Posts Tagged ‘poker’

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Super-Sized Sunday: $30/$60 @ Palace – 2/18/2018 (LIVE BLOG)

February 18, 2018

I went to the UW-Colorado game with Radio Mike last night and it was over early enough that playing poker seemed like a reasonable idea. We stopped in Palace and there were two full $15/$30 games going. One of them looked really good and one of them looked really bad. By the time I got in the game, around 9 PM, The Leak (aka my wife) had migrated to the good game and I was in the bad one.

Also in the good game was Palace royalty, The Queen, an elderly woman that has been a staple in the Palace $8/$16 game for at least the past decade and possibly the past two decades. She plays hours that make me look lazy. She’s over 80 and logs 200+ hours every month like clockwork. Anyways, before I started working at Palace, I played tough poker against The Queen and while she would get annoyed with me at times, she seemed to respect it because I was a nice guy. But when I started working at Palace, I formed an unspoken agreement with The Queen to never bet each other heads up. I can’t remember the origins of how or why I thought this would be a good idea. It was illogical. I played way too much poker for it to be worthwhile to sacrifice my potential earn on the table (and the integrity of the game) for whatever I would be making from her in tips off the table. But it was just one of those things where it was understood that if you work at Palace, you don’t bet against The Queen when you are heads up. So I spent the year I worked at Palace and the past 16 months avoiding games that The Queen was in. Her presence in my game changed the way I played too much. How much sense does it make to open wide from the cutoff or button if she’s one of the blinds and I frequently find myself heads up with a marginal hand against a player I don’t bet against? Or maybe I just call with a hand that I would always raise with because she’s the player that lead out and I want money to keep going in the pot? It was bad for me and it was bad for poker.

Somehow it managed not to be a big deal. The Queen would always play in the main $8/$16 game and I would always play in the feeder games, so this conflict would rarely come up. For years, the feeder games at Palace have always been significantly better than the main game. It was an arrangement I could live with.

When $15/$30 started getting spread, I thought The Queen would stay at $8/$16, but she seems to be fancying herself a $15/$30 player now and I just refuse to check a hand down with anyone at that limit. So I’m going to pull her aside and tell her our contract has expired… in respectful terms. Hopefully she understands and if not, oh well. But I hadn’t done that before last night, so the good $15/$30 game had a player I don’t bet against and my wife – who I do bet against, but would strongly prefer not to play at the same table as.

Meanwhile, the game I was in was about as bad as I could imagine a game being at Palace. I was looking around the table and I saw one player I would consider someone I’m aiming to play with. Everyone else was either solid or nitty. Sometimes you have to accept the situation and grind it out, but I was sitting there, starting a session at 9 PM, sitting in a crappy game, with no intentions of moving to the good game, and plans to play $30/$60 at 11 AM the next day, and I had to ask myself: what the hell am I doing here?

So I posted in my big blind, defended Q8 against the only loose player at the table and check-called him down on Q4396 and lost to 66, folded for the rest of the orbit, and got the hell out of there.

I’m not sure when the last time $30-$60 went, but it’s been a while. Maybe a month. It’s going to go today though. There are currently 21 names on the list and while half of them could be pretenders or names that have been up there for a month now, I also know about half of them are legit and ready to play today and that means the game is 100% go.

This is a session that could completely turn my year around – or put me right back where I was. Heading into today, I’m solidly green for February now and down about $300 for the year. Time to right this ship. Hopping in the shower and heading to Palace for an 11 AM start.

11:16 AM: Kind of a rough start with The Riddler being expected to count past ten and sell chips to everyone. Amazingly 8 of the 21 names on the list are actually here to start the game and we are in action.

Starting lineup: loose Palace reg, unknown, The Sandman, bad and loose Palace reg, loose-passive Palace reg, The Joker, Dansby Swanson, and myself.

First hand I have AJss on button in a 3-way raised pot. Flop is KsQsTh and Dansby caps with me. Turn 8s and he check-calls down and I start my session off with a nice pot.

We are five hands in now and Sandman has raised or 3-bet pre in four of them.

1:05 PM: Update incoming. Playing stakes this big against some players I don’t have a ton of hours with I think it’s best for me to keep my focus on the game while I’m sitting at the table, so I’ll probably just be posing quick updates on breaks every 90 minutes.

Pretty good start. I was rocking an absurd 14/3 after about 40 hands but I have a more normal 22/10 now. I’ve lost with TT twice but I won a good pot with AA against Sandman.

I also got lucky defending my big with 96ss and getting three bets on flop and three additional big bets from AQ on a Q96T3 run out.

Then I flopped the nut flush draw in a multiway pot and got check-raised by The Joker on the flop before turning the nuts and getting three more big bets from him.

The game is great so far. It’s definitely not tight. Four of my eight opponents currently have VPIPS of 32% or higher.

1:17 PM: Yeah this game is pretty decent. Player open-limps in MP, I limp on button with T7dd, SB calls, BB checks. Flop is JJ3, everyone checks to me and I bet. Only the limper calls. Turn is a 8 or something and he check-tanks, says he has the best hand, and then folds AQcc face up.

Well played, sir.

2:17 PM: Had a gross spot where I’m the PFR with 77 and three people call me on 665cc and then I get check-raised by an unknown on 6653. Can’t really fold 77 there and I wind up paying off his 55.

I open cutoff with K7ss and button 3-bets. We are heads and flop is A43 one spade. I check-raise and he calls. Turn 9s, I bet and he folds. 💪🏻

I open 98o from cutoff and only SB calls. I bet twice on K93K and get check-raised and decide I’m calling down. River is a King, he bets and shows A3. I folded TT to this player on AAxQ a while ago and I no longer feel that great about it.

I’m currently running at 23/10, which is well below my norm, and I still think I’ve been opening too wide for how loose the game is. For instance, I open 55 and three players call and one reraises and I’m like wtf am I doing? No good ending to that hand.

Im up a few hundred currently.

2:32 PM: Worst player in the game just hit and ran it pretty decently. He is being replaced by one of the best regulars at Palace.

2:52 PM: Another bad player left and is replaced by a good Fortune regular. The quality of this game has gone down tremendously.

Meanwhile, I just ran JT into 97 on T86J8 in a blind vs blind, non-chopping situation. Pretty cool.

3:07 PM: The game is 8-handed now with no list and only a couple of key players holding it together.

I had another stupid blind vs blind hand where I raise 72dd from the small blind, bet J62d flop, double barrel the 9d turn and get raised. We both check ten river and I lose to K9.

Another stupid hand: a weak player limps under the gun, I call T9o from SB, BB checks. Flop A96ss and I check-call a bet from UTG. I think a check-raise is reasonable here, but I have seen this player limp AQ suited already. I decide to call and see what happens. We both check on 3 of spade turn. 7 of spades puts a four flush on board and I bet without looking to see if I have one. He tank-calls and I don’t have a spade. He doesn’t either but his 76cc rivered two pair.

Part of what makes Peter such a great Joker is that he often laughs after beating you in a pot. He just did this to someone else and I told him he needs to work on his “post-win laugh,” which made the table laugh because they thought I was calling him out, but what I was really suggesting is that he needs to crank it up to a true Joker-like maniacal cackle.

