Posts Tagged ‘no limit hold em’


Muckleshoot Spring Classic $300 No Limit Hold’em (Updates)

March 16, 2018

As expected, I didn’t get to sleep until super late Wednesday and then, on top of that, I woke up multiple times throughout the night, so I made the prudent decision of skipping the $200 no limit hold’em tournament yesterday and basically took the day off instead, writing my MLB win totals post and watching March Madness games.

I actually did wind up playing a decent slate of online tournaments on Global Poker:

  • $5.50 $5K GTD NLHE Rebuy
  • $33 $8K GTD NLHE 2R/1A
  • $5.50 $750 GTD PLO Rebuy
  • $55 NLHE (deep)
  • $11 $250 GTD Limit Hold’em
  • $22 NLHE 2R/1A
  • $11 $500 GTD PLO 2R/1A

*note: 2R/1A means two rebuys and one add on.

I ended cashing in 3 of my 7 events, final tabling both PLOs, finishing in 5th and 3rd. I also took 11th in the $8K GTD. I was making a decent run in the $5K rebuy but ran KK into AA for 30 bigs each.

All in all, a small little profit for the day while I was relaxing at home watching basketball.

I honestly kind of hate the Muckleshoot Classic series. It is unbelievable that in the 6+ years I’ve been playing in it they have basically made no adjustments. It is still a five day series that has five no limit hold’em events. Ugh. A little variety couldn’t possibly hurt. It’s probably asking too much to expect them to do an 8-Game tournament or a H.O.R.S.E., but not having a PLO event on the schedule in 2018 blows my mind. You’re telling me a $200 PLO with re-entries event wouldn’t be wildly popular?

Of the five events, I think the $750 Main is the only must play and the only one I actually look forward to. I basically never play the whole series and almost always skip the $500 tournament.

There is the $200 limit Omaha 8 or Better tournament, but they treat it like a bad step child they hope no one notices. It doesn’t get its own day of the series. Instead, it’s buried at 7 PM on the first night and they think it’s so prestigious it doesn’t even qualify for points in the Player of the Series competition. In other words, it’s not really part of the series.

Eh. I don’t expect them to make changes at this point. I asked for a PLO tournament a year or two ago and made a good argument but nothing changed and maybe it never will. I’m sure the no limit hold’em specialists love this series, but I’m close to the point where I may start coming out for the Main Event only.

The Leak accompanied me to the Muck today and this will probably be one of maybe three tournaments she’ll play all year. I asked my CPA if we could write her tournament buy ins off as a charitable donation earlier this week and was informed that we cannot.

Cards will be in the air in about 15 minutes. I will be posting stack updates and some hands here and there.

12:06 PM: We appear to have started with 12k in chips, but I’m not entirely sure because I have 10.5k after triple barreling TT28T with J9 and getting picked off by AQ.

12:18 PM: Woah. The Leak just messaged me saying she doubled up already. Crazy! Details to come.

Puget Sound legends Rep Porter and Lee Markholt making appearances. When I call people legends I’m usually joking but these guys are legit superstars. Rep has three WSOP bracelets, Lee has a WPT title, and both of these monsters are in the top 5 of the Washington state all-time money list.

One seat at my table remains open and I recognize two of my eight current opponents. One is a Muck regular that ranks near me on the Washington state money list and the other is someone that plays at Palace that recently hit a massive Royal Flush jackpot and is someone I want at my table in limit hold’em.

12:33 PM: The Leak tells me she had AA and let her opponent bluff of his stack. No info on board texture or his hand though.

12:40 PM: Everyone asks me why I don’t play more no limit hold’em. It’s because I hate it. The pace of the game… all the posturing… Jesus, can we just get on with it? I know there are some spots that require some real thought, but the guys that take 20+ seconds every time they have anything but a standard fold spot are just terrible humans.

1:01 PM: Forgot to mention this but I ended yesterday’s March Madness action in 31st place of 31 entries in the bracket pool I’m in. I don’t know about you but I find that level of sucking quite impressive.

1:30 PM: 9150 on first break coming back to 100/200. The Leak has a ridiculous 36k stack.

Some other notables in the field: The Riddler, Bill W, Flexx, Slimer, Sandman, Solomon Grundy, decent amount of Palace regulars.

2:10 PM: Sick hand at my table not involving me: JJ vs 22 on J6225. 😮

Probably worth mentioning this now. We spent the first 20 minutes of this level talking about Global Poker and one of my tablemates was trying to sell his conspiracy theory that Global’s software “isn’t rigged,” but that “it’s not random,” and “more bad beats happen there than anywhere else” he’s ever played.

Then this JJ vs 22 hand happened and I said, “yup, that sort of thing never happens in real life.”

2:48 PM: Super card dead for first three hours so this was a nice reprieve: I open 500 with AA and button calls. Flop T98 with three diamonds, giving me the nut flush draw with my overpair. I started the hand with about 9k and there’s basically no scenario where I’m ever getting away from it. I bet 1000 and he calls. Turn pairs the 9, I bet 2500 and he calls. Ace on river relieves any concerns of being beat (not that I thought I was) and I stuff it for 5k. He doesn’t think too long before calling with AT and giving me a full double to 18.5k. Peaking!

3:27 PM: I have about 19k and The Leak has 39k on second break and coming back to 300/600 with big blind anteing an additional 600 each hand.

3:55 PM: One limper, SB completes, and I make it 2200 with QQ and the limper calls. Flop is K82 and I let him bluff off 7k with AJ by check-calling all three streets. He didn’t think about his decisions at all and kept the bets small (2k, 2k, 3k) so it was a pretty easy call down.

4:24 PM: Ouch. My table broke and my new table probably has 5-6 guys that are better than anyone else at my last table. Bad beat.

4:46 PM: When the small blind calls and you look down at QJ suited and think, “well, I can’t not raise this” and then they jam and you’re both 25+ bigs deep. 🤢🤢🤢

5:06 PM: The Leak and I are both in the 26k-28k range heading to dinner break. Blinds will be 600/1200 when we resume in 40 minutes.

6:55 PM: Didn’t play a hand forever and then a flurry of action.

I defend Q8ss, flop top pair on a super wet boar, but only get one street of action.

I open AQ and get jammed on by a short stack with KT and bust him.

Super active and hyperLAG opens to 4500, I flat with ATdd. I would have 3-bet jammed this on him a while ago, but I had chips all the sudden and wanted to take a flop with him. I call 7k on T52hhd and then bet 12k when the 2 pairs and gives me the nut flush draw, prepared to call a jam, but he folds.

7:26 PM: Open 4500 with AK and button calls. I c-bet T82 flop for 5k and he calls. Turn is an ace and I check-call 9k. River queen and I check-call 14k and he shows 33.

Peaking at 98k, coming back to 1200/2400. The Leak has 46k. There are seven tables left and less than 63 players. Can’t see how many cash or how many started.

7:52 PM: The Leak has busted. We are down to six tables and apparently 41 players cash. The money bubble is approaching.

Meanwhile… Virginia is in serious jeopardy of becoming the first #1 seed to lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Obviously, they are my champions.

8:24 PM: Down to 5 tables… four spots off the money.

It took 8.5 hours but someone is finally lighting me up for wearing a Blair Walsh jersey in a Seattle casino.

8:49 PM: Hand-for-hand, I’ll have 12 bigs after posting big blind and ante this next hand.

9:03 PM: Cashed it and then snap-doubled with 55 vs AK. Peaking at 105k.

9:20 PM: Freeroll is on. Under the gun opens and I jam 15 bigs on button when AQ and spike a queen vs AK for the full double.

197k now! 😮😮😮

9:36 PM: Four tables left.

9:48 PM: Open 21k @ 4k/8k and 8k ante with AA and someone flats in position. Flop 754 two hearts, I lead 30k (never folding), he jams, and I dodge his flush draw with AThh.


9:55 PM: Call a 5 BB jam from the big with Qc8. He shows A6ss and turns aces up but I river a four card flush with my Qc to bust him.

389k with 25 left. Average stack is 160k.

10:33 PM: Open 26k with A6cc from cutoff with big blind having 95k behind at 5k/10k. I would actually hate it if the big jams on me because he’s been playing kind of snug, so when that does happen I’m ever-so-slightly unprepared but after doing some shoddy math, I decide I have to go with it. He tables KQo and has a gut shot, flush draw, and two overs on the turn and bricks it all.

519k with 18 left.

The homie Christian is dealing and asked for a shout out and I kind of have to honor that request since he delivered that AQ > AK suck out to set this rush into motion.

A Kitsap County area player (and former softball teammate of mine) is at my table now making a deep run, something he’s done consistently over the past three Classic series. Kudos to him!

11:16 PM: Reshoved over a 10bb jam with AQ and the short stack has KK and doubles through me.

261k. Puts me close to average now with 16 left.

11:25 PM: Defend < 3bb open with A5dd and it checks around on A86hhh flop. I check-call 2.5bb on jack turn and inexplicably get a free showdown on jack river vs… AcKh!

Lost the pot but minimal damage vs his holding.

Down to 180k though.

Players busting all over the place. I think we are down to ten now, on the final table bubble.

Scratch that. 11 left.

11:52 PM: Chipped down in a blind vs blind situation but just made final table with a paltry 116k.


Second final table of the series and third one in the last week? Seems decent for someone that doesn’t really play tournaments. And thank goodness the limit O8 tourney doesn’t count otherwise I’d be in the running for the $6k top prize for Player of the Series. 🤦🏻‍♂️😡

12:01 AM: I’m starting FT with the shortest stack and 2.5 bigs about to go through me. Will definitely be looking to get it in this next orbit.

12:08 AM: Ouch. Blinds went through me and then went up.

But… as I was typing that, I stacked off with ~3.75 bigs with A6cc and doubled through… AT! Christian is my magic dealer! Back up to 200k(10 bigs).

12:39 AM: Sick double with QQ vs AK all in pre with a K66 flop. Queen on turn! Let’s. Go. Back up to around 500k coming back to 15k/30k.

12:55 AM: MP opens to 60k, I flat AJo and we both check on KQ2 all club flop (no club in my hand). Turn is Td and he bets 85k. If he flopped a flush, god bless him but I’m not going to mess around on this board texture. I jam, he snaps. Uh oh. He rolls KJ with Jc and bricks out.

We are chip leading over a milly. Still nine players left.

My opponent mutters something about how trapped I was and I’m thinking “yeah, nice check, buddy.

1:10 AM: One player busts and then I open A9ss and a < 10bb stack jams on me and I double him up when his AQ holds.


1:10 AM: Huge double. Flat AJcc and get it in on J54hh vs 98hh and hold in 1 million pot.

1.7 million

6 left.

