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Good Boys (2019)

August 24, 2019

Good Boys (2019)

Director: Gene Stupnitsky (“The Office)

Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon

Anticipation Level: Strong

How Was It? I thought it was absolutely hilarious and the kids are wonderful in it. Jacob Tremblay crushed it in Room with Brie Larson a few years back and proves that he has some serious comedic chops also. It’s funny reading the user reviews on IMDb because almost all of the most recent ones are extremely low ratings saying that the content is absolutely appalling. Sure. Maybe it is. But how does someone watch the trailer for this movie, decide to go see it, and then get offended by it? I’m guessing most of them never even watched it and just wanted to dust off their pitchforks. I mean… I sort of get it – a solid amount of the film’s laughs come from the kids handling adult sex props without realizing what they are and some of the scenes cross the line. Would I let my own sixth grader watch Good Boys? Honestly, I don’t know. I think it depends on the kid, but I don’t envision myself as the kind of parent that is putting strict parameters on the content my offspring absorb.

Ignoring the fact that this movie is putting child actors in some questionable situations (and if their parents don’t care, then I don’t care), I thought Good Boys was one of the most thoroughly enjoyable films I’ve seen in 2019. I was laughing pretty hard from start to finish and it’s not like this movie is a one trick pony – there is some emotional weight here. Think back to the end of your elementary school days and recall how many of your best friends remained your best friends throughout junior high… and high school… and so on. Good Boys made me laugh my ass off and then it made me sadly nostalgic, thinking about all the strong friendships I had as a kid with people I almost never talk to now.

My initial thought after seeing Good Boys was that it was my favorite movie of the year, but I’m pretty sure that was an overreaction. Comedies tend to age poorly for me, as they are never nearly as funny over multiple viewings. They need a little extra oomph to make turn them into something special. I’m not sure yet if Good Boys has all the ingredients to turn it into a comedy classic, but I do know I’d be happy to watch it again.

Replay Value: Probably won’t be as funny, but it’s worth multiple viewings in my book.

Sequel Potential: Superbad never got one, but since these kids are 12, there’s plenty of school years left for them to work with if the movie is a box office success.

Oscar Potential: None.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

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August Week 3: PLO, 15/30 and Nas Illmatic 25th Anniversary Show

August 21, 2019

PLO was insanely juicy on Wednesday with a starting lineup that featured Charlie Hustle, Speed Racer, a couple of bad regulars and some new faces.

I handed out some new nicknames to a couple regulars.

First off, we have Harry Caray. This guy has been a regular in red chip games over the past year and he’s quite the character so this name was a bit overdue, but I just didn’t have anything special in mind. He disappeared from the table for a bit one night and someone mentioned the play-by-play guy, referencing the fact that when he’s loaded up on booze he never stops rambling and is constantly narrating the hand in play and talking about what he had, even though a) it’s inappropriate and b) no one is listening to him. So I started thinking of famous broadcasters to name him after and decided to call him Drunk Harry Caray, but I have since been told I was being redundant because Harry Caray is apparently infamous for going on the air intoxicated.

Secondly, we have Logan. Logan is a regular in PLO and has played in some of my home games, plus I’ve been battling with him since my Kitsap County days, so we have history dating back to at least 2011. This name is a Wolverine from X-Men reference. Something about this player just makes me think of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and it’s not rugged good looks. I think it’s his hair and maybe some sideburns in the past, or maybe it’s the numerous times I’ve seen him go on bezerker level tilt over the years. He’s gotten a lot better at not wearing his emotions on his sleeve at the poker table, but it can still be kind of funny watching him react to losing a series of pots. I’m going with Logan as the name because this dude is more the seasoned, worn down and weary version in Logan than the Wolverine from the earlier X-Men films.

On my first key pot, I raise some limpers to $20 with AKT9 with a suited ace and Speed Racer back-raises to $115 after initially limping for $5. He already has his nose open and is down over $700+ already, plus he only had around $240 to start the hand, so I happily put him all in, we run it once and his single suited J765 is way too strong for me to fade.

I’m not sure about the preflop action on this next hand, but I have AKQJ with nut clubs on a flop of T86 with two clubs and get it all in 3-ways with Speed Racer and another player. Speed Racer is all in for $187 on the flop but I’m all in with the other guy around $700 each. Speed Racer ends up tabling T87x with no clubs and the other guy has KQT8 with a worse flush draw. I have 50% equity and two opponents so that seems pretty good, but I’m playing a $1000 side pot with one player, so if I remove Speed Racer’s hand from the equity calculation and mark his cards as dead, I can see that I’m basically flipping a coin with the other play. We all agree to run it twice and I end up splitting the whole pot with the other deep stack when he makes kings up on the first runout and I make a flush on the second one.

I see a flop in position for $20 with A652 with spades and Logan leads $60 as the PFR on the 433 two spade flop. Speed Racer pops it to $200 and action is on me. I have the nut flush draw and a wrap here, but the board is paired and it has been bet and raised in front of me. Normally this would be a trivial fold, but I have to consider my opponents. I think it’s pretty unlikely that Logan connected hard with this board since he raised from early position and Speed Racer is in full torch mode, so he can have a lot of hands I have in bad shape. Speed Racer had about $400 left after the preflop action, so I can min-raise to $340 here and essentially put him all in while facing Logan with a nearly $300 raise. That’s what I do. Logan folds and Speed Racer puts the rest of his chips in. We agree to run it twice and I ask if he has a full house and he says, “not yet,” which makes me think he has a 3, but when he turns his cards over all he has are naked jacks. I brick the turn on both boards but river a straight both times and scoop the pot.

About 2.25 hours in, Speed Racer is stuck $3000 already and I’m somehow down $350. Seems hard to do, but here we are.

I call a raise to $20 with A653 single suited and it checks to me on a 743 with two hearts flop, so I flop the nuts plus the nut flush draw here and I make it $60 to go. Harry Caray calls and Logan check-raises to $300. This is nice. I make it $600, leaving myself with around $350 behind, and Harry Caray clears out. Logan goes into the tank… deep into the tank… and it’s perplexing. I thought when he check-raised here, we are getting it in and I am going to have him in pretty rough shape. He comes out of the tank by folding 776x face up. The longer he thought about it, the worse shape I thought I had him in, so I was pretty shocked, and honestly somewhat relieved, to see him fold top set here. I thought he probably had a straight without a redraw or maybe a weaker flush draw with a straight draw, but he had nine outs to scoop the pot and I was happy to see his hand go in the muck with how salty I’ve been running in PLO lately.

Next, I punted $600+ when I flopped a big combo draw with KKQTdd on AJ8dd63 and fired all the bullets and got called down by AJ6x.

