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Enemy Territory: $20/$40 @ Fortune

July 19, 2018

No. Fortune is not really the enemy, but it is a pretty foreign location to me at this point. I have logged 14 total hours at Fortune in 2018. Once I stopped in while waiting for the Muck Main Event to finish, once I stopped in before seeing Kendrick Lamar at the White River Amphitheater in Auburn, and once I stopped in briefly before heading to a home game. That brings the number of sessions I’ve played at Fortune because I planned to play a session at Fortune in 2018 to a grand total of one. I played a five hour session of 20/40 and got a swift kick in the ass to the tune of -$2135.

The reason my volume there has fallen off a cliff – despite good results: 1.47 BB/HR in 2017 – is because Palace hasn’t really given me a reason to go play anywhere else.

That seems to be changing. 15/30 is hit or miss at this point and The Leak and I stopped in Palace today, but we were playing in a lame short-handed feeder 8/16 game, the main game looked even worse, and 15/30 was probably hours away.

So I could stay and play 8/16 short-handed with my wife… or head to Fortune where they already have two 20/40 games going. There is no list for 20/40 so I won’t be surprised to walk in and see a 4-handed feeder game going, but hopefully it’s closer to being full. I like playing short-handed but not necessarily at the start of my sessions and the more players in the 20/40 games the more likely it is that at least one of them is pretty good.

4:30 PM: I don’t have many nicknames for players at Fortune. Just a couple. There are two full games going right now. Neither of them look very good though.

I do have some new nicknames for some Palace players though.

First off, the most overdue nickname ever. This player is one the top regulars at Palace and probably employs the tight-solid strategy better than any Palace regular when he’s on his A-game (i.e. not drinking). Note: Joker and I are not tight-solid players. He’s one of the good guys. He’s small in stature, but stocky.

I introduce you to Mighty Mouse.

Second nickname is for a player that is a sometime regular. I’ve seen him disappear for long periods of time but when he plays he comes in often. His style used to give me fits: he borders on maniacally aggressive but is a tad more selective and restrained than the true psychos. Still, I admire his tenacity – he unrelentingly attacks weakness. He is a bit hard-headed and can be easy to trap though.

Once upon a time, I thought of the perfect name for this player but I have since forgot. If I ever remember, I will probably change it, but for now, this player will be called Mr. Plow, as in Homer Simpson’s moniker when the streets of Springfield were covered in snow.

Finally, a name change. Action Bronson is a fitting moniker for that player, but a) it’s slightly obscure and b) I have something better.

When this player is in the game, the pots automatically get bigger, maybe even double in size. He’s a huge advocate of button straddles and almost always gets the whole table on board with it. In fact, he won’t even play 15/30 because he claims that 8/16 with straddles is a much better game. Not really sold on that. You can loosen a 15/30 up just like you can an 8/16, but whatever. Also, this player is the only one I’ve seen, maybe in history, that habitually plays his big blind, small blind, and button as his last three hands of a session before picking up and leaving. 100% of the time. He’s a game-changer. Someone is going to have a good session when he sits down (once in a while it’s him) because every pot is like a splash pot. I know it’s the middle of summer right now but it always feels like Christmas when he’s at the table.

He is Santa Claus.

5:41 PM: There are two full 20/40 games going at Fortune. I’ve moved twice already. The games seem pretty typical at the moment. What that means is that most pots are heads up or 3-handed.

Only notable hand I’ve played so far was when I 3-bet Q9o on the button after the same player opened three hands in a row, just as a way to say: not on my watch.

He check-raised me on a queen high flop and I called there and turn before betting river when he slowed down. He paid it off and my message was sent.

I have played with four of the players at my table. One of them is definitely good, two of them are probably small winners, and the other is likely a small loser. Three players I don’t know have over $3000 in front of them.

Also, I have already folded AQ preflop.

5:52 PM: Yesterday I played PLO at Palace. I got tuned up pretty good in 4/8 Omaha 8 and 8/16 while I was waiting. I went -$453 in 90 minutes of play. It was spectacular.

Fortunately PLO went much better. I finished at +$2663. I have some hands I want to type out, but I’ll wait until I’m on a break or when I get home, so I can focus on what’s happening in front of me.

6:00 PM: Just saw a player show down 75o after limping in under the gun. So…. that’s good news.

6:24 PM: Rigged. I open KJdd, good player 3-bets, loose player calls small blind, and I call.

Flop is KT3 with two diamonds. I decide to go with check-raise and it gets capped 3-ways.

Not planning to lead many turns and the ace of clubs is definitely a check-call. Good player bets and we both call.

River is 2c. I check-fold and the loose player pays off with AQ. Good player has a set of 3s.

Just heard the player on my right call the dealer a “cunt” under his breath. That’s pretty cool. Poker is full of all sorts of wonderful people.

6:54 PM: Solid connection. I check-raise the QJxK board with KJ against the fishiest player at the table. He has QQ. Great timing. Currently working on -$500.

7:44 PM: Approaching -$1000. I’ve won one small pot in the last 2+ hours.

I’ve had a lot of late position open/big blind defend spots against s1 and he has won 100% of them so far. That’s been pleasant.

But as I was typing this I 3-bet AK on button and barreled off on KJ2Q2 and never got check-raised! Back to -$600.

This game is about to get juicy though: The Invisible Man just sat down.

8:15 PM: Cutoff opens, I 3-bet AT, he calls. He donks on AKQ so I just call down on AKQ73 runout. He has A7.

Under the gun opens, fish calls, I defend AKss. Hard not to 3-bet with the fish in there but I hate giving away my hand strength out of position and narrowing my range. When I call, I can still have anything.

So when I check-raise the 822s flop, I can reasonably rep trips, or an eight. They both call flop. I feel like I’m good.

Turn 3 of spades. I bet, UTG calls, and the fish folds.

River 8 and I have to chop this stupid pot with A9.

Everything is going swimmingly.

8:46 PM: Defend QT in 4-way pot. Flop is KJx rainbow. Two of us call. Turn 3. I’m the only caller. River 7. Check, check. He shows A3o.

Nice line, DK.

Wish this pot was heads up instead. Might have to re-examine this spot but it seems bad to isolate with queen high out of position on KJx against someone that raised multiple limpers.

8:54 PM: Good lord. Defend QQ heads up. Check-call T53. Check-raise 4. Check-call 2. Lose to A5.

FUCK.

9:15 PM: Just took a steam walk to clear my head from this super annoying session I’m having and received what was the coolest text message I’ve ever read. Maybe some day soon I will share it.

Came back and posted in the cutoff. Multiple limpers, I check 54o, and then bet the A34 flop when everyone checks to me. I somehow get five players to fold. One of them says to me, “easy game.”

Yeah man. Totally. Just running this shit over right now.

9:21 PM: Sigh. Finally get a good run out. Defend 74dd vs button open and SB call, check-raise A54dd flop, button folds, SB calls. He check-calls down on A54dd43d.

Very next hand, there’s two limps, I raise AK from SB and it’s four way action to A86.

Fast forward to the river and I’m getting scooped by A7.

Yup. Easy game.

9:39 PM: One thing I definitely do miss about playing at Fortune is that, for the most part, people leave me alone. I’m all for creating a friendly, fun, and entertaining atmosphere at the table. I think it’s much, much better for poker and makes it more enjoyable for everyone. But if I was being completely honest, I would rather just listen to music than socialize all day long. Most of the time.

I listen to audio books when I’m driving so the only time I have to really listen to music is at the gym or when I’m playing poker. And these days there’s so much stuff coming out all the time that it’s hard to keep up… especially if I’m never checking it out the 40 hours a week I’m sitting at a poker table.

