Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tough night for the challenge.

Last night was interesting to say the least. It was my first major setback on my trek to Cake Challenge greatness. Here's how it unfolded.

I played twice early in the evening, doubling up both times and bailing. Nice, this put me up to around 115.00. I then played a 30 man SNG for 1.10, and placed a respectable 3rd in that. All is well. Then I got on to play some more cash game. I sit down, and there is a guy buying in for 1.00 and going all in every hand. Excellent. He gets lucky a few times and gets his stack up to a buy in or so when I pick up AA. I limp, he ships, I call and he has 85 off, which runner runners a boat. Bummer. I proceed to get my money in pretty light against him twice and win both so I am approaching even but very much aware of the good opportunity I have.

I will cut to the chase, he bought in full later after I had doubled up off of him again and I called him down really light (A high?) twice and he stacked me again with legitimate holdings. Of course I rebuy again, and by the end of the debacle, he is gone and I am 16 bucks lighter in the bankroll. I was also on another table and lost there too.

Everything is sort of a blur after that, but I do know one thing: I was on FBT. Full Blown Tilt baby. This has happened to me in the past online, but it has been years. I've never had this happen live. But being down around 20.00 for the session just torched me, and I wanted it back. But naturally I didn't want to earn it through good play and patience, I wanted it NOW. So what is the next logical step? Play well above your bankroll and try to get it all back at once.

So I find myself at the .10-.20 tables looking to peddle nuts for "just one double up". lol, it seems so idiotic in hindsight, but at the time it felt like my only course of action. So I take my 20 bucks and run my Jd10d flush into a K high flush and boom, there goes one buy in.

What's that you say? Cut your losses and regroup? I THINK NOT. So I naturally go UP in stakes one more level to whatever stakes let's you buy in for 30 bucks, (which leaves me with almost my exact 50.00 original buy in left in the roll btw) and play there. The play at the table is a red haze, but I played ok and basically went up and down for awhile. It is very weird to think that I had 30.00 on the table and I was sweating it really hard. I was at a blind level I am completely comfortable with, playing against probable idiots, yet I felt like I was in Bobby's Room at the Bellagio. Well I go up and down and end up getting all my money in with a nutty straight with AQ and get paid off for a nice score. It is now getting pretty late in the evening and I have Fred and Jeh texting me to get on Halo3, so I look at my current bankroll in total. I have just over 100.00. Not the 115.00 that I had earlier in the night, but I was more than happy to call it a night having avoided disaster.

So in the aftermath of a near disaster, what are my thoughts? Well for one thing, I have realized I am much more tiltalbe online compared with in person. Also, I think that this wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the odd set of circumstances regarding they guy throwing the party. The thing is, when you are grinding it out at these small stakes, little by little, and an opportunity arises to make a nice step forward, you really want to seize it. I know I did. But when it didn't work out, I felt like I just biffed off 16 hard earned bucks and I wanted it back. I think I felt entitled to that guys money, as weird as it sounds. Do I think I will get in this spot again? No, I don't. But if I do, I will post it on here in all its dramatic goodness.

Moving up in stakes is a recipe for disaster like I did, and I do consider myself very lucky for avoiding it. My strategy was pretty sound, basically just nut peddle, but in my tilty mindset, I am not sure I should have been playing at all. Thanks to Halo3 I was able to call it a night having suffered an hit, but nothing devastating. Everyone thank their god for Halo3.

I am also forced to realize that as in real life, there are no plausible get rich quick options in poker. I had grinded my way up to 115 from 50 at .02-.04, and it had been a steady ascent. Ryan was sweating me when the maniac was going off, and at first he was jealous because I had him at my table, but later changed his tune when he saw me lose even having "way the best of it" (lol jeh) a few times. He said, "you can keep the maniacs."

I agree.


Sushi Cowboy said...

Sorry to hear about the run in with the "online Steve." I try to avoid those situations even when you can get in with the best-est of it hand you can get. I recall one hand when Steve was biffing off his few hundred burning a hole in his pocket. Jason called him with AA and Steve (45?) flopped a pair and turned two pair but Jason caught up with an Ace on the river and took down the pot.

I wasn't interested in playing the Steve game then because it wasn't poker. And I avoid those situations online too. I was in a Stud hi/lo hand with A23, my dream starter hand, but as soon as the table started going maniacal and capping every street I had to dump my hand and sit out from the table until they calmed down. Easier to dodge that situation in Stud because three cards aren't going to win you the hand and I'd be paying full price for the most if not all of my remaining cards. I might pull down a monster but I don't want to "gamble" that I'm going to win that hand even with a great starting hand.

I guess it is partially my tight nature and partly the Cake challenge but I just try to avoid mixing it up with maniacs.