In another punt, I have QJ83 double suited when the game is short-handed and open the pot. I call $40 on AK5ss when I flop a jack high flush draw and Riddler also calls. I should be done with the hand after that, as it seems like my spades won’t be good if I make them, but I pick up another flush draw with the 6h on the turn and it checks to me, so I decide I’m going to be barrell this one off if the spade draw bricks and bet for value if I make a heart flush or a straight. I bet $200 and both players call. The river is the 8 of hearts! Ding ding! I have the second nuts now. But then the player that led out on the flop – a tight and straight forward player – leads out for $300. I resist the urge to snap call out of frustration, but then I rewind the hand and remember that she led out on the flop and is now leading again here. The ace on the flop is a spade, so it makes sense for her to have the nut flush here, probably with a 5 in her hand also. I make the prudent fold and Riddler only has $55 left in a $600+ pot, so he makes the call and she does have Ah9h5dx. I dunno. Maybe that’s a fine line by me, but I felt like I was pressing at this point and I didn’t feel good about it and I still don’t.

In my last hand, someone opens to $15, I make it $45 with AKQQ single suited, the small blind min-caps it for $75, Riddler calls $75 from the big and the original opener makes it $375… but he can’t. So we all see the flop for $75 each. I think the flop was T86 with two clubs and it checks me. I have the second nut flush draw and an overpair in a bloated pot and everyone has checked to me. I bet $300. It folds to Riddler and he check-raises all in and has me covered. The other player clears out, I call and he announces the good news, “aces and the nut flush draw.” Sweet. I’m super dead. We run it twice, but that doesn’t help me any and I am felted for -$1570 total and it’s almost 2 AM, so I call it a night.

Pretty sweet. I lose almost $1600 in a session where Speed Racer blasted off $4000 in just over three hours. That’s a pretty sick overlay to get zero piece of.

One more thing about this session… yes, I realize my blog might not be the most flattering thing for some players, but I write this to be entertaining and I’m also going to be honest about the action, so if someone plays bad, I might say they play bad, but for the most part, these people are protected by the anonymity of having nicknames and I would never humiliate someone at the table that wasn’t a good friend of mine… meaning I will poke fun at Joker and Ducky relentlessly, but I won’t ever say or do anything at the table that might embarrass regulars I’m not close to. With that said, losing $4000 in this PLO game is extreme and doing so in just a few hours is insane. Yes, I wanted to get a piece of that action, but I also felt bad for the player losing it. I highly doubt he is a wealthy individual. So in the hand where he lost his last buy in and called it a session, he gets stacked in a set under set situation versus Charlie Hustle and Charlie Hustle literally gets up from the table and gives himself a standing ovation… while Speed Racer is still sitting at the table, probably stunned at how much he has lost and how fast he has lost it. And this asshole is basically rubbing it in his face. No class. I think he’s the biggest jerk I’ve ever played with.

I put together a 15/30 Mix Game for Thursday night, but to the dismay of some of those that showed – Jesus, Ducky, FanBoy, Scarecrow – I didn’t take any notes on hands and nothing jumps out in my mind.

We did get a guest appearance from someone I don’t really know that has an, uhm, special playing style. An example: He opens in 2-7 Triple Draw and I 3-bet with 9653x, planning to draw one against someone I already know is pretty crazy. He calls… and draws four! I draw one and bet when he checks to me. He calls, draws four again, and I pat with 98653. After taking four new cards on the second draw, he leads right out into my pat hand. That’s not a concern against this player and raising here seems like a consideration, but I doubt I can fold to a 3-bet against this guy and he will hit a miracle a small portion of the time. So I just call and he draws two! LOL. He leads again after the last draw and I happily call and win the pot against his T7.

Unfortunately, this guy only stuck around for a couple hours and my session was pretty middling overall. I don’t think I was ever up more than $400 or stuck more than $300. I finished at exactly +$100 for the night.

Since I don’t really have any hands to talk about from this session, I think now is a good time to talk about the previous week when my buddy from Florida played Badugi for the first time. I forgot to mention it in my last post and it is way too good to omit.

Let me begin by saying that my friend is a long time pro that has done extremely well in PLO games in Florida for many years now and has relationships with the likes of Main Event final tablists Tony Miles and Zhen Cai, as well John Esposito, the 3rd place finisher in the $50k Poker Player’s Championship at the WSOP this year. So he’s had a ton of poker success and some serious connections.

But not much Badugi experience. Maybe none.

On his first hand of Badugi, it is raised in front of him and he 3-bets on the button. I have a made ten in the small blind and cap it. I pat, a player in between draws, and my friend pats on the button. I’m somewhat concerned, but I lead after the first draw to see what happens, they both call, I pat, the other player draws again, and my friend now breaks and draws two! My hand holds up after all the draws and I win the pot, so I ask my buddy what he started with and he said he had a pat 9!

That pot was immediately followed by this next hand. The details of this one are a little fuzzy to me at this point, so I’ll just stick with the essential details. After the first draw, Bulletproof and I are both pat and my Florida friend was still drawing. I must have had the betting lead because Bulletproof checked after patting and my friend donked out after the second draw. I only had a made queen at this point, but I also know this guy can’t really be trusted after the events of the last hand, so I call and Bulletproof ends up folding and then finds himself in a state of shock when my friend still draws a card after betting into two pat hands. Bingo. Of course, this sends the whole table into fits of laughter. I pat with my queen and end up winning the pot. Bulletproof claims that he folded a made 9 on this hand, but I can’t really wrap my mind around that one. That would be a strong fold even if my friend wasn’t a total wild card and I don’t remember the action being so heavy before the second draw that a 9 should be check-calling.

15/30 on Friday had a starting lineup featuring Ducky, Harry Caray, Mr. Freeze, Huey, Master Splinter, and Taz. I was handcuffed by the deck the entire session and never had much momentum going in either direction. I only had two interesting hands all night.

Harry Caray open-limps from the cutoff, Taz raises on the button, Freeze calls from the small blind, and I defend with Q6 of diamonds. But Harry Caray back-raises and it winds up getting capped four ways preflop. It’s not a bad one: Q66. I check-raise and cap with Harry Caray helping me drive the action and Mr. Freeze caught in between. I’m pretty sure Freeze has the case 6 and I feel like Harry is pretty likely to have aces or kings here. The turn is an ace, so when I get raised by Harry Caray again after capping the flop and leading the turn, it’s a bit concerning. Mr. Freeze calls $100 cold and it’s pretty early in the night so I can’t rely on alcohol to be feuling Harry’s aggression here. I beat AQ and that’s about it – and AQ is a massive overplay; it should be obvious that at least one of the blinds has trips here. So I just call and hate my hand a little more when Harry finds another shell on the river and Mr. Freeze calls, but he is overplaying AQ and Freeze had the other 6. What a shock.