So yeah, it’s been nice to just sit here for 5+ hours of uninterrupted musical enjoyment.

Now I can listen to The Internet’s new album without having to pause it after every hand to courteously listen to the sixth street talk I have no interest in.

9:52 PM: FanBoy texting me that 15/30 at Palace is jamming. Everyone has Overs. Ugh.

There’s a big difference between the Palace 15/30 and the Fortune 20/40. It’s pretty huge actually. You could randomly take any player off the 20/40 here and they would almost always be a top 5 player at Palace. It’s just night and day really.

10:11 PM: Raise button with QQ. K22 flop. I end up folding turn. Small blind wins with K6o.

It’s all so gross I’m struggling to stomach it right now.

Defend J9. Flop 964. He has 44.

Can’t. Take. Much. More.

-$1700

10:45 PM: Middle position opens JTo. I 3-bet AA on the button. He wins.

Massive pot: I have QJhh in MP after limpers, I raise and it gets capped 7-ways.

I peel one off on 872 with one heart. All seven players are still in.

Turn is a queen. Someone donks, two calls, I raise. One player cold calls but I do get two folds. 🙌🏻 The other two just call. I like my hand but I’m definitely not sure about it.

River ace. It checks around. Turn donker has KQ.

Ugggghh.

10:59 PM: JJ v KK. That’s all.

11:02 PM: 88 v QQ on 9 high board.

11:03 PM: TT v KK on AAxxx.

I’m going to lose all my chips tonight.

11:11 PM: Legit just steam-punted $100 and that is my cue to get the hell out of here.

I was able to carry all my chips in one hand to cash out. Not sure how many times that’s happened in a limit game in the past five years, but it’s probably less than three.

I was pretty sure this was going to be a record loss, but this is what I have remaining from a $3000 buy in:

That’s a final score of -$2226, less than $100 away from being an all-time worse loss.

I guess my pain threshold kicks in somewhere around -$2k these days. Once I hit that number, I can really start to feel it physically and any series of negative variance afterwards is enough to make me want to quit.

This isn’t really a good thing. Increasing my pain threshold is something to work on, especially as I continue to move up in limits. I can’t really play 40/80 and start to think about giving up at -$2k.

So yeah. That’ll teach me to think I can go somewhere besides Palace to play poker. Home field advantage is a real thing and after posting back-to-back $2k losses in the 20 at Fortune, I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t go back there the rest of the year.

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Palace $5000 Freeroll (Live Blog)

July 17, 2018

This could be a short post if I can’t bring myself to adjust properly to these fields.

Details coming shortly… looks like 60 players to start.

7:04 PM: I mostly took yesterday off but I did play the $5.50 Rebuy on Global, the $33 $10K GTD, and the $11 6-Max nightly Limit Hold’em.

I was cruising in the rebuy until I opened KT, a player with good results flatted in position, I c-bet the T43 flop and he crammed it on me. I snap called and he showed 63 of clubs. What? Turn: Kc. River: 3.

No clue what happened there. Dude has a 70%+ ROI over 750+ tournaments so… what was this? I have no idea, but it cost me the tourney chip lead and apparently all my momentum as I busted out of the money.

I did win the limit hold’em though. 1st of 25 for a whopping +$101.50.

🙌🏻

7:10 PM: Cards still not in the air. 2k staring stacks with blinds starting at 5/10 with 15 minute levels. I know FanBoy is out there somewhere. Not too sure about anyone else.

7:41 PM: 2275 starting 25/50 blinds. Nothing too exciting to report. I’ve been playing loose and aggressive, but nothing spewy.

7:48 PM: KJ v KQ on T73K5. 1800.

8:10 PM: Down to 12 bigs on the button, with blinds doubling in three minutes.

Time to get it in.

Jean Segura though. MVP!

8:33 PM: QJ > 77 > AK all in pre for ten bigs. Sitting on 5900 at 200/400 with 50ish left.

8:46 PM: Min-raise to 800 with JThh and BB defends with 1100 behind. Flop is 854 with two hearts and I put him all in. He snaps… with… AK. 🤔 Okay…. he holds.

2800 at 400/800 lmfao. 40 players left and average stack is 5 big blinds. 👍🏻

Wait, why am I here?

9:00 PM: Jam two bigs from cutoff and get folds around. Lol.

Jam 3.5 bigs after a limper with A6ss. He tank-calls (lol) with KQ. KK33x.

GG.

Never again.

9:07 PM: Jean Segura wins the MLB All-Star Game MVP with a clutch go ahead 3-run bomb.

9:09 PM: Wait. What? Alex Bregman? Because he hit a solo shot that won the game? What?

Nice job, Diaz.

9:11 PM: 15/30 on the verge of starting… so I think I’m staying here to play… for now.

I’m working on a wrap up post for my Vegas trip, but haven’t had much time to focus on it. Hopefully I’ll have that up within a week.

Spoiler Alert: it’s ugly.

The Joker on the All-Star Game MVP:

9:26 PM: 15/30 going 7-handed. Starting lineup: Scrappy Doo, Part-Time, a new somewhat wild player that’s good action, a loose-passive older regular, FanBoy, a solid regular, and myself.

9:33 PM: Blinds just went up to 2000/4000 in the freeroll. There are 17 players left. The average stack is 9500. That’s barely two big blinds. Three spots pay.

🤯🤯🤯

I honestly can’t wrap my mind around how ridiculous it is.

10:07 PM: 15/30 is 6-handed and that means I probably won’t be blogging too much because the action is too fast and furious.

10:44 PM: Game is full now. The Invisible Man is in. Plus another super LAG player.

11:42 PM: Nothing worse than getting pwnd by The Invisible Man. I mean he’s such a nit it’s disgusting. So here I am in the small blind with Q3 on a final board of A2336.

I’m the small blind and he’s the big blind. Pot started 3-ways and it checked around on the flop. I led out with my trips on the turn. There was a spade draw available on the turn, so I guess he can have that, but this is a limped 3-way unraised pot and we are in Overs. Hard to imagine him calling with a spade draw on a paired board.

Like I said, so here I am on a final board of A2336 and he’s raising me. I practically want to fold but then I start thinking he could play a 3 this way and I beat most of the threes and since he got a free play from the big and a free turn, all of them are in play.

I call and he shows 54o.

Heads up vs FanBoy. He opens button, I defend K2 of diamonds.

Flop is J95 with two spades and he checks back.

Turn is 7 of spades and I bet as a pure bluff. He calls. Okay, I’m looking to fade spades on the river but I should have a lot of good cards to bluff on, like tens, 6s, 8s, maybe board pairs…

River is a king. Now I can show down. He has some good kings in his range, so I check and call and he shows me AQ high and says, “you’re the man” while making eye contact with Snowflake as if to say: You see this shit?

1:51 AM: Open A5o from the cutoff and both blinds defend.

I bet 852 flop and the small calls, but a speeder in the big check-raises. I have enough hand here against this player to 3-bet and I definitely prefer to play this hand heads up, so I raise it up. The small blind folds and the big blind caps it. Hmmm… okay.

Turn is a queen and he checks it to me. It’s quite tempting to bet here but I really don’t want to get check-raised and I have a pretty good idea what his range is here. I check back and I’m planning to call on rivers that don’t improve 76.

River is a 9. Sigh. He bets and I stick to my plan and fold. Obviously I can be beat anyway, but when his most likely drawing hand gets there (the flop was rainbow), I think he has too many hands now that I’m losing to to make calling profitable. Even the gutshots like 98 and 97 improved to a pair. Obviously the 43 missed but there was one hand I totally overlooked: the 64 double gutter. That hand also missed. I think I’m still okay with the fold though. It seems like strong hands on the flop and 76 are his most likely holdings.