1:39 AM: Winner. $20k

2:15 AM: Ended up getting $20k with 5 players left. 1st was $24k so it was an easy deal for me to make. One double up for any of them would have drastically leveled the playing field so very happy to lock up the $20k.

Registered for tomorrow and planning to show up in level 3 or 4.


Muckleshoot Spring Classic $300 NLHE Shootout (Updates)

March 14, 2018

Not going to do my normal live blog thing here but I’ll post updates and the occasional hand.

Starting stacks are 8000 and Shootouts start with 10-handed tables and play down to a single winner. I swear I heard them say we are playing down to two players today though so I’ll have to get some confirmation on that, but it’s pretty irrelevant at this point.

Blinds start at 25/50 with 30 minute levels.

I’m already down to 5300 in chips after getting a free play with A7o from the big blind and getting the A87 flop vs 77. Fortunately, he checked back the river for some silly reason and gave me a free showdown.

I plan to re-enter if I bust early.

12:26 PM: I somehow only recognize one of my seven opponents and I don’t even have real history with him. Two seats remain unoccupied.

12:36 PM: Just lost over half of my remaining stack flopping top pair in a raised pot and losing to a turned gutshot. Re-entry ends after level 2 – which just started – and I won’t be looking to take a 2k stack into level 3, so I will be all in at some point in the next 23 minutes looking to double or bust and start fresh.

12:45 PM: Down to nine here. I open 250 with AT, next player calls, next player 3-bets to 850. I start with 20 bigs and I’m looking to get them in, but I feel like I’d be punting here so I fold. Other guy calls and they end up all in on 7758 with 88 busting the PFR’s KK.

Same guy that flopped the set of 7s vs me. Must be nice!

13 minutes left to get all in.

1:01 PM: There are six open seats remaining and they are extending re-entry until they are filled. So I can be a bit more selective.

1:08 PM: 3-way all in at my table not involving me: AK vs AQ vs AJ. So this is what happened: AK limped, AQ limped, AJ raises, AK 3-bets, AQ jams, and AJ stacks off, and so does AK… for like 40-50 bigs each. I mean, how can you fold AJ there? Impossible!

8 left at my table. I might be locked out of re-entry and I’m sitting here with less than ten bigs and needing to pee so bad I can’t take it anymore.

1:17 PM: While I was in the bathroom someone doubled up with AA… in a hand that I wasn’t dealt into… a hand that should have never existed. Everyone seems cool about it but I’d be pretty heated if I got doubled through there.

1:21 PM: Back in it after back-to-back gifts. Someone opens with 74cc from MP – as you should when someone had less than 8 bigs behind you – and I wake up with AK and hold.

Next hand, someone limps and I jam 2050 with AJ. She calls it off with QJcc and I somehow dodge all the outs on AT3c8c runout.

Then someone busts after that and we are down to 7.

I have 4325 with blinds at 75/150 after being all the way down to 850.

1:42 PM: I just heard someone tell the same bad beat story for the third time while I was on break. I can’t stand the breaks here. Everyone standing around blowing smoke in each other’s faces, telling painful hand histories. Ugh. Nope, not for me. You can find me walking laps around the slot areas.

1:45 PM: Coming back to 100/200/200 with 20 big blinds and about to have my first experience with the big blind posting all the antes. Love the concept. Makes everything faster and easier.

1:56 PM: Someone opens to 800, I jam 3600 with TT and double through her KQ.

She busts on the next hand when her AQ < KJ.

We are down to six and I have 7700 now.

2:20 PM: Down to 5. I’m the shortest stack left. No surprise there since I’ve never had more than the starting stack.

2:25 PM: PEAKING! Someone opens 700, I jam 4800 from SB with AA, big blind snaps with KK and other player folds and I hold to more than double to 10.6K.

2:54 PM: Blind vs blind, he limps and calls my raise and c-bet on J87hh. We both check 5h turn (I have Ah) and I call a smallish bet on ace river and he has T9o. 😴😴

Down to 6100 and back to short stack.

3:03 PM: 3-bet squeeze jam with AJ and no caller to chip back over 9K.

3:07 PM: Four players left as someone flopped a set of aces and slowplayed his way out the door.

I just defended small blind’s raise with 75dd and decided to get it in on J52 two spade flop when he bets 1600 and I have about 7.5K. He ends up calling it off with Q8ss and… whiffs! Another double. Peaking at 18.4k.

3:37 PM: Three left. I’m the shortest but there’s a big stack and I’m basically even with the other player. I have position on the big stack and he’s been applying steady pressure on the other guy for a while now so this is a great spot for me.

3:50 PM: Chipped down. AQ loses and then top pair loses to flush.

Down to 8K and at a massive disadvantage.

4:03 PM: 3-bet jam button open with QQ and he finds a fold with an ace. Bleh. Next hand I jam JTcc on button and BB snaps with A9.

I get the KQx with one club flop, but get no love with the rest of the board and and bust in third.


We did a $100 save so I only lost $100 total.

$200 Limit Omaha 8 or Better at 7 PM next.

Stay tuned here. I will start updating this post again at 7 PM when the O8 tourney starts.

6:58 PM: About to start $200 O8 tournament. Looks like we are starting with 8K in chips with blinds at 25/50 and 20 minute levels.

I just had ATddQ2cc in 6-way raised pot, got the K87dd flop and got none of it, which seems pretty fair.

7:19 PM: Had AAJ9 on J95hhd flop and get scooped by K886 w/out hearts. Yes, I bet the flop.

Def QQJT double suited and get the Q96 flop and none of the pot.

I have slightly more than starting stack but… yeah, this has been comical already.

7:28 PM: Talking trash to a huge Twins fan and finally worked my way into an Indians more runs than Twins bet which I thought was amazing until I saw the Twins scored three less runs than Cleveland last year. Looks like a good sweat!

Also, there’s been a Big Daddy sighting!

7:37 PM: Other notables in the field: Flexx, Bill W, Slimer, The Sandman, and – almost missed him – The Invisible Man.

7:47 PM: AAQ4 suited ace in a 3-handed pot on 65386. None of it.

8:09 PM: The Joker just walked into the tournament area and when I say “walked” I mean it looks like he’s been running. Fast. And by “fast,” I mean as fast as an out-of-shape poker player can move.

He was playing short-handed $15/$30 at Palace but the game broke and he was in a 20 mile race against late registration and now he looks like he just went through a car wash.

8:47 PM: Gift shop! I have AA65 on 4329Q in a 5-way pot that is capped on flop and turn, and I don’t slow down until the river when a running flush gets there and my fellow aggressor still leads. She has 65 also (no clubs) and no one else has the nut low so I get 3/4 of this monster.

Then I have AK43 on A94K. I call flop and raise the turn. A third player in the pot calls two bets cold and the original bettor calls also. River is a nasty 5, not only making a low possible (I don’t have one) but also giving the nut low draw a wheel. We check to the turn cold caller and he bets. We both call. He turns over AJJ4 and the other guy has A9 with a busted flush draw. Neither of them have a low. I scoop. Jesus, what a torch.


9:05 PM: Last hand before break I open AA54 double suited aces, the next player cold calls and scoops me on JT4cdKd5 with QQ92cc. LMFAO.

Down to 19.8K on first break but obviously my table is unbelievably generous.

9:21 PM: It was too good to be true. My table is first to break. 🤢

9:35 PM: Slimer wearing the same UW Husky hoody every single time I see him almost makes me want to disown my alma mater. Can’t you root for the Lakers or something, dude?

9:45 PM: Defend KKQ2 one suit and it checks around on Q82 all spade flop. Turn pairs the 8 and if neither of them can bet the flop it seems like I should have the best hand unless they tripped up with a dangler. I bet, the PFR folds and the other guy calls his last 1400 with AK49 for some reason and bricks his ace and low draw to bust.

The Invisible Man just moved to my new table and he appears to have double starting stack.

I just got pretty lucky after opening button with 8643 one suit and raise-calling A54 flop and rivering a 7 to chop with 32.

Joker disappeared. Dude didn’t even say goodbye or nothing, like he mad that someone else was live and staying in the fight or something. I’m sorry man, I wasn’t trying to steal your blinds with nothing, but you’re a super aggro, tank-tapping guy that’s bluffing.

Oops sorry, got on an old school Eminem tangent there.

10:31 PM: I’ve been scooping or getting a profitable piece of basically every pot I’m playing. Been on cruise control since the break. I currently have about 48k with blinds at 600/1200 and three tables left.

10:45 PM: Sigh. UTG+1 opens AK76 and I 3-bet AK54 double suited and double barrel KQ692 before checking back river and getting scooped. Pretty hard for that hand to go wrong. Every pot is critical now… especially the 3-bet ones!

10:51 PM: Down to two tables. Flexx is taking his sweet time getting out of my new seat and I shoo him away and he laughs and says, “good luck with this table – you’re gonna be shocked.” I reply, “I doubt it.”

32k with 18 left. 8 players cash.

My new table features a Palace regular, Kirby (as in Puckett, as in the guy I made the Twins-Indians bet with earlier), and The Invisible Man. Sandman is still alive on the other table.

11:18 PM: 35K with 14 or 15 left. I’ve gone a little card dead and I won’t be opening to light since the guy on my left is playing way too many hands. I did open AAQ9 double suited from the cutoff and got the 997 flop 3-handed and. I postflop action.

On break for 10 minutes. Sandman appears to have HEAPS.

11:36 PM: The good news is there are 13 left. The bad news is I haven’t been doing any chipping up.

11:43 PM: Open A742 with nut hearts. Two callers. Flop is 977hh. Just a bloody murder of the board. You should usually never slowplay in O8, but it’s hard for this go wrong. You want to bet so someone doesn’t backdoor a low, but I have he nut low draw, so… it checks around. Turn 2. Not the worst. I all but lock up the high and I still have the second best low draw. I bet, cold caller calls and blind folds. River 4. Sigh. I bet and he calls with a naked A3. COME. ON. 🤦🏻‍♂️

12 left now.

11:51 PM: Open button with AQT9 with clubs and big defends. Flop is a terrible 663hh. I plan to c-bet and give up and he does call. Turn is a 9, which is interesting, but I don’t want to bet it. I check back. River pairs the 9 and puts a third heart on board. Note I don’t have a full house so I still lose to a flush. I think it’s quite close on betting here but this guy seems fishy and checking back seems bad against him. I go for value and he calls. Dealer tables my hand and he sort of mucks, releasing his hand face down on the table and the dealer is hesitating like he’s waiting for him to change his mind and I’m thinking “muck his fucking hand, dude.” And he finally does.

10 left. 8 cash.

12:05 AM: Final table. Everyone agreed to give 9th $300 so we are officially in the money.

Kirby, Sandman, and Palace reg all at final table.

