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Friday Fever: $15/$30 @ Palace (Live Blog)

February 9, 2018

11:01 AM: So yesterday I played an 11.5 hour $15/$30 session and thought maybe if I didn’t blog it I would have a chance to book a win! And I was right! I finished at +$509, which is my best $15/$30 session since January 1st! Wow.

And it was a hard-fought small win. I was stuck basically the entire day – even -$1000 at one point – and I was card dead all day. I don’t even know how I did it really.

Last night, I had the K9 of diamonds and triple barreled the T9xddA9 board and rivered The Tick’s AQ, which seems like the first showdown I’ve won against him in four sessions. And you know what happened next? After playing for 10+ hours, this guy didn’t take another hand. Losing one pot to me was more than he could bare.

Palace is about to spread $15/$30 for the fifth day in a row, which is amazing considering I thought this limit was in trouble as recently as Saturday. Now it really looks like it could be an everyday possibility.Starting lineup today, 6-handed: Game Genie, Elmer, Chief Wiggum, a loose non-reg, Atlanta Braves shortstop and leadoff hitter Dansby Swanson, and myself.

First clash feels like every hand of $15/$30 ever for me: I open KK, Elmer cold calls button, big blind defends; flop QJx two spades, I bet, Elmer raises and I 3-bet; he calls 4 turn; I check-call ace river and lose to AQ. Standard!

11:31 AM: Super Dave, the world’s biggest maniac, has made us 7-handed.

11:32: And we’re full: loose $8/$16 reg and an unknown.

11:38 AM: Super Dave just won back-to-back massive pots vs me:

65hh < 53o on 654Q7

QTcc < K7 on K87QK

The two hands that sandwiched that he lost massive pots with ace high.

This guy almost never has a pair. Why me? Why always me?

-$500 😂😂😂

11:51 AM: Super Dave 3, Dark Knight 0:

QQ < 94o on 7439K

This dude has not won a pot against anyone else yet. He’s shown down ace high four times.

Just 3-bet AThh and c-bet J73 flop 3-handed and by river I have worst hand against QT and T9.

Seriously considering discontinuing the blog today – I just run amazingly bad when I’m blogging my sessions. I’m not superstitious but wtf.

-$900 in less than an hour.

12:23 PM: I reloaded $1k already. Super Dave had $1500 after he dusted my queens with 94o. He has less than $300 now. I haven’t won a pot since he sat down. It honestly makes me sick.

12:30 PM: Super Dave has felted all his chips… and all my chips. It’s gotta be some kind of sick joke.

12:32: I open KQcc. I’m the only raiser. 3-handed on KJJJ. I’m in last place. I promise you this shit is real. Big blind has Jx and button has AA.

12:46 PM: Super Dave 4, Dark Knight 1

He pays off my A3 on A535J but outdraws my 99 on the very next hand. No momentum.

12:50 PM: Top top vs AA, but neither of us can beat J7.

This is a total zoo game. Super Dave is at 100% VPIP, 60% PFR after 25 hands; two other players have VPIPs over 60%. The two worst players have felted already and I’m down $1500 somehow.

Game Genie and the unknown player to my right (@ 77% VPIP) have all the chips.

12:58 PM: Another player felts and is replaced by The Tick.

1:14 PM: The three worst players have felted a total of four times. Two have left and been replaced by The Tick and Radio Mike. I am down almost $1600. Super Dave still has about $800 and if he leaves I may actually vomit. The unknown to my right has bumped his VPIP over 80% now.

1:21 PM: I open KQdd UTG, Super Dave 3-bets and The Tick can’t fold JTo and of course he gets the KQ9 flop. I’m in $4000 already and probably down $2000.

And…. Super Dave cashed out.

Someone kill me.

I’m experimenting with a new app which is how I can mention stats. Super Dave finished with a 100% VPIP and 69% PFR over 41 hands.

1:32 PM: Finally caught a miracle: AJ (ace of hearts) on KQ8hhT4 capped on flop… I bet and three bet on flop and I can’t get Radio Mike out with the same hand (no hearts) so I have to split this massive pot with him. No joy. I find no joy in winning half of this pot.

Dansby Swanson chimes in with “you guys were so crushed on the flop” and I’m taking a walk outside because I snapped back “no shit, man. We had ace high.”

1:42 PM: New goal for the day: not to react to anything.

2:10 PM: Goal failed already. Dansby opens, I 3-bet TT, two others in; board runs out T986J and I lose to Dansby’s AQ.

2:19PM: the unknown on my right with the 80%+ VPIP had over $1500 and now has less than $100. So… to recap: four different players have felted or dusted off big stacks (not including me) and I’m somehow stuck almost $2k with that much overlay. It almost seems impossible.

3:15 PM: Just went runner runner flush with AKdd vs AQ on QTxd7d2d and got told “nice catch” because, you know, I’m running so pure.

3:30 PM: So pure. I open AK, Dansby check-raises me in Overs on AJ3, I call, bet turn, he donks 7 river. NH A7.

3:46 PM: T2cc just raised button after limper and capped after I 3-bet AQ from big blind. Obviously can’t beat that hand.

3:54 PM: Player I’ve tracked last two days at 43 VPIP 4 PFR (over 500+ hands) just opened and I 3-bet QQ. Three on us to T75 two diamonds and she check-raises and caps. I think I’m dead already. I call down and through some miracle from the heavens she is torching with KT offsuit for some reason.

4:11 PM: Another miracle: the torcher with the 80% VPIP (and T2cc capper) raised limpers on button, I 3-bet AQ again, he caps again. Flop KT3, I check-raise the other two players out and he calls. I brick turn, bet, and… he folds! 🙌🏻

Chief Wiggum is eating something that smells rancid and I ask him about it and he starts saying how good it is. I say “it smells good” and he starts telling me about it and I say “let Radio Mike smell it” and he immediately grabs his plate to and brings it to Mike’s face, unaware of Mike’s pet peeve with other people’s food.

That was amusing enough to give me a second wind!

4:56 PM: Huge pot. I have A7ss on 532ss7 and lose to Radio Mike’s 62 when we both river straights. Would have got me to less than $1000 stuck but now I’m sitting here wondering how I can smash the board when I really need a big pot and lose to bottom pair.

5:05 PM: Just made quad jacks and got paid off on all streets and I’m up for top High Hand but I have to fade 18+ minutes.

5:26 PM: My High Hand held! Don’t call it a comeback! Seriously. Don’t.

Radio Mike opens, I defend JJ. Flop QJT. I check-raise, he calls. King on turn. He has AT. No waiting. No board pair. He checks back river for some reason.

5:40 PM: Actually the comeback is on. I’m down less than $1k now which feels like winning at this point.

5:47 PM: Four limps in front of me, I limp 96o, 7 of us see T96cc flop. Tick leads, two call, I raise, two cold call, and six of us to 3d turn. Tick donks again, one call, I raise, Taz cold calls again, and four of us to ace river. Tick donks again. I feel like I’m losing now, especially with his extensive history of rivering me lately. I call though and he tables JT!

He’s heating up! Down less than $600 now.

6:37 PM: And slipping back down. AK whiff, AQ whiff, JJ < AQ.

7:05 PM: My wife just put her name up for $15/$30 which means she must think they will start a second game – and they might be able to…

7:16 PM: Welp. They started a second game and the only thing keeping me in this current game was the 80% VPIP on my right… and then he cashed out!

And was replaced by The Human Torch! He sits down with $500.

But yes. Palace has two $15/$30 games going.

7:36 PM: And now my wife is in the same game as me. 🤦🏻‍♂️

7:41 PM: A couple good things happened. I raised AThh on a 972 flop trying to pick up outs with an obvious AK or AQ out and went runner runner flush instead and got a raise in on the river. Then I flopped a set of fives heads up against the big blind and dodged A7dd on 653dd.

Also, The Torch went through that $500 in less than ten minutes… and was replaced by my wife. So my close call decision to switch tables is now a no-brainer.

8:49 PM: I’m finding it rather difficult to track everyone’s stats and blog at the same time… I’ve been playing a lot of hands. I’m running at 35/20 over 300+ hands because the players on my right have been so loose and passive.

I just limped along with K8dd and turned a flush against T9o on TT7ddQd.

Still waiting on my table change but two players with VPIP of 50%+ have Overs here. However, the other game is significantly better. 🤷🏻‍♂️

8:56 PM: My wife just put her “I mean fucking business hat” on… which she wasn’t wearing when she check-raised me on the turn heads up twenty minutes ago. 🤔

9:02 PM: Going bad again. Both 50% VPIPs just torched me for big pots. One makes a one card flush with JTo on the river and I just ran QQ into AA against the other player on AQ66J and lost basically all the bets and now I’m walking around outside in disbelief.