2:22 AM:

Flummoxing the FanBoy

There’s a limper, FanBoy raises and I look down at the QT of clubs on the button. I like to 3-bet with suited Broadway hands when I’m in position a lot because when you take charge of a pot good things can happen. Two players call and FanBoy caps it.

Flop is AT6 and everybody checks to me. I love it. I know FanBoy has JJ-KK and if any of the yahoos call me I think he’ll fold a lot. I bet, the other two both call and FanBoy snap-folds. Hahahaha. I feel like I’ve already won.

Turn is a blank and only the small blind calls me. He’s pretty unlikely to have an ace here since he should be trying to check-raise the other two out on the flop.

River is the jack of diamonds. Ugh. That’s a good card for his range, so when he checks to me, I check back and he shows 63, for a pair of sixes and I win the pot.

FanBoy is tuned out so I ask him what he folded as the cards are collected and the pot is pushed to me. He says, “Jacks” and I say “ahhh… good fold” and then he asks what I had and I won’t tell him.

I’m sorry John, I don’t remember.

He eventually uncovers that I had the ole QT of clubs and he is not pleased and claims he will call me down now forever. It’s always fun when you play poker in a way that people think is… unconventional. If only I could play in a way that made it easy for everyone else. 🤷🏻‍♂️

2:39 PM: FanBoy gets a modicum of revenge when he gets AA vs TT and my QQ, but a K42ccK3c board gets me a free card on the flop and a free showdown.

Sigh. Open 65cc, get the J4c3c flop heads up vs the big blind. He calls flop and the ace on turn gives me some nice fold equity but he calls again there too. I barrel off on the 9 river and he snaps with QQ.

Open QTdd and only the blinds call. Flop is QJ3 with a diamond. The big leads, I raise, the small calls, and so does the big. Turn is a 2. I bet and they both call. River is a 5. Nice clean runout, safe for value betting. I bet and only the small blind calls. I table and then the tables J5.

Running good all the sudden.

3:19 AM: Session saver? I open TT on button and only the big defends. I’m pretty exited when he check-raises me on the JT4 flop. I call and jack him up on the turn and he calls. River… ten! He pays me off and so does Uncle Leroy. $100 Jackpot! About 3 minutes after the floor said we couldn’t turn the PSJ drop off 6-handed.

That’ll teach him.

4:04 AM: After that bad stretch earlier I was kind of surprised to see that I was down $800, so I guess I should take some solace in the fact that I just cashed out -$28.

Add the $40 last longer bet I won from FanBoy in the freeroll and I had an ever so slightly profitable night.

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$225 No Limit Hold’em Tournament @ Palace (LIVE BLOG)

July 15, 2018

Firing off in the $225 monthly no limit hold’em tournament @ Palace. All the top players in the area seem to be here. I see The Joker, Flexxx, Bill W, FanBoy, Flipper, The Legend (dealing), The Riddler (flooring), The Crypt Keeper,

Starting stacks are 10k and blinds are currently 50-100 in L2.

My starting table has FanBoy, Flexxx, and multiple other players I know. Not a great draw in this field.

10:58 AM: Flexxx basically immediately challenged me to a last longer bet and then he modified it to first one to rebuy, heavily swinging the odds in his favor. I declined.

Flexxx’s open seat has been filled by Bill W.

11:09 AM: Tormund’s fiery locks have shown up for level 3.

Open to 250 with KTo. Splashiest player at the table calls.

Flop is T98. I bet 325 and he calls.

Turn is a 7. I figure this player will be pretty straight forward and transparent in this spot, so I bet 500, not necessarily for value or as a bluff, but to charge when I’m ahead and make his decision-making more pure most of the time. He calls.

River is an ace and I’m pretty happy when it checks around. I table my hand and he doesn’t like what he sees, but then he looks at his hand again and now he likes what he sees because he has T6 of hearts.

11:17 PM: Bill W and FanBoy just punted their stacks in the same hand, so three players have already felted at my table but I’m obviously below starting stack still.

The bet-sizing in this tournament kills me. There will be no speculating, floating or trying to outmaneuver these people because every preflop raise is > 3x and every postflop bet is at least 75% of the pot size.

11:27 PM: On that note, here’s a punt from me:

Two limps, guy that opened 5.5x from the cutoff the previous hand makes it 700 this time, I decide to gamble with the 87 of clubs from the small blind and the big blind and both limpers call.

Flop is A54 with two clubs, giving me a straight flush draw. I’m planning to pile it here and the PFR bets 4000, so I should probably just fold, but I don’t mind gambling here during he rebuy period, so I stuff it for 7700. One of the limpers calls and the original bettor tries to go all in. I say he can’t go all in and five different people tell me I’m wrong. No need to argue. Just call the floor over. Nope, he can’t raise. Also, I tabled my hand out of turn. Twice. So… maybe I don’t really know what’s going on.

Turn pairs the 5 and the PFR bets, other guy folds, and he tells me I have one out. I don’t hit it. His AA is good.

New table has The Crypt Keeper and Two Face at it. Sitting down with 33 bigs.

11:47 PM: 3-way all in at my table: AK vs AK vs JJ with two of them getting 30+ bigs each in. Two Face has the JJ so we are rooting for lots of aces and kings and… there’s an ace in the window! Crypt Keeper stays alive and Two Face busts out. Everything is right in the world.

12:08 PM: Sitting on 6400 coming back to 200/400 blinds. Coming back from… a thirty minute break. What in the actual fuck? THIRTY MINUTES? What kind of cruel punishment is this? Wtf am I going to do for the 25 minutes after I use the bathroom? This is brutal. And incredibly unnecessary.

12:12 PM: This is my second time playing this tournament and so far I have spent roughly 95% of both tournaments on some level of tilt. I haven’t been adjusting to this field very well. It’s very, very soft and I know my skill edge is immense, but it bums me out that that edge is basically just making better preflop decisions. I can’t get in there with wide ranges and try to punish them. When I do that, I’m just punishing myself because they don’t fold and the bet sizes are way too big and the stack-to-pot ratios are way too small.

Get it together, Dark Knight.

12:43 PM: One of the first hands back from break, a loose player open limps the cutoff, and I look down at A6o on the button. I should probably just jam it here but I opt to make it 1100 and one of the blinds and the limper call. So now the pot is 3300+ and I have 5400 behind holding A6 offsuit with two opponents. Seems pretty bad.

Flop is A85 with two hearts and they check to me. I bet 1500 and only the cutoff calls.

Turn is a deuce and I go ahead and pile when he checks. He thinks for two seconds before calling with… 74. By some miracle, I somehow dodge all seven of his outs with one card to go and double up.

Poor execution. Great result.

1:01 PM: So lame. Open 77, two callers. C-bet 855 flop and one calls. Turn ace, I bet 1800 and he min-raises. I fold.

Open K9hh, two callers. Flop is T7x with two hearts. The blind leads out for 5400, leaving herself with 400 behind. I call. Let’s gamble. Other guy calls also. Sigh.

Turn 8. She checks, I bet my last 3300 knowing I’m also getting called but also knowing I’m never folding. They both call.

Blind has Q8 of hearts and the other player has QTo. 4 of clubs.

GG.

Second 8/16 game is starting and that sucks because it means it will be that much harder to get a 15/30 off the ground later.

Sigh.

My home casino is depressing me. Before I left, the 15/30 game was really waning. It went from going every day and starting at a decent time to struggling to get off the ground most days and not starting until pretty late… like 7 or 8 PM.