Early clash with Sandman. He opens cutoff. I call SB with AQJ3 but clubs and check-raise the T96 rainbow flop. We both check on A and 5 run out and I have all of it somehow.

Also worth noting, The Joker and The Riddler are clashing in the no limit hold’em cash game streets.

12:24 AM: So when the table agreed to pay 9th $300 I made a joke, “so we agreed to give [Sandman] $300?” because he was coming over with heaps.

Uh, he just finished in 9th. 😮

12:38 AM: On another break. I appear to be 5th of 8 remaining.

Everyone is quite short though. I think one player has 10+ bigs.

8th place pays a measly $365 and 7th is $660ish.

Oh, Kirby just busted someone. Down to 7 now.

12:52 AM: Open AAQ2 suited ace in diamonds and Kirby defends. Flop is Q76 one diamond and Kirby check-calls. Turn is a 3 and he tanks for a while before showing Q3 and folding. Have to say I’m pretty happy about that, since I need to improve to scoop.

Up to 96k.

12:59 AM: Sigh. Weird blind vs blind cooler: I complete with T652 double suited and decide to bet KQ2 rainbow flop. Planning to give up when he calls, but I turn a 2 and a flush draw and keep firing. River is Ac, making my flush and I felt like JT was one of his more likely holdings so I bet for value and he calls with… A2 and scoops me.

Very next hand I get the rest of my stack in 3-ways with AJ52 double suited and the shortest stack (in for most of it though) scoops with A874. 🤢. I get 3/4 of the very small side pot vs AQT2.

Down to scraps.

I have half of my stack in with 7722 double suited and the button raises. I mean Jesus. This is about as bad as it gets, but half my stack is in. 🤷🏻‍♂️

I lament for a while and come to the conclusion I can’t fold.

He tables AQ95 and the flop comes JT3 (brutal). But I turn a set! 8 on the river to make his straight. GG.

6th place for $750. Meh.

I won’t be asleep until 3 AM probably so not planning to play the $200 donkament tomorrow. That means I will be taking the day off or playing $15/$30 at Palace.


Little Creek South Sound Championship $340 No Limit Hold’em Main Event – A Final Table Run!

March 11, 2018

This tournament kind of snuck up on me. The South Sound Championship series at Little Creek isn’t exactly on my radar. The preliminary events aren’t that attractive and the weak field sizes don’t really make them worth playing. You typically have to final table to make the money and probably have to finish top 3 to feel really good about it. Well, at least I would.

The Main Event is a little different though. I don’t play it every time it comes around – mostly because I forget about it – but it’s decent enough. I actually took 4th in this event back in spring of 2014 and that was a career high score for me at the time. I think I cashed for a little over $4K. 20K in starting chips for $340, 45 minute levels and the level jumps are tolerable. There’s definitely some play in it. Also, the fields at Little Creek are insanely soft. Overall, the play is surprisingly passive and pretty straight forward. There are some guys that can play and put pressure on you, but they are the Puget Sound rounders, not the locals. Most of the Shelton area players are really easy to play against. That makes this event with a deeper structure attractive even though the field size is kind of ho hum. There were 92 entrants in this one and that paid the final table only.

One annoying feature of the Little Creek tourneys is that they are 10-handed. How is this still a thing in 2018? Just brutal. 10-handed poker sucks period, but feeling crowded the whole time you’re playing makes it so much worse. And this isn’t a temporary thing. You have to suffer all day long, even at the final table.

I only had one player I’m familiar with at my starting table. The highly unorthodox, extremely talky, and slightly obnoxious Puget Sound superstar known as Flex. I actually wrote about Flex in a very unflattering light (I believe I called him “Loudmouth”) in one of my first tournament write-ups back in 2012. Oh hell, I’ll go ahead and link it even though it’s somewhat embarrassing for myself as well: Freddie’s $110 Deep Stack. It’s worth noting this was over six years ago and propping $4/$8 limit hold’em was my only job at the time. So… fair warning! Anyways, having Flex at the table isn’t a great thing. He is capable of making things difficult for you and drastically increasing your variance in a field that otherwise doesn’t require much risk early on. It also means you could double up early, so there’s that!

Levels 1-2

Blinds 25/50, there’s a raise to 150 and I defend T6hh from the big blind. Four of us see the QJ8 with two hearts flop. I end up calling 300 on the flop and all four of us are still in. My draw is pretty big, but this isn’t the board texture I expect to get folds on, so jacking it up here just bloats the pot out of position when I haven’t made anything yet. The turn bricks and I have to call another 600. I think we are heads up at this point and the small blind has been the aggressor the whole time and he checks when the river is a 9 and I make my straight. I bet 1500 and he pays it off.

Blinds 25/50, I call 150 from the cutoff with KQo with multiple players in already. The flop is Q52 with two hearts and one diamond. There are six of us in and Flex leads out for 500 (after PFR checks), player to my right makes it 1000, and I immediately have the instinct that I want to raise. That’s odd because raising seems like the worst of my options in this spot most of the time. I push this thought aside and decide to just call and see what happens. Everyone else folds and Flex calls also. The turn is the 9d and both players check to me. I do not believe this is any sort of trap and I’m not really surprised by this action considering my instincts that neither player seemed strong on the flop. I bet 1700. Flex calls and the player that raised the flop snap folds. Yup. With that said, I don’t expect to get paid off on many rivers, so I will be checking back a lot of cards. The Kd on the river is an interesting one, but before I can think too long about what I’m going to do, Flex fires out a healthy bet of 7500. There is a key piece of missing information that makes this not a snap call. I don’t have the Qd and the Qd was not on the flop. If Flex has a queen, which seems likely, then he has the Qd half of the time and it makes a lot of sense that he just went running diamonds. In fact, it makes so much sense that this might actually be a clear fold. The only other logical hand I lose to is JT of hearts. It’s also hard to come up with hands he could be bluffing with. A4hh? A3hh? 43hh? Other missed heart draws? QJo? QTo? I don’t think so. Sometimes I think I’m taking up too much time in spots that actually probably require a bit more thinking. In retrospect, all things considered – especially the bet sizing – this seems like a pretty easy fold, but in real time, I decided to pay it off even though I called out his hand before he showed it to me: queen high flush.

There was another hand at the 50/100 level where Flex had limped in under the gun, there were two other limps and I made it 600 to go with AK and Flex ends up beating me with J7o on AJ67x, making two pair and getting another healthy river bet from me. As I said, he’s sticky and drastically increases your variance. On the bright side, I decided to pot control turn and check back.

Still, after the first two levels I had 7700, which means I had lost over 60% of my stack already and was wondering if I should punt the rest of it and rebuy if I didn’t chip up early in L3 (the last level to rebuy).

Levels 3-4

Blinds 75/150, I defend J4cc from the big blind for 400. Three of us see the A84 with two club flop. I check, the next guy donks 700 into Flex (the PFR) and he calls. I started the hand with about 10K I think and, again, I don’t expect anyone to fold on the flop and I have too many chips to want to get them all in right now. I call. The turn is a 7 and I check again, the next guy bets 1000 and Flex makes it 4500. I actually give some thought to making a mathematically incorrect call here. If I make my flush on the river, I can’t imagine that Flex will be able to fold with such favorable pot odds, so I could feasibly call here and fold when I brick and probably double up when I make flushes and maybe trips. It’s 100% a bad play, but there is appeal to gambling to double up since I have a half stack and if I miss I’ll be that much closer to rebuying for a fresh stack. I ultimately decide to make the prudent play of laying it down though and so does the other player and Flex shows us both the A7.

Blinds 100/200, I open to 500 with A9 of spades and only the big blind defends. Flop is 762 with two spades and the big blind check-calls 500. The turn pairs the 2 and I decide to keep barreling and bet 1200. He calls again. Sigh. I guess I have to get there. Oh, hello 3 of spades! He checks and I have 5500 and really think if he has anything he’s going to call jam, so I stuff and he does call… with 75o and I double up to 15.5K. We’re healthy again!

Blinds 100/200, someone opens to 600, Flex calls, and I make a very loose defend with 96o. Flop is J65, I check, PFR bets 1200, and Flex folds. I think this is a standard peel. I bink the 9 on the turn, check, he bets 2100 and I make a somewhat hefty raise to 7200, he stuffs it and I snap call. He tables AA and I hold to double up to 37K. Hey, loose preflop call justified! You cooler these people when they have big pairs and they are not folding.

Levels 5-6

Blinds 200/400, someone min-raises to 800 and I call with 33 in position. Flop is 742 and he checks to me. I bet 1300 and he calls. Turn is a jack and he checks again. I already ran this hand by someone else because I ended up hating it. He has done nothing in this hand to make me think he has anything at all, so I feel like betting again here is best. I bet 2200 and he raises me to 7500. And then he proceeds to stare daggers at me. I take my sweet time with this decision and whenever I look at him, he is staring me down, not breaking eye contact. This, plus his two checks and extremely narrow value range (sets? KK, AA?), has me thinking I have the best hand and that he probably wants me to fold. I noted that we were 20K effective and this is basically a decision for his stack size. I ultimately decide this is the kind of high variance spot I’m trying to avoid in this field and make the fold, but I hated it. When I ran this by a friend he suggested checking back turn and possibly calling rivers. I countered that it seems better for me to set my own bet size on the turn while protecting my weak hand and check back rivers than it is to check turn and let him set the bet size on the river and have to play more of a guessing game. Oh well.

Blinds 300/600, I open to 1500 with TT and call a ~9k jam and hold vs AK.

Blinds 300/600, four callers and I check 92o from the big blind. The flop is K92 with two hearts and a diamond and I lead out for 1300 and get two callers. The turn is a very safe 5d and I bet 5000. The next player goes to call with a 5K chip and accidentally drops two of them into the pot, effective min-raising me to 10K. The other player folds and it’s back to me. I do believe it was an accident, but I’m also not in love with the situation. I decide to play it safe and just call. The river is the Qd, which is not a great card for me and I’m pretty happy to see him check back and my two pair holds vs KT.

Blinds 300/600, I open to 1600 with AJhh and only the big blind calls. Flop is T63 with one heart and we both check. The turn is the 2s and I call 2200. River pairs the 6 and he fires out 2600. This is the guy that was staring daggers at me earlier and this spot is much less pressure and I’m getting the same live read and basically snap call this time. He shows A9ss and I win the pot.

I have 68K after six levels on the third break of the day.

Level 7

Blinds 400/800, someone jams 5400 and I call with JJ, but wind up losing to his AJ.

Blinds 400/800, someone opens to 1700, there’s a call, and I make it 4800 with AA. The opener jams for 11K and the other player is pretty deep behind with me and goes into the tank. For the briefest of moments, I actually think he’s going to jam, but he ultimately winds up folding. I snap call and the all in tables… AA. What. The player that folded audibly winces when a ten spikes the river and claims he folded pocket tens. Considering how much time he took and that he looked like he might jam, I believed him. What a dodge! I end up splitting with the other aces.

