Friday, August 21, 2009

NL Experiment Day #2

I've made a small change to my game plan. I was realizing it would be stupid to skip out on the good limit games that the weekend tends to provide so I could play no limit games. So my new plan is to play ten 1,000 hand sessions.

Session #2 was a moderate success and consisted of 1,017 hands. I was ahead over $1,000 at one point, but gave most of it back. In the end I made a net profit of $159 which was surprising when I saw that I only won 26 of 64 (40%) hands that went to showdown. That seems like a recipe for disaster, but somehow I managed a win. I made .73 base FPPs per hand during this session which is pretty close to what I think I can expect long term.

My E-Mail

I've gotten a response from a few people who are interested in some professional poker coaching. If there is anyone else out there who is interested you can e-mail me at wesdave1279@yahoo.com.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

No Limit Experiment Day 1

I couldn't sleep last night so I ended up sleeping until 1 in the afternoon. As a result my productivity was lacking today. I only played 1,000 hands and struggled from the start. I kept getting my whole stack in on the flop with 9, 12 or 15 out semibluffs, got called frequnbetly and caught a bunch of bricks.

I lost $769, but at one point I was stuck close to $2,000 and didn't get much help from the deck so I feel OK about it. Hopefully tomorrow I can get my ass out of bed and bust out at least 2,500 hands.

10,000 Hands of No Limit Cash Games

Anyone who plays poker seriously will tell you that the games are much better at night than during the day. Many of the pros want to live normal lives so they play during the day and relax at night (some of them are sickos who play just about every waking moment and play at all hours). On the other hand, for working people playing poker is the relaxing.

Of course things get a little hazy when you consider than when it's morning here it's evening in Europe and well while we're at it we can throw in the rest of the world too. But since 80%+ of the players on pokerstars are from the US for the most part thinking of day and night matters when you're trying to find the best games.

The point I'm getting to is my normal 6-max limit games suck in the morning! I need something else to do when the games are bad. European players almost always play no limit or pot limit games so getting the evening crowd from Paris, Amsterdam, London and Moscow is out of the question.

On top of that no limit hold'em is where all the newbies, rookies, and total novices are. That is where the growth of poker is right now.

I've had two stretches of four or five months where I played almost exclusively no limit cash games. The first time around I won $11,000 the first month and $17,000 the next. I'd thought I'd hit the big time. Then I lost $11,000 the next month (still my worst month ever) and broke even the month after that. The second time around I bailed out because I wanted to go for Supernova Elite and I calculated that 6 handed limit cash games were the best way to do that.

Now I'm thinking NL cash might be worth another shot. I've dabbled a little playing 500 hand blocks here and there this month and I've had some success. More importantly I'm shocked at how bad the play is and how unprepared the players at the mid stakes are for very aggressive play. Also the specific way that FPPs are computed has changed in the past two years so now I'll be able to make more points than I used to.

My plan is to do a little bit of a stronger testing of the waters. Between now and Sunday I'm going to play 10,000 hands of $2/$4 blinds 6 handed no limit cash buying into each game for $200 (half the max). If I run my stack up to $400 or more I'll jump out of that game and into a new one with a fresh $200 stack. This will hopefully keep me from facing the difficult decisions that come up playing deep stacked which can be extra tough when you don't know any of the players!

While 10,000 hands is a pretty small sample size and $2/$4 is pretty small stakes for me these days (I've played as high as $25/$50 blinds). But it's a good place to start and get acclimated to the style of play. Breaking even or having a small win or loss won't tell me much, but if I break off a $5,000 win that will tell me something. While this isn't nearly a sufficient sample size to precisely predict my long term results in terms of game play, it's plenty to tell me how many FPPS I can expect to make long term. I think it's going to be about .75 base FPPs per hand and I'm thinking 10 cents a hand (or $1,000 total for my experiment) is par for the course.

