Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cake Challenge - Ryan

Ryan's Cake Challenge Results

I will keep that link updated.

My Ground Rules

Basic Ferguson rules for the most part, plus a couple riders and observations. For all future discussion of this challenge, I will refer to stakes that adhere to Ferguson's guidelines relative to one's current bankroll as "Ferguson stakes."

* I can buy in short at higher tables instead of just full buys at Ferguson stakes
* I can take occasional shots at higher stakes so long as losing my buyin at the higher stakes won't put my bankroll below 20 buyins at Ferguson stakes
* I won't be playing in as many tournaments as I'm sure a tournament specialist like Ferguson did. I prefer cash to begin with, and I like the flexibility of being able to quit at will.



$4 - $5.04

10 Hands

NLHE 30-Player Tournament

$1.00 + $.10

In classic microstakes form, everyone is throwing their chips around like drunk Steve. “Corina” in particular has been raising and calling with anything, and has been pretty lucky. I’m looking to let “her” do the betting for me when I finally catch a hand. I get AKo UTG and just limp because it’s likely someone will raise based on the table action. That doesn’t happen, but the flop looks good for me and I get what I was looking for: Corina making a terrible call against me. Pass the Sklanski bucks.



I can’t take it. This is the kind of shit that busted me online last time. And this. I’m not saying these were great plays, but they are what I think you have to do: overplay premium hands because somebody with a worse hand will play back. They just keep winning against me lately.

$4 – $0

43 Hands


Nice flop, meh turn, nice river.

But it’s Omaha, so naturally I throw away my profit on the next hand because I’m stubborn and ignore my gut too much.

Wow. Sets in O8 just suck ass. Fucking donkeys.

$4 – $0

11 Hands


I guess I just suck at this game. I think the poker gods are just hitting me over the head with how vulnerable sets are in Omaha, especially undersets. These tables are soooo beatable…I’m just not playing optimally, and I’m getting unlucky to boot.

But Omaha sets! Holy crap! Unless the board is as dry as they come and you have top set (you have KK on a board of K92 rainbow), they are drawing hands. Let’s say the flop is 9h 8h 2s and you have 9c 9d Ad 2c. You don’t have “top set.” You don’t have “the nuts.” That’s hold’em thinking. You have six outs on the flop, and maybe three more on the turn, assuming an overcard doesn’t have you drawing to a one-outer, and it’s probably to a chop, not a scoop.

Here, poker stoving (well, ProPokerTooling) this hand and this flop against four random hands (and in microstakes O8, you will have four opponents), you have only 30% equity. You are the “favorite,” but you should treat it like a typical open-ender in hold’em.

$4 – $0

1 Hand


OK, look, just folded two pair without a thought (Q325), I’m getting better! Of course, the hi winner ends up winning with two pair.

Sob, I can’t do anything right…Folded A2 on the turn with no diamond flush. OK, not a bad fold, I am being openly ROTey, but crap I want some dollars!

I think I finally played a flopped set correctly. And one finally connected on the river.

Folded 3dAs8s5h which would have won the low, but I like the fold. That’s a terrible place to take a stand.

$4 + $2 – $5.42

25 Hands

OK, I feel like I just got roofied. Was up at $90, now I’m almost sugar-free.



Busted on the second hand. I made what I hoped would be a sweetener raise with A24x and a good shot at a nut low, but it got bumped by a short stack. I had a nice low draw, and decided to go with it figuring that I would take half the pot if a low came barring a nasty counterfeiting. Turns out another guy had my exact low, so I was quartering at best.

I knew it was risky, but also figured it couldn’t hurt to set a rep as a gambler for a rebuy with so many big stacks at the table. Plan B it is.

$4 – > $0 – 2 Hands


Awesome lolmaha. Had to run the numbers on that hand. If I had joined in with my 6h2h6c4d, it would have looked like this. Interesting to note that the guy with AA had the worst EV because of his lack of a winnable low.

More Awsome lolmaha, this time I’m the recipient of the jackpot.

This time it busts me. Very next hand, too. Good old flop nuts that fail to hold up. This is an interesting one to stove. I have the absolute nuts on the flop, but with no low draw and my vulnerability to straight and flush draws, I’m actually in third place in the EV race! By the turn, when I get it all in there, my EV is 40%, but the river killed me.

This underscores the importance of seeing flops in O8 with solid low draws. You lose so much EV without a shot at the low that the flopped nuts only had 27% EV in that hand!

$4 --> 0 - 5 hands


Major gambly table. Hand history feature went on the fritz during this run, but I couldn’t even make it around to my BB to cash out up before I was compelled to shove with the odds. It didn’t work out and I busted again.

$6 --> $0 – 12 hands

So, O8 decimated my bankroll in this session. I knew it would be a swingy game to play in the challenge, but if I had just enforced a “cash out immediately when 10% of bankroll is on the table” policy instead of waiting for my BB, I would have finished near-even. Also, this table was just insane, even relative to normal microstakes O8. Total gamble-fest.