Two players limp in and I raise on the button with AA and they both call. The flop is 983 rainbow and the first limper tries to check-raise me, but Harry Caray calls a string raise on him and the dealer rules it a call, so Harry calls a single bet also. The turn is a queen and the first player says he has the best hand and we are both, so that’s annoying, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to fold aces to him. Harry calls and so do I. The river pairs the 8 and now the first guy checks and says that card might have killed him. Who knows what that means. Q9? Harry also checks and I happily fire out a bet and they both call. I am obviously winning this pot, but I’m still pretty shocked to see the first player show pocket kings (remember, he limp-called preflop) and then I’m even more shocked when Harry Caray turns over 87 and the chips are sent his way. I mean… think about all the ways chaos had to conspire against me for me to lose that pot.

With no momentum in either direction all session, I finished the night at +$258.

On Saturday I went to the Nas concert at ShoWare Center in Kent with FanBoy and Free Throw to see the hip-hop legend celebrate the 25th anniversary of his classic debut album Illmatic. It was a lot of fun and our seats were amazing. We were in the front row, so we got to see cool things like a security guard get reamed after telling DJ Premier that he couldn’t walk along the aisle in front of the stage, plus someone in our party got a dap from Lupe Fiasco mid-performance. I’ve always heard that Nas isn’t a great performer and, honestly, he lived up to that billing. It was still great seeing him perform, but he seemed to mostly just be going through the motions and by the time he finished the night with “One Mic,” the background vocals and the crowd were carrying most of the workload – he literally just stopped rapping. I’ll try to post some pics and video below.

Az

Lupe Fiasco

Nas

I was supposed to go hiking with The Leak on Sunday, but I didn’t get home from the concert until around 2 AM and she woke up at 5 AM to leave, so that was a hard no from me. I did wake up in time to play the Palace biweekly $110 no limit Hold’em tournament and since this post isn’t long enough already, I decided to keep notes on my journey through it.

Actually… I’m going to publish now and do the tournament in my next post.

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Movie Reviews: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, The Farewell

August 14, 2019

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) – I’m shocked at the critical reaction to this one: it’s sitting at 81% on Rotten Tomatoes right now. I thought it was extremely dull. I read and enjoyed the book this film is adapted from when I was in elementary school, but I didn’t experience much nostalgia while watching the movie because I only remembered one of the stories (“The Red Spot”). None of the characters or actors were particularly interesting and I didn’t find the movie even slightly scary. The overall narrative put together to connect the stories was fine, but I didn’t feel any emotional connection to anything happening on screen. I was mostly bored watching this and was looking forward to it being over. For comparison’s sake, I gave Crawl a 5/10 a few weeks ago, but that film was substantially more enjoyable than Scary Movies.

4/10 (Forgettable)

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (2019) – I’ve seen people say they hated it and I’ve seen critics call it Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece. I don’t really get either reaction. Usually I am giddy watching QT’s films and find them overwhelmingly enjoyable, but similarly to The Hateful Eight, this one didn’t fill me with pure joy either. I was actually pretty confused about my feelings on the movie the whole time I was watching it and even hours after seeing it, I still wasn’t sure. I know it’s not one of my favorite Tarantino flicks, but I also know I didn’t dislike it because… there’s so many good things happening on screen. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt are amazing in it. The set pieces and art direction are meticulously put together and bring late 1960s Hollywood to vivid life. It’s plenty funny. On the other hand, the multiple plots seem to meander along without any real meaning before uniting in a strange and nonsensical climax. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. Still, I’d be happy to watch it again… like right now. I feel like that speaks to the film’s potential to grow on me over time.

6/10 (Recommended)

The Farewell (2019) – Since most people will probably be unfamiliar with The Farewell, let me tell you a bit about the story: rapper/actor Awkwafina stars as a Chinese girl named Billi living in America that learns her grandmother is terminally ill and her family is planning a faux wedding for a cousin in order to go back to China and say goodbye one last time. Billi is being left behind because she is highly emotional and the family is worried she will tell the grandma that she is dying. Obviously, Billi ends up going to China anyway. I mean… this is great stuff. It’s one of the more personal films I’ve seen this year and the emotional impact is pretty high. I thought Awkwafina was a ton of fun in Crazy Rich Asians last year, but she proves she’s capable of being more than comedic relief by carrying this film on her shoulders and taking on a serious role. I’ve listened to her music and, well, she is waaaaaaaaaaaay better at acting. This is a touching film with plenty of charm and humor in it. There was a bit of a quirky Wes Anderson vibe to it and some of the slow motion shots of the family walking together as a group seemed out of place, but overall The Farewell is one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen this year.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

Batman: Hush (2019) – It seems hard to mess up one of Batman’s best graphic novels, but DC Animation continues to do just that. This is better than the abysmal adaptation of The Killing Joke, but the writers take some interesting and questionable liberties with the story here and the end result is incredibly unsatisfying. I’m honestly not sure what they were thinking. Is it so hard to just do a faithful adaptation and not try to put a personal stamp on a well known story? I guess the main objective was to take a story that was written in the early 2000s and make it part of DC Animation’s current continuity of films, so this film takes place after the events of Son of Batman and Batman vs. Robin, even though the character of Damian Wayne wasn’t created until 2006 and thus didn’t exist in the original Hush graphic novel. The coolest thing about Hush was always that it involved so many key players in Batman lore and they all show up here and that’s a lot of fun. I’ve always thought Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute) is an odd choice to voice Lex Luthor and that continues to feel weird here. This movie was enjoyable, but I hate the big changes they made to the core story. HATE THEM. DC has announced they are making a movie out of my favorite Batman story: The Long Halloween. Here’s to hoping they don’t mess that up too.

5/10 (Decent)

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August 2019 Week Two: PLO, 15/30 Mix, 15/30 LHE, and the Oregon Coast

August 9, 2019

PLO game start on Wednesday featured Mr. Freeze, Charlie Hustle, Speed Racer, and some new faces.

I chipped up early, up about $500, when this hand came up:

There’s one limper, the button makes it $20, I make it $70 from the small blind with AAQJ double suited and the big blind and button both call. The flop is T75 with two spades and I lead out for $200 with aces and the nut flush draw. The small blind makes it $500 and we end up getting it in for a little over $800 total. We decide to run it twice. His hand is KJ96 with two spades and two clubs. He has a gutshot and a dead spade draw. The first board runs out Q-9 to give him a straight with KJ and the second board runs out 8-x to give him a straight with J9 and I find a way to get scooped in this $1800+ pot when I had 80% equity when all the chips went in.

A short while later, I limp in with QJ88dd and call a raise of $25. The flop is 983 rainbow with one diamond and I lead into four players for a pot-sized bet of $100ish. The same player from the last hand makes it $400 and we end up getting it all in again. It’s worth noting that this player tried to check out of turn on the flop, so I have his hand somewhat discounted here and expect my set to be the best hand here, hoping to fade draws, but he has 994x and this time I’m crushed. We run it twice again. The board runs out clean for him the first time, but on the second board I turn a flush draw and river a ten to make a straight and salvage half of this pot.

