Tuesday, November 20, 2007

1-day Cake Challenge Blowout!

First, let me get this out of the way:

I rule.

ahem. If you don’t have any time to read the rest of the post, at least you’ll have read the above statement and gotten the gist of what I’m about to describe. And now for the meat:

I officially entered the Cake Challenge field yesterday at 11pm. I officially left the field at 4:30pm today. In case you’re not counting, that’s officially 17.5 hours. Ha! I tried to apply as many of the things I’d read from the various Cake Challengers™ out there, but it appeared that the person who’s rules came up the most for me were Jason’s.

I played NL Hold ‘em. Played O8. I played 7-card HL. I played in a few sit-n-go’s. And I lost. Then I lost some more. And I lost some more after that. I went to sleep last night at 3am having lost about half my buy-in. Played a little bit this morning, losing 1/5 more. Then sat down again for another 2 hours this afternoon and proceeded to piss the last of it away.

I couldn't catch a card, and when I could, I couldn't make it pay. And when I thought I'd caught the right card, and was doing everything I could to make it pay, somebody else sucks out on me. It was brutal.

Things I've learned from my experience:

1) Full Tilt Poker sucks. You can't effectively keep track of past hands like you guys do on Cake, and the # of games to the # of players is completely unbalanced.

2) The games aren't cheap enough. The cheapest games there are .5/.10 NL, and .25/.50 StudHL. Ferguson's rules need not apply. Not only did I risk more than 5% of my stack at any given time, I also never stood up after being down a certain amount. D-U-M dumb.

3) At those low price levels, people have no qualms d0nking off all kinds of chips (myself included) to chase. I found myself a lot of the time witnessing some super-d0nkage when I wasn't in a hand and saying to myself, "That person should be d0nking their chips my way. I can make that happen." WRONG. It was awful. You would have loved me at your table. I would raise with nothing, thinking I could muscle people around, and its simply not done at those stakes. Of course all of you know that -- even I do -- but it sure is difficult turning off that part of my brain. At one point this afternoon I was saying, out loud, very slowly, at my computer screen, "Nobody is going to fold. Do not raise with nothing. Nobody is going to fold. Do not raise with nothing." Lot of good that did me.

4) The thrill of the gamble is much greater for me online. Jason was sitting on my shoulder the whole time. I found myself in a number of hands, talking to the screen again, saying "Why am I even IN this hand. To get that lone 3? Christ!" and then hitting the call button. Of course it NEVER panned out.

I'd love to show you specific hand details, but there really was nothing out of the ordinary, so there's no reason to share. Just bad bad bad bad play.

I need somebody to loan my $500. That way I could apply Ferguson's rules and buy in at a table where money actually means something.

Oh, and why do I rule, you ask? Because I was the first to fail at the Cake Challenge. And I did it super-style. You should see me, sitting here at my computer, in my tuxedo. I look damn good.

And that's the story of how Royal entered and lost the Cake Challenge.


Sushi Cowboy said...

Royal, don't worry, that one doesn't count. You can just reload and chalk that one up to experience! Now it's time to double down and you can get your money right back. You just have to bump up your stakes some more. If you double your stakes you can get the money back in 8.75 hours.

OK, first thing is, are you serious? Or is this just a Jasonland cautionary tale wrapped in the guise of sever d0nkage? We all know it is possible to flush money away but I think everyone just assumed that it would be Jason who would be the first one to do so.

I have to admit that while I was cringing at the play by play, I was laughing out loud at the dialogue you were having with the computer screen.

The silver lining in all this is that it reinforces everything that we Bankroll Mangers know and a defeat at the hands of tilt play sitting at tables over one's roll is a lesson we can all learn from. Thanks for taking one for the team. Plus, you got away cheap since it was less than a WNP buyin that you lost but the lesson you learned was worth many many times that.

So what's the next step? There's always play money on FTP...

Sushi Cowboy said...

Oh and I forgot to mention that FTP has a way to log hands to your local disk. Format is nowhere as nice as the Cake hand histories but it at least stores away the data and I think you can use pokerhand.org to convert plain ol' text files into a fancy looking story with pictures.