Another player familiar to me is at my table now, a long time frenemy that I named after Batman villain Solomon Grundy a long time ago because, well, there’s a resemblance. I’ve been crossing paths with Solomon Grundy for years now and he pops into my cash games once in a while but I almost always see him in the bigger local tournaments and even sometimes on the road.

Once upon a time, I sat in a $5/$10 no limit hold’em cash game at Little Creek, thinking it was just a $3/$5 game and ended up selling action to my wife (back when she was my girlfriend and we didn’t share money yet) when I realized I was playing in a bigger game. I was a $4/$8 limit player at the time and didn’t play much no limit and certainly didn’t play it at this level (and never have again), so I was far out of my comfort zone. Anyways, Solomon Grundy was in this game and I will never forget the pain of getting all $800 I had in front of me in the middle with KK and seeing him table AA. It broke my heart and crushed my soul at the time. Losing $800 was a lot to me back then and having it all happen in one hand was stunning.

Well, I bring Solomon up because he opens the button to 3k here with blinds still at 400/800 and I look down at 99 in the small blind. He has about 16K behind and his sizing is quite big, so I decide that I’m just going to have to embrace the variance of this spot and play for stacks. I 3-bet to 10K because the big blind was deep with me, but he folds and Grundy stuffs the rest of his stack in. I snap and he tables 77 and I win a big pot and wish him well.

Blinds 400/800, very next hand and I’m on the button now and open to 2200 with AJo. I have two very capable and aggressive players in the blinds, so I don’t expect to get folds very often and I will be continuing if the SB 3-bets and probably getting it in against the BB’s stack size. Only the big defends and the flop comes down A84 with two diamonds. He check-calls 2700 on the flop and then check-calls 6000 when the 4 pairs on the turn. The river is a queen and he has about 10K behind and checks. I don’t see much upside to betting here since I’m chopping with all the aces I was beating now and it’s hard to imagine him calling with worse. I check back and win and after he makes a comment about “how does he have an ace on the button after winning a big pot?” and I wonder if jamming river actually makes perfect sense because of the metagame dynamics.

87.4K on dinner break.

Levels 8-9

Blinds 600/1200, I defend K8hh for 3000. Flop is KQ8 all clubs. Not excited to play a huge pot here, so I check-call 5500 on the flop and then we both check when the turn brings the four card flush in. The river is a blank and he sizes super small at 5200 and I pay it off.

Blinds 600/1200, one limper, button makes it 3100, and I have AKcc in the big blind. Button has been playing rather snug and we are both deep, so I elect to take the lower variance line of just flatting and taking a flop and the other player comes along as well. Flop is A73 with two spades and I check-call 3500 and the other player overcalls. The turn is the 4s and since I expect to be ahead of the button’s range and am now highly vulnerable to spades on the river, I decide to lead out for 8500. I’m a little concerned about the limper, but I also realize my hand can look like a flush here, so I think it’s fine, even though my sizing is quite small. I am happy to see both players fold.

I open to 2800 with 33 and only the big blind defends. The flop is 942 with two diamonds and he donks a hefty 6k. He has about 18k behind and his flop sizing is big, so this is a really weird spot. Still, it seems way too weak-passive to just fold flop. How often is he leading out big with strong hands? Instead of making sure I put a c-bet in first? I flat. The turn pairs the 9, which I love, but he jams for 18k, which I don’t love. This is a tough spot and I spent a long time in the tank thinking about it and came quite close to folding. Ultimately, his line didn’t make much sense to me and he did not seem comfortable at all. I was quite sure he was bluffing. My main dilemma was if he was bluffing with hands I lose to, like 4x of diamonds or 55 maybe. Since losing this pot wasn’t going to cripple me and I thought he was full of crap, I made the call and he tables A8o and bricks the river and I ship a sexy pot, leaving the rest of the table in legit shock.

Blinds 600/1200, I open to 2800 with JJ and the sticky, solid player on my direct left calls. We are heads up to AT8. Here’s the thing, I expect this guy to continue on this board texture a lot of the time and that is going to make things difficult for me if I’m the aggressor. I also expect him to bet worse hands a lot when I check and checking would be my go to line when I have hands like AK or AQ here. We both check the flop. The turn is a 9 and since I’m never bet-folding this card and I showed weakness on the flop, I think check-calling is best here. I check-call 3000. The river pairs the 8 and I am quite happy to check-call 5000, expecting to win this pot almost all the time. I don’t think he has an ace and I’m blocking straights pretty hard. Unfortunately, he shows me the 87o for trips.

I’ve been jotting my hands down all day and after that hand, as I’m typing stuff on my phone, he asks “are you writing down that I’m a donkey” and I say, “no, I wrote that down a long time ago,” which got a solid laugh out of him. We banter a little more and then he says something about “let’s just take their chips” motioning to the other players like we should just stay out of each other’s way and I’m like, “wait, what did you just call me with?”

Blinds 600/1200, I call 3100 with AJ on the button and we are heads up to KT9 flop with two clubs. I have the ace of clubs and peel for another 3100. The turn pairs the ten and he bets another 3100. I’m not sensing strength and I feel like that’s a better card for my range than it is for his, so I eventually pop him to 8500, expecting him to fold a lot. He calls though and the river double pairs the board with a 9 and I decide to give up. He shows K2 of clubs and I feel a little sick. First, that I didn’t consider 3-betting pre and second, because I didn’t put pressure on him on the river. I felt much less sick about this hand when I saw this guy pay off a turn bet and a massive river bet on a 98xQJ board with AJ a short while later (his opponent had 97). I’m pretty sure I saved chips on the river here.

Blinds 600/1200, my notes say I opened to 3500 with QQ here. That seems strange. Maybe there was a limper or I must have had some other reason to increase my sizing. Anyways, I end up getting called in three spots. The flop comes down 873 with two hearts and the big blind just donk-jams 25k. I call, the others fold, and he tables 98o. Just a total overjam spazz with a weak top pair hand. Unfortunately, his suicide attempt gets a safe landing when a 9 spikes the turn and I can’t counterfeit him on the river. The first hand of the tournament that made me truly nauseous.

Blinds 1000/2000, dealer accidentally gives the small blind a third card and the SB has it set to the side, not touching his actual hand and says “it’s this one.” Meanwhile, I’m looking down at KK in middle position, sweating the situation. The dealer calls it a fucking misdeal. Jesus, we know what card is the burn, buddy, wtf are you doing? I’m tempted to say he should call the floor, but I think that reveals my hand strength anyway, so whatever. It’s a misdeal. So gross and unnecessary.

Levels 10-11

Blinds 1200/2400, we have some bad note taking here. It says someone opens to 5000 and I make it 14k with a 60k stack and he calls. Flop is ten high and I c-bet 16k and he folds. What I didn’t list was my actual hand. I believe I had QQ.

Blinds 1200/2400, I open 6k with AA, big blind defends and folds to a c-bet and I am peaking again with 19 players left.

Blinds 1200/2400, I open 6k with AQhh and big blind defends. I bet 8500 on Q62 two spade flop and he check-raises to 28.5k, leaving himself with ~14k behind. I jam and he snaps with Q5 and I hold and bust him. Peaking!

Blinds 1200/2400, it folds to the small blind and he says “5 more” and then tosses out a single 5K chip. Dealer rules it a raise to 7400, which is 5000 more than the big blind. I’m sitting there with K7o and I’m not really liking what’s going on here. I’m not even sure saying “5 more” and throwing in a single oversized chip is a raise, and if it is, it almost certainly is a raise to 6200 and not to 7400. But whatever. I try not to be “that guy” if I can and don’t say anything. I call. The flop is 742 and the small blind hardly even looks at the flop before betting 12k. Since he is giving off such strong physical tells, I think calling and letting him continue to bluff (or folding if his demeanor changes) makes more sense than raising. Turn is a 3 and again he puts zero thought into the situation and bets 16k. Easiest call of my life. The river is a 6 and since I think my hand is good 98% of the time here and that he probably can’t call anything on this run out, I check back and win vs AK.

I now have 190k with 17 players left and average stack is 108k.

Blinds 1500/3000, I open to 7500 with KQo and someone jams to 33.4K. Easy call. He tables QJss and spikes a jack to double through me.

Blinds 1500/3000, someone opens to 7500, there’s a call, and I decide to call with KQo. Four of us see a king high flop and after the opener checks, the first call jams for ~42k total. Can’t really call with KQ pre and fold here, so I make the call and the other players fold. He tables AK and I get super lucky by spiking a queen on the turn, winning a huge pot, and busting a player. I am peaking again at just under 200k.

Blinds 2000/4000, I open to 10k with 99 and the sticky player on my left makes the call. The flop is K72 with two spades. I would pretty much always c-bet this flop texture, so I bet 14.5k and he calls. Turn pairs the king and also brings a third spade. We both check. The river is a 7, which I actually hate because this guy has proven he’s capable of having 7x hands in his range. I check again and he bets 30k. Kind of a tough spot here. What am I really beating with that he can call on the flop with? Small pairs only really. Unfortunately, he would now have to bluff with those hands. But really, it’s a pretty small range: 66-33. He would almost certainly check back with 88. Anything else he can have, I am probably losing to, unless he’s on a weird airball. Again, seems like an easy fold in retrospect, but I called and he shows KJ.

That dips me below average with 12 players left. I have 125k and average is 141k.

Blinds 2000/4000, I open to 11k with AJ and call a 40k jam and bust a player holding KT. Down to 11 and on the money bubble.

Blinds 2000/4000, button opens to 10k and I make it 40k from the small blind with QQ. I am quite surprised to see him call. Flop is 886 with two diamonds. There is 84k plus antes in the pot and he has about 125k behind. The board texture isn’t super wet, so I can probably get away with betting something like 33-40% pot here, but I decide I don’t want to do any guessing if bad turns come. I just put him all in and put max pressure on him. We are on the stone bubble, so I’m actually surprised when he starts thinking about it and when he ends up tanking for a very long time, it dawns on me that he has a real hand. A pair. I want him to call. He does. Tables JJ. Turn blank. River blank! He’s out! And I basically get a full double as we move to the final table and into the money.

In fact, I start the final table with 350k, which is either the chip lead or close to it, and the average stack is 184k.

A look at the prize pool:

10th – $608
9th – $608
8th – $1065
7th – $1220
6th – $1520
5th – $2130
4th – $2890
3rd – $4560
2nd – $6235
1st – $9580

In other words, the payouts are brutally flat. There is a bigger jump from 9th to 8th than from 7th to 6th and all the jumps are pretty insignificant until four players left. At this point, I am going to be disappointed with anything less than 4th place, I think.