He says something about we are even now and I look at the $800 in his stack that used to be mine and I’m like “Yes… yes we are.”

I defend my big blind with JT74 double suited and decide to lead $20 on K62hh when I flop a jack high flush draw. This is a pure bluff and definitely not a standard play on my part. When I get called in two spots, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to make a flush, but when the turn is a queen and gives me some real equity in the hand, I decide to keep firing and make it $80 to go. They both call again. The river is an offsuit 8 and I’m not going to stop telling this story now that all the draws bricked. I bet $300 and they both fold.

I make a loose call in position in a limp fest with A542 single suited. This is a good multi-way Omaha 8 hand, but not so much in pot limit Omaha. But I get to see the flop for $5 and it checks to me on A63 rainbow with one of my nut suits – one of the better boards I could ask for. I bet the pot for $25 and then some weird things happen: the small blind min-raises to $50 and one of the limpers makes it $100. He has $175 behind and has a set here like 90% of the time, so learning from my mistake in a similar spot last week, this time I decide to just call and if the board pairs on the turn, I can fold and save $175. My hand is too good to fold, but it’s not like I have such a massive draw that I want to get stacks in here. I call and so does the small blind. The turn is a 5 and the limper puts the rest of his $175 in. I raised to isolate here (not sure if that’s correct though), the small blind folded, and we agreed to run it twice. He had AAxx and I was in pretty great shape with two board-pairing blockers in my hand. He bricked both board and I scooped the pot. The small blind said he had a set of 3s, so the big blind was missing 40% of his outs here.

Someone limps in, I make it $20 with KT87 double suited on the button. The big blind check-calls $40 on 977. The turn is a queen and this time he check-calls $100. The river bricks and I’m left with naked trips here. I’m pretty sure the big blind has at least a 7 and there’s no certainty that my hand is good here. I do think he would call with worse, but I think it’s too thin to bet for value here. I’m happy to see him check the river and I check back. He shows 97 for a flopped boat.

Down to 6-handed later in the night with The Riddler in the game now and we get it all in for a few hundred each on AQ8cc when I have AAxx and run it twice. He has A54x with two clubs and somehow manages to get his money back without making a flush as the first board runs out 7-6 to give him a straight.

So instead of Riddler being felted and moving on with his night, we get into another clash a short while later when I raise to $20 with AA93hh and Riddler and Charlie Hustle call. The flop is Q95hh, I bet the pot, Riddler raises and I put him all in for $381 total. We agree to run it twice and he shows K876 with three hearts, so he has an inside wrap and a dead flush draw. He makes a straight on both boards and the flush draw bricks and I get scooped again, this time with 68% equity when all the chips went in.

Riddler opens pre and I defend in the big blind with AKT3 single suited and maybe another player is involved as well. I check-call $40 on KJ2 with two spades. I have top pair, a gut shot and a ten high flush draw here, so I’m not super excited about it, but Riddler is notorious for over c-betting in this game, so I expect to be in pretty great shape against his overall range.

The turn pairs the king and now I really like my hand as a bluff catcher, especially when he bets a weak-looking $80. I was tempted to raise here, but I wanted him to keep betting his bluffs, so I just called.

The river was an offsuit 6 and this time when I checked it over to him, he bombed it for $250. I wasn’t planning to fold this river at all, but I also wasn’t expecting him to size up so much. I have to give him credit, this is a pretty good line no matter what he has. This sizing actually gave me something to think about and the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was probably a fold. The fact that I have the ten of spades in my hand is pretty bad, as it’s such a key drawing card and for me to be good here, I need Riddler to have draws that missed. Even so, I decided to stick with my initial plan and paid it off and he showed me KJxx.

The sick thing about that hand is I think I stack him if the situation is reversed, considering how willing he was to get it in on that AQ8cc flop when I had top set. Granted, he is deeper here, but still…

Riddler disappeared shortly after that hand and sent someone else to go rack up his chips and cash him out. He played for about 90 minutes total and won $800+ just from me. It was almost 2:30am at that point, so I can’t really fault him for wanting to quit, but I can’t say I was pleased about it either. Needless to say, when he quit the game, no one really wanted to continue on 5-handed so the game broke and I finished at -$385 in a session where variance really put my patience to the test.

I was aiming to put together a 15/30 Mix Game for Thursday night because my buddy was in town from Florida for the week, but it was looking grim with a couple of key players too busy to play. My buddy was really excited about it though, so I pushed the few that were on the fence over the ledge and it looked like I had a solid six ready to go. Most of the games we play are best suited for six or seven players anyway, so I had a perfectly sized lineup as long as everyone showed.

We did get six players including some familiar faces like Joker, Scarecrow, and Bulletproof, plus three I’ve never played in a mixed game with.

Here’s a pic of the group (look at those sexy $100 black plaques – way too cool):

I got off to a rough start in the game, losing the max ($300) in PLO when I got the 952d rainbow flop with AT95dd and Bulletproof check-raised the pot on the flop. We ran it once and I managed to get scooped by his J965 when he turned or rivered a jack for a bigger two pair.

I followed that hand up by getting $300 in with A9732 on the Q86 rainbow flop in Big O. I didn’t write any additional notes on that hand, but I think we ran it twice and I either got scooped or got quartered.

What I am sure about is that I was stuck $600 pretty much right from the jump and I was down $800 by 9pm.

Not the night I envisioned having when I realized that half the lineup would be pretty inexperienced in most of the games.

I rallied back though and found myself pushing past even into sugar territory right around midnight, just as the game went down to five players.

The key pot that pushed me into the green was a Stud 8 hand where I started with 2c9c-3c in a raised multi-way pot. I led out when I caught the best card in the deck for me – the ace of clubs – on the turn. No one raised and I kept betting on 5th when I picked up an offsuit 4. I made a perfect six low on 6th with an offsuit 6 and the queen of clubs gave me a massive scooper on the river and my first time having sugar for the session. Scarecrow started with rolled up tens on that one and there were at least four players still involved through 5th street, so it was quite the pot.

That hand also kick-started some momentum that propelled me to a strong finish and I somehow finished the night at 1:45am at +$1315, a pretty happy result considering where I was at 9pm.

15/30 started on Friday night with 28 players on the list. When the dust settled the reality was 9 seated players and no list. That means roughly 2/3 of the list was smoke and mirrors. That’s pretty gross. Palace’s system allows for anyone to walk up to the sign in computer and put their names on any lists they want. That means they can come in on a Sunday night and sign up for the 15/30 game that starts Fridays at 4 and whether they know that about the game or not is entirely up in the air. I also think some people just like to have their name up for the big game with no intention of actually ever playing in it. What’s not happening is players getting boarded by a floorman that can tell them the game is on Fridays only. It would be nice to find a way to weed out the pretenders and the uninformed, but I guess this is just the way it is.

