Thursday, October 11, 2007

FTP Fake Cake Challenge update: Ten bagger!

Busted through the five digit mark today on FTP: 10,676 right now after scooping a 7cs hi/lo pot worth almost 1000 with a King high diamond flush and a 7 high low that put me over the top.


* Fold, fold, fold. I find it easier to throw away marginal hands by multi-tabling and doing email/blogging/surfing between good starting hands. I don't get invested too much in a hand. I look for good starters and optimally I will catch something on 4th street that means I have a ton of outs to make a good hand on the last three streets. If I brick I don't mind paying a small bet to see what 5th street brings but if there is any action at all I get out. I don't even know what a good high hand is. I regularly fold big pairs either split or down. Don't care about them if they can't make me a low. Haven't been rolled up yet but I'll play that for fun. I will also see if I can improve if I start with three to a straight flush but any hand with a card 9 or higher is definitely the exception. Fold, fold, fold then fold some more.

* It's good to be low. Basic strategy with high/low games but hand selection is critical. You basically want to start with a Razz hand and hope to improve to a straight or flush. Sometimes you back into two pair and that wins sometimes too but obviously the margin for error there is slim to still make your low. Essentially you aim to always win the low and sometimes scoop. You see so many d0nks complete or raise with a King showing and you know they are going to feed the pot when you are involved in a hand. They think that when they pair their Jack that they're golden because they have one Jack down and nobody will suspect how "powerful" they are...even though they have been check calling until the Jack hits and then they lead at the pot...sneaky indeed!

* The play in Stud is a lot like what was happening in Pass the Trash. Once things become clear where people stand then it becomes a jam fest. The low is pushing as much as he can and the two highs *have* to call either because they are already there or because they just need the one...last...card to make their stupendous hand. Again, by going low you can tax these d0nks by keeping half of whatever the three or four of you put in. Once you get your low or scoop hand and are up against someone who likes their hand, everyone else gets middled and end up feeding the pot, they keep check calling in hopes to see a cheap card even though two other players are in a raising war.

* I like shorthanded tables, maybe 4 or 5 players. The problem is that if you have too many players, once two of them make their hands then it gets too expensive to see your next card if you aren't already there yet. Smaller tables makes it easier for you to control pot size by check calling until you are ahead then jamming the pot.

* Betting stations are your friend as long as no one else has made a hand before yours. Just check/call until you are home free then you get all the action you want. But if you get two betting stations at the same table it's time to leave. Even with a fantastic starting hand it is just too expensive to try to make your hand when they are capping every street. Though the odds are with you holding a A23 suited, it's just not worth the hassle of paying full price just to see brick or 4th street.

So that's what I've found. I'm looking forward to padding my roll a little more then starting in on higher stakes so I can get to six digits. And while I've been blogging I've taken my roll to 11,070.


Sushi Cowboy said...

Now 12,559.

Multi-tabled four games, two 7cs h/l and two Razz. I buy in for 500 at each. It's limit so it's not all at risk and 500 means I don't have to reload if I hit a cooler. It also keeps the math easy to tell how up or down I am. One Razz game was heads up so I bailed because it consumed too many cycles to keep pressing the check button. I also just folded the 7cs h/l tables.

But the fourth table. Bingo!
Hand #1
[3d 4d] [Ac] and I call a complete, yeah I should probably raise here but I'm playing conservative. I know I can get action later if I need it.
[9d] Brick. Yuck. Check/call 10.
5th street brings [Qc]. Not great but I'm probably still ahead of others but I can't determine that I am for sure.
[6s] Nice. Floor it. Collect one other player in a raising war and we cap.
[8d] Nice river. I bet and he missed so just flat calls.
My with 8,6,4,3,A is good for 340

Hand #2
Dealt [3h 6c] [2h] and again just call a complete. I think I should be betting for value here. In fact since I'm so finicky with my starting hands I should probably always complete or bet as a value bet. Problem has been that once the barrier of just completing has been breached, it's a slippery slope to capping all streets. Can't explain it, but I've seen it happen.
[7c] and I call a small bet of 10. There is a 73 showing that I need to keep an eye on.
[4h] and the 73 collects a K on fifth street. Cap it with two callers.
[Td] A turd but I'm already there and everyone else is showing crap. Capped a round of 4x20 bets.
[Jd] Irrelevant. I bet and get action from SaintJimmy.
My 7,6,4,3,2 beats his T,9,8,5,2 and is good for 870 between the main pot and side pot.