But the bad thing about walking around outside is that the smokers all feel it’s appropriate to ask “how’s it going in there?” – a question I don’t like answering when things are going great, let alone when I’m getting my teeth kicked in.

I think I got up to as much as -$550 but I’m probably back to -$1500ish.

When did this game become so hard?

9:16 PM: That was a pretty long break I just took, but how comical is this? The player that filleted me with those aces is… gone. Of course he is.

9:25 PM: Special player in the game. Basically always sits with near min-buy and always wants an Overs button. I have been playing here since late 2014 and I’ve legit never seen him cash out one chip.

9:42 PM: OMG so many crazy hands. I can’t type them fast enough.

One hand: I flop top top with AK against The Tick’s ace plus nut flush draw and he 3-bets flop and never stops betting, which is a line he’s always had me beat with (when he’s sober), so winning that pot was a nice surprise.

I also raised the turn heads up in Overs with KJdd on T98dd8 and didn’t miss. 😮😮

10:03 PM: Finally got my table change. New table has The Hit&Run King, Taz, and a bunch of crazies.

Now that I’m here everyone is going to abandon ship. That’s how it goes. I don’t think they know how much I’m bleeding lately.

10:13 PM: First pot at new table. I raise A8hh utg, Taz cold calls button, both blinds call. I double barrel 985dh2d and check-call 3d river and lose to Taz’s K7 of diamonds.

Just turned quads with AQ though and I’m up for High Hand again.

10:19 PM: Jesus. The blinds at my table just ran it for high hand and the small blind flopped a straight flush to notch me with four minutes left. I wish I could take a picture so you could believe this shit I’m telling you. Paying $6 to run it for a $250 High Hand and it costs me $150.

I did get another $90 in High Hands though, so that’s something.

11:11 PM: Player posts in the cutoff and checks, I raise 54cc on button and we are heads up. I turn a flush which is cool. He has A3cc though, which is standard.

11:30 PM: Nothing is easy today. Crazy opens, there’s a call, I 3-bet KQhh and get the QQ7cc flop and then get check-raised on Jc turn which is kind of gross but then the 9c river bet makes it really painful. Fortunately he is punting with two red 8s and I pick it off.

12:02 AM: The poker gods just rewarded me for all the pain I’ve endured today. Button straddles, SB 3-bets, I call with 44 from big blind, and four of us see the 654ss flop. It goes two bets on flop and then the PFR donks ten turn, I raise and the button 3-bets, SB calls and I cap it even though I’m not sure I’m good here. River: 4. We get three bets in again three ways and, yes folks, it’s a one-outer against the button’s 55. Also good for another second place High Hand.

Button is berating me after the hand saying “aren’t you supposed to be a professional? You’re sloppy as fuck.”

😂😂😂

I mean… it’s hard to feel bad for the guy when he’s being a dick about it, but let’s be real: I haven’t taken a beat that bad today!

12:55 AM: Got to my happy place: 6-handed poker, no chopping, which is past everyone else’s pain threshold. Two players leave for $8/$16, one has been sitting out indefinitely, one goes out to smoke, and another says he’ll only play 4-handed if we straddle every hand. I’m not saying no to that… but I am now sitting here first up on the list instead of playing poker because people think short-handed is “bad.” So frustrating.

1:06 AM: Yup. That’s a session. Cashing out almost $3000 so I’m getting the awesome comments of “nice job” and “how do you win every day?” These people obviously don’t read my blog.

Final score: -$1117

I will not be blogging my session tomorrow, dammit. Guaranteed winner!

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2017 Poker Results

February 6, 2018

Volume Goals:

-Play 1800 live hours
-Play 600 hours of 20/40 or higher
-Play 100 hours of Omaha 8 or Better

Comments: My final live hours tally was 1729.5 hours, so I came up just short of that goal. However, I did add another 1100+ hours in online play, which sounds massive, but can actually be reduced somewhat because each table I play at is accumulating time in my app tracker. So one hour while 4-tabling is actually four total hours. Still, if you include the online volume, I easily played 160+ hours a month in 2017. In addition, 85% of my live hours were in cash games and 15% were in tournaments. Online, my volume is closer to 50/50 between cash and tournaments.

I only played 239 hours of $20/$40 LHE, but I did add 74 hours of $15/$30, 98 hours of 1/3/5 PLO, 11 hours of $30/$60, and 15 hours in bigger mix games. Add all that up and that’s 437 hours in bigger games, which is still short of my goal – and this would have been much worse if Palace didn’t start spreading bigger games in the last couple of months of 2017. When it came down to it, I just preferred to commute 5 minutes to play poker rather than 30+, even if it sort of hurt our bottom line.

I played 35 hours of live Omaha 8 or Better, far below my goal – and only an additional 21 hours online. I did play 90 hours of O8 tournaments though, so I guess this goal is somewhat of a wash. On the bright side, I didn’t plan to become a Pot Limit Omaha player in 2017, so that was a fun development. I played 96 hours of live PLO and 234 hours of online PLO, plus another 111 hours in PLO tournaments. So all in all, I played 587 hours in four card games, which seems like a check mark for this goal. I imagine I will be playing even more PLO in 2018, but Global Poker currently doesn’t offer O8 games and the only live casinos with O8 are either too far away or spread it too small for me to want to play consistently. I did hear Muckleshoot brought back a $20/$40 O8 game on Saturdays, but I’m yet to play it.

Win Rate Goals:

-1.5 BB/HR @ $8/$16
-0.75 BB/HR @ $20/$40 or higher
-1 BB/HR @ Omaha 8 or Better
-50% ROI in live tournaments

Comments: I came up just short on my $8/$16 goal. After posting a win rate of 1.12 BB/HR in 2015 and 1.8 BB/HR in 2016, I thought somewhere in the middle for 2017 would be reasonable, and I was right. I didn’t quite hit 1.5 BB/HR, but I did finish at 1.41 BB/HR for 2017.

My goal for bigger games went much better. After finishing 2016 with a disappointing 0.5 BB/HR in $20/$40 LHE games, I wasn’t sure if I was really capable of putting up the numbers I’ve become accustomed to in smaller games, but I’m happy to report that I finished 2017 with a 1.19 BB/HR win rate in $20/$40 (and 1.47 BB/HR in the Fortune $20/$40) and 1.23 BB/HR in LHE games of $15/$30 or bigger.

As I mentioned earlier, my Omaha 8 or Better volume was really small for 2017, so individual sessions had a really big impact on my final results. I won $29/hour playing O8 in 2017 while posting a win rate of -0.05 BB/HR! How did this happen? I played a seven hour $30/$60 O8 session and won $1300 and that accounted for more than 100% of my profit for the year.

I didn’t set a Pot Limit Omaha goal for 2017, but since I played so much of it, I figure I should share my results. As I’ve mentioned many times on my blog, I don’t think I’m a particularly good PLO player, but the game that’s spread on Wednesdays at Palace is so incredibly soft that I’ve managed to put up some monster results. I won over $100/hour in a 1/3/5 structured game. I don’t really know how to express that as a win rate since big bet games are usually expressed as big blinds per hour and this game has a $3 big blind but it’s $5 to call. Shrug. $100/hour is pretty much all you need to know – and it’s totally unsustainable. I actually lost money in PLO cash games online, to the tune of -$12/hour in over twice as many hours as my live volume and this is why I’m pretty sure I’m not that great. In fact, I lost $14/hour in $0.25/$0.50 6-max PLO, which is 28 big blinds/hour. That’s BAD. I seem to do better in full ring games than I do in short-handed PLO. I know I have run bad in online PLO, but I also know I’m not that good. On the other hand, I did really well in online PLO tournaments. I cashed in 23 of 65 events (35%) for an ROI of 119% with six wins and three seconds in fields that typically had 50-120 players, which means I finished in the top two of nearly 14% of the PLO tournaments I played. That’s either dominant or super lucky… or both.

I once again crushed my ROI goal for live tournaments, thanks to another WSOP final table and a new career high score for my 5th place finish in the $1500 H.O.R.S.E. event.

I ended up playing 37 events with a buy in of $100+ and an average buy in of $476 and finished with an ROI of 256% which smashed my goal of 50% I set for the year. As I noted in my 2017 Goals, I guessed I would play about 3 live tournaments a month and that was a spot on estimate. All my success basically came in the WSOP where I cashed 4 of 5 tournaments and found myself in the WSOP Player of the Year running before deciding not to play any more events.

