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$1/$3 PLO Session @ Palace

October 12, 2017

I always have blog ideas running through my head and I don’t always execute them, but my poker blogs are almost always my most popular ones and I’ve been thinking of ways to write about poker that is interesting to read and isn’t too time-consuming for myself. Sometimes I will write about a whole tournament series I play and it takes me like a week to write it and I imagine it can be exhausting to read. So I had the idea of writing about my day-to-day sessions and just noting the biggest and most interesting pots I played. I don’t know if this will be a continuing trend or not – or if it’s even going to be entertaining – but I’m curious to see what kind of response it gets.

So yesterday I went to the Palace in Lakewood without much of a plan of what I was going to play. When I got in the shower around 3:30 PM there was a full $6/$12 Omaha 8 or better game with 6 people on the list and that looked promising enough. This a new game to the Palace spread and I hadn’t played it yet, so I was pretty happy to see that it was going strong and that I was going to be able to get some playing time in.

When I arrived at the Palace around 4:15 however, the $6/$12 O8 game was 5-handed and within seven minutes of me sitting down two players busted and another one left and then the game broke when one of the three remaining players took a $4/$8 hold em seat. I don’t know if the earlier list was misleading or not – or if my timeline is a bit off – but the game went from 9 seated players with 6 waiting to dead in roughly an hour. I played about two short-handed orbits and lost $2 before having to move on to other things.

When I arrived I had put my name up for the $1/$3 PLO game starting at 6 PM and for $8/$16 hold em, which is my main game. I got a seat in the second $8/$16 game around 4:50 PM and kept my name up for PLO, not really sure if I was going to play or not. There were like 20 players on the list and I wasn’t one of the first 9, so I would be making my decision based on who was playing and how long I had to wait to get in.

I’ve been reading Tommy Angelo’s Painless Poker the last few days and in an effort to refocus myself at the table, I set some new goals for my session. First off, I set a timer to take a break every hour. It’s seriously important to get up from the table at least once every two hours or so and walk around a little bit and take your mind off the game – even if it’s just for a few minutes. I chose 60 minutes because of my second goal for the night: to not be distracted by my phone while I was playing. Set timer, put phone away, and don’t look at it again until the timer went off. It was obviously easier to remember hands for one hour than it would be to remember them for two hours. And my last goal for the session was to look left for playing and folding tells on the opponents with immediate position on me. This is such an underrated observation and I can admit I don’t use it often enough. Last night I got crystal clear tells on the two players to my left and I always knew if they were going to play or not based on what they did after they looked at their cards. This is pretty important when you’re thinking about limping behind with a marginal hand from the hi jack or cut off or isolating a weak limper by raising when you’re not the button. For instance, a weak player with a wide limping range called from middle position and I was in the hi jack seat. I saw that the button was planning to play his hand and I looked down at AJ offsuit. This is a clear raise, regardless, but had I looked down at sometime like QT off, I would have elected to just fold. The button ended up 3-betting me and I check-folded when I bricked the flop.

I only played $8/$16 for about 90 minutes, so I didn’t have a lot of interesting hands, but these were my key pots for the session:

-Several limpers, I raise A9 of clubs from the small blind. Flop comes King high with two clubs and I have a clear lead for value with my nut flush draw and I get three callers. The turn bricks me and I elect to check-call now since I feel I don’t think I’m getting many folds and there is not enough players to bet my draw for value. The river is a 4 of clubs and I lead out, the turn bettor calls, and last position raises. I make it three bets and get paid off by the last player and win my first sizable pot of the night.

-I complete 95dd from the SB after a few limpers and check-raise the 975 flop. Heads up to the 2 on the turn, I bet and he calls. The river is an 8, which isn’t ideal, but I feel confident that he has a 9 with a decent kicker and while he could have 98, he will never raise the river with it. It’s possible that he could have 76 suited or JT, but this is a player that I can snap-fold the river to if I get raised and his body language and timing is in total pay off mode, so this is an easy value bet and my hand is good.

-After taking a break, I post in late position and get the 93 offsuit, a player limps, a good player raises, and I’m never folding for one more bet after posting in the cutoff, so I call and four or five of us see the 954 flop. The player from the previous hand donks out, the good player just flats (which is never a made hand), and I call. The flop bettor is very straight forward, so I feel my hand is never good here, but the pot is too big to fold just yet. The turn card is a 7, which may give me additional straight outs and I call a bet after the preflop raiser folds. The river is a 3, giving me two pair, and he bets again. This is kind of an interesting spot and I took some time thinking about it. This player doesn’t strike me as the kind that will bet the river when the one card straight gets there, if he doesn’t have it, so I didn’t think I could raise. At the same time, I couldn’t really come up with any hands he would take this line with that have a six in them. Confused, I decided to just call and I won the pot after he showed 54 suited. And of course, I look like a maniac because by the time the hand ends no one remembers that I posted, but they will remember that I called a raise with 93 offsuit and I’m okay with that.

I finished my $8/$16 session up $261 and moved on to PLO around 6:10 PM after a number of people didn’t show and I got a spot in the starting lineup, which looked irresistibly juicy to me.

I actually created this game. Well, sort of. I really felt like the entire Seattle and Tacoma area was missing out by not spreading a PLO game anywhere. I think they spread it in Tulalip and maybe at Snoqualmie, but those are two casinos that I never go to and I think the PLO games there play big. So an entry level PLO game was entirely missing from the greater Seattle area. My idea was to spread a $1/$2 game with a $300 max buy in. It seemed like it would be very popular and stakes people could stomach while trying to learn the game. Well, I got the Palace to spread PLO, but they made it a $1/$3 blind game with a $5 bring in and $500 max buy in. So the blinds were in the realm of what I was going for, but because of the $5 bring in, the game was going to play about 2.5x bigger than what I had in mind. In other words, this is no entry level game and it probably wasn’t going to attract any $4/$8 hold em players. And honestly, it’s bigger than I’m comfortable playing. If it attracted mostly solid players with more experience than me, I probably would never play it, but fortunately it tends to be pretty soft and even some of the more experienced players seem to make what appear to me to be clear, massive errors.

As I’ve said, I’m no PLO expert. I have less than 15 sessions of live play lifetime, so I will make mistakes in the hands I share. I’m still in the early stages of learning and I tend to play a very passive, low variance game. For instance, I’m not apt to 3-bet many hands, especially when I’m out of position, because the players in this game just don’t fold. That may seem like a good argument for 3-betting very good hands, but since I lack experience, I’d rather navigate smaller pots with a bigger edge after the flop than bloating them preflop when I’m not a huge favorite against a wide range of holdings.

-My first key pot was entirely exploitive. A very loose and active player opened to $10, there were some callers, and I called with 9764 single suited on the button – a very marginal holding, but my goal is to play as many pots in position against this player as I can. I got a very sexy 532 rainbow flop and I ended up stacking the preflop raiser for about $400 when he slow played his flopped wheel and check-raised me on the turn.

