2023 WSOP Schedule

May 5, 2023
Team Torch is READY

We are officially less than a month away from the next World Series of Poker. This is going to be by far the most important WSOP of my poker career. I’m planning on playing my biggest schedule ever and there is really no reason for me not to be in Vegas for seven weeks straight. My girlfriend is moving to New York City for 3-4 months this summer for her own work and she’s taking Kirby with her. I’ll have no one to telling me to come home and no one and no dogs at home I’m excited to get back to. No excuses. I’m really excited, but I’m going to spend this next month making sure I’m mentally prepared for what’s ahead.

That’s a daunting schedule I have down there. The thought of whiffing everything is pretty scary, but I’m here for it. Unlike in previous years, I will be trying to play a lot more no limit hold’em tournaments. I love playing mix game tourneys, but I’ve put in FAR more work on my NL hold’em game over the past few years than anything else and it’s no surprise that four of my top five all-time cashes are NL hold’em as it’s by far the most popular variant of poker and thus creates the biggest fields and prize pools. So why I’ve mostly been avoiding those events at the WSOP the past half decade is a mystery to everyone, including myself. I guess I’m just more comfortable playing limit games, but if Covid did anything positive for me, it certainly forced me to start focusing on NL hold’em and I feel like I have exponentially improved at it since 2020.

I will also be playing very few non-WSOP events. I want to give myself the best chance to win a bracelet so I’m thinking at least 80% of my volume will be in bracelet events. I only I have a handful of tourneys that aren’t at WSOP down there and almost all of them are bigger mix events. Maybe it will work out that I end up playing a bigger off site NL tourney, but what I really want to avoid is committing myself to multiple day events that aren’t WSOP.

It would be an absolute disaster if I played every event on this schedule below. I should be making deep runs in some events and missing others, but this is just every event I’m legitimately interested in while I’m down there. Events in purple are my must plays on those days if I’m not advancing in something else already. I’ll also noted some BIs in yellow highlighter because they are my biggest events of the series and I’m selling more action than normal for those particular ones. I’m sold out of the majority of my WSOP package but I may sell more of the bigger BIs if I am doing poorly. I will reach out to people I’m pretty sure want action if that ends up being the case.

Hopefully it’s a huge summer! Leggo.


2022 Year in Review – Movies

March 24, 2023

My TOP TEN Movies of 2022

  1. Everything Everywhere All at Once
  2. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Plus)
  3. The Woman King (Netflix)
  4. The Batman (HBO Max)
  5. The Banshees of Inisherin (HBO Max)
  6. Avatar: The Way of Water
  7. Terrifier 2
  8. Pearl
  9. The Whale
  10. Barbarian (HBO Max)

The rest of my top 25: https://boxd.it/b3zMq

Notable 2021 films I haven’t seen yet: Triangle of Sadness, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, All Quiet on the Western Front, Decision to Leave, RRR, After Yang, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Babylon, Broker, Armageddon Time, Women Talking, Turning Red, Crimes of the Future, Fresh, Lightyear, Resurrection, EO

My TOP FIVE Documentaries/Docu-Series of 2022

Uh. I don’t think I watched a single 2022 documentary. Yikes.

Notable 2021 Documentaries I haven’t seen: All of them

2022 Movie Stats

Films watched: 104 (considerably down from 244 in 2021)

Average per month: 8.7

Average per week: 2

Most movies watched in one week: 9

Movies I watched twice: The Batman, Terrifier 2, Scream (2022), Halloween Ends, A Star is Born (2018), Top Gun: Maverick

Most watched genres: Drama (40 films), Horror (32), Thriller (28), Comedy (21), Mystery (17)

2021 releases: 46.2% Older: 53.8%

First-time watches: 74% Re-watches: 26%

10/10 Ratings: Whiplash

2022 – Most Watched Actors:

5 films: Courtney Cox, David Arquette, Roger Jackson, Neve Campbell (all Scream)

4 films: Liev Schreiber (Scream), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Bradley Cooper (random)

3 films: Christoph Waltz, John Turturro, Kyle Richards, Nick Castle, Ashley Laurence, Willem Dafoe, Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Kennedy, Doug Bradley, Cate Blanchett, Jenny Slate, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright

2022 – Most Watched Directors:

4 films: Wes Craven

3 films: David Gordon Green

2 films: Sam Levinson, Jaume Collet-Serra, Tobe Hooper, Baz Luhrmann, Guillermo del Toro, Ti West

All-Time – Most Watched Actors:

  1. Samuel L. Jackson (44 films) [1]
  2. Tom Hanks (34) [4]
  3. Brad Pitt (34) [2]
  4. Robert De Niro (33) [3]
  5. Matt Damon (32) [5]
  6. John Goodman (31) [t-6]
  7. Morgan Freeman (29) [t-6]
  8. Bruce Willis (29) [8]
  9. Willem Dafoe (28) [t-16]
  10. Woody Harrelson (28) [t-10]
  11. Jonah Hill (28) [t-10]
  12. Jack Black (28) [t-10]
  13. J.K. Simmons (28) [t-10]
  14. Bill Murray (26) [t-19]
  15. Johnny Depp (26) [9]
  16. Tom Cruise (26) [t-10]
  17. Philip Seymour Hoffman (25) [t-19]
  18. Ben Affleck (25) [t-16]
  19. Jon Favreau (25) [unranked]
  20. Scarlett Johansson (25) [unranked]

Dropped Out: Robert Downey Jr., Arnold Schwarzenegger

Notes: The biggest changes in these rankings happened because Letterboxd removed appearances in documentaries from actors filmographies, so a number of actors on this list lost a movie or two from their stats. Otherwise, I generally don’t focus on any one actor’s filmography so any movement here in the future will probably be pretty random.

All-Time – Most Watched Directors:

  1. Steve Spielberg (21 films) [previously ranked 1]
  2. Martin Scorsese (20) [2]
  3. Ridley Scott (16) [3]
  4. Tim Burton (14) [4]
  5. Sam Raimi (13) [5]
  6. Ron Howard (12) [6]
  7. Quentin Tarantino (12) [7]
  8. Joel Coen (12) [11]
  9. Ivan Reitman (11) [8]
  10. David Fincher (11) [8]
  11. Christopher Nolan (11) [8]
  12. Steven Soderbergh (10) [13]
  13. Michael Bay (10) [12]
  14. Robert Rodriguez (10) [12]
  15. Robert Zemeckis (10) [22]
  16. Jon Turteltaub (9) [15]
  17. Stephen Herek (9) [15]
  18. Wes Craven (9) [15]
  19. Joel Schumacher (9) [unranked]
  20. Peter Farrelly (9) [15]
  21. Jay Roach (9) [15]
  22. James Mangold (9) [15]
  23. Richard Donner (9) [15]

Notes: I didn’t watch more than two new films from any director last year and none of them are on this list.

2022 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2022 through March 2023
2021 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2021 through March 2023
2020 Best Feature Films: My top 25 of 2020 through March 2023
Focused Watchlist: A list of 30+ movies that are at the top of my watchlist with a breakdown of how I formulate my picks

I also went crazy and made a best films of the year list for every year from 2020 to 1982, the year I was born. I ranked 25 films for 2000 and later and 10 films for 1999 to 1982. I started fizzling out on my lists in the early 90s as I just haven’t seen most of the important films from those early years when I was a kid. I have all the lists on my blog here. Enjoy!