Speaking of The Joker, we played an epic hand that I will have to share after the session.

3:41 PM: Dear Poker Gods,

The Human Torch is on the list for $30/$60. Please let him last long enough to sit in this game and, if it’s not too much to ask, can he have at least $1500 to play with?

Thank you. 🙏🏻

3:58 PM: A higher limit player that has been really good action in my experience just sat in the game and potentially made it significantly better.

And The Torch is actually taking a seat. I predict $500 buy in.

4:12 PM: I was wrong – he bought in $530.

4:29 PM: Well I can’t afford to take a break with The Torch in the game, so I’ll try to post some hands while I’m playing.

Here are some key recent pots:

I come back from my last break and post with 92o and it’s raised and called in front of me. There are no two cards I’m folding in position for one more bet so I’m in there too. The three of us see T98dd flop and I overcall. Turn is 6d and they both check to me. I might have the best hand anyway but this is a mandatory bet. The PFR calls me and I’m forced to chop with AQss when the river comes a 7. 🤔

The Torch opens and I 3-bet KJc, he caps. Flop is Q87cc and he checks to me. I bet and he calls. Turn is a 5 and he snap-calls when I bet. River is a 6 and it pains me beyond belief, but I check it back because it’s clear to me he has no intentions of folding whatever it is he has. He wins with AK. I’m 100% convinced he’s calling river so I stand by my check.

5:35 PM: I open QhJc and get four callers. Flop is AhTh3, which seems reasonable to keep lying on, but I get raised and someone else cold-calls. Turn is heart and the cold caller leads out. Other player is all in for $50 on turn. River is a heart and I outdraw the all in’s JJ.

I have a blind vs blind battle with The Joker and with a final board of 84476, I can’t get him to lay down AT, which might sound good for me, but I had ten high.

The Torch is hanging in. After being almost all in on his second hand, he rivered a straight with T6hh drawing dead to a flush and hasn’t looked back. His $530 has turned into over $2k, mostly at the expense of one of the Fortune regs, who can’t help but berate him for his torchy play – and yes, a lot of them have been ugly but it’s not something anyone needs to be talking about at the table.

5:47 PM: Game is 5.5-handed now (one player doesn’t really count and I’m surprised he hasn’t quit yet) and entirely built around The Torch. He’s on a heater and it’s all been disgusting! And none of it at my expense. Beautiful.

Short-handed play means I won’t be updating because I’ll be involved too much.

7:10 PM: Welp. That went as expected. The Torch ran his stack up to $2500+ and cashed out when he fell back to $500ish… and we didn’t play another hand. I did throw my big blind out, as a courtesy, because the dude was still in the building, but Dansby said we might as well just quit now since we know no one is going to keep playing.

Final score: +$735

Some key pots from short-handed play:

In case you don’t know why The Torch is The Torch, let me explain: he opens, I 3-bet KK, he caps it. Flop is KQ3 with two clubs and one spade and (I believe) he check-calls. Turn is the ace of spades and he check-raises me but just calls when I 3-bet. River is 4s and he donks out. Against a reasonable player, I would give serious consideration to just calling here. Against The Torch, I just have to put another raise in. Unfortunately, he immediately 3-bets me and I’m expecting to see a queen high flush here but… it’s A9o.

Another clash with The Torch: he opens button and I defend J8. Flop is AQT, flopping me a double-gutter, which I would maybe bluff with against some players, but not this one. I might end up having to put in 3-bets against a hand as bad as T7. I call and check-call again on 6 turn. River is a king and he bets before I do anything and I get to check-raise without acting first. He snap pays it off with QT.

Ugh. I don’t want to share this hand but I do like to keep it real and, well, I played this one like absolute shit and it cost me the whole pot.I open with KQ and the button 3-bets, and it ends up going 4-ways to Q75. The button bets, The Torch check-raises, and… I call?

I CALL?!?

I don’t know what the hell my thought process was here, but this is a clear 3-bet. But I call (ugh) and so does button. Turn card is… an ace! And fast-forward to showdown where I lose to button’s naked AJ. I mean… what in the hell? That was a $600+ pot I basically gifted to the button.

Now the hand with The Joker from earlier. Sometimes you play like shit and it works out. This is one of those times and while I have my reasons for this line, I think it’s way closer to spew than a stroke of genius.

A player posts in the cutoff, The Joker raises from the lo-jack, cutoff defends and I call with 44 on the button, which is already a subpar line in a questionable spot. One of the blinds defends and the flop is AJ3 with two clubs. The Joker bets, cutoff folds, I raise, he 3-bets, and I cap.

What the hell am I doing here, you ask? Losing my mind probably but wait, hear me out.

Joker is a borderline maniac. He’s opening super wide from the LJ with dead money posted behind him (which is why my hand plays better as a 3-bet), so I’m not entirely convinced he has a big hand here and I know my range looks pretty suspect, which means his 3-bet might be suspect. Additionally, I have seen him make reasonable folds when I take very strong lines.So that’s what’s going on. It sort of makes sense but it’s incredibly ambitious. The turn is the 9c and Joker says “I don’t know what I can beat” and folds after flashing an ace and then begs me to show a bluff. I don’t. But you can read about it now, asshole!

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Marathon Monday: $15/$30 @ Palace – 2/12/2018 (LIVE BLOG)

February 12, 2018

I swear one of these times I’m going to blog a session and post one of the signature wins that have defined my poker career the last several years. Hopefully today is the day. To say I’m overdue is a bit of an understatement. I’ve certainly had faster and more violent downswings and I think I’ve even had longer stretches of losing, but it has to be getting close now. We are on day 43 of 2018 and I’m still solidly in the red for the year.

I did some research and since the beginning of 2011, I’ve had back-to-back losing months four times total and half of them were during my worst stretch ever – from August of 2013 through October 2013 – when I lost between $1200 and $1550 three months in a row – the only time that’s ever happened. So yeah, I’ve been through worst months and worst overall stretches and I got through them and crushed like I always do. That’s something I’m able to keep in mind when I’m not playing, but it’s been harder and harder lately to remember that while I’m actually at the poker table. The accumulated tilt is real. For instance, I feel fine right now – excited even. I can’t wait to play. But I’m fragile. Not letting rough starts and bad sessions affect me emotionally has been harder and harder. It’s definitely made me realize that working on my mental game again needs to be more of a priority.

I took my wife to see “Hamilton” last night and we double-dated with The Man (Palace poker room manager) and his wife. It was a blast! I’ll put a bigger review of “Hamilton” on my list of things I may or may not ever do, along with every T.V. show I’ve seen in the last six months. But I’ll say this now: “Hamilton” is an absolute masterpiece in the field of creative writing. Yes, it’s all based on actual history and adapted from someone else’s book, but as someone that used to write rap lyrics, I can’t stress enough how monumental Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s achievement is. To take a biography about one of America’s founding fathers and turn it into an elite hip-hop musical is truly mind-boggling. It’s not just fun… it’s not just surprisingly good and palatable… it’s ELITE song-writing from top to bottom and, from my perspective, one of the greatest works of writing in modern history. Yes, the prices are outrageous, but that wasn’t going to stop me from seeing this masterpiece. A true can’t miss.