That’s not the casino’s fault but they also started charging for food and took away rakeback.

And then while I was gone, they increased the PSJ drop.

Jesus. Bad news on top of bad news. In a matter of months, the changes made here have effectively shaved $7-$10 off my hourly winrate… on top of the 15/30 not running regularly. It’s brutal.

And it’s not going to stop. Ten years from now, the majority will still be playing 4/8 and they will be taking $10 a hand. That day might come even sooner.

It’s an ugly cycle because as the rake and PSJ gets higher and higher the players are conditioned to realize that their only chances of actually winning anything are by hitting the jackpots and high hands they are paying for every hand… but a big reason they can’t beat the games is because they are getting raped by the drop.

I get it from the casino’s perspective. And for most players this model probably makes the most sense. But it really does take the pureness out of the game and makes it incredibly tough for anyone trying to make money playing poker. You have to be playing at least 15/30 that to be feasible now and unfortunately that game is no longer something I can rely on.

2:01 PM: Crypt Keeper and Bill W have abandoned ship. Joker is threatening to leave. The 15/30 is that much further from starting. I really have no desire to grind 8/16 with a $7 drop unless I’m waiting for something else. This sucks. I might leave too.

2:32 PM: Pretty cool start to my session. I’m down almost $300 already and not much has gone right, especially this hand:

I cold call along on the button in a multiway pot with J9 of clubs. I flop an open ender with a flush draw, make my flush on the turn and lose to KcJ on the river.

Notables still in the tournament with 31 left: Flipper, Part-Time, Flexxx, and FanBoy, plus three Palace dealers still in the field.

Elmer, Tormund, and The Queen in my 8/16 game.

2:45 PM: I have been informed by a few people that saying the “rake” increased is misleading and untrue. They are right. I went back and edited some words to make my statements accurate. It’s the PSJ drop that has increased and that is technically a neutral drop since (almost?) all of it comes back to the players. Still, I’m personally not happy to see more money coming off the table every hand. Especially on the heels of rakeback disappearing and food comps changing.

Good for the room. Fine for the recreational players. Not great for me.

2:51 PM: Open JJ from MP, Elmer cold calls, The Queen calls from the small, and big blind defends.

Flop is J82 rainbow. Beautiful. I bet flop and the two blinds call and I’m thinking ‘pretty much fading T9 only here.’

Turn is a queen. Lol. I bet, The Queen calls, and the big blind check-raises me. Lol. Way too high in my range to call, especially with a third player in between, so I 3-bet, she folds and he just calls.

That’s good. He is capable of flatting here and raising the river though, so I’m not 100% sure I have the best hand.

He check-calls a brick on the river though and I win the pot.

3:20 PM: Sigh. Floors are trying to start the 15/30 and I definitely appreciate that, but the execution was bad. Tormund flaked and then two others followed suit. Now I’m sitting here with Joker, FBI Guy, and one other and FBI Guy is 0% to play 4-handed. So I’m just sitting here twiddling my thumbs and my former 8/16 seat is occupied.

Looks like I’ll be going home instead.

3:27 PM: There’s hope! Part-Time somehow turned 60 bigs into 0 bigs and is now sitting in the 15/30 game and I guess Tormund has been guilted into turning his blue chips into red ones.

False alarm: Tormund is staying put. Joker thought someone was coming over but they just cashed out and left the building instead. We are now sitting here 5-handed and not playing.

3:32 PM: Almost a dream spot. Playing 5-handed with no PSJ drop, a $1 rake, and no chopping. Lineup is not great but we are playing poker!

3:55 PM: Joker playing some fantasy poker. He’s saying he would have beat my red 99 with T8o if I didn’t 3-bet it preflop or lead out on the 532 flop. Obviously he wouldn’t be in there from the big blind if I did any of those things.

Right?

Nice parlay: I open AQdd, Joker raises, FBI Guy calls and I call. Flop is king high with two spades and a diamond. Joker bets, FBI calls, and I check-raise. Joker folds but FBI calls.

Turn is 6 of diamonds. I bet and he folds JJ face up.

4:31 PM: Flipper, Flexxx, and FanBoy all still in with 16 left. All are short as they approach the bubble of 10 paid.

4:55 PM: A rare photo of The Invisible Man:

He’s been in this 5-handed game for 30+ minutes and his VPIP is still at 0%.

5:26 PM: Flipper and FanBoy bust 13th and 12th. Flexxx still in there with a chance to stone bubble.

15/30 is 8-handed now. First pot of full game: unknown player opens, I 3-bet TT and he calls. I double barrel KJ66 even though it feels like I could be losing a lot here and he calls both streets. River is a queen and now I’m losing like 85% of the time. I check back. He shows AQ.

7:03 PM: Interesting hand: someone raises, there are three callers, I have 44 on the button and call, FanBoy and Joker defend the blinds.

Flop is 764 and there is lots of action in front of me. I make it three bets and FanBoy cold calls from the small, Joker calls, they all call.

Turn is a king and now I get check-raised by FanBoy and that clears out all but one of them. He called two bets from the small blind so I expect him to show up with 77 and 66 a decent amount. I’d be surprised to see sets and there was no flush draw on the flop so a flush draw that turned a pair is out. I decide to just call.

River is a 9 and now FanBoy checks. So does the other player. I can’t check a hand this good so I bet, FanBoy calls, and flashes me the K7 of clubs before tossing it.

This 15/30 game filled up with Rosanne and a couple other key players so it’s nice and juicy now.

7:26 PM: Flexxx has a pretty massive chip lead with 7 left and has his over-the-ear headphones on to block out all the chop chatter.

And would you look at that:

Just look at it.

8:16 PM: Flexxx picks up a nice score as part of a 5-way chop.

8:39 PM: Joker opens under the gun, it folds to me in the small blind and I 3-bet 99 and he calls.

Rosanne says, “let’s see who can outbluff who.” It’s funny because there’s some truth to that… but probably not when he opens under the gun and I 3-bet the small blind in a full game. Lol.

8:47 PM: There’s a raise, calls, I 3-bet AK of clubs on button, Joker caps from the big.

Flop is 653 two clubs. Joker leads, opener raises, I 3-bet and they both call.

Turn pairs the 6, they check to me and I do something absurd: I bet. Joker check-raises and the other player 3-bets. I decide to continue because the pot is massive.

8d on river. Joker check-calls and his AA loses to A6.

Yeesh.

9:01 PM: FanBoy heroes it off. I raise one limper with K6 of spades and FanBoy 3-bets it.

Flop is A62 with one spade and I put a check-raise in.

Turn is another spade. I bet and he calls.

He seems pretty determined to show this one down so when I brick the river we both check and he tables 77.

NICE HAND, BUD.

9:49 PM: Joker just lost his shit. He has A9 on T87J board and it goes multiple bets on the turn. River is a queen and he says, “I think that card saved me.” Other player rolls over K9. Someone says, “no, that card kill you.”

Joker responds, exacerbated, “you all fucking kill me.”

I tried to snap a pic of what that face looks like but you have to draw the line somewhere.

10:04 PM: Player in s8 wins a pot and player in s9 puts his $5 small blind in but it goes into the shuffler and he gets the dealer’s attention to get it out before it shuts and the dealer goes into the shuffler, fishes it out, drops it in their box and says “thank you.”

I look at the small blind and he’s just sitting there with his hand on his chin rolling his eyes.

12:06 AM: Obviously running out of steam, both in writing and playing. I think it’s time to rack up and call it a night soon.

2:43 AM: Powered through another 2.5 hours. Riddler stopped in and tried to 3-bet bluff me on the river when I made a flush because FanBoy bluff-raised him on the river with a total airball.