2022 Year In Review – Music Edition

February 21, 2023


Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

Top 10 Albums of 2022 (in alphabetical order)

1. Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (Rap)
2. JID – The Forever Story (Rap)
3. Saba – Few Good Things (Rap)
4. Conway the Machine – God Don’t Make Mistakes (Rap)
5. Black Thought & Danger Mouse – Cheat Codes (Rap)
6. Don Michael Jr – This is not music (Rap)
7. Pusha T – It’s Almost Dry (Rap)
8. Nas – King’s Disease III (Rap)
9. Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyez See Your Future (Rap)
10. SZA – SOS (R&B / Pop / Soul)

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order)

38 Spesh – Beyond Belief (Rap)
Big K.R.I.T. – Digital Roses Don’t Die (Rap)
Cal Scruby – CASINO (Rap)
Che Noir – Food For Thought (Rap)
Cormega – The Realness II (Rap)
Freddie Gibbs – $oul $old $eparately (Rap)
Joey Bada$$ – 2000 (Rap)
Little Simz – NO THANK YOU (Rap)
Lupe Fiasco – Drill Music in Zion (Rap)
Metro Boomin – HEROES & VILLAINS (Rap)
Ransom – No Rest For The Wicked (Rap)
Taylor Swift – Midnights (3am Edition) (Pop)
Toby Ganger – Free Machine (Rap / Pop)
The Weeknd – Dawn FM (Pop)
Westside Boogie – MORE BLACK SUPERHEROES (Rap)

Top 25 Most Played Albums of 2022

  1. Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers
  2. Saba – Few Good Things
  3. JID – The Forever Story
  4. Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyez See Your Future
  5. Big K.R.I.T. – Digital Roses Don’t Die
  6. The Weeknd – Dawn FM
  7. Taylor Swift – Midnights (3am Edition)
  9. SZA – SOS
  11. Westside Boogie – MORE BLACK SUPERHEROES
  12. Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak
  13. Nas – King’s Disease III
  14. Sir – Chasing Summer
  15. Che Noir – Food For Thought
  16. Joey Bada$$ – 2000
  17. Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
  18. Don Michael Jr – This is not music.
  19. Benny the Butcher – Tana Talk 4
  20. Conway the Machine – God Don’t Make Mistakes
  21. FKA twigs – CAPRISONGS
  22. Cordae – From a Birds Eye View
  23. Ransom – No Rest For The Wicked
  24. Logic – Vinyl Days
  25. Future – I NEVER LIKED YOU

The 50 Most Played Artists of 2022

  1. Kendrick Lamar
  2. Mariah Carey
  3. Nas
  4. Kanye West
  5. Che Noir
  6. Saba
  7. Denzel Curry
  8. The Weeknd
  9. JID
  10. Big K.R.I.T.
  11. Conway the Machine
  12. Ransom
  13. Taylor Swift
  14. SZA
  15. Vince Staples
  16. The Roots
  17. Sir
  18. Westside Boogie
  20. Joey Bada$$
  21. Lil Wayne
  22. Little Simz
  23. Benny the Butcher
  24. Cordae
  25. Don Michael Jr
  26. Dvsn
  27. James Blake
  28. Pusha T
  29. FKA twigs
  30. Adele
  31. Frank Ocean
  32. Logic
  33. Ludacris
  34. Brent Faiyaz
  35. Future
  36. Eminem
  37. Black Thought
  38. Marian Hill
  39. 38 Spesh
  40. Westside Gunn
  41. Elzhi
  42. KXNG Crooked & Joel Ortiz
  43. Musiq Soulchild
  44. Boldy James
  45. Cormega
  46. Rome Streetz
  47. Russ
  48. Freddie Gibbs
  49. Frankie Cosmos
  50. Lupe Fiasco

Top 50 Most Played Artists of All-Time (since like late summer 2020) [last year’s ranking in brackets]

  1. Nas [3]
  2. Kendrick Lamar [44]
  3. Kanye West [7]
  4. Benny the Bucher [2]
  5. Eminem [1]
  6. Mariah Carey [unranked]
  7. Conway the Machine [5]
  8. Black Thought / The Roots [12]
  9. JID / Spillage Village [unranked]
  10. Che Noir [14]
  11. J. Cole [4]
  12. Lil Wayne [6]
  13. Earthgang / Spillage Village [27]
  14. The Weeknd [42]
  15. Big K.R.I.T. [36]
  16. Mc Eiht [8]
  17. Ransom [32]
  18. Boldy James [15]
  19. Westside Gunn [18]
  20. Vince Staples [40]
  21. Toby Ganger [17]
  22. 38 Spesh [26]
  23. Scarface [9]
  24. SZA [unranked]
  25. Outkast / Big Boi [22]
  26. Isaiah Rashad [10]
  27. Denzel Curry [unranked]
  28. Saba [unranked]
  29. DMX [11]
  30. Drake [43]
  31. Elzhi [38]
  32. Taylor Swift [unranked]
  33. Logic [unranked]
  34. Sa-Roc [13]
  35. Lana Del Rey [16]
  36. Kool G Rap [20]
  37. Little Simz [unranked]
  38. Adele [unranked]
  39. Amine [21]
  40. Freddie Gibbs [49]
  41. Dave [19]
  42. Cordae [unranked]
  43. Westside Boogie [unranked]
  44. Mac Miller [28]
  45. Jadakiss / The Lox [23]
  46. Jessie Ware [37]
  47. MF Doom [25]
  48. Dua Lipa [24]
  49. Future [unranked]
  50. Joey Bada$$ [unranked]

Dropped Out: Dueling Experts / Recognize Ali [29], Ty Dolla $ign [30], The Notorious B.I.G. [31], Tyrone’s Jacket [33], KOTA the Friend [34], Berner [35], Busta Rhymes [39], Kid Cudi [41], Pop Smoke [45], Blu [46], Flip Huston [47], Mach-Hommy [48], and Brother Ali [50]

Bangerz Playlist Additions – Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020 Bangers Playlist
2021 Bangers Playlist


2022 Poker Results

January 3, 2023

Crazy. I was looking for my 2021 results post for reference and I couldn’t find it. Did I never post one? Sheesh. Just my 2021 WSOP results? I’ll be damned. I could spend some time talking about how 2022 was a transition year for me, but ya’ll already know that by now. Let’s just get into the numbers.

Live Cash Games

I played 1101.5 hours of live cash in 2022. My primary game was 3/5 no limit Hold’em, with roughly 55% of my live hours coming in that exact game. I played 15.6% of my hours in 1/3 NL games and 9.5% in 20/40 limit Hold’em. No other specific game accounted for even 4% of my live cash hours. Pre-pandemic – and for as long as I’ve been playing poker pretty much – I probably played 95% of my live hours in limit Hold’em games. In 2022, limit Hold’em accounted for 15% of my total cash game hours and no limit Hold’em took up 74% of my volume. It has been quite the shift. I’ve enjoyed the transition – especially financially – but I actually want to play more limit Hold’em in 2023.

Win Rates

3/5 NL: 16 big blinds per hour (7.52 bb/hr in 2021)
1/3 NL: -5.33 big blinds per hour (18.7 bb/hr in 2021)
20/40 LHE: 2.97 big bets per hour (1.45 BB/hr in 2021)

All no limit Hold’em: 9.86 big blinds per hour (14.81 bb/hr in 2021)
All limit Hold’em: 2.89 big bets per hour (1.3 BB/hr in 2021)
Non-Hold’em cash games: -$21.21 per hour** ($11.19/hr in 2021)

**Mixed games made up only 10% of my live cash hours and I’m not sure how to best express how well or bad I did. Overall, I lost money – and a decent amount. Some of the games had no limit or pot limit mixed in, so expressing my win rate in big bets isn’t super accurate. Basically, my year in live mix games can be summed up like this: I did well in home games; I did well in the 10/20 HORSE game when Little Creek was running that; I did poorly the few times I played 10/20 O8 at Palace; I got crushed over two sessions in a 30/60 mix game in Houston.

Top 5 Sessions

+$5808 at Fortune in 20/40 LHE
+$4390 at Bellagio in 40/80 LHE
+$2921 at Palace in 3/5 NL
+$2870 at Palace in 3/5 NL
+$2742 at Palace in 3/5 NL

Bottom 5 Sessions

-$3900 at private game in 5/10 NL
-$3329 at Palace in 3/5 NL
-$2675 at private game in 5/10 NL
-$2400 at Prime Social in 30/60 Mix
-$2324 at Palace in 3/5 NL
-$2215 at private game in 5/10 NL
-$2084 at Palace in 3/5 NL


-That 20/40 session at Fortune was not only my best session of the year, but it was also my second best cash game session of all-time.
-My pain threshold found new levels this year. I’d never lost more than $2300 in a single session before 2022 and then I went it did it five times just last year.
-I included more than 5 sessions for my bottom because three of those results were in private cash games that I’m staked in. While they technically count when looking at my overall performance, they don’t affect my bottom line nearly as much as sessions where I have 100% of myself.
-Ignoring the private game results, the -$2400 in the 30/60 Mix was a record worst loss for me at the time – and then I demolished that mark with the -$3329 in 3/5 @ Palace. Good times!