Yoga in 25 minutes. Poker in 90. See you then.

11:15 AM: When I said poker in 90, what I really meant was 2.5 hours my bad.

Slow start here. Six names on list but two of them backed out of starting the game because they just don’t understand how you build a poker game. Looks like we are going to start 4-handed though.

Starting lineup: Radio Mike, Chief Wiggum, the unknown player that rocked the 80% VPIP on Friday in a full game (yum yum) and myself.

11:21 AM: So I didn’t really play poker on Saturday. I showed up at Palace around 4 PM, hoping to play $15/$30 but no one was willing to start a short game and after losing $160 in 14 minutes of a bad, short-handed $6/$12 O8 game I just decided to go home and fire at some online tournaments. I bricked out in six events and final tabled the last one to basically break even.

11:25 AM: Cards will be in the air shortly. We picked up two players, both of them loose and borderline maniacal. Marlo is one of them. So six-handed with three players that play 50% of hands in full games.

Leggo.

11:26 AM: Marlo sitting down with $300 but has lost over $3k last two times I’ve played $15/$30 with him.

12:08 PM: Decent start. I’ve won a lot of small pots with little resistance. No real clashes. Atlanta Braves SS Dansby Swanson makes us 8-handed so I’m going to fire up my stat tracker after I finish eating.

12:37 PM: Game Genie makes us full. I’m done eating and firing up my stat tracker. Game on!

12:38 PM: Marlo actually cashed out his last few chips from that initial $300 buy-in and… left. That’s unfortunate.

12:44 PM: First big clash: s3 opens, 80% calls, I 3-bet 99 from small blind, big blind and other two call. Flop 853 two hearts and it gets capped. Turn 8h and it checks around. River pairs the 5 and it checks to s3 the original preflop opener and he bets, 80% calls, and I’m very happy to overcall, expecting to win this pot the vast majority of the time against two super wide players. I don’t though – s3 has the J8 of diamonds.

12:51 PM: Radio Mike opens, 80% calls, I defend Q7. Flop is 653, I donk, Mike raises, other player cold calls, I call. Turn is a 9 and Mike bets, the other guy folds and I really consider raising, but go with call instead. River is a 7 and I lead out and Mike goes into the tank and asks me “how do my aces look?” and I’m thinking “they look like shit! Muck em!” But he knows I’m capable of bluffing here and maybe he’s just never folding big hands against me anymore. He calls. Nice hand.

I did 3-bet the 80% player with 87hh and got the 86539 run out and a call on every street so it’s not all bad.

1:18 PM: Picked up AA vs QQ to chip back up.

1:33 PM: TT < AA.

Dansby runs so good against me: I raise a limper on button with QQ and lose to his AT from SB on KJxxA.

1:49 PM: Just won a big pot flopping quad fives and made everyone pay, and got a $499 jackpot. Hopefully that’s not my entire MO for the day.

2:15 PM: I open KT and Radio Mike defends and check-calls T739 before check-raising queen river. I expect to never be good here but I’m curious and he shows 33.

2:23 PM: Heater! AA, AA, ATcc, QTdd all win showdowns four hands in a row. Radio Mike takes a trappy, confusing line with JJ against my first aces and I suck out vs Wiggum’s KT on KQTJx the next hand.

3:03 PM: By God it’s a sexy start. I’m up over $1300. I’ve had AA four times and won with all of them.

Happy Hour Hand is AcKc for $1700 from 3 PM to 6 PM. Someone is gonna hit that.

The 80% player is rocking a 67/11 today. There’s another player over 50% VPIP. There are only two players with a PFR > 11% – one at 14% and me at 26%. 😂😂

3:11 PM: 11 minutes for that $1700 Happy Hour Hand to get hit.

3:14 PM: Humpty Dumpty in the game. Let’s see if we get the hard-boiled version or the cracked, spewy one.

3:47 PM: Palace just started a second $15/$30 game, 7-handed. And we are 8-handed. Eh. They are better off starting another smaller game and using them as feeder’s for this one. It’s not like the demand was overwhelming.

3:54 PM: Dansby limps UTG, another limp, SB raises, I defend K2ss, Dansby 3-bets, other limper folds and SB calls. I call too. Flop AKx with two spades. I flopped the nut flush draw and a pair, but this isn’t the kind of board I’m looking to pound against two preflop raisers. I’m drawing to the nuts but hitting a king or a deuce is questionable. I check-call. Turn is a 2 and I consider raising because I have outs no matter what, but I go check-call again. Heads up with Dansby now and the river is a queen, which is a definite check-call card. He has basically the only hand I beat: AJ suited.

4:17 PM: Well I’m still crushing this game, but this is pretty familiar: guy with a 13%/4% opens, someone calls, I think this is iffy but I 3-bet 99 (small sample and all) and we are five ways to 983 and the PFR bet/3-bets me. I flat to raise turn and three of us see the 8 pair. He leads, I raise and we are heads up. River jack, and he check-raises. A player this nitty just has JJ 100% of the time so I just call and lose this monster pot to the 2-outer.

Ugh. Hopefully this is a blip and not a sign of things to come. Still up $1300 but that $600 pot would have looked sexy in my stack.

4:33 PM: 14 big bets in the pot on the turn; I have KQdd on AK3d2d in a 4-way pot. Whiff. AJ and A7 are in there.

5:35 PM: Might need to stop making thin value bets against Radio Mike. He opens hi-jack, I defend QTss and check-raise J86 one spade. He calls. Turn ten, I bet he calls. River 2. I bet and he raises. The dude is just never bluff-raising here (he doesn’t have the gall!) but I just want to see what hand he played this way. Hey, it’s another set!

Humpty Dumpty limps early, I raise AQ… he beats me on A8563 by taking a check-call, check-call, donk line. I guess it could be worse.

5:55 PM: Humpty Dumpty opens (4% PFR), s4 3-bets (11% PFR) and I cap it with TT. They both call. Flop KQT. I bet they fold. What.

6:11 PM: Missed another backdoor flush draw in a substantial pot.

I’m up a little over $1100 and my momentum seems to have halted for a bit.

7:15 PM: I wasn’t paying attention to the action on this hand but the board is 984ccT6 and Radio Mike tables 75cc and his opponent tables JJ. Dealer pushes Mike the pot and then… Mike pushes the pot into the other player’s stack. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before. Everyone else is like wtf are you doing? Finally he realizes that he did, in fact, have the best hand and the game stops for an hour while everyone tries to figure out how much was in the pot! Well played, Mike! Your Uber is on its way.

In other news, the reciprocality of hitting draws has been severely lopsided lately. For a while actually. The trend is continuing today. My hot start has turned into like +$900 as I consistently lose to draws while never hitting my own.

7:40 PM: Sick hand vs Dansby Swanson: I open AJo middle position, he calls next to act, no one else joins. Flop is 962ddh, I bet he calls. Turn is 9h. I feel like Dansby is heavy in pocket pairs and suited Broadways, so I bet and… he raises me. I think he would fold a lot of the small/medium pairs that aren’t boats if I reraise and if he has a draw then I have the best hand. I 3-bet, he calls. River 2d. We both check and I’m good vs KJhh.