Marshall said...

WOW ahhaha. Royal is a different person online than he is in real life!

Now I can't figure out if you are joking or not. Aren't you in God country for the holidays? Did you decide to Full Tilt Cake it over there out of boredom? Was Jason sweating you online or in person? Did the 3 ever get there?

Sidenote: I just googled "full tilt poker micro" and our blog is the 5th hit on the list! We rule!

Marshall said...

Another place for hand histories is www.weaktight.com, a sight after Martin's own heart.

Ryan said...

Ouch, brutal.

Well, playing above Ferguson stakes from the get go, and then trying to play "crafty poker" against donks is certainly a recipe for a quick exit.

I think in one of my earliest posts, I said that my fatal flaws in my first attempt at Cake with a $200 buyin were exactly that: playing way above Ferguson stakes, and assuming that "these people are all donks," which turned me into one.

So, I don't think he's joking...at the very least, it can totally happen...

Marshall said...

Agree with Ryan there, it's more than possible to biff off a stack of 50.00 in mere hours if you are willing to combine above roll play with terrible play and throw in some bad luck to seal the deal.

If you don't take the "buckle down for the long haul" mentality, you can go broke very quickly.

What were the max buy-ins for the games you were playing Royal? You don't have to buy in full if the max buy is above what you want to put on the table..

jason said...


What happened? You should have found a table with me on it. I almost always donate to you. But in the true spirit of Jasonland, I have to disagree with a point or two:

Full Tilt Poker sucks. Depends on your perspective. I have not found a site with better software. It is Mac compatible and I know you are a Mac guy. The time button is huge for a guy like me that can never make up his mind. If I have a tough decision, the time button gives me an extra 15 seconds or so to click. I also love the fact that it almost never disconnects and when it does it gives you time to get reconnected without check folding.

I love the avatars. This may sound ridiculous to some, but I have played a gazillion hands on line on Full Tilt and typically find the following traits.

The young guy with the slicked back hair avatar is almost always a loose bluffer type. Catch a hand and get paid.

The old men are typically old men that play a solid game. Almost never bluff these guys, they will sniff you out and call you.

The Rock and Mike Tyson avatars are almost always TAG players or LAG players. They will almost always continuation bet. Play back at them and they will go away.

The fluffy white dogs and pretty young ladies are almost always weak tight. If they are raising, they have a hand. If they call you, they are not setting up a bluff, they hit.

Bluffing at microstakes, especially O8 and Omaha High can be somewhat pointless. People tend to be calling stations so wait to hit and get paid. One of my most successful sessions, I played 250+ hands in NL Hold’m, won two showdowns and broke even. If the cards are not falling, just be patient and lose a little, not a lot.

I do find it fascinating that everyone is just waiting for me to bust out. I think I am now going to play not to build the biggest bankroll but to survive the longest, hopefully forever without buying back in. I hate to disappoint everyone but I am still alive on the net.

jason said...

I did leave out that the rake does suck on FTP without getting a rakeback and the megadonks that Ryan and Marsh seem to locate on Cake are hard to find in FTP NL hold'm.

Bob Loblaw said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, everybody. I obviously know that I was playing poorly -- and knowing is half the battle, right?

And, no, I wasn't kidding. I may have been joking as I was typing it, but it's all true. I really was talking to my screen.

I think the biggest thing is that I was reminded of my previous stints online, and how just like last time, my online play immediately puts me in some weird mode of d0nkage. As Ryan said, you immediately get into a mode of "I am so much better than these people" which somehow then makes me as bad or worse than all of them.

Yes, Marsh, I'm in Oklahoma ("It’s OK!”), and yes, this was essentially a way for me to stave off boredom. Even if I had succeeded, I don't think I would have been able to keep it up in Seattle. And after going to bed last night having lost half my buy-in, I came into it this morning with the plan to lose it all. I wasn't going down without a fight, but I knew it was all going bye-bye. And if you know you're going to lose, well, that's what you're going to do. And no, that 3 never got there.

Now, to bring myself back to reality, and really enjoy myself while I’m here, I’m going to the HUGE Cherokee Indian Casino tomorrow to play some real poker, with hopefully some real d0nks that I’m really better than. For reals. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s posting.