Live Tournaments

I played 330+ hours across 47 entries in live tournaments in 2022. I managed a mere 7 cashes for a paltry 14% rate of finishing in the money. I made trips to Houston, Vegas, Lincoln City, Sacramento, and Pendleton – and I only had one winning trip the whole year. But it was a big one. I took 1st of 388 entrants in the Lincoln City Main Event for around $52,000 – a career high tournament score. Thanks to that win I finished the year with over $66k in cashes versus $46k in entry fees and a 44% ROI for 2022. After never having a losing year of tournament poker in my life, I booked losses for 2019, 2020, and 2021, but managed to snap that cold streak this year. Sort of. Without my big win, I would have had BY FAR my worst year of tournament poker ever. Tournament poker is funny that way – one score can change EVERYTHING. Also, even though I ended up regretting it, not playing the $10K Main Event helped my end of year numbers, as bricking a tournament that is over 10x my average buy-in has a huge effect on my final numbers and is largely why I had a losing 2019 and 2021 in poker tournaments.

Top 5 Cashes

$50,174 1st of 388 at Chinook Winds in $600+$200 NLH Main Event
$4440 19th of 471 at WSOP in $1500 Stud 8 or Better
$3900 28th of 522 at WSOP in $1500 Limit Hold’em
$3700 8th of 269 at Wynn in $600 Omaha 8 or Better
$1525 30th of 407 at Wynn in $600 PLO Turbo

Career Numbers (since summer of 2013)

ROI: 55%
ROI (excluding WSOP Main Event): 83%
ROI at WSOP: 57%
ROI at WSOP (excluding Main Event): 122%
ROI in NLH: 100%
ROI in HORSE: 93%
ROI in O8: 38%
ROI in all other games: -33%
ROI in entries of $2500+: -63% (2 cashes/9 entries)

WSOP cashes: 20
Current GPI Ranking: 3526th
Washington All-Time Money List Ranking: 72nd

The Hand That Won Me $50k

It’s been over three months since I won the Main Event in Lincoln City, so this hand history might be a little fuzzy. But it was something like this: we were already pretty deep in the tournament – in the money already with maybe 3 to 5 tables left. I had heaps. Both my opponents in this hand had heaps. I think I started with something like 900k and they both had me covered. We were all well above average chip stacks. I think the blinds were 5k/10k with a 10k big blind ante and I was in the big blind with 77. Under the gun opened to 20k, the very next player called, and it folded to me and I defended the big blind.

The flop was 987 with two diamonds. Pretty nice. I check, the preflop raiser checks, and I believe the next guy bet 40k. This is obviously an extremely wet board. Our first instinct is to raise and be willing to put all the money in the pot. However, this board also absolutely smacks this player’s range as well. 99, 88, and JT suited are all hands I can see him flatting an under the gun open with from early position. He can also have some overpairs – like TT-QQ – some big diamond draws, and some straight draws. I end up deciding to check-call to keep things under control and see what develops on the turn. The preflop opener folds.

The turn card is perfect for our hand. It’s an offsuit four. None of the draws get there, but it also doesn’t really change the dynamic we had on the flop. I check and he bets 100k. I think about raising here also, but again elect to go with check-call.

The river pairs the four. What else could we want? Quads? I strongly consider leading out, but after giving it a lot of thought, I end up checking again. He bets 200k. It seems like I have an automatic jam here but the more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t come up with hands that he was likely to call with that I could beat. JT was about the only one. I thought my opponent was a sharp dude, so I didn’t think he would call a jam with hands like TT+. If he was blasting off with a busted draw he obviously wasn’t calling with those hands (and he probably wouldn’t bet this sizing on the river either). So if he’s only calling with JT suited, 99 and 88, that’s six combos of full houses and four combos of straights. I shouldn’t have to do that math for anyone to know that jamming would be bad in this scenario. I didn’t see the merit in going all in and finally said, “this is probably a mega nit roll but…” and put out the calling chips. He turned over 99 for the nut full house and I continued on with a stack that was still well above average.

I’ve talked about this hand a lot with my friends and I still can’t explain exactly why I played it the way I did. Sometimes your instincts are going off for a reason. I’ve learned that not trusting my instincts is usually to my own detriment and trusting them in this exact spot absolutely saved my tournament life and allowed me to go on to make the biggest tourney score of my life.

From 8-1 Underdog to Champion

Sometimes when I go really deep in tournaments, I start fantasizing about winning the whole thing, particularly in bracelet events, but during this Chinook Winds Main Event run, the thought never really crossed my mind until the first big pot I won during heads up (although I did have a brief moment after that 77 vs 99 hand where I wondered if destiny was calling). The guy I was playing against was applying tons of pressure at the final table and doing most of the heavy lifting. I was basically just sitting there watching everyone else get bullied and knocked out by him, so when I did make it to heads up play, he had a MASSIVE chip lead and I was rather content that I was probably going to finish 2nd.

And then he opened his button and I defended with the 98 offsuit. The flop was 822 and I checked it to him. I can’t remember blinds or stack sizes but he made a c-bet and I decided to jam on him since a pair of 8s wasn’t exactly the kind of hand I was looking to check-call down with on the majority of runouts. He snap-called and I figured I was drawing to two outs. I rolled my hand and he was immediately disappointed because he thought I had him outkicked. But then he turned over his hand and was even more disappointed: he had 75 offsuit. In a stunning development, he turned zero equity and I quickly had a full double with a mediocre pair with a mediocre kicker and absolutely no sweat.

A few hands later, he raised his button and I defended with the 86 offsuit. The flop was pretty solid: T97. I checked, he bet 200k, and I raised it to 650k, he called. The turn was an unfortunate 6 and I decided to check it over to my guy since he had shown a tendency to attack weakness and overbluff. He obliged with a bet and I merely called. The river was a blank and I again checked it over to him and he didn’t disappoint by jamming for several times the size of the pot. I didn’t play my hand this way to fold to this kind of player, so I snap called and all he could produce was K3. We were pretty close in chip count at his point, but when the dust settled, we realized I had him covered and that was it. My biggest tournament win of all-time.

A Note About Volume

Altogether I played 1432 hours of live poker in 2022. That number is up from 1206 hours in 2021, but I only played 13 hours outside home games during the first three months of 2021. The rest of that year, I played an average of 123 hours a month. In 2022, I only averaged 119 hours a month. Somehow I went from being married to not being married and played less poker. Huh.

I addressed this problem of mine in a previous blog and I made a bet with a couple friends that I could play 320 hours of live poker over the last two months of 2022. It was a lock. I had trips to Pendleton and Vegas planned. And I still fell almost 30 hours short. Amazing. Granted, we didn’t bet enough for me to care about losing, but damn! That’s embarrassing! I think a reasonable goal for 2023 is to play 1600+ hours. That’s about 30 hours a week and since I plan on studying WAY more in 2023 and that number still represents a 15% increase in volume, it feels like a fair challenge.

2023 Goals

-Play more limit Hold’em at 20/40+ stakes

-Maintain my win rate at 3/5 locally

-Get out of makeup with my cash game backer

-Show a profit at 5/10+ NL

-Travel somewhere I’ve never been before

-Play more live mix games

-Play more live NLH tournaments

-Play WSOP Main Event

-Play 1600+ hours on the live felt

-Study at least 2 hours a week

-Teach my girlfriend how to play and get her in 4/8 games by spring

-Have my best year ever in poker

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my results in 2022. I wish I would have played more. I wish I played the Main Event. My cash game results were great and my tourney win added some nice cushion to my bankroll. After three mediocre years, I’m back to the level of success I enjoyed from 2016 to 2018. I fully expect 2023 to be my best year yet.


Hands of the Week: November 2022 Week 1

November 5, 2022

I’m not sure if this is going to be a thing, but I like the idea of it and I thought my blog was more fun when I was creating characters via nicknames and posting humorous hand histories. Plus, I think it’s good for me to write on a near daily basis and typing out my critical hands from each session is a good way to keep that muscle strong. Will I do it though? Who knows. I generally have 2-3 hours from the time I get home from the gym in the morning until the time I start getting ready to play poker for the day. I have other things I like to do during those hours, but fitting in 30-45 minutes of writing should be doable. We’ll see, I guess.