8:32 PM: Here’s a hand that really makes you wonder: Punty Pete opens cutoff and I defend AQ. Flop K55 and I check-raise in Overs. Turn 2, I bet and he tank-calls. River 4, I check, he checks. I didn’t think he would fold a pair here so I didn’t see much point in betting. I table and he tables 32 like he’s some kind of genius.

Eh. I don’t get it.

8:58 PM: I open cutoff with Q5dd. Flop A95dd. 3-handed pot and Peter wins with 52o. Sometimes the variance is just comical. I am so close to even now I can’t even believe it. It’s so disgusting.

9:06 PM: I picked off a double barrel bluff with 55 when they 3-bet me but checked back QQ2 flop.

But then I get 3-bets in three ways pre with QQ and on the JTx8 board I find myself check-folding because I’m in last place (TT and J8).

I’m racked up and I’m leaving on my big blind. I’ve already played 8+ hours today and I’m not about to get stuck after being up $1500. Plus I’m beyond annoyed now. I’m going to leave with less profit than I won from the jackpot.

Final score: +$236 and it might be the worst $236 I’ve ever won.

GODDAMMIT.

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

February 3, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

And… that list is down to 5 now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GO DAWGS!!

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A Reprieve & PLO Pressure (Live Blog)

January 31, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Game over.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LAPC Day 6: $350 Limit Hold’em @ Commerce

January 26, 2018

This tournament had the same structure as the events I played last week: 10k starting stacks, 30 minute levels. Blinds started at 50/100. Speaking of which, whenever I play flop games I always list the current level as what the small and big blinds are. In Stud formats, I list the level as the betting limits. This is worth noting since I will be playing a H.O.R.S.E. tournament next. Anyways, a nice feature of this LHE event is that all tables were 8-handed. Anyone that thinks 9-handed poker is better than 8-handed really doesn’t have a clue. Please stop griping about that open seat – it’s going to be okay!

My table started 5-handed with three unknown opponents and one guy I have played with here and at the WSOP. Through a little research I finally got a name: Adam Kipnis. He has $126k in lifetime cashes, almost all of which have come in the annual SoCal series. His biggest cash is $18k for a second place finish in a Deep Stack Extravaganza PLO8 at Venetian last June. Kudos to him. He seems to be doing well and is definitely someone I have recognized over the last few years. The rest of my table seemed pretty soft, including a middle-aged lady in a visor that open-limped 86 suited on the first hand of 5-handed play.

Notable Hands L1-L4

Blinds 100/200, I open with KK and the button 3-bets. I call to disguise my hand and trap later but when the flop comes ace high, I just check-call flop and turn before inexplicably getting a free showdown against AA on the river (one card wheel and backdoor flushes got there, but come on).

Blinds 100/200, I 3-bet a cutoff open from Adam with 66 from the small blind, he calls. Flop is 543 with two clubs (I have one) and I bet and 3-bet. It’s hard to imagine I’m doing poorly against many hands here. I barrel the 8c turn and check the 7c river, not really looking to value bet a six high one card flush. Adam checks back and shows me how “lucky” I got to outdraw his A2.

Blinds 150/300, I bust a player after we cap pre and get it in on the flop when my AK outflops his JJ.

I forgot to mention that Pheels-Bad Pete followed me out to LA and is playing this event as well. I will track his progress also.

First Break: Dark Knight 12.4K, Peter 1.8K

Notable Hands L5-L8

Peter busts his first bullet pretty quickly after the break and fires a second one.

Blinds 200/400, UTG opens, I 3-bet AA next to act, the field clears out and he calls. Flop 632 and he check-calls. Turn 8 and he check-raises now. In retrospect, this is probably a clear 3-bet. I’m really only losing to 88 and a bunch of hands that are typically not raising UTG at an 8-handed table. But I took the cautious route and called him down and he showed… AA! Wow.

Blinds 200/400, a middle position player opens and I defend J9dd. Flop is Q95 and I feel my hand plays a bit better as a check-raise than a check-call, so that’s the line I take. He calls and then calls again on K turn. River bricks and I think if I bet again I might as well be bluffing. This board is better for his range than mine so I just give up, but he checks back and… beats me with A9.

Blinds 200/400, hi-jack opens and I 3-bet QThh from the cutoff. I’ve seen this player open T7s from an earlier position so not 3-betting this hand would be criminal. The small blind and hi-jack both call. I bet flop and turn on T997 and the small blind is calling. Final board reads T9977 and he checks again. At first glance it might look like I should be betting, but what hands can he call with that I beat? All his small pairs have been counterfeit. Maybe he calls A8s? Maybe he hung around with AK or AQ? He would probably call those hands. I think he might play JJ this way and probably ATs and KTs. I can’t imagine him calling a 3-bet with too many other Tx combos. I think most of the time he calls I probably lose, so I check back and beat his JTs. And then he says “you 3-bet with queen ten suited?” The guy that calls three bets with JT suited, from the small blind, says that. I love poker players. They never cease to amaze me with their weird and faulty logic.

Blinds 300/500, I open A8ss UTG (a little frisky, but table is mostly playing tight and straightforward) and only the big blind defends. Flop is 754 one spade and it’s not surprising when I get check-raised on this board texture. My hand actually has disguised equity so I’m happy to continue here. The turn pairs the 4 and I call again. The river is a king and creates an interesting dynamic. If he checks here, I expect to never win. If he bets, I like my hand a lot more. Reason being, if he had a pair, it’s unlikely he would value bet it on this river. He would typically check-call and hope he’s good. But if he’s been bluffing, he has to bet to win, so a river bet is way less scary than a river check ironically. Of course, he could have really strong hands like trips and straights, but a river bet has a lot of bluffs too. I’m pretty happy when he bets and I snap-call and win the pot vs queen high.

Blinds 300/600, button opens, I 3-bet QJo and the big blind caps it. We both call. The big blind is all in for another 300 on AKx and we both call, check the A turn, and button folds when I bet my straight on the T river. Big blind reveals JJ and I bust that player for the second time – both times when he had JJ, something he’s telling anyone listening as he’s exiting the tournament area.

Blinds 300/600, I defend an open with K8. Flop is KT4 and I decide to encourage future betting by taking a passive check-call line. The turn pairs the T and it checks through. River is a 6 and I don’t see how I can’t bet here. I bet, he calls, and I lose to KJ.

Shirley Rosario, a 50+ white lady, joins my table wearing a Wu-Tang Clan “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)” jacket and it kind of blows my mind.

Blinds 400/800, a disaster hand. I think my line and thinking here is fine, but the result is miserable. I defend a hi-jack open with KQo and then check-raise the 962 flop. This is a spot where the board hits my range better than it hits his and I will have some disguised outs if I make a real hand. He calls though and then calls again on the 8 turn. I catch a perfect river to continue my bluff when the final board reads 96285 and instead of a fold, I get raised. I’m so perplexed by this turn of events that part of me wants to call just to see and part of me is wondering if I should 3-bet. It’s not impossible for him to have hands like 77 or A7s though, so I eventually toss it in the muck.

