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  • DerekGMZ

Longevity And Return On Investment

My honesty is what makes me human. I didn’t go to college, I don’t have the best words, and in my blog I will splash my paragraphs with commas where ever the fuck I please. In fact, forget about my words, look at my hands. People have said I have the most beautiful hands.

There’s a lot of projecting in poker, on and off the felt. In that regard, the game never ends; we’re always selling. There are sellers who do everything they can to project themselves as winning players with all the upside in the world. Through all outlets of social media they are proclaiming their greatness and consistency. However, for some, there is a sneaky little thing that is never talked about in detail. That would be their Return On Investment. “No one has as much money as you think they do,” has been quoted numerous times. There is no legitimate way to track a live players ROI other than to take their word for it. Book keeping has to be precise and true, and all buy-ins and re-buys must be accounted for. I understand the thirst for fame and glory, but re-entries and re-buys are being applied generously by a large percentage of the players in the fields I play in. More than half the players in those fields aren’t even worth the original buy-in, and the grinders I play with regularly are lying to themselves if they think they are worth multiple bullets in every tournament they play. There are exceptions, if firing endlessly is your thing. Your name can be Daniel Negreanu or you can be an online nosebleed sicko. But, if you’re on the low stakes to mid stakes grind you have to be significantly backed with a proper deal that is profitable for both parties and/or have other forms of income. However, most players are over projecting their value in order to get backed and they do, good for them, no hate from me. I myself believe in single bullets and longevity over instant success.

I consider myself a bankroll nit. I don’t travel further than a state away and if I buy into anything over $400 I’m going to be selling action. I don’t promote myself heavily, other than this blog and the podcast. I keep my head down, put in work, study, analyse, and go about my business. I’ve learned a long time ago that words mean nothing if numbers don’t back up the reason or the rhyme. Instead of promoting and building my brand prematurely, I was working on my numbers from the bottom up. Building a solid foundation, learning every style of play and how to exploit specific player scenarios. I invested $100/hr learning from both Ari Engel and David Chicotsky while online poker was still thriving. I improved my blind defense by watching multiple hours of Jason Somerville and his Run It Up shenanigans. I took my thought process to another level by teaching others, who have taken my advice and thrived. I’ve grinded countless hours with the spazzy spews of California and the nitty nits of Las Vegas.

Poker tournament variance is a bitch. I don’t put much volume in cash games (although that will most likely change in the near future). To supplement my tournament income I dealt at the Wynn Poker Room. This was the way I made a living for 2+ years. Wanting more, I started taking notice of the players who were backed and how they got there. It didn’t take me long to realize my next step was indeed promoting myself and building a brand. However, before I could jump into that realm I was lucky enough to have a backer find me. “If you build it, they will come.” With a stroke of luck I traveled to a tournament series I wasn’t even thinking about attending. My roommate was planning his trip details while I was playing the Sunday tournament on Ultimate Poker (RIP). He kept trying to entice me to go, but I’m not a fan of extending my roll and adding travel. I was 2nd in chips with 20 players left, he kept insisting, and I finally cracked as he was making some good points. “Fine! If I win this tournament, I’ll book a plane ticket!” As fate would have it, I binked it for $2900. Plane ticket booked, room reserved, a week of fun and tournaments awaited. During the Main Event my eventual backer pulled 3 of us aside and asked us to send him our stats and he would consider staking us for the World Series of Poker Summer Series. +EV trip by far. At the time, I was 2nd in Online Player of the Year Nevada with 800+ tournaments played and a 120% ROI. He booked my action, I had a successful summer with 2 WSOP final tables including one top 3 finish.

My numbers for 2014 and 2015 are nearly identical, the bold numbers are if you include what my backer invested as well. You can see there is an increase in ROI and decrease in average buy-in when I added a backer. This decreases stress/variance significantly. The sample size of 200 tournaments is minuscule long term and can be taken with a grain of salt. But that’s my yearly volume. My final table numbers and top 3 finishes remain impressive for the average field size cashed. What’s the next step? Improving one day at a time, making more every year, and earning some raises.


Events – 95 (104 Buy-ins)

Average Buy-in – $379

Average Field Size Cashed – 817

ROI – 65%

Cashes – 15 (15%)

Final Tables – 10 (10%)

Top 3 Finishes – 7 (7%)

Wins – 1 (1 %)


Events – 98 (105 Buy-ins)

Average Buy-in – $267 *($476)

Average Field Size Cashed- 874

ROI – 123% *(353%)

Cashes – 20 (20%)

Final Tables – 10 (10%)

Top 3 Finishes – 7 (7%)

Wins – 4 (4%)

If you’re nosy enough you can calculate how much money I make per year. Which will bring us back to that quote, “No one has as much money as you think they do.” Feel free to comment below, I can take criticism, just don’t say anything about my hands.

The numbers are unforgiving, but fair. Our life spans are so short we won’t get to see the numbers even out. Which entails the variance of life.

Thanks for reading, run well.

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