$20/$40 Mega Heater & Incoming Jinx

November 18, 2017

The coolest thing about tracking your poker results with a phone app is the ability to filter all sorts of information. For instance, my data goes back to August of 2014 and I can tell you that I’ve lost more money playing $8/$16 Omaha 8/Better @ The Orleans in Las Vegas than I have in any other specific game during that time span. Or that I’ve lost more money at Muckleshoot than any other location… by far.

The reason I bring this up is because it felt like I’ve been running way above average in the $20/$40 LHE game at Fortune lately. So I did a little filtering and discovered that my hunch wasn’t wrong.

While it hasn’t felt like I’ve been absolutely murdering the game per say, it has felt like I haven’t had to face much negative variance in a long time. I regularly post wins of 5+ racks in the Palace $8/$16 game, but those 5+ rack wins have been much harder to come by at the $20/$40 level and I only have one such win in this 15-session sample size I’m about to mention. Still, I’m on a run so good I thought it might be unprecedented in my statistical history (it’s not – but I’ll get to that later).

This is what it looks like:

-Since May 1st, I’ve played 15 sessions of $20/$40 at Fortune and I’ve only lost twice.
-My worst loss is -$199 during that span.
-It’s not like I’m hit and running: I average 7.5 hours/session during this stretch.
-I’ve won nine sessions in a row.
-My best win is +$2907 and that’s my only win of 4+ racks during this stretch.
-The overall damage is +317 Big Bets at 2.84 BB/HR.

This is not normal. Since I’ve been tracking on this app, I’ve played 824 sessions of LHE in casinos and I’ve won in 54% of them. Over those 824 sessions, I’ve won at a 1.12 Big Bet/hour rate overall across all limits, so I’m a solid winner, but I still lose almost half the time I sit down to play LHE poker. There’s a lot of losing that goes on in poker and heaters like this are pretty rare, so you really have to enjoy them when they do happen.

Out of curiosity I filtered those 824 sessions down to sessions of 6+ hours to see if it makes a difference. It does. My winning percentage jumps up to 61% over 431 sessions.

As I discovered, this is not the best heater I’ve been on in a specific game at a specific casino. Unsurprisingly, I’ve had better runs in the $8/$16 LHE game at Palace in Lakewood.

I have multiple impressive streaks at Palace but this is by far my best one:

-From June 23rd to August 10th of last year I had 14 straight winning $8/$16 sessions at the Palace.

-My best win was +$2377 which happened to be on my birthday and still ranks as my best $8/$16 win of all-time.

-Overall, I won 493 big bets for a win rate of 5.5 BB/HR during this crazy stretch.

What a sick run! But the timing of it makes it even crazier. I had just got back from a massive run at the 2016 WSOP and in early August I was on a road trip and played a $30/$60 with a $50/$100 kill at Ameristar in Colorado where I had my best cash game session ever: +$4245.

All in all, quite a life-changing nine weeks.

But the thing about streaks is that they all end eventually. I don’t expect to win every time I play $20/$40 and I keep expecting to book that inevitable brutal loss. It will happen. So will a bad downswing.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if I jinxed this run good just by mentioning it!

Now on to some fun hands from this past week.

How Not To Play Kings

Hand #1

$20/40, I open from a later position with AJo and the button three bets me. The flop comes down AJx and I check-call the flop, check-raise the turn, and get paid off on the river by… KK. I feel like there may have been an opportunity to save a bet in there somewhere… I dunno.

Hand #2

$20/$40, same opponent, next day. They open UTG, an exceptionally loose player calls from MP, and I defend AJ from the BB. I check and overcall on A75 with two hearts flop. Same action on blank turn. River is the 9h, completing the flush draw and the 86 straight draw and I check and overcall again. And UTG tables… KK! Lol. My hand is good. I feel like maybe a bet could be saved somewhere but I dunno.

Hand #3

$20/$40, someone I’m unfamiliar with opens from MP as I 3-bet AQ, they flat, and then check-raise me on J73 with two diamonds. I call with my two overcards and backdoor nut flush draw. The turn is a pretty Q and now they check? Easy bet. River blank and I bet the obvious best hand and they call with… KK! This hand plays out the same way if they bet the turn and river but in that scenario I don’t think I have the nuts!

How I Play Kings… Sometimes

$20/$40, a very wide and aggressive – and reckless – player opens from EP, everyone else folds, and I defend KK from the BB. I like to have some strong hands in my defending range and I think it helps me collect extra big bets later in the hand.

The flop is 873 and I check-raise. Even though I’d ultimately like to check-raise the turn, I mix in some flop check-raising a portion of the time as I will occasionally be able to get three bets in on the flop and still check-raise the turn. My opponent just calls though.

The turn is a T and now they raise my bet. I think it’s still far too likely that my hand is good here – especially since it’s disguised, so I three bet and they snap-cap it. Gulp.

River pairs the board and I check-call while wishfully saying, “I hope you have Queens!” And they table… QQ. Yay! Now that’s a 4-betting the turn hand if I’ve ever seen one!

It’s Hard To Play A Full House Bad

But watch me do it!

$20/$40, another player I’m unfamiliar with opens from MP and I 3-bet 77 on the button. The small blind, a tight and solid player, calls which indicates a pretty strong holding and the original raiser now caps it.

The flop is J87 rainbow and the small blind leads out, the preflop capper calls, I raise, SB three bets, and I cap.

Turn is a J and the SB leads out again. The other player calls and I raise it. They both call.

I think this is some pretty optimistic thinking on my part. I have history with the small blind in O8, but not in LHE. I know she is a nitty player. I’m honestly not sure if she would call three bets with suited Broadway hands, so one has to wonder how many Jacks she has in her range. Even if she does call those hands, I highly doubt she goes crazy with them on this flop against an obviously nutted holding.

So what can she have? T9 suited? I really doubt it. It really feels like she has to have 88 here and this is running through my head as early as the flop action.

So what the hell am I doing on the turn?

But wait, it gets worse!

The river is a Queen and as that card hits the board I am watching the other player in the hand and he has a reaction to it.

But how can I check back a full house? Especially when it seems like only both of my opponents could very well have me beat now.

I bet, the small blind calls, and now the other player springs to life with a raise.


I can basically throw my hand in a garbage can now – it’s that worthless. But I call. So does the small blind, now looking at me like “how big of an idiot are you?”

But my live read was a bad one. He reacted to the Q for some reason but he doesn’t have QQ. He has JJ. Quads. And she has 88.

A mega-cooler for sure, but goodness it’s hard to play a hand as bad as I played this one.

This Time I Have The Damn Nuts

$20/$40, I try to isolate a super loose player by raising 66 from the hi-jack but both the cutoff and the button come along for the ride.

Flop is TT9 with two clubs. Terrible board for me to c-bet since so many hands are calling even if they don’t have pairs yet. Everybody checks though.

The turn is a K and I have given up. Everybody checks though.

River is a J. Everybody checks and my hand is good.

TT9KJ. Take it 66.

This is a $20/$40 game. I think the fact that my hand was good is amusing enough but three different players at this level actually let me show it down… is, well, hilarious to me.


  1. on what days is that game this live? I need to drive up there more often..

    • It’s really sporadic. It’s all about key players. Sometimes you have to sit through hours of boring games before it finally picks up. I do think it’s significantly better action around 11 PM than, say, 4 PM. Thursday night had four full $20/$40 games.

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