Hand #3
Dealt [Ah 5h] [2d]. WTF? What did have for breakfast and where do I get some more? Once again I flat call 10.
[3s] I ride my heater and start betting. Collect three callers and we cap it.
[4h] I'm unconscious! Now I know how Jeh must feel! Cap it with same three callers.
[7s] Kinda wish this were a King so my up cards aren't all so awesome but oh well. Bet it. Cap it.
[2h] As if I needed it. One person finally folds but I cap with the remaining two.

My wheel is good for 1,125. Ship it!

Ryan said...

"My 7,6,4,3,2 beats his T,9,8,5,2 and is good for 870 between the main pot and side pot."

Is there no qualifier for the low on this site?

Marshall said...

I think it was a razz hand?

Sushi Cowboy said...

Marsh is right. I just folded my hands on the 7cs h/l tables because I was on a heater on the one Razz table I kept.

Literally sat down and played three hands at that table, three wins, $2335.

Sushi Cowboy said...


I dove into the 100/200 game. Bankroll-wise it was maybe a questionable decision. I sat down with 2K of my 12.5K and I felt a little uneasy about it but I sat and observed the table for a while and decided that they weren't doing anything crazy. Hands were completed at most on third street. Many times 4th and 5th were checked through. All in all a very civil game.

I also told myself that I can ante $20/deal and fold for relatively cheap. If I just call and it is not completed I can see four cards for $45. Small bet is $100 and I should know by then whether or not to bail so I figure that I could budget $220 for an ante, calling a complete, and one another small bet in case I brick on fourth street and then either commit with a great hand or bail. $220 out of a roll of over 12K I figure is reasonable.

I would even go so far as saying that fixed limit play can be a real bankroll aid because it cuts down on swinginess as long as you don't end up at a dual maniac table.

As I was saying, the 100/200 table was a 180 from the 10/20 table. What a difference an order of magnitude means. No raising wars except maybe on 7th. Relatively small pot/blind ratio compared to the 10/20 tables. Because they aren't being jammed by lotto players.

So I sit and wait. Twenty bucks a throw takes its toll after a while. I'm being patient but have spent $200 or over 1% of my roll just waiting to play. I remain convinced that I can play LDP and only start committing serious money in EV+ situations.

I'm digging through the hand history logs trying to find the first 100/200 hand I took down and I keep seeing "TheSushiCowboy folded on 3rd St." lines and pat myself on the back.

Key hand #1
I get involved with [4s 3c] [2d] and call a complete.
[Kd] Worst card ever. But I've budgeted for a brick so I call a small bet but would not have paid two small bets.
[3s] Wrong small card. I'm done with this hand but it checks around. I have 23 showing but I'm not going to bluff because players with strong high hands or draws are not going to fold so I save my ammo purely for value bets after I'm there on the 100/200 tables.
[Td] Someone give me the rip cord. Checks around again.
[9h] Someone throws out a big bet and I fold.
Not bad. I got to see all streets for my budgeted $220.
Level of play is much higher here. Did I mention that before?

I'm down to 1620 of my 2K buy in and I'm squirming just a little. I haven't deviated from plan and I gave myself a good chance to take down half a pot but the cards didn't cooperate. Not a biggie.

Key hand #2
[2d 5h] [6d] and I call a complete.
[Ah] and I'm liking it. Call one bet for sure.
[4c] and I step on the gas. Bet 200 and get calls around. No raising war. :(
[5s] I'll take it. Gives me more options. I bet it again and everyone calls.
[7h] I raise a bet from the only other player involved on 7th and he just calls.
I pick up 2,060 for the low and that pushes my stack up to a healthy $2660

Get another good starting hand which but the middles streets double pair me. I flirt with the idea that my Aces up could be good but someone raises and make a conservative fold. These guys don't screw around. One guy has JKT2 showing and another guy has 3669 showing. There is no way I'm good. I was behind Broadway *and* trip sixes. Small and big bets add up quick and I'm sugar free down to 1895.

Players leave and I'm heads up. Get a 383 hand and call a complete. [3c] on 4th street and now I have trips. I bet every street trying to protect but to no avail. I don't generate a low or boat up and eventually lose to a gutter on the river. That decimates my stack down to 690 and I leave that table because I shouldn't be playing heads up. I also learn that it is going to be hard to push players off their hands if they have multi-way draws because they are priced in.