Blinds 400/800, I open button with Q6o and a new player in the small blind 3-bets. I call. Flop is QT5 two clubs (I don’t have one), he bets, I raise, and he calls. Turn is Ac and we both check. River is 4c and we both check again. He rolls his hand and says “that’s it” and I see two red fives, so I table my hand and after a few seconds I realize he said “SET.” Awesome.

Ten minutes before registration closes, Rip Van Winkle strolls in with a fresh stack looking like he just got out of a game he sat in the evening before – standard Rip. But I don’t love that name. I thought of a better one. From now on the character formerly known as a Rip Van Winkle will be known as The Sandman. Yes, that’s better.

Second Break: Dark Knight 11.4K, Peter busted (twice)

Notable Hands L9-L10 (spoiler alert)

I go all of level 9 with a VPIP of 0%, meaning I didn’t voluntarily put money in the pot a single time for the entire 30 minute level.

My table breaks and I’m down to 5.5 bigs when I get moved to Sandman’s table. I had been playing for 5+ hours and Sandman had been playing less than 40 minutes and I joke that I’m probably going to bust before he does. Sure enough, first hand at his table I get KJ and the action folds to me, I raise and one of the blinds 3-bets and we eventually get all in. He has AJ and my sweat is over pretty quick after an AJx flop and no equity on the turn.

I busted with about 40 left. 16 ended up cashing. Another brutal tournament. I peaked around 29K and almost immediately lost half of it back.

After the tournament it as was early enough and the games looked good enough that I decided to play some $20/$40 LHE and I just got murdered. None of my premium hands were capable of winning and I found myself stuck $1300 in less than two hours. I made a couple of comebacks where I got up to -$500 and it looked like I might be able to salvage the session, but the shit storm returned and I couldn’t stomach any more brutal negative variance and called it a night at -$1135 after 5.5 hours.

That makes me 0 for 4 in LAPC events, -$2942 over my last four cash game sessions, and officially in the red for the month of January.

Who wants to be a professional poker player?

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$30/$60 @ Palace (1/21/2018 – LIVE BLOG)

January 21, 2018

9:10 AM: Backpacks and meditation are back! The $30/$60 game @ Palace is supposed to start at 11 AM, but who knows if that will actually happen. What did happen was this game went until 5 AM last Sunday when I was in California. That’s impressive!

I played a very short and unhappy $8/$16 session last night. It was 9 PM before we headed to the casino and I needed to be up early today, so my head and heart weren’t in it. What I really wanted to do was play some $6/$12 Omaha 8/Better for a few hours until my wife was ready to go home, but somehow I went from 2nd on the list when I put my name up to 4th on the list and then I got slaughtered for -$300 in less than an hour in a short-handed game. Playing short sessions is one of my pet peeves and when I know it’s going to happen (like when I’m waiting for a seat in a game I want or we are on a time restriction like last night) I typically drop down in limits ($4-$8) or play a lower variance game (like Omaha 8). So after donating $300 and watching the game disintegrate before my eyes (like my chip stack), I was still third up for O8 and I didn’t want to play full ring LHE, so I just went home.

When I left there were 7 names on the list for $30/$60 today. The question is, will those seven names be there at 11 AM when the game is supposed to start, or am I waking up early for no reason? Probably the latter. I’ve suggested a later start time for this game, but so far it hasn’t happened. I think a 2 PM start would get off the ground much more successfully. We’ll see though.

I think this is a good time to thank everyone for their support. My decision to start blogging my poker exploits has been a pretty huge one. I have long felt like reviewing movies is somewhat of a chore to me, but I find that I thoroughly enjoy writing about poker and the people that follow me certainly seem to prefer poker content. January 2018 is already the busiest month my blog has ever seen – and before that, December 2017 and November 2017 were my best months ever. In fact, January 2018 has been such a huge month that it has already surpassed the total amount of views my blog got in all of 2016 and will pass my total for 2015 by the end of the month. The increase in traffic has been insane and I’m happy that so many people seem to be enjoying what I’m doing. It’s pretty cool. I believe there is a way to follow the blog and be notified each time I make a new post if you wish to have updates sent to you. Thanks again!

I’m going to spend the next 90 minutes meditating, doing a little exercising, drinking coffee and getting ready and then I’ll go see what’s happening at Palace.

11:02 AM: Batman can always count on The Riddler for genuine assistance. He said he’s playing at Palace, so I text him and ask him to tell the floor I’m on my way but might be a few minutes late because I don’t want to lose my seat and he replies: “I will make an announcement to the room.”

No shock here. 10 names on the list to start the game and so far three of us have showed up. Of the seven current no shows, I feel like only one of them is guaranteed to walk in the door in the next thirty minutes, so it could be a while before this thing takes off.

Trying to assimilate my wife to this new limit for us, as I’m about to leave the house I say, “Welp. Time for me to go win or lose thousands of dollars!”

11:27 PM: Only five us here and no one is excited about the lineup. One of them doesn’t want to start 5-handed and another doesn’t want to start 4-handed. I’m not sure a sixth player is going to trickle in within the next thirty minutes and one of these guys is already talking about taking off.

This game might not happen today.

11:49 AM: Cards are in the air. Playing 4-handed. Nothing like some high stakes short-handed variance to wake you up in the morning!

Hopefully the game going will be noticed on Bravo and bring some players in.

As usual, playing short-handed isn’t very conducive to live blogging, so probably won’t post many hands until we start to fill up.

11:57 AM: The game just got a little less sharky. A Palace reg that has only recently stepped up to $8/$16 just sat down with $1000. Rooting for him against these Fortune regs!

12:31 PM: We are 6-handed now. A rundown of my opponents: there are three regulars from the Fortune $20/$40 game – one of which I think is one of the strongest players there – and two Palace regs, both of which I suspect are playing above their comfort level.

Notable hands so far:

-I open SB with QJ and the big defends. Flop is KTx and I bet-call. I don’t suspect this player to raise this flop and fold at some point so I’m just check-calling and trying to make something now. I turn a jack, which makes me showdown bound and check-call again. The river gives me a straight and I lead and do not get called.

-Button opens, I 3-bet KJ from SB, big calls, button calls. Flop QT9 with two clubs. I bet, big raises, button calls, I call. I reraise here a lot – especially since the board is wet – but I suspect I will get a check-raise in on the turn the majority of time, so I take that line. The turn is the deuce of clubs (and I don’t have one) and I don’t love the situation but I execute anyway and both players fold when I raise.

-I open AK from cutoff, button and small blind call, big folds. Flop is KQ5 rainbow. I bet and both players raise. The small blind is a very good player, so I expect him to have KQ a lot here. Maybe 55. He definitely could have hands like KJs and KTs though, so I’m never folding. The turn card solves most of my problems though as I make top two pair and the good Fortune reg check-calls me down.

12:50 PM: The most recent player already quit. He sat down and played one orbit and then moved to $3/$6! LOL. You don’t see someone move from a $30/$60 game to a $3/$6 game every day.

1:00 PM: Super Dave is here to save the day! He just sat down with $2000 and these guys have no idea how much this game just changed.

1:08 PM: We are 8-handed! Rooting for Super Dave vs The World!