The starting lineup featured the likes of FBI Guy, Mr. Freeze, Ducky, Huey, Master Splinter, a few non-regulars, and a ornery old man.

I introduced myself to a brand new player by defending my first big blind (with the Coast on the line) with the J3 offsuit, even though it was folded to me. Ah, the things we do for a challenge that doesn’t even really matter. The flop was pretty reasonable for me: T73 rainbow. I checked and raised. He called. The turn was an 8 and I decided to keep firing since I added a gutshot straight draw to go with my bottom pair, but my hand wasn’t looking hot when he called again. The river paired the ten and while that’s a good card for me, I don’t think he’s going to fold many better hands at this point, so I checked it over to him and he put out a bet. Gross. I feel like I’m not winning here very often, but I also have no history with this guy, so I put in the $30 to see what he played this way and all he can show me is a suited 65 high and I’m coasting.

I flopped top set with QQ in a 4-bet pot a short while later and it held up and I was coasting with around $500 sugar at one point.

Ah, to think I was imagining Coasting in this session. Those dreams were shattered when I played another 4-bet pot and got check-raised by Master Splinter on J98 rainbow. I had QQ here, but his line looked super strong, so I just called down from that point and he ended up showing me quad jacks and by the end of the hand, I was no longer coasting.

It only got worse from there. The game was playing absurdly tight and almost every pot was played 2- or 3-handed. Somehow, I managed to flop top pair or second pair in a bunch of heads up pots and never seemed to have the best hand on the river – either because I never had the best hand or because I got drawn out on. This seemed to go on for a few hours, where I flopped showdownable hands in heads up pots and never won. I even flopped a set of sixes heads up against a big blind defend and lost to T9 on 763.

By 7:30pm, just 3.5 hours after the game started, I was down $1350.

Even when things started to turn around, I couldn’t help but be tilted about the hand. I raised with 77 and four of us saw the 873 with one club flop. Master Splinter donked from one of the blinds, I raised, a new player cold called, and Splinter just calls. The turn card was the jack of clubs and Splinter leads right out again. I have a serious case of the MUBS at this point and his hand sure looked a lot like T9 to me, but even so, I was contemplating whether I should still raise. I decided not to and the other player folded. The river was a 5 of clubs and when Splinter still wants to lead that card, I don’t see how I can do anything but call, so I call and he shows me a set of threes. Set over set and I get a total of three big bets from my opponent after the flop. That hardly feels like a win but at least I didn’t lose the hand.

Then I had AJ in a 3-bet pot and got a runout of QJxJA, but I only got 1.5 big bets this time because I whiffed my turn check-raise. My annoyance at missing bets on these two pots was somewhat alleviated when this one surprisingly got put up for High Hand and then somehow managed to hold up.

The game was 5-handed by 9:15pm and I was only stuck $500 at that point.

I made a note of that because I thought it was going to be the start of me crushing faces short-handed, but instead I went on another absurdly cold stretch with good hands. I lost with TT+ four times in quick succession and I lost with KJ to T7 on JJ98x, possibly because I decided to donk out from the small blind in a raised pot instead of check-raise the preflop raiser on the button.

Possibly the sickest hand of the night was a straddle pot when I had AKcc in the big blind. I 3-bet and Ducky 4-bet from under the gun. The straddler tagged along and we saw a flop of K96 with two spades and one diamond. Since I decided not to cap pre, Ducky had the lead and I checked it over to him. He checked back and so did the straddler. The turn was the ace of diamonds. Obviously, I’m usually leading in this spot, but I have a feeling Ducky is going to bet this card too frequently, so I check, he does bet, the button calls, and they both call my check-raise. I know I don’t want to see spades or diamonds on the river, so when it comes the 7 of hearts, I’m a pretty big fan of that card. I bet and… Ducky raises? It folds back to me and I do some serious tanking. I’m running bad and my mind isn’t functioning at its highest level, so of course I come out of the tank with the wrong decision and decide to 3-bet it. Ducky caps and I put out the crying call, knowing I’m never, ever winning here. He turns over the T8 of diamonds for a rivered straight. I just rarely have the best hand here and there’s no reason for me to be 3-betting the river. He has to have A7 suited exactly for me to have any value here and that’s not even a hand he’s guaranteed to raise the river with.

My wife and I were headed to the Oregon Coast early in the morning so we decided to call it a night just after 1am and by that point I was -$1379 for the night, my second straight disastrous session of 15/30 at Palace.

We had a great time on the Coast and I’ll post pictures at the end of this post. We initially planned to head down to the Florence, Oregon area and rent some dune buggies to take on the sand dunes and possibly spend a day floating the Rogue River, but neither of those things happened. Instead, we spent the first night at the Three Rivers Casino and then we spent all day on Sunday floating around the area where the Yachats River meets the Pacific Ocean before driving south and checking out what is supposed to be the biggest sea lion cave in the world.

It’s always exciting to go to a new casino, especially one with a smaller poker room, and put in a session. Three Rivers poker room only had one game going when we arrived and that game was… 10-handed 3/6 limit Hold’em! Wow. If you think I turned around and left, looking for anything else to do, you would be wrong. Quite the opposite. I was practically giddy with excitement to get into this game and play like a maniac. My plan was to play anything reasonable for up to two bets before the flop and do a lot of the raising myself, plus I was going to defend my big blind with basically every hand. I expected my numbers to be something like 70% VPiP and 40% PFR.

I didn’t waste much time making my presence felt. I think I folded my first two hands before winning around six in a row, including four straight kill pots (put in the game right after I sat down). By the time my first orbit was complete, I was up over $200 and roughly half the table had felted or left the game in frustration. That was okay with me since it allowed the rest of our party to get in the game and battle with each other.

Someone gave me an Overs button in this game and I was startled to learn that Overs wasn’t 4/8 or 6/12, but NO LIMIT. If the pot was contested between only players with Overs buttons after the flop, betting was no limit. So sick. Well, after getting a button, I had to tighten up somewhat. I couldn’t play 70% of my hands and possibly find myself in an Overs pot after the flop. I was still playing pretty loose, but when all but one of the Overs players left, I gave my button back. I was more interested in playing every hand than in felting a local.

I didn’t take notes for this session because LOL, but there were still a couple of really funny hands.

On the first hand, my buddy… let’s call him Mexi Nugget… limped in and I said, “that must be a really big hand” and limped in on the button with J3 offsuit. I had already raised his blind up with 72o earlier, flopped trips, and got paid off by him, so I’m literally blasting off trying to play pots with him.

The flop comes down 743; he leads, I raise, and he calls. The turn is an ace and we both check. The river pairs the 3, giving me trips, and he bets out again. I raise him and this time he 3-bets me and I call. He shows AA and the whole table goes into a frenzy.