I'll try to keep you posted. I'll also try not to totally blow off this experiment which is the kind of thing I've done in the past. I'm trying to be a new man these days. A better man. And one of the things a better me is going to do is do what I say I'm going to do!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Taking it to the Next Level

Here is a comment that was left on my last post:

I have been reading your blog regularly since I learned about it from Sfgate. I am really passionate about the game but have had limited success so far despite reading a number of books and playing regularly. I am ~$5K up since starting to play in 04 primarily due to a few big multi table turny wins - otherwise I am pretty break even if not losing player. How do I take the game to the next level? Also, do you use any software or not of any software that is easy to use and is useful to categorize players or get guidance on your actions?
Thanks,
-IK

This is a great question and after a little thought I have a response. First of all let me say that while I don't regularly give poker lessons, I have in the past. If you want to do a few lessons for $50 an hour I'm sure I can help you to some extent. If you're interested you can e-mail me privately.

With that out of the way let me first of all say that there is no magic bullet. The top pros don't have secrets per se. To my knowledge there isn't any software that is so powerful that it will give you a massive edge. No one book has the answers.

The most important thing is experience. But I've seen the same mopes playing $3/$6 every day losing slowly at the Oaks club for the last 10 years. So clearly experience isn't everything.

Tactical knowledge that you get from books, articles, and discussion with other players is probably next on the list. But when you get to the higher levels most of the players have read a few books so that really just gets you to an even playing field with many of your opponents.

Emotional control is very important. One of my best friends is extremely smart. He is way smarter than I am and smarter than all of my friends (most of whom are Berkeley grads). He is extremely good at board games and has been playing poker seriously off and on for 20 years. He should be a great poker player. But he has no self control so he can't make any money playing poker. Losing makes him nuts so he starts playing too many hands, and moving up limits until he's lost so much that he has to quit. Last year he had 17 winning sessions in a row playing $5/$10 and won thousands of dollars. But then he had a session where he was losing badly so he jumped to $10/$20, and then to $30/$60 and lost $8,000 in a matter of hours. This same thing happened to him on 5 or 6 occasions over a year and a half where he'd win 80% of his sessions playing the smaller games, win $4,000 or $5,000 and then give it all back in one massive meltdown. He just couldn't stop himself.

I know it's stupid to chase your losses like that, but I still do the same thing sometimes! I've played in my share of marginal $50/$100 games and $100/$200 games hoping to get even. And we've all played hands in ways that aren't optimal because we're upset about losing. Self control is tough.

Fearlessness is very important too. You can't be afraid to lose. If conditions are right you have to be willing to risk more than you're really comfortable with.

On the other hand if conditions are poor you have to not play those stakes or games even if they are the most fun.

I could go on and on (I've actually gone on more than i planned to already) about what you need to be a great poker player. The point I wanted to get to is you have to put it all together.

Every time you play you have to take it seriously. Never screw around. Never play hands you shouldn't because you're bored or upset. Never give anything away or pass up an edge. Fight for every dollar, every time.

On top of that you need to specialize. Pick the game that is most profitable for your style of play and strengths and play that game almost all the time. Of course I do other things like play tournaments or mixed games, but 90% of my time is devoted to 6 handed limit cash games. When I was playing sit-n-goes for a living in 2004 and 2005 that's all I played. 9 handed, $114 SNGs, all day, every day. I played thousands and thousands of them. I've played millions of hands of 6 handed limit. So when someone who has read the books and played 50,000 hands sits down in my game thinking they are the shit, they have no chance against me.

On top of that, multitable tournaments are a real leak for most players. Even if you're playing with positive expectation that expectation is only realized when you finish in the top few spots. Most players can play well between hand one and the money or even well into the money. But when there are 20 players left in a 1,000 player tournament or they are at the final table, they lock up. Or they just don't have the experience or fearlessness is such a tough, stressful situation to seal the deal.

If you're playing against 1,000+ person fields it takes tens of thousands of tournaments for the luck factor to even out. Stick to tournaments that have smaller fields or play in special events (like the Sunday Million or WCOOP or whatever) that are loaded with satellite qualifiers.

Lastly, (this is very important) make sure you are getting rakeback (check out rakebacknation.com if you have no idea what I'm talking about) or making the most of other bonuses like FPPs, deposit and reload bonuses. I saw someone elses blog briefly who was playing SNGs for a living. He'd won $5,000 for the year in actual play and made $200,000 in bonuses and rakeback. More than half of my income is from FPPs and bonuses. It's a huge deal!

