I was at the Commerce Casino last weekend for the WPT Boot Camp's Ca$h edition. Like the tournament camp, it's a two day intensive series of lectures and live-play labs taught by a group of poker professionals. In addition to Jules and Crispin Leyser, our camp was taught by Mark Seif, Nick Brancato and Rick Fuller. Mark Seif is a well known poker player, with two WPT final table appearances to his credit and is also a commentator for the PPT. I had personally never heard of Nick Brancato, but in his short, 3 year career playing online poker he has probably seen as many hands as Doyle Brunson has played in his lifetime. Internet poker has made that possible by allowing him to not only see more hands per hour, but to be seated at multiple tables simultaneously.
In addition to the lectures and labs, there was a special component to the Ca$h camp: The ca$h challenge. I didn't really know how this was going to work until it was explained that day. They sat each of us, in turn, in front of a computer. The computer would present all of us the same sequence of 30 hands in a row. After every hand, our bankroll would be either reduced or replenished to $1000. In this way, everyone had the same experience. The sum total of money you made playing was your score. The top 6 played a 2nd challenge the next day. About half the class lost money. I made about $660. 6th place made just a bit less than twice that. I made exactly one decision that probably kept me out of the running - it cost me about $400 instead of allowing me to make about $200, a swing of $600. Still, if I was playing $5/$10 and made $600 in 30 hands, I'd be ecstatic.
I'm not sure I am going to go down the cash poker road or not. It's a different thing than tournaments, that's for sure. Cash poker is all about results over the long term. I liken it to being a day trader - but with fewer unknowns. There's no doubt at all that it can be a profitable experience. But I'm not sure it would be for me. Tournaments have an advantage in that your risk in any one tournament is limited, and each has an end. Cash poker is about statistics gathering and management. The disadvantage of tournament poker is that it's like being a major league hitter: Even the very best fail 2/3 of the time. Sometimes they knock one out of the park, but certainly not every time.
I might still decide to give it a try. I am undecided. At the moment, all my focus is on getting midnight tournament points for the upcoming Bay 101 open. As of the 24th, I'm in 7th place, and there are two shots left.