Still losing, after all these years

by PokerAnon ~ January 15th, 2011. Filed under: Gambling, Poker psychology.

Just checking in with a player that I’ve been tracking for some time.

This player plays $1 six seat Sit and Goes on Full Tilt. They’re still playing, and still losing. See the nice angled line in their winnings graph.

At least they’ve slowed down and aren’t playing as much.

The details are that they’ve played 7,740 sit and goes, with an average ROI of -75%. Total losses to date; $7,755.

They have ventured into some $5 versions, and in the first graph the big downward blip is almost certainly due to them winning a tournament ticket with FTP points, and then losing that as well. I have a similar blip on my graph where I used a ticket that I won for a $76 tournament but I placed third and so I have a big upward blip because I normally don’t play higher than $10 buyins. Mainly because I don’t play very many tournaments at all.

But almost all of this person’s play has been $1 sit and goes. Their losing rate is essentially their contribution to the prize pool, and all they’ve recovered is an amount equivalent to the rake. In other words for every $1.20 that it costs to play, they win 0.20 back and lose $1.00.

What’s still amazing to me is that, after a year and a half, they’re still at it. They haven’t quit, but they also have not improved at all according to the first graph. The second one indicates that at least they’re not playing as often, but I checked this on January 7, 2011 and they’ve already played four times today and at least 6 yesterday (I can only see the last 10 results so there may have been more).

Can you imagine losing $7,700 at a rate of one dollar at a time? That just seems tortuous to me.

What person can be happy losing a couple thousand dollars in the first few months, and then still continue to lose $200-$300 a month a year later? How can they not improve? How can they still enjoy playing, even though they’re regularly losing? Even without reading books or websites or with outside help, after 7,740 tournaments played regularly over a year and a half, can’t they figure something out? Playing an average of 10 sit and goes every day, doesn’t something sink in?

My fear is that this is a pensioner with lots of time on their hands. If that’s the case, I hope that 1) they are enjoying playing, and 2) these losses are not making life tough for them financially. I don’t care much about possible inheritance losses, since it is their money, but I do worry about the day to day effects. Maybe they have passive income but are physically restricted so playing poker gives them some entertainment beyond television. My friend Pat tried chatting with this player at the table but had no response, so the don’t seem to be playing to socialize verbally. I’m well aware, though, that the simple act of playing poker, even online, is a form of social interaction even if you don’t use words. Much like playing music in a group is a form of socializing even if the group is so large that you don’t say anything verbally yourself, the poker acts of betting, raising, and calling are a form of communication and therefore a form of socialization. The act of folding declines interaction, hence the phrase “quiet at the table” is applied to someone who is folding a lot.

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