I don't know whether or not to congratulate you on repairing your dented stack or not. I think it would be ROTty to say that you did the right thing by jumping up stakes to get back to $100. But I also think that overall your damage was minimized and there was a valuable lesson in the session so there is a silver lining to your episode of playing with fire and avoiding being burnt too much in the end.

Marshall said...

good comment marty. I am quite ashamed of the situation I put myself in really. I post these things on here to sort of air it out and to help prevent other people of making the same mistakes. Poker is as much about decisions away from the table as it is about the decisions on it.

Chasing losses and breaking bankroll rules is -EV all the way. I was one bad beat away from tossing away all that hard work. I got lucky to escape this lapse really. I think this is the type of thing that can really decimate a weaker player. Imagine the possibilities. Playing on tilt and above your means can easily evaporate your whole roll, but playing well will almost never lead to huge upswings because playing well means playing at a reasonable level for your roll. Huge downside with a relatively narrow upside. As they say, its a slippery slope..

Austin said...

You got very lucky this time I think. I already told you about my binge that pretty much wiped all of my sugar away. Part of the problem is that when you get into that mentality of "I need to win this back", you do not play your best game at all and so you will tend to not do as well. When you go to the higher stakes, you take even more of a risk since it can completely wipe your bankroll. It's frightening to think how far it would have gone if you had lost that $30 buyin too.

If you're playing bad, the best thing you can do is walk away, don't try to get your money back by playing at higher stakes. It's almost the exact same thing as thinking that money in the pot is yours, when really, it's gone as soon as you put it in there. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses for the day.

Greenstein talks about trying to win SOME of it back (he tries for 50% of what he lost), but not the whole amount because then you're most likely not playing your A game.

I've certainly done what you did, however, and god it sucks when you lose even more =\.

Marshall said...

Yes Austin that was basically the point of my post. I have been playing for a while now and "normal" bad beats don't really get to me anymore. I don't feel like they affect my play to any measurable level until either A) there are many strung together, or B) I grossly misplayed a hand.

It's really easy to sit here and say "do this, don't do that" but in the moment it's another beast altogether. Lesson learned? That is the question...

I will keep you guys updated.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Even though my Fake Cake Challenge uses play money, it has been an excellent tool for learning more about the intricacies of bankroll management.

When I read your guys' Cake reports I'm really surprised at the HUGE difference in variance between our approaches. I see hand histories where there is a 4 or 5 dollar push. Even if you have the best of it, that equates to about 5% of a bankroll on one hand! I can understand wanting to chase after a bad beat when you have that much riding on it.

By contrast I'm doing multi-tabling with fixed limit games at relatively low stakes to my roll. Being wrong on a marginal decision on the river is a tiny fraction of a percent of my roll. If I lose a huge hand it might get up to 1% or my roll. This is a luxury that allows me to shrug off bad beats since I'm so non-invested in the outcome. I can't even remember the last time I suffered a "bad beat" because I'm too busy tending to the other tables that I'm playing at.

Looking forward to doing real Cake one of these day.

Ryan said...

Re: variance differences: let's be clear...it is wholly correct to get all in with the best of it in NLHE.

You sound like you are sayin, "Holy crap, 5% of your roll on one bet?!"

Risking 5% of your bankroll with math on your side at NLHE isn't some huge, crazy, inappropriate risk, it's (according to Ferguson) just right. You are making a +EV play with a cushion that can withstand short-term variance.

If you keep risking 5% after 5% in +EV spots, you will downswing here and there, but your overall trajectory will be up, and your roll should never be in any kind of serious jeopardy.

Marshall said...

Yes Ryan is right. Through the course of my Cake Challenge, I have felt really great because I am only putting 5% or less of my roll on the table at once. I would have to have 20 bad beats to lose all of that, which simply isn't going to happen.

Martin there is a big difference between our bankrolls. We started at 50.00, and the smallest stakes games are .02-.04. The min buy in is 2.40 and max is 4.00. I can't put 1% of my roll on one buy in. Nor would I. 5% is pretty comfortable for me.

jason said...

Totally agree with Ryan. Don't ever beat yourself up for playing with maniacs when you have such a huge EV on your side. With the AA, I am guessing you are probably a 77% favorite. You will rarely find a table so bad that in post flop play you can get those kind of odds on a consistent basis.

The tilt play was clearly not a good idea, unless you were able to play very well and had a competitive edge on the tables you were playing. I did not witness your play so only you can be the judge.

Card runner guys claim they never go on tilt, or almost never. Sure, they get emotional, feel sorry for themselves, and take big losses just like the rest of us. But they continue to play their A game and if they can't they stop.

I put someone on line today on megatilt I think. I had Q-5 suited and I raised to 4x the blind on the button. He calls me with A4os. Flop has an A and a 5 he checks, I bet, he calls. Next card is a 5. I bet he calls, the next card blanks, I put in a big bet he thinks for a while and calls. I drain him of his entire stack except $1.25. He then goes all in everytime I am in the blind from UTG. Finally gets called by someone else with A3os who drains him. I am sure you would never play this poorly but my point is this donk went from a C game to an F game. He should have left the table or taken a break.