I'm not sure how helpful that was, but hopefully that at least made sense. I welcome any questions you might have or if anyone else wants to add their two cents feel free. Thanks for the comment!

What's Been Going On?

Nothing exciting! I went 0 for 6 in the FTOPS XIII and lost $2,214 which is no big deal. I have been a little fristrated that I haven't had a good result in a tournament in a long time. I've been playing a lot of $55-$215 multitables (a few almost every day) with fields that are usually 500-2,000 players (a few of the FTOPS tournaments were 5,000+) so of course I don't expect to be making final tables very often. But it still feels like it's been a long time since I've had a five figure or high four figure win and I haven't been cashing at the rate I'm used to either. I think it's just one of the natural lulls that comes when you've played thousands of tournaments.

Inspite of this constant drain on my bankroll, I have been winning steadily. Not counting FPPs and bonuses (which are significant) I'm ahead about $8,000 for the past 3 weeks. I played about 2,000 hands of no limit cash games last week and I've played a little 8-game mixed, but for the most part I've just been pounding away at the $10/$20-$50/$100 limit games.

WCOOP is right around the corner in September and after looking at the schedule I'm planning to play 31 of the 45 events with buy ins totaling $19,148. Unlike the FTOPS this is a once a year thing and a much bigger deal. It's the World Championship of Online Poker after all. More details on my schedule and other previews coming soon!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

FTOPS Fizzle

I bricked in my last two FTOPS tournaments one of which was the $535 HORSE. I haven't lost the complete $3,000 that I had planned on using as my bankroll for the FTOSP, but my account is on zero and I think I'm just going to bail out at this point.

I know I have a positive expectation in these tournaments, but it just feels like I'm throwing money into the fire. I'll have a few other comments soon, but for now I think I'm just going to hold off and wait for the WCOOP.

Monday, August 10, 2009

FTOPS XIII Event #11 (1/2 PLO 1/2 PLH) underway

We started this one with 1,310 players each with 5,000 chips. I doubled up early with KK but gave some back in the Omaha when I got it all in with AAJ9 vs a shortish stack. After an hour of play I have 7,725.

The edge of the money is 135th which pays $340 and 1st is $57,640.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

FTOPS Update

As you may have infered from my lack of post I didn't make the money in the $109 with rebuys. Got it all in with AQ vs JJ and lost. Eventually I'm going to win some of these races!

In the morning I have $216 half pot limit hold'em, half pot limit Omaha. It should be fun.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

FTOPS XIII Event #7 ($109 NLH w rebuys) Underway!

2,316 players to start. I made it through the rebuy period only doing one rebuy and the add-on so I'm in for $309. After winning one big hand early I slowly gave back my profits and find myself with the 5,000 chips I paid for. The edge of the money is 234th which pays $696 and first place is $142,000.

I haven't done shit in a tournament in a long time so (in the words of all great losers) I'm due!

Friday, August 07, 2009

FTOPS Event 4 Recap

I had it up to over 11,000 chips at one point, but then went down the tubes. They say to do well in a tournament you have to win with AK and beat AK. Well on two consecutive hands I lost all ins with 88 to AK and then AK to JJ.

What's the worst play in poker?

Here is the history from a hand I just played playing stud hi-lo.


Transcript for game #31356875870 requested by ACESEDAI (wesdave1279@yahoo.com)

