The Biggest Leak In My Poker Game (and other “fun” stats)

October 21, 2022
Team Torch adds a famous member

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – not about what my biggest leak is but about the thing I’ve come to realize is my biggest leak. It’s something that has come up over and over and over again throughout my poker career. I keep trying to come up with ways to fix it and it just never happens. And the funny thing about this massive leak? It wasn’t a problem when I had a day job. And it makes zero sense why that is the case.

I have a feeling this might come across a tad arrogant, but it’s the truth. Nothing else I do costs me more money than this one particular leak. I know I don’t play perfect poker. I have other issues that need to be addressed and would certainly improve my win rate. Paying attention and staying focused while I’m playing is a huge one. I’m legit terrible at that. But it’s not as damaging to my bottom line as what I’m about to share. Neither are any consistent technical mistakes I make while playing. Without a doubt, the number one biggest leak in my game, that unquestionably costs me more money than anything else… is… DRUMROLL… not playing enough poker.

I’ve been using the session tracker on my phone since July of 2014, which means I have over 8 years of poker data to filter through. I created a spreadsheet that has every month since then and how many hours I’ve played in each month. That’s 98 months since I started tracking, but I only played two full months in 2020 because of Covid and I missed the first three months of 2021 for the same reason. So that’s 85 months of potentially full-time play since I started using this particular session tracker. As a full-time poker player, there is no reason for me not to be playing 40 hours a week or 160 hours a month. Sure, things will come up here and there, but at the end of the month, I should typically be very close to that 160 number if I’m doing my job as often as I should be. So in those 85 months, how many times have I actually hit that 160 hour threshold? Answer: 14. That means that 83% of the time, I fail to hit my 160 hours. It’s also worth noting that 5 of the 14 times I did reach 160 hours, it was because I was playing in The World Series of Poker. So in the 79 non-WSOP non-Covid months, I’ve hit 160+ hours less than 11% of the time. Absolutely pathetic.

Here’s a breakdown of my average monthly volume by year:

2014: 71 hours/month
2015: 124
2016: 132 (went pro in October)
2017: 144
2018: 152
2019: 142
2020: 114 (January and February only)
2021: 124 (April through December)
2022: 115 (through September)

As you can see, that’s a considerable number of hours I’m missing out on. Even in the year I played the most poker (2018), I was coming up an average of 8 hours short each month – or basically taking an extra day off a month. In 2018, I was making $62.54 an hour in cash games. So in the year I played the most poker since I’ve gone pro, I still left over $6000 on the table. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve shorted myself an average of 45 hours a month in 2022. I’m making $79/hour at 3/5 NL this year, so if I put in all those extra hours at 3/5 and ran at my 2022 hourly over that span, I’ve cost myself ***wait for it*** $32,000!!! Just this year. Absolutely sickening stuff. I’m not going to do the math on all those other years, but I’m sure it’s plenty disturbing. It wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve cost myself around $100,000 since 2016 just by not playing as much as I should be.

I don’t know why this is so hard for me. But it’s extremely hard. It’s not like I hit 50 hours here and there but then come up short in some other week. I never hit 40 hours in a week. Ever. Unless I’m out of town. If I go somewhere for a tournament series, I am definitely capable of hitting my goal. But otherwise? Naw. Never happens. If you look at my numbers for the last three years, I might not even be averaging 30 hours a week over that span. Pathetic.

I’m not sure what the best solution is. I probably have to force myself to work five days a week. Most of my sessions are 8+ hours. I’m consistent with that at least. If I play five days, hitting 40 hours should be easy. If I take three days off, I have to average 10 hours a session and that’s pretty dicey. I basically never step foot in a casino to play cash games before 4 PM and I generally like to quit by 1 AM so I can stay motivated to hit the gym in the mornings. So most days I’m gonna play less than 9 hours. In all likelihood, if I’m going to consistently hit 40 hours a week, I need to be playing at least five sessions.

Ideally, I’d like to try my hardest to hit 320 hours over the last two months of this year. That might be a tall ask with Thanksgiving, my girl’s birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve all occurring during that span, but I’m gonna do it, dammit. It’s already too late for October, unless I just go marathon monster mode and I know that’s not going to happen. Next year, I’d like to get my volume back up to at least 150 hours a month. Those are my goals.

But yeah, not playing enough poker has to be my biggest leak as a player. I don’t play mistake-free poker. There’s plenty still to learn. I don’t pay nearly enough attention. But I doubt there’s anything one thing I consistently do that has cost me tens of thousands of dollars like not putting my volume in has.

Since I’m in the mood for digging into stats and looking at my tracker, I might as well post some other interesting numbers.

Lifetime Tournament Numbers:

ROI in live No Limit Hold’em Tournaments: 112% (180 tourneys)

ROI in live NLH Tourneys (excluding Main Event): 224% (177)

ROI in live Omaha 8 or Better Tournaments: 34% (30)

ROI in live HORSE Tournaments: 111% (36)

ROI in live non-NLH, non-O8, non-HORSE Tournaments: -31% (51)

ROI on ACR: -3% (1617)

ROI on Bovada: -46% (98)

ROI on Ignition: -12% (332)

ROI on Global Poker: 41% (628)

ROI on WSOP.com: 110% (14)

2022 Cash Game Numbers:

2022 3/5 hourly: $78.27

2022 1/3 hourly: -$21.84

2022 20/40 hourly: $70.77

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