Blinds 3000/6000, I open to 16k with AJ and the big blind defends. Flop is AJ9 one spade and he check-calls 18k quite quickly. He checks-calls 40k very fast on the Ts turn also. River is the 6s, which brings in a backdoor flush, but I have the ace of spades and the jack of spades is on the board, so I’m not concerned about a running flush and he has shown such an eagerness to call that I go for it all on the river and put him all in for his remaining 150k. Unfortunately, he mucks it. Still a nice pot for me to start the final table.

Blinds 3000/6000, folds to me in small blind with AJ. Big blind is nitty and has about 12 big blinds. Easy jam. He snaps and rolls QQ. Sigh. He holds and I double him up. 370k with 8 left.

Blinds 3000/6000, I open to 14k and the button calls. Flop is AKJ and I think this is a good board to pot control. I check-call 25k. Turn is a blank and I check-call 25k again. I’m very unconcerned about my hand with his bet sizing. River bricks again, I check, he bets 30k and I snap. He rolls KQ and I’m good.

Blinds 3000/6000, folds to me on the button and I have A5o. The small blind has a decent-sized stack and plays too tight to play for stacks with him, but the big blinds started with 40k and I’ll definitely get it in with him. I open to 16k and only the big blind calls, which is really strange considering his stack size. Flop is 775 and he open-jams. Snap call. He tables AT and I hold and bust him.

I am now peaking near 500k with 7 left and am totally set up to ship this whole thing.

Blinds 3000/6000, one limper, I make it 20k with AJ and he calls. Flop is QJ5 and he donks 50k. Did I say I was set up to win this thing? Hold that thought. Can I possibly fold AJ here? It is atypical to donk good hands into the PFR so the line is toying with me. But the fact that I am thinking about folding it means that my instincts are telling me something is different here. Sigh. I don’t listen to them. I decide my hand is too good to fold on the flop and if I’m not folding on the flop, then it’s hard to imagine folding ever given his stack size, so I jam. He snaps with QT and I dust off an extra 125k to him.

Blinds 4000/8000, and I’m about to make another misstep. I open to 20k with 55 and the nitty player on my left jams for ~100k. If I asked myself before the hand if I was willing to get 100k in pre against this player before I opened the answer would have been “no.” The problem is, this guy is so tight, I feel like he’s folding roughly 85% of the time. Maybe more. Since he’s almost certainly jamming AK and AQ and probably some more unpaired hands, I have to call and I end up doubling him again when his AA holds up. I actually did flop a one card four flush, but nope!

Blinds 4000/8000, I open to 22k with T9 of clubs. I am increasing my opening sizing when the sticky player that was on my left earlier is in the blinds. He calls and the flop is AAK. He checks to me and I size way down at 15k to make it look like I’m itching for a call and he folds 77 face up.

Blinds 4000/8000, I open to 23k with 44 and only the small blind calls. Flop is K76 all spades and we both check. Turn is 4d, giving me a set and he checks to me again. He has somewhere between 70k-80k and with the pot size at around 60k, I just go ahead and put him in. He then flashes me the ace of spades and a 7… and mucks. Wow. What a flop check by me and what a turn.

Blinds 6000/12000, I open to 30k with QT suited and the nit on my left jams for 85k. Goddammit. I call. He has KK and doubles through me for the third time. UGHHHHHHHHHHH.

That puts me down to 178k and the sticky, good player has all the chips now and proposes a deal. He offers us all $3500 each and he gets the rest (which is a little over $7k). I have about 15 bigs, which is either the shortest stack or the second shortest, and the second biggest stack probably doesn’t even have 22 bigs. The next player out gets $1220 and we are going to have to finish in at least 3rd to get more than $3500. I don’t particularly want to make a deal, but I have zero leverage, and neither does anyone else really. Still, I stay silent and let everyone else talk it out. I am fine playing. Absolutely fine. But if everyone else agrees, I think I have to take the deal. The reality is, the six of us are all very close to push/fold stacks and I might be the only one that actually realizes that and will play accordingly. Also, the payout structure is so flat that surviving and laddering up isn’t overwhelmingly appealing. They all eventually agree to the deal and I begrudgingly agree as well. Can’t be too upset about a $3500 return on a $340 investment, but the competitor in me was a little sad. The competitor in me also would have been pissed if I was the next person out for $1220, so….

A nice little score that gets me almost even in live tournaments for the year.

I have six more possible events in the Muckleshoot Spring Classic over the next week and after typing 5000+ words in this post, I will definitely not be posting play-by-play blogs for each event! Heck no. But I will keep you guys updated.


2018 Poker Goals

March 8, 2018

Sorry, this is way overdue, but better late than never! My playing schedule is going to be very tournament heavy over the next couple weeks. I will be playing $15/$30 today and tomorrow at Palace, but I’ll be heading to Little Creek Casino for their $340 No Limit Hold’em Main Event on Saturday. I have an online fantasy baseball draft on Sunday night, so I’ll probably just take the day off or play on Global that day, then back to Palace for a $15/$30 Marathon Monday session. Tuesday will be an off day and then Wednesday is the first day of the Muckleshoot Spring Classic series. They have events every day, Wednesday through Sunday, and I sold action to all of them, so that’s my tentative plan for next week. I typically skip the $500 on Saturday if I’m not in the running for Player of the Series (which I never am) so that I can be rested up for the $750 Main Event the next day instead. I have multiple cashes in the Main Event of this series over the last several years, but I have zero final tables and I think only one or two cashes in preliminary events. My phone data goes back to August of 2014 and Muckleshoot has been my worst location during that stretch. I have 0 cashes in the last 11 Classic events I’ve played, so I’m looking to break a cold stretch and finally do something big in this series. I’m way overdue! I will take notes and try to make posts at the end of the day, but that’s something that is much easier to do when I’m on the road by myself than when I’m at home with my wife.

Now onto the goals!

Volume Goals

-play 1800 live hours
-play less than 33% of live cash game hours at $8/$16 or lower
-play 500 hours of PLO (online and live)
-play one mixed game session a month (house games)
-take more shots
-play at least one online tournament a week
-play a bigger WSOP schedule
-play 100 hours of NLHE cash (online and live)


1800 total live hours is 150 hours a month which should be easily attainable and if you’ve been following my blog, you know I’m on pace to crush that number.

Playing 67% of my cash game volume at $10/$20 or higher seemed problematic a few short weeks ago, but $15/$30 has been going basically every day at Palace and this should be another goal I will demolish. I was mostly an $8/$16 player for the last three years, but this year I will be playing almost entirely red chip games.

With online play, 500 hours of PLO should be a number I will hit, but my real goal here is to play more in live PLO cash games, particularly when I’m traveling out of state. Even locally, I wouldn’t say I’ve been committed to playing PLO. I average about two sessions a month and I went three months in a row without playing at all last year. I would like to add an Omaha 8 or Better goal but really the only place I go specifically to play O8 is The Orleans in Las Vegas, so it’s not something that comes up much and I only play it when I’m in Vegas if it wasn’t my priority for the day… meaning, I busted out of tournament and it’s 9 PM and I still want to play some poker, but with like zero pressure.

I want to play more mixed game poker this year, so that I’m fresh and ready come WSOP time. Ideally, I’d like to play a mixed game a couple times a month, but even 12 sessions in a year would be a big improvement over my past volume. I seem to play most of the games pretty well using mostly natural instincts and card sense, but I’d like to gain more actual experience.

When I say take more shots I mean in games I might not exactly be bankrolled for. For instance, I shouldn’t be such a nit when I’m in L.A. and Vegas and I should sit down in the $40/$80 games some of the time. A bad session isn’t going to crush me, but a great one could be huge. The concept of having a bankroll for a particular game assumes that you are playing that game regularly. Taking shots seems fine if I’m smart and careful about it. Also, I have some interest in playing the $100/$200 mix game at Muckleshoot, but I wouldn’t do so without taking on a partner or two. Hit me up if you’re interested!

On average, playing one tournament online a week is a piece of cake. When I do play online, I typically play 5-8 tournaments in a single night. This is to help keep me sharp for NLHE tournaments, which I very rarely play live.

My WSOP schedule has been increasing every year, but I’m ready to kick it up a few notches. I already have a room booked for May 30th through June 12th and that could cover up to seven WSOP events and I may wind up staying through – and playing – the Main Event. Certainly I will not be done with Vegas after June 12th. There are at least two more must play events on my schedule after that first trip. The most events I’ve played in a year was five in 2017 and it would be cool to at least double that number for 2018. In all likelihood, if I play the Main Event, I will be selling up to 90% of my action and I will probably need more assistance than my usual backing arrangement.

My weekly goal is 30 minutes of NL cash games online. This seems like the bare minimum practice I need. When I’m playing online though, I drastically prefer PLO and when I play live, it is incredibly rare for me to actually sit in a no limit cash game. 100 hours is way more than my actual weekly goal would add up to, but this is a skill set that I really need to start developing. I feel like I’m a fine NL cash game player, but I’m far from being an expert and I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing anything bigger than $3/$5.

Win Rate Goals

-$15/$30 LHE: 1.25 BB/HR
-$20/$40 LHE (and higher): 1 BB/HR
-$8/$16 LHE (and lower): 1.25 BB/HR
-$1/$3/$5 PLO: $50/HR
-Live PLO: 10 bb/HR
-$0.25/$0.50 6-max PLO: 1 bb/HR
-Online PLO: 5 bb/HR
-No Limit Hold Em: 10 bb/HR
-Live Tournaments: 50% ROI
-Online Tournaments: 30% ROI

*note: limit games are expressed as big bets per hour and no limit and plo are expressed as big blinds per hour


First off, it’s not going to break my heart if I don’t meet some of these goal. My real goal is to play amazing poker all the time and hopefully the money comes my way. These numbers just seem like reasonable bench marks. For the non-LHE games, I probably won’t play enough hours for short-term variance not to have a dramatic affect on my final results. But still, I feel like this is where I would like to be at.

I imagine I will play more $15/$30 LHE than any other game this year. When I was sitting at $7/hour after 200 hours in the Palace $15/$30 (thanks mostly to High Hands and Jackpots), I thought a final goal of even 1 BB/HR might be a reach after such a rough start. But after making $11k in four days, my numbers look more like what I’m accustomed to and I think continuing to beat Palace LHE games for somewhere between 1.25 and 1.75 big bets per hour is plenty doable.

Bigger games are tougher, but last year I smashed my goal of 0.75 BB/HR at $20/$40 or higher. No reason I can’t do that again, but since $30/$60 happens at Palace a few times a month now, and I plan to take some shots in even bigger games, I’m going to temper my expectations for the time being.