*********** # 1 **************
PokerStars Game #31356875870: 8-Game (7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Limit, $10/$20 USD) - 2009/08/07 15:09:47 ET
Table 'Hagihara V' 6-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: johnny1430 ($338 in chips)
Seat 2: amosa ($420 in chips)
Seat 3: kanattack ($155 in chips)
Seat 4: Voltron3 ($282 in chips)
Seat 5: Seb86 ($414.50 in chips)
Seat 6: ACESEDAI ($1431.40 in chips)
ACESEDAI: posts the ante $2
johnny1430: posts the ante $2
amosa: posts the ante $2
kanattack: posts the ante $2
Voltron3: posts the ante $2
Seb86: posts the ante $2
*** 3rd STREET ***
Dealt to johnny1430 [Ts]
Dealt to amosa [5c]
Dealt to kanattack [3s]
Dealt to Voltron3 [Kc]
Dealt to Seb86 [Qd]
Dealt to ACESEDAI [6c 7c As]
kanattack: brings in for $3
Voltron3: calls $3
Seb86: folds
ACESEDAI: raises $7 to $10
johnny1430: folds
amosa: folds
kanattack: folds
Voltron3: calls $7
*** 4th STREET ***
Dealt to Voltron3 [Kc] [4s]
Dealt to ACESEDAI [6c 7c As] [4h]
ACESEDAI: bets $10
Voltron3: calls $10
*** 5th STREET ***
Dealt to Voltron3 [Kc 4s] [Td]
Dealt to ACESEDAI [6c 7c As 4h] [9h]
ACESEDAI: checks
Voltron3: bets $20
ACESEDAI: calls $20
*** 6th STREET ***
Dealt to Voltron3 [Kc 4s Td] [2c]
Dealt to ACESEDAI [6c 7c As 4h 9h] [2s]
ACESEDAI: bets $20
Voltron3: calls $20
*** RIVER ***
Dealt to ACESEDAI [6c 7c As 4h 9h 2s] [6s]
ACESEDAI: bets $20
Voltron3: calls $20
*** SHOW DOWN ***
ACESEDAI: shows [6c 7c As 4h 9h 2s 6s] (HI: a pair of Sixes; LO: 7,6,4,2,A)
Voltron3: mucks hand
ACESEDAI collected $86 from pot
ACESEDAI collected $86 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $175 | Rake $3
Seat 1: johnny1430 folded on the 3rd Street (didn't bet)
Seat 2: amosa folded on the 3rd Street (didn't bet)
Seat 3: kanattack folded on the 3rd Street
Seat 4: Voltron3 mucked [Js 9c Kc 4s Td 2c 5d]
Seat 5: Seb86 (button) folded on the 3rd Street (didn't bet)
Seat 6: ACESEDAI showed [6c 7c As 4h 9h 2s 6s] and won ($172) with HI: a pair of Sixes; LO: 7,6,4,2,A


The worst play in poker? Calling a bet on the river when you can't beat your opponents up cards! This guy called me with K high and no low when I had an ace showing!

FTOPS XIII Event #4 ($216 1R+1A NLH) underway!

This was a tournament that was always on my maybe list and with my mother and father in law in town I wasn't sure if I was going to play. But in the end it seemed like a good idea.

This tournament has a $216 buy in that gets you 2,000 chips. If you want to, for another $200 you can buy 2,000 more chips. Then at the end of the 1st hour of play on the first break you can get 2,500 chips for another $200. For anyone who is serious this is a $616 tournament with 6,500 starting chips.

Late registration is still open, but it looks like we'll have about 1,275 players.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

FTOPS XIII Event #2 Recap

I finished 3rd at my initial table in today's shootout tournament. I had some bad luck which I'll share with you and then talk a little be about if it was just bad or epically bad luck.

I went from my starting stack of 3,000 chips to zero in two hands. In the first hand I was on the button holding A9 with blinds of 50/100 and made it 300 to go. The big blind called and the flop came down A Q 8. My opponent checked, I bet 500, and he called. The turn was a blank and I bet 900. Again I got called. The river was a jack and my opponent checked.

I had 1,300 left and thought about sending it all in. My opponent was a bit of a goof and he easily could have called my river bet with a worse ace or a queen. But I decided that it would be better to save that last 1,300 and give my self one more bullet to fire at this tournament if I was beat. So I checked and my opponent turned over KT for a straight.

On the very next hand the player on the button raised to 300 and I moved all in for my last 1,300 from the big blind with Q9. Not exactly the nuts, but three handed I knew my opponent would have a very wide opening range so there was some chance I had the best hand, some chance he would fold to my all in, and some chance I'd be behind, but would still win the pot. He instantly called me with KT. The flop was 99Q and I thought "good he's drawing dead, oh wait he has KT of hears and there are two hearts on board so I guess he has one out." The river was that one out, the jack of hearts making him a straight flush! ACK!