I buy into a different table for a fresh 2K and doubt is creeping in to my head for going up to 100/200 but I realize what I did wrong by breaking ranks and playing heads up instead of my targeted 4 or 5 player tables. I fluctuate up and down. Had a good starting hand that pairs up then bricks. I have lots of outs so I chase to single bets then finally back into Aces up on the river. I call a single big bet in hopes that I'm good and cash in.

I then find that I'm playing marginal hands after a while and decide I should buy into another table to keep the boredom calls at bay.

With two tables running and surfing in browser window I settle back into the same routine and gain a healthy disrespect for the stakes involved. I am EV+ with my routine and I'm going to ride it out for some more.

I'm up to 2333 on one table and pick up [5h Ac] [6d] and limp/call a complete.
[8h] Nice. Call a small bet.
[Kh] Meh. I call a big bet then it gets bumped so I call another.
[3d] Now we're talking. I'm pretty sure I'm good but am not going to ram the pot. I call one big bet then a raise.
[Ah] I would have preferred a deuce but I'll take it. Action is checked around to then the small stack to my left pushes in for 160. Everyone calls all around back to me and I decide that no one is that strong so I throw a value big bet on top of the all in's 160 to build a side pot in case I lose the main pot. My 8,6,5,3,A is good for the low of a big pot and I drag in 3,490 for my troubles.

I stand up from the tables so I can put the money in the vault. I learned some new stuff and saw where I was making my mistakes. Overall I picked up over a grand and that included some bad play that cost me a thou or so. My stats confirm that I'm LDP'ing even more because I'm only seeing 27% of 4th streets. I think the extra exposure to bankroll fluctuation is worth the risk because of how 7cs and limit betting works since I can protect myself from excessive threat to my stack. I'm going to switch up to 100/200 now and I expect that applying the same discipline will allow me to grow my bankroll even faster now. Next stop 25,000.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Had a down session. Played the same way at the 100/200 table. Folded plenty. Saw some 4th streets that fizzled. Got my money in good while I was ahead and got drawn out on on the river. Costs more to lose at 100/200. and I am down about 1500 from my 2000 buy in.

I do a sanity check to make sure that there is not "irrational exuberance" on my part and thinking that I am bulletproof when I was just getting lucky the whole time. Is this the beginnings of a stock market crash? I review my play and decide that I was going by game plan. No steam plays. No chasing. It was a not a very long session and I write it off to short term variance and I feel that I am still EV+ when I stick to plan.

It does bring the idea of bankroll management into focus again though. Yes, I'm putting a large percent of my roll on the table but I still feel that I can control my investment very carefully through the first four cards and position myself to be in good shape before stuff gets too expensive.

I actually feel more comfortable playing multi-table. Not only for the previously mentioned reasons of being able to be more selective since you see so many more hands but also because it smooths out variance inherently because you are seeing 2, 3, or more times as many hands during the same session.

I'm down to 12,545 or 50% of my next stop. Still feel confident that I can build my bankroll by sticking to plan and that I am not playing excessively above my roll.

Sushi Cowboy said...

So I was planning on sitting down for an hour. I open up three 100/200 7cs h/l tables and put down 2K on each. Once again bankroll management issues creep into my head. I have half of my bankroll spread out on my screen in front of me. Is that prudent? If this were no limit or pot limit I think that would be reckless but for 20 ante, 25 bring, and 100 small bets, I'm OK with it. I plan to stick with only risking 220 to see fourth street with only premium starting hands.

Doesn't take me long to pick up a strong starting hand on one table.
[2h Ad] [5c] and I limp then call a complete to avoid anyone bumping me if I complete first.
[3s] I like. All other boards are showing no realistic ambitions on the low side. I just check/call 100.
[Ah] Not the best card but not the worst card either. I'm looking to make my low first but Aces up might be good enough to scoop. Check/call a big bet of 200
[7s] Home free. Based on other players' up cards I'm a virtual lock for the low. I check. Player to my left bets off their remaining 138. Just calls all the way around. I once again decide to value bet another 200 which everyone still in the hand calls. I also want to build a side pot in case the guy to my left has perfect down cards and steals my low.
[4c] Holy crap! Two Fours on the 3rd street are exposed and another one came on fourth. I catch the case Four to complete my wheel and I'm glad I valued sixth street. I am really hoping I can scoop this monster. I bet out 200 and just get flat calls all around.
Some guy rivers his flush to cut my scoop in half but I still drag 2694 chips into my stack.