On another hand, I raise pre and bet twice with KT on JT33 before checking on the queen river and saying, “I don’t think you can call with worse here.” I table my hand and he flashes a ten, but doesn’t show his other card and even the dealer says, “ten… with a kicker that doesn’t beat a king” and that’s when my buddy says, “oh really?” and turns over an ace for a sick slow roll that sends the whole table into a frenzy again.

On the very next hand, the flop checks around on 764 and Mexi Nugget takes the betting lead when the turn is a 9. My wife and his wife both call. The river pairs the 9, he bets again and they both call. His wife immediately shows K7 and he flashes a 9. My wife waits for him to turn over both cards and he eventually shows Q9 (I think) and she just flashes a 4 and pauses for about five beats before turning over another 4 for the sickest snap-reversal slow roll I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure that hand history did justice to what she did here. It was so fucking savage. The fact that it happened one hand after he slow rolled me and that nobody saw it coming just made it the best slow roll I’ve ever seen in my life. Needless to say, the entire table went nuts and everybody had a hearty laugh. That was arguably the coolest moment of the weekend. Does my wife have my back or what?

I ended up winning +$184 in what was the longest 3/6 session I’ve played in at least five years.

All in all, it was a small losing week for me and I’ll be looking to get back on track this week.

Oregon Coast pics:

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August Week One Poker!

August 8, 2019

What an exciting start to August!

On the 1st of the month, I had a dentist appointment in Silverdale and whenever that happens I try to make it a point to visit my old stomping grounds at All Star Lanes Casino where I was initially hired as a 4/8 prop back in January 2012 before moving on to dealing and flooring about a year later. All Star has a daily $30 (with $10 add-on) tournament with a hyper-turbo structure where the blinds double every 15 minutes. Initially, this structure isn’t too offensive, but generally when you reach the final table the average stack is something like 2-3 big blinds!

Playing in this tournament is like playing in a world I haven’t existed in for years now. It’s always funny to me when I shove with a 10bb stack when we are down to two tables or so and everyone kind of looks at me like I’m a maniac because nobody is open-jamming when they have such a massive chip count. For instance, if the blinds are 400/800, it would be rare to see a 10k stack just open ship it.

I made it to the final table and with around eight left I made a call that probably looked insane to most of the other players. With the blinds at 3000/6000, I was in the big blind and had a total stack of about 20k, which meant I was probably 2nd or 3rd in chips. LOL. Someone jammed for 18k from early position and it folded to me holding Q3 of clubs. No deals had been struck and only four players make the money so it’s not like I was on the edge of cashing here. I have roughly 33% of my stack in the big blind and if I fold, I’ll have over 20% of my stack in from the small blind. If I fold that hand, I’ll have less than two big blinds on the button and while that should mean I no longer have any fold equity, that is not necessarily true with this crowd. Basically, folding in this spot doesn’t give me much of a chance to win the tournament, but calling and winning this pot might. I’m getting 2.25 to 1 on a call here, so I need about 30% equity. Even against an absurdly tight 3bb shoving range of ~11.3% of hands, Q3 of clubs has around 31% equity, so I made the call and ended up backdooring a flush against AJ.

That pot propelled me to a heads up matchup with this guy:

Once upon a time, circa 2011, before All Star hired me and before I knew my heads up opponent here, I was playing a nightly tournament at All Star and I open-jammed with JT of clubs. This same player snap called me with AA and my hand ended up winning and he must have lit me up for a good 5-10 minutes (even though my hand was a totally standard shove) in true Hellmuthian fashion. As fate would have it, we ended up being the last two players remaining in the tournament and I can still remember him saying that he would never, ever chop with me. That didn’t bother me because I was happy to play it out and I ended up beating him and winning the tournament.

Fast forward to 2019 and we have become pretty good friends over the years and have a working relationship as well. This guy has probably had a piece of me in every major tournament I’ve ever cashed. Who would have thought when I sucked out with that JT and he berated me all night long that some day he’d be rooting me on at final tables of the World Series of Poker!

Well, here we are in 2019, battling heads up again and this time we aren’t chopping it either because, well, it’s way too fun to gamble it up and play it out. It’s not like there’s a big skill edge here: I think we had about 5bb between us when we got it in, my K9 vs his 83. He outflopped me, but I rivered a pair for sweet victory and am now 2-0 in heads up matches vs a Kitsap legend.

Also, I made $240 for my efforts and… that is my fifth biggest live tournament cash of the entire year. Totally crushing it in tourneys in 2019. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve never had a losing year in tournament poker and here we are seven months deep and I’m probably going to need one or two sizable cashes to turn this thing around before January.

I sat in the live 4/8 game for a few hours and this wouldn’t be notable except this happened:

My opponent was all in for $11 before the flop and then flopped the nut full house… I had two straight flush outs to win though… and I hit both of them!

This was the third Royal Flush I’ve ever had in a live Hold’em cash game and it’s kind of odd to come back randomly and hit one when I never hit one when I was playing there 40+ hours a week for 4+ years.

My jackpot for the hand was only $300 and after taking care of the staff (and giving the other player his $11 back), I left with $580 more than I walked in with.

Not bad!

15/30 on Friday was not a fun session for me. In the first 2.5 hours, I lost with TT+ five times and I was down over $800 already. During that span, one player seemed to beat me in every hand and then cashed out.

I was in full tilt pile mode:

A few hours later, there was a different random dude that walked in and beat me in every pot for an hour… and then he left too.

I was stuck over $1400 and the game was 7-handed at 8:30pm and not looking all that juicy. I was annoyed that two different players clobbered me and ran off with my former chips, plus I felt like I was playing my B- game, at best.

I decided to call it an early night and not force things. A couple of our nieces were visiting, so I swallowed the loss and went home and played Scattergories and Yahtzee with my wife and nieces.

Saturday I got to Muckleshoot around 5:45pm and took a seat in the 20/40 Omaha 8 game. Tree Bark, ChowMein, a Huey/Dewey/Louie, and some other regulars and some randoms made up the lineup.

I got off to a better start this time, picking up a couple decent scoopers with AAxx hands early on.

A couple good hands:

It’s 3-bets cold to me in a kill pot and I look down at AKTT with a suited ace. I used to fold a hand like this in spots like this routinely, but now I wonder if it’s worth seeing a flop, even though it only has value one way. Still, this isn’t the best spot for it. My hand plays better multi-way and it’s been raised twice in front of me, so we are probably going 3-handed most of the time. I’m guessing folding is best here, but in the interest of playing a more loose and aggro style I put the $90 in.

Well, my speculative call seemed to pay off when the flop was JT5 rainbow with one of my flush cards. I raised it up and we went heads up to the queen of diamonds turn. That gave me the nut straight, a set, the nut low draw (i.e. no low draw possible), and a Royal Flush draw. Seems pretty decent. I bet and got called and then the board texture didn’t change on the river and I got paid off for the scoop.

