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PLO Wednesday!

October 27, 2017

Wednesdays are Pot Limit Omaha day at Palace in Lakewood, but the game doesn’t start until 6 PM and I had to be up early the next day, so I tried to be at the casino by 4 PM so I could leave around midnight and still get about eight hours of play in.

This meant I was going to do some game-hopping. I was like 4th or 5th up for $8/$16 limit Hold Em but $6/$12 limit O8 had a seat open, so I started with some split pot four card poker.  The game was unreal – one of the best O8 games I’ve ever seen.  There was only one other player folding before the flop and she limped with 9883 in a kill pot, so who knows what kind of hands she’s not playing.  That’s a lot of dead money in every pot.  I did win about $70 but I ran far below average in the few hours I was playing, considering how much overlay there was in every hand. 

There were a number of pots I got unlucky on – specifically my premium suited A2 hands were coming up with no pieces – but this was probably my favorite hand of the session: everybody is in for one bet, I call 9932 single suited on the button.  The flop comes A85 rainbow and it checks to me and I bet my nut low.  One of the blinds calls, a limper raises and both of us call.  The turn pairs the Ace, the middle player bets, I call, and now the other guy check-raises.  We both call.  The river is another Ace and it is a bet and call to me.  I actually say out loud: “can you ever have 88 here?” before calling and to my pleasant surprise the bettor has 55xx with no low and the other guy has the nut low, so the fives full are counterfeit and I win the high with Aces full of nines and split the low.  The player with the 55 verbally expresses his pain and misfortune and all I can think is “wtf are you doing on the river, buddy?”

$1/$3 PLO starts at 6 PM and the lineup is amazing, but I get off to a terrible start by making a loose flop call that ends up costing me around $400 when the turn greatly improves me to an expensive second best hand.  It’s one of those spots I look back at and realize I’m still not very good at this game.  “Small” mistakes can lead to huge losses in big bet games.  

Very next hand, after reloading, I 3-bet an AA hand to $50, bet $120 into $150 on the 963 rainbow flop in a three way pot and then stack off when the blind check-pots it.  I dunno… maybe this is a fold?  At best, I’m against a random two pair hand, but I’m more likely against a set or something like 9876.  I might have to look at this spot closer because when I bet the $120, I thought I was committing myself and maybe that’s not exactly true.  Anyways, I’ve been playing less than 30 minutes and I’m already down $800and that’s a bad spot to be in a game where lots of players love to hit and run and the game tends to not have very long legs; a four hour spread is not uncommon.

Next interesting spot I try to isolate a fun player with KK52 with hearts and both blinds call, as does the limper.  The flop is an amazing AK9hh, giving me middle set and the nut flush draw and I bet $40 into $80 when they check and only the limper calls.  The turn is a black ten – one of the few cards I hate – and he checks but doesn’t seem strong, so I confidently bet $85 and he calls again.  The river is a black 8, which doesn’t really change anything, and I bet $125 and he folds.

I call a min-raise from the big blind with K5ssJJ and bet $20 into $50 when I flop the nut flush on AT4.  A middle position player calls and so does the small blind and then we all check when the Ace pairs on the turn, an absolutely terrible card for me.  The river is a 9, the SB checks and I check for pot control and to throw the action player some rope because he bluffs a lot.  He bets $75 and the SB calls and now I’m perplexed.  The river bettor can easily be bluffing, but can the SB ever be check-calling a full house?  It seems unlikely, and I doubt he’s folding flush to this particularly gut, so I don’t see how I can fold the nut flush in this spot.  I call and they both show full houses.  The river bettor has A9 after flopping a Jack high flush and the small blind has 99 after flopping a nine high flush. Pretty sick run out and super unfortunate because the player with A9 is the type that will pay off for the max with a Jack high flush.

I then got AA97 all in preflop for about $500 effective and was pretty fortunate when his AAxx hand flopped a flush draw and bricked out for a chop. I later stacked this same player when I had T766 in the big blind and got him all in on a Q96 flop vs his 987x hand.

