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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Poker After Dark

Ever since I've started keeping track of my SnG play, I've noticed something that should have been obvious to me. Night time is the right time to play poker. I absolutely crush.

I can break my play down into three timezones (all CDT):

1. 8am-5pm (weekends): I call these the Soap Opera hours. Here, I will money in roughly 2 out of every 5 SnGs I play in. The wins are pretty much split between first and second place.

2. 6pm-9pm: During Prime Time, my take goes up a bit to cashing in 3 out of every 5 SnGs played. Again, going back and forth between first and second place finishes.

3. 9pm-2am: This is Cinemax After Dark (SSC style) and prime fishing hour, apparently. I money in 4 out of 5 SnGs, with 3 out of 4 of my cashes being first place.

The problem I have is that my brain seems to be functioning best between 6pm-9pm. I'm home from work, ready to relax and put the day behind me, I'm more alert, more happy, more energized. To quote Teddy KGB, I'm ready to play some focking cards.

So why do I tend to sodomize the Mini-Me SnGs like the woodsman sticking it to Lady Chatterly only when the sun sets?

Going over it in my head, I've pinned it on two main reasons:

1. Less distractions. The kids are in bed at 9pm, so there's no, "Daddy! I need milk/toys/cookies/handgun" distractions that keep me from making good decisions at the table.

I swear to Jebus that those kids will find any excuse to draw me out when I'm playing. I could sit with them and color or play hide and seek for three straight hours, and as soon as teh pokah machine is fired up, there are more crises that erupt in a half an hour in our house than occur on an entire season of "24".

The wife also tends to fasten her seatbelt, put her tray in the upright position, and prepare for the slow decent into the town of Sleepy Hollow. With the kids tucked away in their compartments and the wife snoring on the couch across from me, there is nothing but the dim light of the TV to distract me.

2. 9pm is when they let all of the kids off the short bus for a field trip to the online poker room. Believe it or not, as soft as the tables at Titan and Noble are, there can actually be some pretty decent play during the day, even at lower levels. I have found ScottM playing micros there, as well as Mr. Parx. I still do pretty well there, but it seems harder to push people off of pots, and the bets are more indicative of "real" poker play (e.g. punishing people chasing draws with pot-sized bets).

After the clock strikes 9pm, it's like a whole new universe. The inmates are now running the asylum. People min-betting all over the place with TPTK, just begging you to play the pot odds to hit your straight, flush, or set. Players pushing with K6o vs. AA, when the aces raised heavily pre-flop. It becomes this magical land where donkeys, alpacas, lemurs, push monkeys and dinosaur catfish with cow's legs can all live in harmony...well, until someone gets crippled and a flame war starts in the chat box.

The point is, these late night table are So. Unbelievably. Loose.

One night last week, I was in sitting at a 6 handed table on Titan with 5 people left, and I was second in chips with only about T1100. Everyone is pretty much even except for the guy who took out the first player. Suddenly, my internet connection decided to take a huge Cleveland Steamer on me. I couldn't log back into Titan for at least 20 minutes.

After much cursing, stomping, and fire farting, I finally was able to log back on. Titan shot me directly to my table where I was suprised to find myself heads up with the chip leader who was min-betting at me (and my "Sit Out" status) to try to take it down. I still had about 300 chips left and started waging war (vs. his T5700). I ended up finishing second, of course, but it was eye-opening.

Last night, another player was a "Sit Out" for almost the entire SnG, and he finised third (I took that biatch down).

What this told me was that once the moon came out, you could basically fold into the money on these micros from the get go. Not that I would do that. I actually enjoy playing. But it can be done.

Pop Quiz, hot-shot:

Is it that these players are more tired? More drunk? Am I playing East Coasters where it's 10pm or 11pm to my 9pm or 10pm? Are the kids kicking off their shifts at Arby's and coming home to play poker? Where does the big difference lie?

I'd like to hear what other people have found to be the best hours to play on the virtual felt, as well as any comments to the above bloviations.


Blogger Joe Speaker said...

I haven't played many SnGs lately, but I can tell you that the later it gets for an MTT start time, you get a larger percentage willing to gamble it up (to put it mildly) in the early levels. I always theorized it was because they figured they'd either take a big stack to the wee hours or just go to bed. There have been times where I found myself near an MTT bubble at 2 in the ayem and said to myself, I ain't staying up (trying not to pass out) until 4 to finish 18th and went maniacal.

5/4/06, 1:41 PM  
Blogger Wes said...

The wee hours of the night/morning definately seem to be the fishiest of the times to play. Although, if you play at different sites during the daytime (the mostly european sites), they can be a goldmine in the afternoon.

5/4/06, 3:12 PM  
Blogger TripJax said...

heh, you said cleveland steamer.

5/4/06, 3:21 PM  
Blogger The Poker Enthusiast said...

In my case I lose less during the the hours of 9-12 central time. I've also had good luck in the early hours of the morning. My bad luck time is in the afternoon when I'm trying to get a quick session. Those quick ones seem to kill me.

5/4/06, 4:39 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

You've hit the major reasons. I think you have a lot of overlap between online poker players and drinkers or illicit drug users. So, by 9pm Central, its 10pm EST and the players have a good buzz on. Tiredness and fatigue may be an issue too. I bet you there are also a decent amount of players coming home from dinner/drinks after work. Finally, the most depraved play late at night because its often the only time they can, depending on their situations. Depraved gamblers are usually action junkees.

Nice topic. And nice job dropping the alpacas. I need to get back to that term myself.

5/4/06, 5:24 PM  
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