Before I delve into my most notable pots of the week, I need to announce an important milestone I achieved last month. For years, I had a pain threshold of about -$2000 for any given session. I’ve been playing 15/30+ and 3/5 PLO regularly since at least 2017 and until this year the biggest loss I’d ever taken in a single session was -$2300. That is absurd. Actually, it’s embarrassing. For whatever reason, my brain would start to malfunction around -$2k and if I couldn’t immediately right the ship, I basically always decided to quit. I’ve mentioned this before, but this year things have changed. I had a 40/80 session in Vegas where I was stuck over $4k before making a big enough comeback to not set a new loss record. I’ve been stuck more than $2300 on multiple occasions in 2022, but pretty much always worked my way out of it. Back in March when I was in Houston playing a 30/60 Mix game, I finally set a new career bottom of -$2400. So I’ve been pushing myself further and further this year and not losing my composure when I find myself stuck heaps. And it finally happened. I annihilated my previous worst loss with a -$3329 3/5 NL session at Palace last month. And it felt kind of good. Well, not really. I was having a losing month all of October and finally booked a huge win on the 22nd to get me in the green for the first time in October, but I followed that up with this massive loss in my very next session and ended up having my second losing month of 2022. I lost $235 playing 1/3 NL on that same day so in total my single-day cash game loss record is now -$3564. Good times.

I have one more amusing anecdote before I get to the hands. I have a sickness. I absolutely love torturing 4/8 limit players while I wait for a seat in whatever game I’m planning to play for the day. I play hyper-aggressive and for some reason the testosterone and emotional levels are heightened at the 4/8 level – a lot of people at these stakes get their feelings hurt when they lose, especially to someone playing in a manner they don’t approve of. I’m probably a bully for feeling this way, but I enjoy being the person getting them riled up. And it’s not like I’m in there giving my chips away. I play super laggro preflop, but after the flop, I’m cutting throats. I know what’s going on. I generally always know what they have and they never know what I have. I know who is playing with their emotions and who is basically never bluffing no matter how much of a maniac they think I am. I find it incredibly fun and I’m always a tad disappointed when I get called for my real game. People love to say that 4/8 is unbeatable – especially in this day and age where $8 to $9 out of every pot goes to rake, PSJ and tips – but a seasoned mid-to-high stakes limit vet should have a massive skill edge and it should be enough to overcome those immense odds. I started playing for a living in October 2016 and since then I’ve logged 265 hours in 4/8 LHE while waiting for something else and I’ve won over 2 big bets an hour in those games. Yes, I know that’s a very small sample size – less than two months of full-time play spread out over 6+ years – but I think it’s harder to win over a bunch of micro sessions than it would be to win while playing long sessions. I dunno… I just find a lot of joy in mauling small stakes players for 30 minutes or so and then being like, “see ya later!” I think what I’m trying to say is… I HAVE PROBLEMS.

I am a white chip master

Tuesday, November 1st – 3/5 @ Palace

This is what 1/3 NL games are like at Palace. Someone limps, someone else makes it $15, a third player calls and I make it $70 on the button with AQo. The first limper and the original raiser both call. The first limper has nearly half his stack in the pot now. The flop is JJ4 and the limper jams for $125 or so and the other player snap calls. I snap fold. They show KK and… KK. So to recap, the preflop action was uncapped. I put in the last raise with AQ and two players with KK decided to just call instead of jamming on me. What could go wrong?

Apparently there’s a new player in town flexing his bankroll on anyone that cares to listen. He’s rich. He has all the money. He gives no fucks. Etc, etc. Legend has it he played so aggressive and ran so pure that he built up a 7k stack in 1/3 one night. Hard to believe, but it’s what I heard. Well not before I saw this dude for the first time. He sat down in my 1/3 game and immediately started throwing chips around and making absurd bets. He came over to 3/5 when the second game started and the first hand he got dealt he made it $100 under the gun and showed KQ suited when no one called his raise. I was obviously looking to play a big one with this dude and I wasn’t planning on folding a good hand, so when I looked down at QQ during the second orbit, I made it $25 on his big blind (a little extra to make sure all future bets were bigger) and he didn’t let me down by making it $100. QQ might as well be AA against this guy, so I made it $400 which capped the preflop betting and of course he tried to put his whole stack in. I told him the betting was capped preflop but he could bet another $300 dark for the flop, so he did that and I raised that and we ended up getting it all in. The board ran out a bunch of middle cards that ended up making a one card straight so I figured I was going to end up losing this pot a lot, but the Poker Gods gave this maniac AA anyway and I shipped him over $1000 on the first hand I played. As he was raking in my entire stack he asked me if I tipped the dealer and I somehow hit him with a playful “you didn’t see me do it?” as I was having visions of the building collapsing down on him. Then this dude proceeded to play almost zero hands over the next hour and eventually moved down to 1/3. Da fuq?

The hi-jack opens to $20, someone calls on the button, and I make it $130 from the small blind with two kings. Only the button calls and we see a flop of AKT with two clubs. This is the kind of board I’m trying to get stacks in on so I bet $200, he obliges by making it $500 and we end up getting it in for his whole stack of $650 or so. He snap rolls QJ and before I can even digest my terrible luck, the dealer burns and turns a ten and I end up winning a big pot.

How to play AK 101: some dude raises to $25 after a limper, I make it $120 from the small blind with JJ and this dude folds AK face up. I give him some shit for being such a wimp.

Literally two hands later, two players limp in, I make it $30 with AK, the second limper re-pops it to $230, I make it $530 and we get the $150 he has left in on the flop and he ends up winning with 99 unimproved. I look at the dude from the previous hand and say, “THAT’S HOW YOU PLAY ACE KING.”

I open $20 under the gun with AsQx and the whole table calls. That means eight of us see the Q86 two spade flop and while that is certainly an above average flop for me, I send it around to see what seven other players have to say about it first. It checks to a later position we have nicknamed Lambo on account of the fact that he drives a Lamborghini to play poker and he goes all in for $130. Part-Time was in the big blind and he makes it $330. I’m not in love with this development but I think my hand is too good to even think about folding and Part-Time has a pretty clear isolation raise here with any above average showdown hand. I call his raise and everyone else folds. The turn is the jack of spades and when Part-Time checks to me, I put the pressure on with a max bet of $300. I don’t necessarily think I have the best hand here but I do have the nut spade blocker and the nut flush draw – not to mention top pair top kicker – and Part-Time is capable of folding two pair here. He does fold and I make aces up on the river and that’s a better hand than Lambo is able to produce.

Session Results: -$126 in 1/3; +$1389 in 3/5

Wednesday, November 2nd – 1/3, 3/5, and 10/20 O8 @ Palace

This felt like a waste of a day. A day after having two full 3/5 games with a list, the lone 3/5 game on Wednesday was dead by 6 PM. I had a mediocre 3/5 session before transferring to 10/20 O8 which seemed like a reasonable idea since I’m playing an O8 tourney this week in Pendleton. I played bad and ran bad and then the game got short and I was still incapable of showing down a piece of any pot. I like to experiment with a loose-aggressive style as I’m sure it’s the best way to accumulate chips in this variant but I find that my O8 hand reading skills aren’t good enough yet to get away with it. I’ve also discovered that limit O8 might be the least stimulating game for me these days. The pace is mega slow, the pots are almost always split, and I feel like I have to be a nut-peddler to win in it. That shit is BORING and I’m not good enough yet to play a more exciting style. I decided to play 1/3 when the feeder game broke rather than move to the main game. I was pretty tuned out for the night and didn’t note any hands there either and ended up calling it at the very early time of 10:30 PM.

Session Results: +$268 in 3/5; -$499 in O8; -$238 in 1/3

Thursday, November 3rd – 20/40 @ Fortune

Because I spend the vast majority of my live cash game hours playing no limit these days, I basically always play 20/40 limit Hold’em when I go to Fortune. My hourly in that game is less than it is in 3/5 and Fortune almost always has amazing game selection with 3+ tables of 3/5 going on a regular basis, but I ENJOY playing limit. I find the pace of play refreshing and I feel almost zero stress playing it, plus I think it’s important that I keep those skills sharp since I play so many limit mixed tournaments.

I only noted a few hands from this session. In the first one, Patton (fka FanBoy) – as in this brow looks so much like Patton Oswalt that someone stopped him at the WSOP last year and said, “Patton?” – opens from the cutoff and I 3-bet the ATcc from the small blind. Patton flats and we see a flop of A96. I bet and Patton calls. My alarm bells are going off. I know he has a stronger hand than me. I’m not sure how, but I know he’s raising me on the turn. We see a 5 and I check-call. The river is a beautiful offsuit ten and now I feel confident putting in a check-raise… that is, until he says, “if you got it you got it,” and 3-bets me. I can fold here. He’s not 3-betting A9 and he’s not bluffing. But I didn’t think about any of that in the moment and snap called to see a set of aces. SHOCK.

