I often feel that less is more when it comes to playing poker for profits. The less you struggle the more money you make and the simpler the strategy then the better you tend to do. I have gone down both routes in the past of playing complex poker and simple poker and I don’t think I made any more money playing complex than what I did playing simply. Now clearly these are generalisations and they tend not to help us in a large way. However I like the simpler way of playing poker these days and that means playing lower stake levels and multi-tabling them.
This isn’t a glamorous way to play poker but this is just where the majority of poker players need to concentrate. Remember that an earn rate of 5ptbb/100 is a very solid earn rate and that means 10bb/100. The next question is how much volume can you handle? Imagine a crazy situation where you could handle 100 tables at 75 hands per hour per table. This would mean that you would be playing 7500 hands per hour and making 750bb/hour at $0.50 per big blind. So an astonishing $375 per hour all from playing NL50.
Of course these are pie in the sky figures and not attainable but it does bring up the argument that the way to make a lot of money playing poker is to use a simple style and try to replicate that style on as many tables as possible. You simply have to push the barriers in terms of how many tables you play for two key reasons. Firstly if you don’t then you will not make as much money if you are beating your level solidly. Secondly this then places you into a situation where the only way that you can make more money is to play higher levels.
However this doesn’t help us either because at higher levels then our earn rate will fall in terms of bb/100. When our earn rate falls then this means that our edge is thinner and when that happens then variance and standard deviation increase. So playing higher levels doesn’t automatically mean that we will make more money because our opponents will be making fewer mistakes. This is how professional traders make their money; they trade very high volume and very marginal edges.
However if we try to do this at higher stake levels then we will suffer for one simple reason, this is because our opponents are not only sophisticated but will be able to see our actions directly. In financial trading then the money is pooled and so you never really know who is trading and for how much unless you are an industry expert. In poker though you can keep notes on your opponents and watch them intently.
At lower stakes though then your opponents play in a more simple way and this allows simple strategies to work. To see how this is the case then we can take a look at the game noughts and crosses. A simple strategy of always starting in the centre square and countering your opponent who has moved in the centre by moving into one of the corners either beats your opponent or doesn’t allow them to win.
Carl Sampson is a professional poker player that plays online at 888poker