Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cash Game Challenge-2nl to 1000nl on Twitch

 If you’ve seen me playing at the micro-stakes at PokerStars lately, it’s not because I’m busto (well, not yet anyways!) but because I’m in the middle of doing a cash game challenge and am streaming part of the action on twitch! Depending on how things go at the tables, you may not see me at the micro-stakes for very long because the idea of the challenge is to start at the smallest stakes and finish at the higher end of the mid-stakes relatively quickly. Allow me to go into the full details of the challenge, explain why I’m doing it, how it’s gone in the early stages and why you might care enough to even try it for yourself. 

The rules of the challenge are quite simple and straightforward: Starting at the lowest cash game level offered at PokerStars, 2nl, win 4 buy-ins of the next highest level (5nl) and move up! Once at 5nl, win 4 buy-ins of the next highest level (10nl) and move up again. Keep repeating the process of winning 4 buy-ins of the next highest level and moving up until reaching 1000nl. The buy-ins that have already been won carry forward and count towards the next level. There is no moving down levels at any point of the challenge…if you reach a certain level and then lose 1-3 buy-ins, you remain at that level until you either win the necessary 4-buyins of the next level or lose 4 buy-ins total of the current one. When you lose 4 buy-ins of the current level, the challenge is over (initially, if you lose 4 buy-ins at 2nl you may restart the challenge).

                I’ll give you an example of a possible challenge scenario to help illustrate the rules if they aren’t crystal clear: I start at 2nl and win $20 (4 buy-ins of the next level-5nl) so I move up to 5nl. I win $20 more at 5nl, bringing my challenge total to $40 (4 buy-ins of the next level-10nl) so I move up to 10nl. I initially lose $30 at 10nl, bringing my challenge total down to $10 but I do not move down…I then win $52 remaining at 10nl and my total becomes $62, which is now enough to move up to 16nl. I continue this process until I reach 1000nl and the challenge is completed!
So, why did I decide to create this challenge for myself? I created the challenge for a few reasons: First, I think that it will be something fun to stream on twitch and it should really be an inclusive adventure for everyone. I got the idea for the challenge after doing my “Cash Game Ladder” streams, where the goal was to go from 2nl-200nl by moving up after winning only 1 buy-in of the next level. After doing the ladder successfully multiple times, I decided that it could be fun and entertaining to expand that concept and set my sights on a higher end point that could potentially bring much more rewards financially! Second, I personally want to use this challenge as a vehicle to play higher stakes than I’m normally accustomed to. My regular limit is 100nl and although I’ve played mid-stakes games in the past, I’d like to make more of an effort to include a higher percentage of mid-stakes tables in my game selection. Third, by successfully completing this challenge, maybe I can help motivate some other people that followed my journey to do their own challenge or put forth a greater effort to advance their poker career.

If you’re like me, you don’t exactly love risk. That might sound a bit strange coming from a poker player but I’ve always been someone that practices strict bankroll management and good monetary habits. As a result, my downswings are relatively small but my ceiling is also capped by the limits that I play. I’m excited by this challenge because although there will be a lot of variance that comes with a 4 buy-in stop-loss, the risk that comes along with it is very small as well and the rewards are potentially huge! Think about it, if you make it to say 100nl and then lose, you’ve invested your time but have lost $0 in terms of money…in that respect it’s low risk. On the other hand, if you make it to 1000nl (or whatever end point you’d be happy with) and instead of losing the 4 buy-ins, you end up staying on an upswing then you’ve just catapulted yourself through the limits and have now stuck at a level where you’re likely earning way more VPPs and overall money. It all sounds pretty good in theory at least but we’ll see if I’m still singing the same tune after I’ve had to restart 47 times :)

Speaking of restarting the challenge, I’ve already got my feet a bit wet in it and have some early progress reports. I ended up making it as high as 50nl before losing the 4 buy-ins at that level and had to restart so I’m currently at the bottom of the ladder again. If I remember correctly, I was down to my last buy-in at 25nl before making a solid comeback at that level and before that, everything below 25nl was fairly smooth sailing. I’ve learned quickly that the variance in this challenge is certainly going to be high but I’m not that discouraged by having to do a quick restart. It seems as though there’s going to be a lot of progress and regress throughout this challenge so I’ll need to be mentally prepared for it! I will be doing this challenge throughout August so once again, you can follow the action at and we’ll see how it goes…

Gl at the tables!


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