-My next interesting hand came up when I limped the small blind in a 6-way pot with AKT6 with the AK of hearts. The flop was QTT with two clubs and a heart and I led out for $15, which was about half pot. One player called and the button made it $40 to go. I don’t love this spot because he should have QT a lot, but it’s way too early to consider a fold yet and I have nut kickers with my ten, so I call. The turn brought the Jack of hearts, giving me a straight and a Royal Flush draw and I check-called a bet of $100. The river was a K and I decided to lead out for $175 fearing he might check back and got snap-called by… AT42, no clubs! Yes, this game is pretty soft, folks!

-I got another cheap flop from the blinds with K754 and led out for $15 on the K77 with two hearts flop. I got called in a couple spots and decided to turn my hand into a bluff catcher when the Ah hit the turn. I check-called $75 on the turn – heads up now – and then $100 on a blank river and lost to AK7X. Pretty unfortunate situation, but I felt like I lost the minimum, especially with his river sizing.

-Here’s a bad play that worked out well. I decided to limp in with the ATss62dd, which is not only a weak hand, but doubly bad considering I had two active and aggressive players to my left. Of course I got punished by a $20 raise and ended up seeing the flop 6-handed. The board came out K72 with two spades and I decided this was a good board to lead out on with my pair plus nut flush draw. With the King of spades on board I didn’t think I was likely to get popped unless someone had a set of Kings or sevens and I suspected I had plenty of fold equity. In an effort to keep my opponents’ ranges wider, I have been making smaller bets than everyone else in the game and led out for $65 into $120 here. I picked up one caller and had position for the 7 on the turn, which felt like a good card to barrel for $110 and I picked up the pot.

-I open to $15 from late position with AKQ2 with a nut suit. Both blinds call and I bet $20 on the JTX with two clubs flop. The big blind check-raises to $60 and while I like my wrap, I don’t have a flush draw, so I just flat his raise. The turn is a 9 and he leads out and seems flabbergasted when I jam on him for about $320 effective. He calls and my straight holds up.

-I raise a series of limpers to $20 with QJ98 with two clubs on the button. Five players call and we see a very sexy flop of T92 with two clubs, giving me a pair with a 17-card straight draw and a flush draw – an absolute monster. I bet $75 when it is checked to me and I’m willing to get all the chips in if I have to, but instead I just get three callers. The turn is an ugly 6 of diamonds and one of the callers leads out for $300 (which is a max bet). A player in between folds and now it is on me. The turn bettor has about $225 behind and the other player in the hand looks like he’s going to fold. It’s pretty obvious that my opponent has 87 and since it seems like the other player is going to fold, it doesn’t make sense to put in the remaining $225 before hitting my hand, so I just call and then fold when the river comes a 2. He ended up showing the 87 and while I don’t know what his other two cards were, the chances of me losing this pot to an 87 are insanely small!

-I make another loose call with the KTT7 with two spades on the button when the LAG (loose-aggressive) player opens to $15. The flop comes K72 with one spade and I raise his flop bet of $40 with a caller in between to $130. He calls, the other player folds, and I bet $300 on the 3 of spades turn. He calls again and then folds when the river bricks out and I bet $200. I actually didn’t think he had much of a hand to call with, which is why I sized down, but maybe this would have been a good spot to experiment with a funky bet size like, say, $50 and see if I could get the LAG to spazz out.

-I raise one limper to $20 with AKJJ with a nut suit and get multiple callers to see the J62 rainbow flop. There was either $100 or $120 in the pot and this board was super dry, so I sized very small at $30 hoping to sell a weak hand and possibly induce some unwarranted aggression. I got my wish when the most experienced (and who I think is the best) player in the game popped me to $90. Everyone else folded and with my only concern being the gut shots around the 62, I felt like protecting my hand wasn’t a priority and instead decided to sell a weak made hand like AA that he could push me off later by simply calling his raise. I also felt like this player would know I was nutted if I 3-bet the flop and would fold a lot of his range. The turn card was a ten of clubs, opening up straight draws and a back door flush draw, and I checked again and then put him all in after he bet $200. He unhappily called and I stacked him when the river paired the board.

-I open the button with KK42 double suited to $15, the small blind calls, and the big blind reraises to $50. I just call and so does the small blind. The flop comes down AKX with two hearts, giving me middle set and the nut flush draw. I actually saw a player at the final table of one of the WSOP PLO tourneys fold KK in this spot earlier this year, but the big blind is overly aggressive and doesn’t necessarily have to have AA when he 3-bets here. However, when he leads out for $40 on the flop, the only reasonable play for me is to simply call. I don’t want to get all in against a set of aces here and if he doesn’t have AA, then I have him annihilated and might as well let him continue spewing money into the pot. In real time, however, I didn’t think this through and decided to raise to $130 and ended up getting two folds, immediately realizing my mistake.

-As I said, I don’t always play good when I play PLO, so I’ll include my absolute worst hand of the night and one of the worst hands I’ve ever played in live PLO. I limp in early position with J976 single suited, which would be marginal even on the button, but is specifically terrible here as I have two active and aggressive players on my direct left. Fortunately they both limp along, but the big blind punishes everyone by making it $30. Seeing as how I’ve already made a mistake by playing in the first place, it would be smart to just give up the $5 and let this go, knowing I’ll be playing out of position against three players with a bad hand, but… I call? The flop comes K75 giving me a pair, a gut shot, and a backdoor flush draw and the PFR (preflop raiser) leads out for $120. We are both super deep here and I should be in decentb shape against his range, so I call, which would be fine if this were a heads up pot… but it’s not. One of the players behind me goes all in for $390, another short stack goes all in for ~$120, and the PFR folds. So now I’m looking at a pot of ~$900 and it’s $270 for me to call. Considering my hand, this is an easy fold… but I’m not done making huge mistakes yet! I’m not sure what I’m hoping my two opponents have, but I somehow talk myself into thinking I have some sort of reasonable equity here and make an atrocious call. The board bricks out for me and the bigger all in player wins with his 55. Just an all around horrifyingly bad hand by me and I got exactly what I deserved – a hand I should have folded turned into a $400+ loss.

