE2 and so are massively exposing yourself to risk and ruin? Are there some large leaks in your game that are constantly costing you money? Over the last 200+, 1,000+ hands, what situations made you money and what cost you money?

    Again, and sorry to re-iterate, VPP accrual is a funciton of the level of your game: so if you skill level is suited to NLHE2/PLO2 then you'll be likely to be a 20~150VPP pm player, NLHE50/PLO50? then likely a 150VPP pm player.

    The $5,000 Open league VPP150+ prize pool looks enticing but if you are a NLHE2/PLO2 player, it is not for you…not yet; clear that thought from your mind, next month or the month after perhaps. Build your game at your pace, from solid foundations and you will see more earnings, more consistently than taking shots, betting it all on black and getting slapped in the face. Take this line and you will become a better poker player, a consistent poker player and not a one-hit wonder pop-band member immortalised by a bad hair-cut and terrible fashion sense.

    Lastly on the VPP accrual debacle, and something I should put in a drop-box somewhere, this is heavily weighted to cash play. There are many MTT/SNG players here I believe, and indeed it is/was considered the best way to build a bankroll starting out.

    At the 20VPP+ to <150VPP per month level I feel that the SNG player is at a far greater disadvantage..I have not done the analysis at the $0.50 +5¢, slightly higher and lower games, which I presume most bankrolls here would be playing, but as I perceive it you would have to play far more hands, expend far more time, to accrue the same VPP levels as you would on the cash games? Perhaps some volume SNG players would like to weigh in on this one.
    Perhaps, if indeed my gut instinct holds true, as opposed to a de factor rake/VPP qualification some form of # games played at certain buy-in brackets could be used, akin to the Battle of the Plannets promotion to place the SNG/MTT players into the 0, 20VPP, <150VPP and 150VPP+ per month brackets?

    One observation is that when people are working out how many games at X + Y (buy-in + fee) they need to play, and the subsequent investment required: from the posts I have seen are you ignoring the fact you are churning cash?

    i.e:
    a set of 10 x $10+1 SNG.
    $110 invested, $10 rake paid, X VPP accrued
    ROI @ 20% = +$22
    resulting funds: reserve + stake + profit = $0 + $110 + $22 = $132
    next set of 10 x $10+1 SNG
    $110 invested, $10 rake paid, X VPP accrued
    ROI @ 0% = +0
    resulting funds: reserve + stake + profit = $22 + $110 + 0 = $132
    last set of 10 x $10+1 SNG
    $110 invested, $10 rake paid, X VPP accrued
    ROI @ -20% = -$22
    resulting funds: reserve + stake + profit = $22 + $110 -$22 = $110

    Tally:
    games played = 30
    total buyin = $330
    total fees = $30
    total profit = $0
    change in bankroll = $0
    total VPP = 3*X, X = VPP accrual per $10 in SNG fees

    most importantly, for this discussion: $ put at risk = $110, not $330.

    The teaching materials are broken into various sections as befits your development as a poker player. Some of the more advanced materials contain theory that runs contrary to the fundamentals that you will learn at the VPP0 or VPP20 levels and as such, until you have those fundamentals firmly grasped, you should not be exposing yourself to them. Either that or they require a level of thinking that would only confuse your play, or indeed weaken it, if you do not have the fundamentals at VPP0, VPP20 fully learnt.

    So, that's one thought on the segregation of the teaching materials, the second would be for those opposed to VPP segregation of the teaching materials - just go and google poker coaching sites, see how much their monthly subsriptions are.

    In closing, yes the beginner and low bankroll players have lost an opportunity of a greater prizepool each month. This is only perceptual imho. If you were NEVER going to develop then yes, you have lost an opportunity; however, the new league and subsequent changes to the school are geared to DEVELOP you as a player…chicks-thrown-out-of-nest-to-start-flying included.

    Anway, as always, I hope that makes sense.
    GL
    Z

  • #2
    Excellent post.. I would add this to it.

    If you are fortunate to attain the Premier League, then the only reason I can see for trying to get 150+VPP, when your Bankroll clearly does not support this, is to try to ensure that you reach some kind of Payout because you KNOW that you will not finish high enough to qualify for a payout at the 20VPP band.
    3 Time Bracelet Winner


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    • #3
      as for the disadvantage for tourny players ...do not tell Darkman that as i believe he came out on top gl nice post zlizzard F.M,umbup:

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      • #4
        Nice post Liz. Been thinking along the same lines myself but I rarely have time to put together as detailed a post as you have umbup: Wish I understood what you mean Farrah

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Darkman61 View Post
          Nice post Liz. Been thinking along the same lines myself but I rarely have time to put together as detailed a post as you have umbup: Wish I understood what you mean Farrah
          you play sitngos to get ur vpps and did not lose ...but i can see how playing sit ngos could be a disadvantage while chasing the 150 vpps as compared to ring tables F.M.umbup:

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          • #6
            nicely written well thought out post Zliz, and you can easily get the Vpps required playing sit and goes... if you are a half decent player anyways, without costing too much.. That is how I always got mine... if I relied on cash games I would be living under a bridge