1:22 PM: Super Dave button straddles, I 3-bet TT from the big, a non-reg is not phased by the $90 cold from MP, and three of us see the 864 flop. I bet, MP raises, and Super Dave calls. 3-betting here is fine, but I just call, planning to bet safe turns and possibly fold to a raise from MP. The jack is pretty safe, so I bet and they both call. River pairs the jack, I bet, MP calls, and Super Dave makes a miraculous fold with K8. I win the pot.

Just lost a big one: Super Dave opens, there’s a call, I 3-bet AQdd and it gets capped. I get it capped on the 865dd flop, with all three of us still in. I check back the 6 and fold on the river when Super Dave bets and the other player calls. Dave shows Q7o and the caller wins with A8.

1:41 PM: Super Dave straddles, SB folds, I have QT in the big. I’m always defending this hand but this table isn’t super active and I think I’m better off 3-betting and trying to get heads up with the maniac. Mission failed. UTG 4-bets and Super Dave 5-bets. Flop is AQx with two diamonds. It checks around. Turn is the Qd. I think UTG probably has an ace, so I opt for a check-raise here and it works spectacularly. Both players put in two big bets on the turn. The river is the 8d and I check-call to induce bluffs. UTG bets and shows KQ with no diamond. Oh, so that’s why my turn check-raise worked? Whoops!

Edit: I forgot to mention I had the Td. I won this pot.

2:48 PM: Sorry, I was focusing on eating for a bit there. It’s been a pretty solid start for me. I’ve made the nuts twice with AK in showdown pots and I’ve been getting premium hands in my big blind when Super Dave button straddles (and sucking out with QTo when I’m not!) and I’ve only lost one of these scenarios.

As is, I’m up about $1500 after taking my first break.

Pesky Pete is first up on the list and he’s already been waiting an hour and if there’s any justice in this world, any justice at all, he will wait two more hours and take Super Dave’s empty seat.

3:10 PM: Super Dave is torturing two of the Fortune regs. I haven’t lost any meaningful pots to him yet and he appears to be up about $1500 playing about 85% of hands dealt.

3:12 PM: The $8/$16 shot-taker got a nice little bink and Pesky Pete gets to gamble with Super Dave. Boooooooo!

3:37 PM: UTG+1 opens, I 3-bet 77 on the button, he calls. I bet flop and turn before checking behind river on 9868Q and my hand is good vs KT. Where’s a 7 when you need one? Nothing too exciting but I just felt like I should post a hand.

3:53 PM: This game is in trouble. Two players have left and a very key player passed on his open seat – even though he was unimpressed with Pesky Pete’s +$9000 win from a few weeks ago because, you know, he’s “won $10,000 in $30/$60 many times.” But as easy as winning $10k in this game is, he’s decided to play $8/$16 instead today.

If Super Dave cashes out, this game is dust.

4:22 PM: I’m getting Super Dave’d now. He button straddles, Peter 3-bets SB, I 4-bet BB with AQcc, both call. Flop J76cc and I wind up lose to Dave’s 33.

I open KJo and only Super Dave defends and I can’t beat his A3o after flopping KQT.

4:46 PM: Super Dave cashed out a little less than $3k. That leaves us 4-handed. I thought the game was over but these guys still want to play. Eh. I think I’m a very good short-handed player, but that doesn’t mean I’m invincible from variance and none of these guys are slouches.

5:04 PM: Battling with Pesky Pete.

I can’t lay down the JT on J77ccTK after we cap flop and I call down. His A7 is good.

I can’t lay down the JT on 862T after getting check-raised on the flop and getting 3-bet on the turn. Fortunately, the river comes a 6, counterfeiting his 82. Obviously, I check back, perplexed, and on a mission to put in $0 with the best hand this pot.

We picked up two players. Game on!

5:12 PM: MP opens, I 3-bet QQ, big blind and opener call. Flop T73 with two diamonds, I bet, big raises, MP calls, I 3-bet, and they both call. Turn is 9d and I don’t have one. I lead, big calls, MP raises, I snap fold, big calls. River 4d, big donks, MP raises, and the big goes deep into the tank before calling with… red aces! Wth.

5:27 PM: Peter is so annoying. He opens cutoff, I 3-bet K9cc, big blind is all in for $35, Peter calls. Flop is QJ3, two diamonds, one club and Peter check-calls. Turn is Kd and he check-raises me. My first instinct is to pay this off in frustration but he’s just never bluffing here and I’m probably drawing dead and I find my zen moment and toss it in the muck. Peter shows T9o and the big blind has 87dd but loses to Peter when the river comes a fourth diamond.

5:40 PM: Peter opens button, I 3-bet with Q8hh, the big blind comes along, and Peter calls. Flop is J32 rainbow with one heart. I bet and both call. Turn pairs the 2 and we check to Peter and he bets. He’s never flatting with a jack on the flop and I would check-raise big pairs here a decent amount, especially since I’ve been missing a lot lately, and I pull the trigger on the total airball check-raise… and they both fold.

6:22 PM: We’re playing a fun game called everyone gets to get there against me. Open 84cc? River a flush. Nice hand. Open 97hh and flop middle pair when I have top pair? Turn trips. Easy game. Open A6o, flop trips 6s, let me turn top pair with KJ and get a check-raise in? Pretty unreal.

6:33 PM: Peter has almost beaten me into submission. And now there’s another player in the game that I seem to be incapable of making a winning hand against. As much fun as it is to lose basically every pot I play in a game that isn’t particularly good anyways, I think I might head home soon.

6:50 PM: KK holds up against Peter. He’s not totally immune to losing pots to me!

The other player I can’t beat is pretty new to me but he’s been playing in the bigger games at Palace since we started spreading them and seems to be a new regular. Since I think I’m yet to win a showdown against him over multiple sessions, this player – who I have previously referred to as Cubs hat – will now be known as Game Genie.

Flopped a set of 7s in a 3-bet pot, so, you know, it’s not all bad.

I’m not going to go out of my way to do this, but we are playing 5-handed and it seems like beating Game Genie in ONE showdown is something that could happen.

8:15 PM: My bad. My good friend (and former roommate) just walked into Palace and I spent the last half hour talking to him on a break.

8:24 PM: First hand back I can’t shake Pesky Pete off ace high on the QQ7Jx run out. I defended the big with K8 and raised the flop and barreled turn which seems optimistic against a probable ace high, but Peter has seen me take this line with a Queen so many times I think he folds a decent amount here. When he tank-calls turn though I know he’s calling river, so I check back that street.

I did the impossible. Pesky opens cutoff, I 3-bet JJ, and four of us see the flop. The board runs out 76297 and I bet all streets and win a showdown against… GAME GENIE!

I deed it!

Game Genie is almost felted and our 5th player just left.

8:43 PM: I quit the $30/$60 game when it got 3-handed. I have to admire the tenacity of one of the remaining players. He’s taking on Peter heads up – even though Peter is basically incapable of losing any pots.

His run in the $30/$60 here has been unreal. Palace has spread the game four times now and he’s had two sessions so good they typically only happen once or twice a year. He won $9k once and I’ll report what tonight’s final total is when he’s done. It’s truly disgusting. One player commented “even he’s irritated by it” referring to me, which he said “is a compliment about your emotional stability” and is definitely a testament to how absurd Peter is running.