My last key PLO pot was perhaps a missed opportunity. I limped behind with AK73 doubled suited on the button and one of the blinds made it $15 to go. Four of us saw a flop of KK4 with two clubs and they all checked to me. I bet $20 and only the preflop raiser called. The turn was a ten, I bet $60 and he called again. I thought he had naked Aces or maybe a hand like QQJx, so when the river came an Ace, I can’t say I was overly excited about it. Granted, I’m blocking AA, but just because you’re blocking a hand doesn’t mean they can never have it. Still, it would be ludicrous to check my hand behind, so I bet $100 and I wasn’t exactly thrilled when he check-raised me to $300. I then did what no respectable player should ever do: hemmed and hawed about my misfortune before calling with the second nuts and winning the pot (he had JTT9). My antics are deplorable here, but really, no reasonable player would check-raise the river with his hand so while my fear of losing to AA here might be valid in a normal game, this one is full of all sorts of wonderful surprises.

I won solid pots on the last two hands I described and chipped away at my early deficit and managed to book a small profit of $101 when the game broke at 10 PM.

I was considering calling it a night since I was planning to leave around midnight and I loathe playing short sessions. Plus, I had a doctor’s appointment early in the morning, but my wife was still wanting to play and the $8/$16 game looked pretty good with some unfamiliar faces. “Allow me to reintroduce myself – my name is…”.

The game had some empty chairs and one of the first pots I played, I opened with K9 of clubs and barreled all the way when I flopped a flush draw and rivered a club. I didn’t show my hand, but I couldn’t help but notice one of the players (not in the hand) staring daggers at me the whole time. I don’t consider myself cocky, but I’ve been doing extremely well at limit Hold Em for many years so I carry myself with a lot of confidence at the table. I think this sometimes puts a target on my back and I’m perfectly okay with that. When people try to go out of their way to beat me or show me up, it’s usually pretty advantageous to my bottom line. Anyway, I could sense I was about to enter into an ego battle with this guy. I’d like to think I don’t play with ego, but I am aware of when other people are and I try to adjust accordingly.

The first hand I play against this guy, I open from the hi jack with 98 of spades and only the two blinds call, including him. The flop is 772 with one spade and they both check-call my continuation bet, which is not surprising as this board doesn’t induce many folds – people will literally call with any two cards. Because of this dynamic, I will typically double barrel my bluffs on the turn even when I miss completely – and I don’t have a lot of bricks. Any J, T, 9, 8, 6, 5 or spade give me a pair or a draw, and cards like Aces, Kings, or Queens are good bluffing cards. Needless to say, I’m betting a lot of turns when I’m not sensing any strength from my opponents. A Queen hits the turn, I bet, and I’m now heads up with my man. The river is an Ace and he quite mindlessly leads out. I already know the guy is going to try to outplay me and he looks blatantly weak, so I feel this is an easy bluff-raise spot, something that basically never comes up on the river in limit Hold Em. I raise, he folds, and I can’t resist the urge to show him the 9 high. Sometimes you gotta give them what they want.

One of the downsides to showing a hand like that is that it raises the stakes of the ego battle a little. Rather than looking for a spot or two to show me up, this dude is now 100% gunning for me and has moved two seats to my left. We definitely prefer to have him on our right under these circumstances.

In this hand, an early position player raises, another cold calls, and I have 88 on the button. I can definitely three bet here, but I feel like the under the gun player is tighter with his aggression and decide to just flat. The small blind calls, as does our new buddy in the big blind. The flop comes down T63 rainbow and everybody checks to me. This is an obvious bet. The SB calls, our friend check-raises and both players in between cold call. Well, I wasn’t expecting that. I call and the five of us see the Jack of hearts on the turn, putting two hearts on board. Everybody checks to me again. At this point, I don’t really know what’s going on. Someone could definitely have a T or a J, so I check back. The river is the Ten of hearts, completing the backdoor flush and I get checked to again. This is a super thin spot, but when you really think about it, it seems apparent that I have the best hand. The problem is, can I get called by worse? I certainly think so. I doubt anyone would check trip tens on the river even though the backdoor flush came in and it seems pretty obvious that the two early position players have nothing, so I’m targeting the blinds with a value bet here. I’m almost certain the big blind has a weak pair here and that he will pay it off, so I bet. He does call and so does the preflop raiser, but I confidently table my hand and win the pot.

