Marathon Monday: A 16 hour $8/$16 Session

November 7, 2017

Oh, how I forgot how fun it is to be a complete sicko degenerate. Back in the dark times when I had a day job, the marathon session was a much more common experience for me. When I was flooring at Palace from August 2015 to October 2016, my schedule was tailor-made for me to put in very long sessions on my “days off” and on Thursday, in particular, I would make it a point to try to play from noon to midnight.

Now that I don’t have to put in those pesky suit and tie hours, my pathological need to put in massive sessions to get my poker fix have all but disappeared. I typically just play around eight hours four or five days a week, and while a 10-12 hour session happens occasionally, it is never my intention anymore.

Enter the new Monday promotion at Palace: Starting at 8 AM on Monday morning and extending all the way until 8 AM on Tuesday, every jackpot at Palace is worth $499. In addition, with High Hands running most days of the week during peak hours, it’s also one of the rare times the massive Royal Flushes are available to pay out. They recently had a Royal pay out over $36,000 and right now the biggest one is around $15,000. Needless to say, this promotion packs the room and if you aren’t there by 2 PM, good luck getting a seat.

The promotion and the Royal Flush payouts are cool and hitting any of that stuff would be a nice bonus, but the main attraction of Mondays for me is all the action players it brings into the building. With three $8/$16 games typically running on Mondays, what is already typically the best $8/$16 game I’ve ever seen, is even better. Mondays used to be one of the days of the week I don’t play poker and now because of this promotion, I’m not only playing, I’m committing to serious overtime.

While I have played some previous Mondays, yesterday was my first time sitting down for a Marathon Monday with every intention of playing 12+ hours.

I got off to a brutal start. After 4.5 hours, I was down around $700. At my lowest point, I was down $800 and in the game for $1600. And it was still early. I was planning to play at least another 7 hours and I was already approaching my worst sessions of all-time territory.

For context, I just filtered all my data that goes back to August 2014 and I’ve played 350 sessions of $8/$16 LHE over that span. My all-time worst result was -$1847 – a glaring outlier. I’ve lost $1200+ two other times and I’ve lost $1000+ five times total – and the last time that happened was a year ago tomorrow. For contrast – in case anyone might accuse me of being a nit – I have won $1500+ five times and $1000+ twelve times in 2017 alone (Note: these are $8/$16 results only).

So yesterday was shaping up to be my worst session of the year and possibly one of my worst $8/$16 results ever.

I lost with AT to 86 on a A97Tx run out. My AK lost to two people with QJ on a KTxxA board. I defended K6 of clubs and turned the second nut flush only to run into AT of clubs. AA lost to KJ on QTxx9. It seemed like every hand I lost to was a hand that I was blocking from improving.

And then there were these two gems:

I raise with A6 of diamonds from MP and the cutoff, button, and both blinds call. The flop is K75 with two clubs and one diamond and I decide not to continuation bet a complete whiff against four opponents and it checks around. The turn is the 4 of diamonds and now the big blind leads out. I have an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw now and while there’s some merit to raising here, I think I will have to improve to win and I’d rather keep other players in. The cutoff folds and now the button raises and the big blind responds with a three bet. With 11 big bets in the pot, I’m getting 5.5 to 1 to call and I will make a straight or a flush about 30% of the time. Obviously I’m continuing here. The button calls and the river is a blank. I fold and the big blind wins with K7 over the button’s AK.

I’d like to focus on the ridiculousness of the button’s line here. First, they just cold call my raise instead of punishing me with a three bet and forcing the blinds out. Maybe the K7 folds? Certainly not a guarantee, but they are far more likely to fold to a three bet than for one raise. And how about that flop check? You have AK on a K75 flop and everybody checks to you and… you check? And then you wait to raise the big bet street when three medium connected cards are on board and the big blind leads out? And, of course, this insane flop check lets me see the best turn card in the deck for free and winds up costing me three big bets before whiffing when I could have just check-folded the flop! Thanks a lot!

My other favorite early hand was when a player to my right, who raises a wider range than most, raises from middle position and I three bet with 98 of clubs (a rare move from me) and the player to my left caps it, the button calls four cold, one of the blinds comes along, the limper doesn’t fold, the dealer calls, a crow caws, and we end up going to the flop six ways for a cap. Not really what I had in mind when I tried to isolate with 9 high. The flop comes down 973 with one club and it checks to me and since I have poor relative position I decide to donk into the preflop raiser in the hopes that he will raise and the rest of the field will have to call two bets cold. I don’t necessarily think I have the best hand, but I think this is the best way for me to limit the field. Unfortunately, he just calls, as do the button and the player to my right. On the bright side, the chances of me having the best hand have drastically increased. The turn card is the 7 of clubs, giving me a flush draw. I bet and everybody calls. The river is the Jack of clubs, I bet my flush, the PFR folds and now the button raises all in for 1.5 big bets total and shows me… Q5 of clubs. Well, you can’t fold that hand for four bets cold preflop!

I did start to make a comeback after five hours of torture. Someone limped in with AA and let me see the flop for one bet with A5 of hearts (which I would fold to an under the gun raise) and I wound up making a flush. Then I switched tables to an action game and picked up my own pair of Aces in a button straddle pot that went off five ways for five bets preflop and somehow held up on a 63325 run out.

Just like that, I was fast approaching even. But it wouldn’t last. After having a period of run good, I cooled off completely and found myself stuck $500 again. I picked up AA three more times during this stretch and lost with two of them, including this interesting hand:

I raise after one limper in early position and go five ways to the 882 rainbow flop. The early limper donks into me and I have three players to act behind me. This board is about as dry as it gets, so it creates an interesting spot. It seems better to try and let some players call behind with very little equity, rather than raising and likely getting it heads up. Plus, the flop bettor could always have an 8. And after I call on the turn and river, that is what he shows me. This wasn’t interesting because I lost the hand, but because the best line on the flop wasn’t clear to me.

From this point on, I was on fire. After falling back down to -$500, I hardly lost a pot the rest of the night. Unfortunately, I also stopped taking notes on my key hands. I do know that I had 80% of a Royal Flush twice with cards to come and did not hit the massive jackpots, but… I did win both hands.

Ultimately, I ended up finishing the day up $890 after being down $800 at one point – without the aid of any jackpots. It’s one of the best comebacks I’ve ever made and really illustrates how key it is to keep your cool when things are going miserably. I’m not sure I’ve ever turned a four rack loss into a four rack win. Five years ago I probably would have left this session four hours into it and booked a substantial loss. These days I’m significantly better at weathering the storm and staying composed as I get throttled, trying to appreciate the challenge of it and find the humor in the run bad. I really feel this ability to play my A-game during brutal stretches is one of my biggest edges today.

One comment

  1. lots of stuff to read, thanks dark knight

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