As I noted earlier, I don’t expect to be playing much $8/$16 this year, so this could be a number that could see a lot of variance.

I won $100 an hour in the PLO game at Palace last year, but I’m positive that’s unsustainable. If I won even half that much an hour in 2018, that’s probably still smashing. I may have set this goal too high, but whatever. Shoot for the moon!

I listed the Palace game separately since it has a 1/3/5 structure. For all other games where you can limp for the price of the big blind, I think a 10 bb/hour goal is solid. Same can be said for no limit hold cash games.

My goal of 1 bb/hr for $0.25/$0.50 6-max PLO online is a joke. Considering I lost 26 bb/hr at this exact game last year, anything in the positive is a huge turnaround and I’ll take it. My results in full ring PLO games are basically the opposite. I don’t really know what I should be making at PLO online, but anything positive seems like a good start and somewhere between 5 and 10 bb/hr is probably a solid target.

I will come back to earth eventually with live tournaments and when I do, it will probably be to the tune of my first losing year of tournament poker ever. Even when I was an idiot alcoholic I never had a losing year in tournaments. But with my average buy-in increasing every year and a rather small sample size, posting a final score in the red is bound to happen.

My ROI in tournaments on Global Poker is currently 13%. My ROI in 755 online tournaments over the past 3+ years is -1%. Setting a goal of 30% here is actually kind of a big deal. But there are so many different players absolutely smashing the Global Poker tournaments that I refuse to believe I can’t drastically improve on my past performance. I can’t speak to my performance on sites before Global, but I do know my biggest reason for lack of success on Global is an abysmal performance in anything with a buy-in of $20 or higher. My average ROI is 83%, which is on par with the beasts on the site, but basically all my good fortune has happened in the smallest buy-ins.

Life Goals

-Reach a new bankroll peak
-clear credit card debt
-pay off final student loan
-visit a new MLB stadium
-play poker in a new part of the U.S.
-meditate every day
-do yoga twice a week
-run/jog more
-lift twice a week
-drink more water, drink less soda
-eat better and smarter, less fast food
-bring my average blood sugar below 150
-bring my A1C below 7
-less distractions
-no toxic chatting/arguing/debating
-keep blogging about poker
-read Jared Tendler’s books
-study mix games
-watch at least two vlogs a week
-read about mindfulness/meditation


I had a very successful first year as a professional poker player, but my bankroll at the end of 2017 was actually smaller than it was when I quit my job. To be fair to myself, we did buy a house and I put more money down than I ever planned to and then we spent the first several months fixing up our new home and the costs piled. We also aggressively paid down our debt. I paid off two student loans and one credit card and now we have one of each to go. Then I sent a very painful bundle of money to the IRS for taxes and did so all throughout 2017 as well. I also dropped a chunk of change into an IRA account and invested in some digital currencies. Plus, I like to spend money on experiences. We go to multiple MLB games a year, see plays like “Hamilton”, travel a lot, and I’ve been to Universal Studios and Disneyland twice each since October 2016. I make a budget every month, but we aren’t exactly pinching pennies. I enjoy living and experiencing life. With that said, there have been multiple moments where I look at my total bankroll number and think “WTF?” I had a massive year for an $8/$16 player and I had less money than I started with? I’ve been working on this post for a while now and I’ve gotten healthy over the past few weeks and saw considerable growth for the first time in a while. Being able to play $15/$30 on a daily basis five minutes from home should be like giving myself a raise that is nearly double my previous cash game hourly. That’s obviously extremely helpful. With that said, I feel comfortable playing $30/$60 regularly. I want to say I felt comfortable playing $40/$80 – I didn’t have any nerves – but I also quit the game after dropping a couple racks in about an hour. That’s not giving myself a chance to overcome a poor start. I do that all the time at my normal limits. I want to end 2018 with at least a $40/$80 bankroll, even if I won’t be playing it regularly.

I mentioned we still have a little credit card debt and I have one student loan left. Even though I want to grow my bankroll, clearing unnecessary debt is and has been a bigger priority for us.

My wife and I travel once a year to visit a new MLB stadium. We’ve been doing this since 2014 when we went to Anaheim to watch watch the Angels play the Dodgers. In 2015, we went to San Francisco; 2016 we went to Denver, Colorado to watch the Rockies; and last year we went to Dodger Stadium and the Mariners spring training complex in Peoria, Arizona; I also happened to be driving into L.A. during Game 2 of the NLCS and made a spur of the moment decision to buy tickets to watch some playoff baseball and make my third visit to Dodger Stadium of the year (I did a park tour in January 2017). This year our current plan seems to be to visit New Orleans then drive to Houston for an Astros game and then drive to Arlington for a Rangers game before flying back home out of Dallas.

I would also like to go to somewhere I’ve never been for a poker trip. I played at Thunder Valley last year and some new casinos in L.A. earlier this year, but the only place I’ve played poker outside of Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada is at Ameristar in Blackhawk, Colorado. One of the best things about my profession is that I can travel and work at the same time and seeing new places is one of my favorite things to do.

Lots of health goals. I was doing really well with meditation and yoga for a while there and I’ve fallen off the cliff since $15/$30 started getting spread every day. I’ve mentioned this before, but my balance has been struggling, and on the days that I plan to play, I want to be there as soon as the game starts and I typically don’t leave before 1 AM, which leaves very little room for production on my work days. I plan to play today and I haven’t looked at Bravo yet, so I just need to accept the fact that I need to get some things done before I go play and I might have to wait a bit to get into the game. Meditation, yoga, lifting, and jogging are all things I can incorporate back into my life when I normalize my sleep schedule and accept that I don’t need to be playing poker every waking hour of my work days.

My diet is absolute shit. I’ve never been huge on preparing my own meals, but I am at an all-time worst right now. I’ve always been skinny and gaining weight has been near impossible for me throughout my life. Well, I’m finally average weight for my height and I have some actual flab going on. I’m sort of happy about that, but I’m not happy about how I got there. I eat at the casino probably 10+ times a week and I eat fast food now more than I ever have because I feel I don’t have time for anything else. I used to have a goal of making one meal a week, but that’s fallen off to like once a month, if that. It’s all quite pathetic and I’d like to focus on eating better and healthier, starting with making my own meals more often. I also would like to make water my drink of choice. I do pretty good about that when I’m playing poker, but I tend to gravitate towards diet soda when I’m at home.

I have some goals for my diabetes as well. I think I do a decent job overall with my blood sugar, but I can definitely manage it better and I’m certainly not helping myself with a lot of my meal choices. My numbers still trend higher than they should and I want to work on lowering them. Exercising regularly and eating healthier will go hand in hand with that.

Less distractions. I just want to use my time more efficiently. My days can start off really poorly. I might spend the first two hours drinking coffee and doing pointless stuff online and before I started live blogging my sessions (which I think is productive), I would spend my time out of hands doing stupid stuff on my phone and not paying attention. I am a pillar of strength at the poker table, but when I play online, that chat box gets me sometimes. It’s so much easier to tell someone what you think or respond to their stupid comments when you’re sitting at home behind your computer screen. I admit I can be a bit toxic in that regard and I need to work on channeling my live table presence into the online arena. I also have a tendency to get into stupid and pointless arguments and debates on Facebook, online forums, and the like. I suppose I enjoy debating and witty banter, but it’s a bad use of time that I could spend doing something else way more productive and healthier.

I plan to keep blogging about my poker experiences. It’s amazing how much my audience has grown since I decided to start posting regular poker content. I appreciate everyone that has been reading and rooting me on!

Finally, some study goals. By goodness, I’m going to read through both of Jared Tendler’s books and do all the damn work he asks me to do. My rough stretch through January and into February proved that I still have a lot of work to do on my mental game. I also want to study and play mix games more often, keep watching poker vlogs, and continue reading about meditation and mindfulness – and making the time to do all that.


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


Marathon Monday – 1/7/18 (Live Blog)

January 8, 2018

11:50 AM: Struggled to wake up this morning. Missed yoga. Skipped meditation. Showed up thirty minutes late for $15/$30. I wasn’t even sure it would go today. There were four names on the list when I left last night. But I received texts asking where I was so I headed on in and four players were sitting around the table not playing.

Staring lineup consists of Chief Wiggins and Radio Mike and three other Palace regs, one of which never plays very long.

Pretty great start. I’ve VPIP’d four hands and lost all of them, including this gem: I open UTG with ATcc and only the big blind defends. Flop is KJ4 with two clubs and I double barrel and get check-raised unimproved on the turn. I call, whiff, fold, and the big blind kindly shows me J4o. Solid defend.

12:16 PM: Four players limp, I limp A3dd on the button, blinds call. Flop 876ddd. Checks to second to last limper and he bets, fold, I just call. I would raise here a lot but I have four players yet to act and I think calling makes me more than isolating usually. I do pick up two callers and the turn is 2d. Checks to me and I bet. Only the flop bettor calls. He ends up having K5dd. Brutal turn.

I raise one limper from cutoff with KQo. Four ways to K97 flop. Chief Wiggum donks from the big blind, folds to me, and I raise. He calls and check-calls the turn before donking a 9 on the river. Pretty weird for him to lead flop with a 9, so I’m tempted to raise but I land on call and he shows 98cc. Okay.

More fun: two limpers, I raise QQ on the button. Flop is 998 and both limpers call. Turn is a 6 and only one of the calls. River is a king, I bet and he calls with… KJo.

At least the game is good.

Trying to give off a tilty vibe:

12:44 PM: Full game now. The player to my right’s breath is launching an attack on my nostrils so ferocious I’m considering the rare seat change that has no strategic purpose – except maybe tilt reduction?

12:50 PM: One limper, button raises, I defend 22. Three ways to T62 with two clubs; I check-raise and call a 3-bet. Turn is an ace and I check-raise again. He calls. River pairs the ace, he calls, and shows KK. Pretty lucky to get a check-raise in on this turn, which makes me wonder if I’m taking the optimal flop line. I think it’s fine but I should at least consider leading this turn since it seems like he has an overpair most of the time. His flush draws are usually to the nuts though, so I dunno.

1:05 PM: Battling with s7 today. He had the J4o, KJ and KK earlier. He opens HJ, I 3-bet AA on the button, and Chief Wiggum caps from the big. Flop is Q53 and they both check to me and call. Turn pairs the 5 or 3 and the action is the same. River is a 6 and now the s7 donks??? Comical. I mean it looks like 66 to me and his lead is hilarious because I’m obviously betting the river most of the time on this run out (my entire range – not this specific hand, which I’m always betting). I call and he shows 66.

Very next hand he opens in the lo-jack and now that I’ve seen he’s opening medium pairs I’m 3-betting KQo here. Chief Wiggum caps from the small blind and I say, “didn’t we just play this hand?” Flop is KQ3 and for the second hand in a row Chief Wiggum caps out of position and checks the flop. You don’t see that everyday. This time the board runs out KQ3Q and s7 check-calls me down with AK.