Peter plays really well though, so I don’t want to take anything away from his ability. He’s a good player -my toughest regular opponent in the greater Tacoma area – but, my God, the deck is slapping him across the face in these big games.

As for me, I finished $30/$60 at -$685.

I am now playing $4/$8 with my good friend and I’ll be going home as soon as he’s done playing.

UPDATE: Pot-After-Pot Pete won $5780, which he says brings his $30/$60 hourly win rate to $500/hour after four sessions. Incredible!

h1

Pot Limit Omaha – Where Nobody Knows What They’re Doing

January 13, 2018

The PLO game at Palace on Wednesdays has $1/$3 blind structure but it is $5 to come in, so it plays more like a $2/$5 game. The max buy in is $1000. My strategy when I initially sit down is to buy $500 in green and red chips and keep $1500 in black chips in my pocket. I like to start with a shorter stack while I get a feel for how the game is playing and see what the other stacks look like after a few orbits. If some of that action players double up or max buy, I will top off myself, unless I’ve already doubled up. Also, Washington state law has a cap at a bet and three raises and the max bet in Washington is $300, so while the game is pot limit, it does have some restrictions.

I don’t think I’m an expert PLO player. Shoot, I don’t even think I’m proficient – I think I would struggle in a lineup full of competent players. Fortunately, the typical Palace lineup is ultra juicy and I’ve been able to murder this game even though I don’t think I’m particularly good. I make some really dumb mistakes at times and in the interest of authenticity, I will usually post those hands.

Session 1 – January 3rd, 2018

I limp along on the button with TT95 double suited. This is a pretty poor hand. I’m only playing it because there are people in the pot I want to gamble with and it’s $5 to call. I’m definitely not looking to play a big pot with a flush. The flop comes down T96 rainbow, giving me top set and a backdoor flush draw. One of the limpers leads out for $20 – which is probably near pot – I call and so does the small blind. The turn is the Qc, giving me a flush draw to go with my set and both players check to me. I think this is a good spot to bet in a typical PLO game, but the thing I love about the Palace game is that these guys are simply incapable of folding. I really think the flop bettor has 87 and I don’t think he’s going to fold it, so I decide to check back and see a free river. I brick, the flop bettor makes it $45, I fold, the small blind calls and the bettor wins with 87xx.

I raise in MP with AQT2 double suited and four of us see the KT9 two spade flop. I have no spades in my hand and this board is super wet, so I check and it checks around. The turn is the As and it checks to me again. I only have one player to act behind me and I would imagine he would bet his straights and good flush draws, the two players in front of me have checked twice, so I bet $60 and wind up taking it down. Not too interesting except I’m surprised to get zero resistance on this board.

Someone makes it $15, His Airness (one of my all-time favorites) calls and so does the other action player. I call with KK73ss on the button and 5 of us see a flop of 954 with one spade. It checks around. The turn is the 6 of spades, giving me the second nuts and a king high flush draw. His Airness leads out $60, it folds to me, I make it $140, it folds to him, he makes it $280, and I call. The river brings my flush in, he makes a blocker bet of $80 and I make it $260, worried that I might lose him if I go for max value. He calls and my flush is good.

I can’t remember who my opponent was in this hand, but I wish I did because it’s a classic. I forgot to note where I am in this hand, but I’m guessing I was in one of the blinds. I call $20 with JTss88. Four of us see the flop and I lead $50 on T96 rainbow. One player calls me and I bet $130 on the 2 of club turn. He calls. The river is the Qc, giving me a straight, but completing a backdoor flush. I decide to check and pick off bluffs or misguided value bets. He bets $205. I call. He shows… Ac7cK7.

A player I will refer to as Slimer (for reasons that need not be mentioned) makes it $15 blind from UTG, His Airness calls, I make it $50 with QcJcJs9s from middle position and both of them call. The flop is Tc8cXs and it checks to me. I have a wrap, straight flush draw, and an overpair, so I bet $100. Only His Airness calls and then he donks $120 when the ten pairs on the turn. I’m not buying it. I make it $420 and he folds 7c6c face up. 9 of clubs on the turn one time?! I wrote these notes a week ago, so I don’t remember all the particulars. I’m sitting here typing this and wondering if raising the turn is really my best line, but I’m guessing the stacks were shallow enough that I determined I was willing to play for everything and didn’t want to do any guessing on the river.

This was a totally insane hand. I didn’t choose to write about it because I was in the pot, but because of how crazy it was and some of the questions it raises. Someone makes it $10, the pot is already mulitway, and I call with AJ75 with a suited ace on the button. The flop comes down 432 rainbow giving me the second nuts with a redraw to the nut straight and a backdoor nut flush draw. It checks to the player on my right and he bets $35. I call, Pay-Off Pete calls in the small blind, and now the big blind makes it $235. It folds to the flop bettor and he makes it $535 ($300 max bet in play now). I snap muck and it folds back to Peter. In a shocking development, Peter makes it $835 and the flop betting is now capped. The other two players both call. The turn is the 8h, Peter goes all in for $202 and both players call again. The river pairs the 8 and the big blind bets $300 and the other player calls. The main pot has ~$3200 in it and the whole pot is now $4000! The big blind scoops it all with 44xx. He flopped a naked set of 4s and turned a flush draw before filling up on the river. Peter and the other player both had 65xx with no redraws.

Just bonkers. The big blind had the opportunity to close the action on the flop for $35 with two possible straights on board and three players invested in front of him already. Instead, he raised with the 4th best hand on the flop (granted, I’d rather have his hand than mine) and wound up having to pay $800 more to see the turn! And over $1000 total before he finally made the best hand. Just sick.

And I think Peter should have folded on the flop, as played. He opted to check-call with the nuts originally to avoid a high variance line before seeing the turn and by the time it came back to him it was $535 to go and it was obvious that at least one – if not both – of his opponents had the same hand he did. And while he had a pair of 4s with his straight, he had no actual redraws. He had $45 invested at this point and had to risk over $1000 to win, at best, half of what was in the pot – with basically no chance to win it all. There is just no way that’s a profitable play. Sometimes you flop the nuts in PLO and the best play is folding.

We are playing 4-handed at this point, Peter limps in, I limp on the button with KQ93dd, one of the blinds makes it $15 and everyone calls. The flop is AJT with two diamonds giving me the nut straight and the nut flush draw. It checks to me, I bet $25, and only Peter calls. The turn is a king and I bomb it because I want to charge Peter the max if he turned a straight and I’m freerolling. The river bricks though and he leads pot, I go all in, etc. and he escaped with half the pot with his ugly QTxx or whatever he had… all I remember is that it was super gross!

I ended up finishing this session +$1380

Session 2 – January 10th, 2018

This session had all the potential to be my biggest losing session in any game ever.

In my first disaster hand, Action Bronson limps, another action player limps, a good player makes it $25, and I call with AKJ5 with a suited ace. Five of us see the QT5 rainbow flop. I have bottom pair, a broadway wrap, and the backdoor nut flush draw. Action Bronson pots it for $125 and it folds to me. I’m only $600ish deep at this point, so I make it $425 to commit, he puts me all in. He has KJT9 which is actually a big favorite over my hand. I just ran the odds and he’s 50% to scoop and 23% to tie, which means my scooping chances are only 27% (and I did this calculation assuming has no backdoor flush draw). So I actually got it in pretty bad here and wound up getting stacked.