Let’s try that again: Patton opens from the cutoff and I 3-bet AQ from the small blind and he flats. The flop is AQx and he calls my flop bet. The turn is an ace, giving me the nuts and he calls again. The river is a 7 and he finally springs to life with a raise. God bless him. I 3-bet and Patton calls with what he says was AK. My hand ends up holding for the second high hand.

I open with AK and see a 3-way flop of A96 with two hearts. It checks to me, I bet, and Bulletproof check-raises me from the big blind. I re-raise and he calls. The turn pairs the ace and he check-raises me again. I feel like this would be an overplay from anything worse than AQ, so I give him credit for maybe having a boat and just call. The river is the 3 of hearts and I call his bet and he shocks my face off by showing me K8 of hearts for a rivered flush. Patton is sitting next to me and I show him my hand and say, “what is going on here?” Bulletproof sees my hand and asks why I didn’t re-raise the turn and I’m like, “Brow, I didn’t know I was in a leveling war.”

This was a frustrating session. The games were mega juiced and I was immediately stuck over $1000. I bottomed out at -$1500 and clawed back all the way to a little bit of sugar before going on another big downswing as my night was nearing its close and I felt nauseous having to leave such a good game.

Session Results: -$178 in 3/5/; -$975 in 20/40

Thursday, November 4th – 3/5 @ Palace

My first key pot of this session I decided to 3-bet an under the gun raiser with the QJ offsuit on the button because he looked like someone I could bully. He called and we saw a flop of 953 rainbow. He checks and the dealer immediately tries to burn and turn even though I haven’t done anything yet. I stop her, but the burn is already off and she leaves it there. Shock. What could go wrong with that? I end up betting $60 and get called. Of course she tries to burn and turn again. I stop her and tell her the burn is already off and save the hand for the second time. She turns over the correct card, a ten, and now my opponent donks $125 into me. The turn did open up a heart draw, but I’m not sure what’s going on here. This is a weird line no matter what he has, and I’m starting to think this isn’t a player I want to be bluffing, so I just call and try to realize my equity. 8x on the river. BINK. He disappoints me with a check and I figure I’m not going to get called here, but I max bet anyways and he pays it off relatively quickly. I give the dealer a little bit of shit about needing that board to come out exactly the way it was supposed to.

I’m struggling to get anything going for a while after that and I’ve been doing a ton of check folding on the flop after being the preflight aggressor. A couple players limp in and I jack it up to $30 with T8 of spades and two players call, including the big blind. The flop is K86 with two spades and I decide this is a good board to check-raise since everyone has been so bet happy when I check after raising preflop. The big blind obliges with a $50 bet and the limper calls. I make it $175 to go and they both call. Welp, I guess I’m gonna need to make something. The turn is helpful, but not great: an offsuit 9. I could certainly bomb it here and maybe I should. I don’t expect to get raised on that card very often and my hand can stand a raise anyway. I decide to check though and the big blind bets $200. We both call. The river is an offsuit ace and I check-fold to a $300 bet and the big blind ends up showing AK.

I raise to $30 with KTo and get some callers. The flop is Q9x and I c-bet $30 and one player calls out of position. I turn pure with an offsuit jack and my opponent continues with the pleasant surprises by leading into me for $100. I make it $400 and he calls. The river is an action-killing ten, but that doesn’t stop him from giving me another $300 even though it looked like he knew he had no business calling. At this point, I’ve gone from being down $800 or so in this session to being up about $1000.

I raise some limpers with two red tens and get two callers. The flop comes K82 with two diamonds and this is a spot that I’ll check back a decent amount of time, but I decide to go with a small sizing of $30 and Hit&Run (a nickname that has aged somewhat poorly IMO) makes it $125 from the big blind. I give some thought to folding here, but I know he’s capable of raising with diamonds and possibly even middle pair, so I take a card off to see what happens on the turn. I do have the ten of diamonds and that blocks some of his bluffs, but it also gives me some equity against his kings when the turn card is a diamond. Instead, I turn a set and we know that’s the absolute nuts. He bets $200 and I make it $500. He says something about how good my kicker is and this makes me rather convinced that he has a king. He ends up calling and then bets $300 with like $75 behind when the river comes the jack of clubs. I snap-raise the rest of his stack and he puts the call in and rolls over Q9 of diamonds for one of the more shocking showdown losses I’ve seen in quite some time. I just never, ever thought I’m losing on this run out.

I’m playing later than usual and I’m pretty shell shocked from that last hand. I thought I was going to be up several thousand and here I am nearing the end of my session close to even again. Someone opens to $20, there’s a call or two, and I call on the button with J9 of clubs. The flop is K92 with two diamonds and one club. It checks to the guy on my right and he makes a small bet of $20. I decide to take charge of this hand and make it $80. That clears everyone else and he calls. The turn is the deuce of clubs, so I pick up a flush draw. He checks to me and I make a blocker size bet of $50 rather than checking behind. I don’t think I’m getting raised very often and I want to put a little more money in vs diamond draws, plus I feel like I’m setting a cheap showdown price if I ended up bricking the river rather than checking back and letting him decide how much to bet on the river. The river is a glorious 6 of clubs and I go for a chunky $250 and he ends up calling it off. I roll my hand like it’s the nuts and on in horror after I table the J9 of fucking spades. Unfortunately, his bluff-catcher is the K3 of hearts and I end up losing another pot that I thought I’m never ever losing. Can’t remember the last time I forgot what I had like that.

Session Results: +$150 in 1/3; +$429 in 3/5

Sigh. That’s a lot of writing. The only way this continues being a thing is if I’m able to write about each session after it happens and not try to do it all at once like I just did. Hope y’all enjoy!


The Biggest Leak In My Poker Game (and other “fun” stats)

October 21, 2022
Team Torch adds a famous member

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – not about what my biggest leak is but about the thing I’ve come to realize is my biggest leak. It’s something that has come up over and over and over again throughout my poker career. I keep trying to come up with ways to fix it and it just never happens. And the funny thing about this massive leak? It wasn’t a problem when I had a day job. And it makes zero sense why that is the case.

I have a feeling this might come across a tad arrogant, but it’s the truth. Nothing else I do costs me more money than this one particular leak. I know I don’t play perfect poker. I have other issues that need to be addressed and would certainly improve my win rate. Paying attention and staying focused while I’m playing is a huge one. I’m legit terrible at that. But it’s not as damaging to my bottom line as what I’m about to share. Neither are any consistent technical mistakes I make while playing. Without a doubt, the number one biggest leak in my game, that unquestionably costs me more money than anything else… is… DRUMROLL… not playing enough poker.

I’ve been using the session tracker on my phone since July of 2014, which means I have over 8 years of poker data to filter through. I created a spreadsheet that has every month since then and how many hours I’ve played in each month. That’s 98 months since I started tracking, but I only played two full months in 2020 because of Covid and I missed the first three months of 2021 for the same reason. So that’s 85 months of potentially full-time play since I started using this particular session tracker. As a full-time poker player, there is no reason for me not to be playing 40 hours a week or 160 hours a month. Sure, things will come up here and there, but at the end of the month, I should typically be very close to that 160 number if I’m doing my job as often as I should be. So in those 85 months, how many times have I actually hit that 160 hour threshold? Answer: 14. That means that 83% of the time, I fail to hit my 160 hours. It’s also worth noting that 5 of the 14 times I did reach 160 hours, it was because I was playing in The World Series of Poker. So in the 79 non-WSOP non-Covid months, I’ve hit 160+ hours less than 11% of the time. Absolutely pathetic.

Here’s a breakdown of my average monthly volume by year:

2014: 71 hours/month
2015: 124
2016: 132 (went pro in October)
2017: 144
2018: 152
2019: 142
2020: 114 (January and February only)
2021: 124 (April through December)
2022: 115 (through September)

As you can see, that’s a considerable number of hours I’m missing out on. Even in the year I played the most poker (2018), I was coming up an average of 8 hours short each month – or basically taking an extra day off a month. In 2018, I was making $62.54 an hour in cash games. So in the year I played the most poker since I’ve gone pro, I still left over $6000 on the table. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve shorted myself an average of 45 hours a month in 2022. I’m making $79/hour at 3/5 NL this year, so if I put in all those extra hours at 3/5 and ran at my 2022 hourly over that span, I’ve cost myself ***wait for it*** $32,000!!! Just this year. Absolutely sickening stuff. I’m not going to do the math on all those other years, but I’m sure it’s plenty disturbing. It wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve cost myself around $100,000 since 2016 just by not playing as much as I should be.