Maybe I’ll even post while playing, ala Sushi Cowboy, to keep my head in the game.

Bob Loblaw said...

Oh, and Martin, I did try using that "save my hand histories" thing in Full Tilt, and it appeared to be working, but I just now opened up the doc that it created, and it's only for about 15 hands of Stud HL, none of which features me in them. Very strange. I did have to sit at a table while waiting to play, so maybe that's what that's a record for, but that's all that was saved.


Marshall said...


I turn off the avatars on any site I go to just to make sure I don't get into the mindset that you are in about them. I really don't think that it matter what they have as their avatar. In the PartyPoker days, I used to get intimidated by certain avatars that had beaten me in the past. So I turned them off. In fact, on Cake, I am pretty sure my avatar is a girl with big boobs, because I have had several comments about me being a her and about the boobs.

Royal: If you put yourself in the right mindset, you wouldn't have lost the money all at once. But it's pretty obvious you were just going to throw it in there and see what happened. I don't fault you for this, as I have been in that spot many a time. Probably the most important thing is to take it seriously as poker, and completely disregard the stakes. I have been able to do this, and it still surprises me.

I really enjoyed your post because I think it captured a lot of the bad parts of online vs live play. At one time or another I have felt or done all the things you mentioned. And it was damn funny to read.

About FTP:

Really good software from my experience. Cake has constant connection issues that will often time you out in the middle of a hand with no recourse. It is wildly frustrating, and pretty common frankly. It is kinda cool when you are in a big pot and have it happen to the other guy though.

Marshall said...

Oh and isn't the Cherokee Casino the one that sponsors Scotty Nguyen? Good luck at the Casino, I have every confidence that you will play well and probably clean house. Your game is well suited to low limit Casino games I think.

Marshall said...

I do find it fascinating that everyone is just waiting for me to bust out. I think I am now going to play not to build the biggest bankroll but to survive the longest, hopefully forever without buying back in. I hate to disappoint everyone but I am still alive on the net.

I think you misunderstand Jase. Nobody is rooting for you to go broke. I am certainly not, I want you to get to 10,000 online. But when you are putting huge chunks of your roll on the line, it's really hard to think that you will do anything but go broke.

And about your new goal of lasting the longest, that is pretty silly. You could just not play and accomplish that goal..

Sushi Cowboy said...

Go get 'em at the casino. I agree with Marsh. I think your game is well suited for low limit casino games...or online poker! ;)

jason said...

Thanks Marsh. I really want all of us to do well. As I have said in a couple e-mails to you I will be ecstatic when one of us achieves the $1,000.00 level. It will happen and I hope it happens to more than one of us.

My roller coaster ride has greatly calmed down. Way back when I went from $60 to $180 then down to about $15 as I donked it all of in Omaha hi games. It is funny but now I play almost exclusively Omaha hi, mix in a bit of O8 and play NL hold'm only about 10% of the time. I think I am most successful at Omaha Hi but I don't keep records and I am way too ADD to organize myself to do this. I am now coasting up and down around the $300 level.

Long term the best news would be if someone makes it to high stakes $2/$4 or greater. But let's just all try to break the four figure barrier first.

Bob Loblaw said...

Belated update: I did go over to the Cherokee Casino, and I had a good time. Yep, it's the casino that backs Scotty Nguyen, and his mug is EVERYWHERE. On all the poker tables, on quite a few of the $5 chips, on the big video screen outside the casino. Overall, it's a nice casino, with a non-smoking poker room.

Everybody around the table (8-9 players at all times) had around $200-$300. I bought in for $100, and was the short stack. After I was there a couple hours, another couple guys bought in for $100, too. So I wasn't always the shortest.

It was common to limp around to see the flop. Also common to go to $7 or $12 pf (throw out two $5 chips on top of the $2 bb). Any more than that and you knew they really meant business. I got AA twice while I was sitting there and didn't let them get cracked either time. Saw somebody get quads twice.