1:49 PM: Radio Mike opens UTG, Wiggum cold calls next to act, someone else calls and I defend A4ss from the big. Flop is A43 two clubs and I check-raise a bet and call from Radio Mike and Chief Wiggum. Turn is a 5 and they both call again. River is an 8. I bet, Mike folds, and Wiggum calls with… 55. I guess losing in weird and unexpected ways is the theme today.

3:19 PM: Radio Mike opens UTG, one or two call and I defend J9o. Flop is AT7 and I peel with one other player in. Turn is a queen giving me additional straight outs. Mike bets, Wiggum calls, and I call, planning to lead kings and check-raise 8s. River is an 8! I check-raise and Mike pays it off.

4:05 PM: Nothing too exciting to report. The game is kind of dull at the moment, with two players sitting out, and more chopping than normal – like three in a row as I’m typing this. Players have been filtering in and out of the game and we haven’t really had a 9-handed game for a few hours probably.

I’m floating around even at the moment. We are recently joined by a spazzy Palace reg I will call Taz because he reminds me of the Looney Toons character both in demeanor and in body shape.

4:50 PM: Multiple limps, Radio Mike raises cutoff, I 3-bet AK on the button and six of us see a JTx rainbow flop. It checks to Mike and he donks. I opt to raise since I’d rather clear some players out and calling really telegraphs my hand – also Mike is less likely to 3-bet than most players. Three players cold call and Mike calls. Sheesh. Turn is a king which is good because it gives me top pair but it improves a lot of other hands and I will have to bet-call if I get raised. Only two players call. I feel like my hand is good. But the river is an ace and it goes lead and call in front of me. I fold and they chop it up with QJo and Mike’s QThh.

5:05 PM: JJ holds in a button straddle pot and I believe I have sugar for the first time today.

6:08 PM: Back to a full game. Radio Mike and Taz still in the lineup. One of the bigger action Palace regs is also in the game and a 4/8 player that also writes a blog (link later – AJ’s Blog) is taking a shot in this game. It will be interesting to see if we clash and write about the same hands.

6:33 PM: Action Bronson – my name for the active Palace reg I mentioned earlier – straddles. I didn’t play or pay attention to this hand but at showdown Action is scooping a big pot with J3o after making a full house.

He says to Radio Mike: “You see that, Mike? I straddled and won a big pot!”

Mike says, “Oh wow, I missed it.”

I say, “Look at everyone’s face and guess who he beat,” as his opponent is sitting there with steam coming off his head (oh stop – some people deserve a little needling).

7:08 PM: Fun sequence of hands:

Hand 1 – I post my big blind coming back from a break. Five players in before my action and I decide to check AJo. Flop is AQJ rainbow. I lead out, the guy that’s been in s7 all day raises me, heads up now, I 3-bet, and he calls. I’m happy about that. I think he would cap the flop with KT and since he limped in he never has sets and probably not AQ. Turn is an 8. I bet and he calls. River is a ten, which seems bad, but I think he has QJ exactly and I don’t think he ever has a king and probably doesn’t have A9. I bet, he calls, and my hand is good.

Hand 2 – Two hands later on the button, I open with QTo and the big blind 3-bets me. I call. Flop is QJ8. He bets, I raise and he calls. Turn pairs the jack and he’s telegraphing a check-call, but my Spidey senses are tingling. I check back. River is a ten. We both check again and he wins with AA.

Hand 3 – A few orbits later, but happened as I was typing this. Two limpers, small calls, and I raise JJ in the big. Four of us see a 765dd flop. I lead, new player calls, Action Bronson raises, fellow blogger in the small calls two cold, I 3-bet (Jd in my hand) and everyone calls. Turn is a 3. Pretty bad. I decide my best line is bet-fold, so I fire into the field and no one folds, but no one raises. The river pairs the 3 and I think for a bit and determine my hand is good. I bet, two folds, the blogger calls, and I win the pot.

Reading good.

8:47 PM: Player announces he’s going to raise every hand now and does so UTG, folds to me and I 3-bet QQ, next player caps and it’s three of us to the Q64 flop with two hearts. Bets go in. 8h on turn and UTG still leads. I still raise. He calls. River 3h, he checks, I check and announce set of queens and he rolls A9o with the ace of hearts.

9:28 PM: Not much movement in the game or with my chips for a while. Action Bronson left after the NCAA championship game and was replaced by one of the most solid regs at Palace. Not ideal. We have managed to lock Peter out of the game for about two hours now which is pretty cool. He’s next up though.

I am currently up about $140. Radio Mike is up over $1500 hitting basically everything and sucking out like it’s his job. In fact, Radio Mike is running so pure that he’s completely tuned out of the game and timing out basically every time it’s his turn to act while he strolls Twitter and reads messages on his phone. Not a single care in the world. He’s won pots he didn’t even know he was in.

10:11 PM: Pay-Off Pete has made it into the game!

Pretty inactive on my part. I opened AA from the button and won a showdown. I defended my big with 22 heads up, flopped a set on an ace high board, whiffed my check-raise on the flop and got called on the two big bet streets by JJ.

10:20PM: Doesn’t take long for Peter and I to clash. He buys the button to come in and then on his button I open UTG with 88. Taz and another player cold call and Peter 3-bets. We all call. Flop is QT2 rainbow. Checks to Peter, he bets and I decide to peel getting 18-1. The other two call also and I bink my set on the turn. I check-raise, Taz cold calls, and Peter 3-bets. Really? I call down and he shows TT.

10:35 PM: I come back from a break and post in the cutoff. I’m still getting situated and the dealer prompts me and I ask “did it fold to me?” He says, “yes.” And I respond “then I’m probably going to be raising.” I give my cards a courtesy look, see 96o, and raise it up. The button cold calls and Peter defends. Flop is KQ5 and the button calls my flop bet. He’s been pretty sticky today so I’m surprised to see my double barrel on the 8 turn get the job done.

11:28 PM: Peter waits two hours to get into the game and an hour later we are five handed and it’s not a good five. I have flopped sets twice in the last 20 minutes and got no action. I will be leaving shortly.

But I’m giving action! Folds to SB and he raises. I defend T8ss. Flop is Js7s4 and we are in Overs. He bets, I raise, he raises. I estimate my fold equity at 0% so I just call. Whiff turn and call again. Whiff river and fold. Blah.

11:57 PM: Quit the $15/$30 game and finished -$324. There is a $3/$6 game going with some loud and rambunctious players and I decided to convert some chips to white and sit down in it with my $1676. I thought it would be hilarious to sit down with a massive amount of chips and play super serious. I couldn’t stomach a full game but it is 6-handed with me.

12:03 AM: Everybody limps in and I raise with A6ss for the big blind. Flop is Q87sss. I don’t win. KQ way too strong.

12:14 AM: One of the players just noticed that all the chips under my top rack are red and green and says “damn, he has money we can’t even fathom!” 😂

12:23 AM: Drunk kid limps on the button, scared money (I know this because I floored here for over a year) raises in the small blind and I 3-bet AK. They both call and then call me down on QJT73. Small blind has AA. 😂. Ruining people’s nights now.

12:34 AM: Not gonna lie. I broke the game. One of the players wanted to have raising wars with me but I always had something and he never had anything and I busted him and the game crumbled beneath my $45 win.

1:20 AM I was curious when the last time I even played a hand of $3/$6 was and discovered that I played zero seconds of $3/$6 in 2017, but I did used to prefer sitting in $3/$6 games in 2016 while I was waiting for a seat in something else as opposed to sitting around doing nothing. But then I lost 11 times in a row. My longest “session” in that span was 31 minutes. Most of them were 15 minutes or less. I would usually post my blinds a couple of times without playing a hand and move on. I decided it was a better use of my time to do literally anything else. Especially since the wait was never very long.  I enjoy warming up in $4/$8 LHE and $1/$3 NL though.

Not much to say about the $15/$30 session. I have run really mediocre in that game so far. The competition is not necessarily stiffer at the higher stakes. The games have been very good, but my results have been really ho hum. I am running at $29.27/hour overall but that’s inflated because I hit a $2300 jackpot while playing $15/$30. Take that away and my win rate has been $6.09/hour over my first 100 hours of Palace $15/$30. Yuck!


Key Pots From Last Week

January 4, 2018

Here’s some of the more interesting pots I played over the last week in various sessions. I was going to list some PLO hands from last night, but this was getting long enough already, so maybe I’ll post those hands tomorrow.

$8/$16 LHE @ Palace

I limp along in a multiway pot from the cutoff with 64dd. The flop comes down 852 all diamonds, giving me a flush with a double gut shot straight flush draw. The small blind leads out, I raise, and the small blind 3-bets. At least three of us see the turn, which is a blank. The small blind bets, there’s a call, I raise, and they both call. The river is the 9d and we all check. Small blind has Q7dd and the middle player has KdTx and I just quietly fold my hand face down into the muck.

Session Result: -$118 in 9+ hours (ended up deciding not to keep notes)

$1/$3 NL @ Fortune

Three players limp in, I make it $16 with AK and wind up getting called in five spots. Fortunately, the flop is relatively favorable, coming down AKJ rainbow. One of the limpers donks $50 into me, one player folds, and it’s up to me. I don’t know any of these players. I have no clue what a donk bet from this guy means. My default assumption is that I have the best hand and I don’t want anyone else to see the turn for $50 and this guy has $300 in front of him that I don’t mind getting in the middle. So I make a commitment raise to $140 and it folds back to him. He winds up taking his sweet time thinking it over but it looks like he’s acting and I’m sitting there like prepare yourself to react calmly if this asshole is putting on this show holding the nuts when it’s obvious that I’m never folding. He actually mutters “if you got me you got me” before putting his whole stack in and I snap call. The turn pairs the Jack and the river bricks and he’s looking at me trying to get me to table first and I’m looking at him like just turn your straight over already. He tables QT and I forgive him in my head for his flop antics.

In retrospect, I wonder if I can fold on the flop to his jam. Not that I think I made a mistake or that I’m looking for ways I could have lost less money on the hand – when I was thinking about my reaction to his $50 bet I knew that I would be calling an all in before I made it $140. I’m happy with that decision, but I did get some new, extremely reliable information before I had to execute on that plan. First of all, his body language was strong and when he was thinking about what to do after I made it $140 it didn’t look like he was thinking at all. After seeing this, I knew I was getting jammed on. But then he added on an “if you got me you got me,” which is basically always the nuts. He’s exuding strength and he really can’t have a set. All those hands would either open-raise or limp-reraise pre – especially after my $16 was called in multiple spots. AJ is a possible holding, but I don’t think he would look nearly as comfortable in this situation. He ended up having $280 on the flop, so from a math standpoint, there’s $96 ($16×6) + his $280 + my $140 in the pot for $516 total and it costs me $140 to call. If I knew he had a straight, this is an easy fold. I’m not getting anywhere close to the odds I need to draw to a four outer. I’m perfectly fine with my call, especially since I don’t know the player at all, but I think if I had history with him folding even after making it $140 could be justifiable here.