It’s worth noting that I whiffed completely in the Muckleshoot Classic series, posting an overall 0-9 effort. I still have zero final tables in that series to date and it remains a location that I am yet to have a breakout in.

I only had two notable cashes outside of the WSOP – I took 4th of 188 in my first tournament of the year back in January at the LAPC at Commerce in the $350 Omaha 8 or Better for $5600 and then I took 1st of 75 in the $125 All In Or Fold tournament at Run It Up Reno in October for $3900.

I played many, many more tournaments online. This is basically what I did on my “days off.” I played in 500 total tournaments with an average buy in of $21.50 and I cashed in 106 (21%). Despite a decent cashing percentage, I actually finished with a -8% ROI and lost $1.25/hour overall. LOL. To be fair, I did punt the majority of my bankroll on Ignition when the future of that site went into question. In July, I switched over to Global Poker and cashed in 82 of 303 tournaments (27%) with I think about ten wins, an overall ROI of 11%, and a sexy hourly of $1.56!

Training/Study Goals:

-read through MG1&2 and do all the work
-do APT weekly challenge every week
-memorize all the typical LHE drawing odds
-watch at least one WSOP FT a month
-play at least four hours of PLO and four hours of NLHE every month
-play at least ten tournaments a month

Comments: Most of my studying is in the form of playing micro stakes cash games and tournaments online. Basically my goal is to stay sharp or gain experience in no limit hold’em tournaments and pot limit Omaha cash games. With that said, I crushed the bottom two goals listed above. The rest of my study goals didn’t go nearly as well. I never finished Jared Tendler‘s books and as you can tell from some of my recent blog posts and my mind state at the end of my last LAPC trip this is an area that I could still use considerable work on. I subscribed to PokerGo and there’s tons of content on there – and I’m even watching the $25K Mixed Games Championship in the U.S. Poker Open as I type this (Go DeathDonkey!) – but most of my poker watching has been on the streams and vlogs of Lex Veldhuis, Andrew Neeme, Brad Owen, Tonkaaa, and JNandez. There is so much good poker content out there right now that it’s overwhelming at times. I also read Tommy Angelo‘s Painless Poker and while I prefer his older work, it did spark some lifestyle changes.

Top 5 $8/$16 Sessions:
1. +$1867 @ Palace
2. +$1808 @ Palace
3. +$1550 @ Palace
4. +$1530 @ Palace
5. +$1465 @ Palace

Worst 5 $8/$16 Sessions:
1. -$905 @ Palace
2. -$887 @ Palace
3. -$873 @ Palace
4. -$857 @ Palace
5. -$758 (x2) @ Palace

Top 5 non-$8/$16 Sessions:
1. +$4010 in $1/$3/$5 PLO @ Palace
2. +$3535 in $1/$3/$5 PLO @ Palace
3. +$2907 in $20/$40 LHE @ Fortune
4. +$2725 in $15/$30 LHE @ Palace
5. +$2540 in $15/$30 LHE @ Palace *$2352 Royal Flush
6. +$2348 in $30/$60 LHE @ Palace

Worst 5 non-$8/$16 Sessions:
1. -$2265 in $15/$30 LHE @ Palace
2. -$2100 in $1/$3/$5 PLO @ Palace
3. -$1442 in $20/$40 LHE @ Commerce
4. -$1242 in $20/$40 LHE @ Fortune
5. -$1191 in $20/$40 LHE @ Fortune

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Marathon Monday – 2/5/2017

February 5, 2018

11:20 AM: I’m starting to wonder about the viability of a daily $15/$30 game at Palace. If the game can’t start on a Saturday with $500 High Hands every 20 minutes and five $8/$16 games running at one point, things don’t bode very well.

I think the biggest problem is getting the game off the ground. It’s a Palace mentality that short-handed games are “bad.” The players that embrace the short game are few and far between, so when there are 5-6 names on the list it’s like pulling teeth to get a game started unless the right people are on the list. But if you get the game going, other people will join – people that weren’t on the list – and it will fill up. I don’t know why people don’t get this concept.

Bravo showed 11 names on the $15/$30 list for today, but when I showed up I quickly realized that most of the names were carryovers from the Saturday game that never started. That left a total of four names and one of them quickly removed themselves from the list.

So I’m playing $8/$16 instead now and there is a list of four for $15/$30.

In my $8/$16 game are Elmer, Radio Mike, and Game Genie – the same names on the $15/$30 list.

11:52AM: With that said, one player walked in for $15/$30 and we immediately fired it up. Hopefully others will join.

Starting lineup: myself, Radio Mike, Elmer, Game Genie and… a new blog nickname: Marlo… named after the character from The Wire because the resemblance is uncanny. Marlo is sitting with the minimum buy in of $150 but he can fire off for much more and he’s never hurt a poker game he’s sat in.

12:05 PM: Marlo torched his stack and gave me all the bets on JT952 when I had JT and he had J2 (he was all in for two bets on the turn). As an added bonus, Elmer called all the way down. Just as I promised Marlo reloaded for $700.

12:16 PM: We are 7-handed now, joined by a $15/$30 reg and a newer Palace reg that I played with for the first time last week and he immediately established himself as one of the few players I genuinely dislike. He played super slow, which was annoying enough, but he was also verbally aggressive and basically attacked Peaceful Pete and myself, insinuating that we are each other’s “girlfriends.” Eh. I don’t care what anyone says about me or how they act – please just let them keep playing – but unlike Peter, who laughed at everything this idiot said and really kept him in his “happy zone,” I don’t pretend to like people I can’t stand. I’ve only played with this guy twice now, so I’m not gonna drop a name on him yet, but my genuine enemies need to be easily identifiable.

Game Genie opens button, I 3-bet A3hh from the SB, and we are heads up to A86 two clubs one heart. We both check. Non-standard line from me but Game Genie is bluffy. Turn is a jack and it goes bet and call. River is a ten and I go passive again, check-calling, and lose to Q9cc.

I open AK and my new enemy defends and beats me with Q6 on 764AQ.

I open KTdd and Marlo eventually gets all in against me on T84c4c and his J9cc rivers a straight.

My good start has quickly become a mediocre one.

1:08 PM: Sick, lucky connection: Game Genie raises two limpers on the button, I 3-bet KK from SB, one limper stays and three of us see K55 flop. I get three bets in on flop against Game Genie, one bet on 9 turn, and three big bets on 8 river. He has 85hh.

1:16 PM: That last hand gives me a rare big start. I want to rededicate myself to taking breaks and really focusing at the table today. As fun as it is to play with Radio Mike, Elmer, and Prattling Pete it really creates a home game vibe sometimes and takes me out of my element. I’m here to kill and pay our bills, not have a good time with friends. And it also makes it really hard to listen to all the new music that is always coming out and I really enjoy doing that and there’s no better place to do so than at a poker table.

We are full now, picking up a Fortune $20/$40 reg I will call Grawp (that’s a Harry Potter reference and a pretty obscure relation to this player, but I get it and that’s all that matters!) and a Palace reg.

1:42 PM: Game Genie vowed to get his chips back from me and that’s something worth keeping in mind. For instance: four limps in front of me, I limp along with 97o on the button. Flop is 653 with two hearts and it checks to me. I bet and one blind and Game Genie check-call. Turn is a black king and Game Genie leads out. This is definitely a spot I should consider raising. He doesn’t have to have a hand here and I have decent equity even when he calls. I call though, brick river and let him have the pleasure of showing me the ten high he “bluffed” me out with.

1:59 PM: Phone-In Pete is up as a call in for $8/$16 and $6/$12 Omaha, but not for $15/$30. Seems like an oversight on the floors’ part, so I asked Radio Mike if we should mention something to them and we both agreed we can’t assume that Peter wants to play $15/$30. He might have had a terrible weekend or maybe he thinks the lineup is too tough today? We will let him sort it out when he gets here.

2:41 PM: FALSE ALARM: Perfidious Pete is not here. I repeat: PETER IS NOT HERE. Must have been a different Peter. It all makes sense now.

2:46 PM: Radio Mike opens and I defend with 98o. Flop is K65 all diamonds and I check-raise (one of my cards is a diamond). He calls. Turn pairs the king and I bet and he folds. About a minute goes by and he gives me a look and I give him a wink, knowing he’s going to read this in the next ten minutes or so.

Maybe I had a king, Mike. Maybe I had what I said I had.

3:31 PM: a limp or two in front of me, I raise TT, Grawp calls from SB, five of us to 853ss flop. Elmer donks, I raise, Grawp cold calls, Elmer calls. Turn K. Grawp check-raises. I’m calling down here out of curiosity. Ace of spades on the river gets me a free showdown and he shows KQo. Okay.

