This will be a bit unlike other blog posts, I don't plan to talk any strategy but focus more on sharing my experiences trying different formats and their associated positives/negatives, as well as general poker player challenges (BRM, HS variance, life balance etc)
I guess I should start off with a graph + bit about myself, this is a graph of my results at 1kNL+ lifetime, I've played 90%+ of my volume at 1kNL-2kNL over the last year or so (not really sure on the exact timeline):
I've also built a decent sample in live trips and privategame live PLO over the last year to 1.5 year.
I'm 22 been playing for just under 4 years alongside my on and off university studies (took couple years out but am currently studying). I wasted a lot of time reg battling breakeven at 1k without focusing too much on making money, it was good for improvement and was my longtime goal to be able to have 5bb/100 in reg only games but more recently my focus has shifted to making money and cementing myself at 5k+. I will hopefully return to my reg battle goal a bit later with some study on 40bb play.
I want to start off with a writeup of the different formats I've tried and my thoughts on them (in rough order):
1) Online NLH
-Toughest to make big money (rising to NL1K+)
-The winrates are lowest thus there are more frequent+bigger swings (Standard Deviation S.D isn't too high compared to PLO etc tho)
+Kind of easy to make decent/ok income/side income (especially if from Eastern Europe or other low cost of living country) in stakes up to NL200 (not so much due to the caliber of reg but because of the reg/fish ratio providing easy winrates and ample volume)
+I think forces you to build best habits for long term growth (more self accountability because of high samples and trackers for checking your stats and winrates, as well as being bit tough forces you to review a lot and constantly improve)
+Pick your own hours to an extent (Still some hours are higher EV, but bit more flexible than live)
+Most volume format still means bit less variance in your range of outcomes +/- $ a month, and ability to grind out samples and feel if your strategy changes are for better or worse
+Getting great fundamentals through beating online will give you longevity
2) Live NLH
+Easiest to make big money fast (softer games, due to games going undiscovered or being hard to access)
+Higher winrate=less swings generally, and also very low S.D in most games
-Harder to get into good private games if you're 18-30 year old male onlinereg stereotype
-Generally worse QoL, and many bad habits can develop (gambling, drinking, lack of exercise are all very common among live regs it seems)
-Much less need for study
-Time consuming (have to waitlist or play long hours to get the good games)
-Bad hours (Most of the time have to play late hours or weekends when your normal friends are wanting to hangout)
-Private games in general I'd recommend staying away from and only playing occasionally, I've personally been not paid out in private games for large amounts, the impact the unsuspecting big downswing can have on your mental is huge (when you expect your BR to be X but its actually Y because you get told you'll be paid etc)
+The high winrates+low S.D allow for some very aggressive BRM which can be great BR builder (especially when you reach top of "ladder" in online where you're struggling to find volume)
+Can be a nice change of pace and there is some fun in learning
+Fun to travel (I just got back from Macao which I can write about at some point, but avr0ra/brd most recent video on it summed my thoughts perfectly, you can find it on their channel "A game" on yt)
3) Live PLO5/6
Same as Live NLH but with higher S.D, higher chance you get scammed, higher chance you are playing an unbeatable rake, higher chance you think semi regs are fish and waste lots of time. Overall pretty bad but there is possibility for much higher hourly than live NLH and if you can have access to a stake/game worth for you in a casino then its a great format, I've had good results playing live PLO6 compared to NLH cash, the games are also often much softer and easier to get into.
4) Online PLO
Stay far away from app games, full of collusion (6max) and ridiculously high rake, I have least experience in this format but I really didn't like it. Though I do know some people who make a lot of money playing mostly app game PLO (I guess like live PLO through all the negatives there is actually pretty good reward, a lot of stuff outside of the game can be mentally straining on top of the higher variance).
I tried learning HUPLO for some time with a good coach but it seemed very hard to study and get feedback (solutions take a while to solve, volume is hard to find). Could be worth to specialise in HUPLO and rely on getting action vs 6max regs. I'd advise only considering if you are fortunate enough to be situated in a country with access to every site so that you have less troubles getting volume and think you're capable of mentally handling much bigger swings with lower month to month samples (and a feeling of less control over your outcomes sometimes).
Might have missed some points
Also here is a graph of my tiny 5k shot so far (GG)