I stand up from all of my tables and just like that I'm $1500 healthier. 14,156 now. Over 10% up in one hand.

7cs h/l remains top of my list for games to beat. The play at 100/200 is much much stronger than 10/20 but that works to your advantage too because it is reasonable play and players behave rationally. The downside is you don't get betting stations throwing chips at you when they are clearly beat but I'd rather be able to see more streets for reasonable prices so I'm OK with the tradeoff. It is a relatively low risk/high reward game because you just let a trickle of antes drain from your stack but you get buckets back whenever you get a good starting hand, catch a helper card on 4th street, then ram chips in when you make your low. So many players play high hands that this game makes it easy to pull down half pots because while you may not have the nuts, it is easy to determine that no one else is going for a low or a lot of times can't even make a low.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Three tables of 7cs hi/lo 100/200.

I end up being bring-in for a marginal hand but back into a qualifying low. Everyone else looks high so put out a big bet on 6th and get called around then another on 7th and get called around again. I drag the low half of the pot and that puts me up for the session.

Another table I learn an expensive lesson. I have a decent low going then keep getting clubs, five of them by sixth street. A guy with a pair showing is leading at the pot. I still have a low possible so and I'm pretty sure it would be good for low if I hit. On seventh street he leads again and I now have 6 clubs and four to the straight flush (not that that matters) but no low. He leads and I raise him with all four of my up cards showing clubs. He raises me back and I make a crying click. He shows a boat and I paid 400 more than I had to on the end. I was in a marginal situation to begin with and made it worse with horrible betting on the end.

I actually end up taking down a high end. I have split Aces with a King and figure I'll take a look. Blank on fourth street but I trip up my aces on 5th. Catch a Ten on 6th and pair it on 7th and I'm fairly confident that I'll take the high. No re-raises but I do drag a decent pot.

Another lesson. I pick up a fairly decent two way hand 3c5c/6c. I want to bet my good starter hand but 2c and 4c are in other player's up cards. Not that I'm obsessed with the straight flush but those are like triple outs for me. They both take away a low card, a straight card, and a flush card. I guess it counts as only one out but those are the same cards that if I picked them up would get me leading into the pot based on huge scoop possibilites. I eventually end up throwing my hand away.

Another strong hand I pick up is something like an A54. I pick up a fourth and get in the middle of a mild raising war with two clear highs. I pair my Ace then I pair my Five. I stick around for boat outs and low outs. End up making three pair. Dissapointing river to what was a healthy pot. I think I paid it off too for a big bet in case Aces up were good. The play on 100/200 is good enough that I do not need to keep player's honest. I should fold that with confidence that I won't be bluffed there enough times to justify looking people up. EV- all the way.

Lesson learned...applied! One table gets too short handed. We're down to three and my strategy doesn't play well in that situation so I just ask to be dealt out, keep my seat, and sit back down when the table populates more. Once again multi-tabling proves its worth by letting me just stand from a table with bad conditions yet still allows me to keep seeing hands on the other tables.

I realize I made a calculation error in that I'm not actually seeing hands quite as cheaply as I thought because of the bring-in which I hadn't previously accounted for. Seem to be saddled with a lot of bring-in bets today but without the necessary down cards to justify calling a complete.

Another lesson is that you cannot "protect" a low in hi/lo. I had a marginal starting hand and actually made my low right away so I hammered 5th, 6th, and 7th streets but was caught by another low. Just because you have a qualifying low does not make it a strong low or a winning low. I don't think the other players were chasing or backing in to a low. I think they probably just had decent multiway draws like any reasonable player has and it just happens that their low came through for them.

Learned a bunch of lessons the hard way (i.e. the expensive way) and ended up down a bunch. I need to reload one of my tables to the tune of another 2000. Not thrilled about that but I think back to session where I sat down and picked more than that in three hands. I write off the losses as education costs.

I come into a hand with a medium strength starting cards. I find my low against a guy that just seems aggro. His up cards are not very coordinated and I think he's just betting air/longshot draws. I am somewhat cautious though I'm fairly certain that I'm good for low. I eventually find myself with trip Sixes to go along with my low, bet it and get raised by aggro. I think about it a little and look at his up cards again and just can't see how I'm beat. I figure I'm at least good for either high or low and raise him for value. He calls and I end up scooping a pot worth over 4000!