3:52 PM: Can’t say I’m running bad though. Game Genie limps UTG, I raise KTdd, button 3-bets, Elmer caps, Genie folds and it’s three of us to T33, two hearts one diamond. Elmer leads and he basically always has overpair here so no point in raising. I call and we are heads up. 4d on turn and I still just call. Elmer is the type that will call a raise here and still bet the river so no guarantee I get a free showdown when I miss and there is literally zero chance I have the best hand. River solves all problems by giving me a flush and I outdraw his KK.

And then I win a big pot with KK three hands later. 🤷🏻‍♂️

4:18 PM: I open QQ and Radio Mike 3-bets. I call and check-call down on KJ965 and lose to his AK.

One player limps and it folds to my big blind. I check with Q4o and check again on QT6. Turn is a 4 and I get my patented big bet check-raise in in a micropot. He calls and the river is a 3 and now he’s raising me? I call and he has the 75 somehow.

Same player cold calls a raise on Q82 and beats my AA with Q4.

Maybe I’m not running so hot?

4:34 PM: I’m changing Grawp’s nickname because I just remembered something: Sgt. Rock has a blog (link later: Sgt Rock’s Blog) he updates occasionally and already has a great nickname for this player. He calls him Atlanta Braves leadoff hitter and shortstop and I always laugh when I read that. I don’t want to type all that out though every time I mention him so I will call him by current Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson’s name.

4:44 PM: I just opened button with K7o and called down on TT596 vs J8 because I’m a total sicko. Not the greatest bluff catcher but this was more of an informational call down because he took a strange line (check-call flop, bet turn and river).

5:00 PM: Punctual Pete just walked in the door at 5 PM sharp and not ONE SECOND earlier and this bastard immediately gets a seat in the game.

5:48 PM: My enemy in MP opens, Elmer calls, I 3-bet JJ from SB, enemy caps. Flop J74 two spades and I lead out expecting to get good action. Enemy calls and Elmer folds. 2 on turn and I’m fully expecting to get raised, so why not bet? He does raise, I 3-bet and he calls down with whatever overpair he had. He did the whole dramatic “look how unlucky I got” slow fold thing and showed his hand but I lost interest in the situation after about ten seconds and never saw it.

7:48 PM: I was just taking a break to eat some Banh Xeo and it was amazing! While doing so, Radio Mike walked up to me and said “nice live blog – it’s been two hours!”

I guess I haven’t played any exciting pots in a while. So here’s a recent one: I open cutoff with KQcc, button calls, Blackjack calls, and Game Genie goes all in for 3-bets, and I cap. Flop is A4A one club and I c-bet and both live players call. Turn is 3c and I barrel and I shake the button but Blackjack is hanging in there. I whiff river and give up and Blackjack gets it all with 99.

7:50 PM: Here’s a better hand: two limps, Peter completes, I check 43o. Flop is 665, I bet and everyone calls. Turn 7, I bet and my enemy raises me from UTG, fold fold, I 3-bet, and he caps. River 8, I check-call and he shows… 44. 🤦🏻‍♂️

Nope. Didn’t want to catch that punt attempt.

8:01 PM: Open 99 UTG, Blackjack and Dansby Swanson cold call. Three of us to KT9 flop. I bet, Blackjack raises, Dansby does some more cold calling, I 3-bet and they both call. Turn 3, I bet and only BJ calls. River jack and I go thin and get raised. He shows QThh. Blah.

I open button with 33 and only Blackjack defends. He check-calls on 964. We both check on 4 turn. His run good against me continues with a 6 on the river, but he miraculously check-folds, even though my line is laughably unbelievable.

8:23 PM: More pain: I open JJ, my enemy cold calls, big blind defends. Flop is KJ3 two hearts. I bet and the big blind check-raises, I 3-bet, my enemy is still in and big blind calls. Turn is an 8 and now this torcher raises me, the big blind folds, and I punish him with a 3-bet. He calls and raises me on the 2h river. I call and he has 87hh for a flush. Raises me on the turn against a super strong line because he hasn’t paid enough for this draw already, I guess.

This is the kind of torching he was doing on Friday and giving all his chips to Peter, but when I played against him he had a hand. Tonight he’s trying to give me money and the river won’t let him. 🤢

8:47 PM: I hate him. I can’t stand this dude. I can’t explain it all and I don’t want to type out all the offensive things he does, but he needs a nickname. I wanted to use this on someone else earlier but it’s more fitting here. He’s big, he might have roid rage, he’s kind of an idiot, and he annoys the shit out of me. He’s The Tick.

Here’s a crazy, weird hand: multiple limpers, I limp along with 64ss on the button, and 6 of us see a Q97 flop. Everybody checks. Turn is a 6 and a middle player bets, I call, although folding here is perfectly reasonable. We are heads up to king on river and he bets again. He’s a new player to this limit and I know he has a lot of respect for my game so I think a raise here works a large percentage of the time. I pop it and… he calls. I table my hand and he promptly turns up… T5 of diamonds… which is ten high. And then he’s wondering why the pot is being pushed to me. Solid soul read, Dark Knight.

10:06 PM: Multiple limps in front of me, I raise ATss, five or six of us to 952 and it checks around. Turn is a ten and it checks to me, I bet, The Tick raises (after checking back button on flop), Blackjack cold calls, Persistent Peter cold calls, huh? There is a heart draw available, but what the heck? I 3-bet it because none of these clowns have me beat and everyone calls. River is a 7 and I check because this might be a little thin for value as it seemed everyone was drawing, but The Tick bets and Blackjack check-raises. Sigh. Peter mucks, I muck, and The Tick pays it off with ATcc. Blackjack has J8 for the nuts.

10:20 PM: Radio Mike gave me unlimited action on T22Q6 when I had KK and he had whatever crap hand he can cap the flop and call down with. That sent him outside with a tear coming down his eye and when he came back in, he tripped over the front rug, and I guess that made up his mind that he was incapable of continuing a poker session and he came back to the table with wet tissue and some empty racks.

11:10 PM: I open KQ and only Peter defends. Somehow I lose to A6dd on QJ5d flop. 🤷🏻‍♂️

11:26 PM: The Tick has reached the boiling point. He’s had enough alcohol now that he has elevated to Mega-Douche levels and anything anyone says from now on could cause a confrontation.

12:51 AM: Well I’m not leaving anytime soon. We are 8-handed and everyone has Overs buttons now. My A6 just lost to The Tick’s 64 on 76578, which is whatever, but it would be nice to have the best hand on the river against this tool once in a while.

12:54 AM: Peeved Pete just dropped the “F-Bomb” on the table for acting out of turn on the river.

1:01 AM: Jesus. Tick limps utg, SB calls, I check K8. Flop KT8, it checks around. Turn ace, I check-raise The Tick. He calls. Jack on river. I check-call. He has AQ. Every time? Really?

1:29 AM: Everyone gets to river me. A girl that’s been playing really snug all night opens from MP, button calls, I defend TT. I donk 876 flop and she raises me. I call and we are heads up. We both check on ace turn, which I was planning to check-raise if she bet. River is a ten. I bet, she raises… I really think she would bet 99 on the turn, so I’m perplexed. Whatever. I call. She has Q9 suited.

Groan. My Palace red chip curse continues. I haven’t been stuck ALL day and it’s getting close now. I could be up over $2k right now so easy. If I was just running decent.

1:52 AM: Capped pre with AQss 4-ways. Flop KTx with two spades. Capped again. T on turn. Peter has TT. Somehow I don’t get there on the river.

I am stuck now. I am fucking stuck.

Unreal.

2:01 AM: I am 15 hours deep and I’m stuck for the first time all day. It seems like I’ve been getting rivered for about four hours straight now. I’m fed up. But everyone has Overs and The Tick has almost $1500.It’s a toss up.

2:14 AM: Peter just played a 10 minute heads up hand against The Tick (probably only a slight exaggeration) and got like five extra bets with QQ, a hand that should never be good considering the board and the action, but of course he’s good. The snail-pace of the game honestly might drive me out of here.

3:00 AM: Folds to The Tick on the button and the big blind is begging for a chop. He gets it. I have AQ in the small blind. Thanks man.

Another whiffed nut flush draw.

Everyone is punting to Peter.

Maybe I did go home. Maybe I’m asleep and this is a nightmare I’m having.

3:11 AM: 6-handed no chopping now. The chances this game lasts long enough for me to gut this clown is probably somewhere around zero.

3:22 AM: Zero fucking percent. Game over. What a catastrophe. Finish -$535 after being up at least $1400 at my peak. These $15/$30 sessions have been criminal. This is the second straight session The Tick has sprayed chips to everybody at the table and still managed to cash out multiple racks because he can’t lose to me no matter how hard he tries to.

