Site Staggering

Playing on more than one site is a tool that can be used to further reduce your risk of ruin. I recommend playing on two poker sites intermittently via site staggering. The way it works is that you playeveryothersessiononadifferentsite. Forexample,let’ssaythatyouhavemoneyonboththe RevolutionnetworkandtheMergenetwork. YoumightplayonesessiononRevolutionandthen switch to Merge for your next session. Even though moving up will take longer due to multiple bankrolls, using this method will buffer you against deep downswings and allow for a more stable poker career.

There are multiple benefits in staggering your poker sessions.

  1. Your entire bankroll is not at the mercy of one poker site.
    Poker sites are businesses that can and do permanently close their doors. When staggering, if one of the poker sites you play on shuts down, you only potentially lose half your bankroll. For US players, this is a very real concern. We all know what happened on Black Friday.
  2. Stronger bankroll management.
    Downswings will be watered down across both sites, and you will be less likely to ever have to move down.
  3. You can take advantage of more reload bonuses.
    Almost every site occasionally offers reload bonuses. Your effective rakeback is increased when you take advantage of these deals.
  4. Regulars are less familiar with you.
    This one is self-explanatory. Regulars will have half the hands in their HUD and will see you around half the time than if you played on only one site.
  5. You no longer have to take extended breaks to wait out buy-in timers.
    Many sites have a timer that forces you to buy in for whatever you left a table for if you come back within a specified amount of time. Since you will leave tables once you get to a goal amount, playing on one site will sometimes have you running out of tables to play on. Staggering solves this problem and lets you play more volume.
  6. It’s like owning two businesses.
    In today’s online poker climate, site staggering mitigates another big concern for US customers as of the writing on this book. By staggering, you will have money coming from two sources. This may not seem like a big deal, but if one of the sites takes longer than usual processing your payout, at least you have some money coming in.

Playing Environment

Dependingonyoursituation,creatinganidealplayingenvironmentcanbechallenging. Ideally,you need your playing sessions to be without distractions so that you can focus 100% of your attention on thetaskathand. However,speakingfromexperienceasafamilyguywithkidsrunningrampant,I know how difficult this can sometimes be.

Often, I play in the living room with my kids taking turns talking to me, bumping my mouse, and generallymakingfullconcentrationverydifficult. Luckily,throughmysportsbackgroundIhavebuilt up a natural resistance to distractions. I also have made a conscious effort to work on blocking out external factors that would drive some people crazy.

My advice is to find whatever works for you. Go hide out in the basement or some other isolated locale in your home. Wait to play until people are away, or if necessary, find a group of fellow poker players to rent a playing office with.

Things to avoid doing while playing:

Listening to music: I know long sessions can get very boring. But if part of your brain is focused on tunes blaring out of your ear buds, it will inevitably distract from your play in some way.

Surfing the web: Don’t even have a browser up.
Texting, instant messaging, or talking on the phone: This is the most -EV thing you can do. Watching TV or YouTube: Not kidding here. People actually do this. Another -EV move.

Eating: I am not talking about pounding a quick snack or a meal replacement shake. I am talking about a full blown meal. Besides the distraction of it, you are deliberately making the blood in your body rush to your stomach rather than to your brain cells. You should be eating sparingly within an hour or two of your sessions.

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