In Canada I think I made about $300 from mega donk preflop play and about $350 from good post flop play. The mega donk play was at most 6 hands, the other hands were probably 500 or more. I got lucky in that my AK and KK held up in 3 way all ins. But even if I was sucked out on, I'll take those odds all day against the stuff the short stacks were pushing with. 7,8 suited?, any two pictures, A-6 suited?

Next time, just ask yourself, can I continue to play my A game when I am down? If the answer is yes, continue, if not take a break.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Am I saying it is wrong to put 5% of your roll in with the best of it? No, I am not.

What I am saying is that doing so is volatile. I will go back to the stock market analogy of putting money on a small cap stock. You will be able to grow your bankroll faster by getting money into stocks which overall have a higher return.

However, that strategy needs to be done in a mathematically sound way (which putting in money on with AA obviously is) and followed with rock solid discipline. Stock investors who don't have the intestinal fortitude to withstand seeing their stock drop 20% in a day might panic sell and then chase by day trading other vehicles to try to get it back right away which is similar to what happened with Marsh.

What I'm saying is that the approach that I've been taking on FTP is more like a mutual fund. Not as swingy, and while there is not as explosive grown potential either, it forces me to play small ball and grind out a fractional % of EV+ each hand.

I even ran into a mini-tilt fest when I was starting to feel out which tables to hit when I was first starting my FTP FCC and I could see myself chasing on the fixed limit Hold'em tables. After playing solid for a while then getting sucked out on by crap hands I wanted to punish the d0nks by playing down to their level so I could suck out on them in revenge but that is just a stack killer in the end.

Again, not saying the 5% of your roll on AA is wrong, just saying that I prefer to be in sessions where I am essentially free of such huge swings on one hand because it protects me from letting myself tilt off money. I think that emotion is by far the biggest risk to anyone's bankroll in poker and I want to put in mechanisms that prevent me from letting me get into steam mode and burn up my roll.

Ryan said...

"Am I saying it is wrong to put 5% of your roll in with the best of it? No, I am not. What I am saying is that doing so is volatile."

Right, and I'm saying that from a long-term, bankroll-management perspective, doing so is specifically not volatile. In the hands of a skilled player, it produces a safe, steady climb. Chris Ferguson spent over a year proving that.

"By contrast I'm doing multi-tabling with fixed limit games at relatively low stakes to my roll. Being wrong on a marginal decision on the river is a tiny fraction of a percent of my roll. If I lose a huge hand it might get up to 1% of my roll."

I won't argue that your method is lower risk; I'm saying it's not an optimal level of risk for long-term bankroll growth. Per your investment analogy, the goal is to find the sweet spot on the curve that produces the highest long-term expected ROI while still being a low enough risk that you are never realistically in danger of catastrophic losses.

"I prefer to be in sessions where I am essentially free of such huge swings on one hand because it protects me from letting myself tilt off money."

Well, if that is your ultimate point, I can hardly debate whether or not you have a preference; I can only point out that your preference produces suboptimal ROI. You are effectively saying, "I play with a smaller fraction of my bankroll than I can safely support so that when I’m steaming, I don't lose as much." That sounds so wrong! You are openly sacrificing maximum ROI as your method of tilt protection.

My method of tilt protection is to not play when I'm steaming; any other method (besides intentionally blowing a buyin at trivially low stakes, I suppose) represents a leak to work on.

I don't know the exact translation of Ferguson's "5% max for NLHE cash games" into limit 7CSHL cash games, but for the sake of making my point, let's say it's an exact translation, that 5% is equally cushioned for stud as it is for NLHE.

If you can maintain you’re a-game over 4 tables at once, then maximum ROI would be for you to play 5% of your roll at each of four tables, not 1.25%. Heck, if I could play 20 games simultaneously with my A-game, my maximum ROI would be to play my entire bankroll spread out over 20 tables.

Anyway, mitigating tilt losses seems like a bad reason to intentionally play at stakes under what your bankroll can safely support.

Marshall said...

I think that real world considerations have to be taken into account here also. Given no limits, most of us could make a fortune online at poker. Meaning that if I had no time constraints, and I could multitalbe 100 tables, I could grind out a living at micro stakes pretty reliably with very little risk.

Martin's examples about 1% are valid as was noted, but largely irrelevant. At the 50.00 level, 1% is $.50, which is not a playable amount.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Time constraints don't factor in to multi-tabling. If I am going to sit down to play for 30 minutes then instead of opening up one table I open up four. It doesn't take any more time but it does multiply your yield so as long as you are doing EV+ play you will net out more money than you would for the same amount of time while smoothing out your variance due to seeing more hands.