September 02, 2009

My thoughts on the rakeback pro, and taking shots

There seems to be a general dislike of being labelled a rakeback pro, it being taken as an insult by many players.

I have absolutely no problem if I were breaking even at the tables, and making a profit through rakeback, especially at higher levels. As a part time player at 100nl, you only need 25k hands to get some $750 of rakeback per month, and as you move to 200nl it gets an even more chunky figure. If you take that line, (ie I dont mind 0BB/100) ESPECIALLY when taking shots at higher levels, you do one of the most important things in poker, you take the pressure off yourself. Less pressure = better decisions. Better decisions = +EV. Sure if you are playing 25nl or below, it's a bit tougher to get by on rakeback (actually you should just forget about rakeback and keep playing and learning), but the play should be proportionally softer, so shot taking is less of a big deal.

Long term playing at a particular level just breaking even will inevitably lead to a better understanding of the game, and eventually improve. You might hit a heater straightaway, you might hit a downer, but being happy with just break even initalially is cool for a long term plan of improvement. Something that helped my No-limit skills was playing PLO and Horse Sitngos, which I played purely as a fun excersise with no real aim to win, just aiming not to lose.

Fact of the matter is, many posters only post winning results and winning graphs for reviews, and just tend to post losing hands or sessions. It's those dudes that are kidding themselves. If you are not obssessed with the graph line, tilt is less of an issue, and playing is just more enjoyable.

Remember, Full stacked 100bb micro no limit is hard. It takes a lot of patience, experimenting and experience. Good poker looks far into the future.


  1. I don't agree mate but each to their own eh?
    I think if you are going to take the game even semi seriously you have to keep a record of what you are doing so the graphs are relevent. I only play for peanuts but still keep a record to see if I'm profitable as I wouldn't want to cane my roll.
    However I take your point on rakeback though as any profit is profit at the end of the day and should be factored in as such and I'd be happy enough with $750 rakeback each month (never likely at my level) but would wonder why I was just breaking even or whether it was just getting used to a new level.
    And wheres my feckin link :)

  2. BTW my graph shows that I've been playing like a twat since my last post but I knew that already so you may have a point after all

  3. hey gavin, no keeping records is really important. you have to know how you r doing over a long sample. i just was refering to the obsession with the graph, rather than realising you sometimes need to invest in some "losing" plays (and thus a dodgy graph)short term, to start to learn the intricacies of the game. thus winrate flattens. for example, during may i experimented with a very lag bet/raise/fold strategy at 100nl fr, where i would never ever call. i lost a lot but i learnt a hell of a lot more which helped me in subsequent months when i tightened back up
    and here, i ve linked you up, soz i forgot

  4. Hey,

    I agree with this post to some extent in that people should not focus on results (although I still find that very hard to do) and instead should focus on correct decision making.

    I am not so sure about being content with being breakeven. I have had 2 breakeven months this year and I was very dissappointed. I won money, albeit only $100 odd but I wasn't happy about it. I always want to be winning by making correct decisions and I think having that ambition to win, to improve and to make the right decisions is the only way to become a good poker player who can be playing mid/high stakes. Just my 2cents.

    BTW, email me at martynpettittpoker2[A] re skype as per your comment on my blog.

  5. Playing at 25 myself I hardly think about rakeback... I have to focus on winning to get my bankroll up so I can get to 50. I have to forget the money and just focus on making the right decisions. Worrying about being in the green every session cripples you psychologically and make me play scared. I know I really have to be as detached as possible from results - good or bad. If you are winning and you KNOW it's mainly due to good play and not variance helping you along then you can allow yourself to feel a little sense of satisfaction - but just a little.