This is right after that last hand, so I’m on a fresh reload and reconsidering my approach. I don’t 3-bet in this game a lot, but by this point, it’s clear to me that the good player is constantly trying to isolate Action Bronson and the other active player and doesn’t necessarily have great hands when he’s doing this. So when Action Bronson limps and this guy makes it $20 again and another player calls, I decide to 3-bet with AQQ5 double suited to $85. Action Bronson folds, but the last two players call. The flop is T32 rainbow and since there is over $250 in the pot and I started the hand with $500ish and the board is super dry, I just bomb it to commit myself. They both fold. Eh. Maybe not the right line of thinking on the flop. The board is super dry, so a pot-sized bet is kind of ridiculous, as I’m only likely to get action from hands that flopped sets or big straight draws. I suppose I was just happy to take the pot down right there and not have to do any guessing on future streets, but I’m not sure it’s the right approach.

Active player (a major regular – I just haven’t thought of a good name yet) felted a hand or two ago and reloaded for $200 in red and opens to $15, the good player tries to isolate from the button to $35, the small blind calls, and I defend JJT7 double suited from the big blind. The flop comes down T85 giving me an overpair, a bad gutshot, and two backdoor flush draws. The active player leads out for $50 and the good player just calls. It folds to me. Since the good player is just calling here, I don’t expect him to have a hand that can stand a raise and the active player could literally have plenty of hands I’m doing well against and started with $200 and only has $115 behind now, so I decide to make it $225 expecting to get all in with the active player in a heads up situation. It almost goes to plan. The good player does fold… after the active player calls with $200 in green chips that he had hiding behind his stacks of red! So now I’m playing against a $400 effective stack instead of a $200 effective stack! Turn pairs the 5 and gives me a flush draw, so I put him all in and he calls me with… JJT7! The exact same hand! Minus a flush draw. I miss my freeroll and we chop the pot up. I had told this player last week that he needed to keep his big chips visible at all times so I now take this opportunity to give him a friendly remind of why he’s supposed to do that.

I call $15 on the button with JTT8 double suited and it checks to me on the JT6 all club flop. I don’t have clubs, but I do have a set and I like the fact that everyone checked to me. I bet $50 so I’m guessing there were four or five of us that saw the flop. I get called in two spots. One of the players is a bad LHE player that I’ve never seen play PLO and the other guy is a PLO reg that I don’t expect to have a big hand here. The turn is an 8 and now the second player leads out for $50. I thought they both might have weak flushes on the flop and now that one of them has checked twice and the other is making a very weak bet, I decide to put the pressure on with a raise to $250. It feels like a stroke of genius until the first player goes all in for $519 and now I’m sitting there wondering how I can possibly be so bad at this game. The second player folds and it’s back on me. I ended up trying to do some math while at the table, but I have to admit it’s not a strong suit of mine. I ended up calling it off, but I’m almost sure this is a fold. I’m blocking my outs pretty hard, having both a ten and an 8 in my hand. I’ll do the math now though. I will assume there was $75 in the pot preflop, $150 more on the flop, $300 plus $519 on the turn for $1044 total and it costs me $269 more to call. I’m getting roughly 3.88 to 1 to call and I have 8 total outs (the third player in this pot actually folded 66, so I’m in much worse shape than I think). I need 5 to 1 to call, so I’m coming up short. He always has the nut flush here and I’m not getting the right price. If all my outs were clean, calling is close enough to correct that it would be fine to continue, although finding myself in this predicament at all seems like pretty poor hand planning. I called it off and whiffed. I think my line of thinking on the turn is reasonable, but I had played less than an orbit with this guy and I really have no clue what his tendencies are. You just don’t see someone flop the nut flush in a multiway pot and check it twice very often in PLO. Oh well. Lesson learned.

Another disaster hand: I didn’t write details for this hand, but I can paint a picture. I have KQJ9 with a suited king and I believe I 3-bet this hand preflop. The flop was 953 with two spades, giving me top pair with three overcard kickers and a king high flush draw, and I made a bet of probably 60-75% pot and only the player on my right called. The turn was an offsuit 6 and I decided to bet again and he check-raised me $300 more. I called it off and we both checked when the 3 paired on the river. He shows A42x with no spades.

I’m running pretty pure at this point and find myself in the game for $2000 and I have $150 of it left in front of me. I did buy another $1000 in black chips, but they are still in my pocket, but I haven’t put any of them on the table yet because I’m unsure if I’m really willing to lose $3000.

I end up finding a spot to 3-bet with AKT7 from the small blind and commit myself before the flop in a 3-handed pot. I bet the rest of it in the dark and manage to go runner runner flush with the T7 in my hand to triple up.

I eventually build that $150 stack up to $1450, without reloading, before my next catastrophe.

I have AA54 with a suited ace and I decide to limp in UTG. A 3-bet in this game is super rare, so if I make it $15 UTG what will usually happen is I’ll be playing out of position in a 5- or 6-way pot. So by limping this hand (and I have a limping range in this game), I might have an opportunity to make a big 3-bet if someone else raises. The next player to act makes it $20 and he picks up two callers. I can only make it $100 and I feel like all three players are going to call and my hand will be kind of face up, so I just call. The flop is K32 with one spade. The PFR has never played PLO before, so I expect him to c-bet his entire range here – he does. The other two players fold and I am very happy to play for stacks (~$400 effective at hand start), so I pot it and we end up getting it in. Unfortunately he has KK in his hand and I whiff everything even though I turn a spade draw as well.

This was the last hand of the night. I’ve built back up at this point and I open with KK66 double suited. I get some callers and the big blind makes it $70. I call and so do the others. The flop comes down T82 with two spades and one club and it checks around. The turn pairs the deuce and gives me a flush draw and it checks to me. I bet about 70% pot and it folds back to the big blind. After 3-betting pre and checking twice postflop, he now decides to pot. He had around $600 to start the hand and his line doesn’t really make any sense, so I don’t see any way I can consider folding here. After his pot-sized raise, there’s not enough left behind for decision-making, so I put him all in. He calls and the river doesn’t change the board texture. He tables AsJs9X and my KK is good. So he flopped the nut flush draw and an open-ended straight draw in a bloated pot and decided to check on the flop… and it cost him the pot. And his stack. I would have folded to any reasonable bet on the flop.

Thanks to that last hand I managed to finish the night -$111 after being stuck $1850 at one point. Felt like a huge win for me. I realize some of these hands are pretty unconventional, but I’m constantly playing this game with inexperienced players with questionable card sense. I would play much tighter and take different lines against a lineup of competent players, but the money just splashes around so fast in this game, I feel like I have to try to get it while it’s there. It’s pretty rare for the PLO game to last more than four hours and it’s not uncommon for someone to double up and leave after playing for less than an hour. I can’t really say that I know what I’m doing but I think I make good adjustments in this game texture and my results in it have been tremendous.