I had a fight with my friend Dara O’Kearney recently. Not the kind of fight that ends up in drunken street-wrestling and a broken leg (ask Ross Johnson or Chris Dowling), I might add. Our fight was more of a gentleman’s argument concerning game selection and it has a sort of place in the ‘Coward vs Dreamer’ debate (Trademark: Andy Grimason). I insisted that he should be playing the High-Roller at the upcoming Dublin UKIPT in City West. Last season, I played Dublin’s High-Roller and he played the Nottingham one but generally, we both take the low variance route, opting for the €300 side event. The reason for this is simple. we are both value hunters and our expectation in a slow structured 150 player+ €300 live event is probably in excess of 100%. Our expectation in a 40 player €1650 event (15 of whom are other pros) is probably 25-30%. Therefore, each tournament is roughly equivalent from a profit standpoint in the long-run. Neither I nor Dara put too much stock in the glamour or kudos of a High-Roller victory so the fact that the €300 has the smaller swings means it gets our vote. Or at least it did.
As of this season, the €1650 buy-in is now €2150. This makes this option the more profitable. A slightly bigger buy-in might mean fewer satellite qualifiers but PokerStars now run online satellites for the event so that should make up for the value shortfall. While the bigger buy-in also generates bigger swings, Dara is rolled for the variance and I… well, I can sell a portion of it and justify it as a ‘shot’. From a Kelly Criterion standpoint, I probably wouldn’t be breaking the rules by much and despite what people may think about me, I do believe in occasional shot-taking.
Dara mocked me when I told him my thoughts. “You’re afraid to play anything over $100 online yet you think playing something like this can be justified”. (Yes, even Dara calls me a coward!) In 2010, I played almost 15000 tourneys at an average buy-in online of $81 and I had my biggest year on the cyberfelt. However, with the exception of Sundays, I rarely played anything bigger than the $109 games. Then I took a large portion of 2011 off. I moved a large chunk of my poker earnings into other interests/investments and since returning last December, my average buy-in has been $45. I think that this policy was and still is smart, given my financial status, my initial rustiness and how much the game evolves in a 6-month period. I’m in the process of rebuilding my poker-roll and my conservative step-by-step formula has worked out well for me thus far. So I slept on it and realised my friend was probably right.
The next night, I texted Dara on Skype and was about to tell him that I had come round to his rationale. Before, I had the chance, however, he told me that he had slept on it and now believed I was right. And, well… I enjoyed hearing that too much to tell him what I was about to say. It would seem sleeping makes Doke more of a dreamer (and me more of a coward)!