I got into a little debate the other day with a friend of mine. We were discussing the money potential of various games. I pointed out that I believed that if you are a very very good player, specializing in heads-up hold’em could yield you as much as $1000/hour in today’s internet poker world.
This is what some Pokerstars regulars claim. If you have not opened an account, use a code bonus pokerstars to get your bonus.
Now, I don’t know how realistic that is, as I don’t play heads-up hold’em very much. But I know a few heads-up players, and given the limits that they run nowadays, I think it really is quite possible.
Few people can reach this level though. First of all, I don’t know the game that well, so I’d have to learn it. That’s probably doable. I wouldn’t be able to become the worlds best, but with hard work I think I might crack the top 5% of the current player pool. Since it’s not about playing the best players, but the worst, that’s not a huge problem. Another real issue for me is tilt. I just can’t help myself sometimes. Frustration mounts, and I start to make bad decisions. Sometimes it’s for a single hand, but sometimes it can last as long as 15 minutes. That’s a long time in heads up hold’em poker.
I’m not even going to get into bankroll. Suffice it to say, I just don’t have the cash on hand to play $500/$1000 heads-up hold’em with a small risk of ruin.
But the critical issue for me is that of game selection. I have a lot of friends who spend their evenings and weekends playing poker. That’s when the fish are disposing of the disposable income which they make during the work week. I on the other hand play during the work week. I made a choice long ago to only play during regular work hours for quality of life reasons. The world of heads-up games is a world of countless hours sitting around not playing, and waiting for the fish to show up. And if you aren’t at the table during prime time, your fish pool is going to be small. Personally, I play games that run nearly 24/7, and there are a sufficient number of fish even during the day to keep them profitable.
So it all comes down to making playing choices which are compatible with the lifestyle I want to lead. I want freedom with my time, and regularity with my play. Some might say that I’m not maximizing my EV by making those sacrifices, but I have yet to find someone who has not sacrificed EV for rather trivial reasons. Consider this trade-off, playing poker or exercising and eating right. One will make you money, but the other will allow you to live longer and extend your overall earning potential.