I don’t know why this is so hard for me. But it’s extremely hard. It’s not like I hit 50 hours here and there but then come up short in some other week. I never hit 40 hours in a week. Ever. Unless I’m out of town. If I go somewhere for a tournament series, I am definitely capable of hitting my goal. But otherwise? Naw. Never happens. If you look at my numbers for the last three years, I might not even be averaging 30 hours a week over that span. Pathetic.

I’m not sure what the best solution is. I probably have to force myself to work five days a week. Most of my sessions are 8+ hours. I’m consistent with that at least. If I play five days, hitting 40 hours should be easy. If I take three days off, I have to average 10 hours a session and that’s pretty dicey. I basically never step foot in a casino to play cash games before 4 PM and I generally like to quit by 1 AM so I can stay motivated to hit the gym in the mornings. So most days I’m gonna play less than 9 hours. In all likelihood, if I’m going to consistently hit 40 hours a week, I need to be playing at least five sessions.

Ideally, I’d like to try my hardest to hit 320 hours over the last two months of this year. That might be a tall ask with Thanksgiving, my girl’s birthday, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve all occurring during that span, but I’m gonna do it, dammit. It’s already too late for October, unless I just go marathon monster mode and I know that’s not going to happen. Next year, I’d like to get my volume back up to at least 150 hours a month. Those are my goals.

But yeah, not playing enough poker has to be my biggest leak as a player. I don’t play mistake-free poker. There’s plenty still to learn. I don’t pay nearly enough attention. But I doubt there’s anything one thing I consistently do that has cost me tens of thousands of dollars like not putting my volume in has.

Since I’m in the mood for digging into stats and looking at my tracker, I might as well post some other interesting numbers.

Lifetime Tournament Numbers:

ROI in live No Limit Hold’em Tournaments: 112% (180 tourneys)

ROI in live NLH Tourneys (excluding Main Event): 224% (177)

ROI in live Omaha 8 or Better Tournaments: 34% (30)

ROI in live HORSE Tournaments: 111% (36)

ROI in live non-NLH, non-O8, non-HORSE Tournaments: -31% (51)

ROI on ACR: -3% (1617)

ROI on Bovada: -46% (98)

ROI on Ignition: -12% (332)

ROI on Global Poker: 41% (628)

ROI on WSOP.com: 110% (14)

2022 Cash Game Numbers:

2022 3/5 hourly: $78.27

2022 1/3 hourly: -$21.84

2022 20/40 hourly: $70.77


September 2022 – Music Edition

October 9, 2022


JID – The Forever Story

Top 20 Most Played Albums of August 2022 (bold indicates new album in August)

  1. JID – The Forever Story (2022)
  2. Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert (2021)
  3. Toby Ganger – Free Machine (Unreleased)
  4. Meechy Darko – Gothic Luxury (2022)
  5. Black Thought – Cheat Codes (2022)
  6. Ari Lennox – age/sex/location (2022)
  7. GZA – Liquid Swords (1995)
  8. Westside Boogie – More Black Superheroes (2022)
  9. Joey Bada$$ – 2000 (2022)
  10. Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers (2022)
  11. Roc Marciano – The Elephant Man’s Bones (2022)
  12. Fleetwood Mac – Tusk (1979)
  13. Grynch – Born in ‘86 (2022)
  14. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)
  15. Sade – The Ultimate Collection (2011)
  16. Nas – Magic (2021)
  17. 38 Spesh – 7 Shots (2022)
  18. DJ Khaled – GOD DID (2022)
  19. Freddie Gibbs – $oul $old $eparately (2022)
  20. OutKast – Aquemini (1998)

Comments: JID dropped an album of the year contender in August – easily one of the most enjoyable albums of 2022. In light of a weak new release schedule in September, I’m going to keep it as my album of the month. I spent a lot more time with Little Simz’ album from last year. When 2021 closed, I marked it as one of my honorable mentions, but now I’d put it squarely in my top 5 of 2021. It’s an amazing album. I spent some time with some older albums, most notably with Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. I should probably do more easy listening when I’m playing poker. Rap music tends to steal my focus more than other genres do. Ari Lennox and 38 Spesh were the only notable artists I listen to that dropped new music last month and honestly both of those projects underwhelmed me. Freddie Gibbs dropped on the last day of the month, so I didn’t get to listen to much of it before typing this list out.

Finally, I added a page for 2022 Albums that I’ve ranked in my rating system and have a pretty good feel for, so check that out.

The 25 Most Played Artists of 2022

  1. Kendrick Lamar
  2. Mariah Carey
  3. Kanye West
  4. Black Thought / The Roots
  5. Saba
  6. The Weeknd
  7. Big K.R.I.T.
  8. Che Noir
  9. Conway the Machine
  10. Denzel Curry
  11. Vince Staples
  12. Sir
  14. Lil Wayne
  15. Benny The Butcher
  16. Nas
  17. Ransom
  18. Don Michael Jr
  19. Cordae
  20. Little Simz
  21. JID
  22. James Blake
  23. Pusha T
  24. Adele
  25. Frank Ocean

Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020s Bangers Playlist
September 2022 Additions:

Logic (feat. Russ), “Therapy Music”
Meechy Darko (feat. Denzel Curry & Busta Rhymes), “Lost Souls”
WESTSIDE BOOGIE (feat. Smino & Teezo Touchdown), “CAN’T GET OVER YOU”


2022 World Series of Poker Trip Report

October 2, 2022

At this point, I’ve lost all interest in writing a detailed trip report about my 2022 World Series of Poker experience. I’ll try to keep this somewhat brief. All in all, it was a pretty massive disappointment. I thought I was primed for a breakout in 2022 – for whatever reason, it just felt like the year I was going to do big things to me (and I guess there’s still time for that to be true). There was no real meat to that thought – it was just a feeling. Alas, it wasn’t a good intuition! Below is a day-by-day schedule of what and how I did at the 2022 World Series of Poker:

6/1 $1500 Dealer’s Choice – Busted 20 minutes before bagging Day 1
6/2 $500 Housewarming NLHE – Mincash 8 hours in on Day 1
6/3 $1500 Omaha 8 or Better – Busted 6.5 hours in on Day 1
6/4 $1500 7 Card Stud High – Busted 6.5 hours in on Day 1
6/5 $240 HORSE @ Southpoint – Busted 6.5 hours in on Day 1
6/6 & 6/7 – $1500 Limit Hold’em – Finished 28th late on Day 2 for $3900
6/8 – $2500 Mixed Triple Draw – Busted 4 hours in on Day 1
6/9 & 6/10 – $1500 2-7 Triple Draw – Busted 30 minutes in on Day 2
6/11 – Covid
6/12 – Covid
6/13 – Covid
6/14 – Covid
6/15 – $1500 HORSE – Busted 9 hours in on Day 1
6/16 & 6/17 – $1500 Stud 8 or Better – Finished 19th late on Day 2 for $4440
6/18 – $1500 Millionairemaker NLHE – Busted two bullets 8 hours in on Day 1
6/19 – $800 HORSE @ MGM – Busted 11.5 hours in late on Day 1
6/20 – Day Off
6/21 – Lost $240 in 4.5 hours of cash games
6/22 – $1500 8-Game Mix – Busted two bullets 90 mins before bagging Day 1
6/23 to 6/30 – Came home for a week
7/1 – $3000 8-Game Mix @ Wynn – Busted two hours in on Day 1 (lol)
and then won $1820 in 6.5 hours of 20/40 LHE @ Bellagio
7/2 – $1000 $1 Million Mystery Bounty NLHE – Busted 5 hours in on Day 1

I didn’t go in to this WSOP nearly as prepared as I was hoping to be. In fact, I basically went in ice cold. I hadn’t been studying. I hadn’t been playing any mix games. My mental game was in shambles (not that I knew it yet). Shoot, I had been struggling to even play 60% of my hours. As many of you know now, I got divorced earlier this year and my personal life was my main focus and top priority this spring. By the time June rolled around, I was seeing someone new and spending all my time building that relationship and thoroughly enjoying the honeymoon phase with her. In fact, I was dreading the thought of being away from her for six straight weeks. She did come to visit one weekend, but I ended up giving her Covid and she missed out on multiple modeling jobs because of it and said she wasn’t coming back to Vegas again. I ultimately ended up home for a week in the middle of the WSOP because I was missing her and also because my mental game was struggling after a week of tossing up nothing but bricks.