This is a perfect example of how losing players convince themselves that they are insanely unlucky. Let's look at how my hands stacked up to my opponents hands. Before the flop A9 is 59% to beat KT, and Q9 off suit is 34% vs KT suited. That means I was about 73% to win at least one of the pots if all the money had gone in preflop on both hands. That's one way to look at it.

Another way to look at it (usually the best way) is what kind of shape was I in when the money went in the pot? Well I was 34% on the second hand when the money went in and in the first hand most of the money when in on the flop and turn. On the flop I was 81% to win and on the turn I was 91%. I was pretty far ahead on the first pot, but when the money went in, but a little behind on the second one. If you look at when the money went in I was more like 90% to win at least one of the pots. Pretty good but not a sure thing.

What some people will do is look at the point at which they were most ahead. In the first pot I was 91% after the turn and in the second one I was 97.7% after the turn. So they'll say "Man! 488 times out of 489 I would win at least one pot! I am so unlucky!"

It's interesting how you can spin things so that with the same two hands you can say you were 1 in 4, 1 in 10, or 1 in 489 to lose both pots.

To sum up, I got screwed, but not horrible so.

I have my wife's family in town for my son's birthday so I may or may not play the FTOPS stuff I have on my schedule for tomorrow. If I play I'll put up a post when the tournament is underway.

FTOPS XIII Event #2 ($322 4X 6-max shootout) underway!

For those of you who don't know how shootouts work let me tell you! In this tournament 1,193 of us were split into 216 tables with either 5 or 6 players at a table. Each table plays without anyone new joining until there is only one player left. That player moves on to the next round where the 216 remaining players will be split into 36 tables of 6 players who will again play until there is one winner at each table. Then 36 players play at 6 tables and those winners play it out at the final table.

In every shootout I've ever seen (until this one) making it past the first round means you are in the money and in order to make more money you have to win your second table. But in this one you have to finish in the top 4 at your second table to make the money which is $572. If you finish 3rd in the second round you get $787 and so on with every place in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th round paying slightly more. 1st place is $62,632.

Luckily I was at one of the tables that started with 5 players and after 30 minutes I'm dead even, and we've lost one player at my table.

3 Quick Comment Responses

I always make an effort to respond to anyone who comments on my blog, because first of all I like to know that people are reading and second of all if someone has a question I'm sure other people are asking the same thing.

Luis wanted to know what I thought about him playing $.50/$1 fixed limit hold 'em. I think everyone should play whatever games they enjoy and there is nothing wrong with playing low stakes games and taking it slow. There is certainly more to poker than no limit hold'em, but that's what the rookies want to play so there is good money to be made there. But that doesn't mean that there aren't other games that are beatable that might suit an individual's personal poker skills a little better. I played NL cash games for two stretches of about 6 months, but I always bought in short because I'm not great at folding big hands which you have to do when you're deep stacked. Also the bonus, rakeback or FPPs come faster at limit. I think the easiest game to learn to play very well (but not expertly) is probably Razz. It's a pretty simple game, but I'm sure the players playing the $1/$2 make a lot of basic mistakes.


As far as stakes go when I started playing I didn't have online poker so my game choices were VERY limited. I played 20 cent/40 cent limit hold'em in a home game for a few months and then after a little $1/$2 and $2/$4 at the Oaks club, I jumped to $3/$6. I played $3/$6 a few times a week for a year without every going bigger. Then I played $6/$12 for a year without ever going bigger. In fact I played for a living for 6 months before I ever played a game bigger than $15/$30. Now I've gone as high a $200/$400, but it's taken me almost 10 years to get to where I am. Everyone has to start somewhere and having the self control to take is slow is critical for long term success.

On to the second comment! The mini FTOPS doesn't start until September! Thanks to the poster who pointed that out. I feel like on previous FTOPS the mini ran at the same time, but I could just be getting confused with the SCOOP.