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Super-Sized Saturday $15/$30 LHE (Live Blog)

February 3, 2018

Yesterday I played a 16+ hour session (+$312) like a true degenerate sicko without blogging so I feel like I should do one today. I’m going to be a little less crazy today. I’m currently on alert for when the game is about to spread and I’ll be leaving my house as soon as that happens. But honestly, I hope that’s not for another hour.

Palace in Lakewood has had a sick High Hand promotion the last three days – $500 every 20 minutes for 12 hours each day – and yesterday they managed to fill every table in their brand new 15-table room. For those of you that don’t know, I worked at Palace from August 2015 to October 2016 and while we did get all eight tables full on occasion, it was more of a 5- or 6-table room during my tenure. So seeing all 15 tables full with big lists was kind of mind-blowing. I couldn’t be happier for The Man, for poker in this area, or for myself really. It seems like the last few days it has been accepted that a $15/$30 game can be spread every day (yesterday there were five $8/$16 games and a $15/$30 with a big list at one point) and if that happens to be true, I have no good reason (except variety) to travel to Renton to play $20/$40 at Fortune anymore. I still might go a few times a month, but it won’t feel like something I need to try to make a bigger priority.

I missed the new promos on the 1st because I decided to go to the University of Washington vs Arizona State college basketball game. And what a great decision that was. I had a BLAST! Here’s a really dumb fact: I initially enrolled at UW in fall of 2003 and I eventually graduated in 2010 (that’s another story) and in 14.5 years of UW affiliation (and a stretch of college basketball obsession – I used to do my own Top 25 Rankings), I had never been to a Husky basketball game. I never saw Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, Isaiah Thomas, Quincy Pondexter, Tony Wroten, or Terrence Ross play basketball in a UW uniform (except on T.V.) and being at the game on Thursday, as great as it was, made me feel the pain of all those missed opportunities. And it also reinvigorated my passion for Husky basketball. I’ve been reluctant to get back into it because I have a tendency to overindulge (see above link) and feel like I need to watch every game for every relevant team… but I’m just going to be a Husky fan. I think I can do that. And I want to go to another game ASAP. In fact, though I will be live blogging my session today, I will also be bringing my iPad to watch the UW-Arizona game at 8 PM. I’m invested now.

I did something else yesterday that was bittersweet – I bought tickets to the Broadway musical Hamilton playing at The Paramount in Seattle on February 11th. This is a total bucket list item for myself and the $250 tickets I saw on StubHub were by far the cheapest I’ve seen them anywhere. I only say bittersweet because this happens to be the same day as the Main Events in the Grizzly Games on Global Poker, so I won’t be playing in those. Another tournament getting scratched off my list.

Welp. Palace already has ten tables running with five names on the list for $15/$30, so I’m going to hop in the shower and head that way in about 20 minutes. Stay tuned!

1:23 PM: Just arrived at Palace. They have 12 tables going with 6 names on the list for $15/$30 and these other players don’t seem to grasp the concept that you can’t start a game… without starting a game. I can see up to 5-6 more people that might jump in $15/$30 if it actually got off the ground.

And… that list is down to 5 now.

I’m 4th up for $8/$16 and I really have no desire to sit in that game for an hour.

1:38 PM: Sitting down in $8/$16 with $2000 and people can’t help themselves but make comments: “that don’t mean nothing” and “just because he bought a lot of chips.” Like… I can’t hear you?

1:50 PM: I rated my first album of 2018. SiR‘s November is really, really good. He’s a TDE product (same camp as Kendrick Lamar), so the expectations are high and SiR doesn’t disappoint. This is an R&B/Soul album, not a hip-hop one, but it’s high quality stuff: elite production with great songwriting. “D’Evils” and “Something Foreign” are the first two songs on my Best of 2018 playlist and I more songs are catching my ear as I listen. Check it out!

2:22 PM: I have voluntarily played two hands in almost an hour of action so far. I won a pot with TT.

There are still only five names on the $15/$30 list and Radio Mike just text me and said he’s not playing today. There are only two open tables left. This could be a problem. I really don’t want to play $8/$16 with $2000 in chips in front of me all day. Whoops!

2:53 PM: Three limpers, I raise AA from SB, five of us see flop. Q42 with two diamonds. I bet, a player totally unknown to me raises, there’s a cold caller, I three bet and the unknown caps. Still three of us to black 9 turn and I’m still leading. I’m happy to see both of them just call. River is a 4 of diamonds and I’m definitely one to go for thin value, but I don’t know what’s going on here and one of these guys could easily have a flush. I’m not bet-folding so I check and it checks around and I’m good.

3:56 PM: Still no $15/$30 (7 on list, two open tables). No blog regulars at my $8/$16 table. I’m tired. I haven’t slept well in a few days and added a 16-hour session to that mix. If the $15/$30 doesn’t fire in the next hour or so, I’m just going to relax and watch the UW-AZ game from home.

5:23 PM: I’m still here and now I’m rethinking my decision to leave. The $15/$30 game isn’t going to happen. I’ve accepted that.

But check this hand out: multiple limpers, button raises, I 3-bet AQ from the small or big, button caps, everyone calls. 5- or 6-ways to A75 two hearts (I have none) and I check-raise the button. The players two my left cold call and the button calls. Turn is Kh. I bet, two call, button raises, I fold, and only one player calls. River Th. It checks around and… button tables TT.

That’s the kind of chip-torching that keeps me up at night wondering if someone like that is playing in a casino near me while I’m sleeping.

7:34 PM: I’m at home now watching the game. After 5.5 hours of $8/$16 I cashed out $2066 which, if you recall, means I won $66. Another very ho hum session.

I suspect tonight will be one of the 5-10 times I fall asleep before midnight in 2018.

GO DAWGS!!

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Call Me By Your Name (2017)

February 1, 2018

Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar
Director: Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash)

Bottom Line: Call Me By Your Name is naturally going to draw some comparisons to 2005’s Brokeback Mountain and that might be all the information some of my followers need to decide to stay away. But 2018 is not 2005 and we live in a much more accepting (though still incredibly prejudiced) world nowadays and maybe some of you will appreciate this for what it is: a very solid coming-of-age love story set in Italy during the early 1980s… between a 17 year old boy and a 25 year old man. Yes, not everyone’s cup of tea – and the age difference borders on suspect – but I really enjoyed it. There are some cringe-worthy moments – as is the case with lots of foreign language films – but it’s funny, moving, and plenty memorable. It’s an emotional journey you are truly invested in and the Italian backdrop really engrosses you in the story. Timothee Chalamet gives the strongest 2017 performance from a lead actor that I’ve seen to date and Armie Hammer is also very good in a role I wouldn’t have really expected from him. I also really appreciated Elio’s (Chalamet) parents (Stuhlbarg and Casar). They were very progressive and supportive of what their son was up to, which would be cool enough in 2018, but is even more remarkable for a film set in the 80s.

Call Me By Your Name was a lot of fun and highly recommended. If you’re wary about a love story between two guys then it’s probably not for you, but I thought it was one of the better overall films of 2017. I think this could easily be a film I look back on in a few years and realize it’s better than I’m giving it credit for right now.

Replay Value: The more I think back on it, the more I’d like to watch it again.
Sequel Potential: Director Luca Guadagnino has already announced a sequel, which is rather surprising.
Oscar Potential: Nominated for four Oscars: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Song, and Timothee Chalamet for Best Actor.

Grade: 7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

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A Reprieve & PLO Pressure (Live Blog)

January 31, 2018

Anyone following my blog knows that my second trip to California for the LAPC did not go well. In fact, it was the worst poker trip I’ve ever had – from a money lost standpoint. Maybe I’ve had worse trips. Back in 2009 – in the middle of a relapse – I basically punted my entire bankroll to Cherish Andrews in a no limit hold’em cash game at the Fall Round Up in Pendleton, Oregon. For some reason, she was incapable of folding top pair against a drunk dude putting max pressure on her. Stubborn! She has gone on to be a known quantity in the poker world – she has over $570K in lifetime scores, including two big WSOP final table cashes ($210k, $142k) – and I went on to call my parents to tell them that I was drinking again, I was officially broke, and I was in another state and needed gas money to get home. That was one of my many rock bottoms, so maybe it was a worse trip, but I did lose less money than I did last week.

When I got home from Los Angeles on Sunday, I was down $4700 for the month, with three days to go and in serious jeopardy of having my worst month ever (last August I lost a little over $4200). As someone that makes their living playing poker and understands the big picture and the various swings that can happen in the short term, I’m not really sweating losing sessions, weeks, or even months. These things happen – it’s part of the gig. But it’s obviously preferential to win, regardless of whatever your arbitrary stopping point is.