I realize that losses are part of the game especially when still learning so I try not to get too phased. Bankroll-wise the 2K hit to the vault was a little unnerving. Part of bankroll management is weathering the inevitable swings that you will encounter and I'm somewhat concerned about dumping such a large portion of my stack in an hour. That big scoop makes me feel like I kinda dodged a bullet by getting sugar back after being down so much but then I thought through it more and figured that I PUT myself in the situation to get lucky and scoop there. My strategy of trying to always take down the low and sometimes scoop paid off in that case. I don't want to be ROTty but I'm OK with how the fluctuations went this session. I am certainly trending the correct direction which enforces the contention that my play is EV+ even after jumping up to 10x stakes.

I cash out of my three tables for 11,644. Take out the 3x2K original buys and the 2K reload, I'm up 3.6K for the session. Current tally 17,800.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Rolled up...not all that it's cracked up to be. For the first time in my Stud career I start off rolled up. I have the Hollywood pre-fix: 555. I call all raises on all streets and brick out four streets in a row. My house would have lost to someone with Jacks full of Fours anyway. My case Five was buried in someone's down cards. I realize I know nothing about odds in Stud. Time to go find a book at the bookstore if there is one. The Internets tell me that I'm 40% to boat up. I guess rolled up is like flopping a set and the strength comes from having a powerful hand that no one can see. Problem is that in stud with seven cards to play from that trips doesn't win very often. Well it was fun to see rolled up anythings, not worth getting too invested in though unless they are higher and get the right help on later streets. Well that lesson cost me a grand or so. I get that back at that table in the next few hands.

Don't sweat the small stuff. Sometimes you ante, call a bring in with a decent starting hand that just does nothing but you end up with a pair of Aces by the river. There was such little action the pot has only 300-400 in it and someone bets out on 7th. Just let it go. It's so easy for someone to have fallen into a flukey trips or catch their gutter that you are probably behind and it's not worth 200 into such a small pot to find out. The pot is just too small and the ROI sucks. Save the big bet for when you're likely good and it will be called multi-way.

Be observant. It's a no brainer but here it is anyway. Look at the rest of the table's up cards. This will give you tons of information. When someone completes what is their up card? High or low? That helps tell you what you are up against. Hands play pretty much like they look. You can also see everyone else's hands in the hand history. What is the guy with Js showing getting so excited about that he is pushing the action? Pair of Aces underneath. That's a yawner for me but good to know how other players value their hands. When someone catches a wheel card and speed up then they either have made or are four to a low with maybe some other draws. Someone shows three or four of a suit and are betting, they have a flush. Again, not rocket science or anything but the play at 100/200 level is decent enough that it's OK to take these bets as essentially honest or at least not bluffing often enough to worry about.

I had to reload one of my tables and decide to do some analysis so I pull up the visual hand history on that table and leaf through the 30 hands I've played on it. Zero showdowns. That's a certain amount of decent starter hands that didn't get there but I can also tell that I'm chasing a little too much too. I need to have better guidelines of when to call. i.e. don't call a raised street unless you are already four to a low or three to a low and a redraw or something like that. Haven't figured out what is right but I think I need to work on.

Hand of the session:
I am dealt [5h Th] [4h]. Good possibilities. I'd obviously prefer three low hearts but I will at least see 4th street with this hand. No completes, what a bargain.
[3h] Yes! I am getting more attached to this hand. I call a small bet with a strong hand brewing.
[8h] Feeling very good. Not only do I complete my flush but I'm four to a low also. I now start leading at the pot for value and get multiple callers. You know what card would *really* make me feel good about this hand? Yep...
[Ah]! Gives me an Ace high flush AND a qualifying low. I bet again and get four callers, with FOUR Hearts as my up cards! And NOW the only thing that will really make this hand the ultimate would be...
[2d] Yahtzee! OK, not the ultimate card since a 2h would have been the nuts but I'll take it. I have an unbeatable low and a likely good high. I bet again, get a raiser, one caller, I re-raise, get re-re-raised, and call the cap. It was what I thought, this clown thought he was going to grab the low and shows a measly 7,6,5,3,A and obviously oblivious to the fact that though I was showing 438A up that I was lying perfect underneath. I scoop a 4890 monster pot!

I decide to call it a session and deal myself out while I do my end of session accounting. My tables are 6320, 2235, and 1940 for a total of 10495 from three 2K buys and a 2K reload. Net: 3495. I'll take it. Now 20,295.