Lastly I don't expect the goofy FTOPS challenges to affect people's play very much and there won't be anyway to tell if someone is thinking about them. But anytime a player has some outside influence (normally in the form of a big last longer bet)that makes them do something they normally wouldn't do, it means they aren't playing their best. While it's not much of a good thing, it can't be a bad thing!

FTOPS XIII Event #1 Results

I have to say that after my strong start I did not have any luck. I got a slew of what I would describe as marginally playable hands and I played them, but never really connected hard with a flop. I fired out a few bluffs, but ran into real hands (or super dynamite expert re-bluffs) every time.

In the end I got my money in good. In fact you will almost never come across a situation where moving all in preflop is such a clear choice. The blinds were something like 120/240 and a player 2 off the button made it 700 to go. The button called and I was in the big blind with 3,500 chips and AK suited. That is go time if I have ever seen it.

Surprisingly the original raiser moved all in for 10,000 or so (I think) with KQ. He flopped a Q and that was it.

Tomorrow $322, six handed quadruple shootout!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

FTOPS XIII Event #1 ($216 NLH) underway

We kicked off FTOPS XIII with 5,712 players fighting it out for a piece of the $1,142,400 prize pool. Of course everyone's eye is on the $195,350 1st place prize, but I know plenty of the entrants would settle for the $343 that 720th place pays.

I got off to a hot start making a set of tens on an A T 2 flop. I'd reraised preflop from the small blind and was thrilled when my continuation bet on the flop got raised. I thought about dropping the all in bomb right there, but decided to let my opponent keep the lead and just called. To my dismay my opponent checked behind me on the turn and folded to my river bet, but it was still a sizeable pot.

Shortly after that I made top pair on a ten high flop with QT. I fired the whole way and got called the whole way by AT. Luckily the river was a Q and I'd just about doubled my starting stack of 5,000 chips.

Unfortunalety that brief glory was followed by a series of miscues. During said miscues I gave back all of my profits plus some and was down to 3,500. Luckily a dude with K3 who flopped a 3 went nuts when I had an overpair so an hour and a half in I have 7,500 chips. We've only lost 1,500 players so there is still a long way to go.

Monday, August 03, 2009

FTOPS XIII (and mini FTOPS)

The Full Tilt Online Poker Series XIII kicks off on August 5th with a slate of 25 tournaments with buy ins ranging from $109 to $2,620.

This will be my 4th FTOPS and I've done very well in the past with the highlight being a second place finish of 1,100 or so entrants in the $256 PLO knockout event in FTOPS X.

Despite my past success I'm going to tone it down a little this time around. Partly because it's not easy getting more than a few thousand dollars into fulltilt and also because the WCOOP is right around the corner in September and I want to make sure I (and my backers) have enough in reserve for the $20,000 in tournaments I want to play in that series.

My plan is to take $3,000 and see what I can do. If I win a few grand early on I'll put that back into play and enter every event on the schedule that works with my real life plans (my son is turning 2 on the 9th so no tournaments that day for me). If I brick early then I'll mis a few tournaments I might otherwise have played at the end.

For now here is my tentative schedule:

9/5 18:00 PT $216 NL hold'em
9/6 11:00 PT $322 NL hold'em 6-max quadruple shootout (that's a mouth full!)
9/7 11:00 PT $216 NL hold'em with 1 rebuy and 1 add on
9/7 18:00 PT $216 7-Card Stud
9/8 13:00 PT $109 NL hold'em with rebuys
9/10 11:00 PT $216 half NL hold'em half pot limit Omaha
9/11 11:00 PT $322 NL hold'em triple shootout
9/11 18:00 PT $535 HORSE (Yeah baby!)
9/12 11:00 PT $256 PLO knockout
9/13 18:00 PT $216 limit hold'em 6-max
9/14 11:00 PT $216 NL hold'em 6-max
9/14 18:00 PT $322 Razz
9/16 11:00 PT $129 NL hold'em knockout
9/16 13:00 PT $535 NL hold'em

If you add it all up (counting projected rebuys) that's $4,094. Now that I look at it and add it up I have to say I'm surprised that there are 14 tournaments on my schedule.

