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Ferguson and Negreanu Think the Micros are Hard!

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When I first started this blog it was to document some of my progress as a poker player and some of my micro stakes bankroll building challenges. Some big names in poker have also done bankroll challenges and I've wound up writing articles about their strategies and progress.

I figured it might be a good idea to take this journalistic approach even further by creating WSJesque hedcut portraits of them. Pretty slick huh?

I messed up and didn't make the hedcut big enough so needing to fill up space I emailed a few questions to Chris Ferguson and Daniel Negreanu hoping one of them would reply. Much to my surprise, they both did!!

Q: What made you decide to take on your bankroll challenge?

Chris Ferguson: I always like to find new ways to challenge myself.  People call me a nit all the time and I wanted to show them why being a nit is the right choice.

I spent 2 months running simulations on UCLA's supercomputer (Dawson) trying to come up with the ultimate bankroll strategy. I finally found a bankroll management strategy that was so good I could literally start with nothing. Just to be sure I had the right plan, I kept running simulations for another 3 months.

Having developed the perfect strategy, the only logical conclusion was to put it to the test.

Daniel Negreanu: A couple of years ago during a dinner break at the Foxwoods WPT event, I overheard some kids mention VPIP and WTSD. I figured their dad's were playing in the tournament and they'd get a kick talking to me so I jumped in and told them "Nobody listens to radio stations anymore. You guys should get iPods Yo!". After they stopped laughing they explained how it had something to do with online poker. I said "wow, where can you play poker online?" and they pointed to my hat and shirt. Ooops!

So the next week I got PokerStars installed and saw they had a $100/$200 NLHE game which I wanted to play. I pulled out my checkbook and tried to make a deposit. No dice! My bank wouldn't let me. After searching the internet I found out you can use pre-paid Visa cards. But I'd have to get like 1,000 of them to be rolled for that game. I'm not walking into WalMart with $100k Yo!. I didn't feel like flying back to Canda so I just grabbed a $10 card and figured I'd run it up to $100k. How hard could it be?

Q: What were some of your initial hurdles?

CF:  My first task was to win some money The only way to do that was to enter freerolls. They fill up very quickly so I sat at my computer constantly clicking where the "Register" button would appear a full minute before registration began.

It took a couple of tries before I could even get in one and then once I was in, I'm facing a field of 7,500 players. It's like playing the Main Event except without the money, prestige or lame jokes from Norman Chad..

DN: I found I had to make a lot of adjustments for online poker. In one hand I min raised from the button with 76 of hearts, the big blind reraised me to 6BB and I called to see a flop in position. The flop came 77Q and the BB checked so I fired a  1/2 pot cbet and BB instantly raised me. He's obviously overplaying top pair so I min raised and he instantly shoved all-in.

Maybe I put him on the wrong hand? I tried to get more information. I looked at him and asked, "you flopped top full didn't you?". His picture didn't move a muscle and he didn't make a sound. His silence convinced me he was bluffing. Bad read, he did have top full.

Before my next session I was on the phone with PokerStars support  trying to figure out how to at least get sound working but they told me the only way you can communicate with other players is through typing in the chat box. Uhm, yeah! That's not quite the same.

Poker is really hard when people don't give you any indication how strong their hand is!

Q: What surprises did you encounter?

CF:  Amazingly, the micro and small stake games proved to be the toughest.

Just look at my bankroll graph. The first 7 months it barely seemed to move at all.

I expected these levels to be fairly soft and was surprised to find so many players had a good understanding of the game and some advanced strategies.

Trillions of simulations were run to account for every imaginable (and 2,843,647 unimaginable) anomalies so I was still certain my bankroll management strategy was fool proof.

Ultimately, poker is about making the right decisions. The stakes don't matter. After putting more effort into understanding the game I was able to crush the micro stakes tables.

Once I grinded my way out of the small stakes, things went a lot smoother.

DN: Yo! Yo! Yo! A lot of these playas are treating pennies,  nickels and dimes like they're Hamiltons, Jacksons and Benjamins!

They were check raising, floating and trapping me. ME!

I managed to get some real money online and hit the $100/$200 NLHE table where the competition seemed weaker. Probably filled with a bunch of trust fund babies with too much time and money that never played a hand of real poker in their lives. After a month I was up around 200 G's G!

After I get a little more experience I'll give the micro stake sharks another run.

Merry April Fool's Day! :) Yeah, if it wasn't really obvious, these aren't real answers.

Can you beat the micros?

Think you can do better than Chris Ferguson or Daniel Negreanu at the micro limit tables? Want to head straight for the nosebleeds?

Download PokerStars and/or Full Title Poker and use my free bankroll management spreadsheet to try your own bankroll challenge. Both sites offer a 100% first deposit bonus up to $600.

2 Response to "Ferguson and Negreanu Think the Micros are Hard!"

Anonymous Says....

Nice article Microroller.

Good to see confirmation that the micro stakes are not as easy as you might expect. (I KNEW it wasn't just me!!! :-)) I've found that there is so much info on Holdem out there now that even at the 0.01/0.02 tables the standard is pretty good...

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