Some notes about the 2022 WSOP:

  • I did cash the $500 Housewarming event, but it was a noteworthy event for another reason: Jared Kingery of Tacoma, WA ended up taking 2nd in it for a mammoth $433k score. I didn’t know Jared when this happened, but I heard that someone that played at Palace took 2nd in this tournament. I’ve been playing with him over the past month and I’m a big fan. He has a solid, friendly table presence, he’s funny, he gambles, and he’s humble. I’ve played with him like three times now and he’s never once brought up this score at the tables. I have a lot of respect for that level of humility. Congrats Jared and keep it up! (Note: Since I first started writing this post, Jared has found his way into our Team Torch chat group).
  • I already talked about my deep run in the $1500 Limit Hold’em and how cool it was to go that far with one of my best friends… but another local buddy of ours and long time pro Lee Markholt also was alive with Team Torch and ended up making the final table. Just an all around great experience and probably the highlight of my Series.
  • I started Day 2 of the $1500 2-7 Triple Draw tournament with a well above average stack and a very good chance of cashing. I also very likely woke up with Covid. I was feeling like shit before Day 2 started but that wasn’t going to stop me from trying to make a run in that event. Sorry not sorry. The Poker Gods wanted me to rest up however, as I had a bunch of really good starting hands and zero winners at showdown and ended up busting Day 2 in a shockingly short amount of time. And I wasn’t even that mad about it. Joker went mega deep in this though… for the second straight Series, he made the final table. Last time he took 2nd, this time he took 7th. Wait, a deuce and a seven? Huh.
  • Covid wasn’t that bad for me. I had one day where I felt terrible and maybe 3-4 days where I didn’t feel good, but my symptoms were pretty mild overall. My girl landed in Vegas before Day 2 of the 2-7 started and we ended up spending the weekend quarantined in my Airbnb. Obviously she ended up testing positive herself and it cost her quite a bit of money and any desire of wanting to visit me again.
  • The $1500 Stud 8 tournament was a blast. There’s nothing better than going deep in WSOP events. I was running pretty good to start Day 2 and I even had the chip lead with only 55 players left. You can start dreaming of winning bracelets when that happens. I’ve long considered Stud 8 one of my worst games so winning my first bracelet in this variant would be all the more sweet. Alas, I lost my momentum and had to settle for a 19th place finish.
  • I bricked everything for a week, my girl wasn’t coming back to Vegas, and I was kind of over poker at that point. I decided to fly home in the middle of the Series and take a week off. My head just wasn’t in it and I was starting to let variance overwhelm me.
  • I flew back to Vegas to play the $3k 8-Game at Wynn, the WSOP Million Dollar Mystery Bounty, and the Main Event. I ended up running mega salty in the $3k 8-Game, busting the tournament in less than 2 hours, and with less than 50 entrants in the event, I couldn’t justify rebuying – not that I was in the mood to anyway. I got off to a good start in the Mystery Bounty tournament and was prepared to fire up to four bullets in it, but I lost a well above average stack midway through the day in a matter of a few hands and I was in complete shock. And I was mad. I can’t lie. I was mad. At the bad luck I was having. At my results. And at myself for being mad about things that are out of my control. I decided to call it a Series and skipped the $10k Main Event. I only had 30% of myself, but I was fresh off my second worst losing month of all-time and didn’t want to torch another $3k when my mental state was this weak. I thought about coming back to play the $3k HORSE, but I didn’t do that either.

Final 2022 WSOP Stats
Tournaments Played: 15
Cashes: 3
Total Buy-Ins: $24,540
Total Cashes: $9,141
Won/Loss: -$15,399
Hours: 135
Cash Games: +$1580
Hours: 11
WSOP.Com: -$621.75
Hours: 2.5 (lol)

Real Life: Joker and Dark Knight seated next to each other deep in a WSOP event
Team Torch right next to each other again
Someone came to visit
Joker’s second straight $1500 2-7 Triple Draw final table
A decent stack for once
Running deep with Scott Lake in Stud 8
Back to action post-Covid smh
Home again!

May – July 2022 – Music Edition

August 2, 2022


Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

Top 40 Most Played Albums of May/June/July 2022 (bold indicates new album in May or June or July)

  1. Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (2022)
  2. Ransom – No Rest For The Wicked (2022)
  3. Future – I Never Liked You (2022)
  4. Big K.R.I.T. – Digital Roses Don’t Die (2022)
  5. Apollo Brown – This Must Be The Place (2022)
  6. Westside Boogie – More Black Superheroes (2022)
  7. Logic – Vinyl Days (2022)
  8. D’Angelo – Brown Sugar (1995)
  9. Pusha T – It’s Almost Dry (2022)
  10. Marian Hill – why can’t we just pretend? (2022)
  11. Don Michael Jr. – This Is Not Music. (2022)
  12. Vince Staples – Ramona Park Broke My Heart (2022)
  13. Benny the Butcher – Tana Talk 4 (2022)
  14. Brent Faiyaz – Wasteland (2022)
  15. Lupe Fiasco – DRILL MUSIC IN ZION (2022)
  16. The Weeknd – Dawn FM (2022)
  17. EARTHGANG – Ghetto Gods (2022)
  18. Harry Styles – Harry’s House (2022)
  19. Saba – Few Good Things (2022)
  20. Russ – CHOMP 2 (2021)
  21. Elzhi – Zhigeist (2022)
  22. IDK – Simple. (2022)
  23. Conway the Machine – God Don’t Make Mistakes (2022)
  24. Grynch – Anthology (2022)
  25. Big Boi & Sleepy Brown – Big Sleepover (2022)
  26. Buddy – Superghetto (2022)
  27. Cordae – From a Birds Eye View (2022)
  28. Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyez See Your Future (2022)
  29. Joey Badass – 2000 (2022)
  30. Post Malone – Twelve Carat Toothache (2022)

Comments: Been a while since I’ve done a music update. I didn’t listen to a ton of music while I was in Vegas for the World Series of Poker and I’ve listened to almost no older music in the past three months. It’s worth noting that I listened to Kendrick’s new album more than three times as much as Ransom’s album over this time period – that’s how far in first place Kendrick is. He’s just a different breed and my fandom for his music is really levels above any other artist. I think a lot of people were initially let down by Mr. Morale after having to wait for five years, but I think it’s nothing short of sensational and it has grown on me a ton since those first few listens. If you just gave it a couple spins and set it aside, you made a mistake. As for other new albums, Westside Boogie is just a great songwriter. He doesn’t really wow me in any way but he consistently makes songs that I like a lot. Lupe dropped another good album and continues to show that lyrically and vocally he’s just on a different level than 99% of rappers. Joey Badass also returned after a long absence and dropped another very good album that I’m still settling into.

Finally, I added a page for 2022 Albums that I’ve ranked in my rating system and have a pretty good feel for, so check that out.

