High Stakes Poker Results, Variance and Swings, Superuser?

To try something a little different, and hopefully provide value to all you aspiring high stakes gamblers I decided to take a look at the high stakes poker results of the biggest games around to see if there were any trends we could learn something from.

First I took the results published by highstakesdb.com – which provides the top 50 and bottom 50 winners and losers for each month. The results are from 1/1/07 thru 7/31/08, including Omaha and Holdem on Ladbrokes/Prima/Fulltilt networks. High stakes horse is also included in the 7/08 monthly results.

I compiled all these monthly reports into a single spreadsheet workbook in Excel, and then combined the months to provide a data set of 19 months of the high stakes poker world. My initial theory was that the biggest high stakes players have the biggest swings but I wanted to visually see the difference between, if they are constantly playing the biggest games, or game selecting and ‘taking shots’…

like many people who aren’t rolled to play say 300/600 plo all the time do.

NOTE: This analysis is not 100% statistically accurate as the data is not all inclusive. For example, if you generally post a small win every month, but not big enough to show on the top 50, and you had one really bad month, that did show up on the bottom 50 list, you’d be listed as a loser in this data set, when in fact you may have posted a profit for the year. This data is more useful in identifying trends amongst the biggest high stakes poker players online, and not the next tier down, or the shot takers.  We can make assumptions, and use the data to help verify these assumptions, but without every hand history, and bank account information, we’ll never truly know everything.

Interesting Finding #1 808 different players (or screen names) made the list over the course of the 19 months of the top and bottom 50 winners/losers. This is expected because it shows the flux and variance of the game. 417 of those players has an overall positive record. Now, this does not mean they are winning players necessarily. It just means in this data set, they were ahead more than they lost. Here is a chart of all the players that made the list:

can click on each graph to see a bigger version of all charts:

Collectively you’ll notice the roller coaster ride that is poker.  The group average is slightly above $0 which makes sense because these higher stakes gamblers ‘feed’ off the lower stakes folks (who aren’t charted), and the money in the poker economy rises to the top.

Interesting Finding #2: The more hands you play, the more you win. (Generally).

Below you’ll see a chart representing all the data in a # of Hands v. $ Results plot graph.  Once you cross over 50,000 hands, the majority of the players are net winners.  This makes sense because to play over 50k hands, you are playing a lot, learning a lot, as well as not going broke.  The people who lose a lot of money at any level are losing it too fast to sustain – hence they go busto.  The winners are able to maintain proper bankrolls, emotional control, and skill to win over the long run.

Similiarly we can look at Hours v. Results.  Below shows a graph of the top 10 based on hours played and how much they won.  Take note of Hansen the degenerate grinder.  Get off the computer Gus!  Although he only plays 4,000 hours over 19 months, which is about 52 hours a week.  When you factor in travel and life play, he’s playing a sick amount of hours.

Interesting Finding #3:  The best in the world, have the sickest swings in the world.  Perhaps this isn’t groundbreaking, but it definitely illustrates that no matter who you are, the ‘doom switch’ will come your way.  The trick is being able to manage the swings in a psychological manner that allows you to play your best poker as much as possible.  Instead of dusting off 9 buyins because your running bad, you need to be able to focus, and perhaps spew a little less and lose 6 buyins instead.

IVEY IS GOOD.  Look at his line in red.  He is a consistent winner, appears to use good stop-loss management, doesn’t play the most hours of people online (but still plays quite a bit). 

BENYAMINE IS SICK.  His line shows a $4M swing in a couple of months.  Weeeeeeeeeeee.  Just make sure you’re ahead at the end of the year sir.

GUY LALIBERTE HATES MONEY.  Never posted a winning result in the 19months of data.  Good thing he makes like $1M a day with Cirque.

Interesting Finding #4: SUPER USER? DanDock21.  This screen name, posted a winning month north of $1million ($1.4m), then lost like $90k the next month, and never shows back up on this report.  Could be a few things: 1. someone got real hot, and cashed out.  2.  someone playing under an alias, and switched names somewhere along the lines.  3. super user type cheating account, making a quick buck and bouncing. 4. someone just taking a shot, and winning, and never taking another shot. I couldn’t find any information on the identity of this screen name in the forums or online.  Who knows what it is.  Without every hand history this account played, I am really just speculating.  There were many screen names that came in and out of the results list with 1, 2, or 3 months of data, but this was the only account that posted such a huge net win and never appear again.  It just seemed unlikely that if you won a mil gambling, that you’d just be set and your greed factor would never kick in and you’d just leave.  Again, it is impossible to know without every single hand history on this player if anything was fishy or suspect.  So maybe some of you forum junkies can pursue that with the poker rooms…

If anyone would like a copy of the excel workbook to do additional analysis or see charts of people not listed in this article, email me at matt@propclothing.com.



10 Responses to High Stakes Poker Results, Variance and Swings, Superuser?

  1. propclothing says:

    Rumor has it that DanDock21 was Dustin Dirksen.

  2. […] he loses too much money. I found an interesting article about the swings at the high stakes game: High Stakes Poker Results, Variance and Swings, Superuser? PROP [blog] | Poker Clothing | A Degene… An interview where he talks about the bet can be found here: Poker Videos – Player Interviews and […]

  3. […] back I posted an analysis of High Stakes Poker Results which commented on the 50,000k mark.  In the highest stakes world that seems to be the threshold […]

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  6. Vonpoker says:

    Interesting poker stuff. Checkout my poker site if you want, quite new but am getting there 🙂

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    Interesting poker stuff. Checkout my poker site if you want, quite new but am getting there 🙂

  8. Mr Poker says:

    Interesting but it would be better of highstakesdb would itself show all the information about the players in a graph…. and not only the top 50…

  9. Garry Busta says:

    Hello may I quote some of the information from this entry if I link back to you?

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