-My final big pot of the night ended up being one of the craziest PLO hands I’ve ever played. I raised to $20 after a limper with As8sKcQc and bet $20 after seeing a flop of K94 with a club and a spade heads up in position. My opponent check-raised me to $75 and since 99 was the only hand I was in terrible shape against, I decided to see a turn with a good amount of back door equity. The turn brought the Ten of clubs and my opponent checked to me. I could see K9 checking this turn, or even a set of 9s, and maybe I should frequently represent the nut straight here, especially since I have a king high flush draw and a couple of gut shots to the nuts. It’s unlikely I will get check-raised very often, so I think betting has plenty of merit, but I decided to take my free card and got a very pleasant Jack of clubs on the river, giving me a King high straight flush. My opponent led out for $90 in what was a $190 pot. I made it $325 and due to some miracle from the poker gods, he decided to reraise me to $525. After going into the tank for a little bit and thinking about his bet sizing, I realized he didn’t even make a legal raise (he raised me $200 after I raised his initial bet $235) and made him put in another $35 before I made it $860 total. At this point, he started berating himself for misreading the situation. He had the A of clubs and the 8 of clubs in his hand and thought that he was blocking the 87 of clubs and Q8 of clubs for the only straight flushes and now realized that KQ of clubs also made a straight flush and that it was the only thing I could possibly have. He was right. I could never have anything else. I would never turn the naked Q of clubs into a bluff here when my opponent had already put $560 in on the river with at least an Ace high flush (he could have 87 of clubs himself) when I can only make it $300 more. It seemed like he wanted some mercy and really took a lot of time to call that last $300 to the point where multiple people at the table were complaining about it. But he did call and I won a sick $1800+ heads up pot.

I ended up finishing the PLO session up $1900 even though I made plenty of mistakes. I thought this blog idea would be fun, but here I am sitting at 3500+ words and a couple hours wasted and thinking maybe this isn’t a great concept. My goal was to spend 10-15 minutes writing about my session and I have far exceeded that. So… enjoy this post! It will probably be the last of its kind!

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Cult of Chucky (2017)

October 10, 2017

Starring: Fiona Dourif, Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif (voice of Chucky)
Director: Don Mancini (Curse of Chucky, Seed of Chucky)

Bottom Line: It seems unlikely that the most relevant classic horror franchise in the mid-2010s is Child’s Play, but with A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday the 13th both failing to reboot and 8 years since the last Halloween entry, Chucky’s second straight-to-video appearance in the past five years has the Don Mancini killer doll as the freshest old school slasher icon.

I’m definitely a fan of the series and I even went on to call 2013’s The Curse of Chucky possibly “the best Chucky film to date,” but having revisited that film this past year, I think I may have overrated it. I do have to give credit to director/writer – and creator of the series – Mancini for continually finding new and entertaining directions to take the franchise.

Cult of Chucky continues this trend of reinventing the series while keeping it familiar. Cult picks up where Curse left off, with paraplegic Nica taking the blame for all the murders of the previous film and finding herself in an asylum that will soon be infiltrated by Chucky. It’s a bit weird, however, because the post credit scene for Curse showed the killer doll sending himself to the home of original nemesis Andy Barclay and getting his head blown off. In this film, Andy keeps Chucky’s head in a safe, where it remains sentient and brings it out periodically to talk to it and occasionally take a blow torch to Chucky’s face. Meanwhile, patients at the asylum are dying and Nica continues to be blamed for the deaths, while insisting that “Chucky did it.” And while we can see that the doll is present, one has to wonder if Nica’s hallucinating and causing the deaths herself, or if Chucky actually can be present while his head is mounted in Andy’s safe. Hmmmmm….?

I honestly had mixed feelings about Cult of Chucky. On one hand, I appreciated Mancini’s ability to take things in a new direction all while bringing back familiar characters and delivering the gore and comedy we expect in a Chucky movie – and really, the gore in this movie was truly spectacular. The film has some of the franchise’s best kills. On the other hand, I found the asylum setting to be a little grating. Between the creepy lead therapist that doesn’t believe anything anyone says and one of the patients “mothering” and breast-feeding Chucky, I was kind of like “uhhhh.” Also, the return of Alex Vincent as Andy Barclay is a cool idea and his first appearance in this movie is fantastic, but when he becomes immersed in the main story again at the asylum, the payoff is a bit disappointing.

Brad Dourif is always great as the voice of Chucky and he gets some screen time as Charles Lee Ray here as well. Dourif’s daughter Fiona plays Nica and while her performance in the last two movies has mostly been average, she does get to steal some scenes towards the end of this film.

Cult of Chucky is obviously a must watch for fans of the series and fans of horror, but I wasn’t blown away by any means. Cult has received pretty favorable early reviews from critics and while I enjoyed it myself, much like with The Seed of Chucky, I can’t really say I get the accolades. Maybe I will learn to appreciate it more if I ever watch it again, but for now all I can say it is another solid entry in this long-running franchise that always manages to stay inventive instead of regurgitating the same old tropes every time out.

Replay Value: I wouldn’t mind revisiting all the films starting with Bride of Chucky at some point in the near future. I’d watch this again.
Sequel Potential: These things never seem to die and this film has a post credit scene that suggests another movie in the future.
Oscar Potential: none.

Grade: 5.5/10 (Watchable)

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October TV Preview

October 10, 2017

I’m already super late with my October previews and I’m not interested in wasting my time detailing everything that will be debuting on TV this month, but here’s a list of some of the more notable premiere dates and some brief thoughts:

Bob’s Burgers (October 1st, FOX, season 8) – My wife and I started watching this together, but then she zoomed past me and Netflix lost the series, so I’m stuck on season 3, but we are both big fans. I suspect we can watch season 8 without feeling like we are spoiling much.

The Simpsons (October 1st, FOX, season 29) – Who watches this these days? I don’t know a single person, but it’s still incredible that this show is approaching its 30th season. The Simpsons has reached a point where there are probably twice as many episodes I haven’t seen than ones I have.

Family Guy (October 1st, FOX, season 15) – I’ve only sporadically watched this show, but it’s still worth noting because 15 seasons is pretty amazing.

Curb Your Enthusiasm (October 1st, HBO, season 9) – Larry David’s show hasn’t aired a new episode since 2011, but I’ve always loved it, even going as far as to thinking it might be the funniest show of all time. That’s high praise, and maybe a little unwarranted, but I’m already tuning in to this season and LD is still making me laugh out loud.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians (October 1st, E!, season 14) – They must air multiple seasons a year, right? 14 season? I don’t care about this, but my wife definitely enjoys KUWTK.

Scandal (October 5th, FOX, season 7) – Another wife show that I don’t watch, but will list here to remind myself to record it.

Once Upon a Time (October 6th, ABC, season 7) – Ditto.

Supergirl (October 9th, CW, season 3) – I watched the pilot of this series and it didn’t particularly grab me, but I’m sure I’ll catch up some day.

The Flash (October 10th, CW, season 4) – I enjoyed season 1 and I’m yet to binge through seasons 2 and 3.

Mr. Robot (October 11th, USA, season 3) – I’ve heard really good things about this show – well, the first season at least. So many good T.V. shows these days and so little time to catch up, but this is pretty high up on my list.

Supernatural (October 12th, CW, season 13) – 13 seasons! Amazing. I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen multiple seasons of this and I enjoyed it. Maybe some day I will catch up, but probably not unless my wife also gets into it.

