Monday, October 15, 2007

The last order of magnitude is always the hardest

I have cracked the 50,000 barrier in my FTP Fake Cake Challenge and that brings up a topic that I've been meaning to blog about, how scaling affects your bankroll growth.

When I started I fumbled around on the tables and knocked down my original allotment of 1000 fake bucks to 700-800. I know it's fake but I was not going to reload. I was going to protect that the same way you guys are with your Cake money. I played small ball to edge my roll up and when I felt comfortable to dip my foot in, I took on the 10/20 tables because I felt that the 7cs hi/lo and Razz tables gave me the best shot to run up my roll. As my older blog entries suggested, I was rationing out every ante and bring in to keep my risk minimized. Since then my roll has grown 50 times as large as it originally was. That same 200 that I was worried about being down is now a value bet on the end of a hand.

The problem that I'm going to run into soon is how much harder it is to keep my growth going. 10/20 tables were very soft. 100/200 less so. I imagine higher tables are going to be more challenging...assuming I can find one. They offer 500/1000 tables but there are fewer of them and empty at times because there aren't enough players so I can't just jump up my stakes and expect to keep growing the roll like I have been. Currently I open four tables and pull down about $4000 every 100 hands which takes about 45 minutes to run. That's averaging $40 per hand that I play, mucked or not. If I keep playing here I can pull down a few K a session but then my growth is going to slow down. I can open up more tables maybe but I'm already pretty much at every open table already.

This is the same problem that mutual funds run into. When the mutual fund is small they can find some small caps, invest in them and get stellar returns. But as the fund grows larger, buying a $20 million dollar company that grows 10x in value over a couple years is not going to have the same impact for a $5 billion fund as it would on a $200 million fund. The amount of money coming in may be the same but the percentage growth drops off significantly. A mutual fund can buy bigger companies but big companies don't grow as fast as small ones.

Fortunately for you Cakers there are a lot more tables with a more gradual jumps between stakes to allow for a smooth and gradual increase in bankroll but depending on how long you guys go with the challenge, I wanted to give you a glimpse into the future.


Sushi Cowboy said...

Worst session ever. My Ace/Queen/Six flush was NOTCHED! That hurt. Cards just weren't coming and the cards that did come didn't get enough help. Made some marginal chase/calls.

My 4th street percentage was only 21% so I'm satisfied with that. I only saw the river 8 times out of 109 hands, pretty damn selective. Only won 3 of 7 showdowns though. None of them scoops.

Just a bad session. My bankroll took a big hit. I'm down to 42,882. That's about 15% of my stack in one session. Probably qualifying as poor bankroll management being able to lose that much of my roll that quickly. I still have 85% of my roll though and this is certainly a huge aberration from many many many sessions where I was pure EV+ by adhering to my hand selection and go/no-go decision standards.

It's a big hit but I feel that the reason I am even have that much to lose is because of previous success using the system. Something to review but I'm far from pushing the panic button.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Back on track. Sat down for another quick session. Opened up three Stud H/L tables though one died off pretty quick. Did a little Razz too. EV+ for Razz but I can get better return on Stud H/L.

Was dealt 101 Stud hands and too 30% of them to 4th. A little high but I was getting more starters as well. Took 13 of them to 7th and went to showdown on 9 of those. Won ALL 9 showdowns. I like that ratio. 6 were splits and 3 were scoops. Oh, I did play one high hand, it was three to the Spade Royal and I hit it. Don't try this at home kids.

Razz I saw 9 of 34 hands to 4th. Went all the way to the river with 6 hands showed them all down and went 50/50 for wins.

Not much action at this hour so I pulled up a 250 tourney table. Got a little frisky with 2nd pair and went out early. Did another and came in third mostly by folding my way into the money. Hit top two pair and big stack was doing the betting for me. He flopped bottom pair then tripped up on the turn. Oh well. Cashed for 450 so Sit and Go's are just about break even. I think SnG's might help feed the roll since I can 2x, 3x, or 5x my money. I'll need to see how tough the tables are at higher stakes.

Now 46,592. Repairing the dent in my stack from my bad session and building some mo' back to 50K.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Ran two SnGs at the same time. A NLHE and a PLO8. Bought in for 250 each and cashed out 1st for 1125 from each of them. Picked up a big hand in each to plump up my stack and then just sat back and waited for everyone to kill each other off.

Wouldn't say that it was *easy* money but it didn't take anything special besides basic fundamentals and patience. I even sat out of one tourney to finish off the other and backed into a short stacked 2nd place. Then came back to win. O8 takes a while because of a lot of split pots. ROI is decent but $/Hr is not so great at the 250 table. I think I'd have to play 2000 table to make it worthwhile. I just wanted to test the tourney waters before jumping in to a 2K.

Now 48,342.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Played a MTT. 10 tables, 90 players. First hand and it's down to about half that. Saw a min raised pot with As7s and flopped the nut flush. 4sTs pushes in ahead of me and I flat call. No other customers. I'm doing OK. Limp with As5s, no repeat luck. Take a stab with top pair in a limped pot when I'm in BB. Two callers and I'm done, I had third best hand. I shove with 77, no customers. Wait it out until there are 14 players left. Multiple limps and I pick up KK. Shove. One caller with A6(os?) who flops an Ace. Nice. Finished 14th, 5 out of the money. Poop.