This next hand might be even more questionable. It starts with me defending the JTT4 with a suit in a multi-way pot. Gross.

No worries… now I’m going to lead out on the KQ8 rainbow flop because… I SUCK. I get punished with a raise and three of us proceed to the turn.

It’s the ten of spades. So now I have a set and a flush draw and no low will be possible. I ended up getting trapped for four bets. I figure they both have AJ and I think one of my draws is probably covered, but who knows which one, and what am I going to do? Fold now? Hahahahaha. I put in all the bets and…

…the river pairs the 8! That seems like a good card to bet. They both fold and the last player turns over the AJ of spades just to show me what a dummy I am.

I mean… I guess it’s pretty obvious I have a full house here, but geez, might be worth looking for similar spots when I don’t have it if they are so willing to fold the nut straight here.

A couple bad hands:

Kill pot, ChowMein raises in front of me, I flat with the A223 with bad hearts, and four of us go to the flop.

It checks to me on A96 with two hearts. I bet, the player behind me calls, and the big blind check-raises. I should probably be raising since I have a good hand both ways, but I felt like my high potential was pretty weak and figured the big blind has the same low draw most of the time. I ended up calling and so did the other player.

The turn was the king of clubs and I strongly considered raising when the big blind kept betting. I jusr didnt think he had a made hand. Again, I just called and this time the other player folded.

The river paired the 6 and the big blind fired again. I wasn’t convinced and at this point it seemed weird to turn my hand into a bluff, so I called and he shook his head in defeat. He did end up having a busted low draw with 532 in his hand, but he also had an ace and that huge 5 kicker of his was big enough to scoop my garbage hand.

Kill pot, I call a raise with A653 suited ace and then raise on 662ss and get two callers.

The turn was a 4, giving me a straight, the nut low with backup, and a full house redraw. I remember getting called in two spots here and thinking, there is nothing that can go wrong here.

Of course, the Poker Gods didn’t wait long to punish that serious lack of foresight. The river brought a spade and the first player led out. I called, the other guy folded and suddenly I’m looking at AJ3x with two spades in his hand and find myself getting quartered in this large pot I thought I had no chance of losing.

Pretty cool.

Overall, it was a lot better than my last O8 session at Muck as I finished +$620 for the day.

Sunday we were supposed to go hiking but one of us woke up feeling lazy (let’s just say it was me) so I rushed to Palace to max late reg their biweekly $110 NL tournament.

I immediately bluffed off 35% of my stack when I raised a limper from 200 to 700 with 97ss and then c-bet 500 on AT6 and put him all in for 2200ish on the jack turn. I don’t think he’s calling off his stack with many hands he’s limping in with here, but he had the ol’ KQ gutterball and it came in for him and I was down to 30 bigs already.

I leaked off a few more chips trying to force things before open-jamming my last 10bb with A2cc on the button and getting a reluctant call from the small blind’s 55 and busted out after failing to improve.

Solid showing.

On Monday and Tuesday, I played a couple of impromptu sessions because I had friends that were itching to play some poker.

First, my buddy from Florida met up with me at Palace and we played some 8/16. I started my session off by seeing a free flop with 86o and getting the 862dd board. I led out, got raised, 3-bet, and got called in three spots. The turn was a super ugly 5 of diamonds, putting a three flush on board and straightening things out, but when I bet, no one raised and one player folded. The river put a one card straight on board with a 3 and this time we all checked and somehow, after four players put in three bets on the flop and every draw got there, my hand was still good. The Coast was on!

My buddy didn’t show up until after 9 PM and said he was only going to play a couple of hours and I didn’t plan to play deep into the night myself, so when he called it a night around 12:30 AM, I left also even though I was +$735 and 70 minutes shy of an official Bronze Coast. Ah well! These are the kinds of quits a 3x Coaster can afford to make!

I met my old roommate in Southcenter on Tuesday to see The Farewell starring Awkwafina and we played some 4/8 at Fortune after the movie. I was playing hyper-LAG, but also running extremely hot preflop, picking up lots of big pairs and big aces, but I lost some pretty insane hands. Fortunately, I did flop quad 9s once and that held up for a $250 High Hand and gave me a +$212 finish for the night.

All in all, I finished the first week of August +$740 (including online play) and I’m pretty happy about that considering I sprinkled in a -$1489 15/30 session and played down in 3 of my 5 live sessions.

Also, I made some updates to the following pages:

Blog Nicknames: Added Godzilla, Green River Gary, and Grumpy, His Royal Airness
Books I’ve Read
TV Show Ratings (By Season): Added Big Little Lies s1/s2, Barry s2, Santa Clarita Diet s2/s3

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July 2019 New Music

August 4, 2019

HEAVY ROTATION (3+ listens)

BJ the Chicago Kid1123

DreamvilleRevenge of the Dreamers 3

NasThe Lost Tapes 2

SOLID ROTATION (1+ listens)

Big KRITK.R.I.T. IZ HERE

Blood OrangeAngel’s Pulse

Chance the RapperThe Big Day

YBN CordaeThe Lost Boy

Devin the DudeStill Rollin’ Up Somethin’ to Ride With

Ed SheeranNo. 6 Collaborations

Maxo KreamBrandon Banks

SOME ROTATION (haven’t heard whole album)

Berner & Curren$yPheno Grigio

Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquireMr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire

Murs and 9th WonderBrighter Daze

Purple MountainsPurple Mountains

Various ArtistsThe Lion King soundtrack

TOO NEW

DJ Muggs & CRIMEAPPLEMedallo

NFThe Search

Scarlet ParkeFlight Risk

ALBUM OF THE MONTH

DreamvilleRevenge of the Dreamers 3 – There’s a chance that YBN Cordae made the best album of July (it’s dope), but I’ve only listened to it once all the way through so far, so I guess I’ll go with the album I listened to and enjoyed the most. J.Cole and co. just make good music. Buddy, JID, and Cozz are all over this album and if you’ve been sleeping on them, it’s time to go check out their last projects because all three of these dudes can RAP. It’s possible that Dreamville has even taken over Top Dawg Entertainment as the label I’m most excited about.

TOP FIVE

2. YBN CordaeThe Lost Boy – This is a smooth ass album with solid production. YBN Cordae sounds at home on the mic and has plenty of content. I’ve only made it through the album once so far, but I really liked it and I can see multiple songs making my Bangerz playlist. The track with Anderson.Paak is already on there. I’d never heard of this guy and wouldn’t think to check for him, but I read some good stuff and he has really surprised me by making a very enjoyable and cohesive album.

3. NasThe Lost Tapes 2 – This is some unreleased material from a top 10 rapper of all-time and it’s pretty good. His first Lost Tapes was an instant classic and this one doesn’t match up to that, but there’s still plenty of good stuff on here.