I’m not done with this guy quite yet. It folds to me on the button and I raise with 98o and he three bets from the small blind. I call and he checks to me on the 854 with two diamonds flop. He checks and is holding his chips across the betting line waiting to call like he is never folding. I bet, he calls. Turn is the 3 of diamonds and he does the same thing. I bet, he calls. River is the 9 of diamonds, putting four diamonds on board and giving me top two pair. He does the same thing he’s done on the flop and turn and waits for me to act, but I have no diamond so I check behind. And then he bets. I look at the dealer like WTF and I can see that he wasn’t watching the river action and now the big blind is yelling at me for saying he checked when he didn’t do anything. Yeah, okay buddy. I’m new here, I have no idea what’s going on. The floor gets called over and since I’m not sharing my side of the story I know it’s going to be ruled a bet because the dealer wasn’t paying attention, so I just put the call out there expecting to pick off a bluff the majority of the time anyway and that’s exactly what it is and I win the pot. Then I have to listen to his yammering about saying he checked when he didn’t do anything, even though after my initial objection I haven’t said anything about it.

I play one more hand with this dude before he physically threatens me. I have the QT of spades and call his raise from the big blind in a multiway pot. The flop basically bricks me completely except for the Jack of spades and I get trapped for a cap on the flop on the off chances that I can hit a backdoor Royal Flush for $35,000. Yes, that’s a real number. The Spade Royal Flush is over $35,000 right now at the Palace in Lakewood. I’m not going to be the dude that folded a $35k Royal because I didn’t want to make loose calls on the flop with only backdoor potential. Anyways, as I’m getting owned for the four bets on the flop, I tell the player capping it on my right “this could be ugly” – an advance quasi-apology in case I end up winning this pot with a hand I would almost always fold.

I missed the turn and did not continue, but after the hand, the dude I’ve been battling with says something to his friend in their language and then says things like “I don’t like that shit” and “that’s why I moved over here” in English. I can’t help but feel like he’s talking about me and because of my comment to the other player during the last hand, I kind of feel like he’s insinuating that we are cheating in some way and attacks against my integrity are about the only thing I won’t put up with while playing poker.

So I say, “wait, why’d you move over here?”

He responds aggressively with “am I talking to you?”

“No. I just wanna know why you moved over here.”

This goes on for a little bit and he doesn’t share what he said to his friend, but continues to talk loudly to me and say things like “I’m the wrong one to mess with.” I dunno. I’m never looking to fight anyone, but if someone is accusing me of cheating we are going to have a conversation about it because I pride myself in playing a very fair poker game.

The floor comes over due to the commotion and now the guy is telling me I’ve been playing “straight up” and acting like he wasn’t talking about it.  Eh.  Whatever.

He ends up leaving soon after and that’s too bad because he probably would have enjoyed watching me get massacred from that point on.

First, my AQ loses to TT on a AJ5TJ run out where the TT player has to put three bets in on the flop before spiking his set.

Then I get four bets in on the turn with J8 vs 87 on 8328 against a guy that has no clue what his hand value is and he gets bailed out by a 3 on the river for a split pot.

Finally, a hand so unbelievable it will seem like I have to be making it up – but I have witnesses!

We are playing 5-handed now so I have little respect for a cut off open and I three bet with KT offsuit.  Both blinds come along and the cutoff also calls.  The flop is QTT and I bet when it checks to me, the SB calls, the cutoff raises, I three bet and both players call.  The turn is a 6 of spades, putting two spades on board, and the cutoff donk again.  I raise, the SB calls two bets cold and the cutoff now folds.  Lol.  The river is the 7s, completing the backdoor flush and the small blind leads out.  I kind of thought he had a ten and the only missing ten was the spade so it seemed pretty likely his trips backdoored a flush and I just called.

He shows the 93 of spades.

To recap: he called three bets cold from the small blind before the flop; he pays three bets on the QTT one spade flop to see the turn; and he calls two bets cold on the turn when he finally has a prayer.

God bless him.  Poker is far from dead.

I ended the $8/$16 session down $85 and called it a night with a meager win of slightly less than +$100.

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