When I arrived home Sunday, my wife wanted to go play live poker, so I decided to stay home and check out what Global Poker had going that night for their Grizzly Games series. I played all three pot limit Omaha events scheduled and took 2nd of 174 in the $11 rebuy for +$638.20. Global gives out trophies, hats and shirts to winners of their series events, so I was pretty disappointed to not take it down, especially since I had five times as many chips as anyone else at the final table. But one player knocked the whole final table out and pulled even with me and then basically won every critical pot heads up. Oh well. I was pretty happy to have some tournament success after my terrible week and getting a little less stuck for the month.

The next day I returned to my home court at Palace and booked a decent +$386 win in the $15/$30 game, but the game broke super early (at 3:15 PM) and I had to play $8/$16 the rest of the day. I guess that’s a good thing because now that I was playing in the smallest limit I play regularly, my run good switch was officially activated and I had a very good session, to the tune of +$1339.

I did whiff on all three limit hold’em events in the Grizzly Games on Global Monday night, which was extremely disappointing because I was looking forward to those events so much I had them written down on my personal calendar. I have to say it was pretty difficult to 3-table on an iPad while playing live poker, but I gave it a shot. Unfortunately, the wifi at the casino went down when I was short in one of the tournaments and by the time I got a connection back, I was out! I had to resort to playing on my iPhone 5 using my Verizon connection for my last event and it was pretty brutal. I couldn’t figure out how to size the table properly and I accidentally folded KK preflop in a hand I would have quadrupled on against JJ, KQ, and some other random hand. I picked up KK again a few hands later and ended up busting after losing to a full house on a queen high board against a hand I never even saw because my opponent’s hand was off the screen. So yeah, a pretty shitty experience of something I was really looking forward to. My own fault for trying to multi-table while playing live poker.

Regardless, it was a good Monday and I could actually see potential for a complete redemption. I’m playing some small stakes PLO on Global Poker right now as I get ready for my day, but I am now down about $2300 for the month with one live PLO session at Palace to go. And winning $2300+ in that game is a real possibility. I’ve played 19 sessions of PLO at Palace with an average win of +$592 and two sessions where I have won more than $2300. Pressure’s on!

I’m heading to yoga in a few hours and then I’ll be live blogging my PLO session at 6 PM. Check back then!

6:06 PM: Just got to Palace and this game is struggling to get off the ground. I won about $110 in my online PLO session so my magic number tonight is +$2300.

Anyone that thinks yoga is not much of a workout take this into consideration: I left my house with a blood sugar over 200 and by the time yoga was over, I was below 80 with a down arrow – or on the verge of passing out, even after drinking a full Gatorade. So yeah, pretty intense stuff, especially after taking a couple weeks off.

Starting lineup for PLO: The Riddler, His Royal Airness, Megaton (reconsidering that nickname), Action Bronson (still MIA), and a PLO-only regular. Blackjack is standing on the sideline watching the game and my guess is he’s gonna fire some bullets at it some time tonight.

I’m sitting down with $500 ($1000 max buy) while I see who sits with what and feel the game out. I’ve already picked off a river bluff from His Airness and then called a river check-raise in a stupid spot against the PLO reg.

6:26 PM: I have $1500 in big chips in my pocket but no one sat with more than $500 so they remain there for now.

I just “sucked out” in a decent-sized limp pot from the SB with AJ83dd vs A874 on A93d4dJ.

6:30 PM: The Riddler has felted already and Blackjack sat down just like I thought he would.

6:38 PM: Thanks to the overlay from The Riddler, I have now topped off to nearly $1K to cover the players he donated his stack to.

6:57 PM: The Riddler has felted again and he’s all but defeated. Action Bronson is trying to be encouraging: “If [Megaton] and I can play in this game, you can play in this game too.” I can’t help but chime in: “Yeah man. If [Action Bronson] can hold on to his chips for 20 minutes you should be able to also.”

7:04 PM: The Riddler doubled up and got max action on the river in a spot where he should never be getting called. He is back over $1K.

7:08 PM: It’s so tempting to want to play every hand in this game because half the table has no fold button. It is painful to watch from the sidelines as people pay off massive river bets with hands that are bluff-catchers at best.

7:42 PM: Unfortunate spot: Pot is pretty decent-sized already and I called $50 with QdJdKc3c on KQ9dTd and Blackjack check-raises to $150, which is over half his remaining stack, and His Airness makes it $300. I have top two with an open-ended straight flush draw. My current straight is clearly no good, but I think all my redraws are. I reluctantly call and the river pairs the board… with a ten. Blackjack is all in and His Airness makes a wimpy $50 bet that I just can’t fold to against him… just in case, by some miracle, I am getting half of the side pot. Raising here is a consideration but I’m almost certainly losing the main pot and Hia Airness isn’t exactly a candidate to fold AJ here. I call and they split the pot with AJ. Ugh. Blackjack did have AJ with the nut flush draw so maybe this is closer to a fold than I think.

8:23 PM: Megaton booked a solid win and immediately bounced. As I mentioned earlier I don’t love my name for him and I’m not sure why it took so long for this to click, but he’s the hit and run king… so he will be Hit-Run from now on.

An $8/$16 reg is trying PLO out for the first time. And the poker room manager, aka The Man, is also in the game now, in full suit and tie.

8:57 PM: Clashing with His Royal Airness like I’m aiming to do. I put in $10 from the small blind in a 7-way pot with Kh3hTd3d, which is an absolutely terrible hand. I should be folding here but I’m seeing a flop for some reason. It comes down 642 two hearts and one diamond. Since I have the second nut flush draw and two nut straight blockers I lead out for $40 and only His Airness calls. The turn is Qd and I decide to check-call. I don’t expect to shake him and I have two flush draws and neither of them are to the nuts. I’m going to try and make a hand and go from there. So I call $75 or whatever he bet. River is beautiful: ace of hearts. I have the nuts! His Airness is reckless so I go for a check-raise here. He bets $175 and doesn’t take long to call my max raise to $475 with QJhh.

9:22 PM: I just folded the second nuts in a really weird spot. I’ll come back to that hand later tonight.

9:33 PM: His Airness is felted. Action Bronson cashed out. The $8/$16 player felted a bunch and then won a monster pot when I was gone and now has around $1800 in front of him. I can’t call what his next move will be: booking the win now that he has sugar in a game he’s never played or play out the current adrenaline rush he’s feeling right now.

10:19 PM: I defend a raise with KT88 with spades and the flop is AQ2 with two spades, giving me the nut flush draw and a gut shot. I check-call a 60% pot bet and three of us see the turn. It’s the 5c and the overcaller bombs it for $290. I’m planning to fold if Blackjack folds, but he calls and I now have twelve outs but three of them are dirty (Qs, 5s, Jc), and I think it’s pretty close here. With implied odds, against two players new to PLO, I lean call, but against experienced players I would probably fold here. I call and brick and they both had 43 but one of them rivers a club flush.

11:16 PM: Just punted $400+ with AQ95 spades and diamonds on J86sd4s2 against a player brand new to PLO that probably wouldn’t even consider folding two pair here. Probably should have just saved the $250 on the river bluff though.

11:28 PM: Just 3-bet The Man to $40 with AQQ6 double suited and he immediately makes it $120. I call and the flop is K54 and we both check. Turn pairs the king and we both check again. River is a jack and he bets $100, less than half the pot and I think if he has me beat here, he’s earned a call with this super passive line. I call and he has the hand he repped pre with AAxx.

11:44 PM: A fun $8/$16 player with no PLO experience opens to $15, I call with KK53 one suit, another player calls. Flop is KT4 and it checks to me. I bet $25 and only the fun player calls. Turn pairs the 4, I bet $60 and he check-raises me to $200. Yum yum. I flat because if he is bluffing then I want him to fire the river when he misses or when he gets there and if he’s not bluffing, I’m going to get $600 on the river anyway. If he has 44, bless his soul. River is a blank. He bets $300, I make it $600 and he calls with TT.

He lost another pot after that and left and we are now 5-handed. I’m playing with the PLO reg, The Riddler, The Man, and a fun, new player. The reg is racked up and looks like he’s ready to go, but it’s unlikely this game will break if the fun player wants to play 4-handed. Also, The Riddler still has chips in front of him. He’s no longer losing at the impressive $1500/hour clip he started the session out with, but it’s been a steady $50/hour drip since his double up.