4. Maxo KreamBrandon Banks – Another dude I’ve never heard of that is pretty damn good at rapping. I’ve only listened to this once through so I’m still digesting, but there wasn’t much I didn’t like the first time through. A definite recommendation.

5. Devin the DudeStill Rollin’ Up Somethin’ to Ride With – 21 years and 10 studio albums in and Devin is still going strong. I’m not a weed smoker so I’m not vibing with Devin’s music on that level, but it hardly matters. This is chill background music that’s perfect to have one while playing poker. “Somethin’ to Ride With” is insane. It has about a two minute stretch in between vocals with just the beat playing and it is AWESOME.

2019 Bangerz Playlist Additions

Berner & Curren$y ft. Kokane, “Gangsta S**t”
BJ the Chicago Kid ft. JID and Buddy, “Get Away”
Devin the Dude, “Somethin’ to Ride With”
Dreamville, “1993”
J.Cole (Dreamville), “Middle Child”
Nas, “Tanasia”
Reason and Cozz (Dreamville), “LamboTruck”
YBN Cordae ft. Anderson.Paak, “RNP”
YBN Cordae ft. Arin Ray, “Family Matters”

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July 2019 Poker Wrap-Up

August 2, 2019

On the last day of July, I went hiking with ChowMein. This is something that has been bubbling for a while now. I think I first started crossing paths with Chow 7-8 years ago, noticing him and his crew at the Pendleton Round Up and in the Muckleshoot series. We started becoming friendly over the last couple years and for a while now we’ve talked about doing something outside of poker, particularly when we bumped into each other on a hike at Rattlesnake Ledge last year and realized we had another mutual interest. But that was roughly a year ago and we still hadn’t made anything happen. When I saw ChowMein in the 20/40 O8 game two Saturdays ago, we said the same shit we always say except this time I made a point to let him know we are really going to plan something.

We agreed to do a hike on Wednesday morning and after getting five questionable hours of sleep, my alarm went off at 5 AM and I met him around 8 AM at the Otter and Big Creek Falls trailhead in North Bend. It wasn’t the most challenging trail I’ve done, but after doing 8+ strenuous miles on Sunday, my calves were still burning and I was happy to take a more relaxing hike. Even so, Apple Health says I walked 11 miles and took over 24,000 steps on Wednesday, so it’s not like we didn’t get a workout in. Also, it was nice to get to know Chow on a more personal level and I’m pretty excited to develop a friendship with someone that likes to travel for poker and can help me elevate my own game.

My dogs went with us and we took a lot of pics and I thought a lot of them came out pretty good, so here are some of the best ones:

I think we spent about 4-5 hours on the trail and after a two hour drive home, it was nearly 4 PM. My plan was to play PLO when the game started at 6 PM, but I was lacking good sleep and I’d been up since 5 AM, so I knew it was questionable whether I should be playing at all. PLO has been lucrative for me over the past month and I didn’t want to miss a good game, so I was there for the start of it, but I knew I was walking on the edge. I figured if things went well, I would be fine, but I was conscious of the fact that I might not be in the mental condition to grind out a grueling session.

The lineup was a bad start. The game was 8-handed and featured the likes of Bulletproof, Mr. Freeze, and Charlie Hustle. One of the Huey, Duey, and Louie triplets was making a rare appearance and there were a couple other non-regulars that weren’t good action as well. There were two players in the game that I was excited about.

I started with $700 and had another $700 in my pocket for topping off. I was about 40 minutes into the session with maybe $650 in front of me when this hand came up:

I made a rather loose open to $15 with QJT5 triple suited (three spades) from the hijack, the button called, and Bulletproof defended his big blind. This is a hand I should definitely be folding. I have an extremely loose player on the button and I have a three card hand. When my hand is triple suited, the fact that I have a useless dangler is magnified. It just makes no sense to get involved with a handicap when I know I won’t even have position in the hand like 80% of the time.

The flop is pretty good for me: T53 with two hearts. I have top two pair and some interesting backdoor potential on a board that shouldn’t flop many sets or quality straight draws. So when I bet $30, the button folds, and Bulletproof check-raises me to $80, I think my hand is in pretty good shape. Considering I am still over $500 deep though, my hand plays less well if he’s willing to get stacks in here, so I just call and I’m planning to fold if the flush comes in and he bets, but otherwise mostly continue.

The turn is an offsuit king and he bets the pot, which I believe was $205. I added straight outs in addition to my two pair, so I’m definitely not folding now. After calling $205, I’d have just over $300 behind and, in the moment, I thought that if I jammed now, I could avoid making difficult river decisions and it seemed like my hand should still be good most of the time. Of course, he could have flush draws that now made kings up, so that’s something to consider. Also, if I just call on the turn, I can save myself $300+ when the river brings the flush and it’s not like my hand is in a commanding position here. I think calling and re-evaluating on the river is the best line, but unfortunately I stuffed it and Bulletproof put me all in and showed me a king high flush draw… that turned a set of kings. My two pair was dead, but I had six outs to the nut straight. The river was the queen of hearts and BP won with a flush.

I was stuck $700 already and as I pondered my future for a few hands, I realized that I didn’t love the lineup and I wasn’t in prime poker playing condition, so I called it a night… and a month. I played a hand I should have folded and got myself stacked. Then I jammed the turn and got it in extremely bad, when I could have called and folded when the flush came on the river, saving myself $300+ and giving myself a chance to salvage my session.

Ah well. At least I left instead of possibly compounding my problems. Not the way I wanted to end my month though.

July Poker Highlights

*Playing the WSOP Main Event for the second time
*Rivering the nuts and getting paid off by Steve Gee in the Main for 50% stack increase early in the Main
*+$1392 in 8/16 and +$3789 in PLO in my first two sessions back from Vegas
*Getting a 15/30 Mix game off the ground
*Winning my first MTT on America’s Cardroom
*Winning $1400 in less than 3 hours of 5/10 6-max on ACR
*Increasing my ACR bankroll by like 600%
*Randomly sitting in Pai Gow because Radio Mike was playing and making a Royal Flush for a $150 bonus (lifetime winner!)

July Poker Lowlights

*Busting the Main Event
*Global Poker shutting down Washington state players
*Getting my face smashed for -$1837 in the 20/40 O8 at Muck
*Punting $700 on the last day of the month

Overall, I ended up winning about $5500 last month, basically all of it from playing PLO and that’s pretty cool because I was souring on that game leading up to the World Series and I feel my interest level being reinvigorated.

On Deck in August

*traveling to the Oregon Sand Dunes for a weekend getaway
*seeing Nas in concert for the first time at the ShoWare Center in Kent
*watching Angels top prospect Jo Adell play at Cheney against the Tacoma Rainiers
*traveling to L.A. for the $2100 H.O.R.S.E. tournament at The Bike
*possibly going to Universal Studios so Dina can check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and we can go on the new Jurassic World ride