$4 +$4 -- > $4.49


$3.30 Tournament

Down to under $1k, I find KK and get healthy. Many hands later…OMFG, this is just brutal. And I’m out.

Gotta play more microstakes MTTs, the gambling is outrageous, should be well profitable in the long run.



Flopped a set and top pair, was sure I was still ahead on the flop, pretty sure I was ahead on the turn, and dead sure I was behind on the river. Buyup!

I never play 92o, but double it for O8? Sign me up! I had no idea how I was still good by the river, I thought I was busted for sure. (V1=6cAcAd2d, V2=Qc2c3c4c) Both were aiming low and didn't have two spades on them.

Wait for the blinds and bail…

$4 + $3 --> $11.72 – 16 Hands


Down a little after a big preflop raise with AJo and a c-bet, then doubled up with QQ. I knew this guy had an 8, just didn’t know what his other card was.

Then had my big score. lol. 1eyetex had a random king.

Oh, and this hand could be the cover of a book…

$4--> $9.90 – 43 Hands


$4 +$1 --> $7.06 – 21 Hands


On a whim I tried moving in with QQ on my second hand after a minraise and a call in front. Nobody had anything good enough to call with, but I thought I might look like your basic microstakes gambler by making that move on my second hand.

Tried a bluff and got reraised on the flop. Doubled up later. Wasn’t enough to avoid my first losing session in a while.

$4 --> $3.30 – 12 hands


Let’s try some six-handed.

Traded a few minor blows before the game collapsed.

$4 --> $4.26 – 14 hands


More O8

I swear, I don't even know what happened here with that river call (8433hh). If I can't avoid bad Omaha calls like this, I can't include Omaha in my cake-challenge game selection or I *will* destroy my bankroll.

Well, I added on a couple times and got some sugar in the end.

$4 +$1 +$1 --> $7.04

Let's go again!


And Again!

Sat down in the BB, and bought in for $6 because I wanted to get bought in before the hand ended and blinds passed. Won my first two hands, was up over $4, cruised the rest of the orbit and cashed out.

$6 --> $10.61



Omaha 8!

I really wanted to play some Omaha, but with no .02/.04 available, I bought in for $4 at the .05/.10 O8 table. Took my chances with this hand early on, but it didn't work out, and I busted. My "draw" that I liked turned out to be horrible after seeing the winner's hand. Gotta watch out for going to the felt on a nut low draw that will quarter you when it hits. Quartered nut lows happen all the time in O8.

$4 --> $0

I know swingy Omaha isn’t an ideal "bankroll management" game, especially at a touch over Ferguson stakes, but I think my bankroll cushion is big enough--and people play it badly enough--that I can risk the inherent swings in the game for the reward.

To that end, another shot; if I bust out, I'll get off the Omaha train before it decimates my bankroll…

I guess if I couldn't get away from the second nut low here (which I couldn't), I should have bet it.

Well, Omaha smiled on me in the way only Omaha can, when I went all in with a set, a flush draw, and the nut low draw, missed them all and hit runner-runner Broadway for the nuts and no low instead. (I thought I got the hand link, but I can’t find it).

I quit at my next blind like a good boy. I even folded bottom set (A633hhh) to a big flop bet. I had no straight or flush redraws and an awful low draw, and look what ended up happening. This is what I mean about playing Omaha smart…pick and choose when to gamble, because most of your opponents will be set to “always.”

$4 --> $13.60


I played at this hold'em table at the same time as the Omaha table. Had a couple key hands (villain = 8s7c) to put me ahead about $3.50, then had this hand on my last orbit. Solid sugar from both tables despite the early Omaha stumble.

$4 --> $10.16


$4 --> $4.33

In this hand, The min-raise preflop and the min-raise on the flop confused me a bit. I'm not sure how the hand would have gone down if I didn't catch one of my 3s or Qs to make things more straightforward. A more serious raise on the flop would have got me to fold, but he did have me confused.

On this hand, I get 99, and I'm facing an EP standard preflop raise and one caller. In spots like this, you have to decide right then if you are going to treat 99 like a better pocket pair, or a worse one. You certainly can't treat them like nines; that would be a disaster.

On the previous hand, I raised in the CO with QJ off, c-bet a K-high flop, got called, checked it down, and won with a river J. I had to show the table my marginal raise, though, which is an image adjuster. Because of that last hand, I felt re-raising with the nines would get me more action than I wanted, so I decided to treat them like a worse pair and set mine. With that many to the flop, I'm done when the board pairs jacks. Aficionado2 doesn't show, but I'm certain he held a jack.

If there's no reraise, I'm happily calling this obvious short-stack gambler with my ATss. The iso reraise works with QQ, though, and I correctly fold what would have been a big winner.

(AKcc) I liked the raise to $.30 (slightly more than pot-sized) preflop, because someone is probably going to pay that awful price to see a flop. When they do, and I hit top top with a flop that dry, I should have made a callable bet and not the microstakes overshove, but he did take until the last second to decide to fold.