Arrow (October 12th, CW, season 6) – I think I stopped watching Arrow around season 4. I still liked it but it was far less enjoyable than the first few seasons. I have no idea if it’s still any good, but I will probably catch up some day.

Mindhunter (October 13th, Netflix) – This show wasn’t on my radar until recently when I realized it was directed by the amazing David Fincher and about FBI agents trying to get into the minds of serial killers. Fincher has already shown he’s adept at this genre with 2007’s Zodiac. I’m always down for a murder mystery – especially one with a Silence of the Lambs vibe.

The Walking Dead (October 22nd, AMC, season 8) – Here’s another show I started watching with my wife and next thing I knew I was on episode 4 and she was on season 3. So I gave up. I have not been participating in the phenomenon as it has been ongoing, but that hasn’t stopped the world from spoiling everything for me. I know who Negan is. I know major characters that die. I suspect this show is massively overrated, but I definitely want to watch it eventually.

Stranger Things (October 27th, Netflix, season 2) – This is probably the most anticipated premiere of the fall. With its 1980s nostalgia factor, supernatural terror, and Stephen King and Steven Spielberg influences, Stranger Things is obviously my kind of show. I can’t wait!

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Global Poker: LEGAL Online Poker for U.S. Residents

September 26, 2017

Yes, this is an endorsement. Global Poker is Dark Knight approved. With that said, I have no personal gain in writing this post. Global doesn’t even have a referral or rakeback program yet (insert sad emoji: I’ve referred around 20 players already). I’m writing this because I truly care about the growth of poker – not just in our local card rooms, but worldwide.

Bringing new players into the game is difficult these days. Even at the lowest levels in a live poker room – such as $3/$6 limit hold em or $1/$2 no limit – a brand new player can easily lose $100 or more. Learning a game $100 at a time can be a tough pill to swallow. Not only that, but they have to assume this financial risk while playing with people that have hundreds or thousands of hours of experience under their belts yet little patience for anyone that slows their game down or beats them with hands they “shouldn’t be playing.” I’m not saying everyone in the poker world is like that, but I do think a brand new player will frequently feel unwelcome or embarrassed while getting their feet wet and this might be enough for a number of them to never come back.

That’s the beauty of online poker. New players can play in the privacy of their own home for incredibly small stakes. As I’m writing this, early on a Tuesday afternoon, Global Poker has around 35 full tables of no limit cash games between the stakes of $0.02-$0.04 and $0.10-$0.20. The $0.02-$0.04 level has a max buy in of $4. A $100 deposit could go a long way at those stakes. It’s a cheap way to learn how to play poker without having to face the scrutiny or shame one might experience in a live game. Sure, online players can be brutally insensitive and mean, but no one has to read the chat and I imagine Global will eventually add the option to remove chat entirely if you so desire.

But online poker isn’t just great for brand new players, it’s great for everyone. Unfortunately, ever since the FBI shut down the major sites in April of 2011, most players have given up on the concept altogether. That hasn’t stopped sites like Bovada or Ignition or America’s Cardroom from popping up, but everyone knows what they are doing is technically against the law and their funds could disappear at any moment in time. Thus, players view these sites (and rightfully so) with an air of skepticism and the sites basically only attract the most die hard of poker players and, sadly, gambling addicts. People that play purely for recreational purposes and brand new players simply aren’t taking the risk. And judging from what I’ve read on Facebook and various other places, a number of people feel the same way about Global Poker.

So what makes Global Poker different? Why is it legal? In their own words from their FAQ page:

“We are pleased to announce that Global Poker is the first social poker site that offers a safe and secure cash out of winnings to players in the US. We are a leading poker site that offers a unique Sweepstakes model which has been approved by high profile companies such as Facebook and PayPal. These companies have conducted their own due diligence on our $weepstakes Model.”

and

“Global Poker sells virtual currency (Gold Coins). These are virtual chips which you can accumulate and play with but they cannot be redeemed for real money.
When purchasing Gold Coins, players are given bonus sweepstakes prizes by way of $weeps Cash. The $weeps Cash can be used to buy into the $weeps Cash tournaments and ring games however any of these that are accumulated or won can be cashed out through PayPal as real cash prizes.”

In laymen’s terms: Global Poker found a loophole in the system by creating multiple currencies and treating every pot as an individual sweepstakes. I’m not going to pretend like I understand all of the legalities involved, but here’s what’s important: PayPal is cashing players out and you can use Facebook to log in. Yes, very convenient; but more importantly, those are two giant corporations whose lawyers have vetted Global Poker’s business model and gave it the thumbs up. That’s good enough for me. Am I personally guaranteeing that this is, in fact, legal or that the laws will never change to shut the site down? No. I don’t have enough knowledge of gambling laws to promise anything personally, but if Facebook and PayPal are on board, so am I.

I waited until I tried the cash out process myself before fully endorsing Global Poker. This was my experience: I requested a $50 cash out and almost immediately received an email requesting two forms of identification with my current address. This is something Global only requires the first time you cash out, so future withdrawals will be much quicker. I sent them a screenshot of my driver’s license and a utility bill. I received an email back requesting I send a more recent utility bill, so I obliged. Even with this minor hiccup and going through the verification process, my withdrawal was in my PayPal account within 8 hours of my initial request. Very fast and very easy. I haven’t made another withdrawal, but I imagine it will be even faster the next time.

I feel like I should point out a few other reasons why Global Poker is a great place for new and recreational players. The site is web-based, meaning you don’t have to download any software to play on it and, more importantly, meaning that tracking software and HUDs cannot be used. If you want to exploit your opponents’ tendencies, you’re going to have to do it to old fashioned way: by actually paying attention! Global uses avatars and screen names, so players are not anonymous and you can add notes and use color coding to categorize player types, but no one has to worry about playing against “robots” that know how often they make every possible move.

In addition, the tournaments on Global do not allow late registration. I didn’t like this at first, but it has grown on me and considering most of the tournaments on Global offer a guaranteed prize pool, it’s actually quite selfless of the company.

For those of you that take your poker playing a bit more seriously, Global is more than just a site to build up from the micro stakes. There are stakes for NLHE and PLO going as high as $10-$20 blinds. On a Tuesday afternoon there are five tables of $10-$20 NL in action, plus Global has stakes for $0.50-$1, $1-$2, $2-$5, $3-$6, and $5-$10 NL and PLO as well. These are stakes you can make a living at.

The tournaments on Global are quite a bit smaller. The MTTs (multi-table tournaments) almost all fall in the $3.30 to $11 range and almost universally feature at least one rebuy and an add-on. This is obviously great for smaller stakes grinders, but people looking to make a living playing online poker tournaments might be a bit disappointed with Global’s current selection. I expect this to change as the site grows, however, and the reason I decided to make this post now is because Global has a big tournament series coming up next month called the Eagle Cup (you can read about it and check out the schedule here). This series kicks off on October 2nd, so start creating your accounts and get in action!