12:03 AM: The Man just filleted the fun player and he left for $8/$16 and the reg said he doesn’t want to play with the remaining three of us. And I made sure he saw that The Riddler still has chips and he still wanted to quit for some reason.

Game over.

Didn’t meet my goal. I’m starting off 2018 with a loss. Final update when I get home.

Thursday, 1:50 P.M.: So I ended up doing something unexpected last night. The PLO game ended around midnight, but I wanted to eat before I left, so I ordered pho and then found myself sitting in a $4/$8 game. I was just going to eat and go home, but the Happy Hour High Hand from 12:00 AM to 2:00 AM was $600 and two black queens and then Captain America, The Riddler, and Blackjack all gravitated to my table and I felt compelled to play a mini-session and found myself leaving a little after 3 AM. I ended up making $51 for my troubles but when I woke up after noon today, I have to wonder what the heck I was thinking.

I finished my PLO session at +$645 which was okay, but far below my goal and thus I have started out 2018 in the red with my first losing January since at least 2010. But a -$1700 tally is far better than the -$4700 I was at a few days ago, so… bright side?

Back to the hand I mentioned earlier but didn’t type out – where I folded a king high flush in a tough spot. Here’s what happened:

Someone opens for $10, there’s a call, another player makes it $35, there’s another call, and I call with KK double suited (I can’t remember my side cards anymore). At least five of us see the flop for $35. The flop is QJx with two clubs and it checks around. The turn is the 8 of clubs, which gives me the third nut flush (T9 of clubs is a straight flush). It checks to His Airness and he makes a rather puny bet of $50. I call next to act. I expect to have His Airness beat and drawing dead most of the time, but raising doesn’t make a ton of sense. I’m willing to take my chances and let some players overcall with worse hands. One player does call and then the preflop 3-bettor – after checking both the flop and the turn – now bombs it for like $300. His Airness quickly folds and action is on me. Calling two max bets (he has at least another $300 behind) with the third nuts in PLO is generally not a good idea, but I’m sitting there asking myself if this guy would really 3-bet preflop and then check the flop in a 5-way pot with a good draw to the nuts and then check it again on the turn after making his hand when no one showed any interest on the previous street. That’s a really hard sell. But then I have to ask myself if this player is capable of bluffing in this spot. Meaning, if he has the naked ace of clubs, is he capable of bombing the pot here knowing how reckless the player that bet the turn is? I don’t think so. His Airness is not folding many flushes here and I think this player has to realize that. I sized him up and he looked uncomfortable. But he looked like he wanted to look that way. I folded and I felt good about it, but I was curious. I decided to ask that player when he was leaving about that hand to see what he would say and he said he had it. I believed his story.

I decided to go to the University of Washington vs Arizona State basketball game tonight and I’m excited but kind of sad about it because Palace has some sick promotions going on the next three days. Starting today at noon, they are giving away $1500 an hour in high hands until midnight (and doing it again Friday and Saturday) and added $10,000 to their highest Royal Flush which was already over $10,000. Not a great day to have other plans, but I will be putting in the marathon sessions on Friday and Saturday!

h1

The Biggest Disaster of my Poker Career

January 29, 2018

But first, a poker tournament! It’s my favorite event: H.O.R.S.E.! Another $350 buy in so 10K stacks, 30 minute levels, and similar blind levels as everything else I’ve played so far. These are 8-handed tables again but my table starts with five of us. I recognize one of four opponents. He’s an older, respected local reg named Cyrus. I don’t know his last name so I couldn’t look up his stats but I’ve mostly seen him play tight-solid. Another player accidentally registers this tournament thinking it was no limit hold’em. The players try to give him an out but he’s ready to play even though he claims to have never played any of the Stud games (a claim we will soon discover has to be true).

Rather than list the blinds or betting limits, I’m just going to list the level when typing out hands to avoid confusion.

Notable Hands L1-L4

L1, first hand of tournament, LHE. One player limps, I have QTss in the small blind and decide to just call, an atypical line for me. Three of us see the 9s8s2 flop, I bet and get raised on the 6 turn and then check-fold when I miss everything on the river. A wonderful start to my event. It’s almost like yesterday never ended!

Punctual Pete sits down at the tail end of level one and we swap 10%, hoping one of us can find the magic touch sometime this trip.

So yeah, that guy wasn’t lying. He’s clueless in Razz. He calls raises with queens and jacks up and makes some really bizarre plays on later streets.

L2 Stud, a couple limps in front of me and I come along with KT-J looking to play pots against the noob. There is a queen dead but all my other useful cards are live. Cyrus pairs his bring in card on 4th, I catch a 3, and one of the limpers catches a second heart, but everybody checks. On 5th I pair my king, Cyrus catches a blank, and the player on my right catches a third open heart and bets. I find it hard to believe this player wouldn’t bet a four flush on 4th so I raise and get it heads up when he calls. He bricks 6th, I catch an ace and bet. He calls. I river aces up, value bet it and win showdown.

L3, Stud 8, I scoop with 2Qs-As4s4A-8, a pretty marginal starter but as I said I’m looking to play anything reasonable when the noob comes into the pot. Pretty good run out for me and no one made a low.

L3, Stud 8, crazy hand. I defend with 32-3 and immediately make two pair, but the opener pairs his queen. The noob is in with xx-5J and I decide to call on 4th even though it’s pretty suspect. The other two players brick on 5th and I catch a king (all live) and I think kings up will be good if I make it so I continue. The noob makes open fives on 6th and the other two of us catch total bricks. In fact, the other guy catches a 3 and the noob caught a 2 on 6th so I’m prepared to fold to a bet here but it checks around and… I catch the case 2! The noob leads on 7th and since my board looks like this xx-32K8-x I can’t imagine the other player will fold queens up if I raise, so I raise and only the noob calls and I scoop.

L3, LHE. Cyrus makes me rethink my image of him. I open UTG with TT and he calls on the button. Flop is 653 and he raises me. I’m not exactly sure what his range is here but I think it’s very pocket pair heavy. I don’t expect him to play hands like QJs or KQ this way and I don’t expect him to have hands like 87s here. I think I’m doing okay against his range but since I think I’m crushed or crushing most of the time, I decide to just call down and sell a hand like ace high. The board runs out 65369 and I check-call turn and river and let him own himself with 22.

L4, LHE. The noob opens UTG, I 3-bet with 88 from MP, and the small blind caps. Oh oh. We both call and my run good continues when the flop comes K86 rainbow. SB leads, noob raises, and I 3-bet, hoping SB has an AK or AA he can’t fold. But it’s QQ and he tosses it and the noob pays me off all the way.

After that hand I’m near my peak for the whole series around 27k or so.

L4, Omaha 8. Noob limps, I call 7664 from SB and three of us see the Q54 one club flop. I make a suspect lead and only the noob calls. Turn is pretty good: 3 of clubs. So I have the nut straight, a straight flush draw, and a bad low against a player that certainly might not have a low. I bet and he raises me. Well, I guess I call down now. River pairs the queen and I check-call and he shows… *are you ready for this*… T722 with no clubs. Try to digest that one. I’ve had 24 hours to think about it and I still can’t process it. And the sickest part? His ridiculous 72 low is exactly one notch better than my 76 and I’m forced to split the pot with this maniac. Yes, he’s been upgraded from mixed games noob to certified maniac.

L4, Omaha 8. My first real hiccup and it’s no surprise who my opponent is. One player limps and I limp along with Ac2cQ9. It’s three of us to the 995 two heart flop and the first limper bets. Since I have the backdoor nut low draw I just flat, hoping to keep the maniac in. He does call. Turn is an 8 and they both check-call. River is a jack and they both check-call me again. I have a bad feeling about it because I expect the loose player to show up with 87xx hands a lot and he does table J876, a hand I wouldn’t expect this guy to lay down on the flop for a raise. Oh well.

First Break: Dark Knight 23.4K, Peter 13.5K

Notable Hands L5-L7

2017 8-Game WSOP bracelet winner Ron Ware joins my table on his second bullet.

L5, Razz. Maniac opens with a 6 up and it folds to me. I defend with 53-Q. He catches a K, I catch a T and bet. He calls. He catches another K, I pair my 5, bet and he folds.

L5, Stud. I complete with J9-K. The highest up card behind me is an 8 and there are three of them! This is an obvious steal spot… with one problem: the maniac is the bring in. I’m in the spot I’ve wanted to avoid and find myself barreling with J9-K876 while he catches nothing but rags and keeps calling. Fortunately he finally finds a fold on 6th and I don’t have to torch a bet on 7th without looking.