Ryan said...

When are you going to start playing for real money, so I can start considering your results relevant?

I will grant you that there is a tipping point at which the seriousness with which people take play money games is equal to that of microstakes real money, but I'm having a hard time contextualizing your results since I don't know where that tipping point is.

I want to see part two, where we find out of the donkfest of play-money 7CSHL and Razz carries over to microstakes real money...

Sushi Cowboy said...

I'm back north of 50K. Slightly card dead. 201 hands and I only netted 2321. $10/hand is not where I want to be but again, the vast majority of my hands are mucked. I will take some small pots which allows me to tread water by offsetting my folds. Medium pots are where my profit comes from. But all of that is just so that I can afford to lie in wait for the monster pots which have been eluding me lately.

Saw 4th street 23%. Went to the river 21 times (little high). Showed down 17 times and won 11 but scooped 7 of them which helps a lot.

Now 50,413.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Actually I just mailed Joe last night about setting up a Cake account because I sense that there is a discrepancy between my Fake Cake results and what you guys are running into.

Joe offered to transfer money into an FTP account for me but I want to do it on Cake just to make it completely even footing and so I don't hear about how I'm plinking 7cs hi/lo games instead of playing Hold'em and Omaha like you guys.

I would say that I'm not at the tipping point yet skillwise. The % of players who see 4th street runs about 85%-90% on play money, despite how much I try to drag that down when I'm at the table. Having any hand selection requirements at all puts you way ahead in a game like Stud. By comparison the .25/.50 Stud H/L game has a 62% rate and the 1/2 is lower at around 50%. Now I wouldn't call .25/.50 micostakes but it's the lowest FTP offers for that game.

I feel like I've learned a lot of skills that will help me excel at the Real Cake Challenge. I look forward to getting an account set up and we'll see how transferable the lessons from play money are.

Ryan said...

Cake if you will, but if 7CSHL is what you want to try, by all means, go for FTP. The goal is to attempt proper bankroll management, and I'd actually be curious to see how that worked out for you targeting 7cshl.

Heck, if Joe can transfer into a FTP account, I may double it up and run a cake challenge and an FTP challenge in parallel...

Sushi Cowboy said...

I don't think that me cleaning up at Stud H/L on FTP with real money is going to be conclusive of anything any more than me cleaning up in Stud H/L on FTP with fake money...though me going broke would. I would rather be on the exact same footing for the Cake Challenge so that results are directly comparable. I also would rather stay away from FTP for account reasons so Cake it will be.

Marshall said...

cool when do you start?

Sushi Cowboy said...

I don't know. Joe is not in a position to set me up with an account right now so I'm just going to keep faking it for now. But when he is ready then I'll jump into the fray.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Slow going. I have been dabbling in tournaments to get a feel for how they go. Just 250 buy ins for now. I'm a hair over even. Not a huge revenue source at these levels.

I think there is an opportunity in Omaha hi/lo tourneys tough because if you think that Hold'em S&G's are bad with players shoving all in then you can imagine how bad it is in Omaha Hi/Lo. I had three tourney tables open and literally folded my way to the money when everyone knocked each other out.

I was short stacked and had the nut low on the river on another table. I had just reraised which left me with 15, the other guy put me in, and I wend to click the call button (obviously) and clicked the fold button by accident!!! D'oh!!! Left me with 1% of my starting stack and .1% of the chips on the table but I 3x'ed and 4x'ed up to healthy and then through good cards and decent play I got back up to over 4000! Chip and a chair baby! Placed second.

I did another 10 table Hold'em tourney last night after poker. I doubled up once then I fell asleep and backed into 9th place, bottom of the money ladder. Quality play.

Did a session of Stud hi/lo this morning. Not getting any spectacular pots but still grinding away. Started off too loose and dug myself a $1000+ hole. Fortunately I have the hand stats window open always and it updates real time right after the hand finishes so I can use it as a ROT-free gauge for how I'm playing. My 4th street % was too high so I had to trim that down. Also showed down some losers. But I made the adjustments and ended up the session up 4K and change. Got my 4th street % down to a more reasonable 28%. Went to show down 11 percent which I don't like being that high. But I won 22/26 of the showdowns including 6 scoops so at least I was at showdown for a reason.

Busted through the double nickel. Now 55,030 but this last 5K has been painfully slow. But I'm not going to change my game plan. I'm good with the Stud hi/lo 100/200 tables as my bread and butter for now and I believe my $/hand will come up higher. I am going to do some research because I think the Omaha hi/lo cash table is exploitable to get a higher ROI. I'm also going to take a look at the play of the 2K buy in S&G tables.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that I finally got Aces rolled up. Knowing now what I didn't know before that being rolled up gives you a 40% chance to boat up I just put the pedal down and bet/raised at every opportunity. Based on the texture of the upcards I'm pretty sure just the Trip Aces were good already but I made Aces full of Sevens for good measure. Had to share the low with someone else but at least I won the high. Aces rolled up is one of my very few starting hands that don't have all cards 8 or lower.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Bad run of cards last night. Took 121 hands and visited 4th street 26% of the time, right in line with where I want to be. Only went to 7th street 10 times and saw a show down 6 times but won 5 of them with 1 scoop. Had some great starting hands that simply didn't develop.