Global Poker is not perfect and there is still plenty of room for growth and not all markets have been tapped. If you want to play no limit Hold Em or pot limit Omaha, Sit and Goes, or MTTs, the site is great. If you want to play anything else, it’s still a work in progress. Global only recently started offering limit Hold Em cash games and it doesn’t seem like anyone is really playing them. If you want to play limit Omaha 8 or better or any mixed games, they aren’t even an option yet – not even for tournaments. As a mixed games player myself, this is incredibly disappointing, but Global support staff seems to be confident these things will roll out eventually.

Global Poker is something everyone involved in the poker community should be embracing. IT’S LEGAL ONLINE POKER FOR U.S. RESIDENTS and it’s backed by Facebook and PayPal. Make your accounts. Tell your friends. Tell your families. Let’s make this something special and start building our game again. And for those of you that work in the casino industry, in actual poker rooms, recognize this: the more people that start playing online poker, the more likely they will eventually trickle into your rooms and play live. Online poker is not the enemy, it is your friend. Anything that helps grow the overall player pool is great for poker. Learn to love it!

I am happy to answer any question anyone has about the site. Just message me on Facebook or comment here.

Visit Global Poker to start making your accounts today!

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September 2017 Fall TV Series Premiere Dates

September 20, 2017

I’m a little late in gathering this information, but I wanted to post a collection of the premiere dates for TV series I either watch already or want to watch.

Narcos (September 1st, Netflix, Season 3) – I haven’t seen any episodes of this Pablo Escobar series yet, but I’ve heard enough good things that I want to watch it eventually.

Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G. (September 4th, A&E, miniseries) – I didn’t know this existed until 30 minutes ago. I guess it’s an authorized biography told documentary style over two hours. As a huge fan, I’ll watch it whenever it becomes easily accessible.

American Horror Story: Cult (September 5th, FX, Season 7) – I’ve only seen season one and parts of seasons two and three, but I plan to watch the whole series eventually. I will be walking through the American Horror Story: Roanoke maze at Halloween Horror Nights next month.

BoJack Horseman (September 8th, Netflix, Season 4) – I haven’t watched an episode of this either but I’ve read some stellar reviews.

The Deuce (September 10th, HBO, Season 1) – HBO series about porn and prostitution in NYC during the 1970s and 1980s starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Haven’t heard much about it so far, but it’s on my radar.

American Vandal (September 15th, Netflix, Season 1) – Not sure what this is all about, but the trailer I’ve seen looked pretty funny.

Vice Principals (September 17th, HBO, Season 2) – Haven’t seen this HBO comedy series starring Danny McBride yet, but might watch it some day.

Jerry Before Seinfeld (September 19th, Netflix, Stand-Up Comedy Special) – A Jerry Seinfeld stand-up special is obviously must watch television.

Gotham (September 21st, Fox, Season 4) – I’m a huge Batman fan, but this show is still kind of a guilty pleasure for me. It’s not particularly good – there’s plenty of things horribly wrong with it – but I can’t stop watching either. Judging from the teaser images, it seems like Bruce will be starting his Batman journey this season, so that’s something to look forward to. I have a few more episodes to watch in season 3, but I’ll be recording season four and staying up to date.

Fuller House (September 22nd, Netflix, Season 3) – Another guilty pleasure. This show has been more entertaining than I was expecting it to be. It’s perfect for watching with my wife.

DuckTales (September 23rd, DisneyXD, reboot, Season 1) – A childhood classic comes back! I don’t even know what DisneyXD is or if I even have it in my cable package, but a DuckTales reboot is notable stuff!

The Big Bang Theory (September 25th, CBS, Season 11) – I think I stopped watching this show after four or five seasons and it’s not because I didn’t enjoy it – I just didn’t have cable or make the time. I have no idea if it’s still good, but any series that gets eleven seasons is noteworthy.

Young Sheldon (September 25th, CBS, Season 1) – This is a Big Bang Theory spinoff focusing on Sheldon Cooper’s childhood. I watched the trailer for the series and the tone was really weird. They don’t appear to be doing a sitcom format, but rather a somewhat serious dramedy with no laugh track. I’m kind of intrigued, but I have a feeling this will bomb.

This Is Us (September 26th, NBC, Season 2) – I haven’t seen this show either, but this is another show that has had some stellar reviews and feels like a must watch for me. I will record season two and try to catch up quickly.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (September 26th, Fox, Season 5) – I don’t watch this Andy Samberg cop comedy, but I have seen some episodes and they were funny and enjoyable enough that I feel like the premiere date is worth mentioning.

The Blacklist (September 27th, NBC, Season 5) – I’ve seen the first season and maybe the second season – I’m not sure. This was a show my wife and I were watching together, but it’s more in the guilty pleasure category and it’s not super important to me that we continue on. If she wants to pick it back up some day, I would be will to keep going.

Modern Family (September 27th, ABC, Season 9) – This show is brilliant, but last time I watched it Ariel Winter was a dorky, young teenager – not an Instagram model. I would very much like to catch up with this show, but we will probably wait until it’s finished before marathoning through the whole series together.

Grey’s Anatomy (September 28th, ABC, Season 14) – What? Season 14?! I stopped watching this show a decade ago! I think I watched the first 4-6 seasons, but this was a guilty pleasure for me, at best. I have zero interest in what has happened over the past 7+ seasons, but I had to list the premiere because I’m absolutely stunned that it’s still on the air. 14 seasons is incredible.

Marvel’s Inhumans (September 29th, ABC, Season 1) – This is noteworthy because it’s Marvel, but I have read HORRIBLE reviews, so I’ll mention here, but I do not plan on watching this show.

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Muckleshoot Summer Classic 2017 – Poker Blog

September 19, 2017

I always look forward to Muckleshoot’s big poker series that happens twice a year, but I have to say my results in that casino have been pretty poor. I’ve cashed the $750 Main Event three times, but I’ve never final tabled an event in this series. My plan is usually to play all the events, but if I whiff the first three events I skip the $500 tournament if I don’t have any points for Player of the Series. I just don’t think it’s very good value for a $500 buy in and I’d rather take the day off and relax before the Main Event so I’m as fresh as I can possibly be for the best tournament Washington state has to offer.

Event #1: $250 No Limit Hold Em Shootout

The first event was the $250 NL Shootout – a tournament I have never cashed. I have probably only been a regular in this series since maybe 2015, so when I say I’ve never cashed it, I’m like 0-4 or 0-5, which sucks, but isn’t too crazy considering my fair share of cashes is 10%. I could win two of my next four tries and be running way above average overall. Small samples! For those that don’t know, a Shootout format plays like a one table tournament. You start with 10 players and play down to 1 winner and there is no balancing amongst other tables. All tables play down to one winner and those winners all cash and advance to the next round, which in this case combines all 17 winners and plays out like a normal tournament the rest of the way.