The 30 Most Played Artists of 2022

  1. Mariah Carey
  2. Kendrick Lamar
  3. Kanye West
  4. Saba
  5. The Weeknd
  6. Che Noir
  7. Big K.R.I.T.
  8. Denzel Curry
  9. Sir
  10. The Roots
  11. Lil Wayne
  12. Conway the Machine
  13. Benny the Butcher
  15. Vince Staples
  16. Nas
  17. James Blake
  18. FKA twigs
  19. Frank Ocean
  20. Ransom
  21. Adele
  22. Cordae
  23. Don Michael Jr
  24. Ludacris
  25. Pusha T
  26. Musiq Soulchild
  27. Future
  28. Marian Hill
  29. Elzhi
  30. Russ

Top 25 Most Played Songs of 2022

  1. Sir, “John Redcorn”
  2. Frank Ocean, “Thinkin Bout You”
  3. FKA twigs (feat. Daniel Caesar), “careless”
  4. Adele, “Easy on Me”
  5. Denzel Curry, “The Last”
  6. Kanye West (feat. Young Jeezy), “Amazing”
  7. Jacob Latimore, “Love Drug”
  8. Musiq Soulchild, “Future”
  9. dvsn, “Claim”
  10. Frankie Cosmos, “Fool”
  11. Kendrick Lamar (feat. Blxst & Amanda Reifer), “Die Hard”
  12. Future, “LOVE YOU BETTER”
  13. KXNG Crooked & Joell Ortiz, “Look Mama”
  14. Kendrick Lamar, “Rich Spirit”
  15. Emeli Sande, “Honest”
  16. Benny the Butcher (feat. J. Cole), “Johnny P’s Caddy”
  17. Pusha T, “Diet Coke”
  18. RZA, “Kaiju”
  19. Saba (feat. Pivot Gang), “Soldier”
  20. Nas, “40-16 Building”
  21. Saba (feat. Benjamin Earl Turner), “If I Had A Dollar”
  22. The Roots, “How I Got Over”
  23. Kendrick Lamar (feat. Summer Walker & Ghostface Killah), “Purple Hearts”
  24. Kendrick Lamar (feat. Sampha), “Father Time”
  25. Spillage Village (feat. Jurdan Bryant), “Oshun”
  26. Saba, “Stop That”

Follow me on Apple Music @DarkKnight1717 to add my playlists
2020s Bangers Playlist
May/June 2022 Additions:

Big K.R.I.T., “It’s Over Now”
Big K.R.I.T., “Wet Lashes & Shot Glasses”
Kendrick Lamar (feat. Blxst), “Die Hard”
Kendrick Lamar (feat. Sampha), “Father Time”
Kendrick Lamar, “Mother I Sober”
Kendrick Lamar, “Rich Spirit”
Pusha T, “Diet Coke”
Pusha T (feat. Kanye West), “Dreamin Of The Past”
Ransom, “Compromised”
Ransom (feat. 38 Spesh), “Rituals”
Russ, “Never Again”

Comments: Mariah dominated my listening in April and I’m still getting used to the newer hip-hop releases.


2022 WSOP $1500 Limit Hold’em – The Joker vs The Batman: Team Torch Runs Deep!

June 20, 2022

My next event is always a marquee WSOP tournament for me: the $1500 Limit Hold’em. Granted, I’ve been playing mostly no limit cash games the last two years, but I spent almost all of my live cash game hours in limit Hold’em games the 17 years before that. It’s surely my best game and I figure most of the elite mix game pros don’t spend much time playing it.

I started off keeping notes for this tourney, but it didn’t last long. I felt like I was the strongest player at my starting table but a solid margin so I was playing a lot of pots and by the first break I had already increased my 25k starting stack to 34.1k and soon after hit a WSOP limit event peak of 41.4k.

With roughly 45 tables in play and some 450 players left, my table either broke or I got high-carded to a new table and one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me in a WSOP event happened:

I got seated on Joker’s immediate left. For the rest of the night. I was having a good day and after nine levels of play I had built my stack up to 52.9k and Joker had his at 37.1k. We actually did a fair amount of battling too. I should have probably at least kept notes on those hands. The only one I remember distinctly was raising under the gun with JJ, the next player called two bets cold (wearing an honorary Team Torch patch!) and then Joker 3-bet his big blind like an absolute psycho. I know this range is strong as hell, so I just called and so did our third opponent. The flop was Q52 and when Joker led out, I raised it to try and get the pot heads up. Perhaps this is foolish considering the range Joker is repping. He’s probably not betting that flop with AK. But he would bet it with TT, so raising can’t be that bad. The third player called though and Joker punished me with a 3-bet. I peeled looking for a jack only on the turn, but it was a 7 so I folded and Joker got raised by the other player in the pot. He ended up calling down and getting shown a set of fives.

Both of us managed to build our stacks a little over the next three levels and going into the last break of the night I had 58k and Joker had 41k. And this is where our fortunes completely switched course. I got absolutely decimated over the last three levels and Joker crushed. I ended up bagging a measly 10k in chips and Joker bagged 135k. I barely had one big bet left and Joker was top 15 in chips.

And Patton didn’t make it through the beer level
My Day 2 starting stack

I was pretty much counting myself out as I’d need to win several hands in a row to even think about being back in contention in this tournament. In another improbable turn of events, Joker started Day 2 seated on my immediate left. I was positive he was going to be the one to knock me out because when I put chips in the pot, he usually can’t help but wake up with some sort of hand.

Spoiler alert

To make matters worse, I started under the gun on the first hand. I was going to have to put it in with anything reasonable or go all in from the big blind on the next hand. I ended up getting a piece of cheese and taking my chances in the big blind. It folded around to the small blind and I snap-called blind when he put me all in. I turned over the absolutely beautiful T4o vs his J7o and flopped a ten and turned him dead for a double up. Then I picked up JJ vs AK and won that race for another full double and found myself at 42k and halfway to an average stack! The ball really got rolling for me when I played a 3-bet pot with 88 against KK and flopped a set for another full double up. This had me at 82.5k when the average stack was 102k and feeling like I was really back in this thing. By the end of the first two levels, I had dipped down to 60k and Joker had surged to 265k, about double the average stack with 100 left and 79 of us making the money.

My rise continued after the break and I rather comfortably made the money and when the bubble burst, I found myself sitting on an average stack, in position to actually make a deep run. Plus, Joker and I were getting some coverage from PokerNews.

After four hour long levels, I was nearing 200k and Joker had a massive 325k stack with 58 players remaining. Meanwhile, our friend Lee Markholt, #2 on Washington’s all-time money list, had a massive stack that was near the chip lead. So three of us PNW boys were in the hunt with less than 60 players left. We had tried to get Lee to wear a patch but he said he needs to get paid to do so. I was like, “bro.” BROW. Come on.

Joker and I eventually switched tables and I ended up on the right of 2015 Main Event winner Joe McKeehen. I’ve actually played with Joe before and I don’t think he said a word to anyone the whole time. That’s the kind of dude I expected him to be. This time was a completely different experience. First, he said something to the dude to his left about a tweet Brock Parker made thinking that he was Brock (he wasn’t) and then said, “and that’s why I never talk to people.” I was watching a hand he played and he was wondering if he took a different line if he would have saved a bet and I commented that it would have saved him half a bet because his opponent never bets the river and he agreed. After that, Joe didn’t stop talking to me for hours. I guess he felt like I knew my limit Hold’em? It was strange, because I’ve always heard he basically doesn’t like anyone, but here he was yapping away at me to the point where I was thinking, “dude… give me a break.” Plus, he’s a mumbler so I kept having to ask him to repeat himself. One thing he did mention to me was that I needed to stop defending my big blind. It made me think… in cash games, I’m a liberal blind defender. Anything connected, most suited hands, anything remotely playable, I’m seeing a flop – especially from mid-to-late position openers. But the thing about poker tournaments is that you can’t put more chips on the table and playing marginal hands out of position can be very costly – and unlike a no limit format, the implied odds of making the best hand are limited to the fixed bet sizes. The lesson: tighten up from the big blind, avoid those marginal spots, and save your chips for when you have the range and positional advantage. It makes sense to me. Thanks, champ!

Here’s a key hand I played vs. Joe that he said I played perfectly and that he thought he could arguably fold preflop:

In a shocking turn of events, Joker busted out in 38th place and I had 240k with average stack at 350k as I headed to dinner break with 35 players left. Just goes to show how swingy tournament poker is and how important it is to have a chip and a chair. Joker started the day with a top 10% stack and I had to put my tournament life on the line the second hand of the day with two random cards. And six hours later, he was out and I still had a chance to win a bracelet. Wild stuff.

The pot that unofficially ended my run in this tournament was when I opened with the JJ under the gun and only the big blind called. The flop came KQx and I checked back. The turn was a blank and I called a bet. The river was also a blank and I called another bet and lost to K3. Maybe I can save a bet on the river – especially with two straight draw blockers – but I feel like my hand is too good to fold when I check back the flop and show weakness. The whole point of that line is to get to showdown cheaply and/or pick off bluffs.

I didn’t note any of the hands I’m talking about, but here’s what my input in the Team Torch chat looks like over the next 50 minutes:

Doubled lol
Bust 28th

And that was that. 28th place for $3900 and probably the least annoyed I’ve ever been busting a WSOP event. Why? Because I had no chance at the start of Day 2! And I made a deep run. And I sat right next to one of my best friends (and worst enemies) for most of the tournament! It was an absolute blast and an experience I hope we get to duplicate many times over the next several years. You know, if Joker can ever escape from Arkham for more than a few weeks each summer.