Bullet #1 -$225

Bullet #2 -$225

8/16 -$195

15/30 +$820

h1

Main Event Day 3 – Sweat Post

July 7, 2018

There it is. My worst table draw yet. I’m starting the day with 51 bigs, so I’m far from the danger zone, but the five players on my left are all more accomplished than I am and four of them have me covered.

Josh Arieh has almost $8 million in career earnings and at least two WSOP bracelets that I saw, plus a (infamous?) 3rd place finish in the 2004 WSOP Main Event.

Max Altergott is a German high roller that seems to have disappeared from the live scene mostly over the last few years, but I’d guess he’s been playing a lot online.

Stanley Lee has a 3rd place finish in the WSOP Monster Stack and various other NL results that back that effort up.

Dustin Goff seems to have had all his success in the past month, so he’s probably feeling very confident.

The table chipleader is on my immediate right and seems to have very little live experience. That’s a plus, but I’m not in a great position to abuse him.

The player in seat 9 has no recorded cashes… and a short stack.

I imagine the tables in Brasilia will be breaking after the Pavilion, but I’m not sure. I wouldn’t mind seeing this table break early, but you always have to be careful what you wish for. Fist bump as you bag your chips and you might find yourself headed to a televised feature table with Phil Ivey and his mountain of chips and… his sunglasses. Sunglasses!!!

Chances are this lineup is not going to let me get away with opening 15% of my starting hands, so I will have to pick my spots wisely.

Chief Wiggum bagged up a stack of 56.2k and he’ll be tangling with Washington state notable Darren Rabinowitz.

Cards in the air in an hour. Stack updates here and on Facebook and I’ll post some notable hands here on breaks if I have time.

Let’s get it.

11:29 PM: Huge pot brewing:

Arieh re-jams here on T53cc.

Wow. S1 lays down AK of clubs, Arieh has 55, and s4 has AT! What a punt.

Josh Arieh sitting on over 400k now.

1 PM: I stacked the shortest stack at the table when he jammed KQ into my AA.

I just 4-bet jammed over a button open and small blind 3-bet with QQ right before the break. Button makes it 5k, small blind makes it 16k. I had about 130k and I’m not sure if I have any other reasonable line. They both folded.

I’m at 153k on break. Chief Wiggum has 63k.

Two other interesting hands I wasn’t involved in:

Two players limp and Josh Arieh makes it like 5.5x. Max Altergott on his immediate left makes it 18k, the limpers fold, and it’s back on Arieh. He starts breathing super heavy and when he makes it 55k I can see his hands shaking. Max stares him down for quite some time. I’m sure he sees what I’m seeing. Stuffs it on him. Arieh snap folds. (Later he says he won’t be lasting long if he keeps putting 55k in with T6 of diamonds.)

A bit later, Max raises under the gun and Arieh defends the big blind. Arieh check-raises the A62 flop and Max calls. They both check the turn. Josh makes a sizable bet on the river. He is breathing normal and looks calm. Max looks him over for a very long time. Looks at his legs and feet. Leans over and looks at his neck. It’s brutal. He makes the call after like four minutes. Arieh asks the dealer, “can I turn over my cards now?” and then tables A6 and immediately puts Max’s call in his stack and then says something about “maybe my live tells aren’t so obvious, huh?”

I don’t know about that. He looked completely different on both hands. I’m not really planning to make moves on Arieh because of this. My only real takeaway is that I’m never bluffing Max Altergott. Holy shit. I can’t be looked over for five minutes and not want to murder someone.

1:26 PM: Jack Effel just announced they are planning to have us play to the money tonight.

These guys and their waters. I can barely move. Wth.

2:22 PM: So bitter. I’m running at 16% VPIP and 5% PFR for the day, so obviously 63o defends when I raise KK under the gun. Flop is 763 with two diamonds. He check-raises me and I’m not deep enough to even consider folding. I jam and the board runs out clean for him.

Sigh.

So sick.

It hurts.

Now I have an 18 hour drive to Seattle that I’m ready to start five minutes ago.

Thanks for sweating everyone.

2:50 PM: Ugh. I dunno. Maybe I don’t have to go broke here. I’m not going to beat myself up about going bust with KK and I really am not interested in hearing anyone else’s take on the situation, but I’m going to reevaluate it anyway.

I started the hand with something like 150k, so I have a bit over 60 bigs. I make it 6k at 1200/2400 and he defends with 63o which is obviously horrible. I’m opening under the gun and I’ve been playing very tight. His defend is straight up terrible.

The flop is 763 with two diamonds. I have the king of diamonds. I’ve been playing a lot of small ball and I strongly considered checking back this flop (goddammit why didn’t I?), but I also thought there are too many turn cards I will hate, so I bet 8k and he made it something like 25k.

At this point I have 14k of 150k invested and still have 136k (56 big blinds) behind. The pot size has now ballooned to about 50k. I am never, ever folding on the flop, so the question is, do I call and reevaluate on the turn or jam it in here?

If I call, the pot will be about 67k and I’ll have 119k behind. Its hard to imagine folding the turn if the board comes clean. The problem is when it doesn’t come clean… like 4s and 5s and diamonds. Those cards are obviously better for his range and I can actually be folding the best hand a lot of the time.

That’s what was going through my head when I decided to jam. If he has me beat, he has me beat, but I won’t have to play any guessing games on bad run outs.

Checking back KK on this flop isn’t a must, but it does make those bad turns and rivers easier to navigate. Let’s say I check back and the turn comes the ace of clubs like it did. He actually might try to check-raise me there and if he does, I’m probably checking back that card also and looking to show down as cheap as possible on the river. If he leads, I can call a smallish turn bet and reevaluate on the river, probably calling smaller bets and folding more often to more polarizing ones.

Pretty frustrating spot. Annoying that he defended the 63o and even more annoying that I took the flop line that got him max action. I mix in some flop checks with strong hands so it sucks that I didn’t take that line here. I’d still be in there.

Oh well. I’m obviously extremely dejected but I can’t wait to take another shot next year.

h1

2018 WSOP Main Event – Day 2

July 6, 2018

You know what it is. I’m not going to spend too much time writing this morning.

It’s Day 2 of the Main Event. I’m sitting down with 137.9k coming back to 300/600 blinds, or 230 bigs. Lots and lots of play.

I have researched my whole table and once again seem to be in a very favorable situation. I can’t speak on my opponents’ abilities, but I do know how many chips they have and what their past results are.

I have zero superstars at my table. There is one player with almost $900k in tournament cashes, and he will be on my left a lot, but he only has 41k in chips. That’s still almost 70 bigs though, so I expect him to be a bit of a nuisance.

I have the most chips at the table and the three other players with 90k+ seem to be the least experienced. The three of them have a combined $45k in live tournament cashes. I played with one of them on Day 1 and I’m happy to see him at my table again today. The player on my immediate left has 107k in chips but zero recorded cashes. That doesn’t mean he sucks, but it’s a good start. I would definitely rather have $0 in cashes with lots of chips than the guy with $900k in cashes.

The players on my direct right have the second and third most in recorded live tournament cashes, so I’m happy to have immediate position on them and they only have 56.2k and 24.2k in chips. Even 24k is still 40 big blinds, so everyone has stacks to play with today and nobody can be dismissed.

Tormund is starting the day with 62k and has former WSOP Main Event champ Jonathan Duhamel on his immediate left. That means he will probably get a TV cameo today, as ESPN loves to show former champs. Look for a rugged looking red head when they flash to Duhamel.

Something like this:

Check back here for updates every two hours when we are on break. Cards in the air in 34 minutes. Let’s get it!