I was at a very favorable table, but it’s hard to accumulate chips when your good hands don’t win. Before the first break I had lost with 99 twice, TT, and AJ. I stole the blinds with QQ in the first level. I was sitting at 6600 after starting with an 8000 stack and I hadn’t won any notable hands.

I didn’t write specific notes about this hand but I’m going to do my best to remember it because it was an important one. I believe the blinds were 100-200 with a 25 ante and I had AJ and probably made it 450 or 500 and I got one caller. The flop was 222 and I bet 500, which was probably about 40% of the pot. My opponent made it 1500. This is really weird. I have his range capped somewhere around 99, meaning I think he three bets TT+ preflop most of the time. I think he raises smaller pairs some of the time also, but I think it’s pretty clear that his hand is a small-to-medium pair the vast majority of the time here. After betting 500, I have somewhere around 7k left in my stack, so if I jam it would be 5500 more for him to call in a pot that will be about 9500. I don’t think he should be folding in that spot, which is why his flop raise doesn’t make any sense to me. When I have an overpair he just doubles me up over 90% of the time. Not only do I think raising the flop with his hand is a mistake, I also think he might be capable of folding to a jam. I gave some serious thought to stuffing it. When people make plays that don’t make much sense, they are usually capable of compounding their errors. Part of me thought he made this flop raise because he thought/hoped I had unpaired big cards, but if I go all in, I am now telling him I have a big pair and I really thought he might let it go. I wasn’t certain though and it wouldn’t surprise me if he called it off, so I didn’t pull the trigger. Instead, I flatted. There was now about 3400 in the pot and it cost me 1000 to continue. I thought if I called he was very likely to check back the turn so I figured myself for six outs twice, which makes this play borderline okay as I pick up a Jack or an Ace about 24% of the time. Obviously, in order to make this play profitable, I’m going to have to jam if a King or Queen hits as well. This gives me ~14 scare cards, one of which will appear by the river over half the time, and makes this flop peel very reasonable. Unfortunately, the board came out clean for him and he was able to table his 44 for the win. But he did check back the turn and river so I think my flop call is plenty defensible. This was a pretty frustrating hand because I realized that if I had an overpair he was just going to punt his stack to me so often and it felt like such a wasted opportunity.

That hand left me with 17 big blinds, which I 3-bet jammed over an open with AQ shortly afterwards and lost a flip to TT. Good game.

Bonus Event: $200 Limit Omaha 8 or Better

I didn’t keep any notes for this tournament and my first update on Facebook was 4.5 hours in saying I had five bigs with 22 players left and 10 of us cashing. While I can’t recall any notable hands up to this point, my ride from here was pretty wild and included an all-time great bad beat. Limit formats can create some interesting spots that don’t come up in No Limit tournaments. For instance, I was left with less than two big blinds TWICE. In NL, you just get all the chips in and if you lose you’re out; but in limit, especially in a split pot game, you don’t have to get all the chips in and you frequently get portions of the pot back. I tried to get all in on the flop in one hand, but my opponent just flatted my raise and when I picked up no additional equity on the turn, I checked back, and ended up saving my last bet instead of busting because I was “priced in.” So they had me down to less than two big blinds, not once but twice, and I managed to run that up to a 10 big blind stack when this catastrophe happened:

I opened to 12000 at 3000/6000 with A753 plus a suited ace and only the big blind defended. The flop came down a beautiful AQ2 rainbow, giving me top pair, a wheel draw, and a back door nut flush draw. My opponent check-called and then led into me when a 4 hit on the turn. What a dream spot! I had the mortal nuts. I started the hand with 45000 and after raising the turn here, I had managed to get 42,000 of it in the pot holding the nut high and the nut low. My opponent called and then disaster struck: the river was a 3. This is a terrible card because now he’s chopping the pot with me if he has A5, 25, and 45, giving him a wheel he didn’t have before. I wish that’s what he had. What he actually had was 654X, giving him a wheel AND a six high straight and 75% of the pot. I went from scooping a 90K pot to losing half my stack instead. There were 14 players left in the tournament at this point and scooping that hand would have put me second in chips. First place was $3500. Needless to say, that one hurt a little. I ended up folding my big blind and got my last 3 or 4 bigs in from the small blind and I was out of miracles and out of the tournament in 14th place.

It was 1 AM and I had been playing poker since noon with nothing to show for it and I was reeling from that brutal pot. Even though I was already bought in for the next day, I realized I absolutely did not want to come back and play at noon. I sold my seat and took the next day off.

Event #3: $300 No Limit Hold Em

I wrote some scattered notes for this tournament so I’ll do my best to piece it together. I had 20k from 12k starting after the first three levels and I was loving my table. I was controlling the action pretty well and didn’t have any massive confrontations early. Here are some notable hands from the first few levels (they may or may not take place in sequence):

I open AQ and button and big blind call. Flop is A32 all clubs and I have no club. I size a little larger than normal since I’m out of position against one player and my hand is very vulnerable. Only the big blind calls. The turn is a ten that is not a club. My opponent check-calls again. When the dealer is bringing the river I am watching my opponent and not the board so I am quite displeased when I see him reaching for chips and tossing a 3200 bet out. The river is not a club though and pairs the 3, so I am quite perplexed. His bet is pretty polarizing: he either has a flush or a full house or he’s bluffing his missed draws. I don’t know this player very well, but I would guess he’s probably not bluffing often enough here. Still, since I don’t have any great reads at this point, folding is pretty weak and I pay off his king high flush.

I completed 76 from the small blind and saw a flop of T76 in a 3-way pot. My hand is pretty vulnerable to free cards here but the pot is small, so I decide to check and the limper bets 600. I make it 1650 to go and he snap calls. The turn is an Ace and I lead 2000 and he folds, exposing a ten.

This hand takes place in level six and by this point the action at my table has slowed substantially and I’ve gone card dead, so I get frisky – hoping to exploit the current trend of tight play and my nitty image – by opening Q8hh from UTG+1 and make it 900 at 200/400 with a 50 ante. Only the big blind defends and then he leads out a hefty 1600 on the 984 flop with two spades and one heart. This is the same player that check-called twice with the nut flush earlier, so I think it’s reasonable to rule out very strong holdings from his range. I don’t love calling this bet size but considering I have a pair and a back door flush draw, as well as knowing his history of slow playing strong hands, I have to continue. The turn is a 5 and he bets 3200. The only draw that completed was 76 and I think it’s very unlikely that he will fire another bullet with 9x on the river, so my plan is to call again and probably fold the river if I don’t improve and he bombs it. The river was a 6 and now he checked it to me. I was never considering the possibility of turning my hand into a bluff, but now the opportunity was presenting itself. He had a little less than 6000 behind and there was around 12k in the middle. I obviously have a hand with plenty of showdown value, so checking back is reasonable, but what I really want to do is fold out his 9x hands. He’s never calling with his missed draws and I already ruled out his stronger holdings (sets), but I think he can fold his 9x and possibly his two pair hands here. Granted, I don’t have many 7x hands in my range (97s, 87s, 76s, A7ss, 77) and I probably wouldn’t try bluffing here against a better player, but I think he’s scared of the four card straight more than he’s thinking about my actual range and I only need this bluff to get through 33% of the time to break even, so it’s a pretty easy shove for me. He folds.