Another superstar on his second bullet: three time WSOP bracelet winner and 2004 WSOP Player of the Year Jeff Madsen. Jeff has $5.27 million in career earnings, good enough for 117th on the all-time money list and he’s younger than me!

L6, Stud 8. A king up completes, I 3-bet A5-4, the bring in has a 3 up and caps it, and the king folds. On 4th he catches a jack and I catch an 8 and he check-calls. On 5th he catches a 2 and I catch a 7 and he check-calls again. On 6th, he makes open jacks and I pair my 4 and he bets into me. I’m tempted to raise here because I have a made low and a pair and it appears that he has either two pair or jacks with a low draw. I decide on call and he bets 7th dark. I catch a 3 to improve my low to 7543A but I can only win half so I just call and he catches perfect on 7th and makes A5-3J2J-6 to scoop me.

Unreal. Just bets dark and gets there, like nothing bad can happen on 7th street for him. I’m standing in line at Disneyland typing this but I’d be curious running an odds calculator and seeing how often we each scoop on river.

Some relatively funny Jeff Madsen notes. Bring in is 200 and level is 500/1000 and he tosses two 500s out as the bring in, making it obvious he is completing to 500, but no one – dealer included – is getting it. Dealer is trying to make it a 200 bet and it takes way too long for the situation to get corrected. A few hands later, he’s the bring in again and puts out a 500 chip without saying anything – a clear bet of 200 – and now the dealer is trying to make it 500! Finally he makes it to showdown in a Stud 8 hand and announces “aces and a 6” and his opponent thinks he is announcing “aces and sixes” and that his low is good for half and receives a mini-slow roll. At this point I feel it’s fair to ask this man, with over $5 million in lifetime cashes, if this is his first tournament.

Jeff wasn’t a very gracious loser but he definitely had an A+ sense of humor.

L7, LHE. Maniac opens, I 3-bet AQ and one of the blinds caps it, almost all in. We both call and then call his remaining chips and check down on the J9897 run out. The blind has KQ and the maniac has 33. This is a pretty critical pot and the end result makes me wonder if I played it optimally. I don’t necessarily care about eliminating players at this point, but I don’t really see how I can justify raising or betting my hand on this board texture in a dry side pot. Plus, I don’t know that this player is capable of folding 33 here anyway.

Second Break: Dark Knight 16.3K, Peter 7K

I thought that Stud 8 hand where dude bet dark and scooped me was pretty bad but Peeved Pete has a much better story to tell me on break.

Last hand of O8 Peter has A2TT with a suited ace in diamonds. Peter opens, button calls, small blind goes all in. The board runs out JT3d4dJd and Peter bets the whole way. He’s made tens full of jacks (and the nut flush) and scoops the side pot. The small blind flashes two fours and mucks his hand but since he was all in the dealer makes him show his whole hand and… he has a dangling jack for… jacks full of fours and scoops the main pot. Unreal!

Notable Hands L8-L11

L8, a Razz hand where we kind of lose our minds. Jeff Madsen completes with a queen up and I’m next with 65-J. There’s a 5 and 9 up left to act. I go into the tank and eventually call but I think I should have raised. I was getting a fold tell from the 5 and obvious disinterest from the 9, so I figured it would be heads up anyway. Wrong. The 5 up 3-bets, the 9 folds, and the bring in calls three bets with a king! Jeff apologizes to me for costing us both an extra 800. Then we both catch paint on 4th street and exit stage right.

I get two more playable Razz hands and continue to catch paint while my opponents improve. Then I get the bring in twice in a row and just like that I’m below starting stack.

L8, Stud. I open 6h2h-Jh and I get two customers, including the maniac. I brick hard on 4th, catching a black 4 and one of my opponents catches a suited card with his Qs. We all check to 7th street and my board runs out 6h2h-Jh456-2. I never catch any additional hearts and on 7th one of my opponents bets. His board was scary enough to bet and win the pot as early as 4th street and even though he’s caught some good scare cards, all he’s done is check. I decide to pay him off and he shows me queens and sevens with a board that probably developed like this: 77-Qs9sXTs-Q. How he didn’t bet this board earlier, I don’t know.

Third Break: Dark Knight 6700, Peter 7k

I start L9 with 6 bigs.

Stud 8, I go with AQ-5 two spades. The maniac is in and one other opponent:

Me: AQ-5KAx-9

Maniac: xx-3KTx-dead

V2: has four low cards and four diamonds on 6th and catches an offsuit ace for the low.

I’m up to 8400.

I see Peter walking around shaking his head in disbelief. He’s out.

L10, LHE. UTG is all in for 1800 @ 600/1200, four players call, I call with KTcc in the small blind and the big comes along. The flop is 886 with one club and I check-call the maniac and three live players see the turn. These are precious chips but this pot is massive. Good news: I spike a ten, lead out, both live players fold and I hold against the all in’s A3 and find myself with over 20k again.

I split an O8 pot with Jeff Madsen where we both limped along from late position. I have 6532dd on A63d9d6 for a full house and the second nut low but Jeff has the 8542 for half.

L10, brutal O8 hand. UTG limps and I raise in LP with AQ52, suited ace. Flop comes 665 rainbow and UTG check-raises me. I call. Turn is a queen and I resist the urge to raise. River is a 7 and again I resist the urge. I felt like this player had a 6 and I didn’t see much profit in raising. He did have a 6 – an A642 to be exact and I got quartered.

L11, Razz. I start this hand with enough to raise third and bet every street until I was all in on 7th. Here’s how the boards developed:

Me: J3-6928-3

Villain: xx-7992-x

I thought this hand was over on 5th. It looked like I probably had a 96 made and he was still drawing… to a 97! I guess once he makes the 97 on 6th he’s never folding but I only pretended to look at my card on 7th and I had over 90% of my stack in already. There were about 35 left at this point and I was super frustrated with myself for torching my stack starting a Razz hand with a jack. I think it’s fine and I should have gotten it through on 5th, but I also could just have easily folded and not even play the pot. Instead, I was busted and too annoyed to play cash games, so I called it a night.

The next day my plan was to play $400 max buy PLO with $1/$2 blinds until the T.O.E. tournament at 5 PM. That got off to a great start. I 3-bet AKK3 double suited to $65 and two players called. Flop was Q42 rainbow and that was good enough for me to commit. I got it all in against KQJJ and found a way to get stacked when he turned a queen.

I did get some back when I got all in three ways on 763 rainbow vs 54xx and a wrap and rivered a boat, but I still finished the session at -$272.

I did a $100 last longer bet for the T.O.E. with Peter, Jesus, and Mr. Sandman. I didn’t take notes for this, but I busted far from the money. Jesus won the last longer and the entire tournament for over $7K and a Remington trophy. Congrats man!

I was already having a miserable trip, but it was about to get worse. These guys were telling me that I absolutely need to be playing in the $40/$80. The argument is that it makes no sense to play $30/$60 against mostly competent players and not play $40/$80 against idiots. I don’t disagree with that logic and I really want to play but I’m also a bankroll nit and I can’t pretend like I’m properly rolled for $40/$80 as a full time player.

But I can take a shot! I decided to sit down with $4k and gave myself a stop-loss of $2000 – and then I hit that mark (and then some) in less than two hours. I was pretty devastated. I don’t do stop-losses but I also never take shots. It just seems terrible to lose a couple racks and give up. It happens all the time at my normal stakes. But I stuck to my plan and quit after I was down $2000, a decision made easier because I was steaming out of my mind. I won the first pot I played and that was the last significant pot I won. And then when I was already down about $1500 the dealer said one of my cards was exposed (and not one person was looking at anything besides their phones) and made me turn in an ace. I got KJ of clubs instead and lost a decent pot I would have won with the ace that nobody saw. Super annoying. I didn’t even know what my “exposed” card was when I was protesting, it just seemed stupid to replace a card that only the dealer saw and, of course, it cost me a pot when I needed one badly.

Instead, I ended up cashing out with my third biggest single session loss of all-time, a solid exclamation point to an already ugly trip. I didn’t feel like playing the next day and went to Disneyland instead.

Final LAPC trip stats:

Tournaments: -$2200 (0-6)

Cash Games: -$1834

Overall: -$4034

And this is what my January graph looks like now:

Note: I’m down $4700 for January, which would be my all-time worst month if it ended after my trip. Not sure why the graph tails off well past -$6k. It’s bad, but not quite that bad! (Edit: I just realized why it looks that way. I was in a pending $15/$30 session for $2000).

I took 2nd in the PLO-Medium tournament in the Grizzly Games on Global Poker last night for +$634 and that’s not included in the above graph. And perhaps I had worse months when I was still drinking, but as far as I’m concerned my poker career didn’t start until I quit drinking.