Session Result: -$165 in 35 minutes

$20/$40 LHE @ Fortune

This session produced a number of interesting hands – some that I’m actually quite ashamed of and wondered if I should even post, but in the interest of authenticity, I will include them. I feel like my mental game is a huge strength and while I might slip into my B-game at times, my C-game almost never makes an appearance. It might here though.

My friend is playing at the table with me and he’s a dealer at Fortune. He wants to switch tables because he doesn’t bet the river with three of the players in the game. I really don’t understand how or why that happens. We are playing $20/$40 – these are not recreational stakes. No one in this game cares if someone that deals in the room makes a bet against them and they aren’t going to tip him less because he plays poker against them. I propped games while I was flooring for years and played cutthroat poker against the customers and while some of them exuded a lot of frustration, they still tipped me and at the end of the day they respected the fact that when I played poker… I played poker. In a room like Fortune, you don’t need to play in the biggest game in the room if you want or feel like you need to give anyone air. It’s not about respect. Respect is playing the game.

And that’s when this hand comes up: a player opens from the lo-jack and it folds to me in the small blind. I have KJ of clubs. The player in question usually plays $8/$16 and from what I’ve garnered he doesn’t play particularly well. I feel like I can play my hand profitably against him, even from out of position. I would fold against a tight player that I also think plays well after the flop. But I three bet this guy. He calls. Flop is T94 with two diamonds and one club. I bet and he raises me. Welp. I’m not going to try and power my way through this one. I call. Turn is the 8 of diamonds and he bets again when I check. Continuing here is pretty debatable. Folding is probably the best play, but if you do call, I think you have to be prepared to do this: the river is the 2 of diamonds, putting a four flush on board; I lead out and he folds.

This is a player that my friend does not bet against. So he will never have this opportunity. I just bluffed my way to victory in a $300 pot that he would have to check the river in. Which means he should fold the turn in my spot because he can’t play poker on the river. And how is that fun for anyone? Also, when you have these kinds of unspoken agreements, you have no implied odds when drawing on the turn. Plus your opponents can call you with weak made hands on the turn because they know it’s a $40 decision and not an $80 one. Figure it out!

An early position player limps in, a middle position player raises, and I defend my big blind with 87. The flop comes 654 with two diamonds and I check-raise the flop and they both call. The turn is a jack and now the flop cold caller raises me. The PRF clears out and I three bet. The river is an ace, it goes bet and call, and she shows AJdd after I table my straight.

I open from middle position with QJ and the cutoff three bets me. We go heads up to the T98 flop and I check-raise. She calls. The turn is a 4 and she raises me, I three bet, and she caps. The river pairs the 4. Great. I didn’t really think she had a straight on the turn, so it’s pretty clear I can’t bet for value here. I check-call and she shows me 99. It’s always fun when someone overplays their hand on the big bet streets and then gets there.

Speaking of which! A few hands later it folds to me in the small blind and now I have 99. The big blind is a non-chopper, so I raise it and he calls The flop is 984 all hearts, giving me top set. I bet the flop and he calls. The turn is a king and I decide to check-raise, he three bets me, and now I cap… out of position. Yes, this is one of those C-game spots I was talking about earlier. I don’t think it’s a total spew – it might even have merit – but my standard line would be to call his three bet. I’m veering off course because of the previous hand. 100%. The river pairs the board, I bet and he calls. He didn’t seem too thrilled about it, so I assume he probably flopped a flush, but I really don’t know.

Folds to me in the hi-jack and I open with K4dd, which seems like it might too light when the cutoff, button, and both blinds all call me. Fortunately the flop comes K84 with two spades. I bet, the button raises, the small blind three bets it, and I cap. Oddly enough, the button folds and we are heads up now. The turn is an ace and he check-calls. The river is a 9 and he check-calls again and shows A9ss after I table. Ouch! I get his line because my range looks like AK or better, but I definitely did not expect to lose that pot to a check-call on the river.

A loose and bad player limps, a solid player in the cutoff raises, and I three bet with QQ from the small blind. They both call. The flop is AQx. I bet, the bad player calls, the good player snap-raises, and I make a judgement error by deciding to just call to keep the bad player in and check-raise the turn. The turn is a jack, I check, the bad player donks, the good player thinks for a bit looking confused and decides to raise, I three bet it, the bad player calls, and the good player caps. Huh. The river is a blank and I tank long enough that they are looking at me like what’s going on? and decide to check. The bad player checks and the good player bets, looking confident. I say “wow, snap-raise the flop with KT. Wow.” I call and he does show KT.

And if I’m being honest, I was steaming after that hand. I could feel the anger inside me. I wanted to direct it at the player with the KT, but I don’t think that’s who I was really mad at. I was mad at myself. Obviously this hand had a terrible result and I’m not happy about that. I think his flop line with KT is mega spew. Not because it doesn’t have merit in certain spots, but because it doesn’t have merit in this spot. Trying to get me to eventually fold a hand like TT, JJ, or KK doesn’t make much sense when there’s a third player in the pot that is rarely folding. And raising the flop to get a free card if he misses the turn? He’s picking the wrong target. Except he didn’t. By calling on the flop, I would have allowed him to execute on this plan if he had missed and the other player didn’t lead out. What a catastrophe it would be for me to let the turn check through holding a set. And that’s really the reason I was mad. I knew I took a poor line and if he had missed the turn, I would have let his ridiculous free card play work.

But before I emotionally recovered from that previous pot, I would play this extremely C-game hand. A couple players limp in and I raise with 99 on the button. One or both of the blinds call and now the bad player from the previous hand limp-reraises. I have history with him and I’ve seen this move with some pretty marginal holdings, so I go ahead and cap it. The flop comes down AKx, he leads out and I raise. The rest of the field has cleared and we are now heads up. He three bets and I call. The turn is a ten; he bets and I call? I mean I know this guy has a pretty wide range, but I’m not sure 99 is a hand to call down with on this board. Fortunately, the river is a 9 and I’m not even bothering to hide my amusement – I know I’m playing this hand bad and BAM! Here’s my reward. He doesn’t pick up on extremely visible tells – which is why I didn’t hide them – and I’m able to get two big bets from his AQ. Brilliant hand, Mac.

Session Results: +$280 in 10.5 hours

$8/$16 @ Palace

Here’s a hand where big blind defense against a button straddle goes wrong and why I think I should be folding most hands in this spot, even though I usually defend with a wide range in non-straddle pots. I’m about call with 97o and the under the gun player is already in motion to reraise. I haven’t put money in the pot yet and she didn’t cut out a three bet before realizing I hadn’t acted, but the speed in which she brought her chips into the pot felt like a pretty strong 3-betting tell. So I should just fold it. Instead, I call, and she does raise it. Ugh. Two players call, the straddler raises, and everybody calls. It’s worth noting that I don’t think the under the gun player knows that you can five bet a straddle pot. So her range is uncapped in my view. The flop comes 652 rainbow. It checks to a middle position player who bets, the button calls, and I raise it. This seems like a poor choice. I’m out of position and it’s unlikely I will thin the field very often. My thought process is that raising might buy outs for my overcards, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I’m almost certainly better off just taking my very favorable pot odds to try and draw to my gutshot. Immediate punishment: the under the gun player 3-bets and whoever is still in the pot all call. The turn is an Ace and I check-call, once again getting favorable odds to draw to the straight. The river pairs me, but I check-fold because it’s clear that my pair outs were no good on the flop and UTG wins with a set of aces.

Defense against a button straddle is definitely in need of further examination. More often than not, the pot will get three bet and quite frequently it will be five bets to go. So I think the correct strategy is to only defend a range of hands that play really well in big, multiway pots. 97 offsuit, out of position, certainly does not qualify.

I come back from a back and post in the cutoff with K5dd and it winds up getting capped with seven players in. The flop is a beautiful K73 with two diamonds and it gets capped again with me putting in the first raise and the cap. Five of us see the turn and I get three callers when I turn a flush. The river is the 4 of diamonds. Two players check in front of me and the opponent behind me is telegraphing weakness so I feel confident I still have the best hand. I get check-raised by a wild opponent. He’s a Palace legend, well known for his propensity for playing his hands blind all the way to showdown, making hopeless bluffs, and playing a generally crazy game. Obviously this player is deserving of a nickname. I will call him Daredevil, after the blind superhero, because he’s bold and frequently doesn’t look at his cards. Well, Daredevil check-raises me on the river when I’m holding the second nut flush and he’s a player that I’m never considering folding to, so I call. He shows Ad3x. Nice hand.

Daredevil limps in EP, I try to isolate with A8 of clubs near the button and three of us see the flop. It’s AK3 with two hearts. Daredevil is my only caller. The turn is an 8, giving me two pair and he check-calls again. The river is a 4 of hearts and he check-calls again. I table and he shows Q7 of hearts for a flush. He says something about giving me air and that I should remember that and I say “that’s not air! That’s making me think I won a pot that I’m not winning! That’s mean. I’d rather you raise me!”

Under the gun limps, a new player raises, a bad action player 3-bets on the button and I’m simply never folding the JT of spades from the blinds here, so I call. We see a flop of T92 with two diamonds and one spade. I check-raise the flop and the middle position player raises me back.  I call and so does the button.  I’m getting a fishy vibe from MP so my plan is to donk turns that are good for me. The 2 of spades definitely qualifies, as it keeps my top pair hand in good condition and adds a flush draw. So I bet and the MP raises again. The button takes two big bets to the dome and I call also.  The river is a 3 and I check-call and lose to MP’s 92o. Nine. Deuce. Offsuit. This guy raised from MP after someone had already limped.  Poker is dead?

Three or four people limp in and I check 77 from the big blind. The flop is Q53 with a flush draw possible. I lead out, my good friend from Kitsap who had the nickname Aquaman long before I started blogging poker regularly calls, and so does someone else. The turn is a 9 and it checks around. The river pairs the queen and I’m pretty sure I have the best hand. The question is, can I reasonably bet for value and expect to get called by worse? The answer is yes. I have a ton of history with Aquaman and a very strong read on his overall strategy. He has a pair, it’s worse than mine, and he will definitely call. I have no reason to believe the other player has anything at all. So I bet, Aquaman calls, the other guy folds, and I roll over 77 like it’s the nuts because it is.

Session Result: +$461