Two rounds later, I’m sitting on about a 22 big blind stack when it folds to me on the button and I look down at AJ. The small blind has me covered and the big blind has about 19 bigs to start the hand. I believe the player in the big blind is a thinking player and will realize I’m opening wide on the button and possibly try to exploit that by playing back at me with less than premium holdings. The small blind appears to be straight forward. Blinds are 400/800 and my plan is to open to 2000 and fold to a 3-bet from the small blind but get it in against the big blind. The small blind folds and the big blind does raise me, to about 7500, which is odd considering she has a reshove stack. Still, I didn’t waste time thinking about her sizing and got it in quickly and she snap-called with AK and I found myself crippled after the hand. I’ve been thinking about this one, wondering if she’s really ever 3-betting me light. I think it’s pretty standard to get it in with the AJ here, but I might be able to make exploitive folds against this player. While I’m sure she knows I’m capable of raising light on the button here, I’m not convinced she’s willing to exploit me by jamming hands like A8 or 33. I’m okay with the play, but I may be overestimating her capabilities here.

I doubled my remaining three bigs by winning with 44 vs KQ and then my 8 bigs jam with AQ lost to AK even though I turned plenty of equity with the nut flush draw and chop outs to a straight.

Event #5: $750 No Limit Hold Em Main Event

I kept some solid notes for this one and I actually felt like I played very well and had a strong read on all my opponents, but things did not go my way at all.

With the blinds at 25/50, there was a limper or two and the player to my right made it 250 to go. I had pocket tens. This is a hand that I like to flat this early in the tournament, but I do need to 3-bet it some of the time in order to keep my reraising range balanced. I think this is actually a good spot to make the raise, but in this instance I elected to call and six players ended up seeing the flop. On an 873 rainbow flop it checks to the preflop raiser who bets 500 into a 1500 pot, which is actually a pretty weak bet in this situation. With four players left to speak behind me though, I think calling and seeing what happens is best here. Five of us end up seeing the turn, which is a Jack. Now the preflop aggressor bets 1700 into a pot of 4000. I could have the best hand here and calling is probably standard, but since no one showed any real strength on the flop and because I had two tens in my hand, I decided to represent the T9 straight and made it 4100 to go. It’s really hard for anyone else to have the nuts and I thought there was some chance that my opponent would fold an overpair and if he called, I could make some decisions on the river, whether I wanted to continue the bluff or just show my hand down. While the other four players did fold, I was rather shocked when the aggressor reraised me to 9500. That is something I did not expect. Holding two blockers to the nuts, I felt pretty confident that if he did continue, it would be with a call. Instead, I ended up having to fold and he made a classy comment of “nice try.”

With the blinds still at 25/50 the cutoff opened to 250 and I defended 99 from the big blind. This is another potential 3-bet hand, but facing this raise size (which is huge), I went with a call. The flop was J43 and my opponent quickly checked behind. I lead out 350 when I turned a set and he called. The river was an 8 and I had already established my opponent as a calling station so even though it seemed like he was on the weaker side of his range, I decided to bet 1500 into 1225, as I thought he wouldn’t fold any pair and could very well call me with ace high. He did not oblige – he made it 3500 instead. This is not a fist pump and call situation. In fact, it very well might be a fold. Still, there is some chance he rivered a set of 8s and it’s not like I have so much history with this player that I can reliably start folding sets to him. So after giving it the “wow, how unlucky am I” head nod for about 10 seconds, I realized I’m never folding this hand and should stop wasting everyone’s time. Plus, the longer I wait, the more of an asshole I’m going to look like when my set of 9s are good. So I called and lost to his QT straight.

For some reason, our table was really limpy at the 75/150 level and I found myself limping along with 77 in a 5-way pot and getting the 764 with two spades flop. Everyone checked to me and I bet 500 into 750 and only one of the blinds called. The turn gave me quads and I bet 850 into 1750 and was called again. The river was a Ten and my opponent checked again. As I was thinking about my bet sizing with 3450 in the pot, I saw that she was shuffling her cards around in front of her and generally looking like she was going to fold. But this isn’t a player that I think is unaware of her body language, so I actually thought this meant she was trying to induce a bluff and was very likely to call, so I sized up at 2200 and she didn’t take very long to put the call out.

In the very next hand, I was able to limp along again with 66 and flopped another set on a very similar board, this time the 765 with two clubs. One of the limpers led out 350 into 750 and was called by another limper. I elected to make it 1450 on such a draw heavy board and both those players called. The turn was an 8 and I was pretty sad to see a 16.5k shove and a 21k shove before the action got to me. Obviously, I no longer have the best hand, but we were still in the re-entry period and it’s worth taking some time to try and figure out the math of the situation. I had around 20k behind and it was going to cost me all of it to see the river. So with 41.6K in the pot, I had to call 20K and I had ~10 outs once, or roughly 20%. So I had to put up 33% of the pot and I’m only going to get there 20% of the time. Mathematically, it’s a clear fold, especially since I still had a starting stack behind. I think if this was a smaller tournament still in the re-entry period, I would gamble with the worst of it for a chance to have a 60k stack in level 3, but I didn’t love the idea of busting out 80% of the time and paying another $750 for the stack I had sitting in front of me already. So I folded and the A9cc missed its freeroll versus the 96hh when a Jack hit the river.

My next critical hand at the 75/150 level saw someone opening from early position to 350 and I picked up AA and made it 1125. She called that raise and we saw a flop of QJ8 with two clubs and one spade. This is a poor flop for my hand – especially since both my aces were red – and it smacks her calling range pretty hard, so when she checked to me, I decided to check it back and let a card roll off. The turn was an ugly 9 of spades and she led out 1500. I’m losing to a lot of hands. The better question is, what hands would she raise/call with preflop that I’m still beating? AK, KQ, AQ? Maybe AJ suited? With two aces in my hand, I’m blocking the hands I want her to have pretty hard, plus AQ and KQ aren’t really hands it makes sense for her to bet here. At this point, it’s a pretty trivial fold, but it feels a bit bizarre to put zero chips in the pot after the flop heads up holding AA in position. I think it’s reasonable to bet the flop here, but I hate it if I get check-raised and even if she just calls there are going to be a lot of bad run outs for my hand. This is not the kind of board I want to play a big pot with. I think I get the best value out of my hand by checking back the flop and betting good turn cards when checked to or calling if she bets and then deciding on the river. She later told me she had TT and while I’m not saying that’s the gospel truth it’s certainly a hand that makes sense.