(AQo) God, just when I'm doing great, I fuck it up. Classic, I was going to quit when the blinds got to me, too. Layla had been playing pretty loose, betting and calling with lots of marginal hands postflop, so I don't think it was a horrible call, but I didn't have to lose a buyin on that hand. I should have cut my losses on the river.

OK, I hit a flush and made $.33 of sugar. Good enough for now, if frustrating that I don't have my almost-$4 in sugar…


$4, +$2.89, +$2.02 --> $3.82, 40 hands

Sometimes you have to fold quads. (32o)

Expert play at the microstakes! I love the minraise war on the turn where the guy with trip sixes lets the gutshot hit with his awful betting. Really, I'm including this hand to show manderson's $2 bet into the $1 pot with the straight on the river. I think most 100%+ pot-sized bets on the river at $.02/$.04 are just the mircostakes equivalent of value bets.

6h5h - OK, the micro-stakes value bet on the river didn't work out on this one, but the whole min-bet-the-flop-and-turn thing created Jason's dream scenario: the chaseable gutshot/runner-runner!

Brutal. If he had pushed instead of check-min-raised, I might have thought I was behind and folded. Well, I got him to make a big mistake, so there you go. That's why proper bankroll management involves such a big cushion. You need to be able to withstand a ton of beats like that in a row without busting, because at some point, you will get tons of beats like that in a row.

I lose a coinflip with AK. I will pretty much never fold AK preflop at microstakes. I had AA the previous hand and won without a showdown, so my short-term image was very aggro. When I raise again on the next hand and someone overshoves, it's almost certain I've got a coin flip at worst, and maybe even domination. Also, sometimes that third player will gamble in terrible shape in that spot as well and make the call.

And that will do it for this nasty little session.


Hand 1

Hand 2 (I have AK)

Hand 3

Despite the help from RJ, I’m going to skip putting hand links in the spreadsheet, and instead use this post. That way I can more easily include commentary on the hands.


Villain's river bet felt like a go-away move, so I made the call.

9/24 $4.00 --> $8.10

Three-club flop wasn't ideal, but I bet strong to make any draws pay, and to check for any made hands.. If the one big stack had raised I would have folded, but I couldn't sweat that one of those small stacks might be made or suck out.

These are the laydowns I have to make regularly online if my online game is going to ever match my live game. I keep forgetting it doesn't save the Hero's hand info in the link if Hero folds. I'm pretty sure I had JJ, QQ, or KK here, and gave him credit.

I'd be interested in anyone's thoughts on this very common online maneuver that "get a beer" pulls here: tiny-betting the flop and turn. I make my hand on the river, but since any T beats me, I can only call on the river. Sometimes it seems to be a "feel for check/fold" buttons. Other times it's "I have a monster and I am going to make a big bet on the river." Sometimes it feels like a blocking bet. In any case I see it frequently at every stake level I've played online. In this case, it just gave me a fine price to draw, and at $.04 tables, I'm not even going to semi-bluff that often.

9/26 $4.00 --> $7.90

I wasn't even in this hand, I folded A7o preflop, but it illustrates something important about microstakes online poker: at least half the table is there specifically to gamble cheaply, not to play good poker. Just wait for great hands and play them super-aggressively.

I somehow failed to make a page out of it, but on the next hand I played a strong hand aggressively and busted someone.

Sometimes they catch you. Not that KJs is a great hand, but against this guy it was an instacall, especially with his stack. You can ID the ones really there to gamble pretty easily after a few hands.

AcQd played aggressively. Give people chasing the chance to make huge mistakes, because at these stakes, they will. With two flush draws on the turn, I overshoved to do just that, but he went away.

Beware of the person overbetting at you, they may be playing the style I'm suggesting, as this guy is here. He made two pair, massively overshoved, and ran into my better two pair, but I certainly like his overshove more than a standard raise in this spot.

A nice hand to quit on.

Today's microstakes lesson: be the overshover, don't call the overshover. That's "everyone on here is a donk" thinking that will turn you into a donk faster than Pinoccio on Pleasure Island.


JR said...

There are a couple of ways to get a hyperlink in a cell of a Google spreadsheet...
1 - if you want the URL to show, just enter it.. a published view will be a live link... As long as it starts with "http://" or "www.".

2 - if you want more friendly text, enter a formula like:
=hyperlink("", "share spreadsheets here")

The main restriction is that you can't have a cell be mixed with some text normal and some hyperlinked...

Have fun!

Marshall said...

Thanks for the tip jr, much appreciated!

Bob Loblaw said...

And for those of you out there who may be a little miffed by the "Big Brother" nature of JR's seemingly from out of nowhere reply, may I direct your attention to Google Alerts.

My guess is that Google has somebody monitoring the use of Google Spreadsheets by having a standing search for, among other things, "". So, any page that mentions that combination of words falls onto JR's desk, and we get a nice instant reply!

If only everything were so easy.

Ryan said...


Ryan said...


Any thoughts on how the info is being presented, here? Anyone actually reading the hand histories? Is editing the main post with histories going to get too large?

Marshall said...

I am reading the hand histories and checking for updates daily. It is presented fine, the post getting big isn't really an issue. I am going to go update mine now.