Just got word that I’m posting too many pictures of Tormund and it’s scaring away the people, so here’s one of the Pavilion before game time:

12:14 PM: Some notes:

-Tormund said he got crippled first pot he played and that Duhamel already doubled. None of that is good news. He still has 20k+ though, so far from actually crippled.

-There was a 3-way pot at my table that was raised once preflop and went check around flop, bet and two calls on turn, and check around on river. The board was KK9KJ and two of the hands were 99 and AK. 😮

-The player I played with on Day 1 has yet to show up 80 minutes into the day. He did this a bit on Day 1 too, so it’s not exactly alarming. But hey, he has $14.5k in lifetime cashes and this is only a $10k buy in, so…

First Break 155k

I am a pretty big fan of my table.

The most experienced and successful player seems to be on the nitty side, although that could be because of his stack size.

The guy on my left that has zero cashes is a total noob. He looks like he’s played very little live poker and there was a hand where it folded to my small blind, I called, and he just folded without seeing the flop for free.

The guy I thought would be the worst at the table, in seat 5, is not disappointing. Through 58 hands he’s rocking a 34% VPIP and 22% PFR, but I have him pegged as a punter, not a dangerous LAG. I’ve already played two notable pots with him, in back to back hands.

Hand 1: I make it 1300 with QQ. It folds to him in the big blind and he makes it 4200. We are super deep and I’m in position against a splashy bad player (imo), so I decide to call and go to the streets. Flop is AT8 with two diamonds. He bets 4k and I’m always taking a card off here with the Q of diamonds in my hand. The turn is a 7 and he fires 6k. Now I’m strongly considering folding since I didn’t pick up any extra equity, but after tanking for a long time and watching him stare in my direction, I’m not exactly convinced. I call. River is a king and he ends up checking. I check behind and he shakes his head like he’s losing and then turns over KJo. Okay buddy.

Hand 2: I make it 1300 with T9dd on the very next hand. I’m pretty early and my image might be bruised after that last pot, so this is probably a fold, but I get it through to my boy in the small blind and he reraises me to 3300. I’m practically LOLing as I call this ridiculously small 3-bet, happy to play my hand in position against this dolt. Flop is K82 with two diamonds and he checks it over to me. Since he tried to barrel off the last hand, he probably has something here, so I check back. Turn is a six and he checks again. My read is the same, but I decide to bet this time because I don’t expect him to raise very often and I want the pot to be bigger on the river when I get there and I can show down for free if I make a pair. I bet 3500 and he calls. I’m planning to bomb the river for more than pot when I make my draws and check back my misses because I expect him to rarely fold. I brick, give up and he shows… K4 of clubs.

He’s either setting the whole table up right now or he’s primed to punt later. I hope I’m the one to catch it.

Obviously I chipped up so it wasn’t all bad. I had AK in a 3-bet pot and got the AAK flop and two streets of value. I flopped top two with AQ. I 4-bet once with KK and took it down pre.

I am in the pavilion so the tables will be breaking in here, but the break order is good. I’m in the black area and the green and yellow areas break before we do. I want to stay here all day!

Tormund fell all the way to 14.5k but has doubled twice and now has 50k.

1:28 PM: First hand back, buttons opens to 1700 at 400/800 and I decide to see a flop from the BB with 74o getting such a good price. It comes down 773 rainbow. I check, he bets 1200 and I make it 4000. He’s the same guy I flopped the AK full house against and I played that hand slow after the flop, so I thought a check-raise here would look bluffs. He calls. Turn is Ah, opening up a backdoor heart draw. I lead 3000, which looks like a weak stab, hoping to induce a raise, but he just calls again. River is the jack of hearts. He has less than 20k behind, the pot is over 18k, and I don’t think he can fold an ace here, so I put him all in and he snaps with Q8hh.

Sigh.

124.7k

3:50 PM: Pretty dead level for me. The hand I posted already was the only substantial pot I played the whole time. There was a spot where a short stack opened button, small blind called, and I 3-bet AQ suited from the big. Looks like a good spot to squeeze so I thought button could jam a wider range here (and I’m obv snap-calling), but they both ended up folding.

The guy in seat 5 has noticeably tightened up. After rocking a 34/22 in level six, he’s now at 26/20 and I’m a bit perplexed at the random spazz those two hands I shared earlier.

The guy with $900k in lifetime cashes is sitting at 16/8, but he just won a MASSIVE pot on the last hand of level seven when he 4-bet pre, bet flop, and jammed turn on T7dd47d board and his opponent went into the tank for the first ten minutes of dinner break before eventually calling it off with KK and losing to AA. From the sidelines I thought it was painfully obvious seat two had AA and I would have folded QQ and JJ fairy quickly, but KK with a diamond is just a brutal spot. That gives seat two a lot of chips and I’m hoping he continues to play a nutty style, but I won’t be surprised if he opens things up.

Dinner Break

Dark Knight – 133k

Tormund – 50k

Chief Wiggum – 43k

Tormund got coolered by Duhamel with ESPN cameras all over them. Not sure how that works into coverage since it doesn’t start until 5:30 PM, but there’s a good chance this clip gets in there.

6:28 PM: Sitting on 134.5k after 8 levels and coming back to 600/1200 blinds. That was a rocky level for me. I got as low as 80k or so before chipping back up. I have some notes below of hands I’ll try to flesh out but I’m expecting a call from The Leak and that will probably take up most of my break.

After dinner, Tormund followed me into the bathroom and stood directly behind me as I peed into a urinal and somehow thought that would be more awkward for me than him. He told me to let him know anytime I need an escort to the bathroom and I considered going up to his table with my arms tucked inside my hoodie and saying, “I need help peeing.”

I whiffed a big combo draw with KJss in a 4-way raised pot. I was the opener and decided to check flop and I let 88 bet and then showdown on a T97ssT7 runout. I thought there was some chance I had best hand on river and I did consider check-raising flop, but with a bet and a call out there already, I thought it would have been unlucky to work.

One of the weaker players at my table opened to 3000 and the bad player in seat five called and I decided to see a flop with 75 of clubs on the button. I know s4 is going broke with overpairs that get beat and I want to play with s5. Flop comes down QQ5 with two spades. The PFR checks and s5 bets 5000. I actually think s4 has a better pair than me most of the time and s5 can have a wide range here, so I decide to make it 13k. The PFR tank-folds (KK!) but s5 eventually jams on me and I have to let it go.

I was on a bad run already when I opened the J9dd, s2 calls in position and s5 calls from the big. Flop is AT7 with two hearts. I c-bet 4k and they both call. Turn is a king and I decide I’m going to give it one more bullet and make it 12k to go and they both fold.

Whew.

(JJ hand)

(AK 4-bet jam)

Dark Knight – 134.5k

Tormund – 40k

Chief Wiggum – 50k

8:45 PM: Can’t really seem to get anything going today. I 3-bet a cut off open with JJ on the button, he called and called again when I c-bet smallish on an ace high, two flush flop. I gave up after that and folded to a river bet when diamonds got there. I’ve done some studying of this spot and my opponent is going to be very ace heavy here. It would be pretty hard for him to have a lot of bluffs on the river. I suppose he could turn small pairs into a bluff, but I’m okay with my line. Annoyed though.

I got moved into the Brasilia room with about a half hour left in level 8. It’s an unfortunate move. I really liked my old table even though good things hadn’t really happened yet. I have zero info on my new table but there’s a 370k stack on my immediate left, and three other players wearing poker patches, including Liv Boeree.

I got word just before the break that Tormund has busted. Not really sure what happened but he was having a rocky day.

Chief Wiggum is up to 70k.

