It was an interesting phenomenon, one that I’ve experienced several times, but never with enough clarity to remark on it. Last night I got the monthly Party reload bonus, and made the max deposit to get the max bonus. Then I realized that with only seven days to play 1,000 hands on Party, I either had to restrict myself to only one site for a week, or add more tables to clear the bonus more quickly.
I’ve been playing mostly two tables of $2/4 limit lately, and doing pretty well. Playing limit on Party has required a couple of adjustments to my game, most notably a 5% reduction in my VP$IP, as the aggro-monkeys on Party will bet with 2nd pair a LOT, then catch. So I’ve been limiting myself to being hyper-aggressive with my monsters, and passive/aggressive with my project hands (Project hands are like project boyfriends/girlfriends/houses, they aren’t much to start with but have enormous potential. Two of my favorite project hands are 8-10s and J-9s.). This strategy was not going to work to clear this bonus, as there are fewer raked hands/hr. at $2/4, so it would take years to clear this bonus playing my normal game.
So I switched to NLHE, where every hand with a pot over $1 is raked, dropped down two levels to NL25, and opened up four tables at once. I’ve said frequently that I can only really focus on two tables of NLHE at once, as when I’m in a hand I want to have as much information as possible about the other players at the table, and the freedom to calculate my actions better. But I wanted to push myself a little, so I opened two 6-max tables and two full tables, figuring the slower pace of the full tables would help with the frenetic pace of the 6-max tables, and I would still have enough time to make my decisions without having to resort totally to Level 1 poker thinking.
It was interesting, because for the first few minutes, it was all I could do to keep my blinds posted and fold on the right table at the right time. I made sure my distractions were minimal, kept iTunes closed and Firefox shut down, and NO chatting on the girly chat thing, so all I was focused on was the poker.
And after about three minutes, the game slowed down. It was almost like a special effect in a movie, the action suddenly was less furious, I had an innate understanding of my position at each table, and was able to begin accumulating information about my opponents. I’ve never experienced that kind of zen moment multi-tabling before, and it was pretty neat. As my session lingered, however, I did notice that it was taking a bit of a toll, and that I was getting tired much more quickly. I hung on for about an hour, cleared about 250 hands of my bonus, and found myself down about $15. Not great, since if I’m down $15 after each quarter of bonus chasing I’m only making $40 profit over the whole bonus, but I pulled a quick 15-minute hit & run at a $3/6 table to make it up and more.
So there are a couple of things that I’m taking from this, notably that if I can hang out through the first few frenetic moments of getting posted in, seated, and getting everything set, I can handle up to four tables of NLHE without too much difficulty, although I am still playing less than my “A” game under those circumstances. Also I am beginning to realize that while a “free” $100 bonus sounds good, I have to be able to play profitable poker while clearing it to make it a winning proposition, and this means having enough time to clear the bonus AND play my “A” game.
I’m definitely not ruling out bonus chasing, as it is a decent way to pad a bankroll (especially if you also use the signup bonuses provided by the nice folks at PokerSavvy or Poker Source Online – please click through the ads on the right and use bonus code Falstaff), but it’s not going to be something I dedicate a lot of time to, as I can make more money than most bonuses offer at a decent 3-hour session of $2/4. But I’ll still finish this Party reload, because I’m now better than halfway there.