Here’s another hand I thought I botched. With the blinds at 100/200 and a 25 ante two players with wide ranges limped in from mid and late position and I made it 700 to go with K8 of clubs on the button. I think this play picks up the pot a decent portion of the time preflop and when I get called, I’m positive they fold often enough on the flop to make this play profitable – and that’s ignoring the times I actually make the best hand. They did both call, as did one of the blinds – not my dream scenario – and we ended up seeing a flop of AK2 rainbow, but with the 2 of clubs. Everyone checked to me and while this is a great hand to check behind, I think betting is perfectly reasonable. I’m not really worried about either of the limpers having an ace when they decide to call from later positions, so I frequently have the best hand and I should just bet it for value and try to win this pot right now. A check would make a lot more sense in a heads up pot, but I went with a check here. The turn card brought the 3 of spades, which opened up a spade draw and it checked to the player to my right and he bet 1000. Easy call for me and everyone else folded. The river was a ten and now he bet 2200 into what was about a 5100 pot. I actually hated this bet sizing because it screamed value. I had seen this player bluff the river and get picked off a couple of times now and I was really picking up the vibe that he had a hand this time. I even said “I don’t think you’re bluffing this time” aloud, but I was having a hard time coming up with hands that made sense because I didn’t think he had an ace and I didn’t think it made much sense to bet any other one pair hand, so his value range is super narrow – sets and straights, that’s about it. I went against my instincts and called and he showed me a hand that made perfect sense: the QJ of spades. Going back to my flop line on this hand, I’m not saying I made a mistake because of how the hand turned out, but in retrospect, I think a bet is my best play there. With about 2800 in the pot and a good flop for my range that isn’t susceptible to many draws, I would have sized small, probably 1200 at most, and the player with the QJ of spades would have almost certainly peeled the turn and I would have lost anyway… but still, I like to make the right plays, regardless of results.

At this point, I had lost with pocket aces and two sets and was having a really hard time accumulating any chips. I seemed to be losing most of the pots I played and I had ran my 20k starting stack down to 6k, so when the under the gun player made it 800 with the blinds at 150-300 and I looked down at AK in the big blind, I had a very easy reshove and she snapped with JJ and I lost the race.

I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty frustrating how I haven’t been able to have any breakthrough success at Muckleshoot. The data on my phone goes back to August of 2014 and I’ve lost more money at Muckleshoot than ANY casino and it’s one of only two casinos that I’ve played 70+ hours at during that span and have not won money overall. Granted, I don’t grind cash games there (53 hours in 3+ years) but I’ve played 30 tournaments and only cashed 4 of them (13.3%) and I have zero final tables. It’s still a pretty small sample size and I’m confident things will turn around eventually – especially if I increase my volume – but I have to say I’m tired of this stigma I have with Muckleshoot Casino!

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The Love Witch (2016), Hush (2016), Little Evil (2017)

September 11, 2017

The Love Witch (2016) – Curse the Best Movies of 2016 list that I saw this film on! But it’s hard to blame one list – The Love Witch sits at 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. This is one movie the critics and I did not agree on… not even a little bit. When the critics love a movie I could barely sit through, it makes me wonder what they were seeing that I didn’t. The Love Witch has gotten praise for its 1970s retro look and if there’s anything to like about this film it’s certainly the visual presentation. But I couldn’t get into the story at all and while Samantha Robinson gives a sultry performance in the lead role, she delivers all her dialog in a cadence that borders on parody and if this film is supposed to be a parody of something, I have to say it went over my head or I wasn’t paying close enough attention. I admittedly tuned out pretty early in the film and I almost quit it, so I have to admit this might not be the most fair review, but if a movie doesn’t grab my attention at all in the first 45 minutes, how good can it possibly be? The Love Witch is unrated and while it has a fair amount of nudity and sexual content, it’s not that sexy. This movie didn’t work for me as a parody, a comedy, or a horror film. It obviously has an audience, but I hated it and I doubt many of the people that read my reviews would like it either.

Replay Value: I’ve read reviews that say repeated viewings are worthwhile but that’s a hard pass for me.
Sequel Potential: The Love Witch grossed less than $300K so I’m going with none.
Oscar Potential: None

Grade: 3/10 (Skip It)

Hush (2016) – This was a solid horror thriller about a deaf woman living by herself in the woods and fighting for her life when a Jabbawockee shows up outside her window and does a killer dance routine. Just kidding. Hush is serious horror and there is nothing funny about this movie. This is a killer reminiscent of Michael Myers in the original Halloween, before he couldn’t be killed and was just your standard psychopath that really enjoyed murdering people… with a mask on. We don’t know why this man shows up outside this window or what his motives are and, let’s be honest, there are plenty of killers like that in the real world. And that’s part of what makes Hush scary: the idea that someone can be lurking right outside your bedroom window isn’t all that farfetched. Making the main character deaf certainly raises the stakes and writer/director Mike Flanagan and writer/star Kate Siegel (a married couple in real life) come up with plenty of scenarios that bring Maddie’s handicap into play. Siegel gives such a convincing performance that I wondered if she is actually deaf (she is not). Hush is a scary and fun horror film that seems to be overlooked. If you’re a fan of the genre you should definitely check this movie out while it’s streaming on Netflix.

Replay Value: I’ll probably never see this again, but it was fun enough that I would enjoy it a second time.
Sequel Potential: Horror movies always have potential for sequels… but I would imagine this doesn’t get one.
Oscar Potential: None… but Kate Siegel got nominated for Best Actress in various genre award shows.

Grade: 6/10 (Recommended)

Little Evil (2017) – Here’s another review that isn’t going to be very fair. My wife started watching this Netflix exclusive that started streaming earlier this month on her own and I sort of picked it up about 30 minutes or so into it. The gist is Adam Scott marries Evangeline Lilly and becomes step daddy to her kid, a child that may or may not be the spawn of Satan. My wife thought I would like it, but it was pretty stupid and it’s not funny enough to make up for how corny it is. Adam Scott does a fine job, but Lilly’s performance is hokey and could have been done by any run-of-the-mill actress. The kid isn’t anything special either. I may have missed the answer to this question, but I was wondering how Scott’s character decides to marry this woman while having such an apprehensive relationship with her kid. Also, the film seems to resolve its primary conflict because it’s time for the movie to end and not because of any natural progression between stepdad and stepson. Little Evil is a moderately interesting concept with a subpar execution. This movie is something to have on in the background while you’re doing something else and little more.

Replay Value: None.
Sequel Potential: Definitely potential for a sequel but who is going to want it?
Oscar Potential: None.

Grade: 3/10 (Skip It)