I guess I just made a cameo on ESPN, walking with my bag to my new table.

One hour left tonight.

10:46 PM: Liv Boeree attracting the cameras:

12:30 AM: What a rough day. I never had any real momentum to speak of and the chances I had to chip up didn’t really work out. I was handcuffed after my table move by going card dead and by having a huge stack and a super short stack on my immediate left. Both of those factors made it unwise to try and open wide. One guy can call and 3-bet with impunity and the other guy is too short to raise-fold against. I did end up busting the shorty when I opened the button with AJ and he jammed with A4.

Because of these dynamics I had absurd stats of 13% VPIP and 7% PFR after my move. Granted, that’s only a 75 hand sample, but it was pretty brutal. The big stack on my left was at 36/27 and Liv Boeree was at 25/17, but the rest of the table had VPIPs between 11% and 17%. That’s an extremely tight table.

This tournament is amazing. What kind of poker tournament can you be card dead for basically ten hours and have things not go very right and still be in there? It was a rough day, but I’ll be starting level 11 with 51 big blinds and hopefully I will snap off another good starting table draw. It looks like there are about 2800 left and I believe around 1200 make the money. I think there’s a decent chance that could happen tomorrow.

See you then!

h1

Main Event Sweat Post

July 4, 2018

I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a brutal month in Vegas. I will do a full recap when I get home, but after over a month here I have managed a measly three min-cashes (none in the WSOP) while enduring many bricks – including shocking instant exits and last minute exits when my opponents are trying to punt to me – and lots and lots of pain.

Today I am playing my first Main Event ever and I have to say it feels totally surreal and I haven’t even stepped foot in the Rio yet. I can’t even really describe what I’m feeling right now. I’m not particularly nervous (please no superstar wizards on my left on Day 1 and please don’t put me on a feature table) but I am sort of in disbelief. I’ve never woken up and had playing the $10,000 Main Event on my list of things to do for the day. What a day.

We start with 50,000 in chips and blinds starting at 75/150 so everyone is sitting down with 333 big blinds and insanely deep stacks. We will be playing five two hour levels today before bagging and resuming play on Friday.

Bagging seems pretty simple. If you somehow just maintain a starting stack throughout the entire day you would start level 6 on Day 2 with over 80 big blinds.

And yet every year, many players – players much better than me – don’t make it to Day 2. I read that Max Silver picked up AA on the very first hand of the day yesterday and somehow got his opponent to put in all 333 bigs before the flop with KK only to see a king flop and find himself busted on the first hand of the Main. What a horror story.

I don’t have any expectations today except I want to play as well as possible and mainly I don’t want to rush my decisions, especially the big ones should they arise.

I will NOT be posting updates while I’m playing. I will be paying attention to what’s happening at my table. I will post stack updates on breaks and maybe a critical hand or two if I have the time or feel it’s necessary.

Check in here every few hours for an update!

Let’s do this. THE MAIN EVENT! Holy shit!

11:01 AM: Jack Effel still doing announcements.

Good news: I recognize zero players at my starting table! 🙌🏻

11:43 PM: For the third NL tournament in a row I had AA cracked in the first orbit! I had two black aces on a flop of 8h7h4h vs 6h5h! I check-called flop and turn but folded to a river in a 3-way pot. I lost 4% of my stack.

1:06 PM: First off, I love, love, LOVE my table. I don’t recognize a single player, there is a decent amount of limping, almost no 3-betting, and very little bluffing. Through the first level, it seems very soft.

I’ve logged 82 hands so far and the loosest player is sitting at 29% VPIP and the tightest is at 13%. No one seems dangerous. I hope I get to play here all day long.

I was sitting just below starting stack when this hand came up on the last hand of level 1. A 22/8 opens from early to 600 and it folds to me in the big blind, holding A6 of clubs. This is the biggest open raise I’ve seen at my table and part of me wants to fold, but I feel like I can win a huge pot if I make the best hand. I will not be looking to play a big pot with one pair.

The flop is 985 with two hearts and one spade and I decide to check-call 1000. I’m planning to bet 6s and 7s and possibly hearts.

The turn is the ten of spades and we both check.

The river is the jack of spades and this is obviously a great bluffing card for me, so I fire out 3600 and he immediately expresses displeasure and goes into the tank.

I expect him to fold hands as good as sets here, but after tanking for over two minutes he eventually calls it off with 77.

I have just above 43k heading to 150/300.

Omg the halls are straight madness during break. If you’re claustrophobic or hate crowds you might have a panic attack.

3:36 PM: I have made it to dinner break with 47k. I have to say I’m a bit disappointed with my current stack size because my table draw is such a gift.

I have 152 hands logged so far and I have been the second loosest and most aggressive player at the table. There is one loose/bad calling station at my table and everyone else has been playing pretty snug and straight forward.

I rivered the second nuts on JTxxK against the calling station after he bet flop and turn, and when he led 3000 on the river and I made it 11k I had visions of being completely incapable of folding my hand if he happened to jam on me. If he happened to barrel off with AQ here I’d be out of the tournament. I considered raise-folding but I can feel this dude is just too capable of jamming with worse. Fortunately he basically snap-called and ended up showing JT.

I was peaking over 60k after that hand.

I ended up chipping back down when I flopped top pair against aces and ended up paying off small bets all the way down.

I thought I had a great spot when the station open raised, I called with 65hh from cutoff, both blinds called, and we ended up going to flop four ways.

It was sexy: 874 with two diamonds. The station leads out for 800 and I decided to make it 2200 since a) I had two players to act behind me and b) if the station has a good hand, he’s never folding. NEVER.

Everyone folded.

Dang it. I really think if he has TT+ there I might end up stacking him (depending on runout). Pretty unfortunate.

Tormund is firing the Main. I have 5% of him, or 15% of him, depending on if Joker ever pays me for the 10% I fronted for him.

Tormund Update: 61k on dinner break

Cameras in the building.

6:29 PM: Just below starting stack after three levels. I have four more hours to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity I have at my table. I doubt I will ever have it easier the rest of the Main.

I don’t really have any notable pots to mention.

I am now the most active player at my table and by far the most aggressive. There is still some limping going on and basically no 3-betting – especially no light 3-betting.

I have been playing a lot of pots against the station at my table and I am getting way the best of it, but still haven’t picked up the big clash I’m trying to get involved in.

I am yet to hit a draw after the flop which has kept me from being able to get past the starting stack.

But hey, I’m still in there and I am definitely in a favorable spot for the rest of the night.

Four hours of play left!

If you are watching on ESPN or PokerGo (later), you might be able to catch a glimpse of me if you see any of these guys:

-I am directly behind Benjamin Pollack. I’ve seen cameras pointed at him and they are aiming right at me.

-Former Main Champ Robert Varkonyi is at the table in front of me.

-Former Main runner-up David Williams is at the table behind me.

Tormund Update: 58k

7:33 PM: The easiest chips at the table has busted.

8:50 PM: Finally was able to chip up at my easy table. I’m at 74k and have very good reads on every player and I feel like I’m exploiting appropriately. I’ve taken down the pot 100% of the time I’ve 3-bet light and I suspect I’m the only player doing that based on the 3-bet frequencies at my table.

I’ve had good timing/reads with my bluffs, but I haven’t really gotten paid off when I’ve had big hands, except that rivered straight very early in the day.

Two more hours left in Day 1!

Tormund sitting on 60k.

12:07 AM: What a rush! As I’ve mentioned I was totally in control of my table. Pretty amazing, considering how many great players are out there and I got such an easy draw.

I finished the day as the most active and aggressive player at the table. I played 31% of my hands and the next closest was 24%. One guy was at 13%, another was at 19%, and everyone else was between 22-24%.