So what is this whole mini FTOPS thing anyway? Well at the same time as the regular FTOPS events fulltilt is running tournaments of 1/10th the buy in. So at the same time as the $535 horse there will also be a $55 HORSE that goes off at the same time. With the exception of the August 9th tournaments I plan to play all of the mini FTOPS tournaments. Here is the full schedule for those of you who are interested. The mini FTOPS could be fun or a colossal waste of time that bores me out of my mind. We'll have to see. At least I know the competition will be super duper, duper weak and if I can win one it will still be a pretty good sized pay day despite the low buy in.

Fulltilt is also offering a few goofy promotions to go along with the FTOPS that I thought were worth mentioning. First and foremost they will give anyone who cashes in at least 17 of the 25 events $1,000,000. No chance of that happening for me or anyone else, but still interesting. Can you imagine making the money in 16 and having one tournament left to go? Pure terror.

There are also leaderboards for the main FTOPS and the mini FTOPS. Every time you finish in the top 72 places (regardless of the number of entrants) you earn leaderboard points. You get 1 point for 72nd and 200 for 1st with everything else in between (10th is 105 points and 30th is 43 points just to give you a better idea). If you win either the main FTOPS or mini FTOPS leaderboard you win free entry into every event in the next FTOPS (worth about $10,000). Based on past results it looks like if you end up with 400 points you have a good shot to win. Of course it's VERY remote that I'd be in contention and the prize money dwarfs the extra $10,000, but still fun. Maybe an over under bet on the number of points that I earn in the mini FTOPS would keep me interested. Matt, E.B., Jake? Any one want to set a line or make me an offer?

Now on to the really goofy promotions! If you double your starting stack in any two FTOPS tournaments you win an entry into a $10,000 prize pool freeroll. Do that 3 times and there is another $10,000 freeroll, plus another one for doing it four times and another for five times. I expect I'll double my starting stack at least 5 times in 14 tournaments so I should get entry into all 4 of those. Whether it will be worth my time to play them remains to be seen. I expect the first one will have so many players that it's almost worthless, but there can't be too many people who double up 5 times so the last one might be worth $20 or $40 or whatever.

Similarly if you survive to level 10 of 2, 3, 4, or 5 tournaments there are another set of $10,000 freerolls. This should mean another 4 freerolls for me.

Then there is the "zero to hero" challenge. Here is what the website says about that:

1.Start by playing in any FTOPS Super Satellite and win a seat in a FTOPS Satellite.
2.Play in that FTOPS Satellite and win your entry to the FTOPS event.
3.Cash in that event and win a $50 bonus.
4.Make the final table in that event and win a $500 bonus
5.Take down the tournament and win a $5,000 bonus on top of your 1st place prize money!

I can say for sure if you make a final table of any of the FTOPS events you aren't going to give a shit about the extra $500! Let's see I won $50,000 for my third place finish and oh yeah I get an extra $500 because I won my way in by playing a $3 satellite to a $30 satellite to this $300 tournament!

Lastly the goofiest of all! Here is what it says about the "Hold'em challenge."

Put your Hold ‘em skills to the test by mastering at least three of the following tasks in a single No-Limit Hold ‘em FTOPS event. Please note that you must accomplish each task when at least five players are dealt into the hand:

1.Win a pot worth at least 20 big blinds with AA or KK at least once.
2.Bluff with Ace high or less on the river and win the pot at least once.
3.Win 30 hands without a showdown.
4.Steal the same player’s big blind three times.
5.Reraise all in preflop with a pocket pair at least once.
The more tasks you accomplish in a single event, the more Freeroll entries you win:

FTOPS Hold ‘em Challenge
Complete three tasks to win a $10K Hold ‘em Challenge Freeroll 1 entry
Complete four tasks to win a $10K Hold ‘em Challenge Freeroll 2 entry
Complete all five tasks to win a $10K Hold ‘em Challenge Freeroll 3 entry


Hopefully people will do some stupid shit trying to accomplish these goals.


I'll keep you posted on my results!