There was generally a good group of people sitting at my 1-2 NL table. There was the older guy who would sit quiet for a long while then win a hand with top-pair with K4o in his hand (after calling a $7 bet pf to get there). God I wanted his money. There was one guy at the beginning who had been there since midnight the night before (it was now 1pm) who had a good $600 or $700 in front of him who was pushing it around like an arrogant fuck. He pushed me out of one hand where I had 99 on an 8-high board when an A came on the turn. Chances are he didn't have an A, but I wasn't willing to risk my entire stack (only about $55 at that point, down from $100) to find out.
I was glad to see him leave halfway through my day.

Shortly after he left I threw away the remainder of my initial stack when I bet $15 pf with TT, and only one caller. Flop comes Jxx, and I throw in the remainder of my chips (about $25) and get a call from AJ. Bah.

I rebuy for another $100, and quickly make a super-d0nk move and call a $15 PF bet with QJh. Not a bad call at that point, but it got much worse. Axx on the flop, no bet. J comes on the turn, and still no bet. River brings a blank and I check again to the pf-better. He bets out $30. I reluctantly call (which could have been ok at WNP, but not here) and lose to his pocket KK. So obvious to me now. If I'd only bet the flop or turn, I would have easily taken it down.

I got down to about $40 on my 2nd buy-in and added my last $30 to the stack. That's when the magic started to happen.

1st, I've got A4h in the big blind and it's limped to me. I check it and flop comes AJ4 rainbow. I don't know why, but I decided to get fancy with it and check/call villain's $15 bet (everybody else folded). That tells me he's not on a draw, so I'm good when a K comes on the turn. He bets $15 again, and I min-raise him. Call. River is a blank and I go all-in for $38 more. He folds and I take down a sizable pot.

A few hands later and I've got AA in the sb. Some limps to me and I bet out $15 and get two callers. Flop comes Ad8d4c two. I bet $20, and get one caller. Turn brings Js. I bet $40, and the asks how much I've got and before I can total it up ($70?) he's going all in for more than I have. I have the absolute nuts, so I call. He's got 88. Right on! Turn brings a K. and I double up to give me about $45 of sugar. The other caller pre-flop? He had KK. Too bad that K didn't come on the flop instead of the river -- I would have tripled up. Set over set over set, just imagine it.

I almost talked myself into leaving right then and there, having dug myself out of a hole and feeling pretty good about myself.

I play a couple weak hands, end up making a really good fold post-flop when I had K8o in the bb on a limped flop and it comes K92r. SB checks and I bet $15 into the $12 pot. One guy calls, then the sb check-min-raises to $30. Suddenly I don't feel so good about my hand. Think for a minute, then fold. The other guy calls. Turn is a blank, and sb bets $30(?). Villain2 thinks for a long while then calls. River is another blank and the sb bets $40(?). Villain2 thinks a long while AGAIN (come on and call already!) and finally calls. sb flips over K2 (two pair) and Villain2 has my same hand K8. What I was able to get away from cheaply, he had d0nked off a considerable amount of chips for. Good fold Royal!

Threw away some money, and now I am about $100 down again, and I've told myself I'm only playing 2 more hands. Bam: AKc. I'm just to the left of UTG, who folds. I bet out $12, and it folds to villain on the button. He makes it $35. sb and bb quickly fold and I ship (for about another $80 on top of his $35). He didn't know it was my last hand of the night, and I was just soaking up the 'itis, but he says "wouldn't you know it. That's a great bet." He shows his QQ. Hems and haws for a bit longer, then folds it. I show my AKc, and he's upset about it. "Well, if I'd known that, I woulda called. I'd have been ahead. Not by much, but ahead nonetheless. I get a couple other "good bet!" from a couple other guys.

My last hand was a nothing hand and I get up from the table, having lost $67, but feeling really good about my play once I'd warmed up to the table. I'd d0nked off one buy in, lost a few hands that couldn't hit, but battled my way back. If I'd have stayed longer I'm sure I would have left up, but I'm happy where I ended up.

The weirdest part is I lost more at the casino than I did online, but I feel much better about my casino play. I felt I knew what I was doing, knew how to fix the leaks, and knew how to figure out the players at the table. Online I couldn't do any of that.