I did bail on one hand on the river where I would have won the low. I just felt my low wasn't good enough based on the action so I got out of the raising war. Some d0nk had nothing but had decent up cards that scared me off. I had a qualifying though lame low. I don't mind the fold though since my hand was marginal and facing action with a plausible good low.

Drop back under 50K and am now 49,716. I notice that my results are poorer when I play tired. Since I'm not really making that many judgment calls I don't know how much that could be affecting results. I really stick pretty close to my rulesets at all times no matter what and if I do cheat it is only a small bet on 4th so I don't believe that is wrecking my yield. I just write it off to a bad run of cards but will keep an eye out for other possible factors.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Another middling session. Stats are in line though. 206 hands, 29% 4th streets, won 18 of 23 showdowns with 4 scoops.

Had two brutal coolers. Got in two big pots and both times ran into cooler lows. One guy was perfect underneath for a wheel but his upcards totally didn't tell the story. The other guy caught runner runner and I could not put him on a low. Those two hands were high leverage hands because I either lose a K of chips or pick up a couple due to multiway action. Unfortunate outcome. Oh well.

I also have come to the conclusion that I should always enter a pot for at least a complete. My hand standards are well above the average player on these tables and if I'm playing a pot I want to win a big one. At this level, just about anyone who would match the bring in would also call a complete so I might as well get more money in from the start.

Down a couple K for the session. 47,998 now. Still hovering around the half century mark. I'm fine with treading water around the 50K point. It is plenty of roll to maneuver with and I have confidence that after more sessions the upward trend will return.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Cards have come back around. I am about to head out but decide to play just a few hands before taking off.

Take 22 hands over four tables. Saw a surprisingly high 41% of 4th streets but that was just because I was getting great starters. Furthermore the subsequent street cooperated. I got to 7th street one extra time trying to collect a low card or a boat so I was plenty priced in for one extra big bet but I blanked. However the other four times I saw the river I won the showdown and scooped two of those four.

22 hands, up $5,154. Clearly too small a sample to be relevant but that $234/hand sure helps to counter those $10/hand sessions and the net earnings helps to offset some extremely dry runs of cards.

Now 54,577. Just under my high water mark.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Cards continue to run for me. Played in some S&G tourneys. Still just doing the 250 buy ins. Tourneys have been EV+. FTP offers tournament history even for play money accounts...nice! I've paid 5500 in tourney fees and cashed out a total of 8887 including three single table firsts, one two table first, and I snuck into the money in a ten table tourney (when I fell asleep).

I could only manage three Stud Hi/Lo tables this morning but they treated me well. 105 hands. Again saw a high percentage of 4th streets but that's because I had good starters. Ended up on 7th 20 times or roughly 20% which I don't like normally but I had the deck hitting me in the face. Went to showdown 16 times, won 13 of them with six scoops.

Over $10,000 in 105 hands for a scorching ratio of nearly $100/hand. Again well above average and doing a lot to counter my dry spell. New high water mark of 66,013.

Ryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sushi Cowboy said...

Short session by the numbers. 2.5 tables. 48 hands. 25% 4th steets. 8 7ths. Win 6 of 7 showdowns with 3 scoops.

Now 69,281.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Another short one. 110 hands. 25% 4th streets Saw 7th street 15 times and bailed on a showdown three of those times. Had four to the low and four to a flush on the river (and four to the boat I think, is that even possible?) yet bricked it. Won 9 of 12 showdowns with 3 scoops. Up 2971 for the session for a more subdued $27/hand average. Now 72,252. Next target 3/4 century mark.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Wow. D0nkeriffic! You know I *just* got back from the bookstore with a bunch of new morsels of knowledge from the poker book section. I read up on some Stud hi/lo goodies and promptly flushed them down the toilet. I was Mr. Chasey McChaserson getting into all sorts of marginal situations and coming in WAY light in spots (although a pair of threes was good for high once, lol!

I got down a few K through bad play then tightened up and played more solid then d0nked a little more but finished with a big score when my Aces full of Threes scooped a big pot.

193 hands on 4-5 tables. 28% 4th streets. 12 7ths. Won 14 of 20 showdowns (ouch!) and only scooped 2 of them.

Considering how crappy I played I should be down a lot more than the 476 that ended cashing out for. Again, the fixed limit structure helped me to see things happen in slow motion and it is harder to biff off chips when you have to do it 100/200 at a time. And when you have to click the call button multiple times to plow through a grand, you are given plenty of warning that you are parting with your bankroll. It's kinda like how the software will warn you a few times before allowing you to delete something important.

71,776 now.