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            • #7
              Originally posted by roomik17 View Post
              nicely written well thought out post Zliz, and you can easily get the Vpps required playing sit and goes... if you are a half decent player anyways, without costing too much.. That is how I always got mine... if I relied on cash games I would be living under a bridge

              YOU MEAN A SMALLER BRIDGE ??

              sometimes i laugh so hard tears run down my leg

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              • #8
                I would not have been able to afford my pineapple under the sea

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                • #9
                  good to hear that the SNG route is viable.
                  does anyone have some data on # games at which level?
                  ta,


                  @Bill Curran #Premier League & VPP150+, Indeed Bill - basically people should not adjust their game for a prize-pool VPP qualification as the risk to reward, including likely chance of attainment equation is way off kilter.


                  z

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                  • #10
                    for the 20Vpp its easily done on the $1 50/50.. basically you only need to find a way to get 5 a day to get to the 150

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by roomik17 View Post
                      for the 20Vpp its easily done on the $1 50/50.. basically you only need to find a way to get 5 a day to get to the 150
                      many thanks for that info Roomik, good to see that it's clearable of a fairly small bankroll.

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                      • #12
                        Wow, wow, wow!!! That's an awesome post zlizard!!! Very wise ... and so well written!! umbup: Yeah, I'm fine with PokerStars setting up whatever works for them, and then it's up to us to be responsible about what's best for us, so that jointly it comes to be a win-win relationship. Even learning the money management aspect of poker seems to have a learning curve - and even at the micro stakes! I was playing a lot of Sit n Gos because they're fun, but you only have a 33% chance of doubling your entry fee, and only 16% of tripling it with the ones I like, and it was super -EV. So it took some time for me to wrestle myself away from the fun, and feeling like I wanted to learn how to play those for +EV, and just call it a day to focus on finding games that I could play routinely for profit. The fun versus profit thing was -EV for me Also the 'I want to make my money back' slot machine mentality was VERY -EV! Special thanks to Moxie Pip for pointing out that it's important to play games where the money's coming in the more you play and not going out - it sounds so obvious, but yet for some reason it's very easy to forget lol! I've been playing more games where the chances of winning are 50% - the 50/50 games, and heads-up Sit n Gos. That seems to be working out okay so far. Sometimes I only get a dollar extra back for the $3 I put at risk for the 50/50's. But sometimes you barely have to play a hand, and others will knock themselves out first. So it's not always so bad a deal I guess I love those tracking sites that let us know how big a hole I've dug myself into - my goal is to dig myself out of the red by sticking to those 50/50s before I start exploring higher stakes. And then I'll see what happens to the 150VPPs, the league payouts, etc Also, I'm still working on getting my free HUD for playing at another site, but once I get that I'll have one that works on cash games and then maybe I'll see how that goes too - it sounds like people have been able to play those profitably and beat the rake?

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                        • #13
                          From looking at the tournament lobbies to see how much the micro SNG's reward in VPP, I've found that:

                          --.10c SNG's reward 0.06 VPP's/buy in. Need to play 2,500+ games a month to reach 150 VPP's, 334+ games to reach 20+VPP's.

                          --.25 SNG's reward 0.11 VPP's/buy in. Need to play 1,364+ games to reach 150+ VPP's, 182+ games to reach 20+ VPP's.

                          --.50 SNG's reward 0.28 VPP's/buy in. Need to play 536+ games to reach 150+ VPP's, 72+ games to reach 20+VPP's.

                          --$1.00 SNG's reward .50 VPP's/buy in. Need to play 300+ games to reach 150+VPP's, 40+ games to reach 20 VPP's.

                          --$1.50 SNG's reward 1.16 VPP's/buy in. Need to play 130+ games to reach 150+ VPP's, 18+ games to reach 20+VPP's.

                          --$2.50 SNG's reward 1.21 VPP's/buy in. Need to play 124+ games to reach 150+VPP's, 17+ games to reach 20+VPP's.

                          --$3.50 SNG's reward 2.15 VPP's/buy in. Need to play 70+ games to reach 150+ VPP's, 10+ games to reach 20+ VPP's.

                          --4.50 SNG's reward 2.20 VPP's/buy in. Need to play in 69+ games to reach 150+ VPP's, 10+ games to reach 20+ VPP's.

                          Looks like it takes a lot of volume to reach 150 VPP's playing SNG's only.

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                          • #14
                            $1 games require 10 a day for maybe 45 mins per game invested... thats not too many really run 2 or 3 at a time and they will add up fast

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by roomik17 View Post
                              $1 games require 10 a day for maybe 4.5 hours invested... thats not too many really
                              I agree with that- however, a 12" macbook pro without AHK or shortcuts and a lazy brain makes multi-tabling hard for me ;]

                              the general bankroll management burden would be greater for cash vs SNG/MTT for this VPP accrual on a risk-ruin analysis no? that makes sense to me logically but I haven't really thought that through, so should probably stop typing and hit delete....

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