Friday, July 25, 2008

The Learning Curve

Was listening to a Cash Plays interview with Daniel Negreanu yesterday that really struck a chord. Bart Hanson was asking his thoughts on various issues, including bankroll sizing and moving up levels. Negreanu said that people who followed advice of having an excessively large (ie 'safe') bankroll before moving up a level were limiting their growth as players, for the simple fact that when you play in a bigger game you are challenged far more often and as a consequence learn the game at a faster rate.

In the example cited, 2 players of equal skill start playing at a $5/10 game. The first player only plays this level, and the second player continually takes shots at bigger games. Initially, the first player will make more money and the second player struggles to adapt to a tougher game. However, over time the second player will learn to beat the bigger game, and should make more money playing at that level and above. Even if they do not continue to play at the higher level, upon returning to the $5/10 game the second player will find it far easier to beat, and should now expect to have a higher winrate than the first player (who has never played at a higher level).

Makes perfect sense, but this was not obvious to me until Daniel spelled it out. So, I think I will start pushing myself more to move up levels sooner rather than later. There are loads of reasons in favour of this, and I can't think of any reasons to abstain. I'll study more CR videos of higher level tables. I'll continue listening to Cash Plays hoping to receive more sound advice on overall playing strategy. I'll read more posts on the forums, and go to places where I can get advice from pros or learn from a simple poker tip of the day.

After all, I am a student of the game, and without diligent study and application I know my game would rapidly regress. And without the constant challenge of both learning and pressure, my enjoyment of playing would quickly wane at a time when it should be at it's peak.....


Gnome said...

I just listened to the Negreanu interview, and I disagree with his point that you learn so much more at higher limits that it offsets bankroll considerations.
I just feel like I've been playing 5/10 for more than a year and a half now, and I still learn new things every day. That holds true for every limit I've played.
I'm all for moving up when you're ready, but I think that should be driven by bankroll rather than a feeling that you need to learn by getting beaten at higher limits.
I bet Negreanu's statement applied for him in his old-school, live game upbringing, but I don't think it's relevant to most players in today's online games.

SubZero said...

I don't disagree that you can continue learning at your present limit (whatever it may be) but I do believe learning is accelerated by involvement with higher games. This includes just watching such levels to see how play differs from your current level.

I'm not about to jump into a $25/50 seat, but I will be looking to challenge myself with bigger limits as soon as possible without compromising my livelihood....