I raised 18% of my hands, one other player raised 15%, and everyone else was in the 9%-13% range except for the two nits at 3% and 6%.

I was sitting at about 80k with two hands left in the night.

I opened to 1100 at 250/500 with JJ from UTG+1 and a 23/11 with no history of 3-betting makes it 4050 with a stack of 25k to start. Definitely not looking to get 40+ bigs in here with JJ against an uncreative player, so I call.

Flop is J32. Pretty cool because this player type with his stack size is never folding. I check and he just jams it in. I snap and hold vs his QQ.

Very next hand I open 1100 with QQ and one middle player and the super nit in the small blind call.

Flop is Q65 with two clubs. I bet 1600, first guy calls and the small blind jams for nearly 15k. Happy happy joy joy!! The other guy is deep with me so I call and try to give him some rope to do something stupid but he tank-folds (88… what?) and small blind is so tight I’m hoping he turns over a made hand… but he has the A3 of clubs and I dodge it and bust a player for the second hand in a row… on the last hand of the night.

I bagged a very sexy 137.9k and Tormund bagged 61.9k. Just got word from Chief Wiggum also and he bagged 51k.

We will all be back in action after a day off for Day 2 on Friday.

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My GIANT Bust Out Hand

July 2, 2018

Since my last blog update I played 17 minutes in the $365 NL Giant on Friday night when I played a massive pot with AA against AJ of clubs that found me all in on the river on a board of K64ccA9c and heading for the exit in stunned fashion yet again.

The pot had roughly 24k in the middle after the turn action and I had about 15k behind. I knew he had a made hand and I thought it was very unlikely that he would fold to a river jam, so I stuffed it in. Of course, I was aware that the missing ace was the ace of clubs but I’m never gonna check-fold my hand getting 2.6-1 with top set and I definitely thought it was more likely for him to call a jam than it was for him to bluff the river and despite the numerous monsters under my bed at this stage of my trip, I had zero interest in trying to show down my hand for free.

He made it 600 pre and I made it 2500 facing two opponents from out of position so even though it’s certainly not impossible for him to have smaller suited aces, I would expect him to fold anything less than AT suited and since AK of clubs is not possible he usually only has a few flushes on the river: AQcc, AJcc, ATcc, QJcc, QTcc, JTcc. I would be surprised, but not shocked, to see anything else.

Meanwhile there are six combos of KK and AK alone. Granted, he might be inclined to raise these hands (and the other sets) earlier in the pot.

Shrug. Just another stupid cooler spot where I feel like pot size and strength of hand has me totally handcuffed. Considering all the variables in retrospect, he probably shows up with a flush here more often than not, despite more non-flush combos in his range.

With that said, it’s always worth reviewing certain pots to see if you took the optimal line. I’m not sure I did here.

With two players in position that have 600 committed, I’m not sure that 2500 is a big enough raise preflop. 4x seems big – and if I was opening from the cutoff it would be – but considering the situation, I don’t think it’s big enough. With 25k starting stacks, my raise to 2500 puts both opponents right in that sweet spot of speculating for 10% of their stacks.

Let’s say I have AK here. Would I give them such an attractive price? Seems unlikely. So what’s a good sizing? 3750 would get 15% of the stacks in, but that does seem rather large. 3500 doesn’t seem so bad. That gets 14% of stacks in pre and imagine if my opponents have hands like AK or TT+ – that’s a pretty gross spot. Most players aren’t going to fold there and that’s obviously great for me.

As played, I think my flop sizing is fine. Once I get called there though, there is almost 13k in the pot and when I bet 5k I’m giving him 3.6 to 1 on a call. He needs to win ~22% of the time to make calling profitable and with his actual holding he is ~18% to make a flush. When you factor in implied odds (which he clearly had here), it’s a very easy continue for him with his flush draws.

Since I perceived his holding as strong, I like some other options better.

Option A) I can size up. With 13k in the pot and ~20k effective behind, I think a turn bet of 8k can be easily justified. Now he needs to improve to the best hand on the river ~28% of the time. The problem here is that it’s probably still profitable for him to continue here since he’s basically always getting paid off on the river since my price will be way too good to fold, which is why I like…

Option B) I can check-jam. In real time I was considering this line, but when I improved to top set, I didn’t think it was super likely for him to bet. I can’t imagine him betting his naked kings here. I knew he was strong when he called the turn so I didn’t quite have that information before I acted here.

In retrospect I really like checking here for a ton of reasons.

1) If he has a king, he’s drawing dead and he will likely pay off a smallish bet on the river after the turn checks through.

2) If he’s at the top of his range (AK, sets) he’s going to bet and I will be able to get stacks in here with him drawing nearly dead most of the time.

3) If he’s on a flush draw, he might try to take it away and I can check-jam and put myself in an amazing spot – whether he folds or calls doesn’t really matter.

4) If he decides to check-back his draws on the turn and the river comes a club, I can proceed with caution and check-call. When I check turn and river, my hand doesn’t look super strong here so he will probably size down with his flushes and I will get off relatively cheaply and remain in the tournament. I can’t imagine him going for much more than 60% pot here which I could check-call and still have 60+ bigs.

Let’s rewind to preflop and imagine if I made it 3500. That makes both players continuing decisions tougher, which we want to do. Even though I’m nutted here, I won’t always be in this particular spot so we don’t want to make their decisions easy just because I’m at the top of my range.

If I size at 3500 and the AJcc decides to continue and the other player folds, there will be almost 8k in the middle heading to the flop. Now if I bet half pot, I can reasonably get stacks in on the turn. There will be ~16k in the middle and I will have around 17k behind and jamming seems pretty damn optimal. If the third player decides to call the 3500 (a reasonable assumption) preflop it would make jamming the turn here automatic. In that case, there would be 20k+ in the middle and I’d have less than a pot-sized bet left on the turn. Perfect.

👌🏻

I don’t think I played this hand bad. I doubt anyone would argue that I should have folded at any point in time. I got insanely unlucky like I have so many times this series. That’s undebatable.

But just because I took an insane beat and can seemingly chalk it up to simple bad luck, doesn’t mean I can’t learn from the hand.

Did I take the best line possible? I don’t think so and I think I’ve illustrated why. The “mistakes” I made in this hand can be attributed to my lack of experience in no limit hold’em. I feel like I’m an above average NL player in the scope of the entire poker world, but if you narrow it down to the top 25% (and assuming I’m even that high is quite a leap), there’s no way I’m above average at NL hold’em in that smaller pool of players.

I have busted with AA in two of the last three NL tournaments I’ve played… both times in the first orbit of the tournament!!!

My takeaway from both those pots is that I need to rethink my 3-bet sizings and try to plan ahead better. In the typical month, I might play one NL tournament, on average, so it can be hard for me to get practice in deep stacked NL. I did play a ton of NL tournaments online over the past year but those events tend to play with a much quicker structure and the decision-making and planning becomes much more trivial.

I think this is an important hand to review as I head into my first MAIN EVENT ever. I’m not planning to play any poker until then as I’m going to be spending my time relaxing and studying before I hop into Day 1C on the 4th of July.

Tormund was ridiculing me for not getting some live NL warm up in at the Rio… like in the Daily Deep Stack, but my pain threshold has been really low as the summer has progressed and multiple days off in a row to recover and recoup mentally seems like a better use of my time.I will not be live blogging my Main Event progress, but I will make a blog post you can follow that will have stack updates throughout and if I feel like mentioning a hand it will only happen during breaks. The Main obviously deserves 100% of my focus.